The Mountains Sing [Book Review]

July 10, 2020

The Mountains Sing by Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai

The Mountains Sing by Nguyen Phan Que Mai

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, Family Life, Vietnamese

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

The Mountains Sing is a multi-generational story of the Tran family told in dual timelines and points of view. We learn about the 20th Century history of Viet Nam as events are integrated into the personal family story. Present-day events are told by the granddaughter and the family’s backstory is told by the grandmother. The story is filled with rich historical details, vivid descriptions, and lyrical writing. We experience the history of Viet Nam from the viewpoint of the Vietnamese people and specifically from the viewpoint of the Tran family. A compelling story of ordinary, beautiful people and a country torn apart by war.

My Thoughts:

(more…)

The Vanishing Half: [Book Review]

June 3, 2020

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett (cover)

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, Sisters, Complicated Family Drama, Own Voices

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

The Vignes sisters are twins. They are light-skinned black girls, identical, and inseparable. They endure a childhood trauma, are forced to leave high school early and go to work, and eventually leave home (run away) together at sixteen. From that point, everything changes. The future finds them estranged. Desiree escapes an abusive marriage and returns to her small southern hometown to live with her mom and her dark child. This is difficult because the town celebrates light-skinned blacks and Desiree’s dark-skinned daughter, Jude, faces racism within the black community. Stella decides to pass as white which means that she completely cuts ties with her past and her family. The Vanishing Half begins in the 1950s and concludes in the 1990s with the next generation (Desiree’s and Stella’s daughters).

My Thoughts:

(more…)

Far From the Tree [Book Review] #throwbackthursday

June 25, 2020

Far From the Tree by Robin Benway
#throwbackthursday

I’m linking up today with Davida @ The Chocolate Lady’s Book Review Blog for #throwbackthursday.

This year as part of Blog Audit Challenge 2020 I’m going back to update older review posts. On Thursdays, I’ll be re-sharing a few of these great reads, and today I’m sharing my review of Far From the Tree by Robin Benway….a compelling family story.

Are you a fan of multi-layered family drama?

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Far From the Tree by Robin Benway (cover) Image: black text on a background of pinkish purple explosion of leaves

Genre/Categories: YA Fiction, Social & Family Issues, Adoption, Siblings

My Summary:

“Far From the Tree is a contemporary YA fiction novel in which three biological siblings (placed for adoption or foster care as babies in separate families) find their way to each other as teenagers and discover a deeper meaning of family. The story is complicated because Grace, one of the three siblings, has just placed her own baby up for adoption. In addition, Joaquin, another of the siblings has experienced trauma growing up in the foster care system. The author tenderly explores each of their stories including the mistrust, feelings of aloneness, and individual hurts and disappointments. Far From the Tree won the 2017 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature.”

Continue here for my full review of Far From the Tree

QOTD: Have you read Far From the Tree or is it on your TBR?

Tweet Cute [Book Review]

May 29, 2020

Tweet Cute by Emma Lord

Tween Cute by Emma Lord (cover) Image: two apartment buildings with a teen in each using social media on their phones

Genre/Categories: YA Contemporary Fiction, Family Life, YA Romance, YA RomCom

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

You’ve Got Mail meets Tell Me Three Things meets With the Fire on High…

grilled cheese sandwichThe setting is New York City. Pepper (Patricia) is the swim team captain at her private school, achievement-focused, and a perfectionist. Her family owns a large fast-food burger chain, and Pepper runs the twitter account. Jack is a classmate and fellow swim team member. He secretly develops apps, enjoys being a class clown, and experiences episodes of sibling rivalry with his twin brother. Jack’s family owns a small downtown deli. A few things happen to put the story in motion: the big burger chain copies (steals) Jack’s family’s grilled cheese sandwich, a twitter war ensues that Jack and Pepper instigate and fuel, and Jack and Pepper find themselves becoming close friends on the school’s app where identities remain anonymous.

My Thoughts:

(more…)

Clap When You Land: [Book Review]

May 22, 2020

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo (cover) Image: split image of two young Hispanic girl

Genre/Categories: YA contemporary fiction, novel in free verse, family secrets, siblings, grief, diversity

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

Papi and his two families…

Papi spends summers in the Dominican Republic with his daughter, Camino, and her aunt who is Camino’s guardian since Camino’s mother died. Papi spends the remainder of the year in New York City with his wife and daughter, Yahaira. Camino and Yahaira do not know about each other and they both love their Papi. One day, Papi’s plane crashes as he’s on his way to the Dominican Republic and the girls find out about each other. Should they get acquainted? Should they even meet? Can they become true sisters? Can the families forgive Papi and embrace new family members?

In case you might want to know, Acevedo always includes LGBTQ representation in her stories.

My Thoughts:

(more…)

Meg & Jo: A Review

December 3, 2019

 Meg & Jo by Virginia Kantra

Meg and Jo Review

Genre/Categories: Retelling, Contemporary Women’s Fiction, Romance, Family

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

In this retelling of Little Women,  the March family home is in North Carolina, U.S.A. The girls are young adults and living on their own. Meg is married to John and they have young twins; Jo is working as a sous chef in New York and writing an anonymous food blog; Beth is taking a break from school and trying out for a musical; and Amy is working in the fashion industry and traveling abroad. Mr. March is an absentee husband and father who cares more about his ministry and charity work than caring for his family. As the holidays approach, Mrs. March is suddenly hospitalized and the sisters rally around to help and support each other, their mom, and her business.

My Thoughts:

(more…)

The Dutch House: A Review

November 8, 2019

 The Dutch House by Ann Patchett

The Dutch House Review

Genre/Categories: Complicated Family Drama, Literary Fiction

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

***Recommending the audio book for this read!

Summary:

Siblings Danny and Maeve are living in The Dutch House when their mother abandons the family. Their father remarries, but after he dies, their stepmother kicks Danny and Maeve out of her life and out of the house. Suddenly, all Danny and Maeve have is each other. This story explores their complicated lives and relationships.

Amazon Rating: 4.4 Stars

My Thoughts:

(more…)

The Last List of Miss Judith Kratt: A Review

October 23, 2019

The Last List of Miss Judith Kratt by Andrea BobotisLast List of Miss Judith Kratt review

Genre/Categories: Southern Historical Fiction, Family Drama, Small Town/Rural, Racism

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

Dark secrets and multilayered family drama….

The Last List of Miss Judith Kratt takes place in the small southern town of Bound, South Carolina. We are introduced to elderly Miss Judith Kratt as she begins to take inventory of her important and cherished household items. As she generates the list, we are given the back story for each item. Through these flashbacks to 1929, complicated family drama and dark secrets are revealed.

My Thoughts:

(more…)

If You Want To Make God Laugh: A Review

September 13, 2019

If You Want To Make God Laugh
by Bianca Marais

If You Want to Make God Laugh Review

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, South Africa, Family Life

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

If You Want to Make God Laugh is the story of three unforgettable women living in post-Apartheid South Africa at the time of a growing AIDS epidemic and threats of civil war. Zodwa is seventeen, pregnant, poor, and lives in a squatter’s camp. Ruth and Delilah are middle-aged sisters who live on an inherited, rural farm. While Ruth is an unhappy, disillusioned, and newly divorced socialite, Delilah is a former nun and social worker who is hiding a big secret. A newborn baby will bring these characters together, and this is a story of their precarious relationships, of sibling jealousy, rivalry, and healing, and of found family.

My Thoughts:

(more…)

The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters: A Review

June 19, 2019

Can three very different sisters living three vastly different lives come together to honor their mother’s last dying wish of traveling to India and scattering her ashes?

The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters by Balli Kaur Jaswal

Unlikely Adventures of Shergill Sisters Review

Genre/Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, India

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

To honor their mother’s dying wish, three Punjabi sisters travel to India on a pilgrimage to visit sacred places that are special to Mom and to scatter her ashes. Told from the three perspectives of three very different sisters, The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters explores sibling relationships, modern vs traditional roles of women, secrets, and the importance of family.

My Thoughts:

(more…)