What Alice Forgot Book Review

3 out of 5 stars

Summary: What Alice Forgot tells the story of a woman who is at her Friday spin class when she faints, hitting her head and losing 10 years of her memory. So many important events happened in those 10 years such as her best friend dying and the beginning of her divorce. Watch as Alice struggles to make sense of her new life when she can’t even remember changing from someone who went with the flow to someone who over plans everything.

Thoughts: This book was my local library’s book club pick for the month and because I really enjoy that group I decided I would read it since our last book was great. Now I didn’t love this book but I also didn’t dislike it, it kind of was a book that just was and sometimes those are nice to read as well. There were some aspects of the book that I liked and others that I was kind of not fond of.

First off, I liked the way that the book was written. I thought it was a great choice to include 3 different perspectives from woman who were related but also lead different lives. I liked seeing what they thought of the situation with Alice and how their relationship with her changed because of the memory loss. I thought it was interesting to see how Frannie and Elisabeth saw their lives and then look at what Alice thought of their lives.

Something else that I really enjoyed was the way that things were described. There were moments that were very vague and I was just as confused as Alice for most of the book. I liked that you figure things out as Alice is learning things and regaining snippets from her memory.

The thing that I really didn’t like was the end chapters. I think that everything was done so quickly and I wanted it to extend a little more so that you got to see more from everyone. I think that once you reach the end it seems kind of like the author just wanted to complete the book and there was not much substance left.

I don’t want to spoil so I won’t include what I didn’t like about the ending but if you’ve read the book I want to hear your thoughts about the book. What did you like? Was there anything you would have changed?

You can buy this book on Amazon or look for it at your local library.

The Poet X Book Review

5 out of 5 stars

The last challenge for the_Bookish_Club on instagram was the debut of an author and since I had seen this book everywhere I decided it was a perfect one for that prompt. I am glad that I finally got around to ready it because while it was an easy book to get through it had quite an impact on me.

The Poet X is a coming of age story told through poetry about a girl, Xiomara, who is struggling with her relationship with her mother and her relationship with her religion. Xiomara uses slam poetry as a way to understand others, begin to discover who she is and make sense of her feelings, and how to explain her feelings to others. Xiomara’s mother is a devout Catholic and wants her daughter to obey the rules of the church. The actions and words of Xiomara’s Mother cause conflict for Xiomara because she refuses to stay silent.

I really enjoyed this book because there were moments that I was able to relate to and there were moments that I couldn’t stop laughing. I loved the way that the author portrays religion and family and the importance of both of those in the Latinx culture. I loved being able to see that for most Latinx families you weren’t going to have a relationship with your family without religion and God playing a large role in that relationship.

While the mother’s ties to Catholicism are many of the sources to Xiomara’s problems there is never a time where you see the mother as a villain. At least there was never a time in which I disliked the mother and I think part of that was because I could see my family in her. This was something that I really enjoyed and is why I gave it 5 stars. I loved that I could see my family in this book and I could see myself in not just the main character but also in twin.

While twin was a big part in Xiomara’s life we didn’t see much of him but I really enjoyed the parts that we did see and how there is mention his sexuality. I enjoyed that being a part of it because it strengthened the relationship between him and Xiomara and showed how he needed just as much assistance navigating his relationship with his family as she did.

I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys coming of age novels, young adult novels, and books told through poetry.

About the Book: A young girl in Harlem discovers slam poetry as a way to understand her mother’s religion and her own relationship to the world. Debut novel of renowned slam poet Elizabeth Acevedo.

Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking.

But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers—especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about. With Mami’s determination to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself.

So when she is invited to join her school’s slam poetry club, she doesn’t know how she could ever attend without her mami finding out, much less speak her words out loud. But still, she can’t stop thinking about performing her poems.

Because in the face of a world that may not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to be silent. 

About the Author: ELIZABETH ACEVEDO is the youngest child and only daughter of Dominican immigrants. She holds a BA in Performing Arts from the George Washington University and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Maryland. With over fourteen years of performance poetry experience, Acevedo is a National Poetry Slam Champion, Cave Canem Fellow, CantoMundo Fellow, and participant of the Callaloo Writer’s Workshop. She has two collections of poetry, Beastgirl & Other Origin Myths (YesYes Books, 2016) and winner of the 2016 Berkshire Prize, Medusa Reads La Negra’s Palm (Tupelo Press, forthcoming). The Poet X is her debut novel. She lives with her partner in Washington, DC. 

About the book and about the author are borrowed from Goodreads.

You can find this book on Amazon or look for it at your local library.

The Woman in Cabin 10 Book Review

The Woman in Cabin 10

This was the library’s book club pick for the month of May and I was so excited to finally have a chance to read this. I don’t really read adult fiction because I find the plot lines too dense for me to follow. Honestly, adult fiction scares me because I can’t decipher what I’m supposed to get from the book without discussing it with others. This is the main reason I only read adult fiction when it’s a book club pick.

The Woman in Cabin 10 tells the story about a journalist, Lo Blacklock, who has recently been given an assignment on a luxary cruise. Before going on this assignment, Blacklock, has her home broken into and her sense of security is damaged. When Blacklock first arrives on this cruise things seem perfect and smooth until one day she is certain that she has seen a woman being thrown off the ship. The only problem though is that all the passengers and the crew are all accounted for so did someone actually get thrown overboard or is everything Blacklock’s imagination.

This book starts off very slowly and halfway through I still didn’t have any idea as to what was happening. Now normally this would throw me off and I wouldn’t want to continue reading because my opinion of the book would be ruined but it was different in this case. I think since this book already told me there was a mystery aspect to it and it wasn’t an obvious case I wanted to keep reading. You’ll find yourself guessing along with Blacklock as to what occurred that day and then second guessing yourself as to if the events are real or not.

I actually loved the pacing in this book because it uses more than half the book to build up suspense. I love that we get time to actually meet the main character along with the others who are on the cruise with her. Because you get to know everyone on the ship you can guess who it is and there is more of a shock when things start to get revealed.

Psychological Thrillers are a genre that I haven’t read in quite a long time, not because I don’t enjoy them but because I don’t venture into adult fiction often. When it comes to movies, psychological thrillers are one of my favorites because it makes you think and actually pay attention to what is going on. Maybe that’s why I worry about reading them, I’m always worried that I’ll forget the plot of a book if I don’t get through it quick enough but this book was such a good read once things started unraveling that I couldn’t put it down.

I recommend this to anyone who is a fan of thriller, mystery slightly horror books. I find that if you are looking for something to kind of scare you and keep you up at night, this book is perfect. This book made me slightly curious about the movie coming out in the future but not so sure if I want to ruin this book by watching the movie.

About the Book: Lo Blacklock, a journalist who writes for a travel magazine, has just been given the assignment of a lifetime: a week on a luxury cruise with only a handful of cabins. The sky is clear, the waters calm, and the veneered, select guests jovial as the exclusive cruise ship, the Aurora, begins her voyage in the picturesque North Sea. At first, Lo’s stay is nothing but pleasant: the cabins are plush, the dinner parties are sparkling, and the guests are elegant. But as the week wears on, frigid winds whip the deck, gray skies fall, and Lo witnesses what she can only describe as a dark and terrifying nightmare: a woman being thrown overboard. The problem? All passengers remain accounted for and so, the ship sails on as if nothing has happened, despite Lo’s desperate attempts to convey that something (or someone) has gone terribly, terribly wrong

About the Author: Ruth Ware grew up in Sussex, on the south coast of England. After graduating from Manchester University she moved to Paris, before settling in North London. She has worked as a waitress, a bookseller, a teacher of English as a foreign language and a press officer. She is married with two small children, and In a Dark, Dark Wood is her début thriller.

About the book and about the author are borrowed from Goodreads.

If you would like to read this book you can find it at
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B019DKO5BM/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1 or look for it at your local library.

Swift as Desire Book Review

Swift as Desire

5 out of 5 stars

“No matter how successful a relationship may be, both sexually and emotionally, the lack of money can hamper and undermine, little by little, even the greatest passion.”

I never would have picked this book up out of my own choosing. You see I’m not a big fan of adult fiction and much less romance novels but my local library picked this book for Spanish book club and I wanted to give it a try. I would’ve read it in Spanish but I know the book is already complex in English and I wanted to be able to understand what I was reading.

I was a little bit worried about reading this in English versus Spanish because the content felt more suited to the Spanish language. Once I started I didn’t feel like I was missing anything by reading it in English though but I do believe that it would be more romantic to read in Spanish.

Swift as Desire tells the story of a poor man who falls in love with a rich woman. Both of these individuals have different perspectives on what it means to love someone and how to show someone that they love them. They’re love for each other allows them to look past their own perceptions of love and build a great life with each other until a terrible event occurs. Their daughter uncovers the mystery and tells you how a once great love story becomes an estrangement between her parents.

I was worried that i would get lost in the meaning behind each passage in this book and try to decipher what it meant but I found that this book captivates my interest. I think this book really does a great job of balancing the amount of narration and dialogue that it has. I found that the narrative pieces really add to the story rather than distract from it.

Something that I really enjoyed was how this I was still able to relate to this book even if it was written before my time, and took place long ago in a place I am not too familiar with. I loved the commentary and discussions you can have surrounding the affect that differences in class and education can have on a relationship. I found myself really resonating with Jubilo as he struggles to please his wife who is from a wealthier family.

This book was able to take me through so many emotions as I laughed with the characters, cried for them, and at times yelled at them. It’s been a while since I finished a book in 2 days but I didn’t want to put this done. I even held off watching my favorite tv shows in order to finish this book.

I recommend this book to anyone who likes a good romance novel and highly recommend it to those of you would read in other languages. I believe that this love story would be much more beautiful told in Spanish.

About the Book: An enchanting, bittersweet story, touched with graphic earthiness and wit; Esquivel shows us how keeping secrets will always lead to unhappiness, and how communication is the key to love.

Instead of entering the world crying like other babies, Júbilo was born with a smile on his face. He had a gift for hearing what was in people’s hearts, for listening to sand dunes sing and insects whisper. Even as a young boy, acting as an interpreter between his warring Mayan grandmother and his Spanish-speaking mother, he would translate words of spite into words of respect, so that their mutual hatred turned to love. When he grew up, he put his gift to good use in his job as a humble telegraph operator. 

But now the telegraph lies abandoned, obsolete as a form of communication in the electronic age, and don Júbilo is on his deathbed, mute and estranged from his beloved wife, Lucha, who refuses to speak to him. What tragic event has come between two such sensuous, loving people to cause their seemingly irreparable rift? What mystery lies behind the death of the son no one ever mentions? Can their daughter bring reconciliation to her parents before it is too late, by acting as an interpreter between them, just as Júbilo used to do for other people? 

Swift as Desire is Laura Esquivel’s loving tribute to her father, who worked his own lifelong magic as a telegraph operator. In this enchanting, bittersweet story, touched with graphic earthiness and wit, she shows us how keeping secrets will always lead to unhappiness, and how communication is the key to love.

About the Author: A teacher by trade, Laura Esquivel gained international attention with Like Water for Chocolate: A Novel in Monthly Installments with Recipes, Romances and Home Remedies and The Law of Love. In both books she manages to incorporate her teaching abilities by giving her readers lessons about life. During an on-line Salon interview with Joan Smith, she said, “As a teacher I realize that what one learns in school doesn’t serve for very much at all, that the only thing one can really learn is self understanding and this is something that can’t be taught.” With the intensity of a committed teacher incorporating glitzy stunts into the curriculum to get the attention of her students, Esquivel took a bold step when she incorporated multimedia in The Law of Love by combining her science fiction, new age, and spiritual story with a CD of arias by Puccini and Mexican danzones, and forty-eight pages of illustrations by a Spanish artist.

About the Book and About the Author borrowed from Goodreads.

If you would like to read this book you can find it at
https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/47043/swift-as-desire-by-laura-esquivel/9780385721516/ or look for it at your local library.

Horseman, Pass By Book Review

2 out of 5 stars

Horseman, Pass by with a quote box

“Things are just put together wrong. There’s so much shit in the world a man’s gonna get in it sooner or later, whether he’s careful or not.” 

You ever read a book recommended by others or just because its the book club pick of the month? This is how I came across Horseman, Pass By by Larry McMurtry. Western Fiction is a genre I never knew existed and would have never come across had it not been for the Cahuenga Library’s Book Club.

I read this alongside other books that I was reading and decided to read it a chapter a day just to get through it. The beginning was great and I loved how the cattle disease was inserted into the book. When I read the excerpt of the book it mentions a terrible cattle disease and instantly I was excited about reading this book. You see I love anything about viruses and diseases and when authors seamlessly use one to add to their plot I need to read it.

Larry McMurtry does a great job of giving you a picture of life on a Texas ranch back in the Old West. I loved how descriptive every paragraph was and how elaborate each scene was. Even though the chapters were short and the book is short it has a lot packed in.

What I failed to do was really connect with any of the characters. I was waiting for the moment that I would care for characters the way that I always have with everything that I read but that moment never came for me. In fact I wasn’t even able to hate the character that did a lot of bad stuff because I didn’t feel for the characters that his actions were affecting.

Not being able to connect with the characters made this a hard book to get through. I wish that there was some character development or a plot that I could follow past the cattle disease which is resolved half way through the book. It could also be that I wasn’t able to relate to it and maybe people who grew up in Texas or on a ranch might have more of a connection to this book.

I do think that this was a good read when you take into consideration that this his McMurtry’s first book and that the things he writes after this get better. I now need to get my hands on the film Hud so I can see if that might make me appreciate this book a little more.

About the Book:

From the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of LonesomeDovecomes the novel that became the basis for the film Hud, starring Paul Newman. In classic Western style Larry McMurtry illustrates the timeless conflict between the modernity and the Old West through the eyes of Texas cattlemen.

Horseman, Pass By tells the story of Homer Bannon, an old-time cattleman who epitomizes the frontier values of honesty and decency, and Hud, his unscrupulous stepson. Caught in the middle is the narrator, Homer’s young grandson Lonnie, who is as much drawn to his grandfather’s strength of character as he is to Hud’s hedonism and materialism. 

When first published in 1961, Horseman, Pass By caused a sensation in Texas literary circles for its stark, realistic portrayal of the struggles of a changing West in the years following World War II. Never before had a writer managed to encapsulate its environment with such unsentimental realism. Today, memorable characters, powerful themes, and illuminating detail make Horseman, Pass By vintage McMurtry. 

About Larry McMurtry:

Larry McMurtry was born in Wichita Falls, Texas on June 3, 1936. He is the author of twenty-nine novels, including the Pulitzer Prize- winning Lonesome Dove, three memoirs, two essay collections, and more than thirty screenplays. 

His first published book, Horseman, Pass By, was adapted into the film “Hud.” A number of his other novels also were adapted into movies as well as a television mini-series.

Among many other accolades, in 2006 he was the co-winner of both the Best Screenplay Golden Globe and the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for “Brokeback Mountain.” 

What is something you have read and finished because you felt obligated to?