Bloomsbury Girls [Book Review] #BlogTour

May 17, 2022

Bloomsbury Girls by Natalie Jenner

Bloomsbury Girls by Natalie Jenner (cover) Image: three women walk towards the camera arm in arm....a bookstore in the background and a large floral blossom in the foreground

Genre/Categories/Setting: Historical Fiction (post-WW11), Book About Books, London, Bookshop

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Welcome to my stop on the Bloomsbury Girls Blook Tour. Thanks for the invite #AustenProsePR and thanks #Netgalley @StMartinsPress for a complimentary eARC of #BloomsburyGirls by Natalie Jenner upon my request. All opinions are my own.

Bloomsbury Girls Blog Tour Graphic

Bloomsbury Girls is a spin-off of The Jane Austen Society but can be read as a stand-alone. The story takes place in an old bookstore in post-war London. Bloomsbury books is run by men and the staff is dedicated to following the general manager’s fifty-one rules; however, the three women working there have their own ambitions and dreams. Because it’s the 1950s and women have been thrust into the workplace while men have been at war. women are often taking leadership and asserting their own ideas which may differ from the way things have always been done. At this very traditional bookshop run by men, stylish and creative Vivian, hard-working Grace, and scholarly Evie join forces to shake things up a bit, add their own flair, introduce new ideas and procedures, and chase their own dreams. As a bonus, there is plenty of name-dropping of (their) contemporary literary legends.

My Thoughts:

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Bomb Shelter [Book Review] and I Guess I Haven’t Learned That Yet [Book Review] #Essay #Memoir #MentalHealth

May 13, 2022

Two Memoirs/Essays: Bomb Shelter and I Guess I Haven’t Learned That Yet #MentalHealthWeek

Memoir Reviews (collage of two covers)

Two reviews today!

My favorite memoirs/essays are ones where I can glean something useful for my own life….where I can make a connection….where I can acquire insight and understanding of particular challenges and struggles. I think these two titles are perfect for sharing during May’s focus on Mental Health Awareness. While one (I Haven’t Learned That Yet) mentions faith, both are poignant, transparent, and honest reflections on life’s challenges.

*Titles are Amazon affiliate links.

Bomb Shelter: Love, Time, and Other Explosives by Mary Laura Philpott

Bomb Shelter by Mary Laura Philpott (cover) Image: yellow text and a large turtle against a pinkish red background

Genre: Categories: Nonfiction, Memoir, Essay, Self-Help, Self-Reflection, Anxiety, Humor

My Summary:

Mary Laura Philpott is a self-proclaimed “optimistic worrier” or “anxious optimist.” This tendency intensified when she became a parent and believed that if she cared enough, she could keep her loved ones safe. One day, her teenage son experienced a seizure and she began to worry about what else could happen? How do you keep going and continue loving and caring when you don’t know what will happen next?

My Thoughts:

I imagine most of us have experienced that feeling of helplessness and anxiety and worry over the ones for whom we are responsible. I know I have. In fact, if you are a fan of the NBC drama This is Us, a scene in one episode touched me profoundly. Randall is at the cabin working and has visions/imaginary conversations with Jack about his anger toward Rebecca for keeping the truth about his bio father from him…..Jack encourages Randall to see the situation from Rebecca’s perspective. Through the window, Randall glimpses a frantic Rebecca closing and locking all the windows and doors in an effort to keep her family safe. So moving. A perfect picture of how I felt as a parent of a growing family…..so many worries and dangers to keep at bay.

“It’s true. There will always be threats lurking under the water where we play, danger hiding in the attic and rolling down the street on heavy wheels, unexpected explosions in our brains and our hearts and the sky. There will always be bombs, and we will never be able to save everyone we care about. To know that and to try anyway is to be fully alive. The closest thing to shelter we can offer anyone is LOVE, as deep and wide and as in as many forms as we can give it.

Philpott shares honestly how her anxiety was triggered as a parent. Isn’t it helpful knowing others have felt the same? Experienced the same? I think the book is relatable for parents or anyone who experiences episodes of anxiety or worry.

Philpott’s writing style and reflections are conversational, engaging, mostly light-hearted, and sprinkled with humor.

Recommended for anyone who experiences anxiety and/or worries.

Content Considerations: epilepsy, anxiety

My Rating: 4 Stars.

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I Guess I Haven’t Learned That Yet: Discovering New Ways of Living When the Old Ways Stop Working by Shauna Niequist

I Guess I Haven't Learned That Yet by Shauna Niequist (cover) Image: colorful text against a white background

Genre/Categories: Nonfiction, Memoir, Essays, Self-Help, Self-Reflection, Grief, Faith, New Beginnings

My Summary:

Shauna Niequist’s carefully and thoughtfully cultivated life as she knows it falls apart after her fortieth birthday. What do you do when your entire life has revolved around your father’s church and your life-long, close-knit community of family and friends all collapse when your father is accused of inappropriate behaviors at his mega-church and resigns (not detailed). What happens when the happy and secure life in the mid-west you’ve dreamed of and carefully built falls apart around you? Well….you might move to Manhattan and rethink everything.

My Thoughts:

I suspect most of us can relate to a life that isn’t at all what we expected or dreamed about. We may face unexpected financial problems, toxic relationships, family disappointments, broken friendships, health concerns, etc. What then? What happens when all you want to do is quit? Does everything fall apart or can we learn to live in a new way, make adjustments, gain new perspectives, forgive, show compassion, navigate heartbreak and grief, and accept unknowns? Can we rebuild, refocus, and retool?

“…Life is…interconnected and multifaceted. We carry around our whole selves…our past and our parents, our loves and our limitations our dreams and our grocery lists, and our wounds.”

I need to note:

  • Not all of us have the option of relocating and starting a new life, have access to vacation homes, or can take a year off work to pull ourselves together. Nevertheless, she has some good things to share!
  • Some readers are frustrated that Niequest never shares the nature of the issue with her father and the church that motivated her memoir. Her intentional vagueness is out of respect for her father’s privacy….and really the issue is her dad’s to write about….she’s sharing how her life changed and how she adjusted to those changes as a result of what happened. I had followed the news story when it came out, so her vagueness didn’t bother me. He’s easy to google if you’re interested (Bill Hybels).

Recommended for anyone who is facing a life change.

My Rating:  4 Stars

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Meet the Authors, Mary Laura Philpott and Shauna Niequist

Author Mary Laura PhilpottMary Laura Philpott is the author of I Miss You When I Blink, the nationally bestselling memoir-in-essays, as well as Bomb Shelter, forthcoming in 2022. Her writing has been featured frequently by The New York Times and also appears in such outlets as The Atlantic, The Washington Post, Paris Review Daily, O The Oprah Magazine, and Real Simple. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee.

For more information, visit http://www.MaryLauraPhilpott.com

Author Shauna NiequistShauna Niequist is the author of Cold Tangerines, Bittersweet, Bread & Wine, Savor, and Present Over Perfect.

She is married to Aaron, and they live in Manhattan with their sons, Henry & Mac.

Shauna is a bookworm, a beach bum, and a passionate gatherer of people, especially around the table.



QOTD:

Do you love memoirs? Are these titles on your TBR or have you read one or both?



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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***Blog 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.

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The Last Train to Key West [Book Review] #ThrowBackThursday

May 12, 2022

The Last Train to Key West by Chanel Cleeton
#throwbackthursday

The Last Train to Key West by Chanel Cleeton (cover) Image: a young woman in a blouse and skirt stands on a Florida beach looking into the distance

Genre/Categories/Setting: Romantic Historical Fiction, 1935 Hurricane, Florida

Welcome to Throwback Thursday where I highlight an older review or post a current review of an old read. Today, I’m re-sharing a suspenseful romantic historical fiction, The Last Train to Key West by Chanel Cleeton.

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

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Key West is a popular destination for tourists. In the 1930s, it is also an opportunity to forget the economic depression. The three women in The Last Train to Key West have very different reasons for finding themselves in Key West on Labor Day Weekend, 1935: Elizabeth travels to Key West from New York City and is desperately searching for a WW1 veteran who is rumored to have been sent to work on the railroad; Key West native, Helen, wants to escape an abusive marriage; Mirta comes to Key West from Cuba for her honeymoon. Rounding out the weekend is an FBI agent, a kind friend, an abusive husband, a secretive groom, and the destructive 1935 Labor Day Weekend hurricane.

one holiday weekend + three women in danger + a hurricane….

Continue here for my full review of The Last Train to Key West..



QOTD:

Have you read The Last Train to Key West or is it on your TBR?
Have you read other books by Chanel Cleeton?
Also Reviewed: The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba by Chanel Cleeton

The Jane Austen Society [Book Review] #ThrowBackThursday

May 5, 2022

The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner
#throwbackthursday

The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Janner (cover) Image: a grooup of five people (backs to camera) walk arm in arm; flowers edge the border

Genre/Categories/Setting: Historical Fiction, Classics, Books About Books, England, Post WW11

Welcome to Throwback Thursday where I highlight an older review or post a current review of an old read. Today, I’m re-sharing a heartfelt tribute to a beloved classic author, The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner.

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

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

A love of writing and timeless stories draws people together….

Jane Austen’s final home was located in Chawton, England. In this imagined story that takes place shortly after WW11, a number of devoted Austen fans band together to preserve the home and her legacy. A local doctor, a young widow, a young farmer, a descendant of Austen’s, a young maid, and a movie star are among the group, and the story is told through their unique perspectives. Although they are very different from each other, they each share a deep connection with and a great love for the works of Austen.

charming and heartfelt….

Continue here for my full review of The Jane Austen Society..



QOTD:

Have you read The Jane Austen Society or is it on your TBR?

 

Black Butterflies [Book Review]

May 4, 2022
Star Wars Day
(May the 4th be with you!)

Black Butterflies by Priscilla Morris

Black Butterflies by Priscilla Morris (cover) Image: white text over a background of colorful graphic shapes

Genre/Categories/Setting: Historical Fiction, Diverse Reads, Siege of Sarajevo

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Thanks @BookSirens and the author/publisher for a complimentary eARC of #BlackButterflies upon my request. All opinions are my own.

In the spring of 1992, fifty-five year old Zora can’t imagine that the Siege of Sarajevo will last long. Her husband and elderly mother leave for England, and she stays behind to continue working as an artist and teacher. The situation deteriorates quickly and Zora has waited too long to leave. The places she loves are destroyed and black ashes float around. Zora joins with her friends to survive the days, offer comfort to each other, and find reasons to hope.

“Everything is better when done together. The taste of food and water, the touch when they hug each other hello. They’ve made it through one more day, each reunion a confirmation that they’re still alive.”

My Thoughts:

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The Book Woman’s Daughter [Book Review]

May 3, 2022

The Book Woman’s Daughter by Kim Michele Richardson

The Book Woman's Daughter by Kim Michele Richardson (cover) Image: an old pair of high top books sits on top of a stack of old hardback books

Genre/Categories/Setting: Historical Fiction, Southern Fiction, Books About Books, Literacy, Appalachia, Kentucky, Librarians, Racism, Prejudice, Poverty

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

…a stubbborn mule, a best friend, and a pajama party…

Thanks #NetGalley @SourceBooks (Landmark) @Bookmarked for a complimentary eARC of #TheBookWomansDaughter by @KimMicheleRichardson upon my request. All opinions are my own.

Honey Mary Angeline Lovett is the daughter of the beloved pack horse librarian known as The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek. Honey faces discrimination as one of the “blue people” and is also fighting for her independence and emancipation because her parents have been imprisoned for breaking the law against mixed marriage. As Honey hides from the law and social services who seek to institulionalize her as a minor, she meets a few extraordinary women and follows in her mom’s footsteps to deliver books and the promise of literacy to the remote hollers of Appalachia.

My Thoughts:

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The Summer House [Book Review] #ThrowBackThursday

April 28, 2022

The Summer House by Lauren K. Denton
#throwbackthursday

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

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

Welcome to Throwback Thursday where I highlight an older review or post a current review of an old read. Today, I’m re-sharing multigenerational “uplit,” The Summer House by Lauren K. Denton.

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

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

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.

Second chances….

Continue here for my full review of The Summer House..



QOTD:

Have you read Summer House or is it on your TBR?

 

Tweet Cute [Book Review] #ThrowBackThursday

April 21, 2022

Tweet Cute by Emma Lord
#throwbackthursday

Tween Cute by Emma Lord (cover) Image: two apartment buildings with a teen in each using social media on their phones

 

Genre/Categories/Setting: Contemporary Young Adult Fiction, Family Life, YA RomCom, Coming of Age, New York City

Welcome to Throwback Thursday where I highlight an older review or post a current review of an old read. Today, I’m re-sharing a sweet YA romcom, Tweet Cute by Emma Lord. (It’s my fav of her three books.)

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

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

grilled cheese sandwichThe setting is New York City. Pepper (Patricia) is the swim team captain at her private school, achievement-focused, and a perfectionist. Her family owns a large fast-food burger chain, and Pepper runs the twitter account. Jack is a classmate and fellow swim team member. He secretly develops apps, enjoys being a class clown, and experiences episodes of sibling rivalry with his twin brother. Jack’s family owns a small downtown deli. A few things happen to put the story in motion: the big burger chain copies (steals) Jack’s family’s grilled cheese sandwich, a twitter war ensues that Jack and Pepper instigate and fuel, and Jack and Pepper find themselves becoming close friends on the school’s app where identities remain anonymous.

You’ve Got Mail meets Tell Me Three Things meets With the Fire on High….

Continue here for my full review of Tweet Cute..



QOTD:

Have you read Tweet Cute or is it on your TBR?

 

The Bookseller’s Promise [Book Review]

April 19, 2022

The Bookseller’s Promise by Beth Wiseman

The Bookseller's Promise by Beth Wiseman (cover) Image: a young Amish man and woman stand in front of a bookstore gazing lovingly at each other

Genre/Categories/Setting: Contemporary Women’s Fiction (Chick Lit), Romance, Uplit, Christian Fiction, Amish Country (Indiana), Rural Bookstore, Book About Books

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Thanks #NetGalley @Zondervan @HarperCollins for a complimentary eARC of #TheBooksellersPromise by Beth Wiseman upon my request. All opinions are my own.

In her job, Yvonne hunts down and purchases rare books for collectors who are willing to pay high prices. Her current search leads her to an Amish bookstore where she meets Jake, the handsome owner, and Eva, his employee. Yvonne is surprised to hear that Jake refuses to sell his rare book despite an outrageously high offer, but she is persistent and confidant of her gifts of persuasion and decides to stay in Amish country for a while. During her stay, Yvonne becomes friends with Jake and Eva and also begins to rethink her personal life. Will she break off her engagement? Will she discover why Jake will not sell the book at any price? Will Yvonne, Jake, and Eva find true love?

My Thoughts:

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Sea Wife [Book Review] #ThrowBackThursday

April 14, 2022

Sea Wife by Amity Gaige
#throwbackthursday

 

Sea Wife by Amity Gaige (cover) Image: a lagoon in the foreground and ocean expanse in the background

Genre/Categories/Setting: Contemporary Fiction, Family Life, Suspense, Sea Life, Living Off the Grid, Adventure

Welcome to Throwback Thursday where I highlight an older review or post a current review of an old read. Today, I’m re-sharing a complicated family drama, Sea Wife by Amity Gaige.

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

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Juliet and Michael are disillusioned with work, life, and marriage for individual reasons, and even though they are novice sailors, they set out for a yearlong sailing venture with their two young children. Things are fine at first until the unexpected happens. (see original post for trigger warnings)

Juliet is more than a wife and more than her husband’s plans for their life. At sea, she finds her voice, survives difficult circumstances, and plants seeds for envisioning a fulfilling future….

Continue here for my full review of Sea Wife..

(including trigger warnings)



QOTD:

Have you read Sea Wife or is it on your TBR?