Arden Recommends: Despite the Height by Ivory Latta (Meet the Author Events)

61wzu0g1QzL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_Book: Despite the Height

Author: Ivory Latta 

Genre: Children’s Picture Book

Basic Description: Bounce Bounce! Despite the Height is the lively, true story of Ivory Latta, one of the smallest women to play for the WNBA. This full-color illustrated book for young readers follows young Ivory as she learns to play basketball, perfect her game, and outplay her big brothers – all despite her height. The book includes a dream journal to help motivate students and inspire conversation.

Arden’s Thoughts: I’m biased here. I love Ivory Latta. She helped make women’s in-lattabasketball relevant for UNC fans with her hard work, spunky personality, and being DANG good.

So, when I was given the opportunity to review her book I jumped on it. Despite the Height is a fun book for your younger children. Easy to read and beautifully drawn, you’ll find yourself cheering for the child Ivory as much as you cheer for the grown up Ivory.

And this week, my local readers will have several chances to meet the author. Check out the details below and make plans to meet this Wonder Woman!

Lynx_Mystics_Basketball-08362-JBCK-2991Rock Hill  Signing
When: Thu Jul 20, 2017 4 6pm
Where: Charlotte Avenue Branch YMCA, 402 Charlotte Ave, Rock Hill, SC 29730

Brilliant Sky Toys and Books Signing 
When: Fri Jul 21, 2017 11am – 12pm
Where: Brilliant Sky Toys & Books – Charlotte, 9882 Rea Rd G, Charlotte, NC 28277

York Signing
When: Fri Jul 21, 2017 2–3:30pm
Where: 117 Carolina Crossing Dr, York, SC 29745

Clover Signing
When: Fri Jul 21, 2017 5 – 6:30pm
Where: Clover Community Center, 120 Bethel St, Clover, SC 29710

Barnes and Noble Ivory Signing
When: Sat Jul 22, 2017 11am – 1pm
Where: Carolina Place Mall, Pineville, NC 28134


Arden Recommends: Vacation Reading List (Giveaway Included)

I’m getting a lot of requests for suggestions of books to read while on vacation. So, I’ve compiled a list of what I’m reading this summer. I also want to know what you’re reading.

To entice you to share what you’re reading, I’m going to give away two autographed copies of books on my list IF you complete the following steps:

  1. Read through this list.
  2. Share it on your own social media networks AND add your favorite vacation read to the post.

This contest starts today and goes through Friday, July 28, 2017. I’ll announce the winners Saturday. The books you’ll win are Nemesis by Brenden Reichs or Flame in the Mist by Renée Ahdieh. Both books are autographed by the authors!

Now, check out what I’ve loved this summer…


Secrets in Summer by Nancy Thayer
Fun and easy read to be enjoyed by the pool with a fruity drink. You’ll fall in love with the protagonist and her cat. Fun fact: she’s a children’s librarian!



Nemesis by Brendan Reichs
Suspenseful and mind-bending. You’ll never quite know what’s next and you won’t put down this book.



Flame in the Mist by Renée Ahdieh
A bit of intrigued and a kick-booty protagonist. You can read this one with your family during your beach trip.



Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate
Wow. Incredible historical fiction story. Well-written. Be sure to take breaks while reading it or you may dry out your tear glands.



Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly
Three women living through World World II; a socialite, a concentration camp captive, and the doctor at the concentration camp. You’ll find yourself shocked at the strength, and cruelty found in the character.



Secret Sisters by Joy Callaway
Read along with the secrets, and ingenuity, four women use to lay the foundation for the sorority system women for generations have come to know and love.

Remember to enter to win the autographed copies of Nemesis and Flame in the Mist complete the following steps:

  • Read through this list.
  • Share it on your own social media networks AND add your favorite vacation read to the post.
  • When you share it tag Arden’s Book Club’s Facebook site.
  • Comment on this blog post that you’ve done all three.
  • As a bonus, when you comment share with this community what you’re reading now.


Arden Recommends: Secret Sisters by Joy Calloway

Book: Secret Sisters

Author: Joy Callaway

Genre: Women’s Fiction/Historical Fiction

IMG_1120.JPGBasic Description: Illinois, 1881: Whitsitt College sophomore Beth Carrington has two goals to fulfill by the time she graduates: obtain a medical degree, and establish a women’s fraternity, Beta Xi Beta, that will help young women like herself to connect with and support one another while attending the male-dominated Whitsitt.

Neither is an easy task. The sole female student in the physicians’ program, Beth is constantly called out by her professors and peers for having the audacity not to concentrate on a more “fitting” subject like secretarial studies. Meanwhile, secret organizations are off-limits, and simply by crowding together in a dank basement room and creating a sense of camaraderie, she and her small group of fraternity sisters risk expulsion.

Arden’s Thoughts: Okay. If you have followed me at all (which, you should be following all the time) you know I LURVE Joy’s first book, The Fifth Avenue Artist SocietyIt speaks to me in ways very few books can because I am Ginny, Fifth Avenue‘s protagonist.

I’m also a proud Kappa Delta, a member of the Beta Chi chapter out of UNC-Chapel Hill. So, reading Secret Sisters felt a bit like returning to my pledge year at Carolina. Reading Beth’s struggles with owning her space within the male dominated physician program, in which she’s constantly told she cannot perform at a male level because her menstruation cycle interferes with her ability to think, while she also embraces her femininity by falling in love, resonates soundly with me.

I could see myself back at the KD house studying for an exam while also dreaming of a boy. The beauty, and complexity, of being a woman often means chasing two or three dreams at once and not being at all willing to give up any of them.

Secret Sisters also resonates with me in the here and now.

Ladies, can we admit, it’s flipping hard being a woman? Regardless if you’re a sorority gal, you mostly likely travel with a few tribe members who make life beautiful and also doable. From your book club members who are also your back-up carpool calls, to your board room bosses who are also your happy hour buddies, we women work better when we work together.

Joy captures the building of a tribe in the captivating and beautifully written Secret Sisters. I love seeing women working together to beat the odds. We need more books showing us how to stand together. I’m proud of my friend who always writes these books and lives them out in her daily life.

Yep. You read that right. I get to be friends with Joy. Do you wanna meet this rad author in person? She’ll be hosting a book launch party July 11 at 7 p.m. at the Park Crossing Clubhouse, 10201 Park Crossing Dr, Charlotte, NC 28210 and you’re invited. See you there!




Arden Reviews: June by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore

IMG_0629Book: June

Author: Miranda Beverly-Whittemore

Genre: Fiction

Basic Description: Cassie Danvers is holed up in her family’s crumbling mansion in small-town Ohio, mourning the loss of her grandmother, June. But the noise of the rusted doorbell forces her out of isolation. Cassie has been named the sole heir to legendary movie star Jack Montgomery’s fortune.

Soon Jack’s famous daughters arrive, entourage in tow, determined to wrestle Cassie away from an inheritance they feel is theirs. Together, they come to discover the true reason for June’s silence about the summer she was eighteen, when Hollywood came to town, and June and Jack’s lives were forever altered. Shifting deftly between the past and present, Cassie and her guests will be forced to reexamine their legacies, their definition of family, and what it truly means to love someone, steadfastly, across the ages.

Arden’s Thoughts: I found myself strangely intrigued, and annoyed, with the characters in June. The only character I truly loved was the house… A house full of memories and character yearning to reach its full potential again.

June, one of our main characters, was so stiff, I wanted to reach through the pages and break her a little. Cassie, our protagonist, felt slightly tragic, but slightly bratty too. Jack’s famous daughters and their employees were… well, every bit as Hollywood as any Kardashian or Swifty gracing the front of tabloids peppering grocery store aisles.

Yet… I rooted for each character to find his or her path. It took me longer than usual to read this book because every detail contributed a piece to the puzzle of June. We’re taken on a journey through Cassie, June’s granddaughter, and Lindie, June’s childhood friend, into a woman we never really know.

Even after completing the book, I’m still not sure I know the namesake of this book. And isn’t that what happens when others tell our story? They see only what we allow them to see. We cover pieces of ourselves we don’t like and reveal the areas with which we’re okay. Maybe that’s why this book was hard read for me… when we read our story through someone else’s eyes we see what they see; the good, the bad, and the not-so-true.

June‘s a mixed bag of internal struggle, youthful ignorance, and hope deferred. It’s a great one for a book club. You’ll need to discuss this book for hours to fully grasp its complete beauty.