I’m shocked to report that I’ve already read 20 books this year! At this rate, I should probably up my 2021 reading goal, but I’m kind of loving that it can give me the luxury of finally checking out some of those reallllllly long books that have been sitting on my TBR forever — so for now I’m leaving it. This last month also gave me my first AND second 5-star reads of the year, which is awesome. Let’s dive into what I read and see if there’s any you’d like to check out.[Read more...] about Show Us Your Books Reading Recap — What I Read in February
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue + Sweet and Savory Madeleines
I can’t remember when I first heard of The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab, but no sooner than I did, it was suddenly everywhere. People couldn’t stop talking about it, and with the description, I could see why. Still, I was a little hesitant to pick it up because we all know how I feel about high expectations — they can ruin many a reading experience.
Addie LaRue is about a young woman in 18th century France who makes a bargain with the devil to live forever — and in that bargain she is doomed to never be remembered by anyone she meets. Until someone does remember her.[Read more...] about The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue + Sweet and Savory Madeleines
Show Us Your Books Reading Recap — What I Read in January
Happy February! I hope you’re staying warm! It’s freezing here (literally, below freezing for most of this week, according to the forecast). It’s the kind of weather that makes you want to curl up under a blanket and read a book — I would say it’s great weather for reading, but what weather isn’t, really? I read a lot of great books this month, including some long-awaited reads that didn’t disappoint. Let’s get to them![Read more...] about Show Us Your Books Reading Recap — What I Read in January
The Bean Trees + Roasted Tomatillo Salsa
The Bean Trees is a book I’ve been wanting to read for a while. I picked up a copy years ago at a used book sale. It sat on my shelf untouched. In early 2020, I received another copy in the mail from a friend, and though that should’ve been the catalyst I needed, it wasn’t. So, in pursuit of my "read my shelves" goal this year, I chose it as my book club’s latest read — and finally, mission accomplished!
Barbara Kingsolver’s novel follows Taylor Greer, who grew up in Kentucky with a focus on avoiding pregnancy and getting out of town in the future. She heads west in a beat-up car and finds herself caring for an abandoned child, an American Indian girl she calls Turtle. The story is about their life together as they settle in Arizona with a group of friends who becomes family. It’s a short book, but one that I thought was perfect for a book club discussion.[Read more...] about The Bean Trees + Roasted Tomatillo Salsa
The Pull of the Stars + Irish Barmbrack
Emma Donoghue’s latest novel, The Pull of the Stars, includes a couple of elements that would normally turn me off of a novel — and, in many cases, DNF one: no quotation marks and extremely long chapters. Luckily, it also is made of things I often look for in a new read: a female-centric story, a strong sense of place, and an utterly gripping storyline. In the end, the good far outweighed the bad. I loved it.
The story takes place over just a few days in an Irish maternity/flu ward during the Spanish Flu Pandemic of 1918. Nurse Julia Power is tasked with taking care of flu-ridden laboring mothers and their babies until they're able to go home. The ward is really nothing more than a room, three beds cramped together without much support aside from Nurse Julia and an inexperienced volunteer. As you would expect with early 20th century childbirth on top of a devastating pandemic, the story is emotional. In it, Donoghue touches on such timely (or, in some ways, timeless) themes as healthcare, pregnancy/motherhood, societal expectations and abuses of power.[Read more...] about The Pull of the Stars + Irish Barmbrack
Big Lies in a Small Town + Collard Greens
I’m excited to be a part of the paperback release party for Big Lies in a Small Town today! When I was asked to join by the Book Club Cookbook, I didn’t hesitate — I absolutely adored my previous Diane Chamberlain read, The Dream Daughter. Her latest novel centers around a post office mural painted in 1940, with a dual timeline that goes back and forth between the artist who painted it and the artist who later restores it nearly 80 years later.
Chamberlain does an excellent job weaving both stories together and keeping the reader interested throughout. I didn’t necessarily like one timeline better than the other, which is so often the case in books like this; I found something worthwhile in both stories. I loved the strong women she created.[Read more...] about Big Lies in a Small Town + Collard Greens