May 2019 TBR

(#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.)

May 2019 TBR

These monthly TBR posts are almost comical because I rarely stick to them. I’m such a mood reader, so while I list them here with the best of intentions, not all of them have made the cut by month’s end. 🤷🏼‍♀️

** The Farm by: Joanne Ramos (Random House) – On Shelves: May 7, 2019

  • I’m all about books that push the boundaries of our thinking and this one promises to mess with your mind. Hosts live on the grounds of a retreat, all their needs (money, food, etc) met while they are pregnant. Once they give birth, the baby is given to a wealthy client. With themes of motherhood and privileged lifestyles vs those who have less, I hope this one delivers. I’ve seen a lot of mixed reviews and DNFs but I’m hopeful I’ll enjoy it!

Beyond the Point by: Claire Gibson (William Morrow) – Pub Date: April 2, 2019

  • I have yet to see a negative review for this one. I’m so glad I added it to my Book of the Month box last month!

Sissy: A Coming-of-Gender Story by: Jacob Tobia (Putnam) – Pub Date: March 5, 2019

  • I still can’t believe I haven’t made the time for this one yet because it’s probably the one I want to read the most! 

The Affairs of the Falcóns by: Melissa Rivero (ECCO) – Pub Date: April 2, 2019

  • I started this one on audio and the writing was just too beautiful to miss so I ordered the book. It’s here now and I can’t wait to read it. I’ve only seen great reviews!

** Waisted by: Randy Susan Meyers (Atria) – On Shelves: May 21, 2019

** What Matters Most: The Get Your Shit Together Guide to Wills, Money, Insurance, and Life’s “What Ifs” by: Chanel Reynolds (Harper Wave) – Pub Date: March 19, 2019

  • Who doesn’t need help when it comes to wills and money? My husband and I are in a place where we’re wanting to review our options and I’m looking forward to the advice in this one!

** Necessary People by: Anna Pitoniak (Little, Brown and Company) – On Shelves: May 21, 2019

  • Toxic female friendship? I’m intrigued. This is also a Book of the Month selection this month so I think it’s going to be showing up quite a bit soon!

The Mother-in-Law by: Sally Hepworth (St. Martin’s) – Pub Date: April 23, 2019

  • This is another book I’ve seen mostly good reviews on. I’m not sure it’s much of a thriller; as I understand it, it’s more of a deep character study? I’m not sure, but I’m excited to get to it!

** The Flatshare by: Beth O’Leary (Flatiron) – Pub Date: April 18, 2019

  • I think this one is going to be a great “brain candy” read, as my friend Sarah (Sarah’s Book Shelves) likes to call them. I usually refer to them as “palate cleansers” – just something light and easy and enjoyable, particularly after a dark and/or heavy read! Also, this is what summer/beach reading is all about!

** Nanaville: Adventures in Grandparenting by: Anna Quindlen (Random House) – Pub Date: April 23, 2019

  • Like everyone else, I’m going to try to read this one quickly before Mother’s Day so I can pass it along to a grandma in my life! 

 

Red Clocks

**Thank you Little, Brown & Company for my free final copy in exchange for my review. All opinions are my own.**

“Which (the disbelief) was stupid. She knew – it was her job as a teacher of history to know – how many horrors are legitimated in public daylight, against the will of most of the people.”

Imagine a country where women no longer have a say in what they can do with their own bodies. They can’t consent to an abortion, they can’t get in-vitro fertilization, and if they’re not married, they can’t decide to adopt a child. Sounds like one of “those” places far, far away from America, right?

In Leni Zumas’ latest novel, Red Clocks, this is actually the reality for all women living in the United States. The Constitution has been ratified to criminalize all such behavior, and the future looks so very grim.

Suddenly, all women’s behavior looks totally suspect. It seems like one would have to live always looking over her shoulder – waiting for the law to prosecute her under some obscure violation. Nowhere is safe; everybody is watching. It’s bleak and grim; ultimately, it feels very hopeless.

What made this novel so great is Zumas’ ability to present five women who are affected by this law in very different ways. It’s so easy to think about our own personal situations and how we would be affected if this imaginary world was, in fact, reality. However, Zumas expertly weaves five different perspectives into a powerful narrative that forces the reader to feel empathy and compassion for each scenario.

Sometimes these laws that are debated by our elected officials seem so irrelevant to us as regular citizens; it isn’t until the law is actually passed that we realize the impact it actually has on us as individuals. Many fall into the trapped way of thinking, “Oh, that doesn’t affect me because (**insert various excuses here**)” but this book masterfully showed why decisions have a way of impacting ALL OF US.

For example, maybe you’re a man and you think an abortion law means nothing to your personal freedoms. But what happens when your wife can’t get pregnant and you desperately want a baby? (Granted, in this novel, if you’re married, you still have another option not available to a single woman.) Or would if your daughter ends up pregnant and you know she is not in a place to become a mother at such a young age? If you think the best thing is to have an abortion? Sadly, in this novel, that choice isn’t up to you.

To me, this isn’t a discussion about whether or not abortion/IVF/adoption should be legal or not. It’s about how far we’re (as a country) willing to let the government make decisions for us. One of the founding principles of this country was freedom – freedom from tyranny and dictatorship. As a nation, we’re seeing various issues coming up for discussion that, I, for one, have taken for granted. I’m guilty of that “that will never happen/if it does happen, it won’t be that bad” mentality, so a book like this is a call to action to really examine our personal thoughts and beliefs to determine which of those are worth fighting to preserve. I don’t think we want to be caught in a situation like the book presents only to realize we should have started fighting long before it’s too late.

The Winter Station

**Thank you Little, Brown & Company for my free final copy in exchange for my review. All opinions are my own.**

“Someone coughed intermittently. He sensed the contamination that haunted the room, filled the thickness of the air, was layered on every surface, spread across his open eyes, entered his nose, his body. It was constant, invisible, like a vibration of music. Each bed held danger. His breath became irregular and he began to sweat in his bulky coverall. Certain he was using up a lifetime of blessings, he swore never to put himself at risk again if he escaped infection this time. This clarity shook him. He whispered, “God have mercy. Gospodi-pomiluy,” as if these words were a charm against the plague.”

Based on actual events from 1910 in the Russian-ruled city of Kharbin, a kind of “hub city”, people are succumbing to a mysterious plague in epidemic proportions. The Baron, an aristocratic Russian doctor and the city’s medical commissioner, is fighting against time to figure out a way to contain the disease before it spreads around the world.

I didn’t expect to be captured by this book as much as I was. Admittedly, there were times where I felt a little bored, but as I continued to read, I realized that the author (Jody Shields) had to lay the groundwork in order for the story to earn credibility and to emphasize all the pieces that contributed to this terrifying time in history.

Because of the Ebola outbreak in 2014, I feel like I could quickly identify the limitations the Russians were facing. We have the ability to communicate quickly through phones, internet, 24-hr news channels, and social media. Their communication was very limited; in fact, the Russian officials at times refused to give the people information about the epidemic sweeping their region. There were many reasons for this: medical knowledge just simply wasn’t what it is now, political strategy, and fear.

“The plague has a brilliant strategy,” he said. “It hides so those who are infected spread the bacilli to others without suspicion. It’s a Trojan horse.”

This wasn’t a character-driven story. It was very slow moving, but in a way that explained the many angles at play. I kept imagining myself living in a time where there wasn’t widespread information. Everyone must have lived with such fear – who would be infected next? What was spreading this disease? How do you catch it? How do you avoid it?

I loved the characters in this story; they were so richly developed. There was a bit of A Gentleman in Moscow vibe to the story, but I’m not sure if I just made that connection because this was set near the Russian border. Even so, the writing somewhat reminded me of that book as well.

Overall I enjoyed this book. A slow burn is nice change of pace sometimes. If anything, the Ebola outbreak proves that we are still very cautious when it comes to the spreading of diseases and, while we know so much more than we used to, there are some things beyond human control.