(#partner #freebooks: All books noted by asterisks (***) indicate I received the book for free from the publisher, the author, or another promotional company to review. All opinions are my own.)
I hope all of you mothers had a wonderful day yesterday being celebrated! I have to admit that it’s hard for me to get excited about Mother’s Day – this will be the fifth one without my own mama to spend the day with. But I have to remind myself that my own children deserve to celebrate this holiday with their mama, so I put my sadness to the side and try to embrace the moment with them.
All grief aside, it was a wonderful day shared with those that mean the most to me. I hope the same for all of you!
Last Week’s Reads:
*** The Night Tiger by: Yangsze Choo (Flatiron) – Pub Date: February 12, 2019
As one of Reece Witherspoon’s Book Club picks, I was excited to read this one! I haven’t read all the books she’s chosen, but I’ve had great success with the ones I have. This is a story set in 1930s Malaya (modern-day Malaysia) and it’s rife with themes of magical realism, Chinese superstition, and mystery. Also, a missing finger. 🤷🏼♀️ Admittedly, I would usually shy away from a book with that description and that’s probably why it’s sat on my #unreadBOTM shelf for as long as it did.
But I gotta say, Choo’s writing is so beautiful that I was pulled into the story right away. I wanted to know about this mysterious tiger, the seemingly connected deaths, and this missing finger. I began by alternating between reading my hard copy and listening to it on audio, and I quickly abandoned the book altogether because the audio was incredible. Choo narrates the book herself and she is fantastic! I’ll listen to anything she reads!
Overall the book was engaging and I loved the story. And while this had potential to be a 5-star read for me, there were a few problematic things I couldn’t get passed. The main one was the step-sibling romance. I know they aren’t technically related, but it was so off-putting to me that I really wanted to skip over these sections; however, their part was central to the story. I don’t understand why it was so important to add in to the story because it would have been just as strong without that addition. Also, there was a mid-book slump that definitely killed the momentum – thank goodness it sped right back up towards the end!
*** The Unhoneymooners by: Christina Lauren (Gallery Books) – On Shelves: May 14, 2019
This book will be for me this year what The Kiss Quotient was for me last year – a sweet and fun rom-com summer/beach read. Olive and Ethan surmount innumerable hurdles to finally find themselves happily in love with each other. There were funny moments and hilarious one-liners throughout that kept me rolling through the pages.
I did find it very slow to start and that was a little frustrating. I was a little annoyed with Olive’s reaction to the culminating issue (#nospoilers) but when I remind myself that rom-coms are supposed to be taken more lightly, I realize that everything fit together perfectly in the end.
Overall, I appreciated Olive’s growth throughout the novel and her advocacy for being a curvy girl with no shame. We need more of this from authors! I liked the evolution of Olive and Ethan’s relationship, and I loved Olive’s supportive family and her relationship with her twin sister.
This is the second book I’ve read by Christina Lauren (the other one was Love and Other Words). If forced to choose, I think I prefer this one, but generally speaking, this writing duo masterfully writes the rom-com story!
*** A Bend in the Stars by: Rachel Barenbaum (Grand Central Publishing) – On Shelves: May 14, 2019
While I was hoping I would love this one a little more than I did, I still found it a fascinating look at Russia just prior to the start of WWI. There’s A LOT going on in this story – an eclipse is coming which will help solve Einstein’s incomplete Theory of Relativity, the family is separated and supposed to meet back up in another part of Russia before trying to escape to America, there are soldiers and other people in pursuit of them all because they are Jewish, and there is a love triangle.
Seriously, ALL of this activity was a little distracting at points. It felt like the author realized she had a lot of loose ends to tie up because the ending was quick and abrupt for me. Overall, I liked the story but it lacked the emotional connection throughout. I kept reading thinking I would eventually find it, but it eluded me up until the last 25% of the book. I thought the characters were well-developed and I was very curious where this story would end up. The story kept me turning pages – but for me, the story never found its rhythm.
Also, I would have appreciated an Author’s Note at the end to see which parts of this book were factual – all I could come up with was that the solar eclipse was real and the climate of Russia pre-WWI was similar. I still don’t know if Einsten really did ask for scientists to help him complete his theory or if that was just embellished for the story.
The Mother-in-Law by: Sally Hepworth (St. Martin’s Press) – Pub Date: April 23, 2019
I didn’t read the synopsis going into this one; everyone seems to love it so I decided to give it a try. It’s way less thriller/mystery than I assumed it would be and way more of a complicated family drama. I was surprised at how smart it was. While there are some parts that were very unrealistic to me, I was still able to stick to the story because the characters were well-developed and there was an interesting plot to follow. I listened to this one on audio and it was fantastic!
Sissy: A Coming-of-Gender Story by: Jacob Tobia (G.P. Putnam) – Pub Date: March 5, 2019
Just about halfway through and this book is proving to be one of the most powerful memoirs I’ve ever read. I believe this will make it onto my Top Reads of 2019!
*** 1000+ Little Things Happy Successful People Do Differently by: Marc and Angel Chernoff (Tarcherperigee) – On Shelves: May 21, 2019
Currently reading a few pages in the morning to kick off my day. It kind of reminds me of Timothy Ferriss’ Tools of Titans.
Likely to Read Next:
Moving forward, I will be eliminating this category from these posts. Honestly, I’m such a mood reader that I rarely read the books that I put here, so in an effort to streamline my efforts and not waste time, this feature will no longer be available!
Tell me, friends, what’s been your favorite reads lately?