Odd and Bookish
Out of Left Field - Ellen Klages

 

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

 

I love historical fiction and I love baseball and I love girls standing up for what they believe in, so of course I loved this! 

 

I have a lot to say about this book.

 

First, I LOVED that it took place in the Bay Area, because I am from the bay. The SF Giants are mentioned in this and they’re my favorite team (Go Giants!). Additionally, I liked that it talked about the San Fransisco Seals because truthfully I’ve never heard of them. 

 

I also loved the diversity. One of the main character’s friends, PeeWee Ishikawa, is Japanese American and at one point in the novel he brings up Japanese internment. I always appreciate it when books mention Japanese internment because it is something that still gets overlooked at times. I’m glad the book acknowledged it. Her other friend, Chip, is black and through her friendship with him she learns all about the Negro League and how the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League was white only. That made the book intersectional so I was really happy to see that.  

 

If you didn’t already guess it, this book is jammed pack with information, both baseball and not baseball related. I ended up learning a lot about the history of women in baseball. The book takes place in 1957-1958, so it incorporates real life events that happened in those years as well (The Little Rock Nine, Sputnik, etc.). 

 

The overall storyline was good. It did a really tremendous job at showcasing how unfair it is that girls can’t play Little League. 

 

As a random side note, I loved the little mention of Walt Disney and his television program. I love Disney so any mention of him is always a plus in my book.

 

Overall, this was an amazing, informative, and inspirational book, and if you read it, be prepared to be schooled in women’s baseball! 

 

Review
4 Stars
Alternative Remedies for Loss - Joanna Cantor

I received this book for free as part of an Instagram tour I did to promote the book. 

 

The author did a fantastic job taking you on a journey with the main character, Olivia, following her mother’s death. You really get an in-depth look into Olivia’s mind and how she feels. Olivia felt very real. Sometimes books that are the “coming of age self discovery” type, end up being excessive and unrealistic. The characters will do crazy things and end up in situations that probably would never happen in real life. Luckily this book did not go down that path. Everything Olivia did made sense and the things that happened to her were not too far fetched. 

 

I also really loved the supporting characters. Olivia’s family were a great addition to the story and seeing how they coped with things provided an interesting contrast to Olivia and her situation. It was also nice to see how Olivia’s attitude towards June, her father’s girlfriend, changed throughout the novel. That was excellent character development. 

 

The writing style was very easy and effortless, making it a pleasure to read. I read this book very quickly. The writing style just made me fly right through it. 

 

The reason I gave this 4 stars instead of 5 was because it was missing that spark. I enjoyed the book a lot, but there wasn’t that special something to make me stop and go, “Wow.”

 

Overall, this was a well written coming of age tale and I look forward to seeing what else the author puts out in the coming years. 

 

Reading progress update: I've read 96 out of 320 pages.
Alternative Remedies for Loss - Joanna Cantor
Review
4.5 Stars
The U.S. Constitution and Other Key American Writings - Founding Fathers

 

 

This is a hard book to write a review for because it’s just a collection of writings. 

 

The overall selection of writings was pretty good. Although I did find that the rules of baseball was an odd pick to include. I love baseball and all (it’s my favorite sport) but I don’t think it’s that important. Baseball isn’t that groundbreaking. I would have also loved to have seen more Supreme Court rulings since there was only one (Brown v. Board of Education). However, that’s just a personal preference because I love reading the Supreme Court Justices’ opinions. 

 

One of my favorite writings was the Susan B. Anthony one. There were few female writings in here so it was nice to see Susan B. Anthony included. 

 

My least favorite by far was the Social Security Act. That was a total snooze fest. It was over 40 pages and so dry. I also felt that it could have been replaced by a few, more interesting writings.

 

All in all, this is a really solid collection of fundamental American writings. I definitely recommend it if you are looking for a comprehensive collection of American documents and speeches. 

Review
5 Stars
The Bucket List - Georgia Clark

I received this book for free through an ARC giveaway on the author’s Instagram page. 

 

Please note, that despite the cute cover, this book does contain a lot of sex talk and sex scenes. 

 

Omg this book was amazing. It was serious, yet funny. Sexy but sweet. 

 

This was a very unique read. I’ve never read anything like it before. It was like a chick lit book, but less superficial and more deep than they typically get. 

 

The book deals with a very serious topic, being BRCA1 positive. The way the author handles it is incredibly well done. She did a phenomenal job tapping into the emotions and anxieties that come with the diagnosis. You can tell the author did a tremendous amount of research. 

 

I loved how sex positive this entire book was. Like I mentioned before, there is a lot of sex in this book, but it is never seen as a bad thing. It even calls out some double standards. 

 

I also loved the diversity. The main character’s two best friends were both POC. One was Asian and the other was British Indian who was also a lesbian. Even many of the love interests/sexual partners were POC too, including an Iranian fashion designer. I’ve read quite a few books set in New York City, but none had this much diversity. 

 

The romance aspects felt very real. All the decisions the main character made regarding her love life felt plausible. Sometimes romances can end up being too far fetched, so it was nice to see one that was more grounded. 

 

Lastly, the final 30 pages of the book were incredibly heartfelt and I just loved it! There was a lot of emotion and heart. 

 

Overall, if you’re looking for a different kind of chick lit book, I really recommend this one! 

 

Reading progress update: I've read 355 out of 434 pages.
The U.S. Constitution and Other Key American Writings - Founding Fathers
Reading progress update: I've read 187 out of 352 pages.
The Bucket List - Georgia Clark
Review
3.5 Stars
Girls' Night Out - Lisa Steinke, Liz Fenton

I received this book for free from the authors in exchange for an honest review. 

 

 

This book started off really strong. There was a lot of intrigue, which made this a complete page turner. I just couldn’t put it down! I needed to know what happened to Ashley. 

 

Then the ending came and I was a bit disappointed. It wasn’t as big of a reveal as I thought it was going to be. I was expecting a huge twist that usually comes with thrillers, but instead it was more subdued. That being said I still enjoyed the book overall. 

 

I really liked how the authors combined chick lit elements with thriller/suspense elements. The book was a strong blend of the two genres. The setting really helped with that. Mexico was perfect for this story to take place in. 

 

As for the characters, I wasn’t a big fan of any of them. All three of the main characters annoyed me at some point. I just couldn’t get over some of their reasonings for the things they did and the attitudes they held. They were all a little too self absorbed and it was hard to feel any sympathy towards them. 

 

Overall, if you’re looking to unwind and want to read a fast paced and thrilling beach read for the summer, be sure to check out this book! 

Review
4 Stars
First Came Forever - Annie Woods

 

I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. 

 

So this book was a total roller coaster. 

 

It took me a while to really get into the story. The beginning was a little boring but once Erica got to United States the story got so much more interesting. 

 

This book has a love triangle which I typically don’t like but in this it worked well. Usually I find love triangles to be unnecessary but the one in this book actually made sense and felt real and natural. 

 

I loved the supporting characters, especially Danny and Ricky. They’re precious. I loved Danny’s dorkiness and Ricky’s gay storyline. 

 

The ending of the book was crazy and ended on quite the cliffhanger. It was not what I was initially expecting to happen when I first started reading the book, but I loved it. I can’t wait for the sequel because I really have no idea how it will all play out. I just know that drama will be going down. Lots of it. 

 

Aside from the slow beginning, my only other issue was the few typos I spotted. They weren’t anything major; they just managed to get overlooked during editing. 

 

Overall, this was a fun romantic read with a ton of twists and turns at the end. 

Reading progress update: I've read 111 out of 322 pages.
First Came Forever - Annie Woods
Reading progress update: I've read 319 out of 434 pages.
The U.S. Constitution and Other Key American Writings - Founding Fathers
Review
4 Stars
Exhibit Alexandra - Natasha Bell

I received this book for free from Blogging For Books in exchange for an honest review. 

 

Wow. This was a twisted story.

 

This is a hard book to review because I don’t want to spoil anything which is hard to do with a thriller, so if my review turns out a bit vague and abstract, that’s why. 

 

The book started off a bit slow but really picked up about halfway through. By the time I got near the end, I was hooked. 

 

Like the cover of the book suggests, you don’t know what is real and what is an illusion or reflection. That is the brilliance of this psychological thriller. Even at the end when you discover the truth, you don’t even know the full truth. You’re left wondering what parts are real and what parts are performance. The truth and fiction are woven together to create a captivating story about identity. 

 

I really liked the ethical questions that this book brought up. I majored in philosophy in college and I always loved learning about ethics. This book definitely posed interesting ethical questions related to art throughout the novel. 

 

Overall, this is an enthralling psychological thriller that dives deep and offers a fascinating look into a woman’s quest for identity. 

 

 

Reading progress update: I've read 105 out of 313 pages.
Exhibit Alexandra - Natasha Bell
Review
5 Stars
Roses and Radicals: The Epic Story of How American Women Won the Right to Vote - Susan Zimet
I received this book for free from the publisher (Viking Children’s Books) in exchange for an honest review.

Prior to reading this book I knew quite a bit about the suffrage movement in the US. I had read Women, Race, and Class by Angela Davis when I was in college and that book went into great detail about the complexity of the movement.

What I loved about this book was that it did not shy away from discussing Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s racism nor did it try to justify it. The author writes, “To justify her racism as simply ‘commonplace’ for her time ignores the fact that there was nothing commonplace about her at all. Stanton, one of the true heroes of this story, was deeply flawed and sadly wrong when it came to matters of race” (63-64).

Sprinkled throughout the book are little sidebars with biographies of key women and other facts pertaining to the movement. I found these to be incredibly insightful and helpful in explaining the movement.

This book is middle-grade (the recommended age is 10 and up) and I think it did a great job describing the history of the suffrage movement in an easy-to-follow way. Everything was explained in kid friendly language, so this book is perfect for the intended age group.

Overall, this book is a perfect introduction to the women’s suffrage movement that doesn’t sugar coat the truth.
 
 

 

Review
4 Stars
The Witch Doesn't Burn in this One - Amanda Lovelace

This is a review of the Target special edition. It has a red cover instead of the white one, a letter from the author, and bonus poems.

I was so excited to read this because I’ve been super into witches lately. However, I liked this, but I didn’t like it as much as her first collection.

This collection got a bit repetitive at some points. There were a lot of poems on burning and fire. I wish there would have been more poems about the coven aspect of witches. There was a lot she could have done with covens, especially in the last section. It thought it was a missed opportunity.

Another thing that I didn’t love was how she brought up queens in this book. In the last section she talks about witch-queens, and I wished she would have just focused solely on witches. References to queens should have stayed in her first collection.

As for the bonus poems that are included in this edition, I really loved the first one about girl on girl hate. I wished that would have made the final cut.

Despite all of that, I still enjoyed this collection. There were some really good poems. But overall, it didn’t quite meet my expectations.

Review
4 Stars
The Heart's Appeal - Jennifer Delamere


I received this book for free from the Bethany House Blogger Review Program in exchange for an honest review.

 

Full disclaimer, I did not read the first book in this series, which is about Julia’s sister but this did not affect my comprehension of this book. You could read this book as a standalone if you wanted to and still be able to enjoy it.

 

I always love historical fiction novels about women forging their own paths, so naturally I liked this.

 

I enjoyed the medical aspect of the book. At times it felt like I was watching a medical drama, which is a good thing!

 

Character-wise, I liked Julia overall, but at times I found that she could be a bit annoying with her brutally honest personality. I really loved Michael and how his character developed throughout the book. I found Julia and Michael to be a very well-matched couple. I also loved that the author went with a dual POV for these two characters. You got to know each of them really well. For the supporting characters, I loved David and Mr. Anderson.

 

I appreciated the discussion of women’s rights and hardships during this time period. At one point the female characters talk about coverture. Lisette brings up, “By the laws of England, you and everything you own will be his property with as he likes” (130). Later in that same scene another character, Mrs. Fawcett mentions, “Other women may decide to remain unmarried to pursue a career, and others will marry and prefer to focus on home and family. Can we truly fault any of these choices? What we must be advocating is simply for the right of women to be able to decide for themselves what is best for their lives” (131). Amen to that!

 

As a side note, there was a description of a library that I wanted to share. Every time I encounter a library description in a book I always end up sharing it in my review. The books states, “Bookcases two stories high held hundreds of leather-bound volumes. A sofa and leather chairs were comfortably arranged near an impressive stone fireplace. Tall windows looked onto the expansive garden. Julia immediately thought that if she were ever asked to describe her idea of heaven, it would look just like this” (281). I agree 100%.

 

Overall, this was a great historical fiction novel that focuses on a strong female making her mark on the world and finding love unexpectedly.