Showing posts with label 5 things. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 5 things. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

5 Reasons to Read The Daughter by Jane Shemilt


Title: The Daughter
Author: Jane Shemilt
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: March 3, 2015
Source: copy received for honest review through TLC Book Tours

Plot Summary from Goodreads:

Jenny loves her three teenage children and her husband, Ted, a celebrated neurosurgeon. She loves the way that, as a family, they always know each other's problems and don't keep secrets from each other. 

But when her youngest child, fifteen-year-old Naomi, doesn't come home after her school play and a nationwide search for her begins, secrets previously kept from Jenny are revealed. 

Naomi has vanished, leaving her family broken and her mother desperately searching for answers. But the traces Naomi's left behind reveal a very different girl to the one Jenny thought she'd raised. And the more she looks the more she learns that everyone she trusted has been keeping secrets.

How well does she really know her sons, her husband? How well did she know Naomi? If Jenny is going to find her, she'll have to first uncover the truth about the daughter she thought told her everything.


Let me give you 5 easy reasons to read this book...hopefully you'll like it as much as I did!

1. The setting.  The story takes place in England and Wales, and while much of it is portrayed as rather dreary and melancholy (appropriate to the tone of the book), I was still swept up in the atmosphere that was created.  This was particularly true of the scenes set at Jenny's seaside cottage in Dorset.  Despairing yet beautiful...if that makes sense.

2. The tagline.  I've gone on record with my dismay over books with taglines, but (after having read the book), I'd say this one is pretty spot on.  "How well do you really know your family?"  I spent so much time trying to figure out where Jenny went wrong with her misconceptions of her children (and her husband, too, but mostly her kids).  I mean really, her kids are 100% NOT what she thought they were.  At all.  As a mom myself, that is a moderately terrifying idea, eh?  How can you not know your own kids?  What did Jenny do to get to this low point as a mother?  I was absorbed by her attempts to find out.

3. The red herrings.  Any good thriller needs to throw you off course a few times, but not so many times that it becomes tedious.  The Daughter finds that perfect balance.  There was a bit of time in the middle of the book where I felt like things stalled out (I started to get a tad bored, to be honest), but the last third really picked up steam and gave me enough new material to get excited about the conclusion.

4. The ending.  Because it's awesome.  I was afraid that the book was going to peter out after building so much good suspense (it had the potential to go that way, to take the easy way out), but I was delighted by the unexpected turn at the finale.  Didn't see it coming, and that's always a win for me.

5. The...daughter.  Not to be cheesy and use the title as a list item, but Naomi was such an interesting character.  I spent a lot of time trying to figure her out.  I didn't have her completely pegged by the end, but that's half the fun: trying to unravel her mysteries and get inside her head, even after the last page.

As always, much thanks to Trish and TLC Book Tours for including me on this tour!
Want to find out more?  Check out the other blogs on this book tour HERE.  And connect with Jane Shemilt on Twitter.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

5 Reasons I Adored The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez


Title: The Book of Unknown Americans
Author: Cristina Henriquez
Publisher: Knopf
Publication Date: June 3, 2014
Source: borrowed from the good ol' public library

Summary from Goodreads

After their daughter Maribel suffers a near-fatal accident, the Riveras leave México and come to America. But upon settling at Redwood Apartments, a two-story cinderblock complex just off a highway in Delaware, they discover that Maribel's recovery--the piece of the American Dream on which they've pinned all their hopes--will not be easy. Every task seems to confront them with language, racial, and cultural obstacles.

At Redwood also lives Mayor Toro, a high school sophomore whose family arrived from Panamà fifteen years ago. Mayor sees in Maribel something others do not: that beyond her lovely face, and beneath the damage she's sustained, is a gentle, funny, and wise spirit. But as the two grow closer, violence casts a shadow over all their futures in America.


My Review:

I am really struggling with making my reviews exciting these days, reader friends.  I've been at the reviewing game now for 2.5 years, and it's hard to say something different and engaging each time.  So, I'm taking a little advice from Leah @ Books Speak Volumes, and structuring this review a tad differently in order to shake things up.  I hope this will make it more fun for me to write reviews, and also make it more fun for you as a reader.

Without further ado...5 Reasons I Adored The Book of Unknown Americans!

1. Its inclusiveness.  I've read many books (fiction and nonfiction) over the years that tackle various aspects of the immigrant experience.  However, this is the first one I've encountered that brought in such a wide variety of perspectives.  While the Rivera and Toro families are certainly at the center of this story, you also get chapters that focus (albeit briefly) on many of their neighbors and friends who hail from a range of countries: Mexico, Puerto Rico, Guatemala, Panama, etc.  And they all came to the US for very different reasons--though the end goals of happiness and fulfillment are largely the same.  This extensive range of viewpoints adds a lot of depth to the story.

2. Its brevity.  For a book with so much emotional complexity, it's a very quick read.  It packs a big punch in a small-ish number of pages.

3. Mayor and Maribel's relationship.  Everyone knows I'm not much for literary romance, but Mayor and Maribel transcend your usual teenage love story.  Watching Mayor fall for Maribel, despite her medical struggles after her accident, is beautiful and moving and all-around awesome.  And the way he helps her communicate with the world will tug at your heart strings.

4. It will get your wheels turning.  The main focus of the book is obviously the experience of the Latino immigrants in the novel, but as an extension of their struggles, I also found myself thinking about the motives and misfortunes of the American citizens they encountered who discriminated against them (especially the primary antagonist, Garrett).  People don't create hate in a vacuum.  This book will force you to think about why.

5. This quote:"We're the unknown Americans, the ones no one even wants to know, because they've been told they're supposed to be scared of us and because maybe if they did take the time to get to know us, they might realize that we're not that bad, maybe even that we're a lot like them.  And who would they hate then?"

Read this book, friends!  I have not-a-one bad thing to say about it (and way more than 5 good things that I could say).

What was the last quick-ish book you read that also packed an emotional gut-punch?
 
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