Saturday, September 24, 2022

Other Birds by Sarah Addison Allen






Rating: 5+ of 5 stars 
Pages: 304 pages
Published: August 2022

Listen. I have read some good books this year. It’s absolutely impossible to pick a favorite book, but Other Birds by Sarah Addison Allen is very near the top! This is a story about a young lady, Zoey, whose mother died when she was very young and she was raised by a reluctant father and evil stepmother. The moment she finishes school, she leaves for college near Mallow Island, South Carolina, a town where her mother willed a condo to her. The condo is situated in a small, intimate community called Dellawisp named for the beautiful yet busy birds. The other residents, a bohemian, young transient woman, a professional chef, and two odd sisters who happen to also be at odds with one another. The community is managed by an older man named Frasier. Shortly upon Zoey’s arrival, one of the residents dies and that leads to a chain reaction of connections within the Dellawisp community. 

The story is short and sweet and even a little predictable, but the true gem is the beautiful writing with a touch of magical realism. This is my first read by Allen, but her writing is so moving that I am sure I will seek out another work of hers - of which there are several. Other Birds is one of those novels that found me a just the right time and touched all the right places in my mind and heart. 

Recommendation: I highly recommend this book. It will make you think, laugh, and tear up a little. It’s the perfect book to cozy up to on a fall evening. 

Until next time ... Read on!

Regardless of whether I purchase a book, borrow a book, or receive a book in exchange for review, my ultimate goal is to be honest, fair, and constructive. I hope you've found this review helpful.

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Fighting Words: 100 Days of Speaking Truth into the Darkness by Ellie Holcomb







Rating: 5 of 5 stars 
Pages: 248 pages
Published: October 2021

Fighting Words: 100 Days of Speaking Truth into Darkness by Ellie Holcomb is the latest study book I completed with Proverbs 31 Ministries Online Bible Studies group. This book provided 100 days of effective verses from the Bible with commentary from Ellie Holcomb that served as a bite-sized, daily devotional. 

While the content each day was a quick read, it did require some reflection on how the greater message could be applied to one’s life. In addition to being an author, Holcomb is also a songwriter, and she included some of the lyrics to her songs in the book. I though this added value for people who enjoy music and are auditory learners. Holcomb did note early on in her book that she would be including the information about her songs but didn’t want to come across as trying to push album sales. I certainly did not get that feeling by reading her book as the tactic was not overdone. 

As with most books I read via the free P31 OBS program, I gained so much more by having a community of women who were learning alongside me. Being part of the Facebook group added another layer of depth for this study. 

Recommendation: As always, Proverbs 31 picks powerful, life-changing books, and Fighting Words did not disappoint. Whether you read this book in 100 consecutive days or pick it up as time allows, you will be changed. Go snag your copy of this Bible-based today! 

Until next time ... Read on!

Regardless of whether I purchase a book, borrow a book, or receive a book in exchange for review, my ultimate goal is to be honest, fair, and constructive. I hope you've found this review helpful.

Sunday, September 4, 2022

Razorblade Tears by S.A. Crosby






Rating: 5 of 5 stars 
Pages: 336 pages
Published: July 2021

In July 2021, S.A. Crosby’s Razorblade Tears was published. Sometime near its publication, the book must have been added to Book of the Month’s monthly selection. However, something else must have caught my eye that month because I did not choose this book. Then, in July of 2022, President Obama listed the book on his annual reading list, and I still did not snag a copy from any of my favorite places. Then, at the end of the month Amazon offered a $5 discount on digital books, and I guess that five bucks was the push that motivated me to grab a copy. But still, I didn’t start reading the novel until the end of August. Upon completing it, I am wondering: Why did I wait so long?! 

So, let me tell you about it. Razorblade Tears is a fictional story about a very real emotion - revenge. A black father’s, Ike, son and a white father’s, Buddy Lee, son fall in love and marry each other and then are mysteriously and gruesomely murdered. These two tough-enough fathers who also happen to be ex-convicts team up to solve the crime that the police are moving too slow on. Their love for their sons, regret for judging their sexual identity and experience on the other side of the law fuel their passion to seek, find and create justice for their loved ones. 



Tears ran from his eyes and stung his cheeks. Tears for his son. Tears for his wife. Tears for the little girl they had to raise. Tears for who they were and what they all had lost. Each drop felt like it was slicing his face open like a razorblade.

“Get that what’s normal ain’t up to me. That it don’t f*cking matter who he wanted to wake up next to as long as he was waking up,” Buddy Lee said.”

“No, hate. Folks like to talk about revenge like it’s a righteous thing but it’s just hate in a nicer suit,” Ike said.

A good father, a good man, loves the people that love his children.

This time they didn’t feel so much like razor blades. They felt like the long-awaited answer to a mournful prayer for rain. 


I honestly didn’t think I would enjoy this book because I felt I couldn’t really relate to the plot. However, I was completely wrong. This book evoked a myriad of emotions for me as we all have at least one person in our life we love like this. Additionally, Crosby wrote the story in such a way that the plot moved quickly and the descriptions came to life. I truly felt like I was reading an action movie. There really is no need for this to go to the big screen because the author did such a good job writing it, but I wouldn’t be mad if it was turned into a movie and Denzel Washington played Ike. I’m just sayin!  

Recommendation: This book is dark, but it is good. It is vivid. It is engaging. If you enjoyed The Equalizer movies, you might enjoy this book. It’s a quick read too. Don’t be like me. Don’t delay. Grab a copy for your favorite bookseller or library today! 

Until next time ... Read on!

Regardless of whether I purchase a book, borrow a book, or receive a book in exchange for review, my ultimate goal is to be honest, fair, and constructive. I hope you've found this review helpful.

Sunday, August 14, 2022

Take My Hand by Dolen Perkins-Valdez






Rating: 5 of 5 stars 
Pages: 359 pages
Published: April 2022

In all seriousness, I needed someone to take my hand, give me a hug, and tell me everything was going to be OK after reading Take My Hand by Dolen Perkins-Valdez. This book was an emotionally-wrenching read for me. Inspired by actual events pre-Roe v. Wade, fictional character Civil Townsend is fresh out of nursing school with a job at a family clinic to help women with birth control and family planning. She is assigned to help two young girls (11 and 13), and Civil soon learns that the federally-funded clinic and the head nurse who leads it don’t have the community’s hearts interests at heart. 

This novel is intriguing, engaging, and riveting. It includes all of the relevant literary devices, but the most painful part of the book is that it is based in fact of events that happened to real people. And sadly, with the current state of women’s health and reproductive rights, we are doomed to repeat a variation of this embarrassing part of U.S. history. 

Recommendation: I strongly recommend this novel. It’s one of the best works of historical fiction I’ve read in a long time. Read this story and then research the actual facts after you’ve done so. 

Until next time ... Read on!

Regardless of whether I purchase a book, borrow a book, or receive a book in exchange for review, my ultimate goal is to be honest, fair, and constructive. I hope you've found this review helpful.

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire (audiobook)






Rating: 2 of 5 stars 
Duration: 10:30:53
Published: January 2014

I listened to Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire as part of a group read with a small group of coworkers. Let me just say, this is not a book I would have read on my own. It is not something I would have enjoyed in my late teens/early 20s. And it is not something I care to listen to nor read again. The over-written teen romance novel surrounds Abby Abernathy, her best friend, America, and her college mate, Travis Maddox. 

The book is too long. It’s basically something you might watch on the CW television station where teens are in angst about their love interest of the moment. There is no real depth to the story, there is an absence of diversity, and much of the plot is far-fetched and unrealistic. Additionally, I found the main male character, Travis, to be emotionally abusive to Abby, and I don’t think the book addressed this properly and glorified his outrageous behavior. I didn’t find a ton of value in this book. I don’t think I really learned anything other than I definitely do not enjoy this genre. The best part of this read/listen was discussing it with coworkers over happy hour. 

Recommendation: This probably would have been a DNF (did not finish) for me had I not been reading with others. I do not recommend this book at all, especially for someone in my demographic. 

Until next time ... Read on!

Regardless of whether I purchase a book, borrow a book, or receive a book in exchange for review, my ultimate goal is to be honest, fair, and constructive. I hope you've found this review helpful.

Thursday, June 2, 2022

Part of Your World by Abby Jimenez






Rating: 5 of 5 stars 
Pages: 400 pages
Published: April 2022

Part of Your World by Abby Jimenez is a romcom with substance! This book offers a lot to its readers: romance, comedy, drama all wrapped up in a heartfelt blanket. The main character, Alexis Montgomery meets total opposite Daniel Grant by happenstance, and there’s immediate chemistry between them. However, Abby is not interested in getting into any type of relationship while in the midst of trying to get out of a very toxic one. Struggling with ending a relationship and a domineering and intimidating family creates a lot of stress for Alexis and we as the reader are along for the emotional roller coaster. 

I wouldn’t consider myself a big romance fan, but I found this story to be very intriguing. The characters were complex, some even reminding me of characters from Grey’s Anatomy. The thing I enjoyed most about this book was while the romance storyline was predictable, there were also some important themes including domestic abuse, emotional intimidation and sexism that were addressed carefully without making the overall book too dark. Additionally, Jimenez has a talent for humor. It can be difficult to convey via the written word, but she pulled it off well! 

Recommendation: I really enjoyed this book and would definitely read another book by this author. I would absolutely love a second book that follows the story of the main characters as well as some of the secondary characters that I didn’t get to learn as much. If you’re looking for something not-too-light and not-too-heavy, this may be just the book for you! 

Until next time ... Read on!

Regardless of whether I purchase a book, borrow a book, or receive a book in exchange for review, my ultimate goal is to be honest, fair, and constructive. I hope you've found this review helpful.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

The Book of Cold Cases by Simone St. James







Rating: 4 of 5 stars 
Pages: 352 pages
Published: March 2022

The Sun Down Motel was my first book from Book of the Month and the first book I read authored by Simone St. James. So, I was a little more than excited to hear about her new book, The Book of Cold Cases. Because I am a fan of true crime and enjoy a good mystery, I felt like this book was the perfect recipe for my reading pleasure. 

Beth Greer, an older and troubled woman was tried and acquitted of two murders in the 1970s. In present day, 2017, a young Shea Collins who is a true crime junkie, like myself, meets Beth by chance and asks to interview her for her true crime website blog. Beth agrees, and Shea finds herself in the middle of a renewed look at the case all the while strange things occurring each time she meets with Beth. Shea finds herself searching for the truth and wonder if Beth got off scot-free decades ago. 

The pace of the book is good. Neither main character is truly likable but intriguing enough to keep the reader interested and reading forward. St. James definitely has a gift for creating paranormal suspense that is just real enough to have you questioning if there’s such a thing as ghosts among us. 

Recommendation: This book is creepy good and would be really fun to spook out to during the fall Halloween season. 

Until next time ... Read on!

Regardless of whether I purchase a book, borrow a book, or receive a book in exchange for review, my ultimate goal is to be honest, fair, and constructive. I hope you've found this review helpful.

Saturday, April 16, 2022

The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah






Rating: 5 of 5 stars 
Pages: 464 pages
Published: February 2021

The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah won Book of the Month’s book of the year for 2021, and I totally understand why. Unlike, The Love of my Life, this cover did not draw me in. Additionally, the synopsis did not seem like something I would enjoy reading, even though I do enjoy historical fiction. However, as I have learned first impressions can be deceiving. This book is currently one of my top 3 reads of 2022, and I’m so glad I selected it as my free book as part of Book of the Month’s BFF program. 

The story is set in the 1930s during the Great Depression in Texas and centers around Elsa, who at a young age got herself “into some trouble, in the family way.” Ultimately, she finds herself in a loveless marriage with two children and in-laws that have become her only family after her blood relatives disowned her. After suffering through the Dust Bowl, Elsa’s husband abandons his family. Elsa tries to maintain for a time but realizes she must attempt to travel west to the land of milk and honey to make a better life for her family. The remaining two-thirds of the book are about her survival as a single woman on the road to attain the American Dream by traveling west. 

This is the first book I’ve read by Hannah. Her writing is wonderful. She definitely has a gift for describes scenes in such a way that you feel as though you’re right there in that time period and in that emotion. If you read to escape your current reality, Hannah offers you that escape. The story is exceptional, and the characters are well developed and stayed with me long after I read the final page. 

Recommendation: The Four Winds is a must read for anyone, but especially for lovers of historical fiction. I highly recommend it!

Until next time ... Read on!

Regardless of whether I purchase a book, borrow a book, or receive a book in exchange for review, my ultimate goal is to be honest, fair, and constructive. I hope you've found this review helpful.

Saturday, April 2, 2022

The Love of my Life by Rosie Walsh






Rating: 3 of 5 stars 
Pages: 384 pages
Published: March 2022

Full transparency … I chose The Love of my Life by Rosie Walsh because I liked the cover art and the title. Being in a very romantic stage of my life with a wonderful person made the title resonate with me. So, yes, I shallowly chose a book because of its cover. Judge me. I don’t care. 

This Book of the Month selection is about a woman with a heavy past that catches up to her in present day. The main character, Leo is living a happy, “normal” life with his wife of 10 years, Emma, and young daughter, Ruby. Emma is a well-known marine biologist. Leo is an obituary writer. When Emma suffers an illness, Leo tasks himself with crafting her advance obituary, which requires him to begin to dig into Emma’s past. As he researches more, he learns his wife is not who he thought she was. Her name is not even Emma. Emma doesn’t exist on paper at all. The suspense-filled mystery leads Leo to the truth and Emma to face the dark truth about her past. 

Book of the Month categorizes this novel as psychological and romance; however, after completion, I would call it a mystery. I found the the title is a little misleading, but the story is intriguing. It kept me reading to the complete conclusion. As a reader, you experience some of the feelings that Leo is experiencing as he learns the truth about his beloved wife. The alternating perspectives add to the suspense and speed up the pace to an otherwise slow novel.  

Recommendation: This was not the best book I read so far this year, but it certainly isn’t the worst either. I never thought I would put it down. I always intended to finish reading the story. So, the burning question: Should you judge a book by its cover? I don’t know. It wasn’t as good as the cover and title led me to believe, but it sure does look nice on my book shelf. 

Until next time ... Read on!

Regardless of whether I purchase a book, borrow a book, or receive a book in exchange for review, my ultimate goal is to be honest, fair, and constructive. I hope you've found this review helpful.

Saturday, March 19, 2022

The Neighbor's Secret by Alison L. Heller






Rating: 3 of 5 stars 
Pages: 336 pages
Published: October 2021

The Neighbor’s Secret by L. Alison Heller was another Book of the Month Club selection for me. I enjoy a book filled with mystery and suspense, and the synopsis indicated that I would get this. The plot of the book is a group of neighborhood mothers who get together for book club each month … suspense + book club … Sign. Me. Up! Someone ends up dead, and the bulk of the book provides information leading the reader to the victim and murderer. While the center of the book is primarily about the murder, the book itself features a cast of characters, none of whom I would say are primary, but they all work together to create suspicion around local vandalism that is occurring in the neighborhood, an old mystery about what happened to an older neighbor’s husband and estranged daughter and a new resident mom and her son that seems a bit socially awkward in addition to the murder case at hand. All of these red herrings take the reader on several twists and turns before reaching the conclusion of the mystery at the end of the novel. 

I enjoyed this book. It was a fast read, and although some of the themes in the book were heavy, they were handled in such a way that didn’t emotionally burden the reader. Many reviews compare this book to Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies, and I can certainly see where they get that. It’s a mystery that is lightened through quirky characters and periodic comedic relief. Heller did a great job weaving all the characters and subplots together to create a well-rounded mystery that keeps the reader on the hook without being too far-fetched to solve. 

Recommendation: I found this book to be entertaining and engaging. I think it would be a fun read over spring break or maybe even a summer vacation. Everything is tied up nicely in the end, leaving the reader feeling satisfied. 

Until next time ... Read on!

Regardless of whether I purchase a book, borrow a book, or receive a book in exchange for review, my ultimate goal is to be honest, fair, and constructive. I hope you've found this review helpful.

Thursday, February 24, 2022

Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson






Rating: 5+ of 5 stars 
Pages: 385 pages
Published: February 2022

I love Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson so much! This book is my favorite read of 2022 ... so far ... there are still a lot of reading days left; however, it will take something pretty substantial to replace it. 

This generational story begins with siblings, Bryon and Benny, coming together after Eleanor's their mother, death to discuss their inheritance with the family attorney. Much to their surprise, they learn the attorney has a voice recording their mother left behind that instructs them to partake of a family recipe - a traditional Caribbean black cake with someone from Eleanor's past. Through this final piece of communication, their mother reveals some long-buried secrets about herself, their father and the family they thought they knew.

Through flash backs and flash forwards to present day, we, as the reader, are able to put together the pieces of the puzzle of life Eleanor, which culminates in a beautiful love story of friendship, family and the perseverance to overcome the most challenging struggles. I really enjoyed the Wilkerson's writing style and ability to tell a story in such a way that is complex but also engaging and arresting. 

Recommendation: This book gave me all the feels. We never know where one choice may take us, but the choices we make can create an intricately-woven life for us and those we love. I highly recommend this read when you have time to really enjoy it. It is not long, but it is deep and should be consumed with care. 

Until next time ... Read on!

Regardless of whether I purchase a book, borrow a book, or receive a book in exchange for review, my ultimate goal is to be honest, fair, and constructive. I hope you've found this review helpful.

Saturday, January 29, 2022

Verity by Colleen Hoover






Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars 
Pages: 336 pages
Published: October 2021

The cult following and book club chatter that has resulted from the publication of Colleen Hoover's Verity is absolutely unreal but totally warranted. The book gets a lot of hype, and I do believe it's worth it. It is well written, intriguing and suspenseful. 

The book begins when the main character, author and financially-and-emotionally-broken Lowen, is invited by Jeremy to the home he and his wife, successful and financially-sound author, Verity, to finish writing a book series that, after a traumatic injury, Verity can no longer write. While conducting her research, Lowen stumbles upon this manuscript seemingly written by Verity filled with horrifying admissions. What's more is Lowen starts develop feelings for Jeremy, yes, Verity's husband. 

I think I devoured this book in about two days. There's so much going on in the story, but the author writes in such a way that makes it easily to follow and the reader quickly invested. So much so that groups have been created on social media to discuss the verity of Verity - the character not the book - and the manuscript she allegedly left behind. As for me, I am not going to read too much into it. It was a roller coaster of a read. I enjoyed it very much, and that's the end of it for me. 

Recommendation: This would be a fast summer read for adults. Please note people who are sensitive to pregnancy and abortion may find parts of this novel triggering. 

Until next time ... Read on!

Regardless of whether I purchase a book, borrow a book, or receive a book in exchange for review, my ultimate goal is to be honest, fair, and constructive. I hope you've found this review helpful.

Friday, January 21, 2022

As the Wicked Watch by Tamron Hall






Rating: 3 of 5 stars 
Pages: 384 pages
Published: October 2021

As the Wicked Watch is the first in a series about an investigative journalist with detective instincts and a debut mystery by TV host and journalist Tamron Hall. This book was all abuzz in my reading circles, so I grabbed a copy and read it over a nice beach vacay in Belize this January. The story centers around journalist Jordan Manning who, in covering the news story of a recent murder of a 15-year old girl, gets really close to the case often putting herself in harm's way of not only getting the story but also helping solve the crime. 

Overall, the crime and subsequent mystery flows like similar detective/journalist books or even Lifetime movies. Hall provides a lot of detail and character development. Although, I might argue at times, it seems like a little too much, which slowed the pace. I do think this book could have been about 75 pages shorter, but it was still pretty easy to follow. There was enough intrigue to keep me invested plus I intended to participate in book club discussion. 

I think this is a decent debut for Hall, and I think with time her writing will sharpen. I can't say if I could commit to reading all of the books in this series, but it wasn't a bad read - especially with an ocean view as a backdrop! 



Recommendation: Fans of Tamron Hall will want to read this book. I do not think they will be disappointment. There's still room for growth, and I'm rooting her on for book two. 

Until next time ... Read on!

Regardless of whether I purchase a book, borrow a book, or receive a book in exchange for review, my ultimate goal is to be honest, fair, and constructive. I hope you've found this review helpful.

Saturday, January 8, 2022

A History of Wild Places by Shea Ernshaw






Rating: 4 of 5 stars 
Pages: 354 pages
Published: December  2021
What a wild ride! A History of Wild Places by Shea Ernshaw is mainly mystery, part horror with a touch of the supernatural. The novel begins with Travis Wren, a detective of sorts, who finds missing people. He is hired by the parents of Maggie St. James to locate their adult daughter who has been missing for several years. During his investigation, Travis crashes his truck, and sometime later a member - Theo - of this strange and reclusive community called Pastoral finds the abandoned vehicle with no signs of life around it. Theo and the people who live there exhibit cult-like behaviors and have unrealistic fears about the world around them. The abandoned truck sparks curiosity in Theo to think outside of the Pastoral box, which leads to long-buried secrets being revealed. 

I really can't say much more about this book without giving away too much and detracting from its suspense. It was a very enjoyable read. The author did a good job of creating imagery and making the reader feel as though they are actually in the story. As I read this book, I felt like I traveled to Pastoral myself and at the end I came out of the darkness and into the light. 

Some reviewers have shared that this book is similar to the plot of the movie The Village. I have not seen that movie, but having read about it after I read this book, I can see how similarities are drawn. I think this type of story is best in book form because it's easier to create a sense of confusion with words lending itself to greater suspense. 

Recommendation: I really enjoyed this book, and I would recommend it to any mystery and suspense fan. This is my first read by Ernshaw, but I don't think it will be my last. Book of the Month offered up another good suggestion for me, and I extend that suggestion to you! 

Until next time ... Read on!

Regardless of whether I purchase a book, borrow a book, or receive a book in exchange for review, my ultimate goal is to be honest, fair, and constructive. I hope you've found this review helpful.

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

In Every Mirror She's Black by Lola Akinmade Åkerström







Rating: 3 of 5 stars 
Pages: 416 pages
Published: September 2021

I had such high hopes for In Every Mirror She's Black by Lola Akinmade Åkerström. I really wanted to like it. A story about three Black women living in Sweden all connected by one wealthy, white Swedish man. Kemi, a successful marketing executive, Brittany a beautiful former model now flight attendant, and Muna a poor refugee whose entire family was killed in her home country. 

The book starts off strong with detailed character development. Even the characters you love to hate (read: Brittany) are emotional-provoking and memorable. The book as a decent pace. I think it was a little slow in parts but not anything that prohibited me from finishing the book. However, the ending was very abrupt, and while I don't have to have a happy ending, I'd like to at least have one. It almost seemed as though the author didn't know where to go or how to end the novel. 

Recommendation: This book left me wanting more. I think the author is talented, and I think I would try another book of hers, but this wasn't the one for me. If someone makes it a movie, maybe that will be more compelling. 

Until next time ... Read on!

Regardless of whether I purchase a book, borrow a book, or receive a book in exchange for review, my ultimate goal is to be honest, fair, and constructive. I hope you've found this review helpful.

Sunday, December 12, 2021

In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren







Rating: 4 of 5 stars 
Pages: 307 pages
Published: October 2020

In a Holidaze by co-authors and friends Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings who use the pen name Christina Lauren is somewhat of a Goundhog Day romantic comedy in book form. In this Christmas-themed novel [that I received in January of 2021 (thanks, Covid) but held off reading until December 2021], the protagonist, Maelyn Jones, is spending her last Christmas at her family friends' cabin in Utah. Maelyn is having a rough go in her personal and professional life, and she hopes to relive some of the magic she's experienced with her family and friends who have become family. But everything falls apart when she learns that the friends who own the cabin are going to sell it. Throwing her into despair, Maelyn wishes for happiness which sets her into somewhat of a time loop where she continually wakes up on the same day. 

This is a fun, lighthearted book. Most readers and movie-watchers can probably anticipate where the plot will end up. But this is the kind of movie you need this time of year. Something fun, something lighthearted, and being published in 2020, something hopeful which we all could use a little hope nowadays. The story is touching and funny, and if I'm being honest, it is cheesy in some parts. But overall, it's a good read. 

Recommendation: I enjoyed reading this book leading up to the Christmas holiday, and I think you will too. The average reader could probably devour it in just a few days. 

Until next time ... Read on!

Regardless of whether I purchase a book, borrow a book, or receive a book in exchange for review, my ultimate goal is to be honest, fair, and constructive. I hope you've found this review helpful.

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

The Perishing by Natasha Deón






Rating: 3 of 5 stars 
Pages: 304 pages
Published: November 2021

I snagged The Perishing by Natasha Deón in my monthly Book of the Month box. The book is described as speculative fiction and focuses on a young Black woman named Lou who wakes up, as a young girl, with no recollection of who she is or how she ended up in 1930s Los Angeles. The story follows her as she is put into foster care, graduates from high school and becomes the first Black female journalist at the Los Angeles Times. From there, the book takes an interesting turn as we, the readers, follow Lou's journey. Ultimately, we learn that she may be an immortal as she continues to investigate who she is and why she exists.  

I selected this book with a reading buddy. It is not something I would have read on my own, but I did enjoy reading and discussing it with someone else. Having finished the book, I am 100% sure I do not fully understand speculative fiction or what it is, but I can't say that I didn't enjoy this read. It was interesting and honed in on some important societal issues of the time. 

Recommendation: I would recommend this book when you have time to read slowly and have thoughtful reflection. 

Until next time ... Read on!

Regardless of whether I purchase a book, borrow a book, or receive a book in exchange for review, my ultimate goal is to be honest, fair, and constructive. I hope you've found this review helpful.

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite







Rating: 3.5 of 5 stars 
Pages: 226 pages
Published: July 2019

Can you say dark and twisty? That about sums up my thoughts of My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite. It was the second buddy read with my partner, and oh emm gee! Nigerian sisters Korede and Ayoola are vastly different. Ayoola is younger, trendier, prettier, and luckier in love. Also, she kills her boyfriends, and her older, more logical sister, Korede, literally helps her clean up the mess. Korede also has a steady and stable career at the local hospital where she has a secret crush on a handsome doctor, Tade. However, when he meets the younger and more beautiful Ayoola, he falls quickly for her, igniting Korede’s fears of Tade’s possible early demise. 

The title of this book is intriguing. The staccato-like chapters make for a fast read. The passages are descriptive. And the overall plot seems predictable; however, I would argue that there are some deeper issues going on between Korede, Ayoola, and their early-departed father as well. This book has the perfect combination of mystery, intrigue, comedy, and is psychologically thrilling. I think any reader could finish it in a day or two. I enjoyed the story, but I was not a fan of the ending. 

Recommendation: This is a good book. I would recommend it. Was it the best thing I’ve read in 2021? No, but certainly not the worst either. If you’re looking for a novel to help bump your reading challenge number, this one is a good selection. 

Until next time ... Read on!

Regardless of whether I purchase a book, borrow a book, or receive a book in exchange for review, my ultimate goal is to be honest, fair, and constructive. I hope you've found this review helpful.

Sunday, October 31, 2021

Kindred by Octavia E. Butler







Rating: 5 of 5 stars 
Pages: 287 pages
Published: June 1979

So, I read Kindred by Octavia E. Butler with my new beau who wanted to connect with me through one of my favorite pastimes … reading. 😍 This historical, science fiction novel - the first of its type written by a Black woman - is about a young woman, Dana, who in present day, is a married 26-year old in the year 1976. However, she unexplainably and involuntarily travels back to the antebellum south via a Quantum Leap-esque time-warp to oversee a young white boy who is connected to her, and then just as mysteriously travels back to present-day. She never knows when it’s going to happen or how long she will remain in either time period. 

Because of the topical nature of the book there were many passages that were difficult to read and envision. As with most stories like this, there were extreme acts of evil but also fleeting moments of compassion. The insecurity the protagonist felt in vacillating between the two worlds was easily imagined by the reader and also gave an idea of how enslaved people may have felt when being forced to interact with cruel and spontaneously hateful slave owners. 

This is an interesting take on historical fiction with an unexpected science fiction twist. It’s creative, well-written and should be read. Science fiction is not my genre of choice, but Kindred is one of my favorite books.  

Recommendation: I recommend this book to anyone. It’s a fast and heart-wrenching read. I think mature teenagers and adults alike can appreciate this writing. Let us continue to learn about history in a myriad of ways lest we repeat it, OK? 

Trigger warnings: descriptive physical violence, rape

Until next time ... Read on!

Regardless of whether I purchase a book, borrow a book, or receive a book in exchange for review, my ultimate goal is to be honest, fair, and constructive. I hope you've found this review helpful.

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

The Dream of You by Jo Saxton







Rating: 5 of 5 stars 
Pages: 240 pages
Published: January 2018

I first met professional author and speaker, Jo Saxton, at a women’s conference hosted by a local church. When my favorite online ministry, Proverbs 31 decided to facilitate an online Bible study in the fall based on Saxton’s book, The Dream of You: Let Go of Broken Identities and Live the Life You Were Made For, I hurriedly registered to participate. 

In this short book, Saxton has offered concise yet powerful information on how to see yourself differently, specifically focusing on how God sees you. Each chapter begins with a thoughtful, heartfelt letter to the reader from Saxton and is then followed with practical applications based on Biblical principles. The non-fiction book is somewhat autobiographical in that Saxton bears her soul by sharing some of her most vulnerable moments with the audience. Additionally, the piece is targeted toward Christian women; however, as with most motivational literature, anyone can benefit from the overarching themes and message. 

Saxton’s writing style is educational and simultaneously conversational. Many of the ideas she presents are done in such a way that any reader can relate and understand. Having heard her speak and following her on Instagram, I would say she has a bubbly personality and that definitely comes through in her writing. 

Recommendation: Overall, I would say that Saxton has a way with words and is a Biblical scholar. I would recommend this book to any of my friends seeking to rid themselves of negative self-talk and improve on self-perspective and reflection. This book is a must read! 

Until next time ... Read on!

Regardless of whether I purchase a book, borrow a book, or receive a book in exchange for review, my ultimate goal is to be honest, fair, and constructive. I hope you've found this review helpful.