Book Review – American Dirt

American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins
Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Synopsis:

Lydia Quixano Pérez lives in the Mexican city of Acapulco. She runs a bookstore. She has a son, Luca, the love of her life, and a wonderful husband who is a journalist. And while there are cracks beginning to show in Acapulco because of the drug cartels, her life is, by and large, fairly comfortable.

Even though she knows they’ll never sell, Lydia stocks some of her all-time favorite books in her store. And then one day a man enters the shop to browse and comes up to the register with a few books he would like to buy—two of them her favorites. Javier is erudite. He is charming. And, unbeknownst to Lydia, he is the jefe of the newest drug cartel that has gruesomely taken over the city. When Lydia’s husband’s tell-all profile of Javier is published, none of their lives will ever be the same.

Forced to flee, Lydia and eight-year-old Luca soon find themselves miles and worlds away from their comfortable middle-class existence. Instantly transformed into migrants, Lydia and Luca ride la bestia—trains that make their way north toward the United States, which is the only place Javier’s reach doesn’t extend. As they join the countless people trying to reach el norte, Lydia soon sees that everyone is running from something. But what exactly are they running to?

Thoughts:

There was a fare amount of controversy surrounding this book when it first came out and I did my best to not pay attention to it. I wanted to be able to read it without any preconceived opinions formed. I’m so glad I did that, because I truly loved this book!! I read it every chance I got and I thought about it when I wasn’t reading it. My heart ached for what Lydia and Luca went through and what they had to endure making their way to freedom in the U.S.

If you haven’t read this book yet, I would highly recommend doing so.

In case it wasn’t obvious, I gave this book 5/5 stars!

Book Review – The Confetti Pact

The Confetti Pact by Lilly Bartlett
Genre: Romance

Synopsis:

Nelly Roberts needs a fiancé – fast!

When she’s left in the lurch with not just a wedding but also the country’s biggest magazine feature on the line, social media star, Nelly, has no choice but to substitute one groom for another. Luckily, Rafael Moreno Cortes needs a visa, so they make a deal: act the perfect couple for as long as it takes to get them both what they want. The catch? Absolutely nobody can know the truth.

With the magazine following their every move, Nelly’s ex re-emerges with a change of heart just as her pretend feelings for Rafael start to be anything but pretend. What could possibly go wrong? 

Thoughts:

I was contacted by Michele Gorman (aka Lilly Bartlett) asking if I would like to read her latest book, The Confetti Pact, in exchange for an honest review.

This book was hilarious and laugh out loud funny. It was a fast, light hearted read and I just loved the characters and the plot.

This book comes out on February 12, 2020, and for the month of February, Amazon is offering the Ebook for $2.99!

If you like romances with quirky characters, this book is for you!

I gave this book a 5 star rating.

Book Review – In Pieces

In Pieces by Sally Field
Genre: Memoir

Synopsis:

In this intimate, haunting literary memoir, an American icon tells her story for the first time, and in her own gorgeous words-about a challenging and lonely childhood, the craft that helped her find her voice, and a powerful emotional legacy that shaped her journey as a daughter and a mother.

One of the most celebrated, beloved, and enduring actors of our time, Sally Field has an infectious charm that has captivated the nation for more than five decades, beginning with her first TV role at the age of seventeen. From Gidget‘s sweet-faced “girl next door” to the dazzling complexity of Sybil to the Academy Award-worthy ferocity and depth of Norma Rae and Mary Todd Lincoln, Field has stunned audiences time and time again with her artistic range and emotional acuity. Yet there is one character who always remained hidden: the shy and anxious little girl within.

With raw honesty and the fresh, pitch-perfect prose of a natural-born writer, and with all the humility and authenticity her fans have come to expect, Field brings readers behind-the-scenes for not only the highs and lows of her star-studded early career in Hollywood, but deep into the truth of her lifelong relationships-including, most importantly, her complicated love for her own mother. Powerful and unforgettable, In Pieces is an inspiring and important account of life as a woman in the second half of the twentieth century. 

Thoughts:

Such a beautifully narrated book by Sally Field. The honesty and rawness of what she experienced as a child comes through her words and just left me gutted. I also had no idea of how much she doubted her work as it certainly doesn’t come through that way on the screen (at least for me). She is one of my favorite actresses and maybe it’s because of her insecurities she’s able to deliver such outstanding performances.

A fantastic read for me and I gave it 5/5 stars!

Book Review – I’ll Be Gone In The Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search For The Golden State Killer

I’ll Be Gone In The Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive
Search For The Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara
Genre: Nonfiction

Synopsis:

A masterful true crime account of the Golden State Killer—the elusive serial rapist turned murderer who terrorized California for over a decade—from Michelle McNamara, the gifted journalist who died tragically while investigating the case.

Thoughts:

I listened to this book on Audible and was completely hooked right from the start. It literally gave me chills throughout listening to it! To think that these horrific crimes took place from 1974 until 1986 and that it took until 2018 to identify the suspect is shocking to me.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading true crime. I gave this book a 5 star rating!

Book Review – Before We Were Yours

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate
Genre: Historical Fiction

Synopsis:

Memphis, 1939: Twelve-year-old Rill Foss and her four younger siblings live a magical life aboard their family’s Mississippi River shantyboat. But when their father must rush their mother to the hospital one stormy night, Rill is left in charge — until strangers arrive in force. Wrenched from all that is familiar and thrown into a Tennessee Children’t Home Society orphanage, the Foss children are assured that they will soon be returned to their parrents — but they quickly realize the dark truth. At the mercy of the facility’s real-life director, the cruel Georgia Tann, Rill fights to keep her sisters and brother together.

Aiken, South Carolina, Present Day: Born into wealth and privilege, Avery Stafford seems to have it all: a successful career, a handsome fiance, and a lavish wedding on the horizon. But when she returns home to help her father weather a health crisis, a chance encounter leaves her with uncomfortable questions and compels her to take a journey through her family’s long-hidden history, on a path that will ultimately lead either to devastation or to redemption.

Thoughts:

This book is gut wrenching at times. To think of the horrors children lived through in the orphanage is unbearable, especially knowing that all of them didn’t survive. Rill Foss is a character that I will not soon forget about and this extraordinary story will stay with me for a long time. I can’t think of a better way to kick off 2020 than reading this book which is also the January pick for a book club I belong to. Please, if you haven’t read this book and you enjoy historical fiction, get this book and read it!

If it wasn’t apparent from my thoughts, I gave this book 5/5 stars.

Book Review – Winter Solstice

Winter Solstice by Elin Hilderbrand
Genre: Chick Lit

Synopsis

It’s been a long time since the entire Quinn family celebrated the holidays under the same roof, but that’s about to change. With Bart back safe and sound from Afghanistan, the Quinns are preparing for their most joyous holiday season ever . . . After all, Bart’ return isn’t the family’s only good news: Kevin is enjoying married life with Isabelle, Patrick is getting back on his feet after paying his debt to society, Ava thinks she’s finally found the love of her life, and Kelley is thrilled to see his family reunited. But it just wouldn’t be a Quinn family gathering without a few surprises and upheavals. A celebration of everything we love — and some of the things we endure — about the holidays.

Thoughts

This was my favorite book of the entire series! It is probably the saddest as well as the Quinn’s prepare to say goodbye to Kelley who has terminal brain cancer. You will laugh and cry and won’t be disappointed. I cannot recommend the Winter Series enough. Get these books! I gave this book 5/5 stars. The series as a whole averaged out to 4.5/5 stars.

Book Review – The Only Plane In The Sky: An Oral History of 9/11

The Only Plane in the Sky – An Oral History of 9/11
By Garrett M. Graff
Genre: Non Fiction

Synopsis

The first comprehensive oral history of September 11, 2011 — a panoramic narrative woven from the voices of Americans on the front lines of an unprecedented national trauma. Over the past eighteen years, monumental literature has been published about 9/11. But one perspective has been missing up to this point — a 360-degree account of the day told through the voices of the people who experienced it. Drawing on never-before-published transcripts, recently declassified documents, original interviews and oral histories from nearly five hundred government officials, first responders, witnesses, survivors, friends and family members, Graff paints the most vivid and human portrait of the September 11 attacks yet. The Only Plane in the Sky weaves together the unforgettable personal experiences of the men and women who found themselves caught at the center of an unprecedented human drama. The result is a unique, profound and searing exploration of humanity on a day that changed the course of history, and all our lives.

Thoughts

I thought I had read everything that was out there about the events that transpired on 9/11, but this book proved me wrong. I listened to the book on Audible every chance I got and I must say that version is superbly narrated. I enjoyed it so much that I purchased the physical copy of the book to keep in my personal “library”. I would highly recommend listening to the book if you get a chance. I gave the book 5/5 stars.