The Rose Code [Book Review]

April 9, 2021

The Rose Code by Kate Quinn

The Rose Code by Kate Quinn (cover) Image: a woman in a rose colored dress stands with her back to the camera facing a gold machine

Genre/Categories/Settings: Historical Fiction, Women’s Fiction, WW11, London, Code Breakers, Espionage, Mystery

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

“Duty, honor, oaths–they are not just for soldiers–not just for men.”

Popular historical fiction author Kate Quinn brings us a thrilling story about three female code-breakers who work at Bletchley Park outside London during WW11. This is a story filled with aspirations, determination, courage, betrayal, and secrecy. 

All about Bletchley Park for history buffs…

My Thoughts:

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The Last Bookshop in London [Book Review] #BlogTour

April 7, 2021

The Last Bookshop in London by Madeline Martin

The Last Bookshop in London by Madeline Martin (cover) Image: a young woman stands beside a wall of bbookshelves near a window through which Big Ben and three WW11 planes are visible

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, WW11, London, Books About Books, “might also be a love story”

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Thank you for my invitation to participate in the 2021 Historical Fiction Blog Tour for The Last Bookshop in London. Thanks, #NetGalley @HarlequinBooks for my complimentary e ARC of #TheLastBookshopInLondon by @MadelineMMartin upon my request. All opinions are my own.

Historical Fiction Blog Tour (4 covers)

The Last Bookshop in London is a book about bookstores and a book about books set during the London Blitz during WW11. Grace Bennett has always wanted to move to the city, but the life she finds is not nearly what she expected as she hunts for a job, endures air raid shelters, and puts up black-out curtains. The only job she can find is at Primrose Hill, a dusty, old bookstore with a curmudgeonly owner. Grace, not sure she even loves reading that much, organizes and cleans the bookshop, gradually develops a love for books, enjoys a friendly relationship with a handsome and well-read customer named George, finds ways she can contribute to the war effort and the book community, and discovers the power of storytelling during the most difficult times.

The magic of reading in George’s words:

“Reading is going somewhere without ever taking a train or ship, an unveiling of new incredible worlds. It’s living a life you weren’t born into and a chance to see something colored by someone else’s perspective. It’s learning without having to face consequences of failures, and how best to succeed.”

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas (cover)

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

My Thoughts:

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Lost Roses [Book Review] #ThrowBackThursday

April 1, 2021

Lost Roses by Martha Hall Kelly
#throwbackthursday

Lost Roses by Martha Hall Kelly (cover) Image: Two woman walk arm in arm under an umbrella away from the camera

Roses Background: Canva

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, WW1 Era, Friendship, Russia

In 2020, I decided to systematically revisit my older review posts and update them. On Thursdays, I’ll be re-sharing a few of these great reads. Today, I’m re-sharing a review of Lost Roses by Martha Hall Kelly

I’m linking up today with Davida @ The Chocolate Lady’s Book Review Blog for #throwbackthursday.

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

The story of a determined “difference maker”…

“Fans of Lilac Girls will be interested in the prequel, Lost Roses, as it shares the story of Caroline Ferriday’s mother, Eliza. The story is told from three perspectives: Eliza Ferriday, a New York socialite; Sofya, a  Russian aristocrat and cousin to the Romanovs; and Varinka, a Russian peasant and fortune teller’s daughter. The story begins in 1914 when Sofya comes to the U.S. to visit her best friend, Eliza. Later when Eliza accompanies Sofya back to St. Petersburg, they find Russia on the brink of revolution. Unsettled by the conflict, Eliza escapes back to the U.S. Because her heart is with the Russian women, she creates a charity to help support women and children as they flee Russia. After some time when she hasn’t heard from Sofya, she becomes deeply concerned. Meanwhile in Russia, Sofya has hired a peasant girl, Varinka, to help with the household tasks but this decision brings additional danger. In a dramatic and tense conclusion, Eliza travels to Paris in search of Sofya while Sofya risks everything in Paris to find Varinka.”

This prequel can be read as a stand-alone.

Continue here for my full review of Lost Roses ….

Related: Goodreads review of Lilac Girls; My review of Sunflower Sisters



QOTD:

Have you read Lost Roses or is it on your TBR?

 



The Women of Chateau Lafayette [Book Review]

 March 30, 2021

The Women of Chateau Lafayette by Stephanie Dray

The Women of Chateau Lafayette by Stephanie Dray (cover) Image: a woman kneels down in an archway to speak to a young girl

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction (French Revolution, WW1, WW11), France, Women, Biographical

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

Thanks #NetGalley @BerkleyPub #BerkleyWritesStrongWomen #BerkleyBuddyReads for my complimentary e ARC of #TheWomenOfChateauLafayette for review. All opinions are my own.

A real castle in France, Chateau Lafayette, connects three women: noblewoman Adrienne Lafayette (wife of Gilbert Lafayette); New York socialite and actress Beatrice Astor Chanler; and French school teacher, aspiring artist, and orphan Marthe Simone. After having been the home of the Lafayette’s, the castle became a refuge for orphan children during two world wars.

Chateau Lafayette in France

Chateau Lafayette (Source: Wikipedia)

My Thoughts:

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The Sunflower Sisters [Book Review]

March 26, 2021

The Sunflower Sisters by Martha Hall Kelly

Sunflower Sisters by Martha Hall Kelly (cover) Image: a woman in an 1890s dress and bonnet and carrying a bunch of sumflowers walks down a dirt path away from the camera

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, Civil War, Slavery, Nursing

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Thanks, #NetGalley @RandomHouse for my complimentary e ARC of #SunflowerSisters upon my request. All opinions are my own.

Third in the “Flowers Trilogy” (as I affectionately think of them), Sunflower Sisters precedes Lilac Girls and Lost Roses in a historical timeline and altogether the three books involve three wars. First, Lilac Girls is set during WW11 and features heroine Caroline Ferriday; next, Lost Roses, a prequel to Lilac Girls, features Caroline’s mother, Eliza Ferriday, and is set in the pre-WW1 era; finally, Sunflower Sisters is the prequel to Lost Roses and is set during the Civil War. All the stories in the trilogy can be read as stand alones.

In Sunflower Sisters, Georgeanna Woolsey, a great aunt of Caroline Ferriday, is a Union nurse at a time when the medical field was dominated by men. She crosses paths with Jemma, a young girl who was enslaved, sold off, ran away, and was conscripted into the army. Jemma has a sister, Patience, who remains enslaved on the plantation next door. Sunflower Sisters describes Civil War experiences and plantation life, and it includes family drama.

sunflowers

In this story, sunflowers are a symbol that slaves used to warn each other of danger.

My Thoughts:

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Open by Andre Agassi [Book Review]

March 12, 2021

Open by Andre Agassi

Open by Andre Agassi (cover) Image: a head shot of Andre Agassi

Genre/Categories: Nonfiction, Memoir, Autobiography, Sports

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Have you discovered the secret of life?

Have you ever played tennis or watched a professional match?

a tennis racket and two tennis balls lying on the tennis court

My Summary:

Andre Agassi is a celebrated professional tennis player. Andre was groomed and driven into the sport from a young age by his demanding and emotionally abusive father. Andre won his first grand slam at the age of twenty-two and his memoir traces the ups and downs of his sports career as well as his relationships with Barbara Streisand, Brook Shields, and Steffi Graf. From his memoir, we also gain insights into his ultimate pursuit of philanthropy and the creation of the Andre Agassi College Prep Academy in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Tennis pro, Andre Agassi holding a racket waiting for a serve

My Thoughts:

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Surviving Savannah [Book Review]

March 5, 2021

Surviving Savannah by Patti Callahan

Surviving Savannah by Patti Callahan (cover) Image: a young woman from the 1800s stands at a railing with her back to the camera overlooking a harbor

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, Women’s Fiction, Southern Fiction, Shipwreck

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Thank you #NetGalley @BerkleyPub #BerkleyWritesStrongWomen #BerkleyBuddyReads for a complimentary e arc of #SurvivingSavannah upon my request. Pub Date: 3/9/2021 All opinions are my own.

In 1838, a luxury steamship called the Pulaski (Titanic of the South) on route from Savannah to Baltimore sank off the coast of North Carolina as a result of a boiler explosion. One hundred eighty years later the remains are found and Everly Winthrop, a history professor, is given the task of curating the museum collection of artifacts. This compelling story of “surviving the surviving” is told in dual timelines from multiple perspectives. In 1838, the story follows Lily and Augusta (and their large family) as they board the ship and struggle to survive the blast. In the present day, Everly is especially fascinated by this family of eleven that was on board. As she pieces together the story of the survivors, Everly is also suffering from PTSD from her own heartbreaking story of loss and figuring out how she will “survive the surviving.”

a black and white drawing of the doomed Pulaski

Image Source: Wikipedia

My Thoughts:

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10 Awesome and Diverse Reads For #MiddleGradeMarch

March 2, 2021

10 Awesome and Diverse Reads For #MiddleGradeMarch

(top view) picture of a middle grade child reading on a recliner covered with a reddiish knitted afghan

Image Source: Canva

***This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

To participate in #middlegrademarch, I’ve compiled a list of ten diverse Middle-Grade reads! There are many wonderful middle-grade books from which to choose and even though I haven’t read extensively in middle grade, these titles are stories that I’ve recently read and thought were exceptional because of their themes and diversity. Reading builds understanding and compassion.

Often, children fall in love with reading in Middle Grade. Was this your experience? Children in Middle Grade have “learned to read” and they can fully immerse themselves in the world of words as they “read to learn” and “read for enjoyment.” They have more autonomy to choose their own reading material and can pursue individual interests. Many stories promote great family read-aloud experiences (or buddy reads). As a bonus, most Middle-Grade stories have heartfelt themes without the angst and/or profanity of YA.

What theme do you think Middle Grade books have in common?

For adults, Middle-Grade books make the perfect palate cleanser or fit the description of books that can be read in a day. If I’m feeling myself sliding into a reading “slump,” I often seek out a recommended Middle-Grade read to stimulate my reading life once again. I love that Middle-Grade books almost always end on a hopeful note. This theme of hopefulness is one of the main reasons I love reading in the Middle-Grade genre. I strongly believe that great Middle-Grade literature can be enjoyed by adults! Here’s an entire post devoted to why I love MG.

In addition to the above reasons to read Middle-Grade literature, I appreciate the authors who write diversely for Middle-Grade readers and write on difficult themes or topics in an easy-to-read and understandable manner. If we buy and read more Middle-Grade diverse literature, it will encourage publishers and writers to produce more. I think it’s important for children to see themselves in literature.

Middle-Grade Literature

(in no particular order)

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#BlackHistoryMonth: 10 Reading Ideas

February 26, 2021

10 Reading Ideas for Black History Month

black history month

Image Source: Canva

I support reading Black authors all year, especially in February.

I hope you are inspired by reading ideas for Black History Month! Have you read any of these titles? Please add your recommendations in the comments.

Books are listed in no particular order: 5 of my most recent reads and 5 older must reads.

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.



5 Recommended Recent Reads



Isaiah Dunn Is My Hero by Kelly Baptist (cover) Image: the back view of a middle grade boy wearing a blue superhero cape and holding a pencil

Isaiah Dunn Is My Hero by Kelly J. Baptist (Middle Grade) My review of Isaiah Dunn here.


Love is a Revolution by Renee Watson (cover) Image: a picture of a plus size Black girl surrounded by four smaller images of the same girl and her boyfriend

Love Is a Revolution by Renée Watson (YA) My review of Love Is a Revolution here.


Piecing Me Together

Piecing Me Together by Renee Watson (MG) Not yet reviewed, but this is a lovely Middle Grade read!


Saving Ruby King by Catherine Adel West (cover) Image: a young woman stands in profile against a pink, orange, and yellow background

Saving Ruby King by Catherine Adel West  Emotionally difficult and well written.


Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston (cover) Image: white text with a maroon top and bottom border and branches with white blooms

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston An emotional and intense classic.



5 Highly Recommended Must Reads



These are books that I’ve read in the past years that are on my must read and highly recommended list.

just mercy

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson (Memoir, Non Fiction, Racial Tension and Injustice). 4 Stars. My review of Just Mercy here.


Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi (cover) Image: gold text on light pink (top half) and black (bottom half) background

Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi (family drama, addiction, faith and science, mental health)
5 Stars. My review of Transcendent Kingdom here.


Homegoing

Homegoing by Yaa Guasi (historical fiction, family multi generational saga)
This book is ambitious in its structure and memorable in its story telling….it hasn’t received enough attention! 5 Stars.


The Warmth of Other Suns

The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson  (historical narrative nonfiction). Ambitious history of black migration across the U.S. from post Civil War to the 1970s. 4 Stars (heavy on history….the three personal stories are memorable and heartfelt). A must read.


The Hate U Give

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (contemporary fiction, racial tensions, YA)
Inspired by the Black Lives Matter Movement. 5 Stars. My review of THUG Here.



QOTD:

Did you find a book to add to your TBR?

Share your own recommendations in comments!



Happy Reading Book Buddies!

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

“I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection! Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us to understand human experience.”
~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text



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***Blogs posts may contain affiliate links. This means that at no extra cost to you, I can earn a small percentage of your purchase price.

Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.

Book covers are credited to Amazon.

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The Invention of Wings [Book Review] #ThrowBackThursday

February 25, 2021

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
#throwbackthursday

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd (cover) Image: white text over a reddish orangish landscape that has birds flying low over the water

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, Abolition of Slavery, Women’s Rights, African-American, Plantation Life

In 2020, I decided to systematically revisit my older review posts and update them. On Thursdays, I’ll be re-sharing a few of these great reads, and today I’m eager to share my review of a book on my lifetime favorites list, The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd.compelling historical fiction.

I’m linking up today with Davida @ The Chocolate Lady’s Book Review Blog for #throwbackthursday.

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

The Invention of Wings is a fictionalized biographical account of the real-life Grimke sisters as they become trailblazers in the abolition movement and early leaders in the fight for women’s rights.

The story takes place in the pre Civil War era and begins on a plantation in Charleston. On the occasion of Sarah Grimke’s eleventh birthday, she’s presented with her own slave, ten-year old Hetty “Handful” Grimke. Sarah has always been uncomfortable with this tradition. At first, Sarah and Handful are more like sisters and playmates as they develop a friendly companionship. As the story progresses, Sarah leaves Charleston to join her adventurous and fearless sister, Angelina, in the north as early pioneers in the fight for abolition and women’s rights. We follow Sarah’s and Hetty’s journeys for thirty-five years as both women strive to carve out a life of their own and navigate a close and complex relationship.”

A fictionalized biographical account of the Grimke sisters as they become trailblazers in the abolition movement and early leaders in the fight for women’s rights.

Continue here for my full review of The Invention of Wings ….



QOTD:

Have you read The Invention of Wings or is it on your TBR?