Miracle Creek [Book Review] #ThrowBackThursday

July 22, 2021

Miracle Creek by Angie Kim
#throwbackthursday

Miracle Creek by Angie Kim (cover) looking up at a night sky through several trees

Genre/Categories/Setting: Contemporary Fiction, Murder Mystery, Crime Fiction, Courtroom Drama, Korean American, Virginia

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 a multilayered and character-driven crime fiction, Miracle Creek by Angie Kim.

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

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Miracle Creek takes place in a small town in Virginia of the same name. In this town, there is a special treatment center, a hyperbaric chamber that may cure a range of conditions. As the story begins, the chamber explodes and two people die. Is this an accident or sabotage or insurance fraud? Through multiple perspectives, we become acquainted with the owners and surviving patients and learn about their secrets, their anguish, their frustrations, their best intentions, their misconceptions, and their rivalries. The story is rich in vivid details about the trial, parenting a special needs child, and the immigrant experience.”

An expertly written, character-driven, and multi-layered mystery and courtroom drama ….

Continue here for my full review of Miracle Creek



QOTD:

Have you read Miracle Creek or is it on your TBR?

Under the Magnolias [Book Review]

July 20, 2021

Under the Magnolias by T.I. Lowe

Under the Magnolias by T.I. Lowe (cover) Image: a young woman with long blond hair stands under the branches of a magnolia tree

Genre/Categories: Christian Fiction, Southern Fiction, Complicated Family Drama, Coming of Age, Side of Romance

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Thanks #NetGalley @TyndaleHouse for a complimentary eARC of #UndertheMagnolias upon my request. All opinions are my own.

In 1980 in Magnolia, South Carolina, a young teenager, Austin Foster, finds herself caring for her six siblings (all named after cities) when her mother dies in childbirth. Austin’s father is a preacher and works a tobacco farm, but he suffers from mental illness and is unreliable in many ways. Austin tries her best to keep the family fed and clothed and still attend school for a time. She has members of the community she can turn to, but no one really knows the extent of her hardships. Austin is attracted to Vance, the handsome son of a wealthy family in the community, and he is there for her when the truth of her circumstances is revealed.

My Thoughts:

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Firekeeper’s Daughter [Book Review]

July 16, 2021

Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley

The Firekeeper's Daughter by Angeline Boulley (cover) Image: profiles of a young man and woman in cultural adornments

Genre/Categories/Setting: Indigenous Culture, YA (or NA), Contemporary Fiction/Mystery/Thriller, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Diverse Reads

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Eighteen-year-old Daunis Fontaine is biracial and living between two worlds near the Ojibwe reservation on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Daunis plays hockey, dreams of studying medicine, falls for Jamie (a new recruit on her brother’s hockey team), and worries about the effect of drugs in her community. Life becomes complicated and Daunis puts her dreams on hold to be there for her family and community. After witnessing a senseless and tragic murder, Daunis finds herself caught up in a criminal investigation and reluctantly agrees to work undercover. With her knowledge of chemistry and native traditional medicine, she is a great asset to the FBI and helps with the investigation even when it involves those close to her. Daunis is committed to confronting the corruption, protecting her community, and standing with the strong Ojibwe women. The story is complex and relevant and filled with the language, ceremonies, and traditions of the indigenous culture.

My Thoughts:

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The Forest of Vanishing Stars [Book Review]

July 6, 2021

The Forest of Vanishing Stars by Kristin Harmel

The Forest of Vanishing Stars by Kristin Harmel (cover) a woman wearing a red coat stands with her back to the camera looking out over a valley....planes fly overhead.....white text on the red coat)

Genre/Categories/Settings: Historical Fiction, WW11, Poland/Germany, Survival, Jewish

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

“You are a warrior. You are a hero, and a fighter, and a savior. You are a caretaker and a life giver.”

Thanks #NetGalley @GalleryBooks for a complimentary eARC of #TheForestOfVanishingStars upon my request. All opinions are my own.

The Forest of Vanishing Stars is inspired by true stories of survival in the expansive forests of Poland during WW11. The movie Defiance with Daniel Craig depicts one of the largest hidden groups.

Yona is stolen from her wealthy Germany parents when she is two years old (1922) and raised in the wilderness by an elderly eccentric herbalist and visionary. In 1941 when Yona is a young woman, her kidnapper dies and she is left to fend for herself in the forest. She is surprised to stumble upon a group of Jews fleeing the Nazis. After her fear subsides, she is determined to teach the group all she knows about surviving in the forest. However, they teach her about community and friendship after living her life in isolation. Told in one straightforward timeline from one perspective, this is a story of found family, finding people to trust, and of survival.

My Thoughts:

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Sparks Like Stars [Book Review]

June 2, 2021

Sparks Like Stars by Nadia Hashimi

Sparks Like Stars by Nadia Hashimi (cover) Image: gold and white text on a black background)

Genre/Categories/Setting: Historical Fiction, Afghanistan, Asian-American Literature

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Nadia Hashimi, the author of The Pearl That Broke Its Shell, tells the story of Sitara Zamani who lives a privileged life in Kabul Afghanistan in 1978. Sitara’s father works for the progressive president and the children from the two families play together. When Sitara is ten years old, the communists stage a coup and Sitara is the only survivor. She is smuggled out of the palace by a sympathetic guard and into the home of an American diplomat. Years later while working as a successful surgeon in America, Sitara (now known as Aryana) is confronted with her past which causes her to ask questions and awakens strong feelings of anger and revenge.

My Thoughts:

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6 Favorite Historical Fiction in 6 Months [2021] #6BooksIn6Months #ThrowBackThursday

July 1, 2021

6 in 6 [2021]

6 best histtorical fiction in 6 months (collage of covers)

The Six in Six is a meme created by Jo at The Book Jotter At the end of June, we are halfway through the year,  so the idea is to share the books we have read in these first 6 months. When I looked at my list of the top 6 so far this year, I realized that they were all Historical Fiction. You’re not really surprised, are you?!

I’m also linking up today with Davida @ The Chocolate Lady’s Book Review Blog for #ThrowBackThursday (since I’ve previously reviewed 5 of the 6 titles).

In the true spirit of the 6 in 6 meme, we are asked to share 6 books in 6 categories. Coming up with 36 books will take more brain power than I have available right now, so I will share 6 of the best historical fiction books I’ve read so far this year.

Titles are links to my reviews or Amazon affiliate links.

a cartoonish number 6

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A Summer Wedding For the Cornish Midwife [Book Review]

June 29, 2021

A Summer Wedding For the Cornish Midwife by Jo Bartlett

A Summer Wedding For the Cornish Midwife by Jo Bartlett (cover) Image: a young woman stands on a bluff holding a bouquet of flowers and overlooking a small coastal village

Genre/Categories/Setting: Light contemporary women’s fiction, Romance, Small town/Cornish coast, Midwifery, Up-lit

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

#2 in the Cornish Midwives series. The highly anticipated wedding of Anna and Brae needs to be postponed due to a fire at the venue. However, close friends and community pull together to save the wedding.

My Thoughts:

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The Personal Librarian [Book Review]

June 25, 2021

The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray

The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict and Victoria Murray (cover) Image: a young woman in a long red dress stands against the railing of a grand staircase....a small stack of books held to her chest

Genre/Categories/Setting: Biographical Historical Fiction, African-American Women, the Gilded Age, New York City

N*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Thanks #NetGalley @BerkleyPub #BerkleyWritesStrongWomen #BerkleyBuddyReads for a complimentary eARC upon my request. All opinions are my own.

The Personal Librarian is the fictionalized biography of Belle da Casta Greene, personal librarian to business tycoon, John Pierpont Morgan.  Belle curates a collection of rare manuscripts, books, and artwork for the Pierpont Morgan Library. In addition to becoming powerful in the art and book world, Belle develops a reputation as a shrewd negotiator and earns her place in New York Society. However, she has a well-guarded secret…..she is passing as white.

My Thoughts:

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The Island of Sea Women #ThrowBackThursday

June 24, 2021

The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See
#throwbackthursday

Island of Sea Women Review

Genre/Categories/Setting: Historical Fiction, South Korea, Women’s Roles

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 compelling and informative women’s historical fiction, The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See.

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 The Island of Sea Women, See imagines the story of Mi-ja and Young-sook. As the story begins, we are introduced to these two young girls living on the Korean Island of Jeju. Although the girls are best friends, they come from very different backgrounds. As the girls mature, they begin working in the sea with other women in the village as part of the diving collective (the haenyo). Even though diving is dangerous, the girls are eager to be allowed to join the women of the sea as they learn the trade and follow in the tradition of the other women in the village who are the sole providers for their families. In this matriarchal culture, the men stay home, cook, and assume primary care for the children. Women take on the responsibility of providing an income from selling the bounty of their diving expeditions. It’s women who worry about the livelihood of their families and village, assume great physical risks, and take responsibility for knowing the best locations and times/conditions to dive. The sea women dive when they are pregnant and sometimes give birth on the boat as part of their workday if necessary. The story begins in the 1930s and continues through WW11, the Korean War, and the modern technology boom. Over the decades, circumstances put the girls’ friendship under great strain and the story encompasses their entire lives. It’s a story of a unique culture, friendship, understanding, community, and a dangerous and demanding profession.”

 A story of a unique culture, friendship, understanding, community, and a dangerous and demanding profession…

Continue here for my full review of The Island of Sea Women …



QOTD:

Have you read The Island of Sea Women or is it on your TBR?

The Kitchen Front [Book Review]

June 22, 2021

The Kitchen Front by Jennifer Ryan

The Kitchen Front by Jennifer Ryan (cover) A woman dressed in a red bouse and white apron holds a cookbook to her chest

Genre/Categories: Light historical fiction (WW11), Cooking, Friendship, Up-Lit

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

A cooking competition meets WW11. Facing bombings, food shortages, and rationing, morale is low among the housewives of Britain. The BBC launches a cooking contest for a show called Kitchen Front. Although the first prize is a coveted chance to be the first female co-host of the show, four very different women discover a more valuable prize to be gained: friendship.

My Thoughts:

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