Sunday, September 6, 2020

Book Reviews - Need to Read

For this round of reads, these were books I "needed to read for one reason or another: Darius was because it was a sequel, and I needed to know what happened next, Hamilton was for my online book club, Burnout was because I wanted to more on the topic. Beneath the Ashes was because I needed a thriller in my life. And here's the results/reviews of those needs. . .

Darius the Great Deserves Better by Adib Khorram is (obviously) the sequel to Darius the Great Is Not Okay. The nice thing for me is I read the first book not too long ago, so Darius' story was fresh in my mind. I was really happy to have the opportunity to reconnect with Darius as a character so soon. The way he's written with such authenticity and around his emotions is just so, so outstanding. This story is shortly after Darius has returned from visiting his family in Iran. Darius is now on the soccer team, and he has his first boyfriend who works with him at a tea shop. In addition to this, he's still navigating being teased at school and some complexities in other relationships. Y'all, I absolutely love how real Darius is written. There is an honesty and relatability to his story, and I truly feel the feels he endures. I also am so drawn in by the stories around his family - Again, these are full of emotion, and it's just so darn captivated. Darius is a character I have grown to love so very much. If you've read the first book in this story, Darius is a character you'll love coming back to. If you haven't yet met him, read the first book to get to know Darius, then I guarantee you'll be ready for the next one.

The Hamilton Affair by Elizabeth Cobbs was an interesting read. This is historical fiction from both Hamilton and Eliza's points of view. I  have to note that it is impossible at this point for me to not read/think about Alexander Hamilton without thinking about Hamilton. As I read, I found myself making the connections to songs from the musical. I did appreciate that this book also shared additional pieces from Hamilton's story that aren't covered as wholly in the musical. I liked that this gave more voice to those stories, as well as more about Eliza. More than anything though, I found this left me with a yearning to turn on Disney+ and watch the musical yet again.

Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle by Emily Nagoski and Amelia Nagoski was a fantastic piece about how women experience stress and more so burnout. It examined how our culture has actually set women up for burnout. It named the unhealthy norms and expectations that have led us to here. It first names what women are asked to give and how that giving is what leads to burnout. With this, it explains this phenomenon using science. It helps you to understand how you body is (mis)managing stress and what you can do to make it better. Throughout, it doesn't shame anyone that they have landed in the world of overwhelm and exhaustion, rather it names that this has become too normal, and there are things we can do to change the narrative. Throughout, I found "nuggets" for my own life, as well as ones I want to use to educate others. I so appreciate these sisters doing the intentional work to talk about something that is such an issue for so many.

Beneath the Ashes by Dea Poirer was a book I picked up because I hadn't read a thriller in a while. I've said this many times, and I'll say it here once more - Procedural thrillers are just not my jam. It's nothing against this genre or this specific book, but I've learned that for my reader profile, this isn't where I get maximum thriller thrills. Anyway. Quick summary for those who do like procedurals - This focuses on a detective named Claire. She's called a motel where a woman has been murdered, and some of the components looked eerily similar to the murder of her sister. Claire is then trying to piece together any connections as she works to find this woman's killer. I think what I ultimately wanted her was a few more "breadcrumbs" to follow Claire's work. I love those jaw-dropping reveals as a character does their work, and this just didn't build enough suspense for me in that way. I do owe a thanks to NetGalley for letting me check this one out.

Onto the next ones!