Review of Dominicana by Angie Cruz | An #ownvoices immigrant story set in 1960s New York City #BookReview #DominicanaTheNovelRead More
Publication Date: July 22, 2017
Publisher: Gab Date Productions, LLC
Page Count: 238
Why I read it: The author, B.B Cary, contacted me to ask if I would be interested in receiving a copy in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for sending!
First Sentence: "There she stood- a scrap in the middle of a circle of vultures."
Synopsis: A little boy has gone missing, and a doctor with a wild card streak has to decide whether to risk family, career, and even her life to find him.
Sydney is fierce and protective. Gorgeous and gracious. Multiracial, with serious skills. She can patch you up — but she can break you, too, and she will if she has to. With killer arms and a job to die for, she skates through the desolate dawn streets of New York City, trying to stay out of trouble … except when nasty things happen that unleash her lifelong rage against injustice. Then, get out of her way.
Sydney might be a mystery to others, but to her it’s pretty simple: Everyone should play nicely. Life should be fair. But it isn’t.
So when a child’s disappearance leads to a web of shadows and deceit, Sydney enlists a crew of hospital workers, strung out addicts, and a brilliant tech hermit from a past she rarely visits. Together they must try to find a way to bring down a criminal enterprise whose tentacles reach high and deep.
My Thoughts: Sydney is a doctor with an edge. She rides a motorcycle, doesn't take crap from anyone, but easily makes connections with those that deserve it. She's friendly with some of her colleagues but keeps to herself for the most part. She was adopted and I gather that she had a tough couple of years as a child. She and her adoptive mother and sister are close, though, and she goes through a lot to try and make sure her junkie sister stays safe. Sydney's loyalty is one of her best qualities, and it's also a trait that helps her get a lot of resources. The story was clever and I enjoyed the way that it unfolded. I also found the writing to be interesting- some of the time, we were in on Sydney's plans, and sometimes we were behind. I never felt that I knew what Sydney was actually up to and I liked that. Some of the descriptions were overworked and distracting- her "cafe au lait skin" and her "cobalt blue water bottle"- but it wasn't anything that took away from the overall story. I liked that Sydney is a woman of color and that she's an anesthesiologist. It was interesting to read about some of the inner workings of the hospital and of the surgery room. There were a ton of side players and lots that I couldn't keep straight. Quite honestly, I was perfect happy to let some of the details go and just read along and get the big picture. I will say, though, if you are a detail person or someone who needs the fully backstory, you might not like this. I would have also liked more character development in Sydney. There were a lot of holes and we didn't get a ton of background information about her- I felt sort of detached. I would have liked to know about her backstory and about how she got so good at her extracurriculars outside of the hospital. That does leave room for a sequel!
Favorite Quote: "'Did the administration do anything about it? No. They fired the guy but kept it quiet and squashed it like it never happened. No press...All I'm saying is when 'the powers that be' want it quiet, it doesn't matter what happens or where you are, it's kept quiet.'"
Rating: 3/5 Very compelling main character and I love that she's a badass woman of color. The store was fast paced and I kept reading to find out what was going to happen next. If you can suspend your disbelief on some of the plot points, you'll enjoy.
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Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner | Judy Melenik, M.D. and T.J. Mitchell
Publication Date: August 12th, 2014
Page Count: 272
Why I read it: I first heard about this from my favorite true crime podcast, Sword and Scale. It's written by Dr. Judy Melenik, a medical examiner who completed her training in Manhattan during 9/11. She and her husband are interviewed in Episode 53 of Sword and Scale, and I was hooked right away.
First Sentence: "'Remember. This can only end badly."
Book Description: Gripping and raw, Working Stiff presents a behind the scenes look at what takes place during an autopsy. The medical examiner is responsible for determining the cause of death and the manner of death. They of course perform autopsies, but it's also about giving the families of the deceased closure. Dr. Melenik shares a bit about herself and her training, but more about the patients she'd encountered during her training. Two things that stuck with me: staying alive is mostly about common sense, and there's no such thing as a minor surgery. That, and if you ever get the chance to meet a medical examiner, don't ask them to tell you about the most gruesome death they've seen...
My Thoughts: This was completely fascinating! I am not from a science background and this was written in such a clear and thoughtful way. You do not need to be in medicine or healthcare to understand this book, but if you have an interest in anatomy you'd enjoy it. It's pretty clinical and she does share about her story, but I'm nosy and would have liked to know a even more about her family life, especially since her husband co-wrote the book. I liked the way the book was structured, beginning of residency in NY to the end. It was detailed but not cumbersome. It really made me think about the fragility of life. The doctor's father committed suicide, and she was so thoughtful into how she speaks about it and how she addresses her families. Reading this made me want to visit my doctor and have a full body scan, just in case! If you are a hypochondriac, I would not recommend reading this book, or you might end up with a touch of medical student syndrome. Naturally, this is about death so I wouldn't recommend it if you're particularly squeamish. I can take a fair amount of graphic detail, but I did find that i was genuinely creeped out because of the matter of fact way in which the author described the bodies. She illustrated her points by giving lots of examples, and every time someone new was introduced I found myself thinking oh, I hope she survives! only to remember that “this can only end badly".
Favorite Quote: "After performing a meticulous autopsy with no findings, I couldn't say for sure what had killed this man. I wrote the cause of death as 'anoxic encephalopathy due to loss of consciousness of undetermined etiology.' This translates as 'lack of oxygen to the brain from fuck-if-I-know."
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You know how some months you're all, "I can't believe it's April already?!" This is not one of those months. It feels like an absolute eternity since I wrote my last Quick Lit post, but it was indeed just a month ago! It's a busy time of year and I've packed a lot into this last month. Unfortunately, I've not packed a lot of reading into it. I also had the worst book hangover from A Little Life. But I'm getting through it! Here's what I have read.
I wrote a full post about this so I won't stay here too long, but it was a very good read. Andrea is 40 something and single, living in New York. I so loved the author's tone and she did a great job sharing relatable stories for women in all phases of life. It reminded me of a lighter version of Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay.
I'll admit- I love Shonda. I'm a huge fan of How To Get Away With Murder and Scandal, and can remember watching Grey's all the time back in the day. Her mind is ridiculous! So I was excited to finally read this one. I thought it was good- she writes like she's talking to you directly. She is unapologetic about her success and it's so refreshing. Her tone in this book is very similar to how her characters speak, especially from Grey's. I loved hearing about her relationships with the actors that play Christina and Meredith, but what I loved the most was when Shonda shared her own struggles. She's a very strong, interesting woman. I flew through this book. I don't think I'd say it was my most favorite memoir of all time, but if you're looking for a light, entertaining, and inspiring read, then you might want to pick it up.
This was another really good book I read this month. I received The Cutaway as an ARC, and I loved that it was a debut from the author. Christina Kovac works in news herself, so the protagonist of The Cutaway, Virginia Knightly, read very authentic. Virginia is a head producer and sees a lot of news stories, but the recent story about a missing young DC woman has caught her eye. Something doesn't check out and she uses her photographic memory to help uncover clues. It sounds a bit standard as far as crime mysteries go, but the protagonist was compelling and there were a few twists along the way. Reminds me of a DC Tana French novel. Full review here.
Honestly, this book is the biggest disappointment for me so far. It was marketed as "The Martian meets Station Eleven" and ... I'm not seeing it. The Wanderers is about 3 astronauts who are set to be the first humans sent to Mars. It's also about the people they left behind. Before they can set out on their trip, they need to attend a lengthly training in Utah, and its truly a test of endurance. The book gets into an in depth look into the psyche the characters. It's heavy on character development and light on plot. I'm sad that I haven't been loving it! This was a pick for my TBR + TBD list from March. I am almost finished with this book and will definitely write a full review.
That's it! I have to go through everyone else's posts to get some good recommendations. I'm in a bit of a slump!
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