The Ballynoon Friendship Circle [Book Review]

May 20, 2021

The Ballynoon Friendship Circle by Pauline Morgan

The Ballynoon Friendship Circle by Pauline Morgan (cover) Image: text above and below a graphic image of a quaint small village

Genre/Categories/Settings: Women’s Fiction, Contemporary fiction, Quirky Characters, Romance, Ireland

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Recently widowed and fifty-year-old retired teacher Edel Marston finds a dream cottage in a magazine and makes an impulsive, life-changing decision to move back to Northern Ireland. Faced with a decrepit cottage, a rude neighbor, and no friends, Edel questions the wisdom of her decision and worries that a past secret from her youth might make her the subject of town gossip. Collecting her nerve and embracing a proactive mindset, she joins the local over 50s club (self-named the “Stitch and Bitch” group). The ladies are friendly but gossipy, so she’s reluctant to share details of her private life…..especially a romantic interest in her neighbor, an unpopular member of the community. Can Edel trust her new circle of friends or should she keep her personal life private? Is it too soon after losing her husband to pursue romance?

My Thoughts:

(more…)

The Invisible Husband of Frick Island [Book Review]

May 18, 2021

Are you looking for an engaging and lighthearted summer read?

The Invisible Husband of Frick Island by Colleen Oakley

The Invisible Husband of Frick Island by Colleen Oakley (cover) coral and blue text.....random blue waves wrap around the text

Genre/Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Women’s Fiction, Romance, Quirky Characters

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

On a tiny remote (fictional) island in the middle of Chesapeake Bay, Piper Parrish is grieving the loss of her husband in the most unusual of ways. She appears to think he’s invisible and goes about her daily routine of walking to the docks to meet him and Friday night dinner dates. The townsfolk love her so much that they go along with it and understand that people grieve in many ways. One day, Anders, a young ambitious journalist, comes to town and stumbles upon this story. Anders befriends Piper and spends more and more time with her. Even though he’s a “Come Here” and not a “From Here,” he makes some friends and begins to enjoy the small community…..until everyone finds out about the secret he’s been keeping.

My Thoughts:

(more…)

#6Degrees of Separation: From Redhead By the Side of the Road to Anxious People

February 6, 2021

#6Degrees of Separation: From Redhead By the Side of the Road by Anne Tyler to Anxious People by Fredrik Backman

#6Degrees of Separation From Redhead By the Side of the Road to Anxious People (a collage of covers listed in post)

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Quirky Characters!

#6Degrees of Separation: from Redhead By the Side of the Road to Anxious People.

#6Degrees is a monthly link-up hosted by Kate at Books Are My Favourite and Best. I’ve seen this meme around for a while and Davida’s posts at The Chocolate Lady’s Book Review Blog inspired me to give it a try this year! Making connections between books is challenging, creative, and fun!

Each month a book is chosen as a starting point and linked to six other books to form a chain. A book doesn’t need to be connected to all the other books on the list, only to the one next to it in the chain. The rules are:

  • Link the books together in any way you like.
  • Provide a link in your post to the meme at Books Are My Favourite and Best.
  • Share these rules in your post.
  • Paste the link to your post in the comments on Kate’s post and/or the Linky Tool on that post.
  • Invite your blog readers to join in and paste their links in the comments and/or the Linky Tool.
  • Share your post on Twitter using the #6Degrees hashtag.
  • Be nice! Visit and comment on other posts and/or retweet other #6Degrees posts.

Play Along?

Redhead By the Side of the Road by Anne Tyler (cover) Image: a man runs on the street with a cityscape in the backgroundThis month’s prompt starts with Redhead By the Side of the Road by Anne Tyler, and I’m thrilled because the story features a quirky character.

If you’ve followed my blog for long, you know how I absolutely adore an endearing quirky character! I cannot help myself in creating this chain with a theme of quirky characters! Because our chain begins with a male quirky character, I have attempted to use male characters in the chain with the exception of the last book in the chain which includes a cast of quirky characters.

Amazon Summary: “Micah Mortimer is a creature of habit. A self-employed tech experts and superintendent of his Baltimore apartment building, Micah seems content leading a steady, circumscribed life. But one day his routines are blown apart when his woman friend tells him she’s facing eviction, and a teenager shows up at Micah’s door claiming to be his son. These surprises, and the way they throw Micah’s meticulously organized life off-kilter, risk changing him forever.”

The Unlikely Pilgrimmage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce (cover)First Degree. From Redhead, I think of my next quirky male character, Harold Fry in The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce.

My Summary: “Harold Fry is recently retired and lives in a small English village with his wife. After a long marriage, they have their differences but have settled into an amicable, predictable, and manageable daily routine. One day, a letter arrives for Harold from a woman (former co worker) that he hasn’t heard from in twenty years. Queenie is writing from a hospice to say goodbye. In the process of mailing his reply, Harold decides that he must deliver his message in person and decides to walk. As Harold impulsively sets out on his quest, he figures out the logistics of the six hundred mile journey as he goes. On the way he meets interesting people, finds plenty of time to reflect back on his life, and confronts some unsettling thoughts and feelings that he has buried.” My review of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry here.

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman (cover) Image: a man with a cat brushing against his legs stands in an open field with his back to the cameraSecond Degree: Another story with an older quirky character is A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman.

Goodreads Summary: “A grumpy yet lovable man finds his solitary world turned on its head when a boisterous young family moved in next door. Meet Ove. He’s a curmudgeon, the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him the bitter neighbor from hell, but must Ove be bitter just because he doesn’t walk around with a smile plastered to his face all the time? Behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove’s mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents’ association to their very foundations.

The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce (cover) Image: a woman with short brown hair and wearing a green coat stands with her back to the camera against an orange backgroundThird Degree: The next book with a quirky character is Frank in The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce.

My Summary: “Set in the 1980s on a run-down street in a forgotten suburb of London, there is a small indie music shop that is jam-packed with vinyl records of every kind. Frank, the shop’s owner, has a way of connecting his customers with the exact piece of music they never knew they needed, he welcomes the lonely, and he goes out of his way to help others. One ordinary day, a beautiful young woman in a green coat, Ilse Brauchmann, comes into his music shop and changes his life. Frank feels an attraction to her and yet he fears developing any closeness; in spite of his reservations, he begins to teach her about music and they develop a close friendship based on their common musical interests. Frank is terrified of his feelings for Ilse, yet he’s drawn to this strangely still, mysterious woman with eyes as black as vinyl. It’s complicated because Ilse has secrets and Frank has a past that haunts him. Readers find out about Frank’s life with his eccentric mother through flashbacks; however, Ilse remains mysterious. While Frank and Ilse contemplate the risks of a relationship, there are events in the community that threaten the livelihood of all the small, independent shops including Frank’s music shop. A further complication for Frank is the growing popularity of cassette tapes and CDs while Frank cherishes the world of vinyl.My review of The Music Shop here.

The Story of Authur Truluv by Elizabeth Berg (cover) Image: a man holds a yellow umbrella over a young womanFourth Degree: Connecting to the strong theme of a quirky character is Arthur in The Story of Arthur Truluv by Elizabeth Berg.

My Summary: “At first glance, Arthur shares certain things in common with Ove (A Man Called Ove): each is an older, mature character, each is a widower grieving the loss of a beloved wife, and each finds “family” in unexpected ways.

On one of Arthur’s routine trips to the cemetery to have lunch and conversation with his wife, he meets Maddy, a troubled teenage girl who hides in the cemetery to avoid school. She discovers that Arthur is a friendly, understanding, trustworthy, and positive person and gives dear Arthur the nickname “Truluv.” Arthur and Maddy develop a friendship and when Arthur’s nosy neighbor, Lucille, becomes involved, they discover the joys of ‘found family’.” My review of Arthur Truluv here.

The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick (cover) Image: an older man sits on the edge of a blue sofa, framed pictures hang on a blue wallFifth Degree: Continuing the theme of a quirky character with another Arthur in The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick.

 Goodreads Summary: “In this poignant and sparkling debut, a lovable widower embarks on a life-changing adventure. Sixty-nine-year-old Arthur Pepper lives a simple life. He gets out of bed at precisely 7/30 a.m., just as he did when his wife, Miriam, was alive. He dresses in the same gray slacks and mustard sweater vest, waters his fern, Frederica, and heads out to his garden. But on the one-year anniversary of Miriam’s death, something changes. Sorting through Miriam’s possessions, Arthur finds an exquisite gold charm bracelet he’s never seen before. What follows is a surprising and unforgettable odyssey that takes Arthur from London to Paris and as far as India in an epic quest to find out the truth about his wife’s secret life before they met–a journey that leads him to find hope, healing, and self-discovery in the most unexpected places. Featuring an unforgettable cast of characters with big hearts and irresistible flaws, The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper is a curiously charming debut and a joyous celebration of life’s infinite possibilities.”

Anxious People by Fredrik Backman (cover) Image: a man and woman stand against a railing with backs to the cameraSixth Degree: The final link in the chain is one more story of several quirky characters in Anxious People by Fredrik Backman.

My Summary: Anxious People is the story of a bank robber and a group of hostages at an open house…a bunch of idiots, really (in the most endearing sense of the word). But the real story behind the circumstances is about a bridge and so much more.” My review of Anxious People here.

 

 


I hope you enjoyed this #6Degrees of Separation chain from Redhead By the Side of the Road  to Anxious People!

The most striking thread that connects the stories in this chain is quirky characters (mostly male). I have read all these books can highly recommend them all!

I need to note that these are the first six books I thought to connect. Many stories are out there that could also fit this chain. Can you think of another title that features quirky characters?



ICYMI:

January #6Degrees of Separation post here.

If you have a February #6Degrees of Separation post, please leave a link in the comments!



QOTD!

Do you have ideas for creating your own chain?
What book would you add to this chain?
Have you read one of these stories?



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



Let’s Get Social!

Thank you for visiting and reading today! I’d be honored and thrilled if you choose to enjoy and follow along (see subscribe or follow option), promote, and/or share my blog. Every share helps us grow.

Find me at:
Twitter
Instagram
Goodreads
Pinterest



***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.

The book cover and the author’s photo are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.

© ReadingLadies.com

Miss Cecily’s Recipes for Exceptional Ladies [Book Review]

January 29, 2021

Miss Cecily’s Recipes for Exceptional Ladies by Vicky Zimmerman

Miss Cecily's Recipes for Exceptional Ladies by Vicky Zimmerman (cover) Image: text on a white background with a few lemons....wide yellow margin around white text box

Genre/Categories: Women’s Contemporary Fiction, Chick-Lit, Friendship, Cooking/Recipes/Food, Up-Lit, Quirky Characters

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Forty-year-old Kate has just ended a relationship and, in an effort to fill her time, she volunteers at the Lauderdale House for Exceptional Ladies. Kate conducts cooking classes for the ladies and meets ninety-seven-year-old Cecily who is caustic, critical, and contrary. Cecily gives Kate a 1950s cookbook to read which will end up changing Kate’s life in unexpected ways.

My Thoughts:

(more…)

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry [Book Review] #throwbackthursday

November 19, 2020

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
#throwbackthursday

the Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce (cover) Image: purple and blue text on a light background with two small figures walking and a road in the distance

Genre/Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Friendship, Life Reflection, Quirky Character

This year as part of Blog Audit Challenge 2020 I’m going back to update older review posts. On Thursdays, I’ll be re-sharing a few of these great reads, and today I’m thrilled to share my review of the popular The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce…a reflection on life.

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

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

In this well-loved story…

“Harold Fry is recently retired and lives in a small English village with his wife. After a long marriage, they have their differences but have settled into an amicable, predictable, and manageable daily routine. One day, a letter arrives for Harold from a woman (former co worker) that he hasn’t heard from in twenty years. Queenie is writing from a hospice to say goodbye. In the process of mailing his reply, Harold decides that he must deliver his message in person and decides to walk. As Harold impulsively sets out on his quest, he figures out the logistics of the six hundred mile journey as he goes. On the way he meets interesting people, finds plenty of time to reflect back on his life, and confronts some unsettling thoughts and feelings that he has buried.”

Shoe held together with duct tape

Continue here for my full review of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry ….



QOTD:

Have you read The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry or is it on your TBR?

Convenience Store Woman [Book Review] #throwbackthursday

October 15, 2020

Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata

#throwbackthursday

Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata (cover) Image: white text on blue background....below it is a small plate with a traditional Japanese snack lying on a pink and white cloth napkin

Genre/Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Japanese Culture, Conformity, Short Fiction, Book in Translation

This year as part of Blog Audit Challenge 2020 I’m going back to update older review posts. On Thursdays, I’ll be re-sharing a few of these great reads, and today I’m sharing my review of Convenience Store Woman, the story of self aware and determined Keiko who is torn between self fulfillment and cultural conformity

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

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary of Convenience Store Woman

“Keiko Furukura grows up labeled a “strange child,” and her parents worry about her ability to function in the real world and about her future success.  While at university, Keiko begins a job at a local convenience store. After eighteen years, her parents and friends worry that she doesn’t have a real career and has never had a boyfriend. Even though Keiko is successful as a convenience store worker and enjoys her job, she feels the pressure to live up to her parents’ cultural expectations. What will she do?”

Quirky character…Japanese culture…finding your niche……conformity…

 Continue here for my review of Convenience Store Woman

QOTD: Have you read Convenience Store Woman or is it on your TBR?

Reading Memories and a Review: One-In-A-Million Boy #throwbackthursday

March 12, 2020

One-In-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood
#throwbackthursday

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

This year as part of Blog Audit Challenge 2020 I’m going back to update older review posts. On Thursdays, I’ll be re-sharing a few of these great reads, and today I’m sharing my short review of One-In-a-Million Boy and personal reading memories. Enjoy!

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

One-In-A-Million Boy by Monica Wood (cover)

Genre/Categories: fiction, family

My Summary:

A unique 11-year-old boy is sent to help 104-year-old Ona every Saturday morning as part of a community service project. As he refills the bird feeders and helps with other odd jobs, he and Ona share cookies and milk and Ona tells him about her long life. He records her responses as part of a school interview project.

One Saturday, the boy doesn’t show up. Ona starts to think he’s not so special after all, but then his father arrives on her doorstep, determined to finish his son’s good deed….

Click here to continue reading my review and I also share a few reading memories….

QOTD: Have you read One-In-a-Million Boy or is it on your TBR?

This Won’t End Well: A Review

March 6, 2020

This Won’t End Well by Camille Pagán

This Won't End Well (cover) .... a young woman peeking through some bushes

Genre/Categories: Contemporary Women’s Fiction

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Thank Jaymi @ Orange County Readers for the free copy! All opinions are my own.

Summary:

No new people….

In the long tradition of other beloved, quirky characters, Annie Mercer feels best when she limits her interactions with new people. As a scientist, she analyzes her life experiences through the lens of science. Suddenly her organized life is turned upside down: she loses her job, curiosity about a new neighbor consumes her, her fiance takes a leave of absence, and a personable and charismatic private investigator surprises her. Ultimately Annie is faced with some big, life-changing decisions.

My Thoughts:

(more…)

Favorite Quirky Literary Characters

June 9, 2019

My Favorite Quirky Literary Characters

Aren’t we all just a bit quirky?!

Favorite Quirky Characters

Quirky Defined

Definition of quirky: having many quirks : unusual in especially an interesting or appealing way (a quirky sense of humor, quirky ideas/behavior, a quirky and creative artist)

My personal definition also includes the word endearing. My favorite quirky characters have a story behind their quirkiness and often quirky is a survival strategy. Their quirkiness is understandable when a reader sees the entire picture and their quirkiness becomes endearing in light of the challenges they are bravely overcoming.

top ten tuesdayI’m linking up today with That Artsy Reader Girl: Top Ten Tuesday: Character Freebie.

Although I love characters of all types, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the recent abundance of stories with quirky characters. I love to hear their stories and celebrate their determination to live their best lives in spite of the circumstances. Even though my star ratings vary on the following books, I’ve loved all the quirky characters. My favorites are brave Eleanor and grumpy Ove. Do you love quirky? Who are your favorite quirky characters?

***Titles are Amazon affiliate links. Listed in order of Star ratings. And, yes, I realize I have eleven and not ten! I couldn’t leave any of them out! 



Quirky Favorites



Eleanor from Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

5 Stars. My Brief Review.

Eleanor Oliphant


Ove from A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

5 Stars. No Written Review.

man called ove


Frank from The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce

5 Stars. My Review.

music shop


Loveday from The Lost For Words Bookshop by Stephanie Butland

5 Stars. My Review.

The Lost for Words Bookshop

(more…)

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry [Book Review]

July 29, 2018

Harold of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce is a Most Compelling Character

At month’s end I enjoy reflecting on the most memorable, compelling, or unforgettable character from the month’s reading.

***This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

the Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce (cover) Image: purple and blue text on a light background with two small figures walking and a road in the distance

Genre/categories: Contemporary Fiction, Friendship, Life Reflection, Quirky Character

Summary:

Harold Fry is recently retired and lives in a small English village with his wife. After a long marriage, they have their differences but have settled into an amicable, predictable, and manageable daily routine. One day, a letter arrives for Harold from a woman (former co worker) that he hasn’t heard from in twenty years. Queenie is writing from a hospice to say goodbye. In the process of mailing his reply, Harold decides that he must deliver his message in person and decides to walk. As Harold impulsively sets out on his quest, he figures out the logistics of the six hundred mile journey as he goes. On the way he meets interesting people, finds plenty of time to reflect back on his life, and confronts some unsettling thoughts and feelings that he has buried.

Amazon Rating: 4.3 Stars

shoe with duct tape

Meet Harold Fry

Like many of us, Harold has managed to survive life’s circumstances. His mother abandoned him and his father had little time for him and shoved him out the door when he was sixteen. Harold survived a less than meaningful job, an angry boss, and his marriage has lost its shine. Despite difficult circumstances, he was a responsible employee, a faithful and loyal husband, and did the best he could. Like some of us, he also suffered a personal tragedy (which I can’t describe here because it is a spoiler). On this pilgrimage to deliver his letter to Queenie, Harold finds that the solitary act of walking offers a new perspective and this new pace gives him time to notice things and the time to thoughtfully reflect on the past and evaluate his actions and decisions. On this sometimes treacherous journey, he examines regrets and accepts loss, wrestles with grief and faith, and finds joy, healing, and acceptance.

“Life was very different when you walked through it.”

The journey itself is a metaphor for life. Despite life’s disappointments, he’s determined to do something about it. Harold sets a goal, is faced with challenges, overcomes difficulties, meets an assortment of people, and benefits from the help and compassion of many good people along the way.

“He understood that in walking to atone for the mistakes he had made, it was also his journey to accept the strangeness of others.”

Honest and authentic, Harold is truly an unforgettable and compelling character.

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry is recommended for readers who appreciate poignant themes, a quest for meaning and purpose, and beautiful, thoughtful, and reflective writing. Even though it’s character driven, this endearing story has just enough drama and plot to keep you engaged. This story might appeal more to older readers who have faced more of life’s challenges and disappointments. Great book club selection, too!

Rachel Joyce, author of The Music Shop, has become one of my favorite authors, and I’m glad I read this back title that I missed somehow when it was first published.

My Rating: 4.5 Stars (rounded up to 5 Stars on Goodreads)

twinkle-twinkle-little-startwinkle-twinkle-little-startwinkle-twinkle-little-startwinkle-twinkle-little-starhalf twinkle-twinkle-little-star

Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry Information Here

Meet the Author, Rachel Joyce

Rachel JoyceRachel Joyce is the author of the Sunday Times and international bestsellers The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and Perfect. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry was short-listed for the Commonwealth Book Prize and long-listed for the Man Booker Prize and has been translated into thirty-six languages. Joyce was awarded the Specsavers National Book Awards New Writer of the Year in 2012. She is also the author of the digital short story A Faraway Smell of Lemon and is the award-winning writer of more than thirty original afternoon plays and classic adaptations for BBC Radio 4. Rachel Joyce lives with her family in Gloucestershire.



QOTD:

Who was the most compelling character from your reading this month?

(Edited to add) Have you read The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy, or The Music Shop, or Miss Benson’s Beetle?



Happy Reading Bookworms!

“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



My Summer TBR

I’ll be updating my Summer TBR list as I complete each read, so check this link often!
(So far I’ve read about half of the list, some I’ve been more thrilled with than others, and I’ve only abandoned one)



Looking Ahead:

 I look forward to providing a July wrap up on 7/31. I’m currently reading An American Marriage (I’ve read mixed reviews of this Oprah Book Club selection so we’ll see how it goes).

An American Marriage

Amazon Information Here



Let’s Get Social!

Thank you for visiting and reading today! I’d be honored and thrilled if you choose to enjoy and follow along (see subscribe or WP follow option), promote, and/or share my blog. Every share helps us grow.

Find me at:
Twitter
Instagram
Goodreads
Pinterest



***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 Cover and author photos are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.

© WWW.ReadingLadies.com