A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline

GoodReads Summary:
To Christina Olson, the entire world was her family’s remote farm in the small coastal town of Cushing, Maine. Born in the home her family had lived in for generations, and increasingly incapacitated by illness, Christina seemed destined for a small life. Instead, for more than twenty years, she was host and inspiration for the artist Andrew Wyeth, and became the subject of one of the best known American paintings of the twentieth century.
As she did in her beloved smash bestseller Orphan Train, Christina Baker Kline interweaves fact and fiction in a powerful novel that illuminates a little-known part of America’s history. Bringing into focus the flesh-and-blood woman behind the portrait, she vividly imagines the life of a woman with a complicated relationship to her family and her past, and a special bond with one of our greatest modern artists.
Told in evocative and lucid prose, A Piece of the World is a story about the burdens and blessings of family history, and how artist and muse can come together to forge a new and timeless legacy.
A Piece of the WorldReview:
A Piece of the World was given to me as a gift by my wonderful aunt. She gave it to me because my family is actually in it. I’m related to Christina Olsen. We have a shared ancestor in the Hawethorne’s of Salem. I picked this one up for WitchAThon because it fulfilled the prompt of reading a book featuring my heritage.
I think I probably would have DNF’d this book if it hadn’t been literally about my family. I actually did DNF a book that was eerily similar to this one, but I pushed through to complete the readathon prompt and to learn more about my family history. The thing with historical fiction that gets to me is not knowing which parts are facts from history and which parts were fictionalized.
I’m honestly not sure what to even say. I liked the way this story was told. We flashback and forth between Christina’s past and present and eventually the storylines meet. The author really made it easy to care about Christina and feel her struggles. I was captivated by the story.
Overall, A Piece of the World was a well written and fascinating piece of my own family history, even though I’m still not sure what parts were true and which were not. I enjoyed learning more about my ancestors.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday – Best of 2018

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week we’re given a new prompt for a top ten list of all things bookish. This week is top ten best books I’ve read in 2018 (so far). I’m excited about this one because I have a post on other social media where I post the best book I read each month. I’m obviously only through June so here I can add a few more! Here’s my list of the ten best books I’ve read so far this year.

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1. Air Awakens by Elise Kova – I found this as a boxed set on my Kindle so it was like reading one giant book even though it was five books. This series made me laugh and cry and It’s only been a few months since I read it and I already want to read it again.
2. Moon Chosen & Sun Warrior by P.C. Cast – It honestly took me forever to actually read these but they were AMAZING and I can’t wait until Windrider comes out in October.
3. Scythe & Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman – This was an incredibly creative story. I’m excited to see where the third book takes these characters.
4. Renegades by Marissa Meyer – Superheros, duh!
5. The Paper Magician series by Charlie N. Holmberg – I loved all of these books, even the fourth that has different characters in the same word. The world is so interesting and well thought out and just incredible.
6. The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson – I found this book in the ‘popular books’ section of my Kindle Unlimited subscription and thought it sounded interesting. Boy was it. The plot in this story was so confusing and funny and heart wrenching all at the same time somehow.
7. A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas – The newest book (novella) in my favorite series, so yeah, it obviously makes this list.
8. The Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline – It was such an emotional and just all around powerful story. I didn’t think I was going to like this book nearly as much as I did.
9. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon – I was so surprised by this book. I thought this was one that was overly hyped and it wasn’t really ever on my TBR list. But I found it at the library and said why not. I’m glad I gave it a chance because this story blew me away.
10. Shelter in Place by Nora Roberts – My first audiobook ever. I’ve been super excited for this book to be released because Nora is an auto-buy author for me. I honestly hadn’t even read the synopsis. So when I started listening and the mall shooting happened, I balled my eyes out for the first like half an hour that I was listening.

These are the top ten books that are my favorites for the year so far. I chose to only list books that I read for the first time this year, otherwise, my favorite series would overtake this list. What books are your favorites for 2018 so far?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme formerly hosted by Should Be Reading and was revived by Taking on a World of Words. To play along, answer the following three questions and share a link to your post in the comments on her page. Enjoy!

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What are you currently reading? 

Amanda – I’m currently reading Flamecaster by Cinda Williams Chima. This is the first book in the Shattered Realms Series, you can see my review here. I’m rereading this book because the third book in this series came out recently and I haven’t read these books in a while. So I want to make sure I’m not forgetting anything important. Also, I read the second book while we were being bad bloggers, so I want to post a review for the second book.

Antonia – I’m currently reading The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan. This is the first book in his Heroes of Olympus series which I’m technically rereading. I read the first three books years ago but somehow during my move across the country lost the fourth book and only just replaced it.

What did you recently finish reading?

Amanda – I stayed up way too late last night to finish Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline. This is a book my Aunt let me (forced me to) borrow because she really enjoyed reading it. I’m glad she pushed it on me, it was a super great book that made me feel a variety of emotions. Check out my review for this book here.

Antonia – I just finished reading The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie. I really enjoyed going a little outside my normal genres for this one. You can check out my review here.

What do you think you will read next? 

Amanda – I sort of already answered this with the first question, but oh well. Next, I will be reading Shadowcaster by Cinda  Williams Chima. I’m currently reading the first, so barring any unforeseen circumstances, I will read the second book and then the third. Keep an eye out for my reviews!

Antonia – Next I plan to continue the Heroes of Olympus series though when I was organizing my shelves the other day, I found tons of books I want to read so I may get distracted.

These are our W’s this week, what are yours? Feel free to let us know in the comments!

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

Summary:
Between 1854 and 1929, so-called orphan trains ran regularly from the cities of the East Coast to the farmlands of the Midwest, carrying thousands of abandoned children whose fates would be determined by pure luck. Would they be adopted by a kind and loving family, or would they face a childhood and adolescence of hard labor and servitude?
As a young Irish immigrant, Vivian Daly was one such child, sent by rail from New York City to an uncertain future a world away. Returning east later in life, Vivian leads a quiet, peaceful existence on the coast of Maine, the memories of her upbringing rendered a hazy blur. But in her attic, hidden in trunks, are vestiges of a turbulent past.
Seventeen-year-old Molly Ayer knows that a community-service position helping an elderly widow clean out her attic is the only thing keeping her out of juvenile hall. But as Molly helps Vivian sort through her keepsakes and possessions, she discovers that she and Vivian aren’t as different as they appear. A Penobscot Indian who has spent her youth in and out of foster homes, Molly is also an outside being raised by strangers, and she, too, has unanswered questions about the past.
Moving between contemporary Maine and Depression-era Minnesota, Orphan Train is a powerful tale of upheaval and resilience, second chances, and unexpected friendship.

Review:
I was given this book by my Aunt (when I say given I mean that she sent me home with a book stack like five books tall and I wasn’t really given a choice or opinion about it) to borrow because it really left an impression on her. I’m really glad she gave me no choice in borrowing this book because I have many feelings about it. It’s not a book that I would generally choose for myself to read. It’s a super serious book and I tend to stick to fun, lighter topics or books that have deeper meanings. I really enjoyed this story though, it was eye opening and heart wrenching and made me feel all of the emotions.
Orphan Train is the story of a young girl that’s been screwed again and again by the foster system. She’s with yet another set of foster parents, one that wanted her and one that agreed to make her husband happy and she never lets Molly forget it. Molly’s foster mother is a bitch. There’s no other way to say it. She’s unnecessarily mean and goes out of her way to make life harder for Molly. With her foster father as the middleman that never really picks a side between Molly and his wife, he just hopes they’ll work it out. His lack of any sort of intervention is really frustrating to me since he’s the one that wanted to foster Molly in the first place. Enough about them, they suck.
Molly is a girl I could get along with. She’s been through a lot in the short amount of years she’s been alive. Regardless of all of that, she has a pretty good attitude. She tries to maintain a ‘whatever’ attitude as if she doesn’t care about anything, but we get to see her crack and actually let herself care about people in her life (but not her foster parents because they suck). It was really nice to see Molly come out of her shell once she meets Vivian, our other main character. Vivian is a very interesting character because we meet her at the end of her life. We see that she’s made something for herself. She’s a wealthy widow that lives in a big beautiful house. Going from knowing her in this part of her life to learning about the struggles of her childhood was interesting. I liked it because reading about all of the complicated (sometimes horrible) things that Vivian endured was hard, but we already knew that it got better because of her situation in the present day. Reading Vivan’s story was honestly hard. She endures so much, so many traumatizing and horrible things for a girl so young, but through all of it she doesn’t give up. If I were her, I would have just given up on everything, but she doesn’t. She kept moving forward, looking at the positive things like friends she’s made and getting to go to school until eventually, life gets better. I enjoyed getting to see what made Vivian into the person that she is today.
My favorite thing about this story was probably the way that it’s written. Orphan Train is written with two alternating perspectives. The first perspective is the present day where we get to follow Molly as she meets Vivian. They connect and learn how alike they really are. The second point of view is Vivian’s life as she’s telling her story to Molly. I thought it was written really well in a thought-provoking way. The alternating perspectives gave us just enough information to see the similarities between these two orphans despite the different time periods they grew up in. I really enjoyed that it’s written in a way to set up to compare and contrast the orphan experience with a then and now kind of effect.
Overall I really enjoyed this story of two independent but strong women who learn to accept the help of those who care about them, even though they don’t want to. I appreciate that they both learned so much about themselves through the stories of each other. Finally, I love that even though Molly and Vivian both went through some series struggles, they came out on top and got their own happy ending (of sorts.)

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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