2020 Reading Challenge

2020 Reading Challenge
Jill Elizabeth has read 6 books toward her goal of 240 books.
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Book Review: Ghosts of Harvard by Francesca Serritella

This was a moving story about a girl’s attempts to come to terms with her brother’s suicide – while attending Harvard, the location of his death.

As if college isn’t stressful enough, Cady has to deal with the added stress of her brother’s recent suicide (while attending the college where he died) AND her mother’s inability to accept her decision to attend AND her parents’ marital issues. Oh yeah, AND the voices that seem to have taken up residence in her head since she started… Continue reading Book Review: Ghosts of Harvard by Francesca Serritella

Book Review: The Holdout by Graham Moore

I liked this one. As a former lawyer (albeit never a trial attorney), I’m always fascinated to see how writers choose to relay attorney protocol and ethical dilemmas and courtroom procedure and issues. While admitting I’m no expert, I think Moore did a fine job with these aspects of the story – they felt weighty but not overblown, with equal measures of respect for the system and a recognition that the system is inherently (IMHO) limited (if not outright flawed) in its ability to balance truth and justice. But by far, I think he did a finer job walking the line on issues of personal responsibility, guilt, and the complications of being a human player attempting that balancing act between truth and justice… Continue reading Book Review: The Holdout by Graham Moore

Book Review: The Fantastical Exploits of Gwendolyn Gray by B.A. Williamson

This is a marvelous series, full of magic and surprises and more than a little social commentary buried in the narrative for good measure. Gwendolyn’s exploits are well-crafted and well-presented. The various worlds she encounters – and the various personalities populating them – are cleverly constructed and keep things just a little off-balance (in a very good way).

There’s an epic battle of conformity vs. originality here, and it’s delivered with heart and more than a little pointed invective against the soul-numbing nature of the obsession with fitting in. It’s a great message for its intended middle grade audience – and one that behooves adults to heed as well…

There’s plenty of opportunity for further adventures here, and I for one hope to join Gwendolyn and her friends on many more of them!

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for my obligation-free review copy.

Book Spotlight AND Author Q&A: Straight Uphill: A Tale of Love and Chocolate by Jess Wells

About the Book
Is there anything better than love and chocolate?

After tragedy strikes, brokenhearted Gretchen takes a holiday in a hilltop Italian village to seek peace and solitude. Through chance, she meets Bettina, an elderly woman estranged from her legacy as a chocolatier. Gretchen soon finds herself wrapped in the aromas of chocolate and caramel, butter and wine, as villagers past and present question all aspects of love, sending her on a journey of self-discovery. But will Gretchen truly be able to leave the past behind and open her heart again to life and love, or will she be content to drown her sorrows in chocolate?

Author Q&A
Q: Most love stories focus on romantic love and there is certainly a lot of that in this book, but you also deal with other kinds of love, don’t you? Continue reading Book Spotlight AND Author Q&A: Straight Uphill: A Tale of Love and Chocolate by Jess Wells

Book Review: From a Shadow Grave by Andi C. Buchanan

This one started out with tremendous promise, but it floundered for me a bit in the middle and never quite found its feet the same way again…

I loved the premise and found myself engaged in the characters lives (and after-lives) from the opening pages. When Ahora and Phyllis met, and things started getting unusual, I was loving the story and eager to see where things would go from there. Unfortunately, where they went became murky, and there seemed to be some jumps in time that I found difficult to reconcile with the pacing and descriptive level/format of the earlier book. Continue reading Book Review: From a Shadow Grave by Andi C. Buchanan

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