Recent Books and reviews

Monday, September 18, 2023

Sharing the books I've read with my reviews - you can find the full list of my 2022 favorites plus everything I've read in 2023 here

Pro tip: I check out most books from the library via the Libby app, and in order to avoid massive waitlists I try to find books from previous years' "Best of" lists (i.e. Oprah's Favorite books of 2021, Barack Obama's 2022 reading lists, Reese Witherspoon's 2022 reading lists, etc - usually less wait for the older hits!).

Also just want to point out the benefits of reading fiction as outlined in this article in case you are also suddenly feeling pressure to read more self help, business, and non-fiction books:

  • Enhances sense of wellbeing
  • Provides space for mental contemplation
  • Reduction in symptoms of depression
  • Reduction in mortality rate for those who read
  • Fosters greater empathy and social cognition

My rating: 3.5/5. Beautiful writing and descriptions of grief and dual emotions. However, romantic scenes make me cringe and this is heavy on the romance. If you're a romance reader this is for you! I am definitely going to explore other books by this author because they cover other genres and I really did enjoy the writing.

Beautiful Country by Qian Julie Wang

My rating: 5/5. This started a little slow but once it picked up I was SO invested in the characters. I realized the Chinese immigrant experience is one I know little about so this was a really educational read for me.

Long Bright River by Liz Moore
My rating: 5/5. Could not put this down, and I appreciated the compassionate storyline around tough issues like addiction. It's giving The Wire as told by a woman. 

The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz. 
My Rating: 2.5/5. I got through it quickly but it didn't really capture me at any point. I think I read/watch too much crime because I predicted the twist from the beginning. It was dull enough to help me sleep during pregnancy insomnia though.

Take My Hand by Dolen Perkins-Valdez
My rating: 5/5
Y'all if you read nothing else off this list, make it this book - mandatory for white readers. Winner of the 2023 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work-Fiction, the 2023 Prize for Fiction from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association, and the Silver Gavel Award from the American Bar Association, this historical fiction book inspired by true events blew my mind. It's the story of forced sterilization on poor, teenage Black teens not that long ago, and weaves in a lot of cultural aspects and lessons. Please read it.

My rating: 3.5/5
This was really thought provoking and got me fired up and maybe hit too close to where it feels like society is headed for comfort. It's dark and dystopian, I'm glad I read it.

My rating: 5/5
This is a book I still think about regularly - it was so good. It shows how race impacts everything, and gets into family legacy. As a parent it had me thinking about intention vs. impact, and what that will mean for my kids and the future generations of my family. The story is told with such a compassionate lens towards all of the characters, many of whom I would despise outside of this writing.

Girl A by Abigail Dean
My rating: 3/5
This psychological thriller is a fascinating story that I flew threw but child abuse is the main theme, and like I said earlier I must read/watch too much crime because I predicted the plot twist from the jump.

Wahala by Nikki May
My rating: 4/5
Took me a bit to get into it but once I was in I was LOCKED IN. Love/hated the characters, love a story about women's friendships, and this was an overall enjoyable light-ish read. BBC has optioned it for a series so hopefully we get a good show out of it - I will definitely watch. 

Yellowface by R.F. Kuang
My rating: 5/5
Book tok told me to read this one and I couldn't put it down. I loved the insight into the publishing industry and the narrative on people who think they get it, everyone's favorite topic - reverse racism, and cultural appropriation. Touches on a lot of hot topics with a gripping storyline. I will say I didn't love how the end played out but otherwise this was a wonderful read.  

This is a living list of my books and reviews, and I always post when I finish a book on Instagram and save to the books highlight. 

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