Wednesday, May 1, 2019

April 2019 Reads

Guys, this was an insanely strong month of reading for me. I have so many great recommendations!

This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel - I started the month off with a bang that came from a recommendation from Emily. This story follows a family whose youngest son {of 5 boys} is transgender and how the family deals with that. I loved this book and family so much and loved how the family seemed so REAL in what the true issues are {the author has a transgender child} or at least what the real issues are in our world. It wasn't that the family struggled with accepting their daughter - it was figuring out how to help her survive in today's world - it sucks that this is our reality, but I do see our world evolving and books like this help! I think the author has an amazing writing style and I got sucked into it. There were some sections of her dialogue that felt a little long, and there is a fairy-tale story the dad tells throughout the book that I know was off-putting to some people, but it was such a short part of the story and was actually a really important plot point by the end that it was worth it to me. Overall I was so moved by this book and this family.

The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness - Finished my re-read of the Discovery of Witches trilogy and am so glad I re-read it. I remembered SO little of the books initially and loved getting back into this world. Deborah is a very talented author, and I look forward to more books by her, and hopefully more in this world!

Princess Elizabeth's Spy by Susan Elia MacNeal - This was the 2nd book in a series I started a few months ago about a female code breaker, Maggie, who starts out in Churchill's pool of secretaries but due to her brilliance at math ends up turning into a spy. This story followed her being a personal spy for Princess Elizabeth when there was a potential kidnapping plot. These books don't set the world on fire, but I really like Emma and the adventures she has. This one also ended with a little bit of a love cliffhanger, and I'm excited to see how it is resolved.

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens - When I finished this book, I was emotionally demolished. I could have sobbed and sobbed! This book was beautiful and bittersweet. Kya grows up in the marsh, abandoned by her family. Over the years, she is considered to be a weird recluse and few in her town see her heart. The plotline jumps from Kya's youth to when she is an adult and we're trying to understand how her story fits with the All-American hero of her town's murder. Bottom line: I loved every minute of this book.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman - The female version of Ove is the perfect description of Eleanor Oliphant. She is weird, she has no friends, but why? As Eleanor's story comes to light, it is so heartbreaking that you almost don't understand how she could survive, but you sure want her to! I loved the secondary character, Ray, and all the other people who interact with Eleanor and help her become whole. Another amazing book.

The Two-Family House by Lynda Cohen Loigman - I read The Wartime Sisters last month and followed it up with this story which is about 2 brothers and their families who share a duplex during the 1950s. The sister-in-laws end up having their youngest babies on the same night during a blizzard and something happened that night that slowly tears their families apart. I pretty quickly guessed what that something was, and I don't think the author was necessarily trying to have it be a secret, but she danced around it until the very end. I liked how the author slowly evolved the characters {similar to The Wartime Sisters}, and it was easy to get invested in their stories - it was a relatively quick, enjoyable read.

The Paris Seamstress by Natasha Lester - Geez, another book that bruised my heart but was oh so good! A similar set-up to a lot of my WW2 books - we follow 2 connected storylines, the first character is Estella who escapes France for New York during the start of WW2 when her mother tells her she has American papers because SURPRISE her father was American and she was born in America, and the second character is Fabienne, Estella's granddaughter. We unravel Estella's story {who is her father? is just one of the many questions we have about Estella} in the past as she becomes a great fashion designer and Fabienne's story in the present is a sweet tale that overlaps nicely with discoveries of Estella's past. Another book that made me teary-eyed and had me feeling all the feels!

See? A GREAT month of reading! And I'm already killing it with May...see what I got to borrow from my neighbor?!?! Whoo-hoo!


Natasha said...

Oh, oh, oh -- what a GREAT month of reading!!! I so wish my library had The Paris Seamstress but it doesn't. Boo. I may have to buy it because it sounds so good.

And I REALLY need to jump back in to my All Souls Trilogy re-read. Thanks for the reminder.

Also, just a small correction -- Maggie is the hero of the Princess Elizabeth's Spy books, not Emma. I need to pick up the fourth book in that series. Warning: Book 3 takes a slightly darker turn :(

And I just put The Two Family House on hold. Can't wait to read it!!!

Emily said...

What a great month of books! I'm so happy you loved "This Is How It Always Is" like I did and I also agree that Eleanor Oliphant is fantastic book. I am 313 (out of 652) for ""Where the Crawdads Sing" on my library list, which is the longest waitlist I've seen since the Michelle Obama book; I cannot WAIT to read it because everyone has so many good things to say. Can't wait to hear your thoughts on Daisy Jones - it seems to be getting positive reviews so I am hopeful!

Erika said...

Oh man, this WAS a great month of reading! I loved This is How it Always Is. And I don't think I realized the author had a transgender child, actually. SUCH a well-written, important book, though. I'm going to have to add several of these others to my list now!!