Daisy Jones & The Six

{#partner #freebook @randomhouse}

I’m gonna have to agree with the hype on this one and praise it from the highest mountain tops with everyone else.

“I’d chase this life with all of my heart. I wanted so badly to express myself and be heard and bring solace to other people with my own words. But it because a hell I’d created myself, a cage I’d built and locked myself in. I came to hate that I’d put my heart and my pain into my music because it meant that I couldn’t ever leave it behind. And I had to keep singing it to him, night after night after night, and I could no longer hide how I felt or what being next to him was doing to me. It made for a great show. But it was my life.”

Sure, I was a little leery of the format in the beginning (it’s in interview format – exactly like a script would be), but as soon as I got a feel for the characters, the story took off and I could not put this one down.

TJR proves herself once again as a master at storytelling and the format of this book proves that point even more. To be able to craft a story with snippets of various people’s points of view truly demonstrates her giftedness as a writer.

The last 50 pages were so brilliant and beautiful to me; I didn’t see the twist coming. I felt all the feels and I took a long sigh when I finished. It’s just one of those books.

No doubt about it: this will be one of my favorite books of the year!

My Week in Books (3/11/19)

FullSizeRender(#partner #freebooks. Thank you, Scribner, Skyhorse Publishing, Get Red PR, Algonquin, and Red Lightning Books for the free books to review. All opinions are my own.)

We’re gearing up for a major blizzard around here, so thank goodness I had this post pretty much written already! The forecast is calling for 8-10″, but here’s the kicker: 60 MPH winds! If my family weren’t ranchers with cattle and mama cows having babies, I wouldn’t be nearly as concerned. In fact, I’d probably be rejoicing at the potential reading time…but, not so much in this case. I’m heading out to help my dad move his cattle into corrals and getting some grocery shopping done…checking on my 90-year-old grandparents and making sure they’re prepared with food and medicine. It’s gonna get interesting this week around here!

Last Week’s Reads:

 

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Currently Reading/Listening:

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  • A Grip of Time by: Lauren Kessler (Red Lightning Books) Pub Date: May 1, 2019
    • I started reading this one before I realized the publishing date is a little ways out there! Haha! When I realized that, I tried to pause it to read closer to May, but it’s too good for me to stop! A non-fiction book about a woman who starts a writing group in a prison, it’s an interesting look into a few prisoners’ lives. It also gives some interesting background history of the prison systems.
  • Daisy Jones and The Six by: Taylor Jenkins Reid (Random House) – Pub Date: March 5, 2019
    • I may have almost cried happy tears the day this book finally showed up on my doorstep! I read between basketball games yesterday and I’m hooked. Dang blizzard! I just wanna sit all day and finish this one! I also think the audiobook version of this one would be amazing! Stay tuned for a review as soon as possible!

Likely to Read Next:

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  • Queenie by: Candice Carty-Williams (Orion Publishing) – Pub Date: March 19, 2019
    • This one should be arriving in my mailbox today (Thank you, Book of the Month Club…here’s an affiliate link if you’d like to join and trust me – you do!) It’s been described as a mix between Americanah (hello, still haven’t read this one 🤦🏼‍♀️) and Bridgette Jones’ Diary. I’ve seen mostly positive reviews so far…it releases next Tuesday!
  • The Things We Cannot Say by: Kelly Rimmer (Graydon House) – Pub Date: March 19, 2019
    • This one also releases next Tuesday. A WWII historical fiction novel about the Nazis moving into Russian territory. It promises secrets and love and loyalty and perseverance – all things I love in a novel!

Tell me, friends, what’s been your favorite reads lately?

A Woman Is No Man

This book is gut-wrenching and heartbreaking, and even hard to read at times. But it addresses a very real problem for many people, regardless of their culture or background. The reasons behind domestic violence may vary, but it is an issue across all generations, cultures, socioeconomic standings, and backgrounds.

A Woman Is No Man specifically addresses a Palestinian-Arab family living in NYC. In this story, the woman are severely oppressed – a marriage is generally arranged for their daughters before they’ve even graduated high school, the women do not attend college, and they do not work once married. Truly, they are only necessary to cook, clean, and create children, specifically boys to carry on their name.

Isra is immediately a character that my heart was drawn to. Her sense of hopelessness and despair permeated the pages and I wanted to reach through the pages and give her some love which was so apparently lacking in her life. She tried to find joy in her daughters, but in a culture that values a son first and foremost, it is difficult for her to feel peaceful until she can give birth to a boy. What I love so much is that Rum was able to write her circumstances so well, and also give me the feeling of hope by the time I read the last page.

“Listening to Sarah, Isra wondered if this was what it meant to be an American: having a voice. She wished she knew how to speak her mind, wished she couldn’t said those things to Mama: that girls were just as valuable as boys, that their culture was unfair, and that Mama, as a woman, should’ve understood that. She wished she could’ve told Mama that she was sick of always being put second, of being shamed, disrespected, abused, and neglected unless there was cleaning or cooking to be done.”

And speaking of the last page, I was blown away by the pure genius Rum demonstrates in the ending! Without giving away any spoilers, trust me when I tell you that it was masterful! I liked the book before getting to the end, but that ending absolutely made the book for me! I had to reread it just to take in the full effect of it.

“Courage will get you everywhere, so long as you believe in yourself and what you stand for…you don’t know what your life will be like, and neither do I. The only thing I know for sure is that you alone are in control of your destiny. No one else. You have the power to make your life whatever you want it to be, and in order to do that, you have to find the courage to stand up for yourself, even if you’re standing alone.”

This would make a wonderful book club selection as there is LOTS to unpack here. Ultimately, this is a well-written book and it has placed Rum on my radar for future releases!

“My destiny is in my hands. Men make these sorts of choices all the time. Now I’m going to as well.”

The Wrong End of the Table: A Mostly Comic Memoir of a Muslim Arab American Woman Just Trying to Fit In

(Thank you, Skyhorse Publishing and Get Red PR, for the free book to review. All opinions are my own.)

“Forty-something years is a long time for someone to feel like an outsider in a nation made up of immigrants.”

Ayser Salman has written a memoir that is both funny and honest. It doesn’t shy away from the stereotypes many people hold about Muslim-Americans, and in fact, she corrects many of them. Since 9/11, the amount of assumptions about this culture of people has been so unbelievably unfair and, I was happy to read a memoir that helps begin a dialogue to address those incorrect thoughts.

As a successful writer, producer, and editor among the Hollywood elite, Salman writes in a relatable way to her audience. I especially loved her open letter to President Trump. Not once in her writing does she disassociate with the greater meaning of America – inclusion, regardless of your background, culture, religion, or beliefs – yet she manages to point out Trump’s hypocrisy and ignorance quite eloquently.

When someone tells you to go back to a place where you belong, they are insinuating that you don’t belong with everyone else. The anti-immigrant sentiment is pretty clear.

The Wrong End of the Table: A Mostly Comic Memoir of a Muslim Arab American Woman Just Trying to Fit In is an insightful memoir in to a modern-day Muslim Arab American woman. It’s smart and funny and an important read for all Americans. We belong to each other and America is a better place with the diversity that we each can bring to the table.

The Island of Sea Women

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(Thank you, Scribner via NetGalley, for the free digital copy to review. All opinions are my own!)

Sometimes it can feel like all historical fiction novels are centered around the WWII era. While I love many of those books, I was looking for something different. The Island of Sea Women is mostly based in the 1930s and 1940s and is about the Korean island, Jeju. During this time, it was under Japanese colonialism, so the residents find themselves caught between warring empires and in difficult and dire circumstances.

I loved this book for so many reasons. Any time there are layers to a story that aren’t immediately obvious, I’m hooked. The motivations of one person may not be understandable to others, and how does that play out when people’s lives are involved? How do you forgive a person that, by their refusal to help you, results in the loss of your family? Do they deserve to be forgiven?

Not only did I like the fictional side of this story, but I also loved the historical aspect as well. I know little to nothing about the history of how Korea was divided into North and South Korea, the impact of WWII on this specific region of the world, or the United States’ involvement during this time. While it’s not a complete history, it definitely introduced me to enough topics that I’m curious to learn more.

Another piece of the story that fascinated me was the henyeos. The women of this all-female diving collective are basically real-life mermaids. They can hold their breath for very long periods of time, allowing them to dive deep into the sea to collect abalone, octopus, sea cucumbers, squid, and more in order to sell (and sometimes eat themselves) to provide for their families. Because the women are the primary breadwinners, the men stay home and tend to the children. I found this so interesting given the time period the book was set in.

Friendship, forgiveness, and resiliency are strong themes throughout the book and anytime I find myself reading something that includes these aspects, I know I’m going to end up loving it. This book presents an impossible situation and it challenged me to examine my ideas of forgiveness.

There’s a lot to discuss in this book; it would make a great book club pick!

The Beantown Girls

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(Thank you, Lake Union Publishing, Jane Healey, and Get Red PR, for the free book to review. All opinions are my own.)

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I love historical fiction based around the WWII time period, but I had never heard of the Red Cross Clubmobile Girls. As recruiters of educated women, the Clubmobile’s girls’ responsibilities included serving coffee and donuts on the front lines, but more importantly, they were there to boost the morale of the soldiers. The story centers around three main characters – Fiona, Viviana, and Dottie. They’re best friends and all join together in an effort to find out what happened to Fiona’s missing fiancé. Along the way, they learn lessons about love, friendship, bravery, war, and loss.

This is my first Jane Healey novel and she’s a great storyteller. The story was engaging and I really enjoyed the characters – especially the level-headedness and bravery of Fiona. I loved learning about the Clubmobile girls. These girls volunteered to go to war, putting themselves in danger because they felt the call to fight for our country. I would love to learn more about these girls!

Sometimes the WWII genre can feel saturated, but this book offered a fresh perspective on a little known aspect of the war. The overall story was sweet and I truly enjoyed reading it!

My Week in Books

(#partner #freebooks. Thank you, Scribner; Skyhorse Publishing; William Morrow; and TLC Book Tours, for the free books to review. All opinions are my own.)

Last Week’s Reads:

  • Social Creature by: Tara Isabella Burton (William Morrow)
    • This one creeped me out! This quick and easy read was the perfect palate cleanser for me after reading The Huntress. 
  • The Huntress by: Kate Quinn (William Morrow)
    • I loved learning about the Soviet Union’s all-female night bombers and I loved following along as the characters tracked down The Huntress, but overall, this book didn’t hold up as well as The Alice Network (my full review here) for me. For my full thoughts, read my full review here.

Currently Reading/Listening:

  • The Island of Sea Girls by: Lisa See (Scribner) – Pub Date: March 5, 2019
    • So far, this one is interesting and I’m intrigued by the premise. However, the pace is slow and I’m concerned I may end up losing interest. I’m gonna push through a little more, but it may end up being a DNF. Stay tuned!
  • The Wrong End of the Table: A Mostly Comic Memoir of a Muslim Arab Woman Just Trying to Fit In by: Ayser Salman (Skyhorse Publishing) – Pub Date: March 5, 2019
    • “Forty-something years is a long time for someone to feel like an outsider in a nation made up of immigrants.” This quote is from the first few pages, and if it’s any indication for what’s to come…I’m here for it!
  • Dying: A Memoir by: Cory Taylor (Text Publishing)
    • I began this one and really enjoyed it, but I have more pressing books I need to get to before I feel like I can fully engage in this one. It’s a library book so I’ll hold onto it until its due date, but it may just not be the time for me. At only 140 pages, I’m really hoping to just devote and afternoon to it and finish it. 
  • 🎧Audio: Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by: Cheryl Strayd (Random House Audio)
    • Let’s be honest for a second: I haven’t listed to this for a couple of weeks now. But I LOVE it and it’s one of those kinds of books that are totally fine to dip in and out of. So for the sake of repetition, this is probably the last week this one will be on the list – until I actually get it finished!

Likely to Read Next:

  • Daisy Jones and The Six: by Taylor Jenkins Reid (Random House) – Pub Date: March 5, 2019
    • I mean, duh! Who isn’t planning on reading this ASAP?! I’ve only heard one mediocre review so this may just be my most highly anticipated books!

Tell me, friends, what’s been your favorite reads lately?