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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Monday, March 2, 2020

Yellow Bird by Sierra Crane Murdoch

Yellow Bird: Oil, Murder, and a Woman's Search for Justice in Indian CountryYellow Bird: Oil, Murder, and a Woman's Search for Justice in Indian Country by Sierra Crane Murdoch
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

While ostensibly a true crime story about the murder of an oil worker, Yellow Bird is much broader than that. The story centers on Lissa Yellow Bird, who has lived about 50 lives during her time on earth, and is someone that doesn't give up once she's focused on something. I love her. She starts her own investigation into a local missing oil worker, to the chagrin of pretty much everyone, including her own family who hasn't totally forgiven her for her rough past. A lot of the book focuses on Lissa's family and the generational trauma they have endured as tribal members.
Some readers might be disappointed that this is really not a fast-paced murder mystery, but I welcomed the chance to learn about the often horrifying history of Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in North Dakota and the effect that government policies and shady oil deals have had on American Indians.

Thank you to the publisher for the review copy.

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Saturday, February 15, 2020

My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell

My Dark VanessaMy Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was onto every play, I just wanted you. -Fiona Apple, who is aptly referenced many times in My Dark Vanessa


Spectacular. This staggering debut charts the devastating sexual abuse of Vanessa Wye, 15, by her teacher, the captivating 40-something Jacob Strane. I can't imagine the psychic excavation that went into writing this book. The nuances of Vanessa's actions and interactions, Strane's subtle gaslighting and calculating pursuit, and the painful breakdown of Vanessa's sense of self are brilliantly and bravely written.

Click here to purchase My Dark Vanessa from your local indie bookstore. (affiliate link)
Thank you to the publisher for providing a review copy in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Little Secrets by Jennifer Hillier

Little SecretsLittle Secrets by Jennifer Hillier
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Little Secrets centers around Marin, who is a shell of herself since her son was kidnapped a little over a year ago. Her days are filled with attending a missing child support group, trying to run her chain of salons, and barely speaking to her husband. She doesn't want to move on, but all leads on the kidnapping have gone cold, until one day she finds out her husband is having an affair, and Marin's going to do something about it.
This was a unique thriller because I didn't really know the direction it was going, and it was exciting and fun while still being realistic.

Thank you to the publisher for providing a review copy in exchange for my honest review.

This book will be released on April 21, 2020.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Tigers, Not Daughters by Samantha Mabry

Tigers, Not DaughtersTigers, Not Daughters by Samantha Mabry
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this book.

description

Tigers, Not Daughters, tells the story of the four Torres sisters, one of whom is a ghost. They dream of running away, but are pulled back by their emotionally broken and derelict father, among other things. (Trigger warning: physical and emotional abuse.)
What starts off as a story of tragic sisters with strong Virgin Suicides vibes quickly develops into an ode to sisterhood, standing up for yourself, and being strong when no one else will.

Thank you to the publisher for the review copy.

Click here to purchase Tigers, Not Daughters from your local indie bookstore.