An American Marriage [Book Review] #throwbackthursday

November 26, 2020

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
#throwbackthursday

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones: Black text over a bare gold tree against a blue background

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 compelling An American Marriage….racial injustice and the test of a marriage.

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

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

“Celestial and Roy are newlyweds living in the New South. While Celestial is an aspiring artist, Roy is a young executive. Early in their marriage, Roy is arrested and sentenced to twelve years for a crime he didn’t commit. Can their marriage survive the tragic circumstances and the separation? Soon after incarceration, Celestial begins to accept comfort and companionship from Andre, her childhood friend and Roy’s best man at their wedding. When Roy is released from prison five years later, he expects to pick up his life where he’s left off, but a great deal has changed. This is a thoughtful and heartfelt story of love, marriage, family, and friendship, of hope and heartbreak, of loss and starting over.”

Continue here for my full review of An American Marriage ….



QOTD:

Have you read An American Marriage or is it on your TBR?



Happy Thanksgiving if you’re celebrating!

Happy Thanksgiving surrounded by colorful autumn leaves and a few pumpkins

South of the Buttonwood Tree [Book Review]

October 16, 2020

South of the Buttonwood Tree by Heather Webber

South of the Buttonwood Tree by Heather Webber (cover) Image: white text over a background of a buttonwood tree closeup

Genre/Categories: Southern Fiction, Magical Realism, Family Drama

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

Blue Bishop lives in the charming small town of Buttonwood, Alabama, and she has a sixth sense for finding lost things. The magical buttonwood tree in the woods is important in the community because people can leave their life questions in a rabbit hole of the tree and the next day the tree will leave an answer for you. One day as Blue is walking in the woods, she discovers an abandoned baby south of the magical tree. In solving the mystery of the abandoned baby, long-held secrets are revealed, lives are altered, and family is redefined.

looking upward through the branches of a buttonwood tree

A Buttonwood Tree

My Thoughts:

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The Summer House [Book Review]

June 2, 2020

The Summer House by Lauren K Denton

The Summer House by Lauren K Denton (cover) Image: a blue wooden swing on a wide white porch

Genre/Categories: Light Contemporary Women’s Fiction, Southern Fiction, Uplit, Divorce

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

Thanks, @thomasnelson #netgalley for the complimentary e copy of #thesummerhouse. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

From the author of Hurricane Season and Glory Road…

Lily is devastated to find a goodbye note and signed divorce papers on the kitchen table when she awakens. Before her brief marriage, she was a hairstylist, and she contemplates the possibility of leveraging this skill to make a fresh start. By chance, she notices a flyer advertising the need for a hairstylist in a nearby retirement community. Desperate for a job, she makes the call and shows up for the interview and also negotiates for the apartment above the salon.

My Thoughts:

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Big Lies in a Small Town: A Review

January 29, 2020

 Big Lies in a Small Town: by Diane Chamberlain

Big Lies in a Small Town (cover)

Genre/Categories: Light Historical fiction, Light Mystery, Southern Fiction, Art

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

Secrets, prejudice, and making peace with the past ….

Two young women living several decades apart are focused on the same mural….one is creating the mural in 1940 and the other is restoring the same mural in 2018. In alternate viewpoints and dual timelines, we hear both stories, the mystery of what happened to the original artist is uncovered, and connections between the two are revealed.

My Thoughts:

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The Last List of Miss Judith Kratt: A Review

October 23, 2019

The Last List of Miss Judith Kratt by Andrea BobotisLast List of Miss Judith Kratt review

Genre/Categories: Southern Historical Fiction, Family Drama, Small Town/Rural, Racism

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

Dark secrets and multilayered family drama….

The Last List of Miss Judith Kratt takes place in the small southern town of Bound, South Carolina. We are introduced to elderly Miss Judith Kratt as she begins to take inventory of her important and cherished household items. As she generates the list, we are given the back story for each item. Through these flashbacks to 1929, complicated family drama and dark secrets are revealed.

My Thoughts:

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The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek: A Review

August 16, 2019

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek Review

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, Southern Fiction, Book About Books, Racism, Prejudice, Poverty

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

In the 1930s, nineteen-year-old Cussy Carter and her father live in the isolated woods of Troublesome Creek, Kentucky. They are the last of the “blue people” of Kentucky and endure racism and prejudice because of the blue hue of their skin. They are considered “colored.” Dad risks his life and health working long hours in the coal mines and Cussy takes a government job with the historical Pack Horse Library Project. As a “librarian,” she travels across treacherous mountains and dangerous creeks on her mule, Junia, to deliver books and other reading materials to the mountain folk who have few resources. She does what she can to meet their most dire needs. Incidentally, she doesn’t cuss! (She’s named after a town in France.)

Early Amazon Rating (August): 4.7 Stars

My Thoughts:

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1st Line/1st Paragraph: The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek

 August 6, 2019

1st Line/1st Paragraph: The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson

I’m linking up this week with Vicki @ I’d Rather Be At The Beach who hosts a meme every Tuesday to share the First Chapter/First Paragraph of the book you are currently reading.

First Paragraph

I’m pleased to share the first line and first few paragraphs of a book that’s been a priority on my TBR: The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek. I’ve read some great reviews….are you curious about how it begins?

From Amazon: “The hardscrabble folks of Troublesome Creek have to scrap for everything―everything except books, that is. Thanks to Roosevelt’s Kentucky Pack Horse Library Project, Troublesome’s got its very own traveling librarian, Cussy Mary Carter. Cussy’s not only a book woman, however, she’s also the last of her kind, her skin a shade of blue unlike most anyone else. Not everyone is keen on Cussy’s family or the Library Project, and a Blue is often blamed for any whiff of trouble.

If Cussy wants to bring the joy of books to the hill folks, she’s going to have to confront prejudice as old as the Appalachias and suspicion as deep as the holler.

Inspired by the true blue-skinned people of Kentucky and the brave and dedicated Kentucky Pack Horse library service of the 1930s, The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek is a story of raw courage, fierce strength, and one woman’s belief that books can carry us anywhere―even back home.

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, Southern Fiction, Small Town/Rural Fiction, Kentucky, Book About Books

1st Line/1st Paragraphs:

“The new year was barely fifteen hours old in Troublesome Creek, Kentucky, when my pa adjusted the courting candle, setting it to burn for an alarming length of time.

Satisfied, Pa carried it out of our one-room log house and onto the hand-hewn porch. He was hopeful. Hoping 1936 was the year his only daughter, nineteen-year-old Cussy Mary Carter, would get herself hitched and quit her job with the Pack Horse Library Project. Hoping for her latest suitor’s proposal.

‘Cussy,’ he called over his shoulder, ‘before your mama passed, I promised her I’d see to it you got yourself respectability,  but I’ve nearly gone busted buying candles to get you some.’ …… “

What do you feel about the old-fashioned idea that a young girl needs to be married in order to gain respectability? Do you think Cussy will marry or remain independent? The first two paragraphs engaged me immediately, so I’m anticipating a great read!



QOTD:

Have you read The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek or is it on your TBR?



 Looking Ahead:

Return on Friday for my review of Searching for Sylvie Lee by Jean Kwok.

Searching For Sylvie Lee



Recent Posts You Might Have Missed

2 Year Blogiversary and Giveaway! (still time to enter!)

Summer’s ONE “Must-Read” Book

Summer 2019 TBR

Book Club Recommendations

My Best Reads of the Year So Far

Favorite Literary Characters



Sharing is Caring

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

Glory Road: A Review

March 19, 2019

Glory Road by Lauren K. Denton

Glory Road Review

Genre/Categories: Women’s Fiction, Southern Fiction, Romance, Small Town Life, Mothers/Daughters

Thanks to #NetGalley #ThomasNelsonPublishers for my free copy of #GloryRoad by @LaurenKDentonBooks @laurenkdenton in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

Glory Road shares the story of three generations of women from the same family during one summer of their lives on Glory Road as they work toward building trusting and loving relationships with each other and also forging the path of their individual lives and future. While some characters are stereotypical, the main characters are well drawn and seem like friends. We are able to empathize with the grandmother’s fear and feelings of distress as she experiences episodes of dementia; we understand the pressure Jessie feels as a single, working, entrepreneurial mom; and we remember how it felt to be a teenager through the experiences of fourteen-year-old Evan.

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Review: Where the Crawdads Sing

September 28, 2018

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

where the crawdads sing 2

Genre/Categories: Women’s Fiction, Southern Fiction, Coming of Age, Family Life, Survival

Summary:

Living in the marsh outside a quiet, small town on the coast of North Carolina, Kya Clark, later known as the “Marsh Girl,” is abandoned by her entire family and learns to survive in the marsh on her own from the age of ten. One by one her older siblings abandon the family, her mother leaves when Kya is about seven, and finally her father, a difficult, unreliable, and drunk man, leaves when she’s ten. Kya attends school for one day after a truant officer catches her. On that day, she is teased by the students, knows she’s hopelessly behind academically, and never returns. Preferring the isolation and safety of the marsh, she learns what she can through observing nature. Although she can survive on her own, she begins to long for companionship as she reaches her teen years. Two boys from town attract her attention. One of them turns up dead, and she is suspected of murder. The other becomes a life long supporter and friend. A coming of age story with a fair share of tragedy, mystery, and grit, this is an unforgettable read you’ll want to devour and recommend.

Amazon Rating: 4.8 Stars

My Thoughts:

While I loved Where the Crawdads Sing, this story might not be for everyone and comes with trigger warnings for some child neglect and abandonment.

What I loved most about the story is its structure and style. It is atmospheric and engaging from the first page to the last. In addition, it’s an easy reading narrative that flows well and is pleasingly balanced between character driven and plot driven. The author creates an amazing sense of place and a memorable and unforgettable character. As a bonus, the author’s background as a wildlife scientist enables her to include many fascinating scientific facts and details about the marsh.

This story came to me at the right time as I was in the mood for an intriguing, well written, page turner, and Where the Crawdads Sing did not disappoint! It will most likely appear on my best of 2018 list.

Along with an emphasis on science and the marsh habitat, the author creates vivid and colorful local characters that enhance the story and includes a surprising plot twist at the end!

compelling character

Kya Clark is certainly September’s most compelling character. Resourceful, brave, cunning, a gritty survivor, and clever, Kya creates a life for herself despite the most difficult and disheartening circumstances. There is a person in town that she learns to trust and who becomes as important to her as a father. He watches out for her the best that he can which is difficult because he’s African-American and is dealing with issues of hate and segregation in his own life. He understands Kya and respects her freedom and her need to live her life on her terms even though she’s so young. Despite Kya’s ability to create a life for herself as a wildlife artist and illustrator and is eventually able to trust herself to love, there is a plot twist at the end that will force you to reevaluate Kya and the decisions she’s made.

Themes in the story include belonging, abandonment, survival, trust, coming of age, family, and caring for others. There’s a great deal to reflect on or to discuss (if this is a book club pick) as the story unfolds.

Recommended for readers who are looking for an engaging and unique story with a strong female protagonist. It would make an excellent book club selection because of the various discussion possibilities. *Triggers for child neglect and abandonment.

Q & A with author, Delia Owens here.

If you have a blog post about your most memorable character of the month, please use the link below or share in the comments.

My Rating 5 Stars

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

where the crawdads sing

Buy Here

Meet the Author, Delia Owens

delia owensDelia Owens is the co-author of three internationally bestselling nonfiction books about her life as a wildlife scientist in Africa including Cry of the Kalahari.

She has won the John Burroughs Award for Nature Writing and has been published in NatureThe African Journal of Ecology, and many others.

She currently lives in Idaho. Where the Crawdads Sing is her first novel.



Happy Reading Book Worms!

“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 Fall TBR

I’ll be updating my Fall TBR list as I complete each read, so check this link often!



Looking Ahead:

This week I’m reading an ARC of The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain (pub date: 10/2). It’s different from my usual genres: heavy on science fiction (time travel), a bit of hisfic (as the characters travel between 1970 and 2018), and some suspense. I would characterize this as an escapist read! Full review coming soon.

dream daughter

I’m also ready to begin The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris because my library hold came in. (taking a deep breath for this heavy read)

tattooist of auschwitz



A Link I Love

Books to movies this fall.



Sharing is Caring

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



 Let’s Discuss

What have you been reading in September? Who is your most memorable or unforgettable character from your recent reading? (link up a blog post or share in comments)



***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. This money will be used to offset the costs of running a blog and to sponsor giveaways, etc.

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 photo are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.

An American Marriage [Book Review]

August 3, 2018

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones: Black text over a bare gold tree against a blue background

Genre/Categories: Fiction, African-American, Cultural Heritage, Family Life, Racial Injustice

***This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

Celestial and Roy are newlyweds living in the New South. While Celestial is an aspiring artist, Roy is a young executive. Early in their marriage, Roy is arrested and sentenced to twelve years for a crime he didn’t commit. Can their marriage survive the tragic circumstances and the separation? Soon after incarceration, Celestial begins to accept comfort and companionship from Andre, her childhood friend and Roy’s best man at their wedding. When Roy is released from prison five years later, he expects to pick up his life where he’s left off, but a great deal has changed. This is a thoughtful and heartfelt story of love, marriage, family, and friendship, of hope and heartbreak, of loss and starting over.

Amazon Rating (August): 4.5 Stars

My Thoughts:

At first I was reluctant to read an Oprah Book Club selection because of the hype and I was concerned that it might be primarily an issues driven book. However, when my IRL book club chose it for our August read and after reading some positive reviews from respected bloggers, I became more interested. An American Marriage is probably the most surprising good read of the year for me …… I’ve been disappointed before by books that don’t live up to their hype. This one has likely earned a spot on my favorites of the year list.

Themes. If you’ve followed my reviews, you know that one element that endears me to a book is its themes. An American Marriage is filled with relevant themes such as the importance of fathers (absent or present), sustaining marriage through difficult times, troubling incarceration rates of young African Americans, women setting aside traditional roles, stigmas attached to women whose husbands are incarcerated, educated middle class young African Americans and their views of community and family, southern traditions, etc. Issues are presented in this story, but it’s not an issue-centered read. I appreciate what the author says about her writing:

“My mentor used to tell me, ‘Write about people and their problems. Don’t write about problems and their people.'”

This is what I loved about this story….it’s about people and their problems and not simply a vehicle for the author to promote opinions or agendas.

Characters. This is not a story filled with all likeable characters. Yet they are authentic, realistic, and well developed. We see their positive and negative attributes and understand their motivations as the story progresses. Throughout the reading, I was unable to predict how this story would resolve and this kept me engaged until the last page.

Recommended. I highly recommend this easy reading, engaging, realistic, and heartfelt story for readers who are looking for a contemporary, diverse read with relevant and timely issues. An American Marriage would make an excellent book club selection and I’m eager to hear what my IRL book club thinks next week.

Own Voices: If you are an Own Voices reviewer, I’d love to read your review. Please link in comments.

 My Rating: 4.5 Stars.

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An American Marriage

An American Marriage Information here

Meet the Author, Tayari Jones

Tayari JonesTayari Jones is the author of the novels Leaving Atlanta, The Untelling, Silver Sparrow, and An American Marriage (Algonquin Books, February 2018). Her writing has appeared in Tin House, The Believer, The New York Times, and Callaloo. A member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers, she has also been a recipient of the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, Lifetime Achievement Award in Fine Arts from the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, United States Artist Fellowship, NEA Fellowship and Radcliffe Institute Bunting Fellowship. Silver Sparrow was named a #1 Indie Next Pick by booksellers in 2011, and the NEA added it to its Big Read Library of classics in 2016. Jones is a graduate of Spelman College, University of Iowa, and Arizona State University. An Associate Professor in the MFA program at Rutgers-Newark University, she is spending the 2017-18 academic year as the Shearing Fellow for Distinguished Writers at the Beverly Rogers, Carol C. Harter Black Mountain Institute at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.



QOTD:

Is American Marriage on your TBR or have you read it?

What are you reading this week? Do you enjoy reading diversely?

If you’ve read An American Marriage, how did you feel about the ending?


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



Links I Love

Counting the days until Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society releases on Netflix! August 10!

People who read books live longer!



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 more than half of the list, some I’ve been more thrilled with than others, and I’ve only abandoned one)



Looking Ahead:

 This week I’m reading The Boat People from my Summer TBR and I am eager to bring you a review on Friday.

the boat people

The Boat People Amazon Information Here



Let’s Get Social!

Thank you for 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 covers are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.

© ReadingLadies.com