Tag Archives: jacqueline Woodson

Still Listening

Due to the climate in our country, I don’t feel like I can do what I normally do on the first Wednesday of the month and talk about what I read last month. I will move that blog post to next week. There are so many really great resources being shared right now that help describe and explain that Black experience in America, white supremacy, and systemic racism. One link that was passed around on Facebook and other social media sites was this list of various articles, books, and documentaries which is a great start.

Last year, I read two of the books that are being suggested (one of which is on the above list). I’ve already shared my thoughts on these books, so I will link those reviews here.

The first is I’m Still Here by Austin Channing Brown.

The second book I read last year was White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo. I didn’t write a review for this book on my blog because I was taking a break at the time. I did, however, write a review on GoodReads which I will link here.

Both of these books are excellent. There are also some really good Black Fiction writers that I would recommend if nonfiction isn’t your genre. Tomi Adeyemi has written two books in her series, the first being Children of Blood and Bone which is based on African mythology. There is also The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas and her second book (not a series but set in the same world), On The Come Up. And finally, If You Come Softly by Jacqueline Woodson, which I read with the Life’s Library book club. It’s not her most recent or most famous piece, but it is really good. Her backlist is definitely on my TBR list.

Whatever you decide, I hope you enjoy a fresh perspective on the world. Diversity brings creativity and beauty to the written word. It can help us grow in empathy and understanding, prodding us on to action.

The Last Books of 2018

Hey Everyone! I hope you have had an amazing December. Our holiday was filled with family, fond memories, and many first experiences. In short, it was lovely.

Photo by Mikes Photos on Pexels.com

I managed to complete three books this month (thanks long travel trips and sleepy babies!) which brings my grand total to 40 books this year. In truth, I started with a 24 book goal, so I am really pleased with 40!

So, below are the reviews for the last three books of 2018. Did you read any great books this year? I’m always up for adding to my TBR.

The Song of Princes (Wakefield Dynasty, #6)

The Song of Princes by Gilbert Morris
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This is a continuation of a goal to complete this series that I started as a teenager. I hadn’t read this particular book in the series, but it seemed very different from the books before it. Up to this point, Morris has focused a lot of the plot on the evolution of politics and religion in England, including some historical people like the Oliver Cromwell and John Wesley. And as the series has continued, the Wakefield line has become more and more of a supporting plot than the main story.

Until this book.

Very little of the religious or political history is included in this book. There is mention of the war between the English and French in Canada, where one of our main characters goes, but he leaves the war to become a fur trapper. An entire chapter is devoted to the art of fur trapping.

And from this point on, the story becomes somewhat of a soap opera. There are duels, people who die that turn out not to be dead, unrequited love, men fighting over women, and women who are cheating on their men. There are heavy Christian overtones. Like in all of the books, the characters go on a journey to find themselves and God. But even one of the characters at some point makes a reference to the fact that their life is like a “something out of a very bad novel.”

There is no profanity, but there are a lot of sexual references in this one. Of course, nothing detailed but lots of references to “his desire” or “her womanliness”, even one of the characters is noted to have a lot of passion in the lovemaking department. It was pretty cheesy and not really what I remember in the other books. There are some mentions of violence – a slap, people dying in war, but again nothing detailed.

At least the other books had some interesting facts about history, but this seemed like a detour into a Cain and Abel allegory. Like someone complained that there wasn’t enough romance in the last few books so the author went into overdrive. I have one more book in the series to go. I hope it ends on a better note!

A Gathering of Eagles (Wakefield Dynasty, #7)

A Gathering of Eagles by Gilbert Morris
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The final book in the series. Gilbert Morris has taken us from Henry the 8th to Napoleon in seven books that traveled from Wales to America to London, Spain, and France. The rise and fall of politics and religious sects throughout England. The series, for me, was a solid three stars overall, including this final book.
Like the book before it, this story strays from the religious and political intrigues, leaning heavily towards a more soap opera romance. He pokes fun at himself in this book. One of the major characters is obsessed with romance novels, and through her own adventures finds that reality is much more interesting and important.
The writing was, again, not really for me. It’s heavy on the descriptions of clothing and food. The plot took a while to pick up but it flowed really well towards the end. Everything was tied up nicely, and the ending was good.

Of course, no profanity, just like the other books. There was some kissing but now real sexual content. There was more violence in this book than others in the series. A majority of the book takes place on ships, and there is a good bit of naval warfare.

I would probably recommend this series to someone who really likes historical fiction and heavy descriptions in their stories. Overall, it’s not an amazing series, and I had some problems with a few of the books. But it’s not a bad series, and I did learn some things about the religious and political revolutions in England which were interesting.

If You Come Softly

If You Come Softly by Jacqueline Woodson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read this book as part of the Life’s Library book club because I wasn’t very familiar with this author. I had heard of her book Brown Girl Dreaming, but it never made it to my TBR list. It is on it now because I really enjoyed the way she writes (and there were a few poems in the back of this edition of the book).
The story is about a white Jewish girl and a black boy who go to the same private school and fall in love. It’s about racial stereotypes, interracial couple stereotypes, family relationships, and how we become who we are.
I don’t want to give away too much of the plot, but the book moves pretty fast. The chapters are short, but the writing is still able to pull you into this world and meet all the characters.

I don’t think there was any profanity in the book. As far as sexual content, it was mostly just kissing, holding hands. The story is about that first love so it is pretty innocent and sweet. There is some violence but it’s not graphic, and that’s all I will say so that it doesn’t ruin the book for others.
Even though the book was written in 1998, it still is very much relevant for today. It isn’t dated at all. It could all happen today.
And it’s a story that needs to be told, needs to be read, right now. Highly, highly recommend!