Book Review: The Mothers

Book Review: The MothersThe Mothers
by Brit Bennett
on October 11th 2016
Pages: 278
Published by Riverhead Books
Genres: Literary Fiction, Multicultural
Goodreads

Set within a contemporary black community in Southern California, Brit Bennett's mesmerizing first novel is an emotionally perceptive story about community, love, and ambition. It begins with a secret.

All good secrets have a taste before you tell them, and if we'd taken a moment to swish this one around our mouths, we might have noticed the sourness of an unripe secret, plucked too soon, stolen and passed around before its season.

It is the last season of high school life for Nadia Turner, a rebellious, grief-stricken, seventeen-year-old beauty. Mourning her own mother's recent suicide, she takes up with the local pastor's son. Luke Sheppard is twenty-one, a former football star whose injury has reduced him to waiting tables at a diner. They are young; it's not serious. But the pregnancy that results from this teen romance--and the subsequent cover-up--will have an impact that goes far beyond their youth. As Nadia hides her secret from everyone, including Aubrey, her God-fearing best friend, the years move quickly. Soon, Nadia, Luke, and Aubrey are full-fledged adults and still living in debt to the choices they made that one seaside summer, caught in a love triangle they must carefully maneuver, and dogged by the constant, nagging question: What if they had chosen differently? The possibilities of the road not taken are a relentless haunt.

In entrancing, lyrical prose, The Mothers asks whether a -what if- can be more powerful than an experience itself. If, as time passes, we must always live in servitude to the decisions of our younger selves, to the communities that have parented us, and to the decisions we make that shape our lives forever.

My Takeaway  “After a secret’s been told, everyone becomes a prophet.” Brit Bennett, The Mothers ​The Mothers is a wonderful book I could not put down! Also, don’t you just love the cover? It’s gorgeous! Ok, now on to other matters. Bennett…

Book Review: Behind Her Eyes

Book Review: Behind Her EyesBehind Her Eyes
by Sarah Pinborough
on January 31st 2017
Pages: 306
Published by Flatiron Books
Genres: Mystery/Crime, Suspense/Thriller
Goodreads

Louise is a single mom, a secretary, stuck in a modern-day rut. On a rare night out, she meets a man in a bar and sparks fly. Though he leaves after they kiss, she’s thrilled she finally connected with someone.

When Louise arrives at work on Monday, she meets her new boss, David. The man from the bar. The very married man from the bar…who says the kiss was a terrible mistake but who still can’t keep his eyes off Louise.
And then Louise bumps into Adele, who’s new to town and in need of a friend, but she also just happens to be married to David. David and Adele look like the picture-perfect husband and wife, but then why is David so controlling, and why is Adele so scared of him?

As Louise is drawn into David and Adele’s orbit, she uncovers more puzzling questions than answers. The only thing that is crystal clear is that something in this marriage is very, very wrong, but Louise can’t guess how wrong―and how far a person might go to protect their marriage’s secrets.

My Takeaway  In the words of my uncle, oh-my-ga (OMG)! The ending of Behind Her Eyes, was unexpected, shocking and twisted (definitely a wtf ending). Don’t worry, I will not spoil it for any of you, but wow. The novel is not your typical thriller – it’s…

Book Review: My (Not So) Perfect Life

Book Review: My (Not So) Perfect LifeMy Not So Perfect Life
by Sophie Kinsella
on February 7th 2017
Pages: 438
Published by Bantam Press
Genres: Women's Fiction
Goodreads

Katie Brenner has the perfect life: a flat in London, a glamorous job, and a super-cool Instagram feed. Ok, so the real truth is that she rents a tiny room with no space for a wardrobe, has a hideous commute to a lowly admin job, and the life she shares on Instagram isn’t really hers. But one day her dreams are bound to come true, aren’t they?

Until her not-so perfect life comes crashing down when her mega-successful boss Demeter gives her the sack. All Katie’s hopes are shattered. She has to move home to Somerset, where she helps her dad with his new glamping business. Then Demeter and her family book in for a holiday, and Katie sees her chance. But should she get revenge on the woman who ruined her dreams? Or try to get her job back? Does Demeter – the woman with everything – have such an idyllic life herself? Maybe they have more in common than it seems. And what’s wrong with not-so-perfect, anyway?

My Takeaway  Occasionally, when I am done with a super serious, and heavy book, I like to change it up and read something predictable that ends with “happily ever after.” My (Not So) Perfect Life is funny, enjoyable, and uncomplicated. The novel’s central message is although life is not…

Book Review: Pachinko

Book Review: PachinkoPachinko
by Min Jin Lee
on February 7th 2017
Pages: 490
Published by Grand Central Publishing
Genres: Literary Fiction, Multicultural
Goodreads

Pachinko follows one Korean family through the generations, beginning in early 1900s Korea with Sunja, the prized daughter of a poor yet proud family, whose unplanned pregnancy threatens to shame them all. Deserted by her lover, Sunja is saved when a young tubercular minister offers to marry and bring her to Japan.

So begins a sweeping saga of an exceptional family in exile from its homeland and caught in the indifferent arc of history. Through desperate struggles and hard-won triumphs, its members are bound together by deep roots as they face enduring questions of faith, family, and identity.

My Takeaway  “Living everyday in the presence of those who refuse to acknowledge your humanity takes great courage.” Min Jin Lee, Pachinko What an amazing, enjoyable and unforgettable book! Pachinko is a page-turner and beautifully written. The cover of the book is brilliant and spectacular as well (I love…

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…