Thursday, December 1, 2022

Factory Girls: A Novel by Michelle Gallen

(Thank you the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book!)

about book: (summary from Goodreads)

A funny, fierce, and unforgettable read about a young woman working a summer job in a shirt factory in Northern Ireland, while tensions rise both inside and outside the factory walls.

It’s the summer of 1994, and all smart-mouthed Maeve Murray wants are good final exam results so she can earn her ticket out of the wee Northern Irish town she has grown up in during the Troubles. She hopes she will soon be in London studying journalism—away from her crowded home, the silence and sadness surrounding her sister’s death, and most of all, away from the violence of her divided community.

As a first step, Maeve’s taken a job in a shirt factory working alongside Protestants with her best friends. But getting the right exam results is only part of Maeve’s problem—she’s got to survive a tit-for-tat paramilitary campaign, iron 100 shirts an hour all day every day, and deal with the attentions of Handy Andy Strawbridge, her slick and untrustworthy English boss. Then, as the British loyalist marching season raises tensions among the Catholic and Protestant workforce, Maeve realizes something is going on behind the scenes at the factory. What seems to be a great opportunity to earn money turns out to be a crucible in which Maeve faces the test of a lifetime. Seeking justice for herself and her fellow workers may just be Maeve’s one-way ticket out of town.

Bitingly hilarious, clear-eyed, and steeped in the vernacular of its time and place, Factory Girlstackles questions of wealth and power, religion and nationalism, and how young women maintain hope for themselves and the future during divided, violent times.

my thoughts:

Whoa! What a freaking fantastic story! I just LOVED Factory Girls by Michelle Gallen to bits! 

Set in 1994 during the Troubles in Ireland, we meet Maeve Murray. She's waiting for her GSCE exam results to find out whether or not she'll be attending school in London to study journalism - something she desperately wants. Because all Maeve wants is to get out of her small town and away from all the problems and troubles that reside there. So, to bide her time, she gets a summer job at a shirt factory with her best friends. It's the first time she'll be working alongside Protestants, which turns out to be an eye-opening experience for her, being a Catholic and all. Plus, her boss is known for being too handsy and forward when it comes to his female staff. Oh, and something sketchy seems to be going on at work which may test Maeve in ways she didn't realize she needed to be tested. Talk about a DRAMA-filled summer! 

Gallen has written a smart and hilarious story chock full of unforgettable characters during an unforgettable summer that you will fall in deep with - I know that I did. I really enjoyed getting to know Maeve and her friends and their hometown of Tyrone. Getting to experience a piece of Irish history via Maeve's story was just such a treat. I would happily recommend Factory Girls to fans of Gallen's work and to anyone looking for their next great read - you won't want to miss out on this book! Make sure to check it out!

Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book!

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

(Inside The Curve) Stories From The Pandemic curated by Claudi Carreras

(Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!)

about book: (summary from Goodreads)

In the globe-spanning chronicle of an unprecedented historic event, journalists and photographers share an extraordinary collection of stories of the COVID pandemic: from the isolation and devastation of quarantine to the joy of reunion. 

As COVID-19 continued to evolve and impact communities around the globe, the National Geographic Society launched a Global Emergency Fund for Journalists to cover this extraordinary crisis within their own communities. The fund put a particular emphasis on delivering news to underserved populations, particularly where there is a dearth of evidence-based information getting to those who need it. This pandemic has made evident the vulnerability, inequity, and the many environmental injustices in our society, but it has also shown us the incredible resilience of many communities. Selections from this powerful body of work will be featured in a global traveling exhibition entitled “Inside the Curve: Stories from the Pandemic.” The book, which will extend and amplify the exhibition, will illuminate some of the themes of the crisis that have impacted all of us, as well as unique stories of heroism and survival.

my thoughts:

National Geographic has published a book titled, (Inside The Curve) Stories From The Pandemic and it is excellent. Curated by Claudi Carreras this book provides stories and photographs that capture the horrors of the COVID pandemic, along with the enduring strength of communities that rallied together to help one another during such a terrifying and unknown time. It's truly an emotional book. 

In order to chronicle COVID, the National Geographic Society decided to create a fund, called the Global Emergency Fund for Journalists, that would enable photographers and journalists to write about and share about what was happening where they lived. By doing so, this would help the world see what was happening all over the world, and also what was being done during such a scary time. The goal of the fund was to bring news to the underserved communities. Throughout the pandemic it became very clear what populations were most vulnerable and where the inequalities truly existed. This book shows us all of that and more, which makes it a fascinating and thought-provoking read. 

People can see selections from this book in a global traveling exhibition called, "Inside the Curve: Stories from the Pandemic."  Talk about a brilliant way to highlight the pandemic and the crises it brought to our attention. What a terrific book! I found myself mesmerized and reflecting on these past few years. Such a heart-wrenching time for us all. 

I would most definitely recommend (Inside The Curve) to everyone - this is must-read reading for us all. Make sure to check it out!!

Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!

Monday, November 28, 2022

Angels of the Resistance: A Novel by Noelle Salazar

(Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book!)

about book:

The second WWII novel by Noelle Salazar, bestselling author of the THE FLIGHT GIRLS, follows two teenage sisters in the Netherlands who are recruited as part of the Dutch Resistance effort against the Nazis. Inspired by true events, this moving story about ordinary young women who become extraordinary heroes will appeal to fans of Pam Jenoff and Kate Quinn.

Netherlands, 1940. In the small town of Haarlem, fourteen-year-old Lien lives a simple life with her mother and sister in a farmhouse on the outskirts of the city. Elsewhere in Europe bombs are falling, but the pall on their house is more from the recent loss of their baby sister as a result of an accident Lien believes she could have prevented than from the oncoming war. Until the Nazis invade the Netherlands and their lives are overturned once more.

Recruited by their late father’s friend, Lien’s older sister Elif reluctantly joins the Dutch resistance movement. Spurred by the injustice of the Nazis’ treatment of Dutch citizens as well as a terrifying bombing of their small town, and forever seeking atonement for her baby sister’s death, Lien begs to join as well. The sisters’ youthful, innocent looks and ability to disappear into a crowd make them the perfect resistance soldiers. Together with a handful of like-minded youth, including the gallant Charlie with whom Lien forms an instant connection, the sisters are trained and begin to carry out missions, from distributing and collecting information to moving Jewish families from hiding places to luring and killing influential Nazis. The toll of the war and their work is evident in their collective psyches, and Lien starts to make mistakes that could cost her and her newfound friends their lives. Until one very personal mission shows her that the atonement she desperately seeks for her sister’s death cannot be found at the end of the barrel of a pistol, but must be found from within her heart.

my thoughts:

Wow. Just, wow. What a fantastic story! Engrossing, heartbreaking, and captivating. I was hooked right from the start and could not stop reading this book until I found out what would happen next. I fell in deep with Lien and Elif, two sisters working against the Nazis during WWII.  Recruited as teenagers, the two young women underwent training for the Dutch Resistance. Their youthful appearance helped them immensely, as no one would see them as a threat.  Able to go unnoticed, they carried weapons, messages, and aided in moving people from one safe house to the next. The two sisters worked hard and were determined to do their part. Talk about a riveting and emotional read!

Angels of the Resistance is a must-read novel for fans of Noelle Salazar and for anyone looking for their next great historical fiction read - you are going to LOVE this book to bits! The writing is stellar and the storytelling is captivating. What a wonderful book! I would definitely recommend this book - make sure to check it out!

Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book!

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Spotlight on Under a Veiled Moon: An Inspector Corravan Mystery by Karen Odden


A new-to-me series by Karen Odden that is a must-read for her fans, and for anyone looking for a terrific new crime mystery series to fall in deep with. I know I loved this book and can't wait to read the first in the series - I want to get to know Inspector Corravan even more, along with his friend Belinda and his colleague, Mr. Stiles. 

So, what's this book about? Well, here's a summary to whet your appetite. My review will be coming in December and let me just say it will be a rave review. 

In the tradition of C. S. Harris and Anne Perry, a fatal disaster on the Thames and a roiling political conflict set the stage for Karen Odden’s second Inspector Corravan historical mystery.

September 1878. One night, as the pleasure boat the Princess Alice makes her daily trip up the Thames, she collides with the Bywell Castle, a huge iron-hulled collier. The Princess Alice shears apart, throwing all 600 passengers into the river; only 130 survive. It is the worst maritime disaster London has ever seen, and early clues point to sabotage by the Irish Republican Brotherhood, who believe violence is the path to restoring Irish Home Rule. 
For Scotland Yard Inspector Michael Corravan, born in Ireland and adopted by the Irish Doyle family, the case presents a challenge. Accused by the Home Office of willfully disregarding the obvious conclusion and berated by his Irish friends for bowing to prejudice, Corravan doggedly pursues the truth, knowing that if the Princess Alice disaster is pinned on the IRB, hopes for Home Rule could be dashed forever.

Corrovan’s dilemma is compounded by Colin, the youngest Doyle, who has joined James McCabe’s Irish gang. As violence in Whitechapel rises, Corravan strikes a deal with McCabe to get Colin out of harm’s way. But unbeknownst to Corravan, Colin bears longstanding resentments against his adopted brother and scorns his help.
As the newspapers link the IRB to further accidents, London threatens to devolve into terror and chaos. With the help of his young colleague, the loyal Mr. Stiles, and his friend Belinda Gale, Corravan uncovers the harrowing truth—one that will shake his faith in his countrymen, the law, and himself.

Now, how great does that sound? Like a must-read, right? Well, it is! So make sure to check it out! You are going to fall in LOVE with Odden's writing and her storytelling.

Monday, November 21, 2022

Blacktold: 33 Dynamic Essays from Andscape edited by Steve Reiss

(Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!)

about book:

ESPN's website, The Undefeated, publishes content that explores how race and identity impact American culture. This will be a collection of the best articles published on the site. Timely and relevant, BlackTold will cover current events such as the BLM movement, the Covid-19 pandemic, race and the NFL, and more.

Here's a sample of some of the articles that will be included:

"George Floyd's mother was not there, but he used her as a sacred invocation"
With his dying breaths, Floyd called for her as an assurance of memory. 

"The importance of Chadwick Boseman to African Culture"
In many ways, Black Panther helped normalize African heritage and style in popular culture by truly celebrating it.

"Naomi Osaka made sure Black lives mattered at the U.S. Open"
She's grown more sophisticated in how she discusses race, and more comfortable with doing so publicly. 

"Can a black heroine fix the racist stereotypes infecting 'King Kong'?"
In new Broadway production, actress Christiani Pitts steps into the role first made famous by Fay Wray.

my thoughts:

Wow! What an important and timely book of essays! Blacktold: 33 Dynamic Essays from Andscape is fantastic! Edited by Steve Reiss and with a foreword by Raina Kelley, this terrific book is chock full of smart, thoughtful, and insightful essays about race, Black culture, sports culture, entertainment industry, and so much more. It's the perfect book to dip in and out of - read an essay and reflect on it, don't rush through the pages. Take your time with this book, because it will take its time with you - meaning, that it will sit with long after you put it away. It's the epitome of that saying, 'food for thought'. 

As a person of color, I found that many of these essays resonated deeply with me. I felt all the feels and just couldn't stop thinking about so many of the issues that were brought up in this book. I found myself wanting to read more and learn more. That's why it's so important for books like Blacktold to be out in the world - they help open up dialogues about racial stereotypes, race in politics and sports culture, etc.. I would definitely recommend Blacktold to everyone - this is one book you don't want to miss out on. Make sure to check it out!

Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!