Diversity Reading Challenge

The Rock Maiden: A Chinese Tale of Love and Loyalty by Natasha Yim Illustrated by Pirkko Vainio

The Rock Maiden: A Chinese Tale of Love and Loyalty

When her fisherman husband fails to come home after a storm at sea, the beautiful maiden Ling Yee is heartbroken. Every morning, she puts her baby on her back and clambers to the top of a cliff looking for any signs of his return. But day after day, she is disappointed. The villagers try to convince her to give up her vigil. “No,” she would say, “He will come home soon.” Tin Hau, the Goddess of the Heavens, takes pity on her grief and turns Ling Yee and her child into stone so that they would mourn no more. The fisherman eventually finds his way home–only to discover that his wife has been transformed into the Rock Maiden. Will the family forever be kept apart? Or will devotion and faithfulness ultimately be rewarded?

Oh this was such a lovely tale. I don’t want to be a spoiler but this is one of those times when you need the book to have a happy ending. Perfect for when you’re studying Asian cultures but also perfect when you need a lovely picture book. There isn’t really any time that this book wouldn’t be appropriate. Highly recommend for Diversity Reading Challenge.

Diversity Reading Challenge

Boy Snow Bird by Helen Oyeyemi

In the winter of 1953, Boy Novak arrives by chance in a small town in Massachusetts, looking, she believes, for beauty—the opposite of the life she’s left behind in New York. She marries a local widower and becomes stepmother to his winsome daughter, Snow Whitman.

Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi

There is much to like about this book.  I don’t want to give away anything but the man that Boy (a girl named Boy) marries is a light skinned African American man passing as white. Hard to believe but in 1940s America, this kinda thing was done. This book just wasn’t for me. There was so much to like but so much that made me shake my head. But if you persevere to the end you will get a very pleasant surprise twist, which they hinted at  and I didn’t want to believe it!

Read it for yourself and judge.  Qualifies for the Diversity Challenge!

Adult Fiction Books

What’s On My Radar: The Scarlet Letter Scandal by Mary T McCarthy

When you’re ready for some grown folks sexy time, turn to Mary McCarthy’s Scarlet letter Scandal! The ladies of this book (grown up versions of Charlotte, Carrie, Samantha, and Miranda) take you through your own secret fantasies and leave you wanting more. These are the ladies you wish you were friends with but wouldn’t have the guts to befriend: they have sex, aren’t ashamed of it, and revel in their extramarital dalliances.

The Scarlet Letter Scandal by Mary T McCarthy
But don’t think that these ladies are callous and heartless. They love their friends, their families, and will do whatever it takes to protect those they love. The Scarlet Letter Society will help you examine your own sexuality and what it means to be happy.

I read the first book on vacation, which was perfect!

Grab your squad, some wine, and get ready to laugh (and cry).

Adult Fiction Clever Friends

Clever Heather reviews: The Divorce Girl by Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg

I’d like to preface this fabulous review by introducing Clever Reviewer Heather. She’s one of my local besties and a really awesome reviewer.  Check it out!

Stark, poignant, tumultuous – all words that describe The Divorce Girl by Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg. When I first glanced at the title I thought it represented a complete lack of creativity. But wait, before you cringe, I decided to give it a shot. After all, it is just a book. I can always shut it. I didn’t. I took it to the gym almost every morning, my only real downtime. The name is perfect. It sets the mood of this real to life story.

Many times throughout the pages I wondered if it was a real life story. We start in the young teenage life of a budding photographer, Deborah Shapiro, growing up in the unrest of a time when life wasn’t roses but everyone was searching for them. Her family in disarray, and ending in divorce, she resorts to seeing life through her camera lens. As a heartbreaking tale is spun, I find myself relating more with her mother than Deborah, the main character.

Deborah makes the choice to live with her father, choosing a life that leads to more heartache and pain than any kid should have to grow up in. She becomes a pawn in her father’s twisted game of life. Working a flea market, being along for the ride while immigration chases them, helping juvenile delinquents escape, she lives an excitingly dull life. Caught in lies of her father’s making, and feeling invisible to those around her, she sees no value in her life. This child woman is forced to run a house for her father, self-alienated from her mother. Her only outlet is photography class, and temple youth meetings, complete with a radical rabbi.

Finally, as we near the end of the book, she sees hope. She has a boyfriend who loves her. She has a plan to fast track her way to college – the chance to get out, to live her dreams, and take care of herself if her father signs his permission.

Will she ever see her mother loved her all along? Will she break free of the life her father has kept her prisoner to? Is her boyfriend really going to love her forever? Will she go to college or stay, stuck in her small town, an invisible person?

The last paragraph of the acknowledgements leaves you wondering just how much of this heart wrenching story is real.

I give this book 3 paws.

Unconventional Librarian 3 paws


So…whaddya think? Clever Heather is awesome, huh??? Here’s a little bit about Clever Heather:

In a normal week you can find Heather blogging about life at Real: The Kitchen and Beyond.

Growing up as the oldest of 7, and now being a wife and mother, homeschooling mama with a part time job and writing for two blogs, reading is her escape.

Her absolute favorite series of all time is Adventures in Narnia. About the only books she doesn’t devour are paranormal, sci fi, and self help books, although she has made exceptions in even those categories.


I love how Heather will make exceptions to her reading categories; isn’t that what the joy of reading is all about, finding something new??

So…go show Clever Heather some love on her food blog.  But DON’T lick the screen.  I’m just sayin…

Don’t forget to follow Heather on Twitter @heatherlm4 Tell her PammyPam sent ya!

Did I mention the author is the POET LAUREATE of Kansas?? How cool is that???




Adult Fiction Books Reviews

Those we Love Most by Lee Woodruff

Can I preface this book review with: I love Lee Woodruff.  I love her! I do.  I want Leesies to be my bestie. I want her to come over to my house and sit at my kitchen bistro table and drink coffee with me.

Or maybe we’ll go shopping, just us girls: go to King of Prussia Mall and stop and have a cuppa tea and then lunch at Legal Seafoods, all the while chatting about women stuff and husbands and telling each other how fab we look in the outfits we try on.  It would be great, really.

She’d love it. And me.


The thing about Lee Woodruff is, she’s FAMOUS.  Like, on TV famous.  She’s on CBS This Morning and her husband is the famous Bob Woodruff, the journalist embedded in the Middle East who suffered a traumatic brain injury.

Like I said, she’s famous so when I met her at BEA this June, I was impressed by how NORMAL she was.  Seriously.

During BEA I attended an author speed dating session and Lee was one of the speed daters.  The authors went table to table greeting us book bloggers and telling us about their latest books.  There was very little time for interaction as they had to visit 17 tables of 8 people each.  It was INSANE!  But guess what? In that 3-5 minutes of lightning speed interaction, I picked up something abut Lee.  We even had a very brief conversation.  I’m sure she’ll never remember me, but you know what? She stuck with me.  So, I collected her book and vowed to read it.

To be sure, I thought Those We Love Most was going to be a vanity project by yet ANOTHER famous person.  But it wasn’t. Lee is a writer by trade and in some ways, her stories remind me of Jennifer Weiner’s stories: tales of normal people and how they respond to life.  The characters are flawed, but not desperately so, but they are relatable.  You might know Maura or Margaret or have seen them in the grocery store.

Woodruff knows about loss, having dealt with the issue with her husband’s TBI.  And in a very neat way, she works the story of loss into the book. The loss is totally believable and they way the characters deal with the losses could also happen in real life.  So much so, that you’d think the book was a work of non-fiction. It’s that believable.

I’m not a sucker for romance nor a happy ending.  I like endings that make sense and I squirm at too much “i love you we can work this out no matter what” ideologies.  Those We Love Most isn’t like that.

It’s better.

Put it on your TBR  list when you need a break from hot, steamy sex or vampires in dystopian settings.

So here’s a message to my new BFF Lee: If you’re ever in the Philadelphia region, I’ve got a cuppa coffee with your name on it.  I’ll even let ya drink outta my Frida Kahlo mug, it’s my fave.

You are too.



I give this book 3 paws!

Unconventional Librarian 3 paws