Flashback Friday: Bonnets At Dawn Podcast (2017 to Present)

Books have a way of bringing us together and creating conversations that will hopefully reveal our common humanity.

The literary podcast, Bonnets At Dawn, premiered in 2017. When the original episodes focused on the works, lives, and fandoms of Charlotte Bronte and Jane Austen, later seasons expanded to other women writers from the 19th and 20th centuries who deserve equal time in the limelight.

Bonnets At Dawn is one of my favorite podcasts. I appreciate the intelligent conversations and the approach that is fan-based with an academic angle.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

Jack Black Mind Blown GIF by MOODMAN - Find & Share on GIPHY

Glamour: Women, History, Feminism Book Review

There is a perception when it comes to women and fashion. We are nothing more than empty-headed clothes horses who love nothing more than spending our husband’s or father’s money.

Carol Dyhouse‘s 2010 book, Glamour: Women, History, Feminism explores the dynamic between women, fashion, and our changing roles in society during the 20th century. Basing the narrative on an assortment of sources, she explains how the various components of women’s clothing can be representative of our struggles for independence and personhood on our own terms.

Milan Fashion Week Rainbow Gif By Fashgif - Find & Share on GIPHY

I enjoyed this book. I am not exactly one to follow the latest trends, I am more of a jeans and t-shirt kind of person. What I found interesting was the fact that as the decades wore on, the clothes became representative of the slow walk toward equality.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Glamour: Women, History, Feminism is available wherever books are sold.

After I Do: A Novel Book Review

When we say ‘I do”, the hope is that this will be the one and only time we walk down the aisle. But that is not always the case.

After I Do: A Novel, by Taylor Jenkins Reid, was published in 2014. Lauren met her husband, Ryan, in college. After 11 years together and six years of marriage, their relationship is falling apart. The only solution is to separate for a year. Nothing is off limits, except for contacting one another.

Though her friends and family are being supportive, this is a path that Lauren has to walk by herself. Along the way, she starts to question her ideas about marital life and if it is worth it to try again with Ryan.

Wedding Marriage GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

This book is amazing. I felt everything that Lauren was going through. Despite everything, she still loved her husband. It was just a matter of working through the kinks and hoping that there would be some sort of reconciliation between them.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

After I Do: A Novel is available wherever books are sold.

Jane Austen Oscars

Hello readers! You are about to witness the virtual Jane Austen Oscars awards ceremony. The winners have been selected by a well-qualified committee, which consists of the owner of this blog and her friend Molly. The committee does not have the funds to support the cash prizes, so they are forcing the losers to pay […]

Jane Austen Oscars

Kiss Me, Catalina Book Review

Sometimes, the person we end up loving is the one we start out hating.

Kiss Me, Catalina, by Priscilla Oliveras was published last fall.

Catalina “Cat” Capuleta is an up-and-coming performer who gets the career boost of a lifetime. She is being paired with Patricio Galán, a fellow mariachi singer whose sex appeal and string of hits have propelled him to the top of the charts.

The problem is that Patricio is not the easiest person to work with. Cat is determined to not let him get to her. She has one goal: to see her dreams become a reality. The only thing that stands in her way is an unnerving attraction to the man.

Though Patricio is no stranger to the female sex, Cat is the one woman who can get under his skin. She is the total package and unknowingly opens an old wound that he would prefer to remain hidden.

When they go on tour, their chemistry is nothing short of volcanic. But love on the road and on stage is a different animal than a long-term relationship.

I wanted to like this book. The author blends Romeo and Juliet and Taming of the Shrew with Mexican culture and mariachi music. That element of the narrative I liked.

The problem is that I was not feeling the chemistry between the leads. I wanted to feel the slow burn of the will they or won’t they. But it just was not there.

Do I recommend it? No.

Kiss Me, Catalina is available wherever books are sold.

Sanditon Character Review: Samuel Colbourne

The schedule for the Character Review posts will be changing to Friday (or Saturday at the latest from now on).

*I apologize for not posting last weekend. There are only 24 hours in a day.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the book and the television show Sanditon. Read at your own risk if you have not watched the show. There is something to be said about a well-written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

Sometimes, people come into our lives when we least expect them to. In Sanditon, Samuel Colbourne (Liam Garrigan) re-enters his brother Alexander‘s (Ben Lloyd-Hughes) life after a ten-year absence. A lawyer by trade, he knows how to make a good argument.

Knowing Alexander, he can see that he is in love with Charlotte Heywood (Rose Williams). Samuel also understands that his brother has loved and lost before. Though he tries to counsel Alexander to come clean to Charlotte, he refuses. While making up for lost time with his brother and nieces, Samuel steps up to the plate for Georgiana Lambe (Crystal Clarke). She is being used by Charles Lockhart (Alexander Vlahos) on the basis that her claim to her fortune is false. At the end of the trial, Georgiana is victorious.

But when it comes to his own life, Samuel’s arguments are not as easily made. He falls for Lady Susan (Sophie Winkleman), who is a friend of Charlotte’s. What starts out as a friendship turns into something more. High up in the society chain, she is the King’s mistress. Though they are both of similar minds and interests, she cannot so easily turn her back on her lover. When the King once again turns away from Lady Susan, they are both free to admit how they feel. When we last see them, they are hopefully headed toward wedded bliss.

To sum it up: It is easy to make the case on certain topics when your own heart/future is not in the balance. It is infinitely harder to do the same when the person you love is standing in front of you and unable to return that love. Though Alexander could easily walk away, he chooses to hope and believe that his love will be returned.

Which is why he is a memorable character.

The German Wife: A Novel Book Review

War forces us to hate one another based on outside characteristics such as the nation of origin. But that does not mean, that we can see each other as human beings once the conflict ends.

The German Wife, by Kelly Rimmer, was published last year. The book follows two women as their fates are intertwined in post-war Huntsville.

Lizzie Miller experienced unimaginable loss during The Great Depression. After the war is over, she is appalled that Operation Paperclip has allowed former Nazi scientists into the country and into the most sensitive scientific work of the era. While other women in the community are eager to welcome the wives and children of these scientists, Lizzie is completely against the idea and is not silent about it.

In 1930 in Berlin, Sofie von Meyer Rhodes, whose husband is a respected academic, does not agree with the politics of the new government. But his status gives them a leg up. For this alone, she is willing to make some compromises. It slowly becomes clear that that are difficult decisions to be made. After the war, Sofie arrives in America, expecting some sort of hostility. But she has no idea that the secrets from the past are going to catch up with her.

This is an amazing book. Both Lizzie and Sofie are in a tough position. Due to circumstances forced upon them by history, they have to make choices that would otherwise not exist.

I wanted to be on Lizzie’s side. She has every right to be angry. But I also understand that Sofie is caught in an impossible position. She has two young children to take care of. But she also has her own moral compass that goes against everything she is seeing and hearing.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

The German Wife: A Novel is available wherever books are sold.

Heartthrobs: A History of Women and Desire Book Review

In popular culture, a heartthrob is a male entertainer whose fanbase mostly consists of young(ish) females who squeal at the very thought of this man.

Heartthrobs: A History of Women and Desire by Carol Dyhouse, was published in 2017. In this fascinating and unique take on media and popular culture, Dyhouse examines how heartthrobs from all different genres and eras have liberated women from the conundrum of being sexual and appealing without “going over the line”. Starting with Lord Byron in the 19th century and ending with our modern era, she dives into the various figures over the decades who have made young girls scream and turned grown women turn into squealing teenagers.

Happy Shock GIF by RTL - Find & Share on GIPHY

This is a good read. Though it would be easy to peg these females as brainless, this reaction is actually a natural one. Like our male counterparts, we are human beings and react in a certain way when we see an attractive person. The highlight of the narrative is the female gaze, which has been overlooked and underappreciated for far too long.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Heartthrobs: A History of Women and Desire is available wherever books are sold.

Bookish and the Beast Book Review

When it comes to romance, the partner whom we end up with may be the person we least expect.

Bookish and the Beast, by Ashley Poston is the 3rd book in the Once Upon a Con trilogy. It was published in 2020.

Rosie Thorne is stuck in her small town and hates it with a passion. With her mother recently deceased, she and her now-widowed father are drowning in medical bills. The only way to reduce the debt was to sell her mother’s beloved collection of rare Starfield books. In addition to dealing with the stress that applying for college, Rosie cannot get the mysterious Starfield cosplayer that she met at the previous Excelsicon out of her head.

Vance Reigns is your classic Hollywood bad boy and nepo baby. Though fame and money have provided avenues that are not open to other young men, there is a downside to this lifestyle. After one too many run-ins with the paparazzi, he is shipped off to a small town to let the fervor cool down. The only upshot is that the house he is staying in has a library. But just because it’s there does not mean he will use it.

In their first meeting, Rosie and Vance get along like oil and water. But as they are forced into each other’s company, they begin to see that there is more beneath the surface.

I loved this book. Out of all the books in this series, this is my favorite. I loved the cultural references that Poston sprinkles throughout the stories and the easter eggs related to the Disney adaptation.

Rosie and Vance’s relationship has a nice pace to it. Both are initially so caught up in their own worlds and drama that they are unable to see the value in the other. By the time they get together, it feels right.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

Bookish and the Beast is available wherever books are sold.

GIF by Beauty And The Beast - Find & Share on GIPHY

I Will Protect You: A True Story of Twins Who Survived Auschwitz Book Review

Among the many horrors of the Holocaust (and there are many) is the use of prisoners in Auschwitz as lab rats. Done by “Dr.” Josef Mengele, his specialty was the tests that were done on identical twins.

The late Eva Mozes Kor and her sister Miriam were one of many pairs of twins who were used as guinea pigs. Her memoir, I Will Protect You: A True Story of Twins Who Survived Auschwitz, co-written by Danica Davidson was published last year.

Until the age of ten, Eva and Miriam had an ordinary childhood. In 1943, they were deported to Auschwitz. Separated from their parents and siblings, the girls survived twice over. Not only were their parents and sisters murdered, but they were among the minority of twins who did not die from being experimented on.

Though the book is meant for a younger audience, adult readers will not be bored. The details are so precise and cinematic that it is hard to ignore what can only be described as hades on Earth.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

I Will Protect You: A True Story of Twins Who Survived Auschwitz is available wherever books are sold.

%d bloggers like this: