Friday, May 31, 2024

The Goddess of Warsaw by Lisa Barr (Bibliolifestyle Book Tour)

Thank you, Partner @bibliolifestyle @harperperennial for the review copy of The Goddess of Warsaw by Lisa Barr.  This book was just published this week on May 28th.

What is the last book that you read that you couldn’t put down?  The Goddess of Warsaw had a riveting plot line and I kept finding myself reading this whenever I had a moment.

Lena Browning is a legendary actress that is mostly retired in 2005.  When a new and upcoming actress, Sienna, asks to play Lena in a biopic of her life.  Sienna gets more than she bargained for as Lena launches into her true-life story.  Lena was born Bina Blonski in Warsaw and was a wealthy Polish Jew when WWII started and destroyed her life.  Bina becomes a spy, an assassin, a whore; whatever it takes to protect her family and fellow Jews while also exacting revenge on the Nazis.  She rises to stardom in the 1950s and continues as a femme fatale in real life tracking down and executing Nazis living under cover in the United States.  Will Lena ever be able to put the past behind her?

My thoughts on this novel:

·       This was a very engaging novel – a real page turner.  I would class this as an action-adventure historical fiction novel.

·       Bina is blonde and able to pass as an Aryan woman.  She uses this and her acting skills to help smuggle weapons and food into the ghetto during WWII.

·       I didn’t feel the love triangle between Bina, her husband Jakub, and Jakub’s brother Aleks.  I didn’t understand her undying love for Aleks.  She first saw him as a teenager across the room and played hard to get.  He instead dated and married her best friend, and she married his brother Jakub.  I did feel like the end of the novel really pulled this part of the story line together.

·       Luckily, the plot moved on from the love story and focused more on Bina as a femme fatale which I really enjoyed.

·       This was a novel of revenge and vengeance through time.  The timelines were WWII, 1950s, and 2005.  I got a The Count of Monte Cristo vibe from this novel with Bina as Edmond Dantes.

·       As a WWII novel mostly set in the Ghetto in Warsaw, there is a lot of tragedy, loss, and sadness in this novel.  It did make me tear up at times, but the story kept moving and didn’t let me wallow in the tragedy.

·       I thought the ending of this novel was perfect and really tied together the complete story and all the timelines.

·       I enjoyed the author’s note at the end that explained the inspirations and real history of this novel.  I had never heard of the Warsaw Uprising and it is an important part of history.  This novel was a unique story different than other WWII fiction I have read.

·       I also thought it was touching that author Lisa Barr’s own grandmother was a holocaust survivor.  This was my first Lisa Barr novel, but I will be reading more of her work.

Favorite Quote: “What you don’t know, what Nazis can’t sniff out or tell by a tic or nervous gesture, is that I am nearly twenty-four years old, and I have portrayed practically every part imaginable:  heroine, wife, lover, mistress, daughter, almost-mother, villain, maid, whore, seductress, smuggler, assassin.  I am a woman born to become anyone other than who she really is.”

 Overall, The Goddess of Warsaw is a riveting historical fiction adventure and a great tale of revenge.

The Six: The Untold Story of America’s First Women Astronauts by Loren Grush


Title: The Six:  The Untold Story of America’s First Women Astronauts

Author:  Loren Grush

Narrated by:  Ines del Castillo

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio

Length: Approximately 11 hours and 41 minutes

Source: Review Copy from Simon & Schuster Audio.  Thank you @simonandschuster @BookClubFavorites #BookClubFavorites for the free books!

Can you name the first six women astronauts?  Before I read this book, I only knew about the first woman in space, Sally Ride.  I was very happy to learn the remarkable story of the first class of female astronauts selected in 1978:  Sally Ride, Judy Resnik, Kathy Sullivan, Anna Fisher, Margaret “Rhea” Seddon, and Shannon Lucid through the new book The Six by Loren Grush.

My thoughts on this book: 

·       I read this both as a physical book and listened to the audiobook.  I liked that the book had a brief two pages of the “cast of characters” describing the six women astronauts.  It helped me to keep the ladies straight while I was listening to the audiobook.  I would reference this section often at the start of the book.

·       The physical book has great pictures and index.

·       Nichelle Nichols visited Nasa’s newly named Johnson Space Center to talk about the space shuttle and a new crop of astronauts.  These astronauts were going to be more than just test pilots.  They wanted scientists and engineers, women, and people of color to apply.  This sounds like it was a very inspirational pitch that got a lot of people to apply.

·       Just like their male counterparts, all six women were extraordinary, very smart, and successful people.

·       Unfortunately, the novelty of female astronauts caused a lot of press and strange questions to them.  I can’t imagine as an engineer being asked about make-up and dating rather than your skills that got you to your position.

·       I really identified with Judy Resnik and loved her story.  I was horrified to discover that she was killed on the Challenger.  I was eight when the Challenger exploded, and we watched it live on TV at school.  Christa McAuliffe, a schoolteacher going to space to show that space travel was for everyone, is the person that most stuck in my mind from this disaster.  I was glad to learn more about the rest of the crew.

·       Besides learning the early history of each woman and why they became astronauts, and how they made their way through training and going to space, I learned a great deal about the space program in the 1970s and 1980s.

·       I also learned a lot about the Challenger disaster and Sally Ride’s involvement in the investigation afterwards.  I want to learn more.

·       Each woman was treated in the book as an individual and we also learned about their lives outside of the space program.

·       Sally Ride was chosen as the first woman in space as it was believed she could best handle the overwhelming attention she received.  It is amazing how much attention she received compared to the other five women.

·       The writing was very engaging, and I learned a lot from this nonfiction book.  I read most of this book for Women’s History month in March and finished it up at the beginning of April.

 Overall, The Six is a captivating nonfiction book that chronicles that true stories of the first six women astronauts.  I recommend it to everyone.

Sunday, May 26, 2024

Daughter of Mine by Megan Miranda


Title: Daughter of Mine

Author:  Megan Miranda

Narrated by:  Ines del Castillo

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio

Length: Approximately 10 hours and 19 minutes

Source: Review Copy from Simon & Schuster Audio.  Thank you @simonandschuster @BookClubFavorites #BookClubFavorites for the free books!

Do you like to vacation by a lake, ocean, or other body of water?  I always think it’s fun to canoe, boat, and swim in water during vacations.

Hazel Sharpe’s father has recently passed away.  She returns home to Mirror Lake for his funeral and to settle the estate.  Much to her surprise, she discovers that her father, a long-time detective in town, left her his house, and her brothers his assets, but his accounts are empty.  As the town goes without rain, two cars are discovered in the lake as goes to record lows.  She realizes that her father has left her clues to follow to figure a mystery that is ongoing at Mirror Lake.  What does it all mean, and what does it have to do with her mother’s disappearance when she was a child?

My thoughts on this novel:

·       This thriller had a lot of twists and turns that were very exciting.  It was a great thriller for keeping me engaged and awake through a long drive last month.

·       This was my first book by author Megan Miranda, and I definitely need to read more of her novels.

·       I love water and my career is based on it.  I really liked how each chapter started with a summary of how many days the community had been without rain.  I liked how the water was tied into the story.

·       I felt a sense of foreboding throughout the novel that was tied in with the weather.  It all cumulated in the climax at the end.  I had some hints along the way, but I didn’t guess the ending.

·       I liked the family dynamics and how they played out in the novel.

·       I felt bad for Hazel as she spent her life grappling with being abandoned by her mother.

·       I love the setting – it made me want to visit Mirror Lake, North Carolina.  I had to Google it when I finished the novel, and it looks like it is a real place!

·       I liked how the book had the theme of “daughters are different.”

·       Ines del Castillo was a great narrator!

Overall, Daughter of Mine was a riveting thriller and I greatly enjoyed it.


Everyone on This Train is a Suspect by Benjamin Stevenson


Have you taken a trip on a train?  I’ve been on a train a few times in my life, but a fun trip I’ll always remember is going with my Mom, sisters, and our kids on a train to Chicago for a day trip and a visit to the American Girl Doll store.  It was a lot of fun.

The Australian Mystery Writer’s Society has invited the narrator of this novel, Ernest Cunningham, to their crime writing festival aboard the Ghan, a famous train that travels between Darwin and Adelaide.  Ernest wrote a book called Everyone in My Family has Killed Someone and is looking for inspiration for his second novel.  His girlfriend Elizabeth is along for the trip, and she also wrote a book about their experiences.  There are other famous mystery authors on the trip, and when one ends up dead, they are all trying to solve the crime.  Fans, publishers, and agents are also on the train.  Who was the murderer and why?

My thoughts on this book:

·       I still need to read the first book, Everyone in My Family Has Killed Someone, but I thought this would be a fun read.  I read and enjoyed this book in February and I’m finally just now getting my review posted.  This book can be read as a standalone.

·       Ernest cracked me up.  He has a great sense of humor and just the way the book was written, it often had me laughing.

·       I loved the first-person narration and the breaking of the fourth wall.

·       I also enjoyed the references to the golden age mysteries and authors, such as the obvious Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie.

·       I did not guess the ending of this mystery and it kept me guessing throughout.

·       I didn’t like the sheer number of characters.  I kept mixing them up as I was reading this novel.

Overall, Everyone on Train is a Suspect was a fun and exciting mystery.  It was very enjoyable, and I recommend it for anyone who enjoys golden age mysteries.

Book Source:  Review copy from Mariner Books. Thank-you!  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

The Light We Carry by Michelle Obama


Title:  The Light We Carry:  Overcoming in Uncertain Times

Author:  Michelle Obama

Narrated by:  Michelle Obama

Publisher: Random House Audio

Length: Approximately 9 hours and 59 minutes

Source: Checked out with Libby through the Kewaunee Public Library.  Physical copy was a Christmas gift.  Thank-you!


What have been some good inspirational books that you have read lately?

I really enjoyed listening to the audiobook of The Light We Carry:  Overcoming in Uncertain Times by Michelle Obama in February.  I love first ladies and hearing their personal stories.  My thoughts on this book:

·       This book had Michelle Obama’s thoughts on the state of the world coming out of the COVID lockdown and how to stay connected.  I thought this was all good and thoughtful information.

·       I enjoyed the personal vignettes on her life throughout the book.  I also enjoyed her theme of aiming high while moving forward with life.

·       I liked the discussion on how difficult it is to make new friends when you live in the White House.

·       I loved hearing more of the love story between Barack and Michelle Obama.  I especially like that Barack had a list for why they should date when he was trying to convince Michelle.  He sounded like an engineer.

·       This book was a great mix of advice, self-help, and real life experiences.

·       I read this reading this book in the physical copy as well as listening to Michelle Obama narrate the audiobook.  I love it when authors narrate their own books.

Overall, The Light We Carry was both an inspiring book and a book to learn more about the former first lady.

Friday, May 17, 2024

For a Lifetime by Gabrielle Meyer (Austenprose PR Book Tour)


If you could time travel, what time period would you travel to?  I always loved the thought of time travel when I was young, but now in middle age, I realize I love modern sanitation and medicine too much to want to time travel.  If I did time travel, I think it would be fun to go back 100 years ago and visit my Great Grandparents when they were young.

Grace and Hope are identical twins that live in both 1692 Salem Massachusetts and 1912 New York City.  They live in 1692 for a day, and when they wake up the next day, they are in 1912.  In 1692, the Salem witch trials are starting to heat up.  The sisters start to get answers about the mysterious death of their mother when they were infants, while also fearing these answers could have them tried as witches.  In 1912, Grace is a journalist and Hope is a groundbreaking Aviatrix.  They must decide when they are twenty-five, which time period they will live in forever.  Which will they choose?

My thoughts on this novel:

·       I loved Book #2 in this series, In this Moment, and I still need to read the first book in the series.  I liked how this book was written in a different way by having twin sisters.  The chapters alternated between the two sisters with one narrating the 1692 chapters and the other narrating the 1912 chapters.  About halfway through, the sisters switched who was narrating.

·       This book works as a standalone, but there are characters in it from the previous books which is fun.

·       The Salem witch trials have always fascinated and terrified me.  Grace and Hope are unmarried twenty-four-year-old women, which was old for that time.  They were in a precarious position as their neighbors started to be accused.

·       I enjoyed the mystery during the Salem time period about their mother.

·       I hated the stepmother from the 1692 time period. She was a good villain.


I didn’t realize there was such animosity between Quakers and Puritans.  I am descended from both, so I found that to be very interesting.

·       The romance was complicated as in each timeline one sister loved someone who did not love them.

·       I have always loved books about flying and early aviation.  It made this book extra fun having a subplot about flying in the 1912 time period.   It was very early for flight and very dangerous. 

·       The author’s historical note at the end of the story was fascinating about both time periods.  She meticulously researched both time periods and based Hope on an early aviator named Harriet Quimby.  I want to learn more about her!

·       I enjoyed the excerpt at the end of the novel for Across the Ages, the next book in this series which will be out this November.

·       This book is a clean read and a Christian novel.

Favorite Quote – I love the first line: “It was a strange reality to be on the precipice of tragedy and not be able to stop it.”

Overall, For a Lifetime by Gabrielle Meyer was an enjoyable time travel novel with a great plot and wonderful characters.  It was a great escape read for me during a very busy time.  I recommend this series!

Book Source:  Review copy from Bethany House as part of the Austenprose PR Book Tour. Thank-you!  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.


Grace and Hope are identical twin sisters born with the ability to time-cross together between 1692 Salem, Massachusetts, and 1912 New York City. As their twenty-fifth birthday approaches, they will have to choose one life to keep and one to leave behind forever--no matter the cost.

In 1692, they live and work in their father's tavern, where they must watch helplessly as the witch trials unfold in their village, threatening everyone. With the help of a handsome childhood friend, they search for the truth behind their mother's mysterious death, risking everything to expose a secret that could save their lives--or be their undoing.

In 1912, Hope dreams of becoming one of the first female pilots in America, and Grace works as an investigative journalist, uncovering corruption and injustice. After their parents' orphanage is threatened by an adversary, they enter a contest to complete a perilous cross-country flight under the guidance of a daring French aviator.

The sisters have already decided which timeline they will choose, but an unthinkable tragedy complicates the future they planned for themselves. As their birthday looms, how will they determine the lives--and loves--that are best for both of them?


Gabrielle Meyer ( is an ECPA bestselling author. She has worked for state and local historical societies and loves writing fiction inspired by real people, places, and events. She currently resides along the banks of the Mississippi River in central Minnesota with her husband and four children. By day, she's a busy homeschool mom, and by night she pens fiction and nonfiction filled with hope.

Thursday, May 16, 2024

Penance by Eliza Clark (Bibliolifestyle Book Tour)


Thank you, Partner @bibliolifestyle @harperperennial for the review copy of Penance by Eliza Clark.

What is the last book that you read that disturbed you?

Penance by Eliza Clark was a disturbingly good novel.  I couldn’t put this book down when I was reading it.  I’m still thinking about it.  In 2016, in a small beachside town in England, a sixteen-year-old girl, named Joan Wilson, was beaten, set on fire, and left for dead by three other teenage girls. What would make these girls do this to another fellow human being that some of them called a friend?  Can we as readers trust the narrator of this novel, journalist Alec Carelli, who has lost a daughter of his own? 

My thoughts on this novel:

·       The format of this novel was very interesting.  It was basically a fictional journalist putting together what happened for this crime.  He divides up the book into sections for the different suspects.  There are interviews, journal entries, articles, the author’s notes, and the author’s fictionalized versions of what he think might have happened. 

·       The unreliable narrator is always intriguing to me.  The author talks about his daughter also having died to some of his interview subjects.  The why of her death was not revealed until the end.  It also was interesting as it reveals that many of the subjects of the book did not agree with how he wrote them and that he may have come by the journal entries through dubious means.  How much is the truth shaped by the person who writes the narrative?

·       I was horrified by the crime and automatically labeled the girls as evil.  As I read each of their stories and delved deeper into their characters, there was a lot more going on.  Each of them was damaged in some way, mostly abandoned by adult figures in their lives, and trying to find a way to cope.

·       One way to cope was that a couple of the girls basically went into dark places online and that translated to their reality.  They became obsessed with American school shootings and one in particular.  One of the girls started writing fan fiction about that particular school shooting.  The fictional slowly became their reality.

·       This really hit home with me as there was recently a school shooter in Mount Horeb, Wisconsin.  He tried to break into the school with a weapon but was shot and killed by the police after he aimed his gun at them and refused to drop it.  It was discovered afterwards that he was obsessed with school shootings and had a false alter ego online that his family knew nothing about.  One of his last posts was that he didn’t know how to get help and get him out of this evil place.  This was exactly what happened to the girls in Penance.

·       It made me ponder, how do we help the youth of today with dealing with social media and mental health?

·       It also made me ponder Wisconsin.  This book was written by an English author and is set in England.  Yet the Slender Man stabbings are discussed a lot and the fictional crime in this book had some of the same elements.  The Slender Man stabbings occurred ten years ago in Waukesha, Wisconsin.  A famous Wisconsin serial killer, Jeffrey Dahmer is also discussed.

·       Can we always trust true crime to tell us the truth of a story?  When does being interested in true crime cross the line into an unhealthy obsession?

Favorite Quote, “Even short lives are complex and rich.  Even dead children are full of contradictions and flaws and mysteries that will never be fully understood or solved.”

Overall, Penance was a compelling, complex novel that investigates the dark side of true crime fandom, social media, and how it can impact fragile youth.  It was a disturbing but thoughtful novel. 

Book Feature: A Spy Like Me by Kim Sherwood

Thank you, Partner @bibliolifestyle @williammorrowbooks for the review copy of A Spy Like Me by Kim Sherwood.  I read the first book in this spy thriller series based in the James Bond world last year and loved it.  I have started this novel and I am enjoying it as well.

What is your favorite James Bond movie?



An elite team of MI6 agents must go undercover to unravel a smuggling network funding violent terror in the second thrilling adventure in the acclaimed Double O series by Kim Sherwood.

James Bond is alive.

Or at least, he was when he left a clue at the black site where the insidious private military company Rattenfänger held him captive. MI6 cannot spare any more lives attempting to track down one missing agent—no exceptions, even for Bond. But Johanna Harwood, 003, has her own agenda. Sidelined by her superiors while she grieves the loss of a loved one, Harwood goes on an unsanctioned mission: to find 007. Meanwhile, MI6 has another problem…

A bomb has detonated in London.

Double O agents on the trail of the terrorists responsible acted quickly to prevent mass destruction and save lives. But MI6 failed to neutralize the nation’s enemies before they could strike, and one of their own was seriously injured in the blast.

They won’t fail again.

Assigned to root out the source of the terrorists’ funding, Joseph Dryden, 004, and Conrad Harthrop-Vane, 000, enter the field. Tracing clues from Sotheby’s auction house to Crete to Venice, they uncover a money laundering scheme involving diamonds, black market antiquities, and human trafficking. Once a major sale is made, a six-day countdown to the next terror attack begins. As the Double O’s follow the twisting trail, they find themselves unexpectedly inching closer to Bond…

What do you think?

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Every Time We Say Goodbye by Natalie Jenner (Austenprose PR Book Tour)


Title:  Every Time We Say Goodbye

Author:  Natalie Jenner

Narrated by:  Juliet Aubrey

Publisher:  MacMillian Audio

Length: Approximately 10 hours and 37 minutes

Source: Thank-you to NetGalley for the audiobook review copy.  Thank-you St. Martin’s Press and Austenprose for the review copy of the physical book.


Are you a fan of classic movies?  I love classic movies and could watch them all day if I had the time.  Time seems to be a problem for me lately with my oldest son near high school graduation and us deciding to redo our hardwood floors. 

Happy #bookbirthday today to Every Time We Say Goodbye by Natalie Jenner. 

Every Time We Say Goodbye is the story of Vivian Lowry.  In 1955, she wrote a play that audiences loved, but critics loathed.  Following the recommendations of friends, Vivian travels to Italy where she works as a script doctor on a movie.  She also uses her time there to investigate the disappearance of her fiancé during WWII.  Flashbacks also tell the story of “La Scolaretta”, a schoolgirl who is also an assassin during WWII.  How are these two stories related?

My thoughts on this novel:

·       With my hectic schedule, I once again found it best to review this book as both an audiobook and a physical book.  It worked well.  Juliet Aubrey was a soothing narrator.

·       I felt immersed in 1950s Italy in this novel and loved the details of movie making in Italy during this time period.  It was fun when real life actors, such as Sophia Loren and Ava Gardner, made an appearance.

·       This is the third novel in The Jane Austen Society series, but the series is very loosely related.  Vivian is a character in the previous books, and in this novel, she gets her own story.  Other characters pop back up as well.  It’s fun if you’ve read the previous two books, but this book can very much be a standalone novel.

·       I thought it was interesting exploring how the Catholic Church was involved with the making of the movies during this time.  It was much more involved than I thought. 

·       I didn’t know how the two storylines were connected for a long time while reading this novel, but they came together beautifully at the end.

·       This was a thoughtful look at love and loss, how to best remember someone when they are gone, and how to move on from that loss.

·       I had a harder time engaging with the characters in this novel than I did in the previous novels. 

Favorite Quote:  “Yet in the end, goodness is fixed and steady, and not so difficult to spot.  It is evil that takes a bewildering number of forms and keeps changing its shape, tricking you with false promises and reasoning, taunting you into resignation.”

Overall, Every Time We Say Goodbye was a well written novel that gives the reader an immersive experience of 1950s filmmaking in Italy as well as a thoughtful look at how WWII impacted the people of that time.


The bestselling author of The Jane Austen Society and Bloomsbury Girls returns with a brilliant novel of love and art, of grief and memory, of confronting the past and facing the future.

In 1955, Vivien Lowry is facing the greatest challenge of her life. Her latest play, the only female-authored play on the London stage that season, has opened in the West End to rapturous applause from the audience. The reviewers, however, are not as impressed as the playgoers and their savage notices not only shut down the play but ruin Lowry's last chance for a dramatic career. With her future in London not looking bright, at the suggestion of her friend, Peggy Guggenheim, Vivien takes a job in as a script doctor on a major film shooting in Rome’s Cinecitta Studios. There she finds a vibrant movie making scene filled with rising stars, acclaimed directors, and famous actors in a country that is torn between its past and its potentially bright future, between the liberation of the post-war cinema and the restrictions of the Catholic Church that permeates the very soul of Italy.

As Vivien tries to forge a new future for herself, she also must face the long-buried truth of the recent World War and the mystery of what really happened to her deceased fiancé. Every Time We Say Goodbye is a brilliant exploration of trauma and tragedy, hope and renewal, filled with dazzling characters both real and imaginary, from the incomparable author who charmed the world with her novels The Jane Austen Society and Bloomsbury Girls.


NATALIE JENNER is the author of the instant international bestseller The Jane Austen Society and Bloomsbury Girls. A Goodreads Choice Award runner-up for historical fiction and finalist for best debut novel, The Jane Austen Society was a USA Today and #1 national bestseller and has been sold for translation in twenty countries. Born in England and raised in Canada, Natalie has been a corporate lawyer, career coach and, most recently, an independent bookstore owner in Oakville, Ontario, where she lives with her family and two rescue dogs. Visit her website to learn more.

Saturday, May 11, 2024

How to Read a Book by Monica Wood (Bibliolifestyle Book Tour)


Thank you, Partner @bibliolifestyle @marinerbooks for the review copy of How to Read a Book by Monica Wood.  This book was published on May 7th.

Did you have a special person in your life who helped inspire your love of reading?  My Great-Grandma Kile gave me Litte House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder for my 8th birthday, and it started my passion for reading.  I sat immediately down and read it in one afternoon.  I had many beloved librarians who helped me along the way such as Mrs. Hamp in elementary school and Mrs. Mack in middle school.  Many teachers inspired my love of reading as well including my high school English teacher and friend, Mrs. Smith. 

How to Read a Book by Monica Wood is a beautifully written book that I literally could not put down.  Harriet Larson is a retired English teacher who has started a book club at a local prison for women.  She and the women all find themselves inspired by their reading selections and each other.  One young woman, Violet, gets released from prison.  She later meets Harriet in a bookstore, and she also meets Frank, a retired machinist, whose wife that she was in prison for killing during a drunk driving accident.  After this meeting, their three lives intersect in a fascinating way.  Will they all be able to find forgiveness in their hearts to move forward with life?

My thoughts on this book:

·       Wow!  This book was a tour de force.  It was a short book, but it packed in quite a story.

·       The story was told in alternating chapters from either Violet, Harriet, or Frank’s viewpoints.

·       The characters were all wonderfully developed, engaging, and complicated.  For instance, Frank is hiding the fact that he felt relief when his wife died in the car accident.  She was on her way to a divorce lawyer to start the divorce proceedings as she was having an affair.  He feels very guilty for feeling this way.

·       I always love the themes of forgiveness and second chances.  Harriet sees the women in the prison for who they are, individual women who have made a mistake, but that deserve a second chance in life.  She listens to them and respects them as no one else seems to do in prison. 

·       I also enjoyed the look at letting go of your guilt.  Frank feels guilty for his feelings about his wife’s death and Violet feels guilty for both killing Frank’s wife and for her mother’s death from cancer while she was in prison.  They both go through the journey of moving on from their guilt and helping each other to do it.

·       I always love books about books.  I love Maya Angelou and loved that the prison book club enjoyed her poetry.  They also really enjoyed The Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters.  I remember learning about this book and reading a short snippet in American Literature, but I have never read the entire book.  This inspired me to move it further up my list!

·       I also enjoy second chance romance, which this book also had.

·       Violet gets a job working with Grey African Parrots and I loved it and learning more about the parrots.

·       This book really showed how having compassion for your fellow human beings helps not only them, but yourself as well.

·       The humor in this book gave me many a good chuckle.

·       This is a feel-good story, and I loved the ending.

Favorite Quotes:

“The line between this and that, you and her, us and them, the line is thin.”

“I’m just a person who hopes to be a good person.”

“I can accept your apology, which isn’t necessary.  But I honestly don’t know how to accept your forgiveness.”

Overall, How to Read a Book by Monica Wood is a beautifully written book about forgiveness, second chances, empathy, and the complicated feelings of being human.  I couldn’t put this book down and I highly recommend it.  It’s one of my favorite books of this year so far