Tuesday, October 13, 2020

My October-November TBR List

Okay. I'm bordering on that frenzied state where I'm so excited that there are so many books I want to read, but also terrified that I will never finish them all before the next batch of amazing books come. So, I'm putting my list out into the world to ease some of my anxiety. Are any of these also on your TBR?

Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse - Oct. 13, 2020
This comes out today and I'm only about halfway through, but I totally recommend this engrossing fantasy that's the start of a series! I read Marie Lu's Skyhunter right before this, and I loved the characters but felt like the plot was a little simplistic. Black Sun is similar in some ways, with several outcast or lower-rank characters fighting for a place in a society that was not built for them, but is more complex and does a great job building the culture of the Meridian.

The Wonder Boy of Whistle Stop by Fannie Flagg - Oct. 27, 2020
When I picked up The All Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion, I couldn't even believe myself. Dark and moody me reading something so adorable, joyful, and probably corny? I loved it and my smile was glued to my face. Thus, I will be reading this one to lift my spirits from this time we call 2020.

White Ivy by Susie Yang - Nov. 3rd, 2020
Some sort of Talented Mr. Ripley situation between a young woman and her college classmate, I've been hearing about this everywhere and can't wait to read it.

Friday, September 4, 2020

The Choice by Gillian McAllister

The ChoiceThe Choice by Gillian McAllister
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What makes someone good, or a "proper person?" Are you allowed to love yourself if you've done something bad? Who would stick by you if they knew what you were capable of?

I was totally surprised by how much I loved this book. The reveal/conceal concept could've been corny, but it was great. Right up there with Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Run Lola Run, Slumdog Millionaire, and other meditations on fate and decisions.

JoAnna beats herself up for "only being" a librarian after graduating from Oxford, and never really following through with anything or owning her decisions. This all comes to a head as she accidentally commits a crime and can't decide what to do about it. The chapters split to compare the outcomes depending on what decision she makes.

This book is so much more than a typical thriller! I was on the edge of my seat as JoAnna became more and more paranoid, and was enthralled by the narrative of her relationships with her husband, friend Laura, coworker Ed, and brother, and how they're affected by what she decides to do on either path. I was in tears at many parts, especially the conceal chapters.

Thank you to the publisher for a review copy.

Friday, June 19, 2020

Burn Our Bodies Down by Rory Power

Burn Our Bodies DownBurn Our Bodies Down by Rory Power
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Rory Power has done it again with Burn our Bodies Down, another captivating and unputdownable read about a teen girl trying to unravel the truth of her reality and take control of her life. Margot has lived a sheltered and tense life with her distant mother without so much as a mention of a father or any other family. So when she finds a lead on possible relatives and information about where she came from, she jumps on the chance to pursue it, but never could have imagined the sinister secrets that wait for her.
Margot is a brave character, and Power does a great job portraying the pain and confusion of a teenage girl who doesn't know who to trust and has never been able to break down her mother's walls to feel loved. Her grandmother is absolutely terrifying.

Thanks to the publisher for the review copy.

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Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Ordinary Girls by Jaquira Diaz

Ordinary Girls is a memoir by Jaquira Diaz that spans a wide range, beginning with her childhood in Puerto Rico and her family's move to Miami. Sadly, like so many ordinary girls, Jaquira experienced chronic instability, a culture that views women as sexual objects yet not beautiful unless they have the "right" skin tone or the "right" hair, and a family that was just not there for her in any way and even allowed her to be abused, but she never gave up on herself. Jaquira has such a strong voice that despite having a somewhat scattered structure and style, this was an enjoyable and powerful memoir. I read Educated around the same time and was struck by the fortitude of these two young women who were so drawn to books in chaotic environments and were able to carve a path for themselves while showing such empathy for their toxic parents and their younger selves.
I was torn on my 3 star rating because I really love Jaquira's intelligence, vulnerability, and even humor, but just didn't love the nonlinear structure of this book and wasn't able to get fully immersed.

Thank you to the publisher for inviting me to be part of the blog tour for this book. The paperback comes out today, June 16, 2020.

Monday, April 6, 2020

Sharks in the Time of Saviors by Kuwai Strong Washburn

Sharks in the Time of SaviorsSharks in the Time of Saviors by Kawai Strong Washburn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am torn between 4 and 5 stars, but would definitely recommend the magical Sharks in the Time of Saviors. Imbued with Hawaiian culture and mythology, this family saga is told through the viewpoints of three siblings, Dean, Kaui, and Noa, who are each fighting against their past and each other to figure out their place in the world. It was very sad at times, but the characters were great, and its theme of being inextricably tied to your family, your home, and all the things that make you was ultimately hopeful and beautiful.

Read-alike recommendation: Lights All Night Long by Lydia Fitzpatrick

Thanks to the publisher for the review copy.

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Friday, March 27, 2020

Take Me Apart by Sara Sligar

Take Me ApartTake Me Apart by Sara Sligar
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Take Me Apart follows Kate, a journalist who has left her job after a traumatic event, as she embarks on a new job as an archivist. She goes to live with her somewhat overbearing aunt, working on an archival project for the mysterious son of a reclusive local artist Miranda, who died by suicide years earlier. As Kate starts to hear rumors about the family, and she grows closer to the son, she wonders if something more sinister may have happened, and begins to read Miranda's diary in secret.

While the thriller aspect never really landed, and Kate's narrative was weaker than Miranda's, this was still a satisfying novel about the price of creating meaningful art, and the treatment of women with mental illness.

Thanks to the publisher for the review copy.

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Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Why Fish Don't Exist by Lulu Miller

Why Fish Don't Exist: A Story of Loss, Love, and the Hidden Order of LifeWhy Fish Don't Exist: A Story of Loss, Love, and the Hidden Order of Life by Lulu Miller
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As she's starting to lose the will to live, the author discovers an anecdote about this scientist's fish collection getting destroyed in an earthquake, but he remains undeterred. She sets out to figure out how he's so resilient, and starts researching his life to find clues she can apply in the face of this chaotic world where nothing is permanent.

For such dark subject matter, the tone was oddly light. But maybe that is part of the author's message, that trying to find order in this world is hilarious, as is (view spoiler)

Thanks to the publisher for the review copy. This is scheduled to be released in April.

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