Life and Other Inconveniences

Life and Other Inconveniences

By Kristan Higgins

4 / 5 


 

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Photo by Subakka.bookstuff

This is my first time reading Kristian Higgins and I am thoroughly impressed. I went in thinking this was a light, breezy romance, but soon discovered this to be a family drama, sprinkled with the romance. 

I will warn you ⚠️ some heavy, dark topics are discussed, such as suicide, a missing child, child abandonment, depression, and long term illness care. But it’s all a part of Emma London’s family history.

Emma is the granddaughter of the famous Genevieve London. A wealthy, fashion designer who took Emma in at age eight when Emma’s mother had suddenly died and her father abandoned her.  Genevieve had suffered great losses in her life, and she had become cold and stoic, but she gave Emma the best money could buy. That is until Emma ended up pregnant during her senior year in college. Genvieve proceeded to kick her out of Sheerwater, her Connecticut mansion, to fend for herself.

Now, years later, Genevieve requests that Emma return to Sheerwater with her daughter Riley. Genevieve says she is dying and would like Emma’s help. Although she is still hurt from the coldness of Genevieve after all these years, Emma has Riley to think of now, and well family is always family. 

There is a lot to unpack in this story. Most of the characters are carrying around baggage and the London family has the heavyweight of what happened to Genevieve’s firstborn son looming over it. Higgins does a great job by using multiple POVs to tell backstories, as well as, to introduce new characters into the fold. 

Genevieve was definitely a favorite character of mine. Although I enjoyed the relationship between her and Emma, I found it interesting to watch Genevieve with her great-granddaughter, Riley. Riley was able to get past the cold exterior and see through to her hurting heart.

🌳 𝐻𝒶𝓋𝑒 𝓎𝑜𝓊 𝑒𝓋𝑒𝓇 traced 𝓎𝑜𝓊𝓇 𝒻𝒶𝓂𝒾𝓁𝓎 𝓉𝓇𝑒𝑒?

The Hating Game

The Hating Game

Sally Thorne

4 / 5


 

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Photo by Subakka.bookstuff

 

Have you ever noticed that love and hate are both rooted deep in passion? 

Ever since the publishing companies of Gamin and Bexley Books merged, Lucy Hutton has had to sit at her desk, day in and day out, staring at the man she hates; Joshua Templeman. 

Joshua came with Bexley Books. Joshua is tall, with stunning blue eyes, has a weekly color dress code for his shirts, and is uptight. Lucy came with Gamin Publishing. She’s short, loves bright colors, collects smurfs, and wears flame-thrower red lipstick. From day one the games begin: the staring game, the spying game, the hating game.

When Lucy and Josh come up for the same job promotion, the competition is taken up a notch. But as Lucy spends more time with Josh she begins to understand what makes this hunk of a man tick; she wonders if all these raging feelings are really hate or something else. Josh is giving her mixed signals too. The rules of the game appear to be changing.

This was a fun one! My husband and I met at work, so this workplace romance was a great read. Not that we were enemies to lovers, but it is one of my favorite tropes; it just lends for such great snarky banter and teasing.

I read this for the #fomobuddyread hosted by my friends @lola.and.puki @checkyourshelf_  and @amalie_reads . I decided to try the audiobook and I’m glad I did! I highly recommend it.

 

👩🏻‍💻𝐂𝐨𝐮𝐥𝐝 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐤 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐩𝐚𝐫𝐭𝐧𝐞𝐫 𝐨𝐫 𝐬𝐢𝐠𝐧𝐢𝐟𝐢𝐜𝐚𝐧𝐭 𝐨𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫? 

Recursion

Recursion

Blake Crouch

3.5 / 5 


I know this is an unpopular opinion, and trust me, I was so excited to pick up this book after reading Crouch’s Dark Matter, but this one just didn’t wow me – in fact, it started to wear on me a little.

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Photo by Subakka.bookstuff

The story begins with two timelines.

2018, Barry Sutton, a New York cop, is dealing with a new epidemic, FMS or False Memory Syndrome. It’s unknown what’s causing this disease or condition. People are remembering lives they never had and it’s driving them crazy. Their reality is shifting and they can’t cope.

2007, Helena Smith, a neuroscientist, is developing technology in hopes of helping her mother who is suffering from Alzheimer’s, trying to help her reach those memories before they’re gone forever.

These timelines work well, in the beginning. I know it’s Sci-fi, but the science got a little sketchy for me. The whole concept of memories is absolutely fascinating. Putting forward the question: can memories become a present reality? Then he adds the components of multiple timelines and time travel to it and it seems a step too far. The connection was too large – from cerebral to the physical. And ultimately it’s like they are all caught in the movie Groundhog’s Day! I’ll stop because I don’t want to spoil anything.

All that said, there are nuggets of wisdom in this book. A great discussion ensues about the ethical ramifications of going back and altering timelines. It seems so easy to decide to stop the World Wars or certain massacres, but Crouch does a great job of presenting both sides of the argument. Our reality is affected by each pebble dropped in the pond and the ripples are far-reaching – change that and you may create a tidal wave.

“𝐓𝐡𝐚𝐭’𝐬 𝐰𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐢𝐭 𝐢𝐬 𝐭𝐨 𝐛𝐞 𝐡𝐮𝐦𝐚𝐧 – 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐛𝐞𝐚𝐮𝐭𝐲 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐩𝐚𝐢𝐧, 𝐞𝐚𝐜𝐡 𝐦𝐞𝐚𝐧𝐢𝐧𝐠𝐥𝐞𝐬𝐬 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐨𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫.”

 

👭 I read this one for the #bookishladishdiverseread and I’m looking forward to discussing this with the group. Has your opinion about a book been changed by talking with a friend about it? 

A Breath Too Late

A Breath Too Late

Rocky Callen

4.5 / 5 


*Trigger warnings: suicide, physical abuse, depression. (This review will mention these issues as well).

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Photo by Subakka.bookstuff

This isn’t the first Young Adult book to be about suicide, and it won’t be the last. It is an all too common theme in YA novels, and a sad reality. So what makes A Breath Too Late worth reading? It’s brutally honest and raw. It does not glamorize suicide, in fact just the opposite. 

Seventeen-year-old Ellie has just taken her own life when she “awakes” in a state of limbo. Not fully aware of what happened, she begins to realize she has the ability to still look in on the life she chose to leave. Ellie is now a spectator to the devastation she has left behind.

Momma – now curled in a ball clutching a teddy bear – Ellie’s childhood teddy bear. They were going to fly away together one day, to the mountains, to be free from – him. But now Ellie’s gone.

August – the boy whose art always brightened her dark days. His smile took away her pain if only for a moment. Now Ellie watches as August smashes bottles and cries out her name as he falls into his mom’s arms.

Rocky Callen does a great job of showing that Ellie had times of happiness over her life even though she lived in a terrible environment. She had hopes and dreams, people who loved her, but depression clouded her vision and the weight felt too heavy at times.

Ellie, having this rare opportunity to see other’s perspectives, now wishes she could have: one more smile, one more word, one more touch – just one more breath. There are no second chances in this story; it is a truthful look at the heart-wrenching consequences. Yet, it’s not a completely bleak story. I think it reveals that we should say the words we need to say, ask for the help we need – without shame, and always have hope for a better tomorrow. 

[Please be sure to read the author’s notes.] 

 

Thank you to Edelweiss+ and @henryholtbooks for this advanced copy for review. Get your copy today!

If I Had Your Face

If I Had Your Face

Frances Cha

4 / 5 

“𝕀 𝕨𝕠𝕦𝕝𝕕 𝕝𝕚𝕧𝕖 𝕪𝕠𝕦𝕣 𝕝𝕚𝕗𝕖 𝕤𝕠 𝕞𝕦𝕔𝕙 𝕓𝕖𝕥𝕥𝕖𝕣 𝕥𝕙𝕒𝕟 𝕪𝕠𝕦 𝕚𝕗 𝕀 𝕙𝕒𝕕 𝕪𝕠𝕦𝕣 𝕗𝕒𝕔𝕖.”


 

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Photo by Subakka.bookstuff

I admit this stunning cover is what first drew me to this book. But when I read the synopsis I was intrigued. It spoke of “room salon” girls in Seoul, South Korea and young girls willing to endure the pain of plastic surgery all to meet the standard of beauty in hopes of a better life. I wondered if this would be like a modern-day Memoirs of a Geisha Girl.

The Chapters alternate between five young women, all living in the same office-tel (apartment building). Each girl is caught up in the world of wealth and beauty in her own way, whether it’s Kyuri who works in the premier room salon entertaining wealthy businessmen nightly or Miho whose art has taken her to New York and back, allowing her to fall into the arms of a wealthy corporate heir. They all have become entangled in the web of comparison and envy, and the standards of beauty. If I looked like her, if I met that pop star, or if I had more money, then I’d be happy are the thoughts that drive them.

Reading this book was like a trip to Seoul. I was immersed in the culture and enthralled by this world. I was saddened by what lengths these young women would go to for the price of beauty, and for what? To be used by a man at his convenience? Cha does a wonderful job detailing the desperation in these girls’ lives. The reality for them is that beauty and wealth are kings. 

 The resilience and friendship of these young women were uplifting. Many of them came from very hard beginnings, yet that didn’t stop them from persevering. They realized that friendship, although delicate, might be the most genuine thing they have.

 

Get your copy today!

Thank you to @randomhouse & @franceschawrites for this advanced copy for review. 

If You Want to Make God Laugh

If You Want to Make God Laugh

 Bianca Marais

5 / 5 


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Photo by Subakka.bookstuff

What I love about Bianca Marais’ writing is that she places you deep within her characters’ worlds, as if you have a panoramic view; never allowing them to become one-dimensional or flat. In the pages of 𝕀𝕗 𝕐𝕠𝕦 𝕎𝕒𝕟𝕥 𝕥𝕠 𝕄𝕒𝕜𝕖 𝔾𝕠𝕕 𝕃𝕒𝕦𝕘𝕙, we meet three very unique women, each going through their own trials. Marais expertly weaves their lives together so that it creates an extraordinary tapestry.

Set in the 1990s, the South Africans live under the constant tension of a possible civil war. On top of the class and race battles that are being fought, a new enemy is waging war on the people: AIDS.

Zodwa is only seventeen years old and pregnant. She finds herself alone and with secrets that could be her death sentence. 

Ruth is at the end of her rope. She may have money, but it doesn’t buy happiness or save marriages. Deliah thought the church would be her sanctuary, but it was her undoing. Now Ruth and Deliah find themselves back home after years of separation, and what might keep them together is a baby left at their doorstep.

I thought this was such a unique story because each woman had such a distinct voice, and a full story all her own. And yet their lives came together so beautifully, eclipsing the ugliness of racism and class.

Without going into too many details, this story also portrays how trials and trauma do not discriminate. Zodwa, Ruth, and Deliah all find hope, healing, and love when they see each other as women who hurt and women who love.

Trigger warnings: suicide, rape, racism, homophobia, AIDS.

 

Darling Rose Gold

Darling Rose Gold

Stephanie Wrobel

4 / 5 

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Photo by Subakka.bookstuff

I’m a character-driven reader. I like to connect with the characters and be drawn into their world. So what happens when I can’t stand either of the two main characters? I become intrigued to see how this twisted, warped mess turns out.

Rose Gold Watts had been sick for the first eighteen years of her life. Her mother, Patty, tirelessly took her from one doctor to another trying to find the cause of her stomach issues, weakness, and pain. Rose Gold seemed to be allergic to everything, couldn’t hold food down, and she eventually needed a wheelchair. Patty was always there to wipe her chin and dose out her medicine. But Patty has deceived everyone, the neighbors, the doctors, and especially Rose Gold.

We come into the story as Patty is being released from prison after serving a five-year sentence for aggravated child abuse. Guess who is picking her up, Rose Gold, now twenty-three. Patty is determined to set things straight with her daughter, in fact, she even forgives her for testifying against her. Rose Gold seems compliant; she always was to her mother. Even now she allows Patty to stay with her. Then again – what’s that saying – the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. 

This is a mix of a psychological thriller and family drama, with a medical drama thrown on top. What steals the show is the toxic relationship between this mother and daughter. Wrobel does such a great job of allowing you to hear the POVs of these characters, that you start to question who the real monster is. This is a heartbreaking story, with all the cruelty and spitefulness, but you read on, needing to know who will be left standing when the dust clears.