Wednesday, May 31, 2023

May Books #MyLifeInBooks


Romantic Comedy by Curtis Sittenfeld - Loved this romcom that took off on the idea of the writers' room at SNL (well, a fictionalized SNL) and then moved over into those first scary days of covid isolation. Couldn't put it down!

All of Us Villains by Foody and Herman - a YA novel similar to Hunger Games, with a magical element. Did not love that it is a "duology" because I'm not sure that I need to read the next book! A little gory for me. 

Queen Charlotte by Julia Quinn and Shonda Rhimes - If you watched the show, this is SO boring. If you haven't watched the show, skip the read and just watch! There was almost no new information gleaned here that wasn't in the show. 

We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Mejia - This was on my holds list forever! It's a dystopian-type novel about a Handmaid's Tale-like society with strict roles and rules. I wanted to love this but it was a little too...simplistic in some of its telling. (Also this is YA)

Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson - One of the best books I've read all year. WOW. What an incredible back-and-forth telling of a family secret - I loved every minute of this book. 

The Secret Book of Flora Lea by Patti Henry - I really liked this story of two sisters evacuated from London during the Blitz, and the family mystery that it left behind. I liked the plot twist!

The Red Balcony by Jonathan Wilson - 1933 Palestine doesn't have a lot of fiction written about it! The plot was a little tricky to follow but I loved the historical setting and the writing was compelling.

January Books
February Books
March Books
April Books

Sunday, April 30, 2023

April 2023 Books #MyLifeInBooks


Woman on Fire by Lisa Barr - This author lives in my neighborhood so it's always fun to find the tiny local details in her story that spans generations and continents! Art scandal, romance,'s all here.

Maame by Jessica George - a story of a Ghanaian immigrant family in London, the main character is so lovable that this book was delightful! Her growth arc in the story is wonderful - what a special novel. 

Nettle and Bone by T. Kingfisher - A mashup of fairy tales but with a dark edge, and I loved this one. 

Miracle Creek by Angie Kim - I am really not sure if I liked this book or not. It was well-written and interesting, even though it was heartbreakingly sad. A group of people are all joined together by their association to a terrible accident - and the big question is "what would you do to protect the people you love?" 

Lost in the Moment and Found by Seanan McGuire - another installment in the Wayward Children series, I find these books to be so haunting and beautiful. 

Attack of the Black Rectangles by A.S. King - I liked this middle grade novel about censorship in a middle school. My 12-year-old listened to this as an audiobook, and then he also listened to The Devil's Arithmetic, which is the censored novel in the story. We both enjoyed this one a lot!

Friday, March 31, 2023

March Books #LifeInBooks


Here's what I read in March:

Shadows of Berlin by David Gilham - an interesting look at the life of Holocaust survivors in the immediate aftermath of the war. This wasn't my favorite read, but it made for an interesting discussion with our book group. 

Highly Suspicious and Unfairly Cute by Talia Hibert - a cute little enemies-to-lovers romance, with a nice British twist. 

The Miniscule Mansion of Myra Malone by Audrey Burges - I liked this one, a sweet story with a bit of magic. 

The White Lady by Jacqueline Winspear - From the author of the Maisie Dobbs books, which are my faves, I loved this one so much! I just love her writing and her storytelling. This one bounced between the two wars and the post-war period, and it was so good! Will there be more stories in this series? I would definitely not complain about that!!!

January Books
February Books

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

#BlogExodus #ExodusGram 5783

 Rosh Chodesh Nisan is Thursday, March 23, 2023.

Passover beckons us. It reminds us....spring is coming. Renewal is coming. We are, all of us, a people with a future. The cycle continues. And, as always, Passover is here to offer a respite. I know that many people don't see Pesach in this way, as a resting moment, but I believe that it offers us just that - an opportunity to step back from the ordinary and to focus on something special, wonderful, and beautiful. 

It's easy to get caught up in the Pesach prep and to feel a bit of drudgery, a taste of the hard work imposed upon the Israelites. But there is spiritual preparation too, and that, I believe, is where BlogExodus and Exodusgram come in. 

So what is this really about? #BlogExodus and #Exodusgram are really what you want to make of it. I've provided topics for the first 14 days of the month of Nisan. What you do with it is up to you -- write a blog post, tweet, Facebook, tumblr, or something that I haven't even thought of yet! Use the hashtag to share your post (I put it into the title of each post). It's a great way to kickstart a blog or rejuvenate your languishing blog or just get yourself ready for the holiday of Passover! Maybe this year, someone will get #BlogExodus trending on tiktok!

Maybe you don't have a blog? Maybe you could just post your thoughts, photos, comments, or haikus on your Facebook page. Maybe you're a yogi? What about a photo of a different yoga post each day related to the theme of the day? Creativity is endless.

There aren't any rules, so maybe you don't like the order of the topics? Maybe you want to write on only a few of them? It doesn't matter. It is what you make of it.

Whatever you do, don't forget to tag with #BlogExodus and/or #Exodusgram so we can all share.

Grab and share my graphic and just jump right in!

The themes are really up for your own interpretation. I was thinking broadly and openly about what makes Passover special and interesting to me. I hope it will translate into creative and inspirational posts from all of us!

Are you going to join in? Leave me a comment here or send me a tweet or just...jump in! If I miss your posts, let me know so I can go back and be inspired by what YOU have to say!

#BlogExodus #Exodusgram topics for 5783
1 Nisan - Launch
2 Nisan - Exalt
3 Nisan - Rise
4 Nisan - Cleanse
5 Nisan - Seek
6 Nisan - Retell
7 Nisan - Read
8 Nisan - Expand
9 Nisan - Perplex
10 Nisan - Join
11 Nisan - Celebrate
12 Nisan - Reveal
13 Nisan - Welcome
14 Nisan - Thank

 *Yes, I know that I put the Shabbat dates there. I don't blog/tweet/Facebook on Shabbat but I will post on Fridays before Shabbat and on Saturdays after Shabbat is over. You can, of course, do it any way you like!

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

February 2023 - Books I Read

This was a great month for books! What are you reading?

A Play for the End of the World by Jai Chakrabarti - We discussed this one at our synagogue book group and all agreed that it was quite interesting. A play staged in the Warsaw Ghetto by orphaned children is now, many years later, being staged in India. In both cases, the play represents the tragic situation of the time, and I think it's a powerful commentary on the importance of art even when the world feels like it's crumbling.

Keeper of the Lost Cities 8, 8.5, and 9 by Shannon Messenger - Okay, I thought I was headed into the END of the series but I didn't know there is a 10th book coming out sometime this year. I hope. Now I really want to just know what the ending is!!!

The Summer of Lost Letters by Hannah Reynolds - This was a little bit of a prequel to Eight Nights of Flirting (same universe). I liked it, the teen romance was a little messy (as teen romances often are) but the intertwining stories about the history of this Jewish family on Nantucket Island was interesting and a little bit unique. 

Answers in the Pages by David Levithan - I loved this middle grade novel about banning books and standing up for what you believe in. It had three intertwined stories, and I gasped when they all came together. A quick and sweet read.

We All Want Impossible Things by Catherine Newman - A story of two life-long friends as one of them is dying in hospice. It's beautifully written and heart-wrenching, but boy oh boy, I did not need this book. It was deeply, terribly, horribly sad. Even though I also laughed. I just wanted it to be over. Because it was so sad. And that's my review.

The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray - A really cool historical story about a young (secretly) Black woman who worked as JP Morgan's librarian for his own library. Interesting idea, r e a l l y s l o w moving, and also I was a bit irritated by the first-person narrative. It started out well, but I felt like the later chapters just weren't as interesting. I really wanted to love this since so many people have recommended it! After I finished it, I looked up her life and the book was quite true to it, which I do appreciate!

Thistlefoot by GemmaRose Nethercott - Let me start by saying this book isn't for everyone. It's a little dark and odd...and I kinda loved it. It is a revisiting of the Baba Yaga tales (Eastern European Jewish folklore) but with a modern twist, and my favorite parts were when the house itself (Baba Yaga had a house on chicken legs) told its story. The way this story demonstrated, through magical abilities, inherited trauma was intensely powerful and moving to me. I'm not sure who should read this one, but I liked it.  

January Books

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

January 2023 - Books I Read


Welcome back to a new year and some great new reading!

Here are all the books I read in January, 2023

Keeper of the Lost Cities - Books 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 - They're delightful - a rich and beautiful world of magic and intrigue between a team of teens, their grownup allies, and their dark and shadowy enemies. Annoying, each book ends wtih a total cliffhanger, which means I just want to keep going! (I will say that the cliffhanger for book 7 was slightly less compelling to me, so I read the first chapter of book 8 and now I'm taking a short break!) Each one is over 600 pages, so I've read a LOT of pages this month!

An Affair of Spies by Ron Balson - this was not my favorite of his books. Perhaps the dialogue felt a little too modern? Or the whole thing felt a smidge too simplistic? Obviously, a book about spies in Nazi Germany shouldn't be simplistic, but it just didn't work for me. 

The Light We Carry by Michelle Obama - I really enjoyed hearing her voice come through again, and I didn't listen to an audiobook! But I could almost hear Michelle speaking the words. A lovely and heartfelt memoir.

The Matchmaker's Gift by Lynda Cohen Loigman - I don't know how I never got to this one in 2022, but I loved it. This is my favorite kind of story - one that spans a lifetime and has just a tiny hint of magical realism. I didn't want this book to end. 

Signal Fires by Dani Shapiro - I'm often spoiled in January, as I read everyone else's "best of" books from the year before. This one did not disappoint me - the interlinked story of children, parents, and spouses - really an excellent and engrossing read. 

The People We Keep by Allison Larkin - I loved the characters and the journey they took together. It reminded me a little of that Natalie Portman movie - "Where the Heart Is" and I saw April as that young Natalie Portman character who finds her way to a chosen family. Definitely enjoyed this one!

Bloomsbury Girls by Natalie Jenner - I loved this sweet book about a London bookstore post-war, and the women who work there. The characters interact with all sorts of real-life famous people, and it was cozy and lovely. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

November Books I Read #MyLifeInBooks


The Many Daughters of Afong Moy by Jamie Ford - one of my favorite reads of the year, I loved this back-and-forth-through-history look at the way generational trauma can carry through our history. I have been recommending this one all over town!

Our Missing Hearts by Celeste Ng - I really wanted to love this book but it didn't all work for me. I do like the whole librarians-as-heroes plotline! It was not my favorite of her books.

One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot by Marianne Cronin - I wish I knew how I got to this book. I almost quit right away when I realized that Lenni was a teenager with a terminal illness, but I was totally hooked by the storytelling style and I ended up loving this sad and sweet book. 

Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan MacGuire - This was the second in the Wayward Children books, and I didn't plan to read it until someone mentioned that they'd read the whole series in one sitting and I felt like I needed to revisit. This was the backstory of one of the side characters in the first book, and now I'm hoping that the rest of the books all track through other characters as well. Just a good twisty fantasy story. 

Midnight Children by Dan Gemeinhart - A wonderful middle-grade novel about friendship and family, about finding your passion and finding your people. Just a hint of magic, and it was wonderful. I definitely want to read all of his books now!

More Than I Love My Life by David Grossmann - Catching up for next month's book discussion. This was NOT an easy read - another story of generational trauma as it plays out in Israeli society. Come to the December book discussion to talk about it!

The Measure by Nikki Erlick - Hmm. I liked the premise of this book and I really liked how the various storylines ended up interwoven. It was a bit too simplistic and predictable, but the ending was mostly satisfying. 

Eight Nights of Flirting by Hannah Reynolds - A CHANUKAH ROMANCE NOVEL! Okay, it's for teens. But I loved it. It was adorable and sweet, and of course, Jewish! I had a few issues (as one does) but overall, it made me very happy. 

October books
September Books
August Books
July Books
June Books
May Books
April Books
March Books
February Books
January Books