Stacey's Book Reviews

Maame: A Today Show Read With Jenna Book Club Pick By Jessica George Cover Image
Reviewed by: Stacey
Posted: July 16, 2024

Maddie, the lovable main character, has always lived a responsible life. She cares for her father, who has Parkinson’s, while her mother returns to Ghana for long periods of time.  Her brother is useless. Maddie is not treated well at her job, and her dating life is pretty non-existent.  When her mom returns to London, Maddie moves out of her parents’ house, and begins to live a much more independent and fulfilling life. A debut novel for George, and she knocks it out of the park. - Stacey

Vacationland: A Novel By Meg Mitchell Moore Cover Image
Reviewed by: Stacey
Posted: June 19, 2024

This immersive book is perfect for summer beach reading, but also a nice reprieve from winter. I read it when it was in the 20s and icy, and truly felt like I’d gotten away for a few days! Character development and family secrets abound, and sense of place is very strong (as a fan of Maine in the summer, it is really wonderful).  A light but thoroughly enjoyable read. - Stacey

The Lion Women of Tehran By Marjan Kamali Cover Image
Reviewed by: Stacey
Posted: June 18, 2024

Despite the setting of repression and revolution in Iran, and the friendship that is center stage being fraught, I found myself wrapped in the warmth of Kamali’s writing.  All of her descriptions are beautiful, and the relationship between Homa and Ellie, though fraught, has a strength and love that makes one feel envious.  As with all good historical novels, I learned things I hadn’t known, and I thought about this story for days after finishing it. Lovers of The Stationery Shop should not miss this one! - Stacey

Swift River: A Read with Jenna Pick By Essie Chambers Cover Image
Reviewed by: Stacey
Posted: June 18, 2024

A coming-of-age story about a biracial teen, whose Black father is gone, leaving her the only Black person in her town.  Diamond does not have an easy time of it, and it is compounded by the fact that she is teased about her weight, and that her white mother has a limited understanding of what Diamond is going through. A new connection to her dad's family gives her more information about that part of her identity. Chambers' writing is beautiful, and it's hard to believe that this is her debut novel! - Stacey

Maxine Gets a Job By Alexandra Garyn, Bryan Reisberg, Susan Batori (Illustrator) Cover Image
Reviewed by: Stacey
Posted: May 14, 2024

Maxine the dog needs a job.  All her dog friends have jobs.  Maybe they can help her figure out what her job should be.  She tries a bunch of jobs - lifeguard, guard dog, truffle hunter.  None of these was a good fit for her.  Maxine considers her strengths - being funny, dressing up in costumes, and shaking her butt. Her friends think she's funny.  Is that a job? Maxine the Comedian is the perfect job for her!  Very cute story with fun illustrations. -  Stacey

Beyond That, the Sea: A Novel By Laura Spence-Ash Cover Image
Reviewed by: Stacey
Posted: May 13, 2024

This is not your typical WWII fiction – it’s more like WWII-adjacent.  I really enjoyed this story of Bea, who is sent from England to MA to stay safe with the Gregory family during the war.  The Gregorys provide her with a very different kind of life than she had in London, and Bea, throughout her life, feels pulled to both sides of the ocean.  Each character is well-drawn and complex. While parts of the story cover the war, the main thrust is family, love, and Bea’s journey through it all. - Stacey

The House of Eve By Sadeqa Johnson Cover Image
Reviewed by: Stacey
Posted: April 16, 2024

Heartbreaking and uplifting both, I loved this book.  1950s Philadelphia, Ruby is poor, and works hard to get a scholarship to college.  She has a "forbidden" love affair, and there are significant consequences.  Eleanor, a student at Howard University, falls in love with a man who is part of one of the elite Black families of DC, which completely changes her world. Both women head toward unexpected futures that eventually collide. You’ll fall in love with Ruby and Eleanor, and cheer them both on. - Stacey

Looking for Jane: A Novel By Heather Marshall Cover Image
Reviewed by: Stacey
Posted: March 12, 2024

This was a complex novel with 3 women’s intertwined storylines, and a lot about abortion rights in Canada at the time (there basically weren’t any).  Very much something we can relate to these days.  This was a salute to those women who risked their careers and jail time to help others obtain safe abortions, and the tragedy of unmarried women having their babies taken away and put up for adoption.  The characters were very well drawn.  This was a book I really looked forward to reading each night. - Stacey

A Better Best Friend By Olivier Tallec, Olivier Tallec (Illustrator) Cover Image
Reviewed by: Stacey
Posted: March 12, 2024

A sweet and charming story about a creature who desperately wants a best friend, and believes he has found one.  The two don't talk much, but they spend a lot of time having fun together, and enjoying nature.  One day a new creature joins them and the best friend seeker believes he has found an even better best friend!  However, it's not long before others join and he realizes that you can have multiple best friends, and enjoy them all.  This would make a wonderful story-time book! - Stacey

The Literary Undoing of Victoria Swann By Virginia Pye Cover Image
Reviewed by: Stacey
Posted: February 19, 2024

It took me days to emerge from the world created in this book because of how vivid it all was! Victoria is a famous writer who moves from writing romance/adventure novels to novels that are truer to herself, defying her publisher and even her fans. She hardly wavers, feeling so strong and confident in what she wants, and proceeds to make that happen.  You’ll love Victoria, the colorfully drawn descriptions of The Gilded Age, and the fun of having it all set in the Boston area. - Stacey

The Language of Threads: A Novel By Gail Tsukiyama Cover Image
Reviewed by: Stacey
Posted: January 10, 2024

Having loved Women of the Silk, you can imagine my excitement when I discovered there was a sequel! Being able to follow the wonderful character of Pei into her new life was such a privilege. I love this author’s plots and writing.  While not a traditional “page turner”, I never wanted to put this book down. For those of you who followed my recommendation for Women of the Silk, you will be very happy with this follow-up! - Stacey

 

Sensitive By Sara Levine, Mehrdokht Amini (Illustrator) Cover Image
Reviewed by: Stacey
Posted: January 10, 2024

I loved this book which helps kids realize that being sensitive is not a bad thing, no matter what others say. Comments like, "You're too sensitive", and "Grow a thicker skin" are not only not helpful, they are very insensitive!  Telling people to change who they are is wrong, and the little girl in this book discovers that she can help herself by getting her feelings out in writing.  Adorable pictures, wonderful story. - Stacey

Pages