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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Paper Hearts [Book Review] #ThrowBackThursday

May 20, 2021

Paper Hearts by Meg Wiviott
#throwbackthursday

Paper Hearts by Meg Wiviott (cover) Image: hand stitched title on a blue background...stitched star in upper left corner

Genre/Categories: WW11, Holocaust, Jewish, Young Adult, Poetry (free verse), Friendship, Survival

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 poignant and compelling Paper Hearts by Meg Wiviott, a title on my lifetime favorites list.

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 Paper Hearts, two unforgettable girls find themselves tragically imprisoned at Auschwitz during the Holocaust and become friends. Through the bonds of friendship and a bit of defiance, Zlatka and Fania find threads of hope and a will to live. In this true story, Zlatka, along with the help of a few other girls, masterminds making a surprise birthday card for Fania. A secret project that would be a crime punishable by death if caught, each girl signed the paper hearts card with her hopes and wishes for happiness, love, and freedom. This heart is a symbol of defiance and is one of the few artifacts created in Auschwitz that has survived and can be seen today in the Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre in Canada and in the image below.”

a beautiful, memorable, and gently written story of friendship and survival…

Continue here for my full review of Paper Hearts ….

Hamdmade collection of heartshaped paper: Holocaust artifact



QOTD:

Have you read Paper Hearts or is it on your TBR?

The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys [Book Review]

March 17, 2021

 The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys

The Fountains of Silence Review

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, Post Spanish Civil War Spain, YA, Family, Love Story

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Family…love…silence…secrets…

Thank you, #NetGalley @PenguinUKBooks @The_WriteReads for my complimentary e arc of #FountainsOfSilence upon my request. All opinions are my own. I’ve previously published a review for the U.S. release, and this review is for the U.K. paperback edition which has a different cover.

Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys (cover) Image: a large old black key lies over a large red X...small black images of a male and female and a building rest on the horizontal key

In 1957, Madrid, Spain is under the control of the fascist dictator General Francisco Franco. While citizens endure harsh conditions of the dictatorship after the Spanish Civil War, tourists experience another version of life in Spain as they enjoy parties and wine at the Hilton Hotel. Eighteen-year-old Daniel is a hotel guest, a photographer, and the son of a Texas oil tycoon; his mother was born in Spain and Daniel is eager to visit her homeland. Ana works at the hotel as a maid. Daniel and Ana meet and fall in love. While Ana is simultaneously intrigued by American life and concerned for her family, Daniel sets his mind to capture the real Spain in photos and finds himself investigating the plight of stolen children. The circumstances surrounding their love story are difficult for them to navigate.

My Thoughts:

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The Downstairs Girl [Book Review]

February 19, 2021

The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee

The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee (author) Image: a teenage Asian girl wearing a fancy hat in an 1890 style

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, Young Adult, Asian-American, Prejudice, Racism, Coming of Age

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

The Downstairs Girl is set in 1890s Atlanta where a Chinese-American girl having no voice challenges racial and gender issues. Let go from her job at a milliner’s shop because she was a “saucebox,” seventeen-year-old Jo Kuan now works as a lady’s maid for the cruel and spoiled daughter of a wealthy man. Jo and Old Gin (affectionately thought of as “grandfather”) have always lived secretly in the basement below a newspaper man’s family. Jo loves WORDS and writing and so one day, Jo has the idea to write a column for the newspaper in order to help them build their readership and compete with the other newspaper in town. At night, she writes the column and drops her submissions in their mailbox. Her column, Dear Miss Sweetie, becomes popular for its modern and controversial opinions and the talk of the town. Meanwhile in her day life, Jo struggles to survive her ordeals as a lady’s maid and also plans a dangerous investigation to find her biological father who had abandoned her as a baby.

My Thoughts:

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Love Is a Revolution [Book Review]

veFebruary 16, 2021

Love Is a Revolution by Renée Watson

Love is a Revolution by Renee Watson (cover) Image: a plus size Black girl is centered....4 smaller images of the same girl and her boyfriend sound her

Genre/Categories: Contemporary Young Adult Fiction, African-American, Coming of Age

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Nala Robertson meets a cute boy, Tye Brown, at open mic night. They experience an instant attraction but Nala is worried because they have very different interests….Tye is an activist, a vegetarian, and a community organizer while Nala would rather stay home and watch movies and enjoy a juicy, fully-loaded hamburger. Nala finds herself lying to Tye to foster a foundation of common interests and to encourage him to keep asking her out. As much as this is a cute romance on the surface, the story is more substantially about loving others as well as yourself, discovering the things that are truly important to you, and embracing your authentic self.

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 Map of Salt and Stars [Book Review] #ThrowBackThursday

December 31, 2020

The Map of Salt and Stars by Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar
#throwbackthursday

The Map of Salt and Stars by Zeyn Joukhadar (cover)

Genre/Categories: Fiction, Mythology, Folk Tale, Magical Realism, Coming of Age, Syrian, Story Within a Story

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 eager to share my review of the compelling The Map of Salt and Stars.a page-turning story with two inspirational female protagonists.

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 Map of Salt and Stars is really two stories. One story is contemporary and the other is a mythological folk tale that takes place 800 years earlier. In the contemporary story, Nour’s mother, a Syrian-American, a cartographer and painter of beautiful maps, decides to move Nour and her sisters from New York City back to Syria after the death of Nour’s father. The mother feels a strong desire to live closer to her family. After they arrive in Syria, they experience effects of the civil war evidenced by protests and shelling in their quiet neighborhood. When a shell destroys Nour’s home and neighborhood, she and her family and a close family friend of her father’s are forced to flee as refugees across seven countries of the Middle East and North Africa in search of safety.

The story within the story is a favorite folk tale that Nour’s father told her over and over again as a young girl. Nour loves the main character in the folk tale, Rawiya, who becomes an apprentice to al-Idrisi, commissioned by King Roger II of Sicily to create a map of the region. Rawiya follows al-Idrisi on a journey across the Middle East and the north of Africa where they encounter a mythical beast and fight epic battles.

There are strong connections between the two stories as Nour and her family are forced from their home to travel the identical route that Rawiya traveled eight hundred years earlier. Throughout the journey, Nour remembers and is inspired by the heroine of her favorite folktale as she faces similar challenges and fears.

“I am a woman and a warrior,” Rawiya said, her blade cutting into his club.
If you think I can’t be both, you’ve been lied to.

Continue here for my full review of The Map of Salt and Stars ….



QOTD:

Have you read The Map of Salt and Stars or is it on your TBR?

Tomorrow Will Be Better [Book Review] #classics

December 11, 2020

Tomorrow Will Be Better by Betty Smith

Tomorrow Will Be Better by Betty Smith (cover) Image: a sepia tone picture of a row of Brooklyn apartments

Genre/Categories: Classic Literary Fiction, Women’s Fiction, Vintage, Young Adult

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

Thanks #HarperPerennial @HarperPerennial for a complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.

Written 70 years ago and set in Brooklyn 100 years ago, Tomorrow Will Be Better is a timeless, coming-of-age story of love and a young marriage, of poverty and hardship, of hope and second chances. Margy Shannon hopes optimistically for a better life than her parents. Weary of living a life of hardship with her quarreling parents, she dreams about landing a well paying job, finding a loving husband, and establishing her own home.

My Thoughts:

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Far From the Tree [Book Review] #throwbackthursday

June 25, 2020

Far From the Tree by Robin Benway
#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 review of Far From the Tree by Robin Benway….a compelling family story.

Are you a fan of multi-layered family drama?

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Far From the Tree by Robin Benway (cover) Image: black text on a background of pinkish purple explosion of leaves

Genre/Categories: YA Fiction, Social & Family Issues, Adoption, Siblings

My Summary:

“Far From the Tree is a contemporary YA fiction novel in which three biological siblings (placed for adoption or foster care as babies in separate families) find their way to each other as teenagers and discover a deeper meaning of family. The story is complicated because Grace, one of the three siblings, has just placed her own baby up for adoption. In addition, Joaquin, another of the siblings has experienced trauma growing up in the foster care system. The author tenderly explores each of their stories including the mistrust, feelings of aloneness, and individual hurts and disappointments. Far From the Tree won the 2017 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature.”

Continue here for my full review of Far From the Tree

QOTD: Have you read Far From the Tree or is it on your TBR?

Tweet Cute [Book Review]

May 29, 2020

Tweet Cute by Emma Lord

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

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

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

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

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.

My Thoughts:

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