Evie comes from humble roots near Galveston Texas. She dreams of becoming a nurse but her no good mom and others aren't making life easy for her. Evie's dad was a dancer so when Evie takes a job working as a nurse on the dance marathon circuit it seems like life is starting to look up. It is there that she falls hard for the talented and very handsome Zave. In what seems like a Cinderella story Evie and Zave are set up to pretend to be engaged and showcase the new dance show. As the clock strikes midnight however Evie's dreams might go up in smoke as secrets are uncovered and hearts are broken. The Great Depression, the brutal world of marathon dancing centered in the illustrious cities of Chicago and Galveston combined with the colorful characters shared in the vibrant voice of Sarah Bird make this historical fiction with a heart of gold. 4 1/2 Texas stars
1973 Montgomery Alabama where Civil is a young idealistic nurse working at a women's health clinic that serves the poor community mainly black women. She is excited to be helping those most in need although when she is given her first case which is to administer birth control shots to two little girls alarm bells begin to ring. Civil takes the family under her wing and works hard to make their lives easier well above her role at the clinic. When a tragic event takes place under her watch Civil takes on those in power all the way to Washington. Dual timelines share the events at the clinic and later as Civil goes back years later to revisit her past.This riveting story is based on true events and is yet another example of the abuse of poor people at the hands of those in authority offering help and delivering deception. A heartfelt tale that will resonate with readers interested in the Civil Rights movement as well as those who enjoy the strong women and men behind the scenes who risked everything for justice. 4 1/2 stars
C0ming of age story of a teen from the English countryside who gets a fantastic opportunity to travel to Morocco and hang out with rock stars, fashion icons and unbelievably wealthy people. Claire, now transformed into CeCe becomes the darling of the charismatic Talitha and Paul Getty. Their sprawling compound in Marrakech is everything CeCe dreamed of. A steady stream of visitors like Beatles, Stones, Yves St. Laurent and more hang out there for endless buffets of drugs, sex and alcohol. It brings out a kaleidoscope of feelings for her hosts - Talitha and Paul. A tragic accident and a near miss for CeCe serves as a wake up call that it is time to go home to real life. Beautifully told in a manic pace just like you are right there in the middle of it all. Fall down the rabbit hole with CeCe in groovy 60's mellow Marrakech. Fans of Daisy Jones and the Six as well as those who appreciate the 60's music and lifestyle will find much to love.
4 rocking stars
Elizabeth Zott is a free thinking, no nonsense, fiercely independent female chemist. She is likely to relate everything in life to science and usually combustion follows in her wake. She is the perfect role model for every little girl with big dreams but we are not talking about present day instead, she is dealing with small minds in the early 1960's.
When she finds herself unemployed, with a baby and no husband Elizabeth takes on a challenge - a cooking show on tv. Not only will she win over a huge audience captivated by her logic and skill at providing healthy meals but also how she empowers them to live out their full potential. This is Mrs. Maisel wit combined with Julia Child's no nonsense cooking encouraging women to do more than copy the recipes but instead write their own recipes for life. Elizabeth's daughter Mad, her highly intelligent and hard working dog Six Thirty, and best friend Harriet round out this ensemble of smart, fun and inspiring cast of characters. 4 1/2 stars
Ling Fan faces a mountain of obstacles - her brother is dead, her father in prison and she is about to be married off to take care of the family. She decides to run instead pretending to be her brother and travels to America to take her brother's work contract building the railroad. Hiding the fact that she is a woman she makes a few friends but feels like she can't trust many people there. Soon it becomes clear that only by taking the dangerous jobs will she make enough to free her father. When accidents begin to happen and it is clear that the railroad company isn't afraid to let a few Chinamen die to finish first in the rail race, Ling Fan takes action. Terrific historical fiction that will appeal to older middle school readers, young adults and adults alike. This is yet another example of how immigrants were treated unfairly yet contributed greatly to this country. 4 stars
I listened to the audiobook of this lush historical survival tale. Daiyu is cast to the sky and sea as her parents are imprisoned in China and she is sent by her grandmother far from her home. in the city she is kidnapped and sent to San Fransisco to work in a brothel. Almost broken she finds a way out and travels to Idaho until finally finding a bit of a home working for kindly Chinese grocers. Still disguised as a boy she learns to let her guard down a bit but continues to make enough to return home to China and find her family. Daiyu is haunted by trauma, by the ghost of her namesake who lives inside her and not being able to fully trust anyone. A cruel reminder of racial hatred and the atrocities inflicted on immigrants in this country in the 1800's and still today in some places. When being a Chinese man is a bit less dangerous than being a woman, Chinese or not it won't take much for Daiyu's luck to run out. Weaving Chinese folklore and language into gut wrenching human emotion with the correct pronunciation made listening to this a true delight. 4 stars from this Austin native!
The story of generations of a proud, tough Black Southern women. From the 1920's to the early 2000's the North women lived, loved and fought for simple dignity in a white world that threatened to take everything from them at every turn. A stunning debut of family - good, bad and ugly but one thing is certain about the North women - you can always come home and they will always set you right. It is also a love story of Memphis itself. Filled with wonderful warm characters whose voices ring true, this is reminiscent of THE COLOR PURPLE and books about strong families by Jacqueline Woodson and Toni Morrison. Tara M. Stringfellow writes with a deep soul and I can't wait for her next book. 4 stars
Another stunner by the First Lady of riveting historical fiction! We are deep in the frozen forest of Russia - still for hours at a time in a leaf covered trench with your partner. Body cramped, little rest, little food and water until the midnight hour when you train your rifle's scope on the target. In Mila's hands her single shot means death to a German soldier - over 309 kills before she is done. Lyudmila Pavlichenko is the heroine of this story and the latest unsung hero in the long line of fascinating women in Kate Quinn's capable hands. She was a librarian/scholar writing her dissertation before picking up a rifle in sharpshooter training and heading off to the battlefield to save her country from the German invaders. Her skill as a sniper and the novelty of being a woman took her to the U.S. to be paraded around in a media blitz to gain American support for joining the war in Europe. Her unlikely friendship with none other than First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt was one of mutual respect and admiration. The story is special in two ways as it shows how the vicious and bloody war was fought on the battlefield but also in the press as Mila and the Russian delegation are paraded around the country. Fascinating both in the battle details at the Russian front and also the back story American dog and pony show that took much trust from both sides to pull off. Mila is an extraordinary character as she is pulled out of the shadows to dazzle us with her courage and brilliant skill as well as the all too human heart behind the diamond eye of a deadly sniper. Fans of WWII unsung women as well as Kate Quinn's fans will be riveted to this one-sitting story. 5 stars
The Mexican-American War you have never read about through the eyes of an Irish American who is disillusioned fighting for the Americans and switches sides to fight for the Mexican army as well as a young Mexican woman who stands to lose everything. It is a love story between two unlikely foes who share the Catholic faith, a strong sense of what is right and wrong and the deep love they have for their homeland and each other. War is tragic and brutal and for every victor there are many who lose everything. This story clearly shows the manipulation of power on both sides of the border and the Mexican people were the ones who lost it all. Solid historical fiction that resonates with today's immigration issues as well as enlightening the reader to a period of our history and the very real Irish battalion who fought for Mexico that we don't hear much about. 4 stars
A sweeping historical saga of a woman's long life (112) born in freedom in Africa, then a slave and ending as a free woman again. Little Bird is stolen from her village and taken far from her home. She is both abused for the color of her skin and treasured for her skills at healing as well as being prized by a pirate for her language skills which he uses her as an interpreter. She is then sold and shipped to the Americas where her skills as a midwife are in great demand. Maryam takes care of both slaves and master and finds love and family only to have them sold away from her. Based on the author's own family history this is an incredible and heartbreaking story of survival, love and fierce strength. A must read for those who inhaled ROOTS or THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD. 4 stars
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