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Choosing Family: A Memoir of Queer Motherhood and Black Resistance | Francesca T Royster | Book Review

Choosing Family: A Memoir of Queer Motherhood and Black Resistance is a beautiful reflection of one women’s journey as a Black queer mother in modern society. In many ways author Francesca Royster is writing a love letter to her past, her present, and her future. It is a moving tribute of the concept of choosing family, and how the choices you make for your chosen family impact all other aspects of your life. Choosing family is not a one time act but something that occurs over and over again as an individual experiences any physical, emotional, or spiritual change in their life.

This memoir reflects on the past and how it can help form your future. The author describes the lessons which she has learned from the strong Black women in her life as well as those who have intellectually influenced her. She explains how she uses these lessons from her past to shape her perception of her present and future. Specifically in regards to how she is trying to create a life different than the one she grew up with.

The main focus of her story is about her interracial marriage and adopted daughter. There are alot of intricacies involved with both of these topics. Everything is very intertwined and it was interesting to read about. Through the choices that she has made Francesca T. Royster has experienced multiple levels of joy and sadness. Many of her more joyful moments come from her chosen family but, there is also sadness as this family also has to grow and change.

By having a same sex marriage and making the decision to adopt, her personal and professional life have forever become connected. Each comes with its own struggles but being bond together illuminates them so that they are no longer hidden. It forces people to come to terms with it. It forced the author to choose her path of resistance and who would be in her chosen family. Choosing Family: A Memoir of Queer Motherhood and Black Resistance is an insightful and reflective piece of work. It seamlessly provides the audience a new perspective on the value of choosing family.

Rating: 4 Stars

**I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**

Top Ten Tuesday: 2023 Debut Books I’m Excited About

Top Ten Tuesday is held by Jana over at That Artsy Reader Girl.

Todays topic is all about the 2023 debut books I’m excited about!

  1. The Deep Sky – Yume Kitasei
  2. I’d Rather Burn Than Bloom – Shannon C.F. Rogers
  3. Something More – Jackie Khalilieh
  4. The Remarkable Retirement of Edna Fisher – E.M. Anderson
  5. Always the Almost – Edward Underhill
  6. There Goes the Neighborhood – Jade Adia
  7. Text Appeal – Amber Roberts
  8. Unexpecting – Jen Bailey
  9. Beneath The Wild Silk Sky – Emily Inouye Huey
  10. Playing For Keeps – Tristen Crone

What 2023 debut books are you looking forward to?

6 Times We Almost Kissed (And One Time We Did) | Tess Sharpe | Book Review

The cover of 6 Times We Almost Kissed (And One Time We Did) makes it look like it is going to be a sweet easy read. In reality, it is anything but easy. The main characters are each working through some difficult situations and are constantly finding themselves crossing paths. This becomes even more true when they are forced to move in with one another to support their mothers.

Penny’s life was turned upside down when she and her father were in a rafting accident together. It has been some time but, she is still finding herself having trouble healing. Alot of this has to do with her relationship with her mother which has been very tense following the accident. Plus, her mom is best friends with Tate’s mom, and Penny and Tate are not and will never friends.

Tate’s mother has been on the edge of dying for several years. She is in need of a liver transplant and it isn’t until Penny’s mom gets tested that she even has a chance of a donor. Due to her mother’s lack of ability to work, the finances have been tight, and Tate has been forced to make sure everything is covered. It is much more than a teenage girl should be worrying about.

When their mothers inform Penny and Tate about the liver transplant surgery, it is also decided that they will all be living together during the recovery period. There is not very much time between their announcement and the actual surgery date forcing Tate and Penny to work together packing up one house and setting up another. Being in close proximity forces the two of them to actually reflect on their dynamic. This is told from each of their points of view and it has several “almost moments”.

I really liked the way that this story was told and how it unfolded. Penny and Tate have admittedly never been friends but, for some reason they have always been there for one another when things have gotten rough. It was fun to watch everything unfold between the two of them. Each of them have had their childhood innocence ripped away from them and each recognizes this in the other. I enjoyed their bantering and the way their connection grew even when they didn’t even realize it.

This review is a little all over the place but so is Penny and Tate’s relationship. Each character is complex and needs to do some deep soul searching to figure out each exactly what they want. The flashbacks are very well done, and will have you wanting to give each character a tight hug as they try to figure out their lives and their potential feelings for each other. 6 Times We Almost Kissed (And One Time We Did) is not always an easy read as it tackles topic such a parental neglect, grief, survivor guilt, mental health, and trauma but, it is done in such a realistic beautiful way.

Rating: 4 Stars

**I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**

Top Ten Tuesday: New To Me Authors In 2022

Top Ten Tuesday is held by Jana over at That Artsy Reader Girl.

Todays topic is all about the authors that I read for the first time in 2022!

  1. Rhiannon Wilde (Henry Hamlet’s Heart)
  2. Rachel Van Dyken (The Godparent Trap)
  3. Katy Birchall (The Wedding Season)
  4. Tucker Shaw (When You Call My Name)
  5. Randi Pink (Angel of Greenwood)
  6. Tarana Burke (Unbound: My Story of Liberation and the Birth of the Me Too Movement)
  7. Denny S Bryce (Wild Women and the Blues)
  8. Jackie Ashenden (Find Your Way Home)
  9. Muhammad Khan (Mark My Words)
  10. Katharine Schellman (Last Call at the Nightingale)

What authors were new to you in 2022?

Three Cowboys and a Baby | Kate Pearce | Book Review

Three Cowboys and a Baby is the first book in a new series by Kate Pearce. It is a sweet contemporary romance that was inspired by the late 80’s movie Three Men and a Baby. It features three handsome former Marines turned cowboys who are living on a family ranch together. One day a former marine who served with them shows up on the ranch with his infant son. He claims he is looking for the family of the child’s mother and that they live in the area of the ranch. Reluctantly, the cowboys try to help him find this family with no real luck for any of them and this is when he sneaks out one night leaving the baby behind.

Noah, Luke, and Max are stunned to find baby Sky has been left there by his father. At first they want to go to social services but decide to wait it out and see if the mother’s family comes to claim him. The three men are bachelors with their own routine and it takes them a little bit to adjust to a routine with a baby. Plus, they have to care for the animals on the ranch. They are finally getting used to their routine when Sky’s mother Jennifer shows up at the ranch.

Jen is active duty and was delayed in returning to land. It is because of this that was late trying to meet up with her sons father. Noah immediately judges her and the two characters clash. Each of them is a little rough around the edges because of the things that they have been through. When a snowstorm traps Jen at the ranch with the cowboys, the close quarters force the two of them to look at each other in a different light.

I enjoyed Noah and Jen’s easy banter with each other. There was this chemistry that was building between them that each of them tried to ignore. Each of them felt that there was too much at stake especially with Sky to give into the temptation of being with each other. Honestly, this was a little frustrating at times because these two were so hard headed. Sometimes all they needed to have was a real heart to heart.

I also enjoyed Jen’s interactions with Luke and Max. She just seems to fit in with this group of cowboys. Each of them have brought back some baggage back with them from being in the service and this is reflected in their daily actions. It is obvious that even when the three former marines get on each others nerves, they always have each others backs. I thought all characters felt realistic with their mannerisms and emotions. I could feel myself getting attached to them especially baby Sky who was just simply adorable.

Three Cowboys and a Baby was a wonderful introduction to these characters and the ranch. I look forward to seeing more of Noah, Jen, and Sky as Luke and Max each find their happily ever after. The two of them can be just as hard headed as Noah and Jen. Potentially even more so when it comes to Max. I look forward to seeing who catches him off guard and captures his heart. There is a possibility hinted towards the end of this story for one of them but, I’ll just have to wait and see what actually happens.

Rating: 4 Stars

**I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**

The Divorce Colony: How Women Revolutionized Married and Found Freedom on the American Frontier | April White | Book Review

The Divorce Colony is a historical overview of the process of divorce in America. Historically most states made it impossible to get a divorce regardless of the reason. That is except for Sioux Falls, South Dakota where if a woman followed the process a divorce could be obtained. Divorce in Sioux Falls was expensive and contained several steps many of were unattainable by women of the world.

Sioux Falls became known as the divorce colony. Women would travel to Sioux Falls, set up a place where they would live for 3 to six months and hire a lawyer for a divorce. It was expensive and time consuming. It quickly became the place for white rich society members to get divorced. .

This book focuses on four cases of women who had moved to Sioux Falls to obtain a divorce. There is an in-depth look at the consequences of these actions. These women were questions by other aspects of their lives: religion, family, and politicians. It was interesting to see reflection of society at the time within these questions. Everything was posed as protection when in reality was all about control.

The Divorce Colony was an interesting read but a little slow at times. It also felt a tad bit redundant. I think if non-wealthy women had been mentioned it would have broke up the redundancy. Also non-white individuals as well. Overall, I think people would enjoy this and take good information form it but, there was also room for improvement.

Rating: 3 Stars

The wealth that these women held was not enough to protect them from scrutiny and rejection. Often ties they actually wound up losing everything in the process. There is a strong focus on really wealthy women which foes feel slightly biased. I would have liked to know if there were any women who saved and sacrificed in order to be able to obtain a divorce. I understand that the data may be limited but I think it would be an interesting comparison.

**I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**

Something Old, Something New | Amy Clipston | Book Review

Something Old, Something New is a new sweet small town romance that I absolutely adored. Brent Nicholson was the star quarterback in high school with plans of going pro. Unfortunately due to a career ending injury this dream never came to fruition. Since then his life has been one failure after another. He comes back to his hometown to help his aunt rehabilitate her home so she can move into a senior living place. He is hoping to keep a relatively low profile but that turns out not to be so easy when he keeps running into his high school hearts twin sister.

Christine Sawyer has always felt that she has been in her twin sister Britney’s shadow. Britney was the popular one in school – the one everyone knew. Even in present day her sister is happily married with two adorable twin daughters, Christine is happy running her antique store but there are times she can’t help but imagine a life similar to her sisters. When Brent comes back into town, the two keep crossing paths and each start seeing each other in a anew light.

Admittedly Brent never paid attention to Christine when they were younger. They were in two completely different crows. Post high school they never really saw each other especially once he and Britney broke up. As they start spending time together they form this sweet friendship. I really liked how the two were brought together. It didn’t feel rushed and the things that were causing rifts between them felt realistic and not that scary. Both characters also experienced personal growth and helped bring them closer together.

Small towns are my favorite settings and Flowering Grove is no exception. The imagery of the town was so prominent in my mind. I could see Christine’s shop along with the other shops in the town square. With the small towns dynamics also comes all the people who know all the people. Everything knew the history between Britney and Brent and this is why he and Christine are constantly being questioned when they are seen in town together. Honestly it was such a fun busy body type of vibe. I especially enjoyed Brent’s Aunt Midge – she was a hoot!

Something Old, Something New is such a swoony sweet romance. It is a slow burn that is written very well. There is a touch of drama but it is the kind of drama that helps characters grow. It never felt too over done to me (although I did roll my eyes at Christine’s sister Britney a few times) and it helped move the story along. I would recommend this one to anyone who loves a good small town romance. If you’re like me you’ll be thinking these characters long you turn the last page.

Rating: 4 Stars

**I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**

I’m No Philosopher But I Got Thoughts: Mini Meditations For Saints, Sinners, And The Rest Of Us | Kristin Chenoweth | Book Review

I’m No Philosopher But I Got Thoughts is a shot of laughter and a shot of wisdom mixed together. Written by Broadway powerhouse Kristin Chenoweth it is filled with stories about her career and life. It is also filled with things that inspire her and keep her going. As a Broadway aficionado, I devoured this book and could hear it being read in the authors voice.

This book is part memoir and part philosophical. There is strong focus on scripture which is one of the things by which the author builds her foundation. I thought the messages she was discussing her relevant and could be used in various situations. There is an ability to apply them where necessary.

I would recommend I’m No Philosopher, But I Got Thoughts to anyone who is a fellow theatre fan. As I said, you can hear Kristin’s voice as you read (especially if you listen to the audiobooks) which was fun. I would also recommend this to anymore who is looking for some inspiration, or even just a good laugh. This is a bright spot on the philosopher bookshelf.

Rating: 3 Stars

**I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Goals For 2023

Top Ten Tuesday is held by Jana over at That Artsy Reader Girl.

Todays topic is all about your bookish goals for 2023!

  1. Read 150 books ~ Last year my goal was 100 books and I actually read closer to 150 so I’m increasing my goal this year and challenging myself to read even more.
  2. Start & complete 5 series I have not read before ~ I have noticed that I’m not very good at starting and actually finishing book series. So this year I want to challenge myself to actually fully reading 5 different series. If you have any suggestions, let me know!
  3. Listen to more audiobooks ~ Another thing I have noticed is that I’m good at requesting audiobooks from library or Netgalley but, I’m actually not that good at listening to them. My plan is to listen to at least two audiobooks a month.
  4. Watch movies based on books ~ There have been several books turned into movies recently that I have not seen. I know I may be disappointed by some of them but, I would like to see them and make those judgements for myself.
  5. Use my local library ~ The fact that my local library is just down the street from me and I’ve neglected using it is something that I need to change this year. Th selection is usually pretty decent and if they don’t have a book you’re looking for you can usually interlibrary loan it.
  6. Join a book club ~ There is a book club at my local library that I may join but, I don’t think the meeting days match up with my schedule. I’d also be interested joining one online so if you have any suggestions, let me know. Or even joining in on a group read would be fun too!
  7. Grow my audience ~ This will be the 2nd anniversary of my blog and while I do have some routine followers I would love to expand on that and meet new people in the process.
  8. Unhaul 100 books ~ We’re going to be in the process of making changes to my apartment and in order to help with that I really need to remove books from my shelf that I no longer have any interest in. Or that I will read once but then never again.
  9. Write reviews after I read the book ~ I have this habit of putting off writing a review after I finish the book. The problem with this is by the time I get around to reviewing it, I don’t remember what it was about! If I write the review shortly after I read the book, I might have a better chance of making a more coherent review.
  10. Have fun with my reading ~ I think there are sometimes expectations within the book blogging community about what needs to be read/how it should be read/when it needs to be read etc. and sometimes I let that get to me and it makes reading no longer that much fun for me. I need to learn to ignore these demands and read what I want when I want regardless of what anyone says. I’m reading for me, not for them.

What are some of your bookish goals for this year?

Chasing the Four Winds

Reading, Writing, Nerding, and Honoring the Oxford Comma Since 1987.

A. A. MacConnell

When you write drabbles, you relieve the pressure of the epic novel expanding in your head.

the calico books

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