Monday, March 28, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday : Ten Recently Read Highest Starred Reads!



I'm a bit tired today so I'm not adding much about the books listed here. But they're four+ stars rated and I've read them recently (within the past year). Some I reviewed, some I didn't!


In The Shadow of Blackbirds - Cat Winters




Vengeance Road - Erin Bowman



The Smell Of Other People's Houses - Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock



Heir to the Sky - Amanda Sun 



Jane Steele - Lyndsay Faye



Hick - Andrea Portes



A Tyranny of Petticoats


Uprooted - Naomi Novik


Carry On - Rainbow Rowell




The Perks Of Being A Wallflower - Stephen Chbosky



Can't wait to see what new books I need to add to TBR list this week! 

Jess

Monday, March 21, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday : Love But Haven't Talked About In A While...


I'm going to have to dig because my usual favorites always end up mentioned each week on Tuesday! lol. Books I love that I haven't talked about in a while....




I used to carry this around everywhere early college years. Definitely helped shape my present-day thinking and beliefs. 

Marlfox - Brian Jacques

I adore Brian Jacques. The Redwall Series was my Harry Potter (as HP was banned for me by my parentals). Marlfox was one that I kept checking out from the library. (I only owned one book from the series. I always borrowed!)

Veronika Decides To Die by Paulo Coelho

My favorite of his. 


But this one was my first introduction to his writing. (Thanks to my sister!)




Orphan Train - Christina Bakerkline

This is going to be a classic someday. (Also being optioned for a movie - last I heard!).

Stitch In Time - Ann Rinaldi

Why yes, yes I have mentioned my love for Ann Rinaldi before. The Quilt Trilogy was a favorite in my early teens. I re-read it several times over and even got my sister into it! 


Stuart Little? Charlotte's Web? Yea, classics. But my favorite was the swan that played the trumpet. Re-read several times over as a kid. 


I still to this day have parts of this poem memorized. I remember reading it to my little sister (who loved it), I remember getting SO EXCITED when Meg Cabot wrote a book semi-inspired-based-off-of-it. 

I know it's only eight, not ten...but I tried. I'm so bad at thinking of new-old books. I spend half the time searching fractured book synopsis's on google in a desperate attempt to remember titles and authors. And then I tell myself I need to get better with my Goodread - then I'd never have that problem again. And then I go to Goodreads...and it's a vortex of distraction from there... 

Recognize any titles? Any to suggest? I can't wait to see what every one else puts. Thanks for stopping by! 

Jess

Jane Steele...the Jane Eyre-esque Serial Killer?

Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye


Published: March 22, 2016
Publisher: Headline
Page Count: 432 Paperback
Genre: Historical Fiction, Adult Fiction, Gothic, Mystery, Romance.
Find the Author: Website

"Reader, I murdered him. A Gothic retelling of Jane Eyre.Like the heroine of the novel she adores, Jane Steele suffers cruelly at the hands of her aunt and schoolmaster. And like Jane Eyre, they call her wicked - but in her case, she fears the accusation is true. When she flees, she leaves behind the corpses of her tormentors.A fugitive navigating London's underbelly, Jane rights wrongs on behalf of the have-nots whilst avoiding the noose. Until an advertisement catches her eye. Her aunt has died and the new master at Highgate House, Mr Thornfield, seeks a governess. Anxious to know if she is Highgate's true heir, Jane takes the position and is soon caught up in the household's strange spell. When she falls in love with the mysterious Charles Thornfield, she faces a terrible dilemma: can she possess him - body, soul and secrets - and what if he discovers her murderous past?" - Nabbed from Goodreads.



Reader, I loved this book. 

And I'm completely delighted and surprised that I did. I'm such a devout Jane Eyre fan. I really am. She's MY classical heroine. As in...she is basically a extension of my soul. She and I are soul sisters. Jane Eyre and Jessica Henry - we would so have a celebrity name if she was a real person and not stuck in the eighteenth century. As such a devout Jane Eyre fan I was hesitant in picking this book. It turns out I wasn't just meeting another version of Jane Eyre in reading Jane Steele - I was meeting another fellow Jane Eyre Soul Sister.

Jane Steele identifies as a Serial Killer. She does because she is influenced to believe that she is not good. Not a good person because of the length she is capable of going to defend herself and others. And the often lack of remorse that she feels afterwards. Basically - she kills several people. And all for justifiable causes (that you will learn when you read the book). In some definitions of good and evil - this would jive well. But, as I got to know her and learn of her story - it was apparent that she was not actually a serial nor was she evil. She was misunderstood and a survivor. She does what she needs to do to survive and eventually embraces that part of herself that allows her to do that and channels it to protect others. She doesn't feel the dark urge to kill. She just does it when she feels she has no other recourse .

There are strong parallels between Steele and Eyre. They are not the same character, Steele is not strictly a re-imagined Jane Eyre, and the plot does divert from it's inspired-by origins. Steele comes right out and says that she admired Jane Eyre, that she relates to her, and that she saw the parallels between the two of them. I was expecting a more cold cut reimagining. Strong parallels, similar scenes, etc. Instead of giving us a Eyre-Gone-Dark-And-Twisted - we are given a Jane Eyre Soul Sister. She is inspired by Jane Eyre like so many of us who love and adore her do. She is the same as Eyre in same way that I am. Simply put - I have to share Jane Eyre with Steele. She's not exactly my 'Classical Heroine' to keep forever to myself but you get the general idea. ;)

The plot keeps moving, the characters that surround her are both flawed and developed. The Love Interest - Mr. Thornfield...beats out Rochester by folds. He is both charming and tormented and yet completely, ever so lovely that I can't help but think that he was meant for Steele. And while it's a gothic romance - the surroundings eventually become brighter. Of course, there's that thing in the basement with the....NO SPOILERS. I promised myself no big spoilers. (The whole thing about her killing people isn't really one because it's marketed as a serial killer Jane Eyre story, lol). There's intrigue, romance, and exotic cultures. In Eyre...it's just quite dark and gloomy all the time. (One of the things that I like best about it. Dark and gloomy makes me happy!).

Conclusion

Four out of five stars. Steele's not Eyre and Faye doesn't try to make her be. Not in a complete-opposite-of-her-way and not in the exactly-like-her-way. It's a rather long read (longer if you use a device like myself) so be prepared. I am planning on going back sometime and re-reading it a little slower. I'm quite big on re-reading. You can catch and understand so much after the first go around. There are parallels between Eyre and Steele but it's not a cage. Neither of them are birds trapped. Steele is entirely her own creature and in that way she is most like Eyre. 

Until next time, 

Jess







Thursday, March 17, 2016

The Grimly Enticing Writing of Cat Winters

This past year, as I have been diving into the world of book blogging, I was introduced to the writing of Cat Winters. She writes historical paranormal fiction geared mostly towards young adults. When I was a teenager I had a phase where only supernaturally paranormal suspense novels could put me to sleep. To this day - I'm not entirely sure why! But, Cat Winters has reminded me of that feeling. Ghostly stories with a strong female lead and a surprise or two thrown in. Her characters are not weak but they aren't perfect and they are closer to the supernatural world than they want to believe. 

In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters


Published: April 2nd, 2013
Publisher: Amulet Books
Page Count: 387 (Hardcover)
Genre: YA, Historical Fiction, Paranormal
Find the Author: Website (Social media links there)

"In 1918, the world seems on the verge of apocalypse. Americans roam the streets in gauze masks to ward off the deadly Spanish influenza, and the government ships young men to the front lines of a brutal war, creating an atmosphere of fear and confusion. Sixteen-year-old Mary Shelley Black watches as desperate mourners flock to séances and spirit photographers for comfort, but she herself has never believed in ghosts. During her bleakest moment, however, she’s forced to rethink her entire way of looking at life and death, for her first love—a boy who died in battle—returns in spirit form. But what does he want from her?" - Borrowed from the Goodreads blurb. 



Grimly enticing. This pretty much sums it up. (It also might sum up every book put out by Cat Winters.) Blackbirds was my first introduction to her writing and story telling. Mary Shelley Black is a strong-minded, intelligent young woman who sees the world for what it is. She doesn't shy away from the horrors of her world - she faces them head on. This makes her a admirable character right off the bat. 


What makes her more admirable is her admittance to the supernatural and her earnest, heartfelt acceptance of her first love's confused ghost returning to her. That to me, speaks of a well-rounded character. I prefer my heroines capable, strong but vulnerable in some way. It fleshes them out. 


Her descriptive writing invokes strong sensory images. That being said - you will not want to make onion anything anytime soon. And you will be wary of electricity. And you might want to invest in a face mask. 


The conclusion is not only sneaky but heart-wrenching. Every good mystery - supernatural or not - must have at least one good surprise. Blackbirds has more than one and they add to the level of heart that I felt resonated through out the story. It also illuminated the mind-shattering effect of war and the untold stories of many of the soldiers that came back without any means of healing the trauma they had experienced and it's resulting consequences.


The Uninvited by Cat Winters


Published: August 11th, 2015
Publisher: William Morrow
Page Count: 343 
Genre: Paranormal, Adult Fiction

"Twenty-five year old Ivy Rowan rises from her bed after being struck by the flu, only to discover the world has been torn apart in just a few short days. But Ivy’s life-long gift—or curse—remains. For she sees the uninvited ones—ghosts of loved ones who appear to her, unasked, unwelcomed, for they always herald impending death. On that October evening in 1918 she sees the spirit of her grandmother, rocking in her mother’s chair. An hour later, she learns her younger brother and father have killed a young German out of retaliation for the death of Ivy’s older brother Billy in the Great War. Horrified, she leaves home, to discover the flu has caused utter panic and the rules governing society have broken down. Ivy is drawn into this new world of jazz, passion, and freedom, where people live for the day, because they could be stricken by nightfall. But as her ‘uninvited guests’ begin to appear to her more often, she knows her life will be torn apart once more, but Ivy has no inkling of the other-worldly revelations about to unfold." - Nabbed from the Goodreads Blurb

Geared towards an adult audience, The Uninvited, is not many shades darker than Winter's writing geared towards young adults. It does include a not-so-explicit love scene. As someone who has read her fair share of questionable romance novels - it doesn't phase me at all. It's well within it's context of the story. The Uninvited could easily be categorized as a young adult novel if the main character wasn't in her twenties. 

Ivy is incredibly sheltered and yet very astute in her observations of her surroundings. (Of course, there's that one thing she doesn't quite get until the end of the novel). She strives for independence within a shattering world and absolution for a heinous crime that she did not commit herself. You can like her for that and you can root for her. 

There is something rather surprising (yet not) revealed at the end. And to be honest - you might figure it out before I did. Or you'll be like me and will flip through the past pages in confusion. Certain things don't add up. Winter is far from a lazy writer and so it doesn't quite make sense until it's revealed. So, if you get confused or scratch your head on a few things - keep going. It'll make sense in the end. 


Conclusion

Cat Winters writes within a very similar world, in the same time, and with characters that seem to be a varied reflection of each other. Her writing elevates her from being trapped as a 'genre' writer. I might not suggest her within my range of general suggestions (Who knows if someone is into paranormal historical fiction-from-the-perspective-of-a-young-woman - it's better to go with A Tree Grows In Brooklyn). But I would suggest if someone was looking for something different, something out of their norm.

Four out of five stars!

What's next on my Cat Winter's reading list? The Steep and Thorny Way.

Happy reading and until next time,

Jess




Monday, March 14, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Spring TBR List!





1. Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye



Published on : March 22nd

A modern Jane Eyre? Sign me up!


2. Keep Me Posted by Lyndsay Faye 


Published : April 5th 

I love stories about sisters. My sister and I live countries apart. Naturally I'm drawn to the premise. :)

3. Star Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi


Published : May 3rd

This just strikes me as a delicious read.

4. You Were Here - Cori McCarthy


Daredevil character on a mission to honor dead brother. This is going to end up really bad or really good.

5. Coldest Girl in Coldtown - Holly Black


Yup. Been on my TBR list for a while. I'll actually read it this time! No distractions!

6. Six of Crows - Leigh Bardugo


I have a copy of this on my bookshelf that is just CALLING ME OUT. 

7. The Royal Wedding by Meg Cabot


And my friends are staring at me hard right now. Yes, I know...I NEED TO READ THIS.

8. Remembrance by Meg Cabot


Yea, pretty much what I said above. lol. 

9. Anne of the Island by LM Montgomery

Yes, this is a re-read. My all-time favorite of the entire series. :) 

10. Winter's Bone by Daniel Woodrell

I saw a trailer for the movie and thought it looked good but I want to read the book.

And that concludes this week's TTT! :) Any suggestions for me? What was on your list? 

'Til next time,

Jess


Friday, March 11, 2016

ARC : Heir to the Sky by Amanda Sun

Disclaimer : This is a review of a ARC (courtesy of Netgalley!) and so....spoilers may be ahead. I try to avoid...but, these things happen. lol. 


Heir to the Sky by Amanda Sun



Published: April 26th, 2016
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Page Count: 384 (Hardcover)
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy.
Find the Author: Website (Social media linked there)

"As heir to a kingdom of floating continents, Kali has spent her life bound by limits—by her duties as a member of the royal family; by a forced betrothal to the son of a nobleman; and by the edge of the only world she’s ever known—a small island hovering above a monster-ridden earth, long since uninhabited by humans. She is the Eternal Flame of Hope for what’s left of mankind, the wick and the wax burning in service for her people, and for their revered Phoenix, whose magic keeps them aloft. When Kali falls off the edge of her kingdom and miraculously survives, she is shocked to discover there are still humans on the earth. Determined to get home, Kali entrusts a rugged monster-hunter named Griffin to guide her across a world overrun by chimera, storm dragons, basilisks, and other terrifying beasts. But the more time she spends on earth, the more dark truths she begins to uncover about her home in the sky, and the more resolute she is to start burning for herself." - Nabbed from the Goodreads blurb. 

From the first chapter I was intrigued about the world that Sun created. It's a floating island kingdom. Supposedly kept floating by a magical, saint-like Phoenix that defied her fellow monsters overriding the earth below and saved the portion of humanity that believed in her. It's a fascinating premise. And the world she creates is consistently developed through out the length of the novel. At a pace that seems suitable while things (plot points, lol) keep going. 

The main character Kali is a strong leader in the making. You can tell from the very start that Kali is a strong, independent type of girl who will reign with wisdom and compassion (and all the things a monarch needs to be good at their job). Except...she is highly underestimated and rather placated by the males in her life. Her father, while doting, keeps her in the dark on some pretty important factors about the reality of their world and her fiance acts like she's a empty-headed object. (Surprise douche-bag...she's not.) It's because of this capability (balanced well with vulnerability) that I found her to be a like-able, relatable character. 

As for the romantic lead...he's cool. I could get with them together. I did find him and his family like SUPER NICE. It surprised me. But, there's plenty of conflict with all the monsters roaming around on the ground. It's refreshing for a world gone to hell to have brought out more humanity in a group of people than inhumanity. They have more reason to go brutal than the sky people. Griffin is a great guy. He's rough, of course, but he's into her from the start and smiles a lot. He's not my preferred type of romantic lead but he works with Kali. 

This is my first introduction to Sun's writing and it is eloquent. There's a chunk of spirituality that comes into play, a good deal of world describing that's necessary, several characters and monsters to bring to life, and some pretty deep thinking along the way to balance together. I found that she balanced everything with eloquence. She's not THE most eloquent author out there but she has a spark of potential that burns bright in the corners and centers of the book. 

Three out of five stars! And a recommendation for any fantasy, monster loving readers out there.

Jess

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

International Women's Day & A Tyranny of Petticoats

Today was International Women's Day. It was created to give us a day each year to celebrate "the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women". But to also "be aware progress has slowed in many places across the world, so urgent action is needed to accelerate gender parity". While my day was quiet - marked by a visit from a friend and a lot of preparing for a meeting tomorrow - I did find time to reflect on the day by doing what I do best...reading a new book.

A Tyranny of Petticoats - Anthology edited by Jessica Spotwood


"Criss-cross America — on dogsleds and ships, stagecoaches and trains — from pirate ships off the coast of the Carolinas to the peace, love, and protests of 1960s Chicago. Join fifteen of today’s most talented writers of young adult literature on a thrill ride through history with American girls charting their own course. They are monsters and mediums, bodyguards and barkeeps, screenwriters and schoolteachers, heiresses and hobos. They're making their own way in often-hostile lands, using every weapon in their arsenals, facing down murderers and marriage proposals. And they all have a story to tell." - Nabbed from the Goodreads Blurb. 

While I've only had it less than twenty four hours...I haven't been able to put it down. I've been looking forward to this book since I learned about it last year. I adore Historical Fiction. I love strong female characters. And here was this coming to my bookshelf - an anthology full of strong female characters through out American History. It was well worth the wait and the expectations...and I'm not through it yet.

There's so much I could say about the experience of being a woman. What it means to me, what I hope for us in the future, what I believe in for us now but...it's almost eleven and I do have a meeting tomorrow. So I shall close this little post with a strong encouragement to pick up/order a copy of The Tyranny of Petticoats and one of my favorite quotes as a reminder to all women that they are infinite, cosmic beings that deserve the bravest life possible. 

"You're a ghost driving a meat coated skeleton made from stardust, what do you have to be scared of?" 
- Unknown
Love, 

Jess

Monday, March 7, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday - Characters Everyone Loves But...I Don't Get?



Hey! Look what I made! :) I thought it was time to make my own little signage for Top Ten Tuesday. It's nothing fancy but I feel kind of official now. 

This week's topic is...Characters Everyone Loves But I Don't Get. Now, usually not every character written will be understood or adored by everyone. The list compiled here are popular characters universally accepted by the masses that I don't quite understand, connect with, or who just sort of completely annoy me. (Not necessarily in any specific order). 

1. Tris Prior from Divergent


It's not like I hate her nor does she completely annoy me. I admire her strength and her uncanny abilities to be awesome. It's just that - I just don't think she's that special. She's flawed and that's good to have in a character. And sometimes rare in the land of YA fiction. But, she never really inspired me. It's possible that Strong Dystopian Female Main Character's Fighting For Their Lives And Families - was ruined by Katniss Everdeen.

2. Emma from...Emma (Jane Austen)


She annoys me and is most likely my least favorite Austen Heroine. I appreciate how Austen created a unique, developed character with flaws. Every female character she wrote possessed their own virtues, flaws, and personality traits. And, of course, she had to write the story of a spoiled, privileged, beautiful young woman who played Queen Bee with her 'social circle'. I just don't admire the character. She is the reason I can't recommend Emma to anyone looking to be introduced to Austen or classical literature. Unless they've just boasted about their love for Mean Girls, Clueless (which, ironically - I adore...who figures?), and read the original format of Gossip Girls back in the day. 

3. Anna Karenina...from Anna Karenina


My disconnect with this character might be because I could never get around to finishing this novel. My sister LOVES this novel. I, however, don't go for the unfaithful wife story. Yes, she was a woman in a system that wasn't kind or giving to women. But, I found the whole premise so sad and I tried and failed to get behind Anna Karenina.

4. Aurora aka "Sleeping Beauty"


I loved Sleeping Beauty growing up. But, as an adult I find her to the most lacking of all the fairy tale princesses out there. Cinderella was good, The Little Mermaid..well...just tragic in the original non-Disney telling, and Belle - well, who doesn't love the Beauty? Aurora, however, just sort...meh. Not the most enticing fairy tale heroine out there. 

5. Draco Malfoy from the Harry Potter Series


I only give him space on this list because...I need spaces filled...and for some reason he has a fanbase? I don't necessarily knock anyone's fandom. However. I don't get it. And I don't like Draco. I like how he ended with his family and hope that he found redemption and taught his children better ways. But that's about it. He was a spoiled, bratty bully who made all the wrong choices. He shouldn't be idolized in his original form. (Spoiled, bratty bully). He does go through the ringer and from my understanding that did change him in his adult life. He lives a life different from his parents and refuses with his wife to raise his son with the anti-Muggle propaganda his parents believed. I just don't think he should get kudos for that. (And I'm usually cheering for all the bad boys). 

6. Alice from Alice in Wonderland 


I've been listening to the WONDROUS new audiobook of Alice in Wonderland voiced by Scarlett Johanssen. I enjoy the story but Alice, herself, kind of annoys me. I compare her to other female characters from children's literature within that time and she adds up lacking. It might be because the entire book is rather trippy and out there and her personality is overridden by that. But, I don't know. Not my favorite! 

7. Scarlett O'Hara from Gone With The Wind


This girl has a following. Margaret Mitchell was brilliant and I loved Gone With The Wind. But, Scarlett just made me raise my eyebrow and roll my eyes. Her flaws are too great for me to like her. Too haughty, too privileged, too selfish.

8. Catelyn Stark from Game of Thrones


I'm a huge GoT fan. Except...I've only read the first book because he hasn't finished the series yet and he takes forever and I'm afraid to read them all now because then I'll be stuck waiting like the rest of the fandom. I do know the course the characters take (and not just because I watch the TV show). And so I know that she technically, probably feels genuine remorse for the shitty way she treated her innocent step son. BUT I SHALL NEVER FORGIVE HER. It wasn't his fault he was her husband's illegitimate son. She could forgive her husband for the transgression but she couldn't forgive the innocent boy. She basically forced him to go take the Black (meaning he couldn't inherit, have children - or the fun of making them, and would live out the rest of his life in coldness amongst criminals and other outcasts). I don't think people necessarily like her as much and so my opinion probably isn't contradictory. She just needed a shout out because I don't like her. Haha.  

9. Clarke Griffin from The 100


Disclaimer : This opinion does not refer to in any way the character as depicted, developed, and recreated by the TV Show inspired by the novel - despite my using a gif from it...lol. I tried with the 100. I really did. It just felt like she worried too much about boys. I just didn't connect with her. Such as is my problem with Tris (although I place Tris WAY above the novel Clarke Griffin) and Katniss. I think the characterization of Clarke within the TV Show (my first introduction to The 100) stole my heart first and then made all other incarnations lacking. I can't believe I just said that about a literary character versus a television character. I'm always for literature! Except...

10. Sansa Stark from Game of Thrones


Another character where I find myself rooting for the TV version but not in it's original literary incarnation. Of course, I haven't read past Game of Thrones. I don't...dislike where I believe she'll head and she does go through some horrible, horrible things. I hate that softer, feminine characters are often hung up to dry as being 'weak' and 'insipid'. But, there are plenty of strong females out there that like looking good, are capable of great gentleness, and have many traditional feminine qualities without being 'weak'. Sansa, as originally written and characterized within the book, is not one of them. She's by far the weakest Stark. (I don't count Catelyn). I hope she survives, and I hope that when I finally get to finish the series she'll blossom into the strong, determined character that she is within the TV show. 



And that is my list for the week. I look forward to seeing what everyone comes up with. I've made sure to remember to post this in a timely manner. Last week I lost track of what day it was and ended up posting it in the evening. For some reason I thought it was still Monday. Nope. Tuesday evening! 

What do you think? Comments? Disagreements? I want to hear it! 

Until next time, 

Jess











Saturday, March 5, 2016

Won a Giveaway!

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
I can't believe I almost forgot to give a shout to Just Us Book Blog. I entered their giveaway for a chance to win one of many choices. I chose 'Six of Crows'. It was delivered a short while ago but I haven't had a chance to crack it open just yet. However - I've completely fallen in love with the book itself. The art is just...magnificent. I love how books are getting more and more gorgeous. It's something I'm super proud of having on my bookshelf.

Obviously not a review out yet as I haven't cracked it open but -- I'm definitely looking forward to it. :)

Until next time,


Jess


Tuesday, March 1, 2016

TTT : Top Books to Read If You're In The Mood for....

Blame it on my binge-watching Fuller House this past weekend...but I'm feeling really womanhood right now. The following list is a collection of books that pop out in my brain when I think books about women - their journeys, relationships, etc. They might not be the most profound or classical pieces but they glued themselves into my brain for a reason. I am going to try to give only titles that I haven't mentioned before. Try.

I Was Here by Gayle Foreman

It examines female relationships in the context of some pretty serious issues. Things we hide, the effects of mental illness, the truths we give our best friends, etc. Also who we are, who we want to be, and who we allow ourselves to be.

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen


Sense and Sensibility! My very first introduction to Jane Austen. And it is the one that sticks out in my mind the most when I think about female relationships. It is about a family who is made up of all women (and a douche half-brother, lol) and their journey to happily-ever-after. 



Netflix just added the movie adaption to their list. I would, of course, recommend reading at least the first book prior to watching the movie, but definitely enjoy both! (The movie is excellently cast). Each friend is different from background to personalities. The pants are like a huge symbol. A symbol of their friendship and their commitment to one another.



I love the idea of matchmaking friends together. And having a secret language. It's beautifully written and the turns and twists still stick in my mind. 

White Oleander - Janet Fitch


Hands down one of my favorite books as a teen. It's a coming of age novel set in a rotating dire circumstance of being a girl in the foster care system. With a mother who murdered her lover with Oleanders. Yea, that's why it's called that. I should re-read it and do a formal review. It's not one that gets a lot of shout outs. 
Little Women - Louisa May Alcott


A total no brainer. For obvious reasons. If you haven't read this. Do it now. ;)

The Red Tent - Anita Diamant


Now I am SURE I have mentioned this one before. But, it's one of my favorites. Sisters, mothers and daughter, father and daughter. Mother to child. Midwifing. It's has so many elements that have impacted the experience of being a woman through out time. Always and forever one of my favorites to bring out for any list.


I was thinking of putting the Joy Luck Club down but when I went to the goodreads site - I remember this one! I read it ages ago in High School - but to be honest...I remember being more impacted by it than I was by The Joy Luck Club. Now, I can't exactly remember how it goes. But, it's about sisters and different experiences and it's written by Amy Tan. I love Amy Tan. 



I believe the forward to my physical copy of this novel explains it best by saying something to the likes of...it's not a story about a poor girl, it's not a story about a girl who has a strained relationship with her mother, this is not a girl who was almost molested, this isn't a story about a girl who loves to read, this isn't a story about a girl who grows up strong - it's a story about all of that. It's not just one story - it's all those stories and more. It's such a lovely, meandering read. And its all centered around one of the most authentic, relatable female characters in literature. I might just be saying this because she loves books. But, still, worth it's place on the list. 

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd


Lily has a lot of relationships in this book. To her caregiver, to her dead mother, to her newly found guardians. With herself, with female spirituality, with her past. I think I've read this more times than I can count. Again. If you haven't read it - do so!


And I'm out for the week! Any suggestions to add? What did you choose for this week's topic?

Jess