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Memories From Books on Booklikes

Always a reader. Writing to remember and to share my thoughts on the books I read.

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings - Maya Angelou

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is the first of seven memoirs that Maya Angelou wrote. This book tells of her life from childhood to the age of seventeen - the years 1928 to 1945. The story is a harsh and sad one, dealing with poverty, racism, abandonment, rape, sexual abuse, and teenage pregnancy. It is inspirational not in its writing but in the fact that Maya Angelou had courage to live this life, to move forward from the events described, and to tell the story in such a public way.


Source: http://www.memoriesfrombooks.com/2017/03/i-know-why-caged-bird-sings.html

Minds of Winter

Minds of Winter - Ed O'Loughlin

Minds of Winter by Ed O'Loughlin sets a fictional story around a lost polar expedition. Unfortunately, the story lacks an anchor, jumping through time periods, locations, and perspectives. At times, it seems more a collection of short stories loosely linked together. Having read the book and then researched the history, I did learn about the mystery of John Franklin's fatal expedition. Sadly, too many characters, too many plot lines, and a confusing timeline keep this from being the book for me.


Reviewed for NetGalley


Source: http://www.memoriesfrombooks.com/2017/03/minds-of-winter.html

The Fifth Petal

The Fifth Petal: A Novel - Brunonia Barry

Take witchcraft and new age healing practices. Add some mythology. Place it in a historic Salem, Massachusetts setting. Throw in an atmospheric country estate. Write in an eclectic group of strong female characters. Stir in a mystery and a dash of a love story. Orchestrate everything through a police chief with a history and a story of his own. The end result is an entertaining tale – The Fifth Petal by Brunonia Barry.



Reviewed for LibraryThings Early Reviewers program.


Source: http://www.memoriesfrombooks.com/2017/03/the-fifth-petal.html

Dear Friend, from My Life I Write to You in Your Life

Dear Friend, from My Life I Write to You in Your Life - Yiyun Li


To understand Dear Friend, from My Life I Write to You in Your Life by Yiyun Li, you have to understand the context in which it came to be written. I struggle with how to rate this book. On the one hand, I have enormous respect for the author's struggle with mental health. On the other hand, the book reads as a therapeutic outlet for the author rather than a memoir to be shared with others. I bear witness to the struggle, wish her well, and move on.


Reviewed for NetGalley


Source: http://www.memoriesfrombooks.com/2017/03/dear-friend-from-my-life-i-write-to-you.html

The Forgotten Girls

The Forgotten Girls (A Stevens and Windermere Novel) - Owen Laukkanen

Dedicated to the victims of a serial killer in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, The Forgotten Girls by Owen Laukkanen is a police procedural that starts with gruesome pictures on a phone and ends with the hunt for a serial killer. It follows the police chase both from the perspective of the detectives, the girls, and the killer - "the ghost rider." The book is a fiction with a reminder that these things sadly do also happen in real life.



Reviewed for Penguin First to Read program.


Source: http://www.memoriesfrombooks.com/2017/03/the-forgotten-girls.html

The Wanderers

The Wanderers - Meg Howrey

The premise, cover, and marketing led me to read The Wanderers by Meg Howrey. Unfortunately, the book suffers from two things. First because of the number perspectives, it becomes difficult to track the different storylines or to fully vest in any of the characters. Second, this book described as Station Eleven meets The Martian suffers from its own marketing. It is like neither book, and sadly, I end up not the right reader for this book.



Reviewed for NetGalley & Penguin First to Read


Source: http://www.memoriesfrombooks.com/2017/03/the-wanderers.html

Say Nothing

Say Nothing - Brad Parks

Say Nothing by Brad Parks is a fun read. Say Nothing is a quick read. Say Nothing is an entertaining read. The “however” in these statements is that Say Nothing as a story is also implausible to the point that reality interferes with the story. I do have fun reading the book, suspending disbelief, ignoring the question of “really???”, and just going along. What more can I say?


Reviewed for Penguin First to Read program


Source: http://www.memoriesfrombooks.com/2017/03/say-nothing.html

The Confessions of Young Nero

The Confessions of Young Nero - Margaret George

Happy Publication Day Margaret George!


What makes The Confessions of Young Nero by Margaret George work is the fact that it is about a young boy caught up in intrigues and machinations from his very birth. The first person narrative through his eyes initially sets up a sympathetic character. What also makes this book work is the detail with which the ancient Roman world is described. Never take historical fiction for being history, but let yourself indulge in this story that completely submerges you in its world.


Read my complete review & listen to Margaret George speak about Emperor Nero at Memories From Books - The Confessions of Young Nero


Reviewed for NetGalley.


Source: http://www.memoriesfrombooks.com/2017/03/the-confessions-of-young-nero.html

The Barrowfields

The Barrowfields: A Novel - Phillip Lewis

Characters and setting are the focal points of The Barrowfields, the promising debut novel by Phillip Lewis. The plot centers around the theme of parents and children and of children's ability to overcome the scars of their childhood. With beautiful writing, the author conjures up a dark and somewhat Gothic feel of a story-filled old mansion in the middle of 1980s North Carolina.


Read my complete review at Memories From Books - The Barrowfields


Reviewed for NetGalley & Penguin First to Read.


Source: http://www.memoriesfrombooks.com/2017/03/the-barrowfields.html


Harvest: Unexpected Projects Using 47 Extraordinary Garden Plants - Stefani Bittner, Alethea Harampolis

What really makes Harvest: Unexpected Projects Using 47 Extraordinary Garden Plants by Stefani Bittner and Alethea Harampolis such an appealing book is the photography. From the simple and vibrant cover to the full page images that make up half the book, the book conjures up its message of the bounty possible in a garden and makes me want to run out and start planting.


Read my complete review at Memories From Books - Harvest


Reviewed for the Blogging for Books program


Source: http://www.memoriesfrombooks.com/2017/03/harvest.html


Pachinko - Min Jin Lee

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee is a saga of four generations of one Korean family. The history underlying the story is that of Korean immigrants in Japan. I love the first half of the book for its focus on the individual characters. The second half incorporates too many characters and story lines. At the end though, this book is the story of a mother and the story of an immigrant population and well worth reading.


Read my complete review at Memories From Books - Pachinko


Reviewed for NetGalley


Source: http://www.memoriesfrombooks.com/2017/02/pachinko.html

The Mothers

The Mothers: A Novel - Brit Bennett

The Mothers by Brit Bennet, as the title might suggest, is a book all about motherhood. The book begins with a suicide and an unwanted pregnancy and continues until the young people involved are in their thirties. Unfortunately, time passes, but the characters seem not to evolve. I keep waiting for growth, an understanding, an acceptance, or something. It does not come. The entire book remains at the fact that tragic decisions were made, and they altered many lives.


Read my complete review at Memories From Books - The Mothers


Reviewed for the Read It Forward program



Source: http://www.memoriesfrombooks.com/2017/02/the-mothers.html

The Chilbury Ladies Choir

The Chilbury Ladies' Choir: A Novel - Jennifer Ryan

World War II provides the context for The Chilbury Ladies' Choir by Jennifer Ryan, but the war is not the story itself. The heart of this story are the women of the small village of Chilbury in Kent, England. This story becomes about each woman finding her own individual voice and about learning that the voice can stand alone and can be heard. The end result is a charming story of women, love, and survival tempered by the somber circumstances.


Read my complete review at Memories From Books - The Chilbury Ladies Choir


Reviewed for NetGalley


Source: http://www.memoriesfrombooks.com/2017/02/the-chilbury-ladies-choir.html

The Young Widower's Handbook

The Young Widower's Handbook - Tom McAllister

Given the topic and enormity of the loss depicted, I so wanted to like this book and the main character Hunter Cady. I wanted to marvel at the strength of hope and to cheer for his survival. A journey such as this is often one of healing and self-discovery, but that self-actualization does not seem to happen for Hunter. His journey seems rather to drift from thing to thing, making this not the book for me.


Read my complete review at Memories From Books - The Young Widower's Handbook


Reviewed for NetGalley


Source: http://www.memoriesfrombooks.com/2017/02/the-young-widowers-handbook.html

Juliet's Answer

Juliet's Answer: One Man's Search for Love and the Elusive Cure for Heartbreak - Glenn Dixon

I look at Juliet's Answer: One Man's Search for Love and the Elusive Cure for Heartbreak by Glenn Dixon as two separate books. One is a personal journey. The other is a history of a place and an organization. While the personal story of this book is not for me, the legend of Casa di Giuletta and the history of the secretaries of Juliet is fascinating. It makes me want to visit Verona and the Casa di Giuletta and perhaps write my very own letter to Juliet.


Read my complete review at Memories From Books - Juliet's Answer


Reviewed for NetGalley


Source: http://www.memoriesfrombooks.com/2017/02/juliets-answer.html

The Refugees

The Refugees - Viet Thanh Nguyen

The Refugees by Pulitzer prize winner Viet Thanh Nguyen is a collection of eight short stories about Vietnamese refugees in the United States. The author himself is a refugee and a child of refugees. Thus, in many ways, these stories are a reflection of his own experiences. The word that comes to mind through all these stories is haunting. Based on that, I will be adding The Sympathizer to my reading list.


Read my complete review at Memories From Books - The Refugees


Reviewed for NetGalley


Source: http://www.memoriesfrombooks.com/2017/02/the-refugees.html