Book Review: She Would Be King

Book Review: She Would Be KingShe Would Be King
by Wayetu Moore
on September 11, 2018
Pages: 312
Published by Graywolf Press
Genres: Diverse Spines, Magical Realism
Goodreads

A novel of exhilarating range, magical realism, and history—a dazzling retelling of Liberia’s formation.

Wayétu Moore’s powerful debut novel, She Would Be King, reimagines the dramatic story of Liberia’s early years through three unforgettable characters who share an uncommon bond. Gbessa, exiled from the West African village of Lai, is starved, bitten by a viper, and left for dead, but still she survives. June Dey, raised on a plantation in Virginia, hides his unusual strength until a confrontation with the overseer forces him to flee. Norman Aragon, the child of a white British colonizer and a Maroon slave from Jamaica, can fade from sight when the earth calls him. When the three meet in the settlement of Monrovia, their gifts help them salvage the tense relationship between the African American settlers and the indigenous tribes, as a new nation forms around them.

Moore’s intermingling of history and magical realism finds voice not just in these three characters but also in the fleeting spirit of the wind, who embodies an ancient wisdom. “If she was not a woman,” the wind says of Gbessa, “she would be king.” In this vibrant story of the African diaspora, Moore, a talented storyteller and a daring writer, illuminates with radiant and exacting prose the tumultuous roots of a country inextricably bound to the United States. She Would Be King is a novel of profound depth set against a vast canvas and a transcendent debut from a major new author.

My Takeaway“Loneliness while in the presence of others is a most cruel kind.”Wayétu Moore, She Would Be King Moore is a magical and magnificent storyteller. She Would Be King was engaging and fascinating. I love and gravitate towards strong female characters, and Moore delivered! Hands…

Book Review: The House of Broken Angels

Book Review: The House of Broken AngelsThe House of Broken Angels
by Luis Alberto Urrea
on March 6, 2018
Pages: 336
Genres: Literary Fiction, Magical Realism, Multicultural
Goodreads

The definitive Mexican-American immigrant story, a sprawling and deeply felt portrait of a Mexican-American family occasioned by the impending loss of its patriarch, from one of the country's most beloved authors.

Prizewinning and bestselling writer Luis Urrea has written his Mexican coming-to-America story and his masterpiece. Destined to sit alongside other classic immigrant novels, The House of Broken Angels is a sprawling and epic family saga helmed by patriarch Big Angel. The novel gathers together the entire De La Cruz clan, as they meet for the final birthday party Big Angel is throwing for himself, at home in San Diego, as he nears the end of his struggle with cancer and reflects on his long and full life.

But when Big Angel's mother, Mama America, approaching one hundred, dies herself as the party nears, he must plan her funeral as well. There will be two family affairs in one weekend: a farewell double-header. Among the attendants is his half-brother and namesake, Little Angel, who comes face to face with the siblings with whom he shared a father but not, as the weekend proceeds to remind him, a life.

This story of the De La Cruzes is the story of what it means to be a Mexican in America, to have lived two lives across one border. It is a tale of the ravaging power of death to shore up the bits of life you have forgotten, whether by choice or not. Above all, this finely wrought portrait of a deeply complex family and the America they have come to call home is Urrea at his purest and best. Teeming with brilliance and humor, authentic at every turn, The House of Broken Angels cements his reputation as a storyteller of the first rank.

My Takeaway “That is the prize: to realize, at the end, that every minute was worth fighting for with every ounce of blood and fire.” The House of Broken Angels was a wonderfully written novel about a large Mexican-American family. The novel dealt with the family’s various…

Book Review: The Wedding Date

Book Review: The Wedding DateThe Wedding Date
by Jasmine Guillory
on January 30, 2018
Pages: 320
Published by Berkley
Goodreads

A groomsman and his last-minute guest are about to discover if a fake date can go the distance in a fun and flirty debut novel.

Agreeing to go to a wedding with a guy she gets stuck with in an elevator is something Alexa Monroe wouldn't normally do. But there's something about Drew Nichols that's too hard to resist.

On the eve of his ex's wedding festivities, Drew is minus a plus one. Until a power outage strands him with the perfect candidate for a fake girlfriend...

After Alexa and Drew have more fun than they ever thought possible, Drew has to fly back to Los Angeles and his job as a pediatric surgeon, and Alexa heads home to Berkeley, where she's the mayor's chief of staff. Too bad they can't stop thinking about the other...

They're just two high-powered professionals on a collision course toward the long distance dating disaster of the century--or closing the gap between what they think they need and what they truly want...

My Takeaway The Wedding Date was a quick, fun read and exactly what I needed after a complicated book. Alexa and Drew’s romantic ventures had me laughing out loud at times. I don’t read many romantic novels, but this one hit the spot. It was not…

Book Review: The Silent Patient

Book Review: The Silent PatientThe Silent Patient
by Alex Michaelides
on February 5, 2019
Pages: 336
Published by Celadon Books
Goodreads

Alicia Berenson’s life is seemingly perfect. A famous painter married to an in-demand fashion photographer, she lives in a grand house with big windows overlooking a park in one of London’s most desirable areas. One evening her husband Gabriel returns home late from a fashion shoot, and Alicia shoots him five times in the face, and then never speaks another word.

Alicia’s refusal to talk, or give any kind of explanation, turns a domestic tragedy into something far grander, a mystery that captures the public imagination and casts Alicia into notoriety. The price of her art skyrockets, and she, the silent patient, is hidden away from the tabloids and spotlight at the Grove, a secure forensic unit in North London.

Theo Faber is a criminal psychotherapist who has waited a long time for the opportunity to work with Alicia. His determination to get her to talk and unravel the mystery of why she shot her husband takes him down a twisting path into his own motivations—a search for the truth that threatens to consume him....

My Takeaway When I read the first few chapters of The Silent Patient, I was hooked! It seemed like the type of thriller I tend to enjoy. I had high (high) hopes for this book and was sadly disappointed. Although I enjoyed Michaelides writing, I felt the story dragged too…

Book Review: All You Can Ever Know

Book Review: All You Can Ever KnowAll You Can Ever Know: A Memoir
by Nicole Chung
on October 2, 2018
Pages: 240
Published by Catapult
Genres: Diverse Spines, Memoir
Goodreads

What does it mean to lose your roots—within your culture, within your family—and what happens when you find them?

Nicole Chung was born severely premature, placed for adoption by her Korean parents, and raised by a white family in a sheltered Oregon town. From early childhood, she heard the story of her adoption as a comforting, prepackaged myth. She believed that her biological parents had made the ultimate sacrifice in the hopes of giving her a better life; that forever feeling slightly out of place was simply her fate as a transracial adoptee. But as she grew up—facing prejudice her adoptive family couldn’t see, finding her identity as an Asian American and a writer, becoming ever more curious about where she came from—she wondered if the story she’d been told was the whole truth.

With warmth, candor, and startling insight, Chung tells of her search for the people who gave her up, which coincided with the birth of her own child. All You Can Ever Know is a profound, moving chronicle of surprising connections and the repercussions of unearthing painful family secrets—vital reading for anyone who has ever struggled to figure out where they belong.

My Takeaway“Family lore given to us as children has such hold over us, such staying power.”Nicole Chung, All You Can Ever Know All You Can Ever Know resonated with me on several levels. Chung’s story and writing captivated me from the get-go. Although…