On the Come Up: A Book Review

On the Come Up by Angie Thomas

I loved this book! I knew that Ms. Thomas is an amazing author when I finished The Hate You Give, but On the Come Up brings her talent and insight to another level.

As the narrator, Bri gives us a look at how a strong young woman internalizes her surroundings and all the pressures that come with her experiences and those of her family and friends. Her desire to become a rapper is just part of the journey as she finds herself.

A definite 5⭐️ read to finish up this month of reading. Now I’m even more excited to read Concrete Rose, Ms. Thomas’s newest release!

A Woman is No Man

Book Review: A Woman is No Man by Etaf Rum

There are some books that manage to rip your heart out, filling you with grief for the characters, and then they give you hope for the future at their conclusion.

A Woman is No Man is one of these books. Told from the viewpoint of three generations of Palestinian-American women, this book explores fate, choices, culture, and traditions. It is a book about suppression and violence, but also about faith and personal strength. From their deep-rooted desire to do the best and live up to cultural expectations, the main characters explore and challenge what it means to be a woman in two very different cultures.

This is a beautiful book, one that I finished in less than 48 hours. Deya, Isra, and Fareeda are nuanced characters who show their strengths in different ways. Etaf Rum writes in a gorgeous style, showing vulnerability and thoughtfulness on every page.

A Woman is No Man is a 5⭐️ book, one that I highly recommend.

The Lions of Fifth Avenue

Fiona Davis is one of my favorite historical fiction authors. Her books are rich in story, characters, and setting, checking all the boxes for a great read.

The Lions of Fifth Avenue, Davis’s newest publication, is driven largely by its setting: the New York Public Library, with two intertwined stories occurring 80 years apart.

In 1913, Laura Lyons lives at the newly opened New York Public Library with her husband and two children. As her husband maintains his job as the library’s superintendent and works on his novel, Laura advocates for her own dream of becoming a journalist and is able to enroll at the Columbia Journalism School. When she pursues her schooling and discovers the Heterodoxy Club, where a group of “new women” are vocal about suffrage, health care, and independence, Laura makes choices that deeply impact her family and future. A mystery unfolds at home, with priceless first edition books disappearing from the library stacks.

As Laura’s story unfolds, we meet Sadie Donovan, a single woman in 1993 who works at the New York Public Library. Just as her career as a curator takes an upswing, Sadie is faced with her mother’s death and a crisis at the library that strangely echoes the experiences of her grandmother, Laura, 80 years before. Sadie must grapple with a mystery of her own while learning more about her family’s history.

I really enjoyed this book – another five-star read for me. The New York Public Library setting is just perfect. I would adore living amongst those stacks! Can you imagine living in a library like that glorious institution? It would be heaven on earth for me!

All the Devils Are Here

When an author removes her characters from a beloved setting, does the magic of a series end?

All the Devils Are Here is the newest installment in the tale of Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of Three Pines. This book takes use away from that mysterious, beloved Canadian hamlet and places us in Paris, City of Light. This book is about family, secrets, and relationships. I loved the closer look at Gamache’s broken bond with his son, Daniel, and the continued father-son dynamic between Gamache and Jean-Guy Beauvior. The novel’s mystery is multi-layered, and the details are brought to life with Penny’s gorgeous prose. While I missed Three Pines and its inhabitants, I can confirm, the magic doesn’t end for Penny here.

This was a 5-star read for me, and it brought laughs and tears. I can’t wait for her next book!

The Vanishing Half

I knew The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett was going to be a good read. I didn’t account for “good” not being a strong enough qualifier for how amazing this book really is. Bennett is a genius at telling stories, weaving together multiple points of view, and creating characters who jump off the page.

The relationship between twins has always fascinates me, and The Vanishing Half takes this relationship one step further – what if one twin chooses to abandon a part of herself that is inherent to them both? This book explores race, colorism, sisterhood, and gender issues with eloquence and an unflinching grace.

Meg and Jo

A Modern Retelling of Little Women

Louisa May Alcott’s classic tale of the March sisters gets an update for the next generation in this delightful book. I’ve loved the story of Little Women since I was 10, so I have been eager to read Virginia Kantra’s book, Meg & Jo, ever since it was published. I’m happy to report that I was not disappointed in it! Kantra accomplished the job of sharing the 21st-century struggles of women dealing with jobs, family, and love while still keeping the essence of the classic characters. Meg Brooke and Jo March are unique and yet universal.

I gave this book 5 stars and look forward to reading the sequel, Beth & Amy, when it’s released!

The quilt in this picture is made from squares sewn by my Great Great Aunt Alice. As you can see, it has been well-loved and used for many years.

Welcome to the United States of Anxiety

Celebrating the Release of a Great New Book by One of My Favorite Authors

Book Review: The United States of Anxiety by Jen Lancaster

Jen Lancaster is the queen of witty self-reflection. I’ve loved her books since first reading Bitter is the New Black over a decade ago. She started as a blogger and then memoir writer who seamlessly crossed the boundaries into contemporary fiction and now, with her newest book, brings her social commentary to new heights with Welcome to the United States of Anxiety.

This is a great book, friends. As Lancaster walks us through how we’re addressing Maslow’s hierarchy of needs in the 21st century, she blends her craft of humor and storytelling with real-world issues and fact-based research. The result? A five-star read that made me feel like I’m not alone in my anxiety while watching the world’s events in 2020.