Book Review Day has quickly become one of my favorite days of the month. This month I read a whopping 5 books. I loved one of them, hated one of them and I am having such conflicted feelings about two of them.
Black Cake – Charmaine Wilkerson (A)
The setting is California and Eleanor Bennett has died. She has left an 8 hour audio recording for her grown children to listen to in the presence of each other and her lawyer. Their mom needs to tell them of her past, as it is not the story that they have been told while growing up. Eleanor’s recording takes us to the Caribbean to a young girl named Covey and her best friend, Bunny, and their love of swimming in the ocean. The story unfolds from there.
The premise of this book is so strong, but it took be almost half the book before I felt invested in the storyline and characters. It bounced from past to present day a lot; and on the audiobook that was often hard to follow. Overall, I very much enjoyed the second half of the book and it turned out to be a great story about family, secrets, and sacrifice. 3.5/5 stars
Shadows of Pecan Hollow – Caroline Frost (B + A)
In 1970, 13-year old Kit Walker runs away from her foster home and is abducted by Manny Romero, a smooth-talking criminal. Before long they become infamous for their string of gas station robberies. That is just where the story starts. As certain events unfold, Kit begins to consider a new way of life. The question is will she actually get it.
I started out reading this book with my eyes and was loving it. I had a hard time putting it down. But then life got busy and I switched to audio. I definitely did not like the audio version and would not recommend it at all. As a native Texan, the narrator’s fake TX twang was incredibly irritating and it did not match the voice of the main character as I had envisioned her while reading the book.
With all of that said, I do absolutely recommend this book to read the old-fashioned way. It is good. Definitely gritty and hard to read at times, but the characters are complex and the storyline is well written. It is shocking to me that this is the author’s debut novel. There is so much depth in the words that she wrote.
I do want to warn readers that there are some very sensitive topics covered in this book. It is gritty; so be prepared for that. 4/5 stars
A Flicker in the Dark – Stacy Willingham (A)
Okay… so this is what I call a thriller! This was good and kept me guessing the whole way. I finished it in one day.
Here’s the setup – when Chloe Davis was twelve, six teenage girls went missing in her Louisiana town. Her father is arrested as a serial killer and has been in prison ever since. Now 20 years later, Chloe is a psychologist and getting ready for her wedding… and then a local girl goes missing. The story unweaves from there.
Another debut novel that hits it out of the park! And Hollywood has noticed because this book is supposed to be made into a limited series featuring Emma Stone.
West With The Night – Beryl Markham (A)
I read this one for my book club group and it definitely led to an interesting discussion. This book is Beryl Markham’s memoir about Africa, aviation, and adventure.
It is a beautifully written story about a remarkable woman with interesting insights into a specific time, place and way of life. Her viewpoints definitely reflect the time and that was sometimes jarring in that those viewpoints might be taken differently today. Overall, the story was slow and, being a memoir, had no real plot or direction. It was ramblings and thoughts from her diary. So with that, I don’t that I would recommend this to everyone. But if you are interested in learning more about Africa, you will love the beautiful scenes and Beryl’s descriptions of growing up in that everchanging country. And if you have an Audible subscription, this audiobook is free on there. 2.5/5 stars
A History of Wild Places– Shea Ernshaw (A)
This book starts out with Travis who has a gift for finding missing people. In this case, he is looking for Maggie St James, a controversial children’s author who has been missing for 5 years. But soon after he goes looking for her, he is missing too. I don’t want to give too much away but let’s just say that the storyline did not go as I expected at all. The storyline has a Mexican Gothic meets M Night Shyamalan vibe. It is captivating and a great read for October. Overall the story is captivating with plot twists all over the place. But the last chapter of the book really fell short for me and left me feeling annoyed at the characters. But I have other friends that loved absolutely everything about it! 3.5/5 stars
B – Physical Book
A - Audiobook
As always, you can see a consolidated list of all my book reviews HERE.
Now it’s your turn – what book have you recently read that you can’t stop thinking about? I don't know about you, but I need some solid book recommendations to get me through the next few months. Something that will pull me in immediately and keep me going through to the very last page. Tell me in the comments what you are reading, what you are loving, and what book recs you have for me.
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One of the most frequent questions I get asked about is how I made the leap from taking my hobby of hand embroidery and turning it into a business. And while my answer to that is often long winded with lots of twists and turns and random tangents, it really boils down to just a few bullet points...