this book shook me to my core

Paper Doll Lina – Robyn Lucas 

Domestic violence, family, marriage, interpersonal relationships, domestic abuse, fiction.

Rating 10/10

Lina is a stay at home mother and housewife with two children and a husband that loves her. Their marriage at the beginning was rocky but they always found their way back to one and other. Recently her husband has been more distant and crueler with his words that belittle and make Lina feel absolutely terrible. He does things without asking her and expects her to be on board with the ideas. Her two children got an idea for a website and decided to go on television to get the website more seen; her husband isn’t supportive. He sees this as her bad idea and that the kids would get bored of their project. However,  her two children are deeply invested as well as she is. He gets mad and says that he wasn’t included in the plans despite her informing him of said plans. She had run into Noah Attoh, a famous movie actor, who helps the website get more coverage as well as being her friend. The two of them spend more time together and she realizes slowly when she reconnects with an old best friend that her husband is toxic and that she needs to get out of the relationship fast and with her children as well. 

Let me tell you I was crying when I was almost done reading this novel. It is not easy to read because domestic abuse is a very serious overseen issue. Lucas shares that aspect with this novel that sometimes domestic abuse isn’t physical but it is verbal and tends to be very nasty. What Lina’s husband was doing was a form of narcissism. People who are narcissists tend to manipulate others into believing their side rather than the victim’s side. They psychologically and emotionally abuse the victim as well as doing intentional things to ensure that the victim stays within reach by all means necessary. Sometimes victims of domestic violence do not get the happy ending or recognition that they are being abused when something terrible happens such as serious injury or even death. That is the reality that Robyn Lucas shares in this novel with these characters and sometimes it’s hard getting out of the toxicness of the relationship. I was so glad that Lina was able to get help that she really needed and the way that things happened was the right kind of justice that was needed. I highly recommend this novel as it goes over a serious topic that needs to be more addressed and there should be more education for domestic abuse of all kinds. This may be fiction but domestic violence and abuse is a very real issue that shouldn’t be taken lightly. 

deeply resonating

This Is My America – Kim Johnson 

Racism, judicial error, African Americans, race relations, prisoners, murder, family problems, young adult, fiction.

Rating 10/10

Tracy knows her father is innocent of a crime he didn’t commit. She writes letters to InnocenceX in hopes of getting their help in freeing her dad. She has less than a year before her father is executed. Tracy researches legal help as she wants to become a lawyer to fight for the rights of African Americans. When a teenage girl is found murdered and her brother is on the run, he is being framed for murder. She knows he is also innocent but being blamed because he was found near the scene of the crime along with his jacket. Tracy seeks out help and tries to bring home not only her father but brother as well. 

This novel was not easy to read. As covering the topic of systematic racism is a very serious topic. Johnson describes a reality that all African American families face when someone in their family was innocent of a crime that they did not commit but they were framed and sentenced to jail. Systematic racism exists and it impacts more than the individual but thousands of African American families, young and old. These families struggle to gain a sense of safety and security in a land that is extremely racist and discriminates. Trying to find legal help is never easy just like Tracy when she was trying to get help from a foundation that is dedicated to helping free innocent African Americans. Nothing is free of cost and getting lawyers costs a lot of money and this is a cold truth and reality of the justice system. The justice system is geared to suppress African Americans from succeeding. It was built on racism and discrimination. 

This novel, as it is fiction, does have a happy ending where her father and brother were freed from the investigations and trials to form the harsh stereotypes that were placed upon them. Many in real life don’t get the happy ending of having their family member come back home alive. 

Here is a link of all those who were murdered in police brutality and in the hands of the police Know their names: Black people killed by the police in the US 

Those are only some that appear on the news headlines. 

Many others don’t. 

Racism ends here.

eyes on you

Watching You – Lisa Jewell

Contemporary women, family life, suspense, fiction.

Rating 9/10

Joey and her husband move into a new neighborhood after getting secretly married at a beach and had a glorious honeymoon. As Joey explores the new town, her eyes are drawn to Tom, a man who was very physically attractive. She grows close to him to the point of obsession. That obsession led to him being a murder victim and everyone in town is a suspect, including her.

This is a classic who did it with a twist. I loved the plot that led up to the climax and the transcripts of the police reports makes the novel feel so realistic. Even though they wouldn’t be publicized, I loved the chilling aspect. I couldn’t get enough of the plot nor the characters. There are some plot twists but overall, pretty suspenseful as promised from the synopsis and after reading. I suspected the novel to produce another chilling suspense fictional novel. Jewell has a knack for interesting suspense fiction. I do recommend this novel or any of her novels. I’ve read three of her works and found myself loving her work and her writing.

two worlds collide

Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors – Sonali Dev

Contemporary, Indian culture, family, romance, fiction.

Rating  9/10

Trish is a doctor and a black sheep of an overachieving family. DJ Caine has to work long and enduring hours to make sure that his little sister gets the treatment she needs. Both come from different worlds and yet they collide over Emma, her patient, and his sister. After being accepted back into the family, no longer being a black sheep, family events turn out better. DJ and Trish soon to learn to break the walls between them for the sake for Emma.

I liked this novel a lot. it felt for sure as if this were a modern take on Pride and Prejudice but with a twist. I enjoyed reading this for sure. Especially how the hate to love story that is within the novel. Its not the entire focus of the narrative but its addition helped along the novel. I could not help but to take my time reading this novel. There is so much within this novel that it is wise to slowly indulge with this novel. I highly do recommend this novel.

the benefits of being a dog walker…

The Unexpected Everything – Morgan Matson

Fathers and daughters, friendship, love, social issues, family, young adult, fiction.

Rating 7/10

Andie has had everything mapped out and preplanned and rehearsed in her life so there would be no surprises nor changes in plans. She usually is very organized to the point she had her summer planned. She would go to work as an intern hopefully. When plans fall through Andie had to make alternative plans, meaning she has to resort to being a dog walker. She meets Clark, an older teenager, who unexpectedly transforms her life and perspective.

I was all right with this novel. Was not my favorite but it was somewhat good. The growing romance between Andie and Clark was cute at least and the father daughter relationship evolved into a deeper connection. My favorite character would have to be Clark for his mysterious and social awkwardness personality was intriguing and relatable. The mere fact that he got her to do things she had never done before nor considered doing.

never be too trusting of strangers..

The Family Upstairs – Lisa Jewell

Mystery, cults, fiction.

Rating 9.5/10

Libby comes home to find a letter that revealed that she inherited this house from her birth parents. Libby remembers the stories of her being the baby that survived in the car crash, but the letter suggests that she was left behind in the same house where her parents had committed a suicide pact and her siblings long gone. Wanting to know more she investigates. Lucy is a struggling single parent that escaped a toxic relationship gets the message the baby is 25. Henry recalls all the events that led up from his happy family life that turned into a horror story and how he had to do whatever it took to get out of the hell. Libby finds out the truth through his story and how things weren’t as they had seem, they were much darker.

I was waiting forever to get this book and now that I had it to read, I was excited as well as hyped up. I really loved how this book slowly unfurled the sinister plot of survival. What Henry had to do to get him and the other teenagers out was gutsy and took a lot of courage. This book is worth purchasing, reading, and rereading. I had high expectations with this novel and Lisa Jewell went above and beyond. Except there was a minor plotline had occurred that was never brought up in the rest of the book that would be considered very important in my eyes. That was frustrating and I found it useless to the story. Besides that, the novel was amazing. I can’t believe I waited to read this book and the wait was so worth it.

falling apart, coming together

My Ex-Life – Stephen McCauley

LGBTQ+, relationships, family life, divorce, Fiction.

Rating 8/10

David’s life starts falling apart as well as his ex-wife, Julie, is falling apart as well. Julie calls him to come help her with not only her life but with her daughter’s educational life and future. Her to be ex-husband wants her to sell the house, but she wants the house. David settles his business and flies out to assist her. As time flies, they reconnect like the best friends they were, even reminiscing the good days. Julie’s daughter, Mandy, was fired from her job and her acquaintance who keeps offering her a job gives her an opportunity. Except Mandy thinks that this opportunity wasn’t any better than her previous job. All of them must face life and take one day at a time.

My boyfriend and I were book shopping and came across this book in the “exceptional value” section at our local Barnes and Nobles bookstore. He found it first and read the synopsis and he told me about it. I had my attention turned to the novel. I was intrigued to read and wanted to get the book, so I did. After reading I found myself feeling that this book was going to be slow and boring, but I was half wrong. It’s slow but a good read. I love the interrelationships between all the characters as well as a meaningful plot. I found myself smiling and tearing up throughout the novel. However, I was expecting one plot, but instead, got another which I don’t mind. This novel shows how daily life challenges us and we must persist. I do recommend this novel for those who are looking for a slow yet intriguing book. This novel is great if one is wanting a quick read or wanting to slowly enjoy a novel before bed.

Hidden Evil

Then She Was Gone – Lisa Jewell

Contemporary women, suspense, family life, fiction

Rating 8/10

Laurel Mack loved her daughter, Ellie, who was bright and smart. Suddenly one day, she becomes missing. Laurel had the police keep an ongoing investigation to look for any evidence to see if Ellie was alive. Numerous incidences give hints to her daughter being alive and or presumed dead. The police contact Laurel and tell her that they found remains of her daughter, signs of a horrific death. This news puts Laurel into shock and depression of the worst kind. Laurel slowly moves on by dating this guy she met, Floyd, at the coffee shop. Both chat and he told her about his kids, and she tells him about her kids. When she comes over to his house, Laurel sees Poppy, who looks like her daughter who was gone. After some consideration and sudden realization, she sees the dark and ugly truth.

I grabbed this book from the shelf because I saw online that this novel was popular. I see a little why this novel was popular or is popular. Horror and suspense are always a good read but throw in some mad women and kidnapping, it’s a bestseller. Not that I hated this book, I enjoyed the novel. I personally thought the novel’s length could be longer and more in-depth with each character’s backgrounds. Yes, this was Laurel’s tale, but the author included other points of view that, at first, didn’t make sense of whom was telling the story until there was contextual clues that the perspective changed. Otherwise, this was a great book and I would recommend to anyone who is interested in the suspense fiction genre.

A True Tale of Survival

Educated – Tara Westover

Family, Idaho, homeschooling, survivalism, women colleges, victims of family abuse, subculture, Christian biography, rural conditions, Tara Westover, memoir, nonfiction.

Rating 8/10

Tara Westover wrote a memoir about her life from a young girl to the woman she became. However, the journey was not easy for her as her start was from a family in a rural area. Her family was disconnected from society and the only education Tara had was readings from a bible. Medication and treatments of wounds was with herbal medicine. Tyler, one of Tara’s brothers, had went to college and brought back the textbooks. From that, Tara in between chores had become an autodidact, teaching herself from the college books. Tara wanted out of this survivalist life and did what she could to get out as necessary.

I was recommended this nonfiction book. I thought this memoir was really meaningful as reading about a woman fighting to survive and to get out of a bad situation. Its sad to see that this sort of thing does happen all around the globe, not just in the United States, but everywhere. Education and modern accessible health care should be a top priority. Extremist religions do annoy me, but their thinking processes are different because of their faith and their faith doesn’t allow much freedom to think of other possibilities. I do recommend to read this memoir at least once in a lifetime because this memoir made me grateful.

Patterson Could’ve Done Better

The Injustice – James Patterson

Social media, documentary films, high school, family problems, grief, mystery, detective, young adult.

Rating 1/10

Theo Foster is being charged and expelled from high school because of a photo he never had posted. Determined, he seeks out who would frame him, and ruin other’s lives. Theo comes across some disturbing secrets and uncovers ugly truths that put him and the other lives who was ruined back in good graces. Theo does the right thing and is happy for doing the right thing.

I hated how this book started off and ended. I can tell this novel was poorly written and wasn’t well thought into. This novel was sad and pathetic in the end. James Patterson should stick with adult fiction rather than attempting to make young adult fiction. No offense for James Patterson fans. This one just wasn’t his best work.