Tag Archives: Lissa Evans

WWW Wednesday, 12-August-2020

12 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 made much progress with In the Shadow of the Banyan by Vaddey Ratner. I’m still not gripped and am really struggling to dedicate time to reading it. At this point, I think I’ll just have to push through.
I went over a week without touching Running with a Police Escort by Jill Grunenwald just because I’d been so busy. It’s got a great tone and I enjoy Grunenwald’s writing, but I’m just lacking time to read it. I miss my lunches where I’d read ebooks. That’s the only thing I miss about office life.
I started a new audiobook, The Narcissism of Small Differences by Michael Zadoorian. This was a book club pick and it takes place in my hometown of Detroit, which is always fun to read about.

Recently finished: I was able to wrap up Old Baggage by Lissa Evans just in time for my book club meeting. Nothing like finishing a book on Sunday for a Monday meeting! I liked it more than I thought I would when I started it, but it still didn’t grip me very much. I gave it Three out of Five Stars and posted a review yesterday.

I also reviewed Before the Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray on Monday. I adored this book and I can’t wait to continue with the series and listen to book four. I might push it up my TBR because I’m looking forward to it so much. Five out of Five Stars.

Reading Next: I’ll probably need another audiobook before anything else. I’m going to go in a completely different direction than my recent reads and go with Joy, Inc. by Richard Sheridan. It’s a business book and the business featured is about 30 minutes from my new house. I heard Sheridan speak at a recent HR conferences and I’m interested to hear his full story.
I’ll optimistically think I need a physical book soon as well. I’ve requested The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides from my library. I might bail on this because it’s a possible next read for me and my reading buddy. But I’ve suggested it twice and she hasn’t picked it, so I figure I might as well get to it myself.


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 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.

Book Review: Old Baggage by Lissa Evans (2/5)

11 Aug

I’m not sure if life’s getting me down or if I’ve had a bad run of books but I’m feeling a reading rut at the moment. This book didn’t help. I usually fly through audio and counted on flying through this one to finish in a week. I only just made it, finishing Sunday before my Monday book club meeting. And it was a bit more of a struggle than I would like.

Cover image via Goodreads

Old Baggage by Lissa Evans

Summary from Amazon:

Riffling through a cupboard, Matilda Simpkin comes across a small wooden club—an old possession that she hasn’t seen for more than a decade. Immediately, memories come flooding back to Mattie—memories of a thrilling past, which only further serve to remind her of her chafingly uneventful present. During the Women’s Suffrage Campaign, she was a militant who was jailed five times and never missed an opportunity to return to the fray. Now in middle age, the closest she gets to the excitement of her old life is the occasional lecture on the legacy of the militant movement.

After running into an old suffragette comrade who has committed herself to the wave of Fascism, Mattie realizes there is a new cause she needs to fight for and turns her focus to a new generation of women. Thus the Amazons are formed, a group created to give girls a place to not only exercise their bodies but their minds, and ignite in young women a much-needed interest in the world around them. But when a new girl joins the group, sending Mattie’s past crashing into her present, every principle Mattie has ever stood for is threatened.

This book fell very flat for me. I didn’t connect with Mattie from the beginning and the Flea’s description had me off base the entire time so I failed to enjoy the characters from the go. I liked Ida and her character was strong but that wasn’t enough to carry the book for me. The main plot, with a battle between Mattie’s Amazons and Jacko’s Empire Youth League, seemed silly to me. It was a proxy war between two women who never had their own words. I felt the ending was very rushed after such a detailed start and it fell flat.

The characters seemed well described, I just didn’t like them. Ines was very hard to like and I think that’s what made the whole book feel forced. Mattie’s efforts to get Ines engaged in the world around her were a lot to stomach and seeing how much she hurt Ida in the process was hard. It made me lose respect for Mattie. After looking out for Ida so much, it seemed hard to believe she’d cast her aside so quickly.

Ida was my favorite character. She worked hard and was very smart. When the book started, I didn’t realize how prophetic it was that she was fired for correcting a client. She learned fast and proves how capable she is through her education and commitment to the Amazons. You want good things for her and when she falls on hard times, you want to sympathize with her. I thought she carried the story.

The Amazons reminded me of the Girl Scouts of America so I was engaged in the idea of the group Mattie was putting together. I enjoyed the Girl Scouts. My brother was a Boy Scout and I liked that I got to camp and do archery like him. It was a fun and memorable part of my childhood. I understood the attraction for the girls but I don’t understand the comparison to the Empire Youth League. The two groups seemed to have very different aims and I can’t imagine they’d attract people who were looking for the same things.

Lissa Evans
Image via the NY Times

The field day was a great scene. I thought the scavenger hunt was well done and the tension Evans created in it was good. I hated how the whole thing went down, but I think that was the point. It was supposed to upset me and it clearly upset so many of the characters.

The ending bothered me a lot. It felt very rushed. Most of the book covered about a year, but the final two chapters covered five. It seemed like a bit too much to me with a lot of time crammed into the book. It felt like Evans wanted to end the book with the women’s vote, but it was a bit contrived at the same time. The ending just didn’t seem to fit the story to me.

The audiobook was narrated by Jane Copeland. I thought she gave a good voice for Mattie, but she didn’t blow me away. Her reading of the other characters were very similar, except for Ines. It was a bit bland and I wondered if it contributed to how I felt about the book as a whole. It felt like she was trying to affect a period-specific way of speaking which I’m not convinced was accurate.

Mattie feels like she’s getting old. She’s no longer the militant suffragette she was and is unsure how to keep up the vigor she once felt for the movement. She thinks the Amazons will make her proud and help her continue to feel like she’s making progress toward a better future for women. Her failure there shuts her down and it’s not until years later that she’s revitalized. We all feel like we’re getting older and losing our energy. I feel like I’ve lost energy during COVID. It’s a natural process and we can only fight it so much as Mattie eventually learns.

Writer’s Takeaway: My biggest complaint about this book is the beginning. Introducing Mattie and the Flea during a lecture was not engaging. I especially did not like meeting the Flea like this. The way she was described made me picture her as old and frail instead of young and healthy. I couldn’t picture her and it was a struggle for me the entire book. The ending wasn’t for me either and disliking those parts made it hard to enjoy the middle.
(Note: It was pointed out to me after this review was posted that we meet Mattie and the Flea before the lecture scene, which starts around 24 pages into the book. I was working off of memory and apologize for my mistake.)

Overall, not one I enjoyed. Two 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:
Book Review: Old Baggage by Lissa Evans | What Cathy Read Next
Old Baggage by Lissa Evans – A Review Revived in honour of the paperback edition! | The Northern Reader
Old Baggage by Lissa Evans | For winter nights
FICTION//Old Baggage- Lissa Evans | The Bookish Badger
Old Baggage – Lissa Evans | The Book Jotter

WWW Wednesday, 5-August-2020

5 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’m moving slowly through In the Shadow of the Banyan by Vaddey Ratner. It’s not gripping me yet and I’m struggling with it. I keep hoping it picks up soon, but I’m running out of hope (and pages) for this to happen.
I’m enjoying the funny tone in Running with a Police Escort by Jill Grunenwald. During a time where I feel like I’ve lost a lot of joy in multisport, it’s nice to have this book which is reminding me why I do love it.
I began listening to Old Baggage by Lissa Evans on audio. I’m not a huge fan so far, but I’ll give it a chance. I’ve got to get through this one pretty quickly since my book club meets to talk about it on Monday!

Recently finished: I finished up Before the Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray on Saturday and absolutely loved it. I can’t wait to finish the series soon! Bray has created some really memorable characters in this one and I’ll be sad when they’re gone.

Reading Next: Nothing planned right now. It feels like I’m at the beginning of everything so we’ll see what the next week brings us.


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 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.

WWW Wednesday, 29-July-2020

29 Jul

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’m back to In the Shadow of the Banyan by Vaddey Ratner full time as my print book. It’s picking up and I’m becoming more interested now so I’m hoping to fly through the rest of this one rather quickly.
I should finish Before the Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray very soon! This one has been a complete joy and I’m really enjoying the character development Bray gave the Diviners in this book. I’m already looking forward to the end of the series because I think it will knock my socks off.
I began a new ebook, though not what I expected due to availability. I started Running with a Police Escort by Jill Grunenwald. I like Jill’s perspective on racing and I think after having so much time away from sport, it’s a good spin that I’ll need going forward.

Recently finished: I finished up The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel. Honestly, I wasn’t in love with the ending and I waited several days before I decided on a rating for this one. I’m going with Four out of Five Stars. I’ll be writing a review to go up next week with more thoughts. I think meeting with my reading buddy will be helpful as well.

I posted my review of Chasing Water: Elegy of an Olympian by Anthony Ervin and Constantine Markides yesterday. I watched a lot of swim races while writing the review and it was so encouraging. I need to watch those races more often. I gave the book Four out of Five Stars.

Reading Next: I need to start another book club pick soon. We’re reading Old Baggage by Lissa Evans. We had planned to read this before but had a change of heart. I’m glad we’re going back to it and finally reading it because I’ve heard good things.


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 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.

WWW Wednesday, 20-May-2020

20 May

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 decent progress with The Lola Quartet by Emily St. John Mandel this week. I’m still a ways from finishing it, but I’m happy with still moving forward with it.
I started Fiction Writer’s Workshop by Josip Novakovich and I suspect this one will be a bit slow for me. It’s nonfiction and right before bed, that can put me to sleep pretty fast. I’m hoping to feel motivated to do some of the exercises and get to writing again. It would be great to feel like I accomplished that during this lockdown.
I began the audiobook for The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai. I picked this one up as a physical book when I was visiting Atlanta but it seems I’ll get to the audiobook first. A lot of my books have fallen this way and I’m okay with that.

Recently finished: I was able to finish up White Oleander by Janet Fitch on Thursday. Finally! I liked the ending to this one, though it was pretty sad. It was a very different mother/daughter relationship than is usually portrayed in fiction and I liked that it was different, but it was still sad. I gave it Four out of Five Stars.
I flew through Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell and finished it on Saturday. It was a really fun ride and I enjoyed hearing about Simon and Baz and I’m looking forward to book three soon! I gave it Four out of Five Stars.

I posted my review of Viola in Reel Life by Adriana Trigiani on Thursday. It was a light, fun ride and I gave the book Three out of Five Stars.
After getting through The Gentleman’s Guide to Getting Lucky by Mackenzi Lee in one day, I posted a review on Monday and gave this one Four out of Five Stars. What a fun ride!

Reading Next: I’m going to pick up my book club selection next: Old Baggage by Lissa Evans. This one has some length to it so even with tri training, I probably will take at least a week to get through 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 GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 13-May-2020

13 May

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’m getting really close to finishing White Oleander by Janet Fitch! This book is taking me much longer than I would like so I’m really excited to finish it off. It’s a very sad story but very intriguing at the same time so I’m engrossed.
I made an effort to make more progress with The Lola Quartet by Emily St. John Mandel. I like this one, but the mystery is still a bit too shrouded for me to be completely engaged. I’m hoping to get more into it soon, though.
I’m loving some fun YA right now so I decided to keep it going and picked up Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell on audio. It’s been a while since I read the first in this series (Carry On) so it might take me a minute to pick up on the plot and characters again. However, the parallels to Harry Potter make it a bit easier to pick up on.

Recently finished: I sped through The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson. It wasn’t what I expected and it came across as a disappointment because of that. I wanted more about books and bookselling but that wasn’t the focus. It felt like a bait and switch so I ended up frustrated. I posted my review yesterday if you want to check that out. I gave it Three out of Five Stars, though I contemplated Two.
I got through Viola in Reel Life by Adriana Trigiani much faster than I expected to. It was a fun YA read and I enjoyed it well enough. It didn’t have much for me that was really a standout, though. I gave it Three out of Five Stars and I’ll have a review up tomorrow.
I had way too much fun listening to the short novella The Gentleman’s Guide to Getting Lucky by Mackenzi Lee. This is installment 1.5 in the Montegue Siblings series and I wanted to read it before I picked up the second which I’m sure I’ll do this summer.

I posted my review of The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye by David LagercrantzThanks for those who have commented about their opinion of Lagercrantz taking over the series. I’m still unsure if I think it was the best move but I’m glad I’m not the only one who has marked the difference.  I gave the book Three out of Five Stars.
I posted my review of The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern on Monday and my final meeting with my reading buddy is tonight! I’m excited to see what she thought of the ending of the book. I finished it over a week ago so I hope my memory is sharp enough and my notes detailed enough to have a good discussion.

Reading Next: I’ll pick up Fiction Writer’s Workshop by Josip Novakovich as a physical book very soon. I hope this can give me a little inspiration to read.
I’ll need another audiobook soon and I requested Before the Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray but I’m not sure how quickly it will come in. Fingers crossed.
If that fails, I’ll likely start my next book club selection, Old Baggage by Lissa Evans. I don’t know anything about this one but I see that it’s pretty long so it will be a nice one to settle in with during my long training hours.


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