Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

How I Read It: Audiobook

Dates Read: 8/23/19-8/27/19

This one never seemed to hold my interest so I don’t have much to say about it, but here’s my thoughts:

Set in 1920s Mexico, Casiopea is stuck being the servant for her grandfather. She dreams of running away and thinking that maybe he owns gold coins in his trunk, she sneaks a peek. She reaches in and something gets stuck in her hand. Before she knew it, Hun-Kamé, the god of death, appears before her, and part of his bone is inside of her hand. When his brother, Vacub-Kamé, put him in the trunk, he had taken bits of his body, so he has to take Casiopea with him in order to find the pieces. If he doesn’t find them in time, Casiopea dies. Her cousin, Martín is forced into being Vacub-Kamé’s champion, and they find themselves in a competition to find the missing parts of Han-Kamé before the other.

There was a lot going on through this one, and it was hard for me to focus (this is also because I am in a transition period in my life, so my mind is a little off). I was never completely into this book, though I can see the appeal. The writing style, the original idea, and the overall aesthetic of the book are completely attractive, but I just never fell into it. I would give this book 3 out of 5 stars.

If you guys have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave a comment, find me on the social medias at @elizabooksblog, or email me at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I’ll see you all in the next book!

Beyond the Point by Claire Gibson

How I Read: Audiobook/ Ebook

Dates Read: 8/17/19-8/20/19

I have been sitting here for the past few hours crying my eyes out. A quick trigger warning, this book talks about grief, sexual assault, and racism/ misogyny. It is an extremely heavy book, but so good.

Hannah, Avery, and Dani are from different places in the country, with different backgrounds. But when they find themselves in the 2004 class of West Point and on the women’s basketball team. As their lives continue to diverge, their connection gives them the strength to continue and prosper at West Point. When injury forces Dani out of the army, she finds herself moving to London in order to work for a marketing company. Avery finds herself working in Special Forces at Fort Bragg in North Carolina with a boyfriend. And Hannah finds herself married to another Army soldier as she sets off for Afghanistan. When tragedy strikes, Hannah, Avery, and Dani reconnect, and they learn that nobody’s life is as perfect as it may seem.

This book is really slow to get into. The prologue was super attention-grabbing, but once you got past that section, it took me a long time to get into it. This book is incredibly raw. You see exactly what the girls are thinking throughout the tough moments of their early 20s. Sometimes that can be tedious, other times it can be heart-wrenching. It comes with the territory.

There is conversation about God/Christianity throughout the book. This book is set between 2000-2006, so of course 9/11 was a topic of discussion (P.S. totally didn’t plan for this post to be close to the day, it just happened). There are a lot of sermons throughout the book, which as a Christian, I enjoyed because it gave me another way to look at my faith, but it might not be great for everybody. Read at your own discretion.

While I had a very rough reaction while reading it, I wouldn’t say this book is my favorite. I do appreciate books that delve into grief because it gives me a chance to say, this is how I feel. While I think this book did a very good job of discussing that, I wasn’t super impressed by the rest of the book. It was good, don’t get me wrong, but it wasn’t great. I would give it a score of 3.75 out of 5 stars.

If you guys have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave a comment, find me on the social medias at @elizabooksblog, or email me at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I’ll see you all in the next book!

The Summer I Turned Pretty Trilogy by Jenny Han

How I Read It: Print

Dates Read: 8/22/19-8/24/19

If you are wondering where you have heard that author from, you probably have heard of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, the wildly popular Netflix movie franchise and/or the wildly popular trilogy. I read the TATBILB (okay, that was a lot harder to make than necessary) trilogy around the time that I saw the movie, and it was okay. I loved the first book, but it quickly fizzled out for me. I bought this box set around the time I finished the first book for (please don’t make me type that all out again), so I figure it’s time to get a crack at it. Plus, the summer (for all my friends still in school), just ended, so let’s relive that feeling a little bit!

Reminder: This review is of a series and not an individual book. While I will write a synopsis for each book, I will do my best to not give away blatant spoilers. With that being said, the end of one book more or less is the start of another, so information from the end of the previous book may play a role in the plot of the next book, thus I have to give away the spoiler. Read the synopsis at your own discretion.

The Summer I Turned Pretty

On Cousins Beach, there is a summer home filled with 3 boys, 1 girl, and 2 moms. Isabel (Belly) has been in love with her mom’s best friend’s son, Conrad, since she was 10 years old, much to the chagrin of her brother and his. This summer, Conrad has been acting very strange (partying, drinking, smoking, etc.) and Isobel realizes that she can’t wait around forever. She goes to a party where she meets Cam, a super sweet guy from her past. As their relationship blossoms, Belly finds herself stuck between Cam and Conrad, but she can’t have her cake and eat it, too.

It’s Not Summer Without You

After Susannah’s death, Conrad and Belly’s breakup, and all the drama of the past year, Conrad goes missing. Jeremiah calls Belly to help him find Con, which leads them back to the beach house at Cousins. Turns out, Conrad found out that the beach house was being sold, and he went there to try and stop the sell. But, there is always more to the picture. Both Conrad and Jeremiah have feelings for Belly, and she finds herself in the middle over and over. She isn’t over Conrad (how can you be “over” the boy you loved for 6 years?), but he isn’t the boy she fell in love with anymore. Trying to make sense of everything that is going on is a lot for a 15-year-old, but she is trying her best. The hardest part? Not letting her heart completely shatter while she is still picking up the pieces.

We’ll Always Have Summer

After 2 years, Belly and Jeremiah get into a huge fight because he slept with someone while they were on a break. In an effort to prove his devotion to Belly, he proposes, and she accepts. Belly’s mom doesn’t support what is happening, so Belly goes to the summer house, where Conrad happens to be staying. As they are living together, Con and Belly are trying to understand all the feelings they still have. But with the wedding at the end of the summer, Belly has to finally choose, Conrad or Jeremiah.

The Series

Here’s the thing. This series is meant for someone half my age (12 and up), and I have to treat it like such. But dude, this series is completely messed up. Firstly, this girl is choosing between 2 brothers. Like that’s messed up in itself. But then on top of that, this girl is pining for her boyfriend’s brother. That is completely messed up, and this series romanticizes that feeling. I can’t support this series purely by the unhealthiness of the relationship.

HOWEVER, this series was incredibly easy to read. I literally read the last 2 books in 1 day. It is obvious that it is written for a younger audience, so the comments are naïve and innocent. The last book does touch on some topics that may be inappropriate for the younger members of the age range, but otherwise, I think that the books are good for kids, especially romantics. I would give the overall series a 3 out of 5 stars.

If you guys have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave a comment, find me on the social medias at @elizabooksblog, or email me at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I’ll see you all in the next book!

Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center

How I Read It: Audiobook/ Print

Dates Read: 8/15/19-8/16/19

TRIGGER WARNING, the overall story has an element of rape/sexual assault. Read at your own discretion.

Why hello Internet! This one was a surprise for me! I wasn’t planning on reading this book, but because I needed something to listen to at work that I also had with me to read when I didn’t finish (blogger problems, am I right?), so this was the book I picked! Obviously this book is a Book of the Month club choice, because what else have I been reading lately, but it also is just a good book. I read How to Walk Away about 2 weeks before I started this blog, and I was super excited to read another book by Center, and man, I was not disappointed.

Cassie is a firefighter first, girl second. She wins the Austin Fire Department valor award, and instead of the mayor, Heath Thompson hands her the award. The same Heath Thompson who hurt her when she was 16. So she does what any person would do. She beats his face in with her award. She is given an ultimatum, apologize to Thompson and become lieutenant, or she’s fired. Hoping for door number 3, Cassie asks if she can be transferred to a firehouse in Massachusetts so she can take care of her estranged and very sick mother.

Her first day is the first day of a rookie, who happens to be complete eye candy. And they find themselves pushed together at every moment. When the rookie has an anniversary dinner that he promised a date for, he asks Cassie to go with him. And then they kiss, and the rest is history. Soon, Cassie begins to receive threatening notes to quit the firehouse. Cassie, being the strong, powerful woman she is, ignored it. But soon things begin to go out of control, and how long can she handle all of the things life has thrown at her? And more importantly, how is she going to handle the rookie?

Obviously Center did her research for this book. She has a tendency in her writing to go really deep into her information in order to give the most complete experience. Her books tend to be quick reads, and really enjoyable. They are often heavy which has more to do with subject matter and less to do with the arc of the story. But this particular book has a lot of dark elements that are disjointed by the young and pure love story.

I also love this book because it takes a story arc that we are all familiar with and tells it in a completely different way than any other story I have read. She finds ways to make each of her story so similar that people will want to pick it up and read, while being so uniquely itself that you will never forget it. Plus there are a million life lessons behind it. I cannot recommend this book enough. I would give it 5 out of 5 stars. Go read it.

If you guys have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave a comment, find me on the social medias at @elizabooksblog, or email me at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I’ll see you all in the next book!

The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gower

How I Read It: Audiobook

Dates Read: 8/11/19-8/15/19

I am so frustrated! I listened to this book for 4 straight work days, and NOTHING happened! I kept thinking that we were building up to this moment, and then I realized that I had 20 minutes left in the book. There was no ending, and the rest of the story is more or less forgettable. And even though this isn’t a book I would have picked up for myself, I can still tell you that nothing of any type of consequence actually happens in this book, and that if you want to read 500 pages for no reason, here is your book.

Okay, so there’s this dude named Hancock who is in financial straits. He is given a real-life mermaid from his ship captain, and he decides to start showcasing it in order to bring in a cash flow. Many people want to see the mermaid, so the owner of the nunnery (which is more of a brothel than a convent) takes charge and sets up a party (which essentially turns into an orgy, sorry dad). Hancock, being wooed by one of the girls, Angelica, was completely distressed by the party and removed his mermaid, eventually selling it to royalty for a steep price.

Angelica met another man at this party and, in a speed that would put Romeo and Juliet to shame, they fall in love. When Mr. Hancock goes to Angelica’s door to ask for more of her time, she tells him that he can earn her time by bringing her a mermaid. So, he uses his money to pay for a new mermaid to be captured and brought to him. When that other dude comes out broke, he dumps Angelica, causing her to fall into the arms of Mr. Hancock. He agrees to repay her debts, and she asks for them to be married. Around the same time, ANOTHER mermaid is captured, this one alive.

At this point, I don’t even know what to tell you, because literally I don’t know what is important and what isn’t. I was so utterly disappointed, and I went in not expecting much from this book. There is no real point for me to keep talking and tearing down this book, so I give it 1.5 out of 5 stars.

If you guys have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave a comment, find me on the social medias at @elizabooksblog, or email me at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I’ll see you all in the next book!

The Reckless Oath We Made by Bryn Greenwood

How I Read It: Audiobook/ Ebook

Dates Read: 8/21/19-8/22/19

This is the final August 2019 BOTM book I have read, and I am disappointed that I didn’t read choose it. Out of all the books, this one and Dominicana were the books I was most nervous for. I just wasn’t sure I would really like them. Man, was I wrong. I could not put this book down, despite (or maybe because) of its weirdness.

After a prison escape gone wrong, LaReigne Trejo is taken as hostage by two escapees, who are also white supremacists. Her sister, Zhorzha (Zee), is trying to figure out what happened and how she can fix the whole situation. Her hidden weapon, also known as her stalker, comes in the form of Gentry Frank. Gentry is her champion, and due to his autism, he finds himself constantly in the world of knights and dames. Zee begins using all the connections she has from when her father was in prison in order to get information so she can bring her sister home, and Gentry every step of the way does his best to protect her every step of the way.

Okay dude, this book is messed up, but also amazing. I fully recommend you listen to the audiobook. I’m not sure who the voice actor was that did Gentry’s voice, but give this man an award. I didn’t want to stop reading/ listening and it has everything to do with how clever the book is. The book is crude, innocent, raw, fun, serious, and on top of everything else, entertaining.

I can’t think of anything really negative to say, but I also don’t feel right giving this book 5 stars. There is just a feeling like I should give this book a little less than that. Sp I am going to give this book 4.5 out of 5, but dude, read it. You won’t be sorry.

If you guys have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave a comment, find me on the social medias at @elizabooksblog, or email me at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I’ll see you all in the next book!

Dominicana by Angie Cruz

How I Read It: Print

Dates Read: 8/15/19-8/19/19

If you live in the United States (or really at this point, the US has made a name for themselves across the globe), you have heard quite a bit about illegal immigration. This book talks about a Dominican girl in the 1960s as she tells her story of immigrating the US. One of the reasons why I love BOTM is that it gives me a chance to understand other people and continue to grow as a person, so here’s what I thought.

At 15, Dominican Ana finds herself married off to a Dominican emigrant, Juan. He brings her to New York, where he expects her to cook and clean and take care of the house. Expecting that his marriage won’t be the end of his relationship with former employer and current lover, Caridad, Juan begins to abuse Ana. Ana becomes pregnant, and she has to figure out how she is going to take care of the child despite her husband’s temper. When Juan’s businesses begin to degrade during the riots in the Dominican Republic, Juan takes the first plane back, leaving Ana with his brother, César. As their friendship blossoms, Ana finds that she is becoming stronger, and that she won’t take the pain that she was taking from Juan. But as life becomes more complicated, Ana must make the most difficult decisions to better her life.

The way this story is set up is a little strange, but I really enjoyed the story. It is very contemporary, and I can’t fit it into any other genre. It is dark at times, but it is also incredibly beautiful and eye-opening. For anybody who wants to understand what immigration is like, this is a beautiful story of one woman’s journey. The style isn’t my favorite, and it sometimes feels a little disjointed and confusing, but the weight of the story overwhelmed that feeling for me.

If you guys have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave a comment, find me on the social medias at @elizabooksblog, or email me at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I’ll see you all in the next book!