Sunday, May 16, 2021

Eleanor in the Village by Jan Jarboe Russell


 

Title:  Eleanor in the Village

Author: Jan Jarboe Russell

Read by:  Samantha Desz

Publisher: Simon & Shuster Audio

Length: Approximately 5 hours and 7 minutes

Source: Review Copy from Simon & Shuster Audio.  Thank-you! 

The subtitle of Eleanor in the Village is Eleanor Roosevelt’s Search for Freedom and Identity in New York’s Greenwich Village.  I love to read about first ladies and had not read much about that time in Eleanor’s life.  I was happy to be able to listen to and review this audiobook.

Eleanor in the Village gives an overview of Eleanor Roosevelt’s life starting from her parents getting together through her death.  It discusses Eleanor’s troubled relationship with her parents and how she became an orphan early.  She fell in love with Franklin Roosevelt, and it built up her self-confidence that he loved her as well.  Her marriage was troubled as she had an overbearing mother-in-law that took away Eleanor’s control over her own household and children.  She limped along at least secure in Franklin’s love, until one day she discovered letters in a suitcase from his mistress and discovered he really loved somewhere else.  That was the end of their physical marriage and they were a political partnership from that point on.  How did they work together and how did Eleanor become a powerful woman herself?

I loved reading about how Eleanor really came into her own once she discovered Franklin’s affair.  It was during this time that she lived in the Village and became friends with lesbian couples, free thinkers, and potential communists.  It was also during this period that J. Edgar Hoover started having her surveilled even though her husband was not in political office at the time.  I thought it was amazing to learn that there are still about twenty pages of secret files on Eleanor Roosevelt that the United States Government has not released to her grandson.  I thought it was also interesting that she had so many assassinations attempts against her with her work with civil rights in the South, and that the FBI did not work on trying to solve them.

Franklin Roosevelt was a great president, but a terrible husband.  I thought it was interesting how he was the “love of their life” for Eleanor and at least two other women.  This book examines Eleanor’s sexuality, but comes away with few conclusions.  She did have friends that were lesbian couples, and she had a love affair with a woman and a man.  It is not clear whether the relationships were consummated.  It also discusses how times were different back then where the press shielded the fact that Franklin and Eleanor did have an unconventional marriage.

My only negative was that I thought the book was going to really focus on Eleanor’s time in the Village.  It talked about it somewhat but was really more of an overview of her life with an emphasis on the Village.

Samantha Desz was a great narrator and I enjoyed listening to this audiobook.

Overall, Eleanor in the Village is a good overview biography of Eleanor Roosevelt.

Thursday, May 13, 2021

The Bookstore on the Beach by Brenda Novak

 


Do you have any favorite books featuring mothers?

 The Bookstore on the Beach is a multi-generational story set in a charming beachside town of Sable Beach.

 Mary owns a bookstore half and half with her best friend Laurie.  She lives a private life and is excited that her daughter Autumn is coming to visit with her two grandkids, Caden and Taylor.  As Autumn starts to ask questions about her father, Mary worries that the past she has kept secret will come out.  Autumn’s husband went missing 18 months ago.  When she runs into an old high school flame, she feels like perhaps she can move on.  Should she try to start afresh or continue to search for her husband?  Taylor misses her father, but at the beach, she makes a new friend and realizes that she may want to take a different path in life. 

 I loved the multi-generational story of The Bookstore on the Beach.  Mary, Autumn, and Taylor’s story line were all equally strong and very engaging.  The story was very dramatic. I loved the family relationships, but I also loved the look into how secrets can change your life and impact your family.  The big reveals in the story pulled on my emotions and kept me looped into the story.  I liked the mystery of a couple of the storylines as well as the contemporary issues.  I also loved the great romance that was in the story as well.  I’m being a little vague here as I LOVED the surprises, and I don’t want to ruin them for anyone else.  There is a great epilogue you also get if you sign up for Brenda Novak’s newsletter.

 I read this in April for the Brenda Novak Book Group.  We had the book club meeting last month and it was fun as always.  You can still access it on Brenda Novak’s Facebook page.   There will be a deeper discussion on Brenda Novak’s Birthday on May 15th.

 Favorite Quote:

“She’d never forget wandering down the aisles, touching the spines of the books she’d already enjoyed.  As an only child, the fictional characters they contained were her first friends, and even though she had plenty of real friends as she grew older, she was always eager to retreat into the imaginary world created by a good storyteller.”    - I love this description of the bookstore and reading!

 Overall, The Bookstore on the Beach is a great multi-generational family drama that makes the perfect beach read.

 Book Source:  Purchased from Amazon.com

Monday, May 10, 2021

Replaced Parts by Stephanie Hansen (TLC Blog Tour)

 Are you ready for a new sci fi young adult novel?  Author Stephanie Hansen has written a unique story for anyone looking for a new book and series to read.  Replaced Parts is set in a dystopian future.  Sierra is a rebellious teenager who is searching for her father.  He was a Nobel Prize winner, but he disappeared about ten years previously, rumored to have run off with a younger woman.  After finding a secret message from her father, Sierra decides to run away to the planet Vortex to find him.  Will she be able to save her father?

 Replaced Parts had very interesting world building and the plot was action packed.  The characters were very interesting as well.  I really liked the science and technology parts of this story.  It started with Sierra getting in trouble for releasing lab Koala bears, which hooked me right away into the story.

 Overall, Replaced Parts is an action-packed new sci fi young adult novel.

 Book Source:  Review Copy as part of the TLC Book Tour.  Thank-you!

About Replaced Parts

• Paperback: 240 Pages
  • Publisher: Fire & Ice Young Adult Books (January 5, 2021) In the year 2163 a corrupt World Government controls everything on our planet and beyond. Sixteen year-old Sierra has been so caught up in her own world of saving animal test subjects and her father’s disappearance, she hasn’t paid much attention. When she finally finds his location, she and her friend set off on a covert interplanetary mission to rescue him, she begins to see the corruption first hand. Discovering that her father has been on the front lines secretly trying to save human test subjects inspires her to join a revolution. But she is afraid of the collateral damage of hurting the people she loves. Will she find the strength to make a deal with the mad scientist Cromwell to save not just her friends and family but everyone? 

Purchase Links

Fire & Ice | Barnes & Noble

About Stephanie Hansen

Stephanie Hansen is a PenCraft Award Winning Author. Her short story, Break Time, and poetry has been featured in Mind’s Eye literary magazine. The Kansas Writers Association published her short story, Existing Forces, appointing her as a noted author. She has held a deep passion for writing since early childhood, but a brush with death caused her to allow it to grow. She's part of an SCBWI critique group in Lawrence, KS and two local book clubs. She attends many writers’ conferences including the Writing Day Workshops, New York Pitch, Penned Con, New Letters, All Write Now, Show Me Writers Master Class, BEA, and Nebraska Writers Guild conference as well as Book Fairs and Comic-Cons. She is a member of the deaf and hard of hearing community. Find out more about her at her website, and follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Saturday, May 8, 2021

Pipe Dreams: The Urgent Global Quest to Transform the Toilet by Chelsea Wald

 

Title:  Pipe Dreams:  The Urgent Global Quest to Transform the Toilet

Author: Chelsea Wald

Read by:  Lisa Flanagan

Publisher: Simon & Shuster Audio

Length: Approximately 8 hours and 8 minutes

Source: Review Copy from Simon & Shuster Audio.  Thank-you! 

 If there ever was a book written just for me, Pipe Dreams is it.  Pipe Dreams:  The Urgent Global Quest to Transform the Toilet is a fascinating look into sanitation.  It covers all aspects from how toilets work around the world, to how sanitary sewers and wastewater treatment plants are designed, to current problems and new ideas on how to deal with them.  I am an environmental engineer and work in the wastewater industry.  This was the perfect book for me to listen to while I drove around to wastewater treatment plant inspections.  This book was very interesting and was correct on the technical information.  If you’ve ever wondered what happens after you flush the toilet, author Chelsea Wald does a great job explaining everything in this book.  She is factual, but also full of humor which made it so fun.

 I enjoyed that the policies and psychology of toilet use were also discussed.  It’s interesting how different parts of the world differ on how a toilet is used (squat versus sit) and whether to use toilet paper versus water.  She also talks about testing of the wastewater.  The single most interesting fact to me was the doing testing around the United States for drugs, it’s  been found that drug use is consistent among all socioeconomic levels and within different races/ethnicities.  The rush for toilet paper during COVID was discussed as well as newer items in the wastewater field such as PFAS chemicals.

 Items near and dear to my heart were also discussed including the American Society of Civil Engineers Report Card and the sad state of infrastructure in the United States and world.  I worked on the wastewater section for the state of Wisconsin.  She took me out of my hard infrastructure bubble and got me thinking about other solutions for sanitation around the world.  Wald visits wastewater plants worldwide, which I thought was fascinating besides being a life goal of my own.  She also mentions the Milwaukee wastewater treatment plant and their inventive reuse of biosolids with their milorganite fertilizer product.

 Wald does an excellent job of explaining a lot of information in a fun way.  This type of information is often overlooked as no one likes to think about what happens after you flush the toilet.  It’s important to know for health reasons and for making prudent political choices to update infrastructure.  I could wax on about my great love for this audiobook for eternity, but I’ll stop now. Listen to this book and be prepared to learn and laugh. Lisa Flanagan is a great narrator.

 Overall, Pipe Dreams:  The Urgent Global Quest to Transform the Toilet is a fascinating and humorous look into toilets and sanitation.


Friday, May 7, 2021

Spark: How Genius Ignites, From Child Prodigies to Late Bloomers by Claudia Kalb (TLC Book Tours)

 Have you ever wondered why some people are child prodigies while others hit their genius in middle or old age?  I have often wondered about this.  Spark looks into this phenomenon through the exploration of the lives of twelve geniuses from Pablo Picasso to Grandma Moses.    These stories offer “New insights into the relationship between brains, talent, willpower, and circumstance, illuminating the history, science, psychology – and humanity – of genus.”  Each chapter in the book is a biography of a genius in chronological order by the age in which their genius ignites. 

I found this entire book to be both enlightening and fascinating.  I love to read biographies of great people.  I really liked the fresh angle of this book focusing on when and what caused the spark of genius to ignite.  Some of my favorite people that I have read a lot about were included such as Eleanor Roosevelt and Maya Angelou, but there were many others such as Pablo Picasso, Alexander Fleming, Peter Mark, etc. that I had previously not known much about.  I enjoyed learning more about all of these people and loved the fresh perspective from author Claudia Kalb.

Favorite Quotes:

“What role do our personality traits play in the livelihoods we pursue?  Are we born with talent or lured by passion?  How do we discover the spark that fuels our souls?  And how do we know when we’ve found it?”

“Creative people in the arts – poets, writers, painters, sculptors – often emerge from troubled pasts.” 

Overall, Spark is an inspirational book for people of all ages.

Book Source:  Review Copy from Hachette as part of the TLC Book Tour. Thank-you!  For more stops on this tour, please check out this link.

About Spark: How Genius Ignites, From Child Prodigies to Late Bloomers

• Publisher: National Geographic (April 27, 2021) • Hardcover: 368 pages Yo-Yo Ma’s ear for music emerged not long after he learned to walk. By the age of seven, he was performing for President Kennedy; by fifteen he debuted at Carnegie Hall. Maya Angelou, by contrast, didn't write her iconic memoir, I Know Why the Cage Bird Sings, until she was 40. What propels some individuals to reach extraordinary creative heights in the earliest years of life while others discover their passions decades later? Are prodigies imbued with innate talent? How often are midlife inspirations triggered by propitious events, like Julia Child's first French meal at the age of 36? Do late bloomers reveal their talents because their skills require life experience and contemplation?  

Purchase Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound

About Claudia Kalb

CLAUDIA KALB is an award-winning author and journalist who reports on a wide variety of health and science topics. She is the author of the New York Times bestseller Andy Warhol Was a Hoarder: Inside the Minds of History's Great Personalities. A former senior writer at Newsweek who has also contributed to Smithsonian and Scientific American, Kalb has written cover stories for National Geographic that explore genius through the lens of biography, history, culture, and science. She lives in Alexandria, Virginia. Find out more about Claudia at her website, and follow her on Twitter and Instagram

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Isabelle and Alexander by Rebecca Anderson (Blog Tour)

Join the virtual blog tour of ISABELLE AND ALEXANDER (Proper Romance Victorian), Rebecca Anderson’s highly acclaimed historical romance novel, May 3–16, 2021. Over forty popular blogs specializing in historical fiction, inspirational fiction, and Victorian romance will join in the celebration of its release with spotlights, exclusive excerpts, and reviews of this new Victorian-era novel set in Manchester, England. 





Isabelle Rackham is a new bride in Manchester England in 1850.  She barely knows her new husband, but knows he is a handsome successful mill owner.  Marriage does not go as Isabelle has expected.  She knows they didn’t marry for love, but she had hoped they would be able to form a relationship.  That seems unlikely as Alexander spends all of his time at the mill and barely talks when he is at home.  Alexander makes an effort to spend more time with his wife by bringing her to his beloved country estate.  While there, an unfortunate accident occurs that changes their entire world.  Will they be able to recover and have a more loving union?

 Isabelle and Alexander is a heartwarming love story.  It’s about two people learning to understand one another and open themselves up for love.  Isabelle and Alexander both work towards understanding more about each other.  It’s a slow burn novel that starts from the two of them as silent strangers to learning to love.  I greatly enjoyed this novel.

 I was also fascinated as the novel is set during Victorian times and deals with disability.  This is not something I have read about much.  I do know that during this time, it was common to send away family members who did have a disability.  Besides weathering Alexander’s disability, Isabelle befriends the Kenworthy family who have a very special daughter, Glory.  Although she goes through manic phases, the family cares for her at home and she is a very special young woman.  I love how Alexander dismisses her at first, but then over time, realizes he has underestimated Glory.

 I also loved learning about mills in this novel.  Isabelle opens herself up to learning about Alexander’s business and getting to know how it works and the people who work there.  I thought it was fascinating.

 I enjoyed Isabelle’s development as a character.  She gathered strength throughout the novel and the courage to speak out for what she believed in.  I love that she was open to learning new things and to go beyond the training as a lady that her mother provided.

 Favorite Quotes:

“You are a great deal more than well enough.  You have offered your strength when I had none, your patience as I pushed you away again and again.”

 “No decision you make affects you alone; therefore, you cannot decide crucial things in isolation.  All choices made about our family should be made by us together.”

 Overall, Isabelle and Alexander is an inspirational Victorian nontraditional romance.  I read this one quickly and enjoyed every minute of it!

 Book Source:  Review Copy from Shadow Mountain Publishing as part of the Blog Tour put together by Laurel Ann Nattress from Austenprose.  Thank-you!

QUICK FACTS

Title: Isabelle and Alexander (Proper Romance Victorian)

Author: Rebecca Anderson

Genre: Historical Fiction, Inspirational Fiction, Victorian Romance

Publisher: Shadow Mountain Publishing (May 4, 2021)

Format: Trade paperback, eBook, & audiobook (368) pages

Tour Dates: May 3-16. 2021


BOOK DESCRIPTION

Isabelle Rackham knows she will not marry for love. Though arranged marriages have fallen out of fashion, hers has been settled for some time to combine the upper-middle-class wealth of her father's coal mines with Alexander Osgood's prospering Northern country textile mills. Though not a man prone to romantic gestures, Alexander is well-known as an eligible bachelor. His good looks have turned more than one head, so Isabelle is content to think of herself as Alexander's wife.

However, her marriage is not what she expected. Northern England is nothing like her home farther west in the lake country. Cold, dreary, and dark, the soot from the textile mills creates a gray hue that seems to cling to everything in the city of Manchester. Alexander is distant and aloof, preferring to spend his time at the mill rather than with her at home. Their few conversations are brief, polite, and lacking any emotion, leaving Isabelle lonely and desperately homesick.

Sensing his wife's unhappiness, Alexander suggests a trip to his country estate. Isabelle hopes this will be an opportunity to get to know her new husband without the distractions of his business. But the change of scenery doesn't bring them any closer. While riding together on horses, Alexander is thrown from his and becomes paralyzed. Tragedy or destiny? The help and care that Alexander now needs is Isabelle's opportunity to forge a connection and create a deep and romantic love where nothing else could.

ADVANCE PRAISE

"Anderson’s first foray into historical romance is an atypical, yet satisfying story set in Victorian Manchester’s upper middle class. Hand this to readers looking for a book that navigates the peaks and valleys of two strangers attempting to make a life together despite the hardships life throws at them."— Library Journal

"Isabelle transitions from an unaware, leisure-class woman to a more enlightened spouse and supporter of the working class. Intimacy and romance develop between Isabelle and Alexander because of simple gestures, like a long look or a thoughtful gift, and their conversations. Their slow, stately courting is reader appropriate for any age or audience. Manchester also gets its due as a place of grit and incredible production. Descriptions of bustling mills reveal their impact on the couple’s family and its fortunes. Isabelle and Alexander is an intimate and touching romance novel that focuses on women’s lives in the business class of industrial England."— Foreword Reviews

"Isabelle must use her quiet spunk, busy mind, and compassionate spirit to woo her husband in a wholly new way. Anderson's debut is a lovely northern England Victorian romance about confronting the seemingly impossible and the power of empathy. Anderson also addresses the time period’s treatment of physical and intellectual disabilities. Most of all, she beautifully depicts love in its many forms beyond romance, such as compassion, patience, and vulnerability; and her characters illustrate the ways that these expressions of love carry us through even the darkest hours. Isabelle’s loving and persevering fervor and devotion will resonate with any caregiver’s heart."— Booklist


AUTHOR BIO

Rebecca Anderson is the nom de plume of contemporary romance novelist Becca Wilhite, author of Wedding Belles: A Novel in Four Parts, Check Me Out, and My Ridiculous Romantic Obsessions. Isabelle and Alexander is her debut historical romance novel. 

High school English teacher by day, writer by night (or very early morning), she loves hiking, Broadway shows, food, books, and movies. She is happily married and a mom to four above-average kids.


WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM  | GOODREADS

BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE

May 03 Lu Reviews Books (Review)

May 03 Timeless Novels (Review)

May 03 Our Book Confessions (Review)

May 04 Literary Time Out (Review)

May 04 My Bookish Bliss (Review)

May 04 The Book Diva's Reads (Excerpt)

May 05 Heidi Reads (Review) 

May 05 Laura's Reviews (Review)

May 05 Wishful Endings (Review)

May 05 Gwendalyn's Reviews (Review)

May 06 Margie's Must Reads (Review)

May 06 Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen (Excerpt)

May 06 Relz Reviewz (Review)

May 07 Randi Loves 2 Read (Spotlight)

May 07 The Reading Frenzy (Review)

May 07 Nurse Bookie (Review)

May 08 The Christian Fiction Girl (Review)

May 08 The Bibliophile Files (Review)

May 09 Reading with Emily (Review)

May 09 Fire and Ice (Spotlight)

May 10 My Jane Austen Book Club (Excerpt)

May 10 The Caffeinated Bibliophile (Review)

May 10 Booked Solid (Review) 

May 10 From Pemberley to Milton (Spotlight)

May 11 Greenish Bookshelf (Review)

May 11 Captivated Reading (Review)

May 11 The Green Mockingbird (Review)

May 12 For Where Your Treasure Is (Excerpt)

May 12 Bookworm Lisa (Review)

May 13 Books, Teacups & Reviews (Spotlight)

May 13 Library of Clean Reads (Review)

May 13 Robin Loves Reading (Review)

May 13 So Little Time (Excerpt)

May 14 Eli's Novel Reviews (Review)

May 14 The Lit Bitch (Review)

May 14 The Bluestocking (Review)

May 15 Reading Is My Superpower (Review)

May 15 Christian Chick's Thoughts (Review)

May 15 A Darn Good Read (Review)

May 16 The Silver Petticoat Review (Excerpt)

May 16 CozyNookBooks (Review)


PURCHASE LINKS 

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE BOOK DEPOSITORY | BOOKSHOP

| DESERET BOOK | GOODREADS



Tuesday, May 4, 2021

A Burning by Megha Majumdar

I’ve been hearing a lot of great things about A Burning by Megha Majumdar for the past year, so I recommended it for the Rogue Book Club pick for April.  We read it and met to discuss it a few weeks ago.  We met in person for the first time in forever as everyone is now fully vaccinated.  I was the sole person not complete with the series as everyone else is a teacher or nurse in the club and was higher up on the list!

 A terrorist attack on a train in India has killed over one hundred people.  The police focus in on Jivan, a Muslim girl that lives in the slums after she posts an ill-thought-out remark on Facebook.  As Jivan is arrested, her story is told through her viewpoint and two other viewpoints - PT Sir and Lovely.  PT Sir was Jivan’s gym teacher but finds himself rising in a political party by helping to cause Jivan’s downfall.  Lovely is a hijra and dreams of becoming a Bollywood star.  Jivan was teaching her how to read and Lovely is her alibi.  If Lovely comes forward, how will that affect her career?  As the three lives intertwine, will the truth come out?

 I was not sure what a hijra was when I started this book and I had to look it up.  It’s “in the West, she would likely identify as a transgender woman, but in India she falls into a category of the gender ambiguous who earn a living by begging and giving blessings at weddings.” (From Chicago Review of Books).  I thought Lovely’s story was very intriguing as I had not previously read anything about hijra and how they function in Indian society.  It was also an interesting discussion point at our book club.  The story was choppy and not a happy one, but it was very interesting how the story set in a different country parallels what is happening in the United States currently.  We saw parallels both with the treatment of Transgender people and in the justice system. I read Just Mercy last year and I felt like the treatment of Jivan in this book was unfortunately the treatment that many people of color receive in the United States. 

 Favorite Quote:

“It is true that there is a lot about life that the law misses.”

 Overall, A Burning is a great read about justice and corruption in modern day India that parallels current events in the United States.

 Book Source:  Borrowed from the Kewaunee Public Library – Thank-you!

Thursday, April 29, 2021

The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi


Lakshmi escaped an abusive arranged marriage and created a new life for herself in 1950’s metropolitan Jaipur. She uses her skills as a Henna artist and as a natural medicine healer to create a life for herself.  She has saved money and is having her dream house built.  Her entire world starts to change as a sister she never knew she had, Radha, arrives with the husband she left behind.  Will Lakshmi still be able to accomplish her dreams?

 I’ve gotten a bit behind here on reviews and will hopefully catch up soon!  I read The Henna Artist for the Page-turners’ Book Club April pick for the Kewaunee Public Library.  We had our discussion on it a couple of weeks ago.  The consensus was that we all enjoyed the story.  It was an interesting and unique plot and a look into a world that I don’t know much about.  I really liked Lakshmi’s perseverance and her desire to have a life on her own terms.

 Overall, The Henna Artist is great story of an independent woman in 1950’s India.

 Book Source:  Borrowed from the Kewaunee Public Library – Thank-you!

Friday, April 23, 2021

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo


What book to film adaptations are your favorites?

I received Shadow and Bone for my birthday and read it this week so that I would be ready for the new Netflix series.  I thought it was a movie and was pleasantly surprised to see it is a series.  I can’t wait to watch it!

Shadow and Bone is a fantasy Young Adult novel and is the first in a trilogy.  Alina Starkov is an orphan along with her friend Mal.  She is a mapmaker while he is a tracker.  While they are passing through the Shadow Fold, a darkness filled with monsters, they are attacked. Alina saves the day with a power that she didn’t know that she had.  The mysterious Darkling comes and takes her away for training as a Grishna, a magical soldier of sorts.  As Alina tries to navigate her new world, she wonders what is her purpose and where is Mal?

I though this world was absorbing, and I really liked the story.  It was a unique fantasy world and plot.  Bardugo borrows from Russian themes and sets this in a far north type of world.  It is a coming-of-age story for Alina and also features a love triangle as well.  There is a lot of angst, but I enjoyed it as a light fantasy romance.  I really liked the dark ending.  I’ve ordered the next two books and can’t wait to see what happens next!

Favorite Quotes:

“We all did our part to bring about the end of the world.”

Overall, Shadow and Bone is a great fantasy novel with an interesting world. 

Book Source:  Birthday gift from my best friend Jen!

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Caste: The Origin of our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson

 

Title:  Caste: The Origin of our Discontents

Author: Isabel Wilkerson

Read by:  Robin Miles

Publisher: Random House Audio

Length: Approximately 14 hours and 26 minutes

Source: Checked out on Overdrive from the Kewaunee Public Library.  Thank-you! 

 Our country has been going through a powerful racial reckoning during this past year.  Caste:  The Origins of our Discontent by Isabel Wilkerson theorizes that much of our current day problems are because of an unspoken caste system or hierarchy that is used in America.  She compares the caste systems of America, India, and Nazi Germany in this book.  Wilkerson shows the power of the caste system through a deep dive into history and into personal stories including her own.  She also talks about the future and how to make changes for the good including not just being anti-racist yourself but speaking up when you hear someone making racist comments.

 I found this book to be eye opening and vastly discomforting at times, but it made me really think about my own biases.   I found it to be very informative and it made a lot of sense for the state of our country now.  I was shocked to learn that the Nazis based their treatment of Jewish people on how America treated African Americans.  My one compliant is that I wish there would have been more explanation of the Indian caste system.  I’m still slightly puzzled by that system.  The book is very current ending last year when it was published during the COVID crisis.  It does not shirk away from talking about politics the last five years.

 Robin Miles was the narrator of this audiobook and I thought of her as the voice of the author.  Her voice was engaging, and I couldn’t stop listening to this audiobook.

 Favorite Quotes:

“Caste is structure. Caste is ranking. Caste is the boundaries that reinforce the fixed assignments based upon what people look like. Caste is a living, breathing entity.”

 “Evil asks little of the dominant caste other than to sit back and do nothing. All that it needs from bystanders is their silent complicity in the evil committed on their behalf, though a caste system will protect, and perhaps even reward, those who deign to join in the terror.”

 “So the real question would be,' he said finally, 'if people were given the choice between democracy and whiteness, how many would choose whiteness?'”

 Overall, Caste by Isabel Wilkerson is a book that every American should read.


Tuesday, April 20, 2021

An Invincible Summer by Mariah Stewart (TLC Book Tours)

What are your favorite family drama novels? 

Maggie Flynn is returning to her hometown of Wyndham Beach for her 40th class reunion.  She has been recently widowed, but is eager to catch up with her best friends Lydia and Emma.  While at the reunion, old memories are awakened when she runs into her high school boyfriend Brett Crawford.  Why did the golden couple break up so long ago?  What secrets do they still keep?

Maggie’s two daughters are also going through a rough time as well.  The story details how all three women are faced with tragedy and changes in life and how they move forward.  It’s a story of friendship and family.  I greatly enjoyed it.  I also really loved that the main character was a woman in her 50’s.  I feel like that age group is very underrepresented in literature.  I read this book quickly as I enjoyed the plot and the characters. It reminds me of what my Great Grandma would say was a “good story,” which meant a character driven story in which you really cared about the characters and their lives.  I would love for this story to continue.  I see on Goodreads that it is listed as Wyndham Beach #1 so I hope that my wish for more to the story happens with another novel!

Favorite Quotes:

“Letting go of the anger Maggie’d held on to for so many years felt like dropping a hundred-pound weight she’d been carrying on her back.”

“Friendship is complicated.  Families are complicated.  Love is complicated.”

Overall, An Invincible Summer by Mariah Stewart is a great character driven family drama novel.

Book Source:  Review Copy as part of the TLC Book Tour.  Thank-you!  For more stops on this tour, check out this link.

For a giveaway of this book, check out my Instagram (link is in the upper right hand corner of this blog).