Quick Takes: Our Souls at Night

Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf
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23602562This was a bittersweet little tale of two old widowers find each other at a time when loneliness lingers in the nights. I enjoyed this first foray into Haruf’s fictional town of Holt, Colorado, and think I may pick up some of his other books when I get the chance. I definitely appreciated this sweet little book as a short break from the hefty Les Mis. Haruf has that sparse, Hemingway style of prose, though, and unfortunately that doesn’t always work with me. I feel like the tale moves too quickly, and I’m not able to sit with the emotions as long as I’d like. Maybe I’ll just have to practice slowing down my reading pace. I also just found out Netflix came out with a movie about this book last year, so I may have to check that out!

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Series Preview: Poison Study

Poison Study (#1) by Maria V. Snyder
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I had first heard of this series years ago and was definitely intrigued by it, but never got around to picking it up. Recently, I was watching one of my favorite BookTubers, Regan17206162 from PeruseProject, and she had binged the trilogy, which peaked my interest again. I looked at my library and found this first book available via eBook, so I decided to check it out. And I am so glad that I did!! 😀

This first book was so great!! Admittedly, I did go into this book with some low expectations, but I found that this book way exceeded my low expectations!! For those of you who don’t know about this book, we follow Yelena, who is a convicted murder given a chance at a new life as the Commander’s poison taster. At the surface, this sounds like such a basic fantasy story but there were some surprising layers and complexity to the story. I had read someone’s review of this book and agree with the notion that I wished that this was an adult fantasy rather than a young adult, as I think that that would’ve added even more layers to the story.

Now I have read some mixed reviews of the rest of this series, so I am going to try to find a library copy of the second book to see how I feel about it. But, I did like this first book and it was definitely enough to intrigue me to continue on with the series. This is the first book in a fairly longer series with some overlapping series, which is my favorite thing to read! Depending on how I feel about the second book, I’ll either do a full series review or I’ll do an individual review if it flops for me.

This now concludes my spoiler-free review of this book and now I need to get into some spoiler-y thoughts because I definitely have a few of them!! 🙂

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Love & Injustice

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
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This was one of my most anticipated releases of 2018 AND my February Book of the 33590210Month pick, so all around I was really excited for this book! As you can see from my star rating, I LOVED this book!! This was a book that I kind of had to sit on my rating and thoughts before I made a final decision and I’m happy to say that I genuinely believe that this is a five-star read.

This book was beautifully written, captivating and heartbreaking all at the same time. We follow Celestial and Roy, a pair of happy newlyweds. Roy is a young executive and Celestial is an artist, both up and coming and at the start of their exciting careers. As happy as their lives are unfolding, it all comes tumbling as Roy is wrongfully accused of a crime and then sentenced to 12 years. Throughout the novel, we follow their individual journeys and the impact of this event on them and their marriage. This is such an important read exploring the injustice of our justice system, particularly towards Black men, but from a different lens. To me, this is equally a socially just focused book but also a tragically beautiful love story.

The thing about this book that I loved the most was the deep exploration of our characters. We take a pretty deep dive into both Celestial and Roy, but also Andre who is Celestial’s childhood friend that she takes comfort in while Roy is incarcerated. Not only do we have strong character profiles of our protagonists, but we also examine the lives of those around them which builds for a richer story. In the exploration of our characters, we find incredibly flawed, relatable and real characters. You can’t really find fault in anyone’s actions, as I would ask “what would you do” if you were to find yourself in any kind of situation like this.

I loved the different formats and switching of POV’s throughout the book. I found this to have a powerful impact on the book, as we could actually see the direct impacts on each of the characters and just helps you to understand where everyone is coming from. There is a short exchange of the story that is told in letters sent back and forth between Celestial and Roy while Roy is in jail, and this was the most heartbreaking part of the story as you really start to see the changes in their marriage just from the letters.

All in all, this was an important read and it was a heartbreaking love story. This was complex and raw, and I believe everyone needs to read this book. I am so happy to have read this and am so grateful that this got to be my Book of the Month pick! 😀

 

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How Serendipitous :) <3

Meet Cute: Some People Are Destined to Meet by Various Authors
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This anthology was beyond sweet!! 😀 When I first heard that this was coming out, I was absolutely head over heels! I loved the concept of this anthology as it is one of my favorite movie/book tropes. I love the concept of a “meet cute” and I am a sucker for 33503607 sweet, romantic stories.

As I have done with other short story compilations, I will give you mini breakdown of all the stories along with my ratings for each story. The rating above is the overall average rating which came to be about 3.6ish. Overall, I really liked this anthology!! This anthology was not only super sweet, but also incredibly diverse which just made my heart sing! I appreciated the diverse portrayal of love and characters. I also loved how different all of the stories were. As these were stories of how people who fall in love initially meet, they all definitely leave you hanging and the better stories definitely leave you wanting more.

With all that being said, I will now get into mini/spoilery reviews of each story!! 🙂

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Quick Takes: The Summer I Turned Pretty

The Summer I Turned Pretty (#1) by Jenny Han
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So…I LOVED Jenny Han’s To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before trilogy. Like adored them!! 😀 35380161They made me smile, cry and they were just oh so sweet! I’d heard great things about her Summer trilogy, I was going on a beachy vacation and so, I definitely thought that that this would be a great beachy read. As you can see from my rating, that definitely wasn’t the case. Le sigh…

Honestly I just think that this isn’t the book for me. There’s something about this book that just felt so juvenile, which I think is the target demographic anyways. I am not normally someone that strictly abides by target demographics of books, but this one definitely read very juvenile and definitely a story plot line that I am well past.

Belly is, probably, the worst and most annoying protagonist I think I’ve ever read from. I do realize that Belly is 16 (I am pretty sure) in this book, but she is just so petulant, immature and everything she does is for the boys in her life. She is a protagonist that feels substance-less and I was disappointed in that. Regardless of her age, I could see a lot of potential for her character to be strong, driven and I was really hoping for a sweet coming-of age story while set on the beach. Unfortunately, I got a whiny and entitled 16-year old. It wasn’t even the relationship with the boys that annoyed me, but it was her all around personality. Her relationship with her mother and just her overall entitled personality.

The only true redeeming character in this story was Susannah and her story line. It was heartbreaking and heartwarming all at the same time. I appreciated reading about her experience and I loved how the beach provided a literal escape for Susannah, which is always how I feel when I run to the ocean. There is a part of me that totally wishes that this book was all about Susannah rather than Belly.

Overall, I didn’t like this book. I am really sad to say that. This doesn’t take away my love for Jenny Han, but this book was definitely not for me and I will not finish the trilogy of books.

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Quick Take: Dear Martin

Dear Martin by Nic Stonefive-star-rating-black-clip-art-hi

If you can’t tell how much I loved this book by my star rating, then I will tell you that I 38346862read this in two days! 😀 I couldn’t stop reading because the story was so mesmerizing and heartbreaking. I absolutely loved it – this is an incredibly important read!! Everyone needs to absolutely read this book!!

This book follows Justyce, who is a young black man attending a predominantly white affluent preparatory high school. He is at the top of his class and Ivy League school bound. Suddenly at the beginning of the book, however, he is mistakenly arrested by a white cop solely because of his skin color. This leads Justyce to reflect on not only the incident, but also the greater injustice of police brutality against black men. To help his reflections, Justyce starts writing letters to Martin Luther King Jr. and really dives into his teachings in order to be “more like Martin”.

I not only have the words to describe how impactful this book was, but I also do not want to spoil the experience of anyone who also wants to experience this book. The format of this book was incredible and definitely added to the impact that the book had on me. Last year, I read The Hate U Give which was also an incredibly impactful read, but one of the main things that stood out about this book was that we followed the perspective of a young black man, which I think is a perspective that gets left out in books and the overall media.

In conclusion, READ THIS BOOK! Not only are we giving room for the stories of young black men and women, but it’s also supporting more authors who identify as people of color, particular women of color. READ THIS BOOK! 😀

 

 

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A New Kind of Love Story

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
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This was an absolutely lovely read! 🙂 I was so happy to receive this for Christmas from 28458598my future mother-in-law and I was so excited!! I’ve heard such great reviews about this book, so I was excited to dive in myself.

When Dimple Met Rishi is a YA contemporary story that follows our two protagonists, Dimple and Rishi. Dimple is Stanford bound to study computer science and we follow Dimples’ summer before Stanford as she attends a summer camp, Insomnia Con, for aspiring web developers. Once Dimple arrives to Insomnia Con, she unexpectedly meets Rishi, who is there because his parents have told him that they have set up a meeting for him with his future wife at the same summer camp. However, their first meeting was not quite what Rishi had hoped it was going to be. Needless to say, this is where this quirky, heartwarming, heartbreaking and fun love story begins!

This was such a fun and important read, especially today. I think what was so great about this book was not that it was the most different story in terms of plot, but it was the most different story in terms of representation. We’ve all read stories like this before, but never with these characters. These characters who are not only ordinary college-bound young people, but characters who also carry the weight of their cultural upbringing.

I appreciated how we saw both characters wrestle with their culture in such different and real ways. I also appreciated that the book was real in how young people of color are typically received by their white counterparts. It’s unfortunate and hurtful, but it is so true. I know I’ve had similar experiences, as a woman of color, growing up so this definitely tugged at my heartstrings. This story was real, raw, but also just so much fun which I really appreciated.

Overall, this was a great story and I think everyone should read it!! We need more stories out there like this and I cannot wait to read Sandhya Menons’ upcoming novel which is coming out this May!!! 😀

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