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  • Book list| 3 Novels Featuring Protagonists on the Autism Spectrum (Heroes!)

    April is Autism Awareness Month . Many may better know the term as Asperger syndrome. Autism is a spectrum diagnosis which usually involves remarkable focus and persistence, aptitude for recognizing patterns, and attention to detail. All of which are traits needed for an excellent detective and problem solver which makes for a great novel character. Gifted authors often balance these traits with others often signature to Autism or Asperger syndrome such as difficulty with social interactions, restricted interests, desire for sameness, and distinctive strengths. Hypersensitivities to light and sound, difficulty with give and take of conversation as well as nonverbal conversation skills, and uncoordinated movements (or clumsiness) are also characteristics of the Autism spectrum. With this, one can clearly understand the importance of representation in literature for Autistic heroes and protagonists. In addition authors have the opportunity to create character with complexity, depth, and interests. In honor of the upcoming Autism Awareness month, here are three books with Autistic protagonists or heroes: American Girl by Wendy Walker (Audiobook) Charlie is a 17-year-old young girl, with Autism, on her way to esteemed college M.I.T to study data analytics when her boss is murdered at the sandwich shop in which she works. Charlie must solve this heinous crime before she can whisk off to her dream college. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon Christopher is smart, funny and equipped with mastered social skill techniques taught by his middle school teacher. He knows all of the all the countries of the world and their capital cities and every prime number up to 7,057. When his teacher challenges him to write a story, he proceeds to tell us (the reader) how he solved the mystery of who killed his neighbor's dog. 600 Hours of Edward by Craig Lancaster Edward is thirty-nine-years-old and has his routine exactly how he wants it. He starts his therapy sessions on-time no matter what, and watches the same episode of his favorite show at the same time each night. When a new nine-year-old neighbor threatens to disrupt his perfect schedule, Edward hilariously takes the reader through the 600 hours of his life in which he learns to open up to his new neighbors and confront his own estranged parents. Have you read any of the above novels? What is your favorite read with an Autistic main character? Happy Reading Friends! Xoxoxoxoxox, ROTR As always feel free to join the book chats by following on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter.

  • Book List| 3 Books About Triumph over Addiction

    Blackout by Sarah Hepola Sarah goes from a seemingly happy middle class life to consecutive days of intentionally getting blackout drunk. A Million Little Pieces by James Frey James describes his time is a rehabilitation facility and takes the reader on a controversial journey to recovery. New York Times Best Seller. Drinking: A Love Story by Caroline Knapp Caroline describes her twenty-year love affair with alcohol. As Always, happy reading friends! Xoxoxoxoxox, ROTR

  • Book Review| Confessions on the 7:45 by Lisa Unger

    This book recommendation came from a friend and was described as "unputdownable". Author Lisa Unger, a New York Times best selling author, writes an entertaining and thrilling phycological best seller. In Confessions on the 7:45 by Lisa Unger, main character Selena Murphy commutes home from work each evening on the train arriving at 5pm. Occasionally, when Selena works late she is able to catch the 7:45pm train home. One evening she meets Martha, another young professional, on the 7:45 train. In a rare moment of trust Selena confesses that her husband has been sleeping with her Nanny and she isn't quite sure what to do. Martha offers to help as a self proclaimed problem solver. Selena declines but can't help think about Martha mysteriousness and familiarity in the weeks ahead. When the Nanny goes missing, Selena is in a world wind of confusion realizing her husband is a man she doesn't even know. Or does she? Unger writes a first chapter that drawls the reader into the story to a point of no return. The reader is left instantaneously wondering the identity of the true villain even considering the protagonist herself, Selena. Unger, writes flawed characters with depth and dimensions. Worth a read if you are looking for something to captivate your attention for a few hours on your daily commute. Happy Reading Friends! Xoxoxoxoxox, ROTR As always feel free to join the book chats by following on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter.

  • Book Review| The Getaway by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

    This selection is an Audible Original, only available on Audiobook. A short read by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkan is a short read, a far deviation from the style of their best selling literary hit The Wife Between Us. Main character Chloe, a campaign Press Secretary is coming off a failed campaign run and in need of a break before jumping back into work. After seeing a flyer on a the bulletin board at her yoga studio, she books a weekend at Lakewood resort, an oasis not far from the hustle and bustle of Washington D.C. Sabastian is Chloe’s valet driver and host at the Lakewood Resort. Disciplined, vegan, handsome, muscular, attentive, quiet, and intentional, Sabastian is determined to give Chloe the weekend she’ll never forget. Meanwhile Helen, Sabastian’s fiancee, is suspiciously obedient and looked oddly familiar. Before you give this book a try, be sure to read The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen in order to first understand their talent and undeniable chemistry. Happy Reading Friends! Xoxoxoxoxox, ROTR As always feel free to join the book chats by following on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter.

  • Book List| 4 Non-Fiction Books That Make Great Valentine's Day Gifts during Black History Month

    Born a Crime by Trevor Noah (Read Review| Purchase on Amazon| About the Author) (Nonfiction; Humor; Strong Mother Character; Pop-Culture) The Source of Self Regard by Toni Morrison (Read Review| Purchase on Amazon| About the Author) (Nonfiction; Reflective; Bookshelf Staple; Historical Author) The Last Black Unicorn by Tiffany Haddish (Read Review| Purchase on Amazon| About the Author) (Nonfiction; Humor; Triumph; Pop-Culture) Collected Essays of James Baldwin (Read Review| Purchase on Amazon| About the Author) (Nonfiction; Reflective; Bookshelf Staple; Historical Author) Happy Reading Friends! Xoxoxoxoxoxo ROTR As always feel free to join the book chats by following on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter.

  • Book List| Ten Fictional Books by Toni Morrison

    Chloe Anthony Wofford Morrison, known as Toni Morrison, was an American novelist, essayist, book editor, and college professor. Her first novel, The Bluest Eye, was published in 1970. The critically acclaimed Song of Solomon brought her national attention and won the National Book Critics Circle Award. Toni Morrison won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993. Here are 10 fiction novels written by Toni Morrison: 1. The Bluest Eye: The Author’s First Novel; A young African American main character yearns to fit into a world that doesn’t yet value her natural beauty. 2. Love: Three generations of black women lay claim to a man’s estate in his untimely death. His daughter, co-worker, wife and mistress argue their place in his life while grabbing hold of what they are due. 3. Song of Solomon: A coming-of-age story of an African American man trying to self-actualize love, wealth and power within a daunting Black American societal truth. 4. Paradise: A murder mystery in a exquisitely imagined all-Black Town. 5. Sula: Childhood Friends evolve into enemies as life takes their journeys down very different paths. 6. Jazz: Love leads to deadly Obsession. 7. Tar Baby: A Forbidden Love Story. 8. Beloved: A former slave running from the past in which she sometimes yearns to return. 9. Home: A War vet trying to save his sister and heal from their familial past. 10. A Mercy: A Young educated slave looking for love. Bonus! 11. God Help the Child: A present day coming of age story about a mother/daughter relationship. As always, when you are finished reading, connect with me on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook to let me know your thoughts, questions and/or comments. I love hearing from you all! What book would you recommend we read next? Happy reading my friends, xoxoxoxoxox - ROTR

  • Book Review| The Overdue Life of Amy Byler by Kelly Harris

    Amy Byler is a single mother and Librarian who, like most, is overdue a day off. When she runs into her estranged husband of almost a decade her first instinct is to shoo him away. However, when he asks to make up time with the kids and offers her a week to herself it almost seems too good to be true. Author Kelly Harris, expertly writes a serious topic with humor, jest and just enough light heartedness to bring the reader joy. Job well done! In The Overdue Life of Amy Byler by Kelly Harris, main character, Amy whisks away to New York City to attend a Librarian Conference. She stays with an old friend who runs a fashion magazine (and immediately makes her ditch the "mom jeans"), meets a "hot Librarian" who returns the admiration, and actually get some sleep! A week long stay in the city that never sleeps turns into a 3 month "MomSpringa" (ref. the Amish voyage Rumspringa) that is documented on social media and in her friend's trendy magazine. During her journey, Amy gives the reader an inside look at the complex feelings of a mother who loves her children however lost herself along the winding road of motherhood. Amy enjoys finding herself again while feeling exceptionally guilty being away from her children for so long. Something in which many mothers will be able to empathize. Harris, manages to tie everything up in a neat bow which will leave the reader closing the book covers full of satisfaction, happiness and with a big smile for Amy Byler. Happy Reading Friends! Xoxoxoxoxoxo, ROTR As always feel free to join the book chats by following on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter.

  • Book Review| American Girl by Wendy Walker

    This is an Audiobook exclusively available only on Audible! It was very well produced with some audio stage acted scenes throughout the book. American Girl is a highly entertaining listen while driving or doing house chores. Wendy Walker is a best selling author and executes this phycological thriller beautifully. If you loved the main character in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon, then you'll absolutely love Charlie, the main character in American Girl. Charlie is a 17-year-old Autistic young girl from a small town in rural Pennsylvania, just months away from going to college when her boss is murdered. And not just any college, Charlie was accepted into M.I.T. due to her exceptional way with numbers and plans to study data analytics. As a result of her keen way with numbers, she knows exactly how much she'll need for tuition for the first year and knows that she'll have to work at the local sandwich shop for as many hours as she can get, take out federal student loans, and win the town's annual scholarship which goes to the rising senior with the highest GPA each year. Charlie is smoothly executing her plan and counting the days until her college life begins until the owner of the sandwich shop in which she works is murdered. The owner of "The Triple S" sandwich shop, Clay Cooper, is the town hero who also owns most of the businesses in town including the local tobacco shop. Coop, an endearing nickname given to him by member of the town, leads the town council who votes for the winner of the town scholarship, and pursues women more than half his age even though he is married. Charlie has to solve her bosses murder to protect her work family at the sandwich shop while navigating the twists and turns of getting to college. Character (and Suspect) list: Keller -Charlie's best friend who drops out of school to care for her senile grandmother. Keller works at two of Clay Cooper's businesses and spends most of her time avoiding his advances and unwanted touches. Keller desperately wants to save enough money to send her grandmother to a "nice" care facility and the only thing in her way is Clay Cooper. Levi - New to Sawyer, PA from New Jersey looking for work. Levi is handsome, strong, smart and madly in love with Keller. He will stop at nothing to protect her. Janice - Everyday Charlie repeats "lettuce, tomatoes, pickles and onions" in her head when Janice gives her a big hug before her shift at the sandwich shop, because Charlie doesn't like to be touched and this helps to ignore the discomfort. Janice is a nice friend and has taught Charlie so much about human connection. Clay Cooper constantly insults Janice and her husband, Shane, by calling their sickly son "half-pint' because of his small size. When Shane, reaches a tipping point and punches Clay Cooper in the face, everyone wonders what Janice (and Shane) will do next. Eann - Charlie's classmate and greatest mutual love. A heartthrob, now the town's newest police officer, Eann is determined to find and arrest his father's murderer. A case opened when Eann was still a young boy. But first, when it is discovered that Charlie is video taped in the Sandwich shop at the time of Coop's death, he must haul Charlie down to the police station to find out what she knows about Clay Cooper's sudden murder. Nora - The manager of The Triple S enraged after learning Clay Cooper was evading taxes and submitting tax returns for the business to the IRS with her signature. Nora's husband died in the army which results in her being strict with the rules. When begins to keep track of the business finances with Charlie's help and confronts Coop with the evidence, employees at the sandwich shop begin to anticipate a fight between the bosses. There is a clear theme to author Wendy Walker's madness in this thriller. Charlie's story is an anthem for many girls who get trapped in the cogs and wheels of rural small towns with little to no way out. In American Girl, we're all rooting for Charlie to make her way out. As always, when you are finished reading, connect with me on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook to let me know your thoughts, questions and/or comments. I love hearing from you all! What book would you recommend we read next? Happy reading my friends, xoxoxoxoxox ROTR

  • Book list| 2021 Year end Summary [Short List]

    Hi 👋🏽 Bookish friends! Happy New Year 🥳 . Where has the time gone? I’ve read so many wonderful books this year (most of which couldn’t fit into this photo) however haven’t had much time to update the blog/social media with reviews for you all 😫. Here is a short list of some [not all because I lost track!] of the books I enjoyed in 2021 -in no particular order. Reviews for some are linked below. Others will be posted to the blog in the upcoming months. Thank you for reading with me! What’s your favorite book of 2021? Here’s to wishing us more bookish fun in the New Year! 🥂 Non-Fiction Women and Leadership Atomic Habits by James Clear Principles by Ray Dalio The Changing World Order by Ray Dalio The Art of Impossible by Steven Kotler Think Again by Adam Grant Where You Are is Not Who You Are by Ursula Burns Nice Girls Don't Get The Corner Office by Lois P. Frankel, PhD The First 90 Days by Michael Watkins How to Do The Work by Dr. Nicole LePera Fiction The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen The Therapist by B.A. Paris Golden Girl by Elin Hilderbrand Beautiful Country by Qian Julie (Book of the Month Pick!) Little Fires everywhere by Celeste Ng (Book of the Month Pick!) Wish You Were Here by Jodi Picoult American Girl by Wendy Walker Confessions on the 7:45 by Lisa Unger The Red Hunter by Lisa Unger The Overdue Life of Amy Byler by Kelly Harms The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides Lies She Told by Cate Holahan One Little Secret by Cate Holahan You by Caroline Kepnes You Love Me by Caroline Kepnes The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave Happy Reading Friends, Xoxoxoxoxox, ROTR As always feel free to join the book chats by following on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter.

  • Book Review| Where You Are Is Not Who You Are by Ursula Burns

    #bookrec 👋🏽Hey y’all…I spontaneously bought this new (released 2021) memoir by Ursula Burns shortly after reading her recent interview in the July-Aug 2021 edition of @HarvardBusinessReview, mainly to get the tea ☕️ on how she gracefully (or not) handled the activist investor 😵‍💫 making waves during her tenure as CEO of Xerox. However, the book doesn’t focus much on that at all. A delightful surprise!😀 Major 📚 theme: #dothework #teamworkmakesthedreamwork Much of this short read focuses on her upbringing, volunteer work, family life and what she felt were the most impactful elements that led to her success. Burns also details (as much as her executive departure contract allows 😉) a few major projects in which she spearheaded while gaining more responsibility at Xerox as well as the relationship dynamics she and the preceding CEO shared over the years while recollecting both a few wins and lessons learned. As the first woman CEO in the Fortune 500 to be preceded by another woman CEO (Anne M. Mulcahy ⬅️ patiently waiting on the book too!⁉️) and as the first African American woman CEO of a Fortune 500, she contributes the hardworking strict values instilled from her mother, outspokenness, smarts, dedication, and mentors as major contributing factors. To get a sense of her personality while reading, I mixed a few of her past YouTube videos into the rotation and enjoyed her down to earth, straightforward, honest energy. 🤓 . Have you read this yet? Share your thoughts in the comments below 👇🏽! Happy Reading Friends, Xoxoxoxoxox, ROTR As always feel free to join the book chats by following on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter.

  • Book Chat| Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech

    Hello Bookish Friends, welcome to a new installment of ROTR community book chat! In our Book Chat series, followers and ROTR blog community members write us to share their thoughts on books that have offered personal impactful insights into their lives. We love receiving and sharing these stories with our community to inspire connection, discussion, empathy and to discover new reads. Yes, please! Keep reading to lean more about how the Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech changed Joshua Labata's outlook on life: In all honesty, I wasn’t exactly young when I picked up the book. However, I was young enough to shrug off a children’s book as something puerile and bygone. My mother picked Sharon Creech’s Walk Two Moons for me from a bargain bin at a bookstore for a handful of pesos, and it showed. Tortured spine, frayed pages, the smell of literary dust we so often romanticize: that was the book. My shelf housed it in my indifference for about a year at the least. On a late-night whim of the adolescent mundane, I forked out the worn thing and parted its fragile form. The book swept across me in a startling lucidity. There’s a sweet and serene bliss in simple and potent prose, and this bliss washed across me as I read. I could picture Salamanca curled in the backseat of her grandparents’ car. A fluttering shaft of sunlight plays across her young and troubled face. If I reached my hand out of that car, I could feel the wind caress my palm. Seeing the colors and contours of each thing detailed by the text, I’d never experienced this kind of reading before. Perhaps it was the time I read the text that awakened this experiential sense of reading in me. It’s funny because all these years later I can still drift to what I saw then; I can experience a memory of a manifestation. As our protagonist enthusiastically recounts her life, shadows of that flashback play out from behind her. However, in the name of a more romanticized narrative, I say this reading was born truly of the text. Like the sacred tomes of some glimmering fantasy world, this book seemed to endow me with some supernatural ability, enlivening a capability I’d never experienced: to relieve instead of merely read. However, this book isn’t so prized to me merely because it was intrinsically such a fantastical tale and auxiliary for my imagination. This book is prized to me because it pivoted my interests afterward. I read a lot of incredible books. Gaiman’s American Gods kindled an insightfulness to the mythology of our everyday lives and Murakami’s Kafka on the Shore, the unapologetic behemoth that it is, buried a romance and lust for philosophy in my life and my writing. All the while, I submerged into this literary manifold, knifing through that prosaic and familiar membrane of text. I began reading well to live elsewhere. Read all about how The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins inspired another RTOR community member by clicking Here! There’s admittedly some storytelling symmetry that the catalyst for this newfound love in life would be the one to present the hardship of life as well. This catalyst was my mother, my first storyteller, and her cancer diagnosis arrived shortly after I finished Walk Two Moons. Every time I recall the experience after my mother’s diagnosis, I picture it starved color, achromatic. The grey tiled floor of the hospital she stayed sprawls into a miserable infinity in my mind. It smells of dried roses and sounds like a suppressed electrical hum. Soon, the typical retreats into the variegated confines of reading failed to alleviate the emotional strain. It was colorless there. So, compromises arose. Through self-pity, alcohol, and like vices, I encumbered myself to cope. As one can easily imagine, this attempt quickly fell short. What’s more symmetrical than grief’s arrival from joy than a continuance of a story by revisiting its beginning. I arrived once more to Walk Two Moons, and its second and greater boon emerged. I had been so engrossed in its prose and immediate story that my focal fell away from its very truth. Its entire story was all about coping with loss, veiled within its astounding beauty; within a world of text hid a means to live within our world. The book was preparing me for what was and had already come. Coping is cruel but it must be confrontational to live well. So, I began to write with my friends. If I couldn’t rekindle the vibrance in what I read, I would write it. Eloise was the name of our eventual storytelling darling, an ingenue and her innocence victimized by fate. Her city floats above a resource-starved dystopia, its bronze sheen rivaling the sun that it graces so closely towards. She travels back in time through a world of supernatural cruelty, seeking to placate these terrors only to exacerbate them. It’s an incredible story rife with magic, metaphysics, and our own personal experiences of life, and that’s why we haven’t finished it all these years later. It is a story that reflects the two tenets taught by Creech’s writing: writing is for escaping our world and, more importantly, facing one’s own. I’m still writing, that color flooding back with every attempt I take at penning a tale, and that’s more than enough. It’s because of a simple children’s book, my mother’s book-buying budget, and my imaginative friends that I compose this little story now. I write out of gratefulness, in a way. I want people to experience these wonderful worlds of my imagination to take on their own, just as I did. Instead of reading well to live elsewhere, I began to live well with writing, here. Writer Joshua Labata can be found here: (Instagram) @joshua._.lab (Email) Want to be featured in the ROTR BookChat Series? Contact Us!

  • Book Chat| The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

    Hello Bookish Friends, welcome to our first ROTR community book chat! In our Book Chat series, followers and ROTR blog community members write us to share their thoughts on books that have offered personal impactful insights into their lives. We love receiving and sharing these stories with our community to inspire connection, discussion, empathy and to discover new reads. Yes, please! Keep reading to lean more about how the Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins changed Nabila Shafa's outlook on life: I remember reading The Hunger Games for the first time back in high school. It was a book that changed my perspective on novels forever. Since then, I have read and reread the book countless times, and it still keeps surprising me. I’d find some new details every time I would read it, some new fact that I would notice, made me fall in love with the books even more. Of course, there was also the satisfaction I’d get every time Katniss did something unbelievably brave, or show her fiery side. The sadness I’d feel seeing the sufferings of the districts. And then there were the deaths, so many deaths, so much sadness, pain beyond something that I’ve read from a book. The first time I read the book, was the first time I cried because of a book character. Before this, no book has been able to make me cry, and I read a lot. I cried for sweet little Rue, who was the eldest of six siblings, only twelve years old, who has never had a full belly, who was so happy to get a full drumstick for herself. Her death was so tragic, so painful, I sometimes think it hurt me more than Prim’s death. While Prim’s death was more tragic for me, and I absolutely resented the author for ending the book with that, I could never get over Rue’s death either. It was even more amplified when in Catching Fire, Katniss and Peeta does the victory tour and they see the Rue’s family. It was like I reliving her death once again. The second book of the trilogy, Catching Fire might be one of my favorite one, because this is where everything comes into play, the plot becomes more focused. Also the fact that this is where the uprising came more into focus, it showed how angry the districts were, how there was a show of solidarity. Especially the interview before the games began, when they held hands in solidarity, it just felt like they were adding fuel to a fire that I couldn’t still see but felt in my bones. And then the games began and it was such a rush, it was exhilarating, no more trekking for miles looking for water. I remember how brave and kind Mags was, how she sacrificed herself. How the Morphling sacrificed herself for Peeta. Everything was moving too fast, nothing made sense and then it all did. They were all in on the secret except for Katniss, and since the book was from her point of view, I as a reader was just as clueless as her. The third book, Mockingjay, was a little difficult to swallow, it was death and destruction from the beginning. I don’t know how many times I teared up or flat out cried throughout the whole book. The visit to district twelve, seeing the ruins and the bones. The visit to the hospital in District 8, the bombing, the speech. And then there was the rescue mission and Peeta trying to kill Katniss. That was one of the best plot twist I have ever read. Everything was made up and yet it made so much sense, she built the plot up from book one with the hallucinations Katniss got from the Tracer Jacker venom. And then came the last fight, the 76th hunger games as Finnick would put it. Then the deaths came, everyone I ever liked started to die one by one. One horrifying tragedy after another. Until of course the biggest of all tragedy happened, the parachutes floated down with bombs, killing the children. I remember how Katniss saw Prim among the medics, how she was calling out to Prim, rushing to her, how Prim even turned and saw Katniss, her mouth moving as if to call out Katniss, and the rogue bomb exploded. Prim was dead, and I couldn’t believe it. The fact the book started with Katniss doing everything in her power to save Prim and in the end for her to die like that. Even the pact that Katniss killed President Coin, it just wasn’t enough. It left a void in me that I could never feel. I have since then read the books countless times more and every time that void would get a little smaller. Of course I never analyzed anything when I read the books for the first time, I just read it because they were such good books. But the more I read them, I started noticing things more and one of those times, I realized Prim’s death was essential for the plot in a way. It was the only way Katniss would have believed president Snow when he told her the theory of how it was Coin who ordered the bomb disposal. Maybe there were other ways too, and I would always be wondering about that. But in the end I accepted her death, accepted the fact that the Hungers Games trilogy will always be a tragedy for me. No amount of happy ending could change that. It made me evolve as a reader, I could never go back to reading the books I have ever thought were good before I read this trilogy. It made me realize there was so much more to a book than the typical hero saving the day. The hero can be vulnerable and they can be weak. And yet through all that they can get up and fight because they believe in the right cause. Writer Nabila Shafa can be reached on Facebook: Want to be featured in the ROTR BookChat Series? Contact Us!

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