Book Review: Return to Sender

Book Review: Return to SenderReturn to Sender
by Julia Alvarez
on January 13th 2009
Pages: 327
Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers
Genres: Young Readers
Goodreads

After Tyler's father is injured in a tractor accident, his family is forced to hire migrant Mexican workers to help save their Vermont farm from foreclosure. Tyler isn’t sure what to make of these workers. Are they undocumented? And what about the three daughters, particularly Mari, the oldest, who is proud of her Mexican heritage but also increasingly connected her American life. Her family lives in constant fear of being discovered by the authorities and sent back to the poverty they left behind in Mexico. Can Tyler and Mari find a way to be friends despite their differences?

In a novel full of hope, but no easy answers, Julia Alvarez weaves a beautiful and timely story that will stay with readers long after they finish it.

My Takeaway  Return to Sender by Julia Alvarez, captures the enduring struggles and fears many undocumented workers face in the United States. The story begins and takes place on the Paquette’s dairy farm in Vermont. Tyler Paquette’s father suffers a tractor accident and is unable to complete the…

Book Review: Two Days Gone

Book Review: Two Days GoneTwo Days Gone
by Randall Silvis
on January 10th 2017
Pages: 394
Published by Sourcebooks Landmark
Genres: Mystery/Crime
Goodreads

Thomas Huston, a beloved professor and bestselling author, is something of a local hero in the small Pennsylvania college town where he lives and teaches. So when Huston's wife and children are found brutally murdered in their home, the community reacts with shock and anger. Huston has also mysteriously disappeared, and suddenly, the town celebrity is suspect number one.

Sergeant Ryan DeMarco has secrets of his own, but he can't believe that a man he admired, a man he had considered a friend, could be capable of such a crime. Hoping to glean clues about Huston's mind-set, DeMarco delves into the professor's notes on his novel-in-progress. Soon, DeMarco doesn't know who to trust—and the more he uncovers about Huston's secret life, the more treacherous his search becomes.

My Takeaway  After reading the summary of Two Days Gone, I was intrigued and eager to sink right into it. Once I started to read it…my enthusiasm dwindled. The book is about a well-liked professor and bestselling author, Thomas Huston, who is on the run and being accused…

Book Review: An Exaltation of Larks

Book Review: An Exaltation of LarksAn Exaltation of Larks (Venery, #1)
by Suanne Laqueur
on November 22nd 2016
Pages: 550
Published by Cathedral Rock Press
Genres: LGBTQ, Literary Fiction, Multicultural
Goodreads

September 11, 1973: Eleven-year-old Alejandro Penda watches from his apartment window as Santiago, Chile falls to a military coup, destroying his family and his childhood. Arriving alone in America, he’s taken in by the Larks: a prominent family in the town of Guelisten. Though burdened by unresolved grief for his disappeared parents, he becomes fiercely loyal to the Larks, eventually marrying one of their daughters, Valerie.

September 11, 2001: Javier Landes watches from his apartment window as New York City falls to terrorism. As one of Manhattan’s top-paid male escorts, this professional lover has never lacked for company and is loyal only to himself. But in the wake of 9/11, Jav is named guardian for an orphaned nephew in Guelisten and must open his carefully-guarded heart to pain he's long suppressed.

Alex, Valerie and Jav meet first in their twenties, with a sudden attraction each finds strange and compelling. When they meet again in their forties, they discover not only is their bond still strong, but their life experiences are strangely similar. All have been shaped by separate 9/11's, and their unfinished business from the past will change everything they know about love, loyalty and friendship.

"Life has rules. You cannot come in the middle of the night and take what we agreed isn't yours."

Across three decades and two continents, Suanne Laqueur's fifth novel explores the unpredictability of sexual attraction, how family ties are forged, torn and mended, and how love's downfall can turn to exaltation.

My Takeaway  “Second chances are given or made.” Suanne Laqueur, An Exaltation of Larks Wow!! An Exaltation of Larks is poetic, risqué, sensual, and beautiful. It’s like nothing I’ve ever read. If you’ve been reading my reviews (thank you) you know I always aim for…

Book Review: The Futures

Book Review: The FuturesThe Futures
by Anna Pitoniak
on January 17th 2017
Published by Little Brown and Company
Genres: New Age
Goodreads

Julia and Evan fall in love as undergraduates at Yale. For Evan, a scholarship student from a Canadian logging town, Yale is a whole new world, and Julia—blonde, beautiful and rich—fits perfectly into the future he’s envisioned for himself. After graduation, and on the eve of the great financial meltdown of 2008, they move together to New York City, where Evan takes a job at a hedge fund. But Julia, who has only known a life of privilege, feels unmoored and increasingly shut out of Evan’s secretive world. With the market crashing and banks failing, Evan becomes involved in an increasingly high-stakes deal at work—a deal that, despite the assurance of his Machiavellian boss, begins to feel more than slightly suspicious. Meanwhile, Julia reconnects with someone from her past who offers a glimpse of a different kind of life.

As Evan and Julia spin apart into their separate orbits, they each find that they are capable of much more—good and bad—that they’d ever dreamed, and that betrayal is easier than they ever imagined.

My Takeaway  The debut novel, The Futures is about two recent college grads trying to find success and their way in the real world. It’s 2008 and the beginning of financial instability for this country. Julia and Evan have been dating for a couple of years, are college sweethearts…

Book Review: Fever Dream

Book Review: Fever DreamFever Dream
by Samanta Schweblin, Megan McDowell
on January 10th 2017
Pages: 192
Published by Riverhead Books
Genres: Literary Fiction, Multicultural, Mystery/Crime
Goodreads

A young woman named Amanda lies dying in a rural hospital clinic. A boy named David sits beside her. She's not his mother. He's not her child. Together, they tell a haunting story of broken souls, toxins, and the power and desperation of family.

Fever Dream is a nightmare come to life, a ghost story for the real world, a love story and a cautionary tale. One of the freshest new voices to come out of the Spanish language and translated into English for the first time, Samanta Schweblin creates an aura of strange psychological menace and otherworldly reality in this absorbing, unsettling, taut novel.

My Takeaway  For a short story to be successful it must instantly grab the reader’s attention. At a mere 183 short pages, Fever Dream delivers! The novel was originally written in Spanish (Distancia del Rescate, 2014) by Samanta Schweblin and recently translated by Megan McDowell. The story begins with…