Archive | Books RSS feed for this section

WWW Wednesday, 21-September-2022

21 Sep

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


Currently reading: We had another crazy week at my house so finding time to read Soldiers’ Pay by William Faulkner was not a priority. My partner started a new job so we’re adjusting to the hours and what it means for our house. Maybe we’ll settle down soon? Maybe?
I’ve been distracted with a show I’m watching on my phone so I haven’t read too much of The 158-Pound Marriage by John Irving. I usually concentrate on this one before bed but I’ve had the screen up which I know is bad. However, I’m watching the finale now so hopefully that means I’ll be less distracted and get back to this soon.
I’m enjoying Like No Other by Una LaMarche which has been a great rest. I haven’t always liked the books I got through this program at my library so I was nervous going in but I’m enjoying the ride.

Recently finished: Nothing new this week. I owe y’all a review of Vessel by Lisa A. Nichols which I hope to work on soon. We had a busy weekend again which ate into my reviewing time. I’ll get it done as soon as I can.

Powering Up Book Cover

Reading next: Thinking about starting Powering Up by Anne Doyle might get me to remember to pick up Irving more often. Maybe I’ll put it next to my bed to keep me motivated.

Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

WWW Wednesday, 14-September-2022

14 Sep

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


Currently reading: I haven’t found a new time to focus on ebooks so I didn’t read anything from Soldiers’ Pay by William Faulkner this week. We have a lot of change in our house this week so I’ll see what new times might become available.
I made some headway on The 158-Pound Marriage by John Irving but we had a houseguest this weekend which had us going to bed late. I’m catching up on sleep and then I hope to be back to reading this at a better rate!
I started Like No Other by Una LaMarche at the end of last week. I’d forgotten what it was about and I’m enjoying it a lot so far. I’m less than 20% in but this one’s got me so far and I’m looking forward to getting deeper into it!

Recently finished: I was able to wrap up Vessel by Lisa A. Nichols! No review yet, but I’m giving myself space to recover from houseguests before I get back to my reviewing pattern. I liked it, but I’m waffling between Three and Four Stars for the rating. I think writing the review will help me decide. At least I hope it does! The review should be up before next week.

Powering Up Book Cover

Reading next: If I’m feeling my reading right, I’ll start Powering Up by Anne Doyle next. I haven’t had a nonfiction book for a while so I think it will be a welcome change of pace.

Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

WWW Wednesday, 7-September-2022

7 Sep

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


Currently reading: I read just a bit of Soldiers’ Pay by William Faulkner while I was at the doctor’s office. Not great, but progress. I’m afraid I’m getting back to my habit of moving slowly with ebooks, but I’m picking up in other places!
I made good progress in Vessel by Lisa A. Nichols. I’ve been running more and finding productive cleaning/cooking time after the baby goes to sleep that I’ve been able to listen. I think I’ll have this one finished next week!
I got back to The 158-Pound Marriage by John Irving but haven’t been flying in it. It’s a bit similar to Hotel Iris (see below) and I think that they’re running together a bit too much for me to enjoy. I’ll keep moving but I may be slow down a bit.

Recently finished: I wrapped up Hotel Iris by Yoko Ogawa and got it back to the library. I wasn’t sold on the book. It was a little more explicit than I’d expected and it took me by surprise. I’m not sure how to process it. I gave it Three out of Five Stars and posted my review on Tuesday if you want to read more about my thoughts on it. It was very different from the other Ogawa book I’ve read.

Powering Up Book Cover

Reading next: I still plan on my next audiobook being Like No Other by Una LaMarche. With luck, I’ll start it soon!
I’m feeling I might need a new physical book, too. I have a few unread books on my shelf and the next up would be Powering Up by Anne Doyle. I got this as a free giveaway at a conference for women in business during my MBA program. We’ll see how it goes!

Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Book Review: Hotel Iris by Yoko Ogawa (3/5)

6 Sep

I read my first Ogawa book in 2014 and a year later decided I wanted to read another. I enjoyed the shorter format and the way Ogawa wrote. Little did I know the one I picked would be harder to find than I thought. I ended up doing an Interlibrary Loan to get this title. Luckily, it was shorter and I was able to read it quickly and return it before I had to renew. It only took me seven years to get to it.

31d14r9l6nl._sx338_bo1204203200_

Cover image via Amazon

Hotel Iris by Yoko Ogawa

Other books by Ogawa reviewed on this blog:

The Housekeeper and the Professor (and Book Club Reflection)

Summary from Amazon:

In a crumbling seaside hotel on the coast of Japan, quiet seventeen-year-old Mari works the front desk as her mother tends to the off-season customers. When one night they are forced to expel a middle-aged man and a prostitute from their room, Mari finds herself drawn to the man’s voice, in what will become the first gesture of a single long seduction. In spite of her provincial surroundings, and her cool but controlling mother, Mari is a sophisticated observer of human desire, and she sees in this man something she has long been looking for.

The man is a proud if threadbare translator living on an island off the coast. A widower, there are whispers around town that he may have murdered his wife. Mari begins to visit him on his island, and he soon initiates her into a dark realm of both pain and pleasure, a place in which she finds herself more at ease even than the translator. As Mari’s mother begins to close in on the affair, Mari’s sense of what is suitable and what is desirable are recklessly engaged.

I don’t think I was ready for how sexual this book would be. That would be a huge trigger warning for readers. I thought the seduction would be gentler for some reason so I was a bit shocked at the ways the two were intimate and also the detail about it. Mari is very much an observer so when her role in the story switches to a very active part, I was taken back at first. I think I was surprised more than anything. I was more interested in her relationship with her mother and the maid than the details of their intimacy and I was a little turned off at the switch.

Mari and the translator are very different from myself and the relationships I’ve been in so it’s hard for me to say how accurate they are. I did understand the relationship Mari had with her mother more. Mari is on the cusp of adulthood and wants to be her own person in some ways, but understands she still lives with her mother and is under her control for a little whiles longer. She is passive to preserve the peace but really wants to strike out on her own. I think most teenagers can relate to that.

The nephew was a fun character. Most of the characters weren’t sympathetic or likeable so he might be my favorite by default. His relationship with the translator changed what Mari thought of her lover and it helped humanize him. I loved the unique descriptions of how he would communicate and how in the end, that was how they got caught. It seemed appropriate that he was an artist and it was really easy to picture him painting on the rocks. I was only sad he never returned.

Besides Mari’s relationship with her mother, it was hard for me to relate to the characters in this book. I think that’s why it didn’t resonate with me very well. The feelings the translator and Mari had for each other were very foreign to me, and I don’t think it was cultural differences. It was just very different from my romantic relationships. Mari felt very closed off emotionally and it was hard to relate to her or get into her head. I think it staunched my enjoyment of her character and the book overall.

YokoOgawa

Yoko Ogawa Image via Numero Cinq Magazine

I enjoyed the scenes with the nephew toward the end. Having another person come between Mari and the translator shone a light on their relationship that changed how I viewed it as a reader and I think how the two of them viewed it as participants. They had to see each other in a different light. Mari saw the translator as part of a family and as loving and caring in a way that was different from how he treated her. He was forced to see her youth, realizing that she was younger than his nephew seemed to change things for him.

The ending was a bit upsetting and rather abrupt. I’m going to spoil it here so please skip to the next paragraph if you want to avoid that. I couldn’t tell if the translator’s anger was real or an act. Did he realize what Mari and his nephew had done together? If so, was he actually angry about it and punishing her or was it all part of their sexual relationship? It seemed really unclear to me and the author didn’t explain it well. His sudden death was both understandable based on their situation and also very unresolved and upsetting as a reader. It felt like Mari betrayed him by not coming to his defense about their relationship. It almost seemed too clean of an ending to explain the damage to her hair and the photos with a clear circle back to a conversation they’d had before about dead bodies. Overall, it was fitting but really rubbed me the wrong way.

The translator is a very interesting character. He’s reclusive and because of that, seen as an outsider and ‘othered’ by his community. That he would chose to live alone, that he works a solitary job make him an easy target for ridicule and judgement. Ultimately, this is hugely to his disadvantage as he’s rumored to be a criminal which hangs over him. Rumors and gossip can ruin lives and we see that plainly with the translator.

Writer’s Takeaway: I appreciate a book that’s concise and short. Ogawa’s ability to get a complete story into a short novel is commendable. She has drawn some wonderful characters in the translator, the maid, Mari’s mother, and the nephew. Though I wished there was more of Mari, I did enjoy her as an observer whose eyes I could see through. Ogawa didn’t spend time with descriptions that weren’t pertinent to the plot and I appreciated that. I liked being able to imagine most things without being told what they looked like.

Overall, not a book I greatly enjoyed but one I still read quickly. Three out of Five Stars

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Related Posts:
Hotel Iris by Yoko Ogawa | areaderofliterature
Reading the World: ‘Hotel Iris’ by Yoko Ogawa **** | theliterarysisters
Hotel Iris by Yoko Ogawa | JoV’s Book Pyramid
Hotel Iris, by Yoko Ogawa | Novel Insights
Hotel Iris (1996)- Yoko Ogawa | A Novel Approach

WWW Wednesday, 31-August-2022

31 Aug

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


Currently reading: I haven’t touched Soldiers’ Pay by William Faulkner. Work was very difficult this week and I didn’t feel like starting a new habit of picking this up. It will be here for me when I’m ready, right?
I’ve been enjoying Vessel by Lisa A. Nichols. I had to commute one day which got me more listening time than I’m used to! It was a silver lining for me.
I made some OK progress in The 158-Pound Marriage by John Irving before I put it aside (see below). It’s funny when you read enough of an author that you can pick out the things they include most often. Even though this is an early novel by Irving, I still see those patterns.
My ILL for Hotel Iris by Yoko Ogawa came in! I picked it up right away and I’ve been trying to dedicate more time to it. I’ve done alright and I’m about half way through! I think this will be a quick read. It’s short and the chapters are a good length for me to read in a sitting or before bed. I’ll be optimistic and say this will be finished by next week.

Recently finished: Nothing new. BUT! I published my review of Rebeldes (The Outsiders) by S.E. Hinton on Monday. I love this book and gave it Five out of Five Stars. Please take a look if you have time!

Reading next: I’ll guess that I’ll need an audiobook next. Next up for me would be Like No Other by Una LaMarche. This was a free download through my library from 2020 so it seems as good a time as any to get around to it.

Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Book Review: Rebeldes (The Outsiders) by S.E. Hinton (5/5)

29 Aug

The Outsiders is one of my all time favorite novels. I never had to read it for school, but I picked it up on my own and I fell in love with Poneyboy, Soda, Darry, Dally, Johnny, Two-Bit, and everyone else. For Christmas last year, I asked my husband to get me a book in Spanish so I could do my annual Spanish read and he very thoughtfully got me a translation of my favorite greaser story.

51I9OngSemL._SX328_BO1,204,203,200_

Cover image via Amazon

Rebeldes (The Outsiders) by S.E. Hinton

Other books by Hinton reviewed on this blog:

Hawkes Harbor
Some of Tim’s Stories

Summary from Amazon:

No one ever said life was easy. But Ponyboy is pretty sure that he’s got things figured out. He knows that he can count on his brothers, Darry and Sodapop. And he knows that he can count on his friends—true friends who would do anything for him, like Johnny and Two-Bit. But not on much else besides trouble with the Socs, a vicious gang of rich kids whose idea of a good time is beating up on “greasers” like Ponyboy. At least he knows what to expect—until the night someone takes things too far.

It’s probably been ten years since I read this book so I went in with a little bit of memory loss. I’ve also seen the movie more recently so that version was in the back of my head, too. I enjoy this story every time. There are a few defining moments that I anticipate and then I’m sad or excited when they happen, even when I know what’s coming. To me, this story is almost perfect. Revisiting it in a Spanish translation was so fun.

I love Hinton’s greasers and socs. She makes an effort to show that no one is one dimensional. Cherry and Randy have depth to them that Pony might not have guessed and we see the depth of the greaser characters. They seem a little simplistic because of the young first person narrator, but she’s created some wonderful characters in this book.

Dally is my favorite character, and I have to tribute some of that to Matt Dillon. I don’t know if I understood Dally’s character fully when I read the book the first time. The way Dillon plays him in the movie helped him jump off the page to me. He’s a much more complex character than I gave him credit for the first time. The ways he helps Johnny break my heart now that I recognize them better.

The fact that the characters are so relatable is part of what makes this story so amazing. I’m not a greaser or a soc and I’m not in high school any more, but I can empathize with a lot of what the gang was going through. I’ve had to see people beyond the way they look and how much money they have. I’ve been surprised by people for doing things I never should have doubted them capable of. Few things are black and white but we’re usually surprised at the number of shades of grey.

Hinton

S.E. Hinton Image via The Oakland Press

It may sound dark, but the time while Johnny is in the hospital is my favorite part of the book. The gang comes together and I find it very touching. There is a lot of raw emotion and these tough-looking boys have real feelings that are difficult for them to share. The Curtis boys come together in a beautiful way and show a lot of compassion for each other. I absolutely love it.

There isn’t much about this book I dislike. Hinton kept it brief so nothing stuck out to me as unnecessary or redundant. Every once in a while, there would be small details I kind of ignored, like how much the Curtis boys love eggs, but those didn’t distract from the story but they’re the only thing I can think of that I didn’t love.

Unconscious bias awareness is a huge part of how our society is evolving right now. We’ve become aware that there are things we don’t know or understand about how our brain works and they can affect people negatively. Once we’re aware of this and can act to mitigate it, we might be ready to start becoming a more just society. This isn’t a new concept and Hinton is exploring it in her novel. The greasers hate the socs for being socs and vice versa. They have to look past appearances and get beyond their differences to understand the humanity in the other group.

Writer’s Takeaway: Hinton was very young when she wrote this novel and it works in her favor. Her young voice is shared with Pony. Her phrasing and way of expressing things is in line with the young narrator we have. It shouldn’t be a detriment to a young writer that they’re young. She learned how to tell a story and share her feelings and experiences and it worked out wonderfully. We shouldn’t feel we need to hide our voices inside a character.

This book has stood the test of time for a reason. It’s absolutely wonderful. Five out of Five Stars.

This book fulfills the 1960-1979 time period of the When Are You Reading? Challenge.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Related Posts:
The Outsiders, S.E. Hinton | The Literary Flâneur
The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton | Fill Your Bookshelf
Book Review: The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton | JenJenReviews

WWW Wednesday, 24-August-2022

24 Aug

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


Currently reading: I made some better progress in Soldiers’ Pay by William Faulkner this week. Nothing incredible, but I kept reminding myself to pick it up so I got through it. I’m enjoying it a bit more now so I’m going to stick with it and see where it gets me.
I started Vessel by Lisa A. Nichols and am enjoying it so far! It has an interesting premise and I can tell there’s a lot of mystery to it which I’m curious to see develop.
I had put in an ILL for my next physical book (see below) but it was too slow to come in so I’ve picked up The 158-Pound Marriage by John Irving. Irving is a perpetual favorite of mine so I’m excited to read one of his earlier works and see what I think of it.

Recently finished: I found a stride in Rebeldes (The Outsiders) by S.E. Hinton and wrapped it up on Friday. The ending grabbed me more than I thought. It’s quite different from the movie, which I’ve seen more recently than I reread it so I was intrigued because it felt like reading a new book for a minute. I’ll work on a review eventually but this one might be a while.
I wrapped up Dollface by Renée Rosen, too! I even found time to write and post a review. I impress myself. Please check it out. I gave the book Three out of Five Stars.

Reading next: I put in an ILL for Hotel Iris by Yoko Ogawa but it didn’t arrive before I wanted to start it. I’ll pick it up when it does come in, probably putting Irving on hold. It shouldn’t be too much longer, but I can’t figure out how to look up the status.

Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Book Review: Dollface by Renée Rosen (3/5)

22 Aug

When you have a manuscript for a 1920s novel, you read a lot of other 1920s novels. I had this one my list for a while and I picked up a copy years ago but never got around to reading it. I had Google Playstore credit that was going to expire so I bought a copy on audio. You get to it when you can, am I right?

15850930

Cover Image via Amazon

Dollface by Renée Rosen

Summary from Amazon:

Vera Abramowitz is determined to leave her gritty childhood behind and live a more exciting life, one that her mother never dreamed of. Bobbing her hair and showing her knees, the lipsticked beauty dazzles, doing the Charleston in nightclubs and earning the nickname “Dollface.”

As the ultimate flapper, Vera captures the attention of two high rollers, a handsome nightclub owner and a sexy gambler. On their arms, she gains entrée into a world filled with bootleg bourbon, wailing jazz, and money to burn.  She thinks her biggest problem is choosing between them until the truth comes out. Her two lovers are really mobsters from rival gangs during Chicago’s infamous Beer Wars, a battle Al Capone refuses to lose.

The heady life she’s living is an illusion resting on a bedrock of crime and violence unlike anything the country has ever seen before. When the good times come to an end, Vera becomes entangled in everything from bootlegging to murder. And as men from both gangs fall around her, Vera must put together the pieces of her shattered life, as Chicago hurtles toward one of the most infamous days in its history, the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.

This book felt to me like it contained just a little bit too much. There were elements that were there just to fit history in my mind, rather than adding to the story. I wished Evelyn’s character was simplified. I wished Basha and Dora were combined into one character. I wished there weren’t so many nick names for the gangsters. It felt like the story covered far too much time but it was also so compacted that I was surprised at how young Vera was in the end. It felt like Hannah’s age and antics at any age were just to fit the story and not really reflective of a child at that age. But here I’m complaining. Overall, I liked the story and liked Vera’s character. She seemed like a girl caught up in the whirlwind of being young and excited with just enough reality to bring her back down.

Vera was a fun character to follow. Her attitude reminded me of myself in my early 20s, but her daughter brought her closer to my current state of motherhood. I think she was caught up in glitz and glamor and realized very quickly how fast that could go away. She did seem rather weak willed at times, and that frustrated me in a heroine. In many ways, she was strong and independent, but then she’d do something silly for a man and I’d throw my hands up.

Shep was my favorite character to follow. I felt he was the most consistent throughout and we also had some fun little details of his personality that I loved. Putting his clothes under the mattress so he didn’t have to iron them was hilarious. I felt like he really loved Vera and I felt bad for him being two timed when she was with Tony. I kept wanting him to come back when he ‘went away’ because I felt like he always added something fun.

Some of Vera’s comments about motherhood hit me hard. I would find myself thinking “YASSS” when she mentioned feeding or sleep deprivation or just needing to get out for a minute. This is one of the first books I’ve read since my baby was born that had a new mother in it as well. It was refreshing and it helped me connect more with Vera.

CgFM3ljIeQKc2jvM-Jii_LuW9CEfX6ayIip4UQjGCLM (2)

Renee Rosen Image via the author’s website

I liked the beginning and end of the book, but I felt like the middle had a lot of bits that could have been cut or trimmed. Vera’s relationships with Shep and Tony were fun to watch develop and the way that they wrapped up was a great rollercoaster. I enjoyed seeing the decisions Vera had to make and how she navigated them.

There were parts in the middle that seemed more like padding than story. Vera bootlegging, joining the Jewish Women’s group, and Evelyn’s relationship with Izzy were all, ultimately, not very influential in the overall plot and I think they could have been cut.

My audiobook was narrated by Rebekkah Ross. I thought she did well at giving Vera a voice. I could feel her pain and her joy at different times. Vera started the story very young and a bit naïve which I think Ross addressed well. As she experienced more loss, violence, and danger, her attitude changed and Ross developed this well.

Vera was living a dream until that dream crashed around her. She’d glamourized a lifestyle that many have idealized and longed for, ignoring the dirty sides of it. Gangsters are very iconic of the 1920s but many forget that their lives were accompanied by violence and danger. Being a Gangster Moll made you an icon, but it wasn’t sustainable. We often idealize a lifestyle of someone who is rich or famous. But those lives don’t last and they’re not always as happy as they might appear.

Writer’s Takeaway: It felt to me at times like Rosen was trying to hard to put historical events into her novel that she didn’t focus on the core story. Knowing that the story would end in the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre didn’t leave a lot of mystery about how it would all wrap up. If she’d been able to invent an event or had used imagined gangsters, it would have felt less predictable. I have to imagine she’d learned so much about these historical figures and wanted to include all she could. It’s something I’ve been really aware of in my 1920s novel as I edit it and want to make sure I’m focusing on the story more than the history.

Overall, I enjoyed the book, but it didn’t blow me away at all. Three out of Five Stars.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Related Posts:
Worth the Wait! Author Renee Rosen’s DOLLFACE Took a Ten Year Road to Publication | Women’s Fiction Writers
Mob Wives Chicago: Renee Rosen’s Dollface | Books on the Table

WWW Wednesday, 17-August-2022

17 Aug

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


Currently reading: Not much in Rebeldes (The Outsiders) by S.E. Hinton again. We’re more set in our new routine, but I had a bit of a cold and didn’t want to read much before bed when I could close my eyes for a few extra minutes of rest.
I shold have Dollface by Renée Rosen
wrapped up by next week. I’m enjoying this one and I’ve been able to keep moving through audio at a good pace.
I
can tell I’m not enjoying Soldiers’ Pay by William Faulkner. I keep finding other things to do than read this when I could pick it up so it’s been slow going. I have this problem with ebooks often, where there are so many other things I could do on my phone that I don’t read. It’s caused me to drag out books I don’t enjoy as much for months and months.

Recently finished: Nothing this week but I should have something here soon!

Reading next: I’m looking forward to Vessel by Lisa A. Nichols. I should start it next week!

Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

WWW Wednesday, 10-August-2022

10 Aug

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


Currently reading: I didn’t make much progress in Rebeldes (The Outsiders) by S.E. Hinton this week. We’ve changed around Baby’s bedtime a bit and we’re still adjusting to the new flow of our evenings. I hope to get back into a groove of reading this soon.
I keep moving through Dollface by Renée Rosen
at a good pace. This will be the next one I finish, I’m just not sure how soon it will be.
I’ve only read the first chapter of Soldiers’ Pay by William Faulkner
so far. It’s a little more odd than I was expecting or remembered of Faulkner. This was his first publication so maybe that’s why it’s different from what I remember. Either way, it hasn’t captured my attention so I’m not rushing it.

Recently finished: Nothing new this week, unfortunately. I’d been flying through books so it’s odd to have finally slowed down. I hope I can get back into a rhythm soon.

I was able to post my review of Malorie by Josh Malerman on Monday! Please take a look if you care to. I enjoyed the book and read through it very fast! I gave it Four out of Five Stars.

Reading next: I still plan to pick up Vessel by Lisa A. Nichols on audio as soon as I need to.

Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.