Review: Why She Wrote: A Graphic History of the Lives, Inspiration, and Influence Behind the Pens of Classic Women Writers

Title: Why She Wrote A Graphic History of the Lives, Inspiration, and Influence Behind the Pens of Classic Women Writers
Author: Lauren Burke, Hannah K. Chapman, Kaley Bales (illustrator)
Genre: Nonfiction, Biography
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: April 20, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

In Why She Wrote, dive into the fascinating, unexpected, and inspiring stories behind the greatest women writers in the English language.

This compelling graphic collection features 18 women—including Jane Austen, Louisa May Alcott, Alice Dunbar Nelson, Anne Lister, and more—and asks a simple question: in a time when being a woman writer often meant being undervalued, overlooked, or pigeonholed, why did she write?

Why did Jane Austen struggle to write for five years before her first novel was ever published? How did Edith Maude Eaton’s writing change the narrative around Chinese immigrant workers in North America? Why did the Brontë sisters choose to write under male pennames, and Anne Lister write her personal diaries in code?

Learn about women writers from the 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries, from familiar favorites to those who have undeservedly fallen into obscurity, and their often untold histories, including:

• The forgotten mother of the gothic genre
• The unexpected success of Little Women
• The diaries of the “first modern lesbian”
• The lawsuit to protect Little Lord Fauntleroy
• The personal account of a mastectomy in 1811
• Austen’s struggles with writer’s block
• And much, much more!

Why She Wrote highlights a significant moment from each writer’s life and retells it through engaging and accessible comics, along with biographical text, bibliographies, and fun facts. For aspiring writers, literary enthusiasts, and the Janeite who has everything, this new collection highlights these incredible women’s hardships, their influence, and the spark that called them to write.

• GREAT GRAPHIC NOVEL FOR ALL AGES: Librarians and teachers recommend graphic novels for readers of all ages, especially beloved nonfiction titles like Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis and Raina Telgemeier’s Smile, Sisters, and Guts. Immerse yourself in the stories of these fascinating women through the fun, approachable, and dynamic medium of the graphic novel!
• CELEBRATION OF WOMEN WRITERS: Want to read more books by historical women writers, but aren’t sure where to start? The stories and bibliographies of the women featured in Why She Wrote is an inspirational deep dive.
• OVERVIEW OF WOMEN’S HISTORY: Add it to the shelf alongside other collections of women’s history, including Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World by Rachel Ignotofsky, Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World by Pénélope Bagieu, and Amazons, Abolitionists, and Activists: A Graphic History of Women’s Fight for Their Rights by Mikki Kendall and A. D’Amico.

Review:

This nonfiction book tells the stories of 18 famous women writers, including Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë, Beatrix Potter, and Louisa May Alcott. Every section had written biographies which were followed by a graphic novel depiction of part of the author’s life. Each little biography described their writing careers. These included why they started writing and any controversy that their books caused.

Feminism was a popular theme in these biographies. Mary Wollstonecraft was one of the featured authors, and she was one of the first women who was called a feminist. Their status as women was often what drove their passion for writing. Some authors, such as Frances Hodgson Burnett wrote to bring her family out of poverty. Others, such as Anne Lister, weren’t popular in their time but became famous years after their death.

As a writer, I found the publishing history of these authors fascinating. Jane Austen sold her first novel for £10, which was a fortune to her. Louisa May Alcott received a percentage of royalties from Little Women, which made her and her family famous. After Beatrix Potter published her books, she spent her time searching for the bootleg merchandise that was sold with her characters names on them to protect her brand. These women all had such different publishing experiences, but they all had to work very hard to have their voices heard.

This was such a fun set of author biographies!

Thank you Chronicle Books for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Mary, Who Wrote Frankenstein by Linda Bailey, Júlia Sardà (illustrator)

The Life of Charlotte Brontë by Elizabeth Gaskell

Have you read Why She Wrote? What did you think of it?

‘Waiting on’ Wednesday – April 21

This is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine. In this post we highlight a book that’s highly anticipated.

The book that I’m waiting on this Wednesday is Shipped by Meredith Tate. The expected publication date is May 18, 2021.

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Can two IRL enemies find their happily ever after online?

Stella Greene and Wesley Clarke are Gene Connolly Memorial High School’s biggest rivals. While the two have been battling it out for top student, it’s a race to the bottom when it comes to snide comments and pulling the dirtiest prank. For years, Stella and Wes have been the villain in each other’s story, and now it’s all-out war.

And there is no bigger battle than the one for valedictorian, and more specifically, the coveted valedictorian scholarship.

But Stella and Wes have more in common than they think. Both are huge fans of Warship Seven, a popular sci-fi TV drama with a dedicated online following, and the two start chatting under aliases–without a clue that their rival is just beyond the screen. They realize that they’re both attending SciCon this year, so they plan to dress in their best cosplay and finally meet IRL.

While tensions at school are rising and SciCon inches closer and closer, the enemy lines between Stella and Wes blur when a class project shows them they might understand one another better than anyone else–and not just in cosplay.

What books are you waiting on this week?

Blog Tour Review: Sugar and Spite

Title: Sugar and Spite
Author: Gail D. Villanueva
Genre: Middle Grade, Contemporary, Fantasy
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
Format: Ebook
Release Date: April 20, 2021
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Can a bully be defeated by a magical love potion?

Jolina can’t take Claudine’s bullying any longer! The taunts and teasing are too much. Though Jolina knows she’s still in-training to use her grandfather’s arbularyo magic, she sneaks into his potions lab to get her revenge. Jolina brews a batch of gayuma, a powerful love potion.

And it works. The love potion conquers Claudine’s hateful nature. In fact, Claudine doesn’t just stop bullying Jolina — now she wants to be Jolina’s BFF, and does everything and anything Jolina asks.

But magic comes with a cost, and bad intentions beget bad returns. Controlling another person’s ability to love — or hate — will certainly have consequences. The magic demands payment, and it is about to come for Jolina in the form of a powerful storm…

Magic and reality mingle in this brilliant new middle-grade novel by Gail D. Villanueva that asks whether it’s ever okay to take away someone’s free will.

Review:

Eleven-year-old Jolina has moved with her family from the city of Manila in the Philippines to an island town to live with her grandfather. Her grandfather practices arbularyo magic, and he is teaching it to Jolina. When Jolina is bullied by Claudine, the popular, and rich, girl in her bible study class, she decides to make a love potion to make Claudine like her. Jolina has to be careful because she hasn’t made a potion like that on her own before. However, every spell and potion has consequences that Jolina will have to face during a powerful storm.

This is the first book that I’ve read that is set in the Philippines, though I’ve had many friends from there. This setting really became a character in the story. It had a vibrant description. I love it when the food from different cultures is described in books. There were a particular kind of candy, called yema balls, which played an important role in the story. There was even a recipe to make them at the end of the book, so I may have to try them!

There were some potentially triggering events at the end of the book. There was a typhoon and the death of a pet. These were emotional scenes that could be triggering to some readers, but these events were crucial to the plot.

I really enjoyed this middle grade story!

Thank you Scholastic Press and TBR and Beyond Tours for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

My Fate According to the Butterfly by Gail D. Villanueva

Hurricane Season by Nicole Melleby

About the author:

Gail D. Villanueva is the author of Sugar And Spite (Scholastic, 2021). Her debut novel, My Fate According to the Butterfly (Scholastic, 2019), was named a Best Book of the Year by Kirkus Reviews, an Amazon Best Book of the Month Editor’s Pick, and a NCSS-CBC Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People. Born and based in the Philippines, Gail’s daily routine includes running a web design company with her husband while trying to keep up with the shenanigans of their many pets—dogs, ducks, turtles, cats, and random birds they befriend in the backyard. Learn more at http://www.gaildvillanueva.com.

Tour Schedule:

April 19
Kait Plus Books – Interview
The Book Dutchesses – Review & Favourite Quotes
Melancholic Blithe – Review & Mood Board

April 20th
Jill’s Book Blog – Review
The Writer’s Alley – Review, Playlist, & Favourite Quotes
The Reading Chemist – Review

April 21st
The Last Rader – Top 5 Reasons to Read Sugar and Spite
Booker T’s Farm – Review & Top 5 Reasons to Read Sugar and Spite
Balancing Books and Beauties – Review & Creative Post (List)

April 22nd
Nine Bookish Lives – Interview & Review
Stuck in Fiction – Top 5 Reasons to Read Sugar and Spite
Wishing Upon a Star – Review & Favourite Quote
Justice For Readers – Review & Mood Board

April 23rd
Confessions of a YA Reader – Review & Favourite Quotes
Notes From a Paper Plane Nomad – Review & Top 5 Reasons to Read Sugar and Spite
Miss Linda Bennet – Fanart

April 24th
Enthralled Bookworm – Interview
PopTheButterfly Reads – Review
Yna the Mood Reader – Review & Favourite Quotes

April 25th
Morena Monologues – Review & Journal Spread
Lu is lost in books – Review & Favourite Quotes
I’m Into Books – Promo Post

Where to buy:

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/52664780-sugar-and-spite

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Sugar-Spite-Gail-Villanueva/dp/133863092X/ref=sr_1_4?crid=3VPTZ8NSJDFZY&dchild=1&keywords=sugar+and+spite&qid=1612106428&sprefix=sugar+and+spite%2Caps%2C183&sr=8-4

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-sugar-and-spite-gail-villanueva/1136883201?ean=9781338630923

Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Sugar-Spite-Gail-Villanueva/9781338630923?ref=grid-view&qid=1612106440747&sr=1-1

Indigo: https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/fr-ca/livres/sugar-and-spite/9781338630923-article.html?ikwid=sugar+and+spite&ikwsec=Home&ikwidx=0#algoliaQueryId=410b71e185c6c273f588b0a51a91d464

IndieBound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781338630923

Have you read Sugar and Spite? What did you think of it?

Top Ten Tuesday – Colourful Book Covers

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and it is now hosted by The Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s theme is Colourful Book Covers. Here’s my list:

1. The Storm Runner by J.C. Cervantes

2. We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia

3. Replica by Lauren Oliver

4. The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

5. All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson

6. In the Role of Brie Hutchens by Nicole Melleby

7. Snapped by Alexa Martin

8. Not Like the Movies by Kerry Winfrey

9. The Siren by Katherine St. John

10. It Had to Be You by Georgia Clark

(All book covers from Goodreads)

What’s your list of books on your Top Ten Tuesday?

Happy Pub Day – April 20

Happy Pub Day to all of these new books!

These Feathered Flames by Alexandra Overy

The Kindred Spirits Supper Club by Amy E. Reichert

Why She Wrote by Lauren Burke, Hannah K. Chapman, Kaley Bales

How to Save a Queendom by Jessica Lawson

Dustborn by Erin Bowman

Witches Steeped in Gold by Ciannon Smart

Nightingale by Deva Fagan

What’s Not to Love by Emily Wibberley, Austin Siegemund-Broka

Sugar and Spite by Gail D. Villanueva

Kate in Waiting by Becky Albertalli

Too Bright to See by Kyle Lukoff

In Deeper Waters by F.T. Lukens

The Crown of Gilded Bones by Jennifer L. Armentrout

The Key to You and Me by Jaye Robin Brown

The Forest of Stolen Girls by June Hur

Where Secrets Lie by Eva V. Gibson

She Drives Me Crazy by Kelly Quindlen

The Half-Orphan’s Handbook by Joan F. Smith

What books are you most excited for this week?

Review: A Rogue of One’s Own

Title: A Rogue of One’s Own (A League of Extraordinary Women #2)
Author: Evie Dunmore
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance
Publisher: Berkley
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: September 1, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

A lady must have money and an army of her own if she is to win a revolution – but first, she must pit her wits against the wiles of an irresistible rogue bent on wrecking her plans…and her heart.

Lady Lucie is fuming. She and her band of Oxford suffragists have finally scraped together enough capital to control one of London’s major publishing houses, with one purpose: to use it in a coup against Parliament. But who could have predicted that the one person standing between her and success is her old nemesis, Lord Ballentine? Or that he would be willing to hand over the reins for an outrageous price—a night in her bed.

Lucie tempts Tristan like no other woman, burning him up with her fierceness and determination every time they clash. But as their battle of wills and words fans the flames of long-smouldering devotion, the silver-tongued seducer runs the risk of becoming caught in his own snare.

As Lucie tries to out-manoeuvre Tristan in the boardroom and the bedchamber, she soon discovers there’s truth in what the poets say: all is fair in love and war…

Review:

Lady Lucie is a suffragette in Victorian Oxford. Along with her group of friends, they purchase shares in a publishing house. However, after the purchase, she discovers that she shares ownership with Tristan, aka Lord Ballantine, her childhood friend with a rakish reputation. Lucie plans to use the publishing house to promote her cause, but she doesn’t have a controlling share of the company. Tristan says he sell her some of his shares, in exchange for a night with her. That goes against everything Lucie stands for, but Tristan becomes very hard to resist.

Lucie and Tristan had a long past since their families were friends since they were children. Despite this connection, they didn’t get along. Tristan had a reputation of being with a different woman every night, which is the opposite of what Lucie stood for. Since they had such strong feelings against each other, it became clear that they would eventually get together. This was a great enemies to lovers story.

Lucie was such a strong woman with clear goals of getting women’s rights. She was adamant that she wanted to be a single woman. I was concerned that she would give up this part of her personality to be with Tristan, because they would have to get together to fulfill the ending of this romance. I won’t give away the ending, but I was pleased with how this worked out in the end.

I loved this steamy Victorian romance!

Thank you Berkley for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

The Lady and the Highwayman by Sarah M. Eden

The Duke and I by Julia Quinn

Other books in the series:

Have you read A Rogue of One’s Own? What did you think of it?

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? – April 19

This blog meme is hosted by Book Date. It is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week.  It’s a great post to organize yourself. It’s an opportunity to visit and comment, and er… add to that ever growing TBR pile!

What I just finished:

This weekend I finished A Rogue of One’s Own (A League of Extraordinary Women #2) by Evie Dunmore.

What I’m currently reading:

I’m currently reading Sugar and Spite by Gail D. Villanueva.

What I’m reading next:

Next I will be reading A Curse So Dark and Lonely (Cursebreakers #1) by Brigid Kemmerer.

What are you guys reading this week? Have you read any of these books?

Jill’s Weekly Wrap-Up – April 18

Here are my reviews for the week with my ratings:

I did 9 weekly blogging memes:

How was your week? What did you guys read?

Sundays in Bed With… A Rogue of One’s Own

The meme that dares to ask what book has been in your bed this morning? Come share what book you’ve spent time curled up reading in bed, or which book you wish you had time to read today! This meme is hosted by Midnight Book Girl.

This Sunday I’m reading A Rogue of One’s Own (A League of Extraordinary Women #2) by Evie Dunmore.

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Goodreads Synopsis:

A lady must have money and an army of her own if she is to win a revolution – but first, she must pit her wits against the wiles of an irresistible rogue bent on wrecking her plans…and her heart.

Lady Lucie is fuming. She and her band of Oxford suffragists have finally scraped together enough capital to control one of London’s major publishing houses, with one purpose: to use it in a coup against Parliament. But who could have predicted that the one person standing between her and success is her old nemesis, Lord Ballentine? Or that he would be willing to hand over the reins for an outrageous price—a night in her bed.

Lucie tempts Tristan like no other woman, burning him up with her fierceness and determination every time they clash. But as their battle of wills and words fans the flames of long-smouldering devotion, the silver-tongued seducer runs the risk of becoming caught in his own snare.

As Lucie tries to out-manoeuvre Tristan in the boardroom and the bedchamber, she soon discovers there’s truth in what the poets say: all is fair in love and war…

What book are you in bed with today?

Six for Sunday – Books Set on Islands

This meme is hosted by Steph at A little but a lot. The weekly prompts for 2019 can be found here.

This week’s prompt is Fictional Islands You’d Like to Visit, but I didn’t want to visit most of the ones I could think of, so here’s a list of Books Set on Islands. Here’s my list:

1. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

2. Lord of the Flies by William Golding

3. Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

4. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

5. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

6. The Island of Doctor Moreau by H.G. Wells

(All book covers from Goodreads)

Did you make a Six for Sunday list?