Goodreads Monday | July 13

Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme started by Lauren’s Page Turners. You select a book listed on your Goodreads TBR and talk about it. Whether it’s a book photo or description (or both!), share why you love them! You can find Lauren’s Page Turners’ link here.


This Week’s Post

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

I ordered ‘The Vanishing Half’ through Book of the Month in June. I’ve heard many wonderful things about this story of sisters with divided lives. I can’t wait to get to this book!


Synopsis

From The New York Times -bestselling author of The Mothers , a stunning new novel about twin sisters, inseparable as children, who ultimately choose to live in two very different worlds, one black and one white.

The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, it’s not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it’s everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities. Ten years later, one sister lives with her black daughter in the same southern town she once tried to escape. The other secretly passes for white, and her white husband knows nothing of her past. Still, even separated by so many miles and just as many lies, the fates of the twins remain intertwined. What will happen to the next generation, when their own daughters’ storylines intersect?

Weaving together multiple strands and generations of this family, from the Deep South to California, from the 1950s to the 1990s, Brit Bennett produces a story that is at once a riveting, emotional family story and a brilliant exploration of the American history of passing. Looking well beyond issues of race, The Vanishing Half considers the lasting influence of the past as it shapes a person’s decisions, desires, and expectations, and explores some of the multiple reasons and realms in which people sometimes feel pulled to live as something other than their origins.

As with her New York Times-bestselling debut The Mothers, Brit Bennett offers an engrossing page-turner about family and relationships that is immersive and provocative, compassionate and wise.


Are you excited to read The Vanishing Half? I know that I can’t wait to read this!


Love and Light, Cathleen

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Goodreads Monday: May 4

I’m taking part in Goodreads Monday. This was started by Lauren’s Page Turners, in which you choose a book listed on your Goodreads TBR and talk about it.

This Week’s Post:

Starfish Pier by Irene Hamilton

Why I Want To Read It:

I received a complimentary copy of Starfish Pier through Revell Reads Blogger Program. I’m looking forward to jumping right into it! The cover just makes me want to head to a beachfront town!

Synopsis

A year ago, ex-Delta Force operator Steven Roark left the rigors of combat behind to run fishing charters in Hope Harbor, decompress, and talk some sense into his kid brother. Business is good–but making peace with his past is more challenging than he expected.

First-grade teacher Holly Miller leads a quiet, low-profile existence–until she’s recruited to advocate for a cause that’s dear to her heart. When she solicits Steven’s assistance, sparks fly–especially after they find themselves on opposite sides of an issue that disrupts their placid seaside community.

As these two seemingly incompatible souls search for common ground, might they discover a deeper connection–and find that love can banish darkness and light the way to a future filled with promise?





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Book Review: ‘Magic’ by Mike Russell

Magic by Mike Russell
Publisher: StrangeBooks
Genre: Contemporary Fantasy
Acquired through publisher
Length: 236 pages
Release Date: March 5, 2020


My Thoughts

**I received a copy of ‘Magic’ through the publisher, in exchange for an honest review**

‘Magic’ by Mike Russell is a fun story about a person’s ability to discover the power of magic in his life, no matter how dire the consequences. The story follows the journey of Charlie Watson, a young man adopted by a magician due to a difficult upbringing. After his adoptive parent passes away, Charlie is drawn to a magicical performance in his area. Having a close connection to magic himself, Charlie believes that he has found a kindred spirit that he can gain knowledge from. What he actually discovers is much more than he could have imagined!

Throughout the book, Charlie goes on a wild journey of revelations. His entire life is based on the knowledge learned form his adoptive parent: magic exists to make people happy. He also wants to share this knowledge with everyone around him. Along the way he uncovers the wide scope of emotion that people experience: disbelief, sadness, hope. While Charlie’s belief system is faced with challenged, it ultimately provides him with a renewed awareness on the true meaning of magic.

I really appreciated reading ‘Magic’, and I think that people would love this story filled with unexpected twists and turns!

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Rating: 4 out of 5.


Synopsis

Does magic exist? Charlie Watson thinks it does and he wants to tell you all about it. Before he was famous, Charlie Watson decided to write a book to share with the world everything he knew about magic. This is that book. You will discover why Charlie always wears a top hat, why his house is full of rabbits, how magic wands are made, how the universe began, and much, much more. Plus, for the first time, Charlie tells of the strange events that led him from England to the Arctic, to perform the extraordinary feat that made him famous, and he finally reveals whether that extraordinary feat was magic or whether it was just a trick. Magic is a magic novel by Mike Russell. (Suitable for adults of all ages.)





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Goodreads Monday: April 6

I’m taking part in Goodreads Monday. This was started by Lauren’s Page Turners, in which you choose a book listed on your Goodreads TBR and talk about it.

This Week’s Post:

Things In Jars by Jess Kidd

Synopsis:
Brodie Devine, female detective extraordinaire, is confronted with the most baffling puzzle yet: the kidnapping of Christabel Berwick, secret daughter of Sir Edmund Athelstan Berwick, and a peculiar child whose reputed supernatural powers have captured the unwanted attention of collectors trading curiosities in this age of discovery.

Winding her way through the labyrinthine, sooty streets of Victorian London, Bridie won’t rest until she finds the young girl, even if it means unearthing a past that she’d rather keep buried. Luckily, her search is aided by an enchanting cast of characters, including a seven-foot tall housemaid; a melancholic, tattoo-covered ghost; and an avuncular apothecary. But secrets abound in this foggy underworld where spectacle is king and nothing is quite what it seems.

Blending darkness and light, history and folklore, Things in Jars is a spellbinding Gothic mystery that collapses the boundary between fact and fairy tale to stunning effect and explores what it means to be human in inhumane times.

Why I Want To Read It:

This is my local library’s book club selection for April! Although the library is still closed, I fully intend to read this book. As it happens, I received a Libby notification that it’s ready for me to read, so I guess now is the time!

Goodreads Monday: March 2

I’m taking part in Goodreads Monday. This was started by Lauren’s Page Turners, in which you choose a book listed on your Goodreads TBR and talk about it.

This week’s post:

Permanent Record by Mary H.K. Choi

Why I Want To Read It:
When I first heard of Permanent Record, I loved the sound of this romance tale! Two young people trying to make it in New York City, trying to figure out life and love. I ordered the book through Book of the Month last month, so I can’t wait to start it in the future!

Goodreads Monday: February 10

I’m taking part in Goodreads Monday. This was started by Lauren’s Page Turners, in which you choose a book listed on your Goodreads TBR and talk about it.

This week’s post:

I Hope You Get This Message by Farah Naz Rishi

Synopsis:
Seven days. Seven days. The Earth might end in seven days.

When news stations start reporting that Earth has been contacted by a planet named Alma, the world is abuzz with rumors that the alien entity is giving mankind only few days to live before they hit the kill switch on civilization.

For high school truant Jesse Hewitt, though, nothing has ever felt permanent. Not the guys he hooks up with. Not the jobs his underpaid mom works so hard to hold down. Life has dealt him one bad blow after another — so what does it matter if it all ends now? Cate Collins, on the other hand, is desperate to use this time to find the father she’s never met, the man she grew up hearing wild stories about, most of which she didn’t believe. And then there’s Adeem Khan. While coding and computer programming have always come easily to him, forgiveness doesn’t. He can’t seem to forgive his sister for leaving, even though it’s his last chance.

With only seven days to face their truths and right their wrongs, Jesse, Cate, and Adeem’s paths collide even as their worlds are pulled apart.

Why I Want to Read It:
I Hope You Get This Message was an OwlCrate selection from a couple months back, and I enjoyed the premise of a group of people trying their best to rectify faults on the brink of the world’s collapse. I can’t wait to take on this story!

February 2020 TBR

While my life continues to bring chaos, reading has always brought peace to my soul. I have many books that wait for me to pick up and enjoy, and I’m determined to have my steady companions by my side through the storm (along with my husband Andy. I don’t know what I would do without him)!

Here are the books in my February TBR:

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
Little Fires Everywhere is the February selection at my local library’s book club. I’ve heard so many great things about this one!

Honeybees and Frenemies by Kristi Wientge
Honeybees and Frenemies is an adorable Middle Grade tale that I acquired from NetGalley a while back! Since I want to catch up with all my current reads, I want to take this one on!

The Women of Brewster Place by Gloria Naylor
I remember watching the TV series on ABC a long time ago! I tried reading the book right afterward, but I was surprised how different it was from the film, so I put it down. Fast forward to December 2019, when I discovered the book again at an antique shop in Phillipsburg. I snatched it up right away. I’m not making that mistake of putting it down again!

These are my books for this month! What are you planning on reading for February?

Goodreads Monday: January 13

I’m taking part in Goodreads Monday. This was started by Lauren’s Page Turners, in which you choose a book listed on your Goodreads TBR and talk about it.

This week’s post:

Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi

Synopsis:
Twelve-year-old Aru Shah has a tendency to stretch the truth in order to fit in at school. While her classmates are jetting off to family vacations in exotic locales, she’ll be spending her autumn break at home, in the Museum of Ancient Indian Art and Culture, waiting for her mom to return from her latest archeological trip. Is it any wonder that Aru makes up stories about being royalty, traveling to Paris, and having a chauffeur?

One day, three schoolmates show up at Aru’s doorstep to catch her in a lie. They don’t believe her claim that the museum’s Lamp of Bharata is cursed, and they dare Aru to prove it. Just a quick light, Aru thinks. Then she can get herself out of this mess and never ever fib again.

But lighting the lamp has dire consequences. She unwittingly frees the Sleeper, an ancient demon whose duty it is to awaken the God of Destruction. Her classmates and beloved mother are frozen in time, and it’s up to Aru to save them.

The only way to stop the demon is to find the reincarnations of the five legendary Pandava brothers, protagonists of the Hindu epic poem, the Mahabharata, and journey through the Kingdom of Death. But how is one girl in Spider-Man pajamas supposed to do all that?

Why I Want to Read It:
I enjoy reading Roshani Chokshi’s stories, so I would love to see how one of her Middle Grade stories are written!

Goodreads Monday: January 6

I’m taking part in Goodreads Monday. This was started by Lauren’s Page Turners, in which you choose a book listed on your Goodreads TBR and talk about it.

This week’s post:

Lobizona by Romina Garber

Synopsis:
Manuela Azul has been crammed into an existence that feels too small for her. As an undocumented immigrant who’s on the run from her father’s Argentine crime-family, Manu is confined to a small apartment and a small life in Miami, Florida.

Until Manu’s protective bubble is shattered.

Her surrogate grandmother is attacked, lifelong lies are exposed, and her mother is arrested by ICE. Without a home, without answers, and finally without shackles, Manu investigates the only clue she has about her past–a mysterious “Z” emblem—which leads her to a secret world buried within our own. A world connected to her dead father and his criminal past. A world straight out of Argentine folklore, where the seventh consecutive daughter is born a bruja and the seventh consecutive son is a lobizón, a werewolf. A world where her unusual eyes allow her to belong.

As Manu uncovers her own story and traces her real heritage all the way back to a cursed city in Argentina, she learns it’s not just her U.S. residency that’s illegal. . . .it’s her entire existence.

Why I Want to Read It:
I’m getting into reading urban fantasy stories, and this tale has an all-too-real backstory of family separation. This topic is covered heavily in today’s headlines. I’m hopeful that I can finally read the digital ARC of Lobizona next month!

‘The Dead Girls Club’ by Damien Angelica Walters/A Review

The Dead Girls Club by Damien Angelica Walters
Genre: Thriller
Length: 282 pages
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Acquired through NetGalley
Release Date: December 10, 2019

Synopsis:
Red Lady, Red Lady, show us your face…

In 1991, Heather Cole and her friends were members of the Dead Girls Club. Obsessed with the macabre, the girls exchanged stories about serial killers and imaginary monsters, like the Red Lady, the spirit of a vengeful witch killed centuries before. Heather knew the stories were just that, until her best friend Becca began insisting the Red Lady was real–and she could prove it.

That belief got Becca killed.

It’s been nearly thirty years, but Heather has never told anyone what really happened that night–that Becca was right and the Red Lady was real. She’s done her best to put that fateful summer, Becca, and the Red Lady, behind her. Until a familiar necklace arrives in the mail, a necklace Heather hasn’t seen since the night Becca died.

The night Heather killed her.

Now, someone else knows what she did…and they’re determined to make Heather pay.

My Thoughts:
*I received The Dead Girls Club through NetGalley, in exchange of an honest review*

From the start of reading The Dead Girls Club, you could see that Heather Cole is a woman living with the huge burden of guilt from the past. As the story progresses, Heather’s guilt causes her to spiral into delirium, each mysterious ‘gift’ further impacting her situation.

The Dead Girls Club tells the story in a dual timeline, featuring the relationship of Heather Cole and Rebecca (Becca) Thomas: the first timeline featuring Heather in the present time, and the second highlighting Heather and Becca’s relationship when they were 12 years old. Along with two other girls, they share tales about serial killers and other dangerous stories. After some time, Becca begins sharing a tale about the Red Lady, taking the group along a path that forever effects their relationship.

One thing that The Dead Girls Club does wonderfully is feature the complex dynamic of female relationships. Women navigate the complicated process of gaining (and maintaining) trust in each other from a very young age, and this is featured prominently throughout the novel. With the loss of Becca, Heather’s desire to maintain close friendships are thrown in a loop. The realization that someone may be aware of Heather’s past pushes her into deep distrust with everyone around her.

The Dead Girls Club definitely kept me on edge, and reading both aspects of Heather’s life left me with a uneasy feeling as to what might happen next. I really enjoyed reading this story of loss and mystery in the name of friendship.

Rating: 5/5 Stars