January 2022 Wrap Up

Welcome to my January Wrap-Up! I managed to cross twenty-five titles off my reading list and am already one third of the way to my reading goal for the year.

I’ve had the opportunity to review three wonderful books this month and have included links to my weekly reading lists as well. Join the conversation. Comment on your favorites and make suggestions of books I should consider for my list.

Authors, are you interested in having your book reviewed? Interested in an interview about your work? Visit the Contact Me page and complete the form. Guest posts are also welcome. Visit the Contests page for submission guidelines. Requests receive a response within 48 hours.


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Book Reviews



The Fruit of her Hands by Michelle Cameron

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Based on the author’s own ancestor, The Fruit of Her Hands is the story of Rebbetzin Shira, wife of Rabbi Meir ben Baruch of Rothenberg. Shira was the daughter of a widowed rabbi, raised in Paris in the thirteenth century. A rebellious child, she shirked the conventions of her gender, favoring the study of sacred texts with her father and his yeshiva students. She then meets her husband and flourishes as a wife and mother. After enduring persecution and violence from the Parisian Catholics, the family resettles in Germany.

Cameron crafts a well-told story of her early ancestor. I found a number of interesting parallels between Shira of Ashkenaz and Queen Esther. Both are vivacious in their youth, seeking to push the limits of their sex in their early days. Both find love in their respective marriages and are confronted my vengeful men seeking to destroy the Jewish people.

The book is very well researched and places the reader at the center of Jewish life in thirteenth century Europe. It was a perilous time in history. The frequent references to scholarly commentators like Rashi and Maimonides helps to frame the time period of the setting.

If you enjoy the writings of Anita Diamant and Maggie Anton, this should be your next read.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Escape Route by Elan Barnehama

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Escape Route, set is 1960s New York, opens with Zach’s Bar Mitzvah. As the Vietnam War reaches it’s peak, Zach becomes fixated with the war. As the son of first generation Holocaust survivors, Zach is fearful of history repeating itself and his family being rounded up. So, with the help of his friend, Samm, he crafts a plan to allow his family to escape.

Barnehama sets a coming-of-age story against a tumultuous backdrop of war and the civil rights movement while exploring the generational trauma of the Shoah. All wrapped up in a witty protagonist who has just celebrated his Bar Mitzvah. Zach embodies Tikun Olam, a concept in the Jewish faith, seeking to repair the world.

This is an emotional story of friendship and hope.

Escape Route is currently available for pre-order and scheduled for release on May 4, 2022. I’d like to thank the author for an advanced copy in exchange for my honest review.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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Asylum: A Memoir of Family Secrets by Judy Bolton-Fasman

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Judy Bolton-Fasman’s memoir details her investigation into her family’s past, in an effort to uncover answers to her long-held questions about her parents, including their unlikely union. Separated by a seventeen year age gap, Bolton-Fasman’s father, an Ashkenazi, was 40-years-old when he married his Spanish and Ladino speaking, Sephardic 24-year-old bride. After her father instructs her to destroy his old records, Bolton-Fasman spends decades tracing her family lineage in an effort to discover her past.

Bolton-Fasman paints a captivating picture of growing up in a household where silence and secrets were the norm. She gives an in-depth discussion of the paradox of her parents’ union, given their age difference and the differences in their cultures. While both are Jewish, their backgrounds created clashes and conflicts on a regular basis.

I appreciated Bolton-Fasman’s dedication to uncovering her family’s based and need for truth in order to better understand herself. Despite the challenges her parents’ conflicts created in her childhood, Bolton-Fasman’s portrays them with empathy and sensitivity. This well-written memoir is both a quest for understanding an individual spiritual identity and relatable tale of the family detective.

I’d like to thank the author for the free copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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January’s Weekly Reading Lists

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2 Comments on “January 2022 Wrap Up”

    • Thank you for the chuckle! I listen to a lot of audiobooks during the day, usually about four per week, which helps me move through more books a month.

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