BREAKING NEWS

Adult Book Reviews

YA Book Reviews

Children's Book Reviews

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Sunday Post, Sunday Salon, Mailbox Monday and It's Monday What Are You Reading? Oct 25 Edition


Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba at Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share our news. A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.


Sunday Salon hosted by Readerbuzz is simply a place for us to link up and to share what we have been doing during the week. Sunday Salon is a great way to visit other blogs and join in the conversations going on there. 


After a rainy and gloomy week, Friday was gorgeous, warm enough to go digging for my shorts and go for a bike ride. A one-day Indian summer weather? I'll take it. The bike bath that snakes along the southern shores of Montreal was strewn with autumn leaves that smelled wonderful. It was a bit blustery but it felt exhilarating to be out flying up and down the bike path by the river.

On Saturday, I tidied my home work office, read my current book, and then relaxed with hubby to watch the feel-good movie Fishermen's Friends, a British romantic comedy film based on a true story. It was a hoot!


Hope you are all well. Stay safe and take care of each other.


Mailbox Monday Edition



Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week. Mailbox Monday now has a permanent home on its blog. Link up to share your MM.


It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. It's a great post to organize yourself. It's an opportunity to visit and comment, and er... add to that ever-growing TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started with J Kaye's Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date.


What I reviewed and/or featured last week:
 

Once again, Laura Morelli transports us to Italy, this time to medieval Florence where Michelangelo sets to create the splendid David sculpture. The topic and the book cover attracted me instantly! This was a good read.



Books to Help You Cope With Tough Times
If there was ever a time we needed help in coping and dealing with tough times, it's today. I'm a big believer in positive psychology and I'm proactive in spreading its message both in my personal life and in my work (I'm a Special care Counsellor in psychogeriatrics). These three products have been useful in keeping a smile on my face.


Currently Reading:




 
Stop by and enter my giveaways!

Also posted on the right sidebar.


Hope you all have a great reading week.




Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Books to Help You Cope With Tough Times

If there was ever a time we needed help in coping and dealing with tough times, it's today. I'm a big believer in positive psychology and I'm proactive in spreading its message both in my work (I'm a Special care Counsellor in psychogeriatrics) and in my personal life. Here are three products that have been useful in keeping a smile on my face.
 


Published July 7th 2020 by Purple Dove Press
Buy it on Amazon.com ~ Amazon.ca ~ B&N 

My Review:

Although a short book at only 87 pages, The Language of Deep Forgiveness is the perfect book to clarify and to help one truly understand the meaning of forgiveness. It's a book that makes you get unstuck from not being able to see past the hurt someone has done to us. Forgiveness is about giving ourselves peace of mind and the fortitude to move forward, but this is not so easily done. Even when we think we may have forgiven someone, deep down we may still have resentment and bitterness that can subtly eat at us. 

This book was very eye-opening and enlightening. It has taught me about myself, has made me reflect deeply on how I have forgiven others. This book has made me understand forgiveness through the  language that speaks to the heart in terms that the heart can understand. It was like a light bulb went off in my head! The author has a doctorate in clinical psychology and is also a Christian. His explanations were intelligent, concise and included a spiritual element that most psychology books do not. I will read it again and again because the process can take much reflection. Truly a book that can help us find peace of mind and move forward.



Published April 25, 2020 by The Happiness Center; 1st Edition
Buy it on Amazon.com ~ Amazon.ca ~ B&N

My Review:

This book came at the right time. We live in a world where we are constantly bombarded with one catastrophe after another: a global pandemic, forest fires, hurricanes, earthquakes, riots, and the list goes on. The authors wrote and published this book during the first wave of the pandemic this past spring so the information is very relevant. I read it as I was experiencing all the different changes that the lockdown and restrictions brought about and it helped me to cope!

The 7 keys discussed are not new concepts but simple truths that have proven to help in times of crisis, with the authors using examples from the coronavirus pandemic, making this a timely book that we can all relate to. The information can be put to practice immediately. It's a practical guidebook, with each chapter ending with points to ponder, questions to consider, and actions that can be taken. It's easy to read, only 122 pages, and gives us much on which to contemplate. I read a chapter a week and reflected on the wise counsel throughout my days.

If you love books that offer practical insight and help you be a better person, especially when times get tough, this one is a perfect read to get you to stay positive.



Published on January 28, 2020 by Red Feather
Buy it on: Amazon.com ~ Amazon.ca ~ B&N

My Review:

Some of the keys to dealing with tough times is having awareness, initiative, positive attitude and kindness. This is where the Thank Forward Gratitude Action Kit comes in handy. 


It consists of a small box that contains 21 colorful action cards and a 64-page booklet explaining how to use each card. It also includes ideas on how creative you can get with your acts of kindness. 


Each card will encourage you to do an act of kindness to any degree you wish, putting your own twist on it if you like. Then you pass on the card to someone else, thus creating a chain of action that could end up paying forward more than you will ever know. You are then encouraged to share your experience at www.ThankForward.com. You can work through the cards at your leisure and in any order you like.

I started with card #3 titled Make It Happen. It encourages you to volunteer, donate or start a drive. I decided to support a non-profit organization that reflects my values while at the same time feeding my love of reading. I donated to Shelterbox (emergency disaster relief) and I joined ShelterBox Book Club International to support authors who've written books that reveal and reflect the lives and realities of the countries Shelterbox had the privilege of deploying to.

I like the idea of this gratitude kit because it removes the focus on the negative all around us and instead empowers us to be proactive. I'm going to work my way through the deck and then pass the cards forward to someone or leave it in a café, once we can start frequenting them again! This gratitude kit would make a great gift for the person in your life who needs a boost or that busybee who loves doing creative things.


Now it's your turn to share. What books have helped you cope with tough times?





Monday, October 19, 2020

The Giant: A Novel of Michelangelo's David by Laura Morelli (Review)


Once again, Laura Morelli transports us to Italy, this time to medieval Florence where Michelangelo sets to create the splendid David sculpture. The topic and the book cover attracted me instantly!

Book Details:

Book Title: The Giant: A Novel of Michelangelo's David by Laura Morelli
Category: Adult Fiction, 362 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: The Scriptorium
Release date: May 31, 2020
Content Rating: PG (themes of depression and gambling)


Book Description:

As a colossal statue takes shape in Renaissance Florence, the lives of a master sculptor and a struggling painter become stunningly intertwined.

Florence, 1500. Fresco painter Jacopo Torni longs to make his mark in the world. But while his peers enjoy prestigious commissions, his meager painting jobs are all earmarked to pay down gambling debts.

When Jacopo hears of a competition to create Florence's greatest sculpture, he pins all his hopes on a collaboration with his boyhood companion, Michelangelo Buonarroti. But will the frustrated artist ever emerge from the shadow of his singularly gifted friend?

From the author of THE PAINTER'S APPRENTICE and THE GONDOLA MAKER comes a gorgeously crafted, immersive tale of Renaissance Italy.


My Review:
Reviewed by Laura Fabiani

Once again, art historian Laura Morelli has written a stunning novel that easily transports us to Florence in the early 1500s when Michelangelo gets the commission to create a sculpture from the giant rectangle of marble that has been sitting idle for more than forty years.

As I started reading the novel, I realized the story was going to be told by Jacopo Torni, a childhood friend of Michelangelo, and that he was the main character and not Michelangelo. Jacopo was somewhat of a tortured soul. He was a gambler, a joker, an irresponsible older brother, but most of all, an insecure talented artist. There were times when I just wanted to shake him, when I was puzzled by his behaviour, or when I wondered when the story would gain some momentum. But as I kept reading, I began to have a better picture of this man who I think could have had bipolar disorder.

Jacopo and Michelangelo had a love/hate relationship, but in the end they were friends. The best part of the novel for me was seeing Michelangelo and his artistry through Jacopo's eyes, especially as the majestic David sculpture was unveiled and then slowly wheeled to where it would stand on display in Florence. I could feel the excitement, the awe and the pride the people felt displaying this masterpiece, this genius work of art. What a time in history that was.

Morelli, of course, brings Renaissance Florence to life. Its people, their way of life (with their lack of washing!), their art, and their political and cultural issues. Jacopo was an artist, a painter of frescoes, with this particular art technique brought to life. I went online several times to look at photos of the art mentioned in this book, especially Michelangelo's David. I now want more than ever to travel to Florence to see the David, the frescoes and all the beautiful art of the Renaissance.


Disclosure: I bought a Kindle copy. I was not told how to rate or review this product.

Buy The Book:


About the Author:


Laura Morelli holds a PhD in art history from Yale University and has taught at the college level in the United States and in Italy. She is a TED-Ed educator and a columnist for National Geographic Traveler and Italy Magazine. Her debut novel, The Gondola Maker, garnered IPPY and Benjamin Franklin awards. 

Connect with Laura here: https://lauramorelli.com/


Sunday, October 18, 2020

Sunday Post, Sunday Salon, Mailbox Monday and It's Monday What Are You Reading? Oct 18 Edition


Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba at Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share our news. A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.


Sunday Salon hosted by Readerbuzz is simply a place for us to link up and to share what we have been doing during the week. Sunday Salon is a great way to visit other blogs and join in the conversations going on there. 


I started my week with good energy on Monday but it quickly fizzled out by Friday. It's the weather change. I really don't want winter to come. I'm reluctantly going through my fall clothes wishing I could still be wearing my shorts. Sigh. I think I'm in denial. 

I watched The Trial of the Chicago 7 (based on the infamous trial of 1969) which I thought was well done. Not much has changed in 50 years. Despite the serious topic it had some laugh-out-loud moments. Seems like the year 1969 (my birth year) was pretty memorable. 

Hope you are all well. Stay safe and take care of each other.


Mailbox Monday Edition



Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week. Mailbox Monday now has a permanent home on its blog. Link up to share your MM.


It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. It's a great post to organize yourself. It's an opportunity to visit and comment, and er... add to that ever-growing TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started with J Kaye's Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date.


What I reviewed and/or featured last week:
 
This children's book is about a beautiful little girl named Rosie who suddenly loses her hair because of the disease alopecia. Such a lovely book!


This is a compelling read and one of the best books I've read this year.


Currently Reading:



 
Stop by and enter my giveaways!

Also posted on the right sidebar.


Hope you all have a great reading week.




Tuesday, October 13, 2020

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson (Review)


The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek
is a compelling read and one of the best books I've read this year.

Book Details:

Book Title: The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson
Category: Adult Fiction,  320 pages
Genre: American Historical Fiction
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark 
Release date: May 7, 2019
Content Rating: PG-13 + M (For scenes of violence and racism, some mild language)


Book Description:

The hardscrabble folks of Troublesome Creek have to scrap for everything—everything except books, that is. Thanks to Roosevelt's Kentucky Pack Horse Library Project, Troublesome's got its very own traveling librarian, Cussy Mary Carter.

Cussy's not only a book woman, however, she's also the last of her kind, her skin a shade of blue unlike most anyone else. Not everyone is keen on Cussy's family or the Library Project, and a Blue is often blamed for any whiff of trouble. If Cussy wants to bring the joy of books to the hill folks, she's going to have to confront prejudice as old as the Appalachias and suspicion as deep as the holler.

Inspired by the true blue-skinned people of Kentucky and the brave and dedicated Kentucky Pack Horse library service of the 1930s, The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek is a story of raw courage, fierce strength, and one woman's belief that books can carry us anywhere—even back home.


My Review:
Reviewed by Laura Fabiani

After reading The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes, I knew I wanted to read The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek, partly because I was so fascinated by the Kentucky Pack Horse Librarians and also because of some of the controversy stating that Moyes had plagiarized this book. Well after reading both books, I can say that apart from the stories being based on the Kentucky Pack Horse Librarians, that's where the similarities end. These are two very different stories. I loved the Giver of Stars and I loved this one too! I was happy to read two stories based on the Kentucky Pack Horse Librarians and I hope there will be more written on the lives of these self-sacrificing women.

What I found the most fascinating in this novel that is completely missing in Moyes' book is the fact that the main character, Cussy Mary Carter, is the last of the blue-skinned people of Kentucky. I had never heard of this phenomenon (an inherited condition called methemoglobinemia, a blood disorder in which too little oxygen is delivered to one's cellsand I found myself researching this online. Cussy Mary or Bluet as some called her, is proud to be a librarian, bringing books to folks who appreciate her hard efforts to get them to her patrons up in those hardscrabble mountains. Cussy feels the prejudice of the other librarians and her only friend in town is Queenie, a black librarian.

This is very much the coming-of-age story of a woman who comes to realize that the color of her skin is not what defines her. Through the story we come to see her resilience, her compassion and generosity, her humbleness, her kindness and goodness, and her desire for betterment through education. She is a character I admired so much and that I will never forget! There were scenes in this book that brought me to tears.

The only thing I found a little disappointing is the abrupt ending. It felt rushed with so much action packed into a few pages. After becoming so emotionally invested, I felt it could have been better drawn out. Apart from this, The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek is a compelling read and one of the best books I've read this year.


Buy the Book:

About the Author:


NYT and USA TODAY bestselling author, Kim Michele Richardson resides in her home state of Kentucky. She has volunteered for Habitat for Humanity, building houses, and is an advocate for the prevention of child abuse and domestic violence, partnering with the U.S. Navy globally to bring awareness and education to the prevention of domestic violence. She is the author of the bestselling memoir The Unbreakable Child, and a book critic for the New York Journal of Books. Her novels include, Liar’s Bench, GodPretty in the Tobacco Field and The Sisters of Glass Ferry. Kim Michele latest novel is The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek, a NYT bestseller about the fierce and brave Kentucky Packhorse librarians of Kentucky.

You can visit her websites and learn more at: www.kimmichelerichardson.com


Monday, October 12, 2020

My Hair Went on Vacation by Paula Quinn (Review and Giveaway!)


This children's book is about a beautiful little girl named Rosie who suddenly loses her hair because of the disease alopecia universalis. Such a lovely book!

My Review:
Reviewed by Laura Fabiani

This children's book is about a beautiful little girl named Rosie who suddenly loses her hair because of the disease alopecia universalis. In rhyming verse, the author introduces us to Rosie and her journey to self-acceptance. It's a book that teaches children to love themselves as they are and to be proactive.

This is such a lovely book! And it's based on the true story of the author's daughter. The reader can't help but fall in love with this little girl whose inner joy helps her not only come to accept her disease but to use her coping strategies to help other children who are also bald, whether because of alopecia or cancer. Rosie's compassion and generous spirit shines. She is a great role model for other children on how to turn adversity into something good.

At the end of the book is also a teacher's guide with an activity that can be done in the classroom to boost children's self-confidence. I thought this was an excellent activity. The illustrations from Chiara Civati are fun, bright and age-appropriate. Children will enjoy scrolling through these colorful pages as they learn about resilience and healthy self-love.

All readers, young and old, can benefit from reading this children's book. Who of us has not suffered from lack of confidence, self-esteem or courage at some point in our lives? Highly recommended as a book that should be in every classroom.



Paula and Rosie Quinn are the founders of Coming Up Rosies, a nonprofit dedicated to fulfilling Rosie’s dream to make bald kids like her smile confidently. At two years old, Rosie was diagnosed with alopecia universalis, an incurable autoimmune disease that results in baldness. From a young age, Rosie taught her parents how to embrace her difference by coming up with magical adventures of her hair each night before bed. Despite Rosie’s confidence, awkward questions and comments about her baldness started to bother Rosie. One day, her parents surprised her with a head scarf made from one of her paintings. Rosie immediately felt confident again, and wanted to share this feeling of pride with all bald children. Rosie lives in Chicago with her sister Caroline, her parents Paula and Larry, and their bernedoodle, Enzo. As a family, they love to go to Cubs games, have dance parties, and cook Italian dinners at home.


Connect with the Author: website ~ facebook ~ instagram ~ goodreads





Enter the Giveaway!
Ends November 6, 2020





Sunday, October 11, 2020

Sunday Post, Sunday Salon, Mailbox Monday and It's Monday What Are You Reading? Oct 11 Edition


Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba at Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share our news. A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.


Sunday Salon hosted by Readerbuzz is simply a place for us to link up and to share what we have been doing during the week. Sunday Salon is a great way to visit other blogs and join in the conversations going on there. 


A word on DNF books. It seems lately I'm so much pickier with books than I used to be. My time is so precious these days and if a book is not fulfilling a need (to learn, to escape, to dream, to feel inspired, to get swept up, to travel, to be impressed, to be moved, to become more educated, to become a better person) then I no longer feel like I have to finish the book. I used to feel guilty, but the more I think about it the more I realize that books are subjective and time is limited. And I have so many books I want to read...

I binge-watched Emily in Paris on Friday evening after an emotional workweek. Felt good to watch some fun fluff set in Paris. Aahh... the European culture is so different from the American one. I had a few good laughs.

Hope you are all well. Stay safe and take care of each other.


Mailbox Monday Edition



Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week. Mailbox Monday now has a permanent home on its blog. Link up to share your MM.


For Review:




Bought on Kindle:


This month I joined ShelterBox Book Club International and The Hour of Dreams is the book chosen to read from Oct. 27 - Dec. 6. The book club is a great way to explore the countries and people touched by Shelterbox, a global organization made up of people who provide emergency shelter and help with recovery after disasters.

Each month, Shelterbox and its members select a book that reveals and reflects the lives and realities of the countries they’ve had the privilege of deploying to. Then throughout the month, we can discuss the book on Facebook for insightful discussions moderated by their team of readers. We also get dedicated Q&A with authors, videos, discussion with Response Team Members, and more!



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. It's a great post to organize yourself. It's an opportunity to visit and comment, and er... add to that ever-growing TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started with J Kaye's Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date.


What I reviewed and/or featured last week:
 
Freedom Lessons by debut author Eileen Harrison Sanchez was an enlightening and timely read. Don't you just love that book cover? It's nostalgic and iconic.


Lauren Carr's first book in the Nikki Bryant Cozy Mystery series is now out on audiobook!


Plant Your Money Tree by Michelle Schneider is a terrific introduction to understanding the big picture of investing using what is known as “technical analysis.”


The Sea Gate is an exciting read with a compelling setting, full of mystery, secrets, danger, forbidden love, redemption and healing.



Currently Reading:



 
Stop by and enter my giveaways!

Also posted on the right sidebar.


Hope you all have a great reading week.




Thursday, October 8, 2020

The Sea Gate by Jane Johnson (Review)


The Sea Gate is an exciting read with a compelling setting, full of mystery, secrets, danger, forbidden love, redemption and healing.

Book Details:

Book Title: The Sea Gate by Jane Johnson
Category: Adult Fiction,  416 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction / Women's Fiction
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Release date: November 17, 2020
Content Rating: PG-13 + M (For some language, sexual assault, violence)


Book Description:

A broken family, a house of secrets—an entrancing tale of love and courage set during the Second World War.

After Rebecca’s mother dies, she must sort through her empty flat and come to terms with her loss. As she goes through her mother’s mail, she finds a handwritten envelope. In it is a letter that will change her life forever.

Olivia, her mother’s elderly cousin, needs help to save her beloved home. Rebecca immediately goes to visit Olivia in Cornwall only to find a house full of secrets—treasures in the attic and a mysterious tunnel leading from the cellar to the sea, and Olivia, nowhere to be found.

As it turns out, the old woman is stuck in hospital with no hope of being discharged until her house is made habitable again. Rebecca sets to work restoring the home to its former glory, but as she peels back the layers of paint and grime, she uncovers even more buried secrets—secrets from a time when the Second World War was raging, when Olivia was a young woman, and when both romance and danger lurked around every corner...

A sweeping and utterly spellbinding tale of a young woman’s courage in the face of war and the lengths to which she’ll go to protect those she loves against the most unexpected of enemies.


My Review:
Reviewed by Laura Fabiani

The Sea Gate is a dual timeline novel that introduces us to two very different women: Rebecca, a breast cancer survivor whose mother just died, and Olivia, her elderly relative who is now in the hospital and requires help. As Rebecca sets out for Cornwall to visit Olivia, she gets swept up in renovating Olivia's house so that the woman can come home. In the process, we get Olivia's back story, her coming-of-age during WWII with danger and forbidden love, while Rebecca goes through a transformation and takes back control of her life.

I enjoyed this novel and both Rebecca and Olivia's stories, although I must say I found Olivia's story more exciting and unpredictable. Through her relationship with the cantankerous Olivia, and her sojourn at Olivia's house by the sea, Rebecca finds the courage to mourn her mother in her own way, to accept her own losses from the cancer treatment, and finally, to regain confidence in herself. Olivia lost her father to the war and was essentially abandoned by her mother and had to take care of herself as a teenager. Through her story, we see her resilience and strength.

I loved the setting of Cornwall, the sea and the house on the cliff were like characters in the novel. The author's description vivid and alluring. The ending was bittersweet and a little rushed. The whole episode with Rebecca's one-dimensional boyfriend seemed unrealistic and Olivia's quick dismissal of crimes against her was anticlimactic. But overall, this was an exciting read with a compelling setting, full of mystery, secrets, danger, forbidden love, redemption and healing.


Disclosure: Thanks to NetGalley and Simon Schuster Canada for sending me this book for review. I was not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.


Buy the Book:

About the Author:


Jane Johnson is a novelist, historian, and publisher. She is the UK editor for George R.R. Martin, Dean Koontz, and others. She has written several novels for adults and children, including the bestselling novel The Tenth Gift. Writing under the pen name Jude Fisher, she has written the companion books to Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movie trilogies. Jane is married to a Berber chef she met while climbing in Morocco. She divides her time between London, Cornwall, and the Anti-Atlas Mountains. 

Connect with her on Twitter @JaneJohnsonBakr or visit her website at JaneJohnsonBooks.com.



Visit Us Today

Visit Us Today
iRead: getting your book in the hands of readers

Wrote a Book Set in Italy?

 
Back To Top
Copyright © 2009-2017 Laura Fabiani Library of Clean Reads . Designed by OddThemes OddThemes