If You Want To Make God Laugh [Book Review] #ThrowBackThursday

September 9, 2021

If You Want To Make God Laugh by Bianca Marais
#throwbackthursday

If You Want To Make God Laugh by Bianca Marais (cover) black text on a yellow background....a graphic image of a dog and bird surround the title

Genre/Categories/Setting:  Historical Fiction, (post Apartheid) South Africa, Family Life, Sisters

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 compelling family drama, If You Want To Make God Laugh by Bianca Marais.

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

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

If You Want to Make God Laugh is the compelling story of three unforgettable women living in post-Apartheid South Africa at the time of a growing AIDS epidemic and threats of civil war. Zodwa is seventeen, pregnant, poor, and lives in a squatter’s camp. Ruth and Delilah are middle-aged sisters who live on an inherited, rural farm. While Ruth is an unhappy, disillusioned, and newly divorced socialite, Delilah is a former nun and social worker who is hiding a big secret. A newborn baby will bring these characters together, and this is a story of their precarious relationships, of sibling jealousy, rivalry, and healing, and of found family.”

“I’d often wondered since then if a child could be inoculated in the womb against the horror of the world through the power of its mother’s love; if that love could infuse joy into a child even when her presence couldn’t.”

If You Want to Make God Laugh…..tell Him your plans…

Continue here for my full review of If You Want To Make God Laugh…



QOTD:

Have you read If You Want To Make God Laugh or is it on your TBR?
Have you read Hum If You Don’t Know the Words by the same author?

 

The Vanished Bride [Book Review] #ThrowBackThursday

September 2, 2021

The Vanished Bride by Bella Ellis
#throwbackthursday

The Vanished Bride Review

Genre/Categories/Setting:  Historical Fiction, Siblings, Cozy Mystery, Yorkshire

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 historical fiction mystery, The Vanished Bride by Bella Ellis.

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 Vanished Bride is the highly imagined story of the famous Brontë Sisters before they were authors. In 1845, when all four Brontë siblings return home to live with their father (for various reasons), Charlotte, Emily, and Anne hear about the disappearance and suspected murder of a young neighbor woman, they decide to become lady detectors and embark on an ambitious endeavor to solve the mystery. Relying on their resourcefulness, determination, energy, wits, cleverness, and creativity, they investigate, interrogate, analyze clues, and follow leads. The sisters need to pursue these activities without drawing attention to themselves because of the expectations for women and their roles at that time. Since they are already intrigued by the idea of becoming authors in a male-dominated field, they are already thinking outside the box and challenging boundaries. Although at times they need to involve their brother, most of the investigation is accomplished without the knowledge of their protective father. Will they solve the mystery of the vanished bride?”

Authentic and delightfully entertaining characterizations of the three Brontë sisters….

Continue here for my full review of The Vanished Bride…



QOTD:

Have you read The Vanished Bride or is it on your TBR?

The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters [Book Review] #ThrowBackThursday

August 19, 2021

The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters by Balli Kaur Jaswal
#throwbackthursday

Unlikely Adventures of Shergill Sisters Review

Genre/Categories/Setting: Contemporary Women’s Fiction, Sisters, Family Drama, India

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 family drama, The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters by Balli Kaur Jaswal.

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

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

“To honor their mother’s dying wish, three Punjabi sisters travel to India on a pilgrimage to visit sacred places that are special to Mom and to scatter her ashes. Told from the three perspectives of three very different sisters, The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters explores sibling relationships, modern vs traditional roles of women, secrets, and the importance of family.”

Can three very different sisters living three vastly different lives come together to honor their mother’s last dying wish of traveling to India and scattering her ashes?

Continue here for my full review of The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters…



QOTD:

Have you read The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters or is it on your TBR?

Three Words For Goodbye [Book Review]

August 4, 2021

Three Words For Goodbye by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb

Three Words For Goodbye by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb (cover) Image: two young women reading promotional material and wearing hats stand against the railing of an ocean liner

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, Sisters, (1937) Europe

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

In 1937, two sisters are sent to Europe by their beloved grandmother to deliver three letters. Complicating this mission is the fact that the sisters haven’t spoken to each other in years and have grown apart in many ways. Clara is the careful and dutiful one and is engaged to marry millionaire, Charles Hancock. Madeleine is more independent and free spirited and strives to be a journalist like her hero, Nellie Bly. Both sisters are devoted to their grandmother and are committed to fulfilling her dying wishes. Clara looks forward to embracing her love of art and visiting Europe’s art galleries while Madeleine envisions writing articles on the political unrest in Europe and submitting them to U.S. newspapers in an attempt to be published. The sisters traveling experiences on the Queen Mary, the Orient Express, and finally the Hindenburg provide the backdrop for many of their most dramatic and challenging moments. What will this trip mean for their relationship? Will they successfully deliver the letters and what secrets will they discover?

My Thoughts:

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The Good Sister [Book Review]

July 23, 2021

The Good Sister by Sally Hepworth

The Good Sister by Sallhy Hepworth (cover) Image: a girl looks out the window of a house at red roses growing in the garden

Genre/Categories: Psychological, Domestic Thriller/Suspense, Siblings

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Twin sisters + one unreliable narrator + good storytelling.

Fern avoids crowds, bright lights, and loud noises. She has a strict schedule and routine, and she’s a popular librarian who cares for the patrons. Rose watches out for her sister, is protective, and a bit controlling. She’s trying desperately to get pregnant. Fern thinks she has a solution for Rose but this plan shakes up both of their lives. Who is the good sister?

My Thoughts:

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#6Degrees of Separation: From Beezus and Ramona to The Vanishing Half

May 1, 2021

#6Degrees of Separation: From Beezus and Ramona to The Vanishing Half

A collage of book covers discussed in the post

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Sisters!

#6Degrees of Separation: from Beezus and Ramona to The Vanishing Half.

#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?

This month’s prompt starts with Beezus and Ramona by Beverly Cleary, and I’m thrilled because it allows me to revisit some titles that feature…

“Sisters”

If you’ve followed my blog for long, you know how I absolutely adore a heartfelt Middle Grade read! I love Beezus and Ramona and generally love a book that features sisters, so this chain of books about sisters is going to be fun! I’m beginning the chain with two children’s reads (great literature can be enjoyed by all ages, amirite?) and ending with four adult reads.

Ramona and Beezus by Beverly Cleary (cover) Image: an older girl stands and looks at a younger girl who is wearing rabbit earsAmazon Summary:
(In honor of the recent passing of beloved author Beverly Cleary, this chain is starting with one of her most popular books, Beezus and Ramona. Have you or your children read it?)

“Having a little sister like four-year-old Ramona isn’t always easy for Beezus Quimby. With a wild imagination, disregard for order, and an appetite for chaos, Ramona makes it hard for Beezus to be the responsible older sister she knows she ought to be…especially when Ramona threatens to ruin Beezus’s birthday party. Will Beezus find the patience to handle her little sister before Ramona turns her big day into a complete disaster?”

 

FIRST DEGREE. From Beezus and Ramona, my first story of sisters must be another classic, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. Who can forget the time Amy burned Jo’s manuscript?!

Amazon Summary: “Little Women was originally published in two volumes in 1868 and 1869. It follows the lives of the four March sisters—Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy— from childhood to womanhood and is loosely based on the author and her three sisters. Although Little Women was a novel for girls, it differed notably from the current writings for children, especially girls. The book was an immediate commercial and critical success and has since been adapted for cinema, TV, Broadway and even the opera.”

 

 

More to the Story by Hena Khan (cover) four girls lying on their backs forming a circle on the floor with their heads nearly touchingSECOND DEGREE: Did you know there’s a delightful (MG) Little Women retelling from the point of view of a Pakistani-American family? More to the Story by Hena Khan.

Amazon Summary: “When Jameela Mirza is picked to be feature editor of her middle school newspaper, she’s one step closer to being an award-winning journalist like her late grandfather. The problem is her editor-in-chief keeps shooting down her article ideas. Jameela’s assigned to write about the new boy in school, who has a cool British accent but doesn’t share much, and wonders how she’ll make his story gripping enough to enter into a national media contest.

Jameela, along with her three sisters, is devastated when their father needs to take a job overseas, away from their cozy Georgia home for six months. Missing him makes Jameela determined to write an epic article—one to make her dad extra proud. But when her younger sister gets seriously ill, Jameela’s world turns upside down. And as her hunger for fame looks like it might cost her a blossoming friendship, Jameela questions what matters most, and whether she’s cut out to be a journalist at all…”

My Goodreads review of More to the Story

 

Sunflower Sisters by Martha Hall Kelly (cover) Image: a young woman in a long blue dress and bonnet walks down a country road with a handful of large sunflowersTHIRD DEGREE: Moving from children’s literature, the next book in the chain is a story about two sets of sisters, Sunflower Sisters by Martha Hall Kelly.

My Summary: “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.”

My review of Sunflower Sisters

 

The Wartime Sisters by Lynda Cohen Loigman (cover)FOURTH DEGREE: Connecting to the strong theme of sisters (and friends as close as sisters) is The Wartime Sisters by Lynda Cohen Loigman.

My Summary: “In the early days of WW11, two estranged sisters are reunited at the Springfield, Massachusetts Armory. Ruth is the older sister and an officer’s wife and the younger sister Millie is a single mom who, in desperation, seeks refuge in her sister’s home and takes a position in the Armory factories as a “soldier of production.” This living arrangement isn’t ideal, but the younger sister has no other family after the death of their parents and the disappearance of her abusive husband. The relationship between the sisters is tense and filled with resentment, jealousy, misunderstanding, competition, and secrets.”

My review of Wartime Sisters

 

FIFTH DEGREE: Let’s continue the theme of sisters with The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls by Anissa Gray.

My Summary: The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls shares the compelling and multilayered story of the three Butler sisters: Althea, Viola, and Lillian. Althea was a teenager when her mother died and the children were faced with living with their unstable and often absent father. As the oldest, Althea shouldered the burden of caring for her younger siblings. As adults, they each deal with their traumatic childhood in different ways. To the shock of the community, Althea and her husband face some serious criminal charges and years in prison. Viola and Lillian rally to care for Althea’s children. The story is told from three perspectives as we learn more about the family secrets and childhood trauma.”

My review of The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls

 

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett (cover)SIXTH DEGREE: The final link in the chain is one final story of sisters, The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett.

My Summary: “The Vignes sisters are twins. They are light-skinned black girls, identical, and inseparable. They endure a childhood trauma, are forced to leave high school early and go to work, and eventually leave home (run away) together at sixteen. From that point, everything changes. The future finds them estranged. Desiree escapes an abusive marriage and returns to her small southern hometown to live with her mom and her dark child. This is difficult because the town celebrates light-skinned blacks and Desiree’s dark-skinned daughter, Jude, faces racism within the black community. Stella decides to pass as white which means that she completely cuts ties with her past and her family. The Vanishing Half begins in the 1950s and concludes in the 1990s with the next generation (Desiree’s and Stella’s daughters).”

My review of The Vanishing Half


I hope you enjoyed this #6Degrees of Separation chain from Beezus and Ramona to The Vanishing Half!

The most striking thread that connects the stories in this chain is sisters. I have read all these books and can 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 sisters?



ICYMI:

January #6Degrees of Separation post here.
February #6Degrees of Separation post here.

If you have a May #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



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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.

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The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls [Book Review] #ThrowBackThursday

April 29, 2021

The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls by Anissa Gray
#throwbackthursday

The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Huntry Girls by Anissa Gray (cover) Image: text inside a yellow silhouette of the heads of 3 girls that are joined to form one graphic

Genre/Categories/Settings: Contemporary Fiction, Women’s Fiction, Sisters, Family Life, Mothers/Daughters, African-American Literature

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 The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls by Anissa Gray.

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 Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls shares the compelling and multilayered story of the three Butler sisters: Althea, Viola, and Lillian. Althea was a teenager when her mother died and the children were faced with living with their unstable and often absent father. As the oldest, Althea shouldered the burden of caring for her younger siblings. As adults, they each deal with their traumatic childhood in different ways. To the shock of the community, Althea and her husband face some serious criminal charges and years in prison. Viola and Lillian rally to care for Althea’s children. The story is told from three perspectives as we learn more about the family secrets and childhood trauma.”

Girls starving for love, safety, and stability….

Continue here for my full review of The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls ….



QOTD:

Have you read The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls or is it on your TBR?

Ladies of the House [Book Review]

February 10, 2021

Ladies of the House by Lauren Edmondson

Ladies of the House by Lauren Edmondson (cover) Image: a close up view of a 2 or 3 story house, a white blossomed tree in the foreground

Genre/Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Chick Lit, Women’s Fiction, Family Drama, Sisters, Mothers/Daughters

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Thank you, #NetGalley #Harlequin for the complimentary e ARC of #LadiesOfTheHouse upon my request. All opinions are my own.

A modern Sense and Sensibility……

In a loose, contemporary retelling of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, thirty-four-year-old Daisy finds herself embarrassed by a family scandal. Her Senator father died suddenly in the company of his young mistress and he has also left the family in financial ruin. Daisy, her mother, Cricket, and her sister, Wallis, work frantically to save the family reputation and put their upscale house up for sale while at the same time negotiate the land mines of their personality differences and conflicts and the unrelenting media attention.

My Thoughts:

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You Have a Match [Book Review]

January 11, 2021

You Have a Match by Emma Lord

You Have a Match by Emma Lord (cover) Image: a boy and a girl paddle in separate boats on a lake surrounded by green hills and pine trees

Genre/Categories: YA Contemporary Fiction, Romance, Family Life

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

Thanks #NetGalley #StMartinsPress @StMartinsPress for a complimentary e ARC of #YouHaveAMatch for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Abby and her childhood friend, Leo (secret crush), sign up for a DNA service. For Abby, it’s a lark, but Leo is adopted and is curious about finding some bio relatives. A big surprise: Leo receives no matches but Abby finds out she has a full bio sister living within a couple of miles of her. Abby stalks the bio sister on Instagram,, and they make contact. They agree to meet at a summer camp and compare notes to try and figure out the secret that both sets of parents are keeping. Leo is also a cook at the camp, so this keeps life interesting for Abby in the romance department. Life becomes complicated as camp life, romance, secrets, siblings, friendships, and parents collide.

My Thoughts:

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The Book of CarolSue [Book Review]

August 24, 2020

The Book of CarolSue by Lynne Hugo

the Book of CarolSue by Lynne Hugo (cover) Image: an idyllic farm house surrounded by grass and trees and flowers

Genre/Categories: Women’s Contemporary Fiction, Siblings

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

Thanks, #netgalley @kensingtonbooks for a complimentary e ARC of #TheBookofCarolSue  All opinions in this review are entirely my own.

CarolSue and her sister, Louisa, are in their 60s and are both widows. After CarolSue loses her husband suddenly and unexpectedly, Louisa swoops in with a master plan for CarolSue to move back to the farm and live with her. The sisters are very different people: CarolSue loves her life in Atlanta playing bridge and getting pedicures while Louisa loves canning vegetables and feeding her chickens on the farm. CarolSue has difficulty speaking up for herself and lets her sister make all the arrangements. A cast of colorful characters, an abandoned baby, a troubled reverend, and a young, desperate immigrant provide the complications.

My Thoughts:

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