Review of Dominicana by Angie Cruz | An #ownvoices immigrant story set in 1960s New York City #BookReview #DominicanaTheNovelRead More
On the Come Up | Angie Thomas | Release Date: February 5th, 2019 | Yay, new Angie Thomas! Thomas’s The Hate U Give was one of my favorite books from 2017 and I’ve been patiently waiting for On the Come Up since I heard it was coming out. (It’s been pre-ordered for ages). Bri wants to be a rapper but she has big shoes to fill. Her father is a hip hop legend was killed right before he hit it big. Bri’s first song goes viral… for all the wrong reasons. She’ll do anything to make it so she can give back to her family.. even it it means playing into the thing that the media has made her out to be.
The Beantown Girls | Jane Healey | Release Date: February 5th, 2019 | Three girls from Boston go overseas with the Red Cross during WWII to help out with the war effort. They all have their different reasons for going, but are faced with challenges that far exceed anything they thought they could handle.
The Hiding Place | CJ Tudor | Release Date: February 5th, 2019 | Sophomore novel from the author of the Chalk Man! A man is being called back to his hometown after a young kid is being put through the same thing his sister was put through. He’s the only one that knows what really happened and may be the only one who is able to stop it.
The Lost Man | Jane Harper | Release Date: February 5th, 2019 | Yay, a new Jane Harper! Jane Harper is the author of The Dry (a favorite at TBR Etc.) and this is her first standalone. Two brothers finally meet in the Australian outback after months of being estranged. Their third brother lies dead at their feet. The brothers must find out how get got there, because surely, he didn’t do this to himself.
The Silent Patient | Alex Michaelides | Release Date: February 5th, 2019 | Thanks to Book of the Month- this has been getting a lot of early buzz. A seems to have it all- a burgeoning art career, a fabulous home, and a loving marriage- until one day, her husband comes home and she shoots him five times in the face. Or so she thinks. A therapist is working with her and tries desperately to unfold the mystery of what really happened, but she’s not talking.
The Winter Sister | Megan Collins | Release Date: February 5th, 2019 | A suspense debut, a woman with a complicated past returns home to care for her ailing mother and dig deeper into what really happened when her sister was murdered sixteen years ago.
The Hunting Party | Lucy Foley | Release Date: February 12th, 2019 | A modern “locked room” mystery. A group of college friends continues their New Years Eve tradition of getting a house together. A blizzard descends and old arguments reignite… and one of them winds up dead.
The Night Tiger | Yangsze Choo | Release Date: February 12th, 2019 | The Night Tiger sounds wonderful. In 1930s Malaysia, Ji Lin is working nights as a dancehall girl to help pay off her mother’s mahjong debts. Ren is a houseboy who’s been given a peculiar mission- he has 49 days to find his Master’s missing finger, lest the man’s soul be destined for purgatory. There’s mysterious deaths, rumors of men that turn into tigers, and superstition, but in the end it’s a coming of age story about two people who are trying to find their own way in a society that doesn’t want them to have voice.
The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls | Anissa Gray | Release Date: February 19th, 2019 | Althea is the eldest sister in the Butler family- the one who’s always looked out for her sisters and served as a substitute matriarch. So when she and her husband get arrested and put in jail, the town shuns them and the sisters aren’t sure what to think. The only thing they do know is that they’re now in charge of the couple’s teenage daughters. It’s been getting comparisons to An American Marriage, so you know I’ll be reading this one.
Parkland: Birth of a Movement | David Cullen | Release Date: February 19th, 2019 | On my guest episode of Sarah’s Book Shelves Live, I called this one my most highly anticipated book for 2019. David Cullen is a journalist who is well known for his book Columbine. Parkland: Birth of a Movement is being released around the one year anniversary of the Parkland school shooting and the teens that took the tragedy and turned themselves into activists. I’m obsessed with the simple, impactful cover, too.
The Huntress: A Novel | Kate Quinn | Release Date: February 26th, 2019 | Historical fiction- a war correspondent and Russian female bomber pilot join forces to track the Huntress, an elusive Nazi war criminal.
Say Nothing | Patrick Radden Keefe | Release Date: February 26th, 2019 | From New Yorker staff writer comes
a book thats part history, part true crime on a mysterious, unsolved murder, bitter conflict in Northern Ireland, and its aftermath.
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THE GOWN: THE NOVEL OF THE ROYAL WEDDING BY JENNIFER ROBSON
Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: December 31, 2018
Why I read it: I'm a big fan of books set in London, especially if they have something to do with the royal family.
First Sentence: “It was dark when Ann left work at a quarter to six, and darker still when she reached home.”
Synopsis: London, 1947: Besieged by the harshest winter in living memory, burdened by onerous shortages and rationing, the people of postwar Britain are enduring lives of quiet desperation despite their nation’s recent victory. Among them are Ann Hughes and Miriam Dassin, embroiderers at the famed Mayfair fashion house of Norman Hartnell. Together they forge an unlikely friendship, but their nascent hopes for a brighter future are tested when they are chosen for a once-in-a-lifetime honor: taking part in the creation of Princess Elizabeth’s wedding gown.
Toronto, 2016: More than half a century later, Heather Mackenzie seeks to unravel the mystery of a set of embroidered flowers, a legacy from her late grandmother. How did her beloved Nan, a woman who never spoke of her old life in Britain, come to possess the priceless embroideries that so closely resemble the motifs on the stunning gown worn by Queen Elizabeth II at her wedding almost seventy years before? And what was her Nan’s connection to the celebrated textile artist and holocaust survivor Miriam Dassin?
With The Gown, Jennifer Robson takes us inside the workrooms where one of the most famous wedding gowns in history was created. Balancing behind-the-scenes details with a sweeping portrait of a society left reeling by the calamitous costs of victory, she introduces readers to three unforgettable heroines, their points of view alternating and intersecting throughout its pages, whose lives are woven together by the pain of survival, the bonds of friendship, and the redemptive power of love.
My Thoughts: If you like books that are about the unknown people that help orchestrate a big, well known event, this one is for you. It's the story of the embroiderers who helped create Queen (then Princess) Elizabeth’s wedding dress. It focuses on the friendship between Miriam, a French woman who's left her home county after she lost everything during WWII, and Anne, who lost her brother and parents. An alternate story line takes us to modern day Toronto, where a grieving granddaughter receives a mysterious heirloom after her grandmother's passing. She takes off to London to uncover details of how her grandmother came into possession of the item and to try and get information about the woman's early life. It is a book about the Royals, but moreso about the bonds of friendship and learning to start over after you've lost everything. I also loved how the author Incorporated real people into the story, as the embroiders worked for Mr. Hartwell, the Queen's actual dressmaker. It does have It's dark parts- there's a reason Heather doesn't know much about her grandmother's early life, but it's also a story about hope, friendship, and starting anew.
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Publication Date: October 9th, 2018
Publisher: William Morrow
Why I Read This: I’m a sucker for any story that even loosely includes the JFK assassination. Thank you to TLC Book Tours for the free copy and for having me on the book tour!
Page Count: 300
Synopsis: Frank Guidry’s luck has finally run out.
A loyal street lieutenant to New Orleans’ mob boss Carlos Marcello, Guidry has learned that everybody is expendable. But now it’s his turn—he knows too much about the crime of the century: the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
Within hours of JFK’s murder, everyone with ties to Marcello is turning up dead, and Guidry suspects he’s next: he was in Dallas on an errand for the boss less than two weeks before the president was shot. With few good options, Guidry hits the road to Las Vegas, to see an old associate—a dangerous man who hates Marcello enough to help Guidry vanish.
Guidry knows that the first rule of running is “don’t stop,” but when he sees a beautiful housewife on the side of the road with a broken-down car, two little daughters and a dog in the back seat, he sees the perfect disguise to cover his tracks from the hit men on his tail. Posing as an insurance man, Guidry offers to help Charlotte reach her destination, California. If she accompanies him to Vegas, he can help her get a new car.
For her, it’s more than a car— it’s an escape. She’s on the run too, from a stifling existence in small-town Oklahoma and a kindly husband who’s a hopeless drunk.
It’s an American story: two strangers meet to share the open road west, a dream, a hope—and find each other on the way.
Charlotte sees that he’s strong and kind; Guidry discovers that she’s smart and funny. He learns that’s she determined to give herself and her kids a new life; she can’t know that he’s desperate to leave his old one behind.
Another rule—fugitives shouldn’t fall in love, especially with each other. A road isn’t just a road, it’s a trail, and Guidry’s ruthless and relentless hunters are closing in on him. But now Guidry doesn’t want to just survive, he wants to really live, maybe for the first time.
Everyone’s expendable, or they should be, but now Guidry just can’t throw away the woman he’s come to love.
And it might get them both killed.
Opening Sentence: “Behold! The Big Easy in all its wicked splendor!”
My Thoughts: Friends, I loved this book, but not for the reasons I expected to. When I read in the marketing blurb that this was a cat and mouse crime novel set against the backdrop of the JFK assassination, I was hooked. However, the JFK connection was very loose, to the point where the author could have chosen to have Frank involved in any other high profile crime for a similar effect. (Although I will say, it was fun to see the author’s interpretation of the events that took place on 11/22/63.)
Instead, we get the story of Frank Guidry, a charming man who loves life, who until very recently was a go-to guy in the New Orleans mob. He realizes that he has now become expendable to the organization and takes off. He’s constantly trying to stay one step ahead of his ex- employers, guessing their next move and trying to outsmart them. He meets Charlotte, her two girls, and their epileptic dog and figures they’re the best chance he has for a disguise. Against his better judgment, he finds himself genuinely starting to care for them and wonders what he’s gotten them all into.
The author does a great job with pacing and building tension. Our anti hero was consistently backed up against the wall but I found myself rooting for him. I also really loved the other narrator, Charlotte. She is a young woman who has a strong sense of self that had been previously stifled by her husband, her family, and the culture around her. I could feel her desperation to get out of the life she was living while also providing the best she can to her girls. There were some supremely violent parts, but there was a lot of heart, too. It’s a story about coming into ones own, family, starting over, and redemption. I’d definitely check out more by this author down the line.
Quote: “With every decision, we create a new future. We destroy all other futures.”
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OCTOBER you are spoiling us! Today was a huge new release day and there’s quite a few more I’m excited about that are coming out the rest of the month. Below are some of my favorites- several new releases from my favorite authors, a book with a topic that always gets me, and a highly anticipated sophomore novel from an author I discovered earlier this year.
TBR 1 | A Spark of Light | Jodi Picoult | Release Date: October 2nd, 2018
At this point, I'll read anything Jodi Picoult puts out. My all time favorite from her was Nineteen Minutes with last year's Small Great Things a close second. Picoult is again not shying away from tackling the tough stuff with A Spark of Light (trigger warning for abortion and shootings). We've got a hostage situation at the only abortion clinic in Mississippi. Inside, is the hostage negotiator's daughter and a cast of other characters, including the doctor, a pro life protester in disguise, and a nurse who just had her own clandestine abortion. I got my hands on an ARC and wow. I can recommend this with full confidence, no matter which side of the abortion debate you fall on.
TBR 2 | The Witch Elm | Tana French | Release Date: October 9th, 2018
Another auto read author for me! Tana French is the author of one of my favorite series, The Dublin Murder squad. The Witch Elm is her first standalone. Toby is a happy-go-lucky guy who's out celebrating with his friends, when he comes upon two burglars who beat him up and leave him for dead. His forced to move back in with a family member, and instead of the peaceful recovery he needs, he gets involved in heap of family drama. If you're a fan of suspenseful crime fiction, then definitely add this to you list.
TBR 3 | The Kennedy Debutante | Kerri Maher | Release Date: October 2nd, 2018
I think a lot of readers have those subjects that make them want to automatically want to read it. For me, that list includes anything having to do with the Kennedys. The Kennedy Debutante is about Kick Kennedy, sister to JFK, Robert, and Rosemary. Kick wants to do things her own way, and she heads to London to become a society girl and get out from the shadow of her powerful family. She falls in love with Billy Hartington, but since she’s Catholic and he’s Protestant, their love is forbidden. War breaks out and of course, things get even more complicated. I don’t always read historical fiction, but when I do I’m looking for something that’s got strong protagonists rooted in an era that I find interesting.
TBR 4 | Bridge of Clay | Markus Zusak | Release Date: October 9th, 2018
This one is easy. It’s Markus Zusak, and people have been waiting for this for a long, long time :) (check out the Goodreads comments for laughs)
TBR 5 | Elevation | Stephen King | Release Date: October 30th, 2018
Again an easy one- it’s a new Stephen King! This isn’t horror- it’s set in Castle Rock, the fictional town that is featured in so many of his stories. It’s short, too, at only 160 pages.
TBD | The Proposal | Jasmine Guillory | Release Date: October 30th, 2018
The Proposal is the newest book from Jasmine Guillory. I loved her last book, The Wedding Date, and was happy to read that The Proposal centers on Carlos, a beloved character from her first book. Carlos is at a Dodgers came when he sees a very public proposal go very, very wrong. Stepping in, he intercepts a bewildered Nikole and helps her divert from this uncomfortable situation. They embark on a fling- and for a myriad of reasons, believe that there’s no way this could turn into something more meaningful. If you want something lighter this fall that’s got a diverse couple at the center of things, you might pick this up.
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