Friday, April 24, 2020

Book Reviews - Feels and Fantasy

Oh, hey there. I'm not going to even bother with much of an introduction as I want to get right to telling you about most of these!

This Tender Land by William Kent Kruger was just so beautifully and wonderfully written. Y'all, if you haven't read this author, you must. He has a way of crafting stories that is just incredible and masterful and with so, so much emotion. I could gush on and on, but please y''all, go check this author out! This story is set in 1932. It focuses on a school that is primarily for Native American children who have been separated from their parents in the name of education. The student population also includes two brothers who are orphaned and non-Native. The school is awful in its treatment of students, particularly Odie, the younger of the two brothers. After an incident goes down, Odie, his older brother Albert, their best friend Mose, and a young girl named Emmy flee. These four set out on some kind of adventure. They live on the run and try to find food and money and supplies where they can. Along the way, they meet quite the cast of characters. Each character has such depth and elicits all the emotion in you - good and bad. I felt so many deep feels as I read this one, and it was just wow, wow, WOW. I mean, y'all, I could continue saying the same thing in different ways, but I'll resist. This is a masterpiece of a read. It can get real heavy at times (and honestly, I've been hesitant to read heavy as of late), but these characters and their journey are just so worth every word and every feel. Again, one more time - Read. This. Book. (Oh, and while you're adding this to your list, get Ordinary Grace on there, too!)

On the Bright Side by Jess Ekstrom was a read I picked up after a co-worker was telling me about an upcoming conference she was going to attend. I happened to see the book on the new releases section of the library (back when I could still visit), and I decided to check it out. The author is the founder of Headbands of Hope, a company that donates a headband to pediatric cancer patients for each headband that is purchased. This is the story of how she got started to where she is now with a deep exploration of what happened along the way. What I loved about this was that she was honest and real. Some stuff went down as she was getting started, and she didn't try to hide that. This was a real exploration of how she had an idea, but also legit no idea what she was doing, and how she then figured it out. And by figured it out, she made some mistakes and had some fails. I love that this is a lesson in finding and living your passion, but it shows how that actually goes. It isn't sugar-coated and/or an oversimplification. The authenticity shines through as she talks about the awesome stuff and the not so awesome stuff. I chose to read this one as I just needed a shot of positivity in my life, and this so did the trick. It's a quick read, but one that's message will stick with you. I'm so glad I picked this one up on a whim!

A Court of Thorn and Roses by Sarah J. Maas was a fantasy read that is so not my normal genre. But y'all, I was so captivated, and I am impatiently waiting to continue plowing through the series! The story focuses on Feyre who is a human. She is primary food hunter for her family. One day while out hunting she finds a deer. She also finds a wolf chasing this deer. She cannot resist taking both out. What she doesn't realize is this wolf is a faerie. Faeries and humans don't get along in this world, so this gets her in some trouble. As punishment for the death of the wolf/faerie, Feyre must leave her family and go to the faerie territory overseen by Tamlin. Turns out, the faeries have all kinds of dynamics going on in their world, in addition to the new dimension of having a human around which has a definite impact on Tamlin. I don't want to tell y'all too much more because the joy is in the fantasy world that is built. I will say that I almost wish this had some illustrations because this was such a different world for me, and I couldn't totally visualize what was going down. The good news was I was so into the story that I was still so into the plot and the characters and all the things that it was still a total pageturner. This was so far out of my reading lane, and I'm so glad I made that deviation. I needed something that was an escape, and y'all this was just that!

Hello, Summer by Mary Kay Andrews was a new adventure for me. I feel like I've seen the covers from this author for-ev-er, and this was the first time I'd ever actually read one. This one was mostly beach read with a side of thriller. What that meant for the reader was it was a slow burn on the thriller end. As a frequent thriller read and rare beach read reader, this was an adjustment for me. Maybe that's normal, but I wanted to name that it hit different for me. This story focuses on Conley Hawkins, a journalist. After a big promotion falls through, she returns home to her small town. At her grandma's urging, she starts working for her sister at the local newspaper. There is some ish with the two of them, so that adds some layers. One evening Conley is a witness to an accident that kills a local congressman. With this, she realizes this man and what went down is real, real complicated. Her newspaper work then becomes focused on digging deeper to found out the truth. This means digging through the past, secrets and all the things of the town's residents which is messy. On the more beach read-y end, Conley reconnects with her childhood best friend Skelly. Their relationship is still strong even though times have changed. He helps her as she does her current work, and there is, of course, also some blasts from the past. As I said, this is beach read above all else. It's very much written to keep you occupied for a long day/week/weekend where you're relaxing in the sun. Thanks to St. Martin's Press for the early look at this planned May release!

Onto the next ones!