American Dirt

American Dirt by Jeanine Cummings is an adult fiction novel about a Mexican mother and son forced to flee to American.

Lydia Pérez lives a quiet life in the Mexican city of Acapulco with her husband and eight-year-old son Luca. And while the cartels are always a problem, Lydia and her family have never felt outright threatened.

When Lydia forges a friendship with the overdressed and suave Javier, she had no idea she was talking poetry with the head of Acapulco’s newest cartel. What’s worse, her journalist husband is publishing a “tell-all” profile about the man and the repercussions will change Lydia and Luca’s lives forever.

Transformed into migrants overnight, will Lydia and Luca make it to America with their souls intact?

My book club picked this one as our next read. It is not one I would normally pick up on my own, so for that I am grateful to read outside the box. But, and I may be the majority here, I did not overly enjoy the book. I felt like the author walked the middle of the road instead of pushing the boundaries one way or the other. Either go too cautious or too graphic; for a title like this, about this topic, trying to play both sides, just doesn’t work.

But the real thing that bugged me about this book, was that the final confrontation between Lydia and Javier was both unbelievable and lacking. The entire book was about Lydia’s relationship with Javier and escaping his wraith. The reader waits the whole book for a final confrontation and what we get… well it didn’t do anything for me.

I also needed a more satisfying ending. Again, it felt lukewarm–probably due to the missing confrontation I just mentioned. But seriously, they are on this whole journey and it just never felt like it ended. The ending didn’t feel like an ending but more of a place to stop.

This wasn’t a bad book and it was neat to read a book I’ve seen getting tossed back and forth in the news, but it was only OK in my opinion.

This one gets 2.5-3 stars from me.

That’s all for now!

-M-

The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires

The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix is a standalone adult fiction book.

Patricia Campbell gave up being a nurse to become a homemaker and mother in a respectable community–white picket fences and all. She cooks, cleans and looks after the children. The only thing she really has to look forward to is her monthly book club, a group of southern mothers like herself, who share a mutual interest in true-crime and mystery novels.

When a single bachelor, with some strange habits, moves into the neighborhood, Patricia ropes her book club into a different sort of mystery. And when children in the poorer neighborhoods begin to go missing, Patricia begins her own investigation. But what she uncovers is even more horrible than she could ever have imagined. Will Patricia and the girls be able to fight this monster and still get dinner on the table by five?

Sorry, I had to add that last line. God this was weird. I went through several different emotions while reading this one. First, I was stoked because I didn’t actually read the blurb about the book and was pleasantly surprised to find out that there was actually going to be a vampire that the girls had to fight. Then, I got a little bored. Finally, things got waaaay too graphic and I was pretty much grossed out and happy to get it all over with.

There’s some real twisted moments in this book and the way they are described is just… icky. I normally don’t have a problem with dark books, even those that deal with some pretty horrendous stuff. But I sort of felt like I was being fooled a little bit here. The author goes to so much trouble to make the reader feel like the book is going to be a peachy, easy going book with a vampire or two thrown in. And then BAM out of know where, it gets dark, gritty and graphic.

Some people are going to love this book but it was not for me. I’m not even sure why I am giving it three stars, I disliked it so much, but I am.

That’s all for now!

-M-

A Sky Beyond the Storm

A Sky Beyond the Storm by Sabaa Tahir is the fourth and final book in the An Ember in the Ashes series.

Picking up not long after A Reaper at the Gates, war has come and no one will be spared. The Jinn, lead by the vengeful Nightbringer, are on the attack and their battles are bloody and devastating. At the Nightbringer’s side is the self declared Empress, Commandant Keris Veturia, who is determined to strike down anyone in her way.

Laia of Serra and the Blood Shrike ally together to battle the darkness. Laia is determined to bring down the Nightbringer and the Blood Shrike is equally set on killing Keris.

And alone with the ghosts, amidst the Waiting Place, is the Soul Catcher who wants only to pass the spirits on without the memories of his past weighing him down. But ignoring the world, the love, he left behind could very well lead to the destruction of all.

All in all, I really enjoyed this series and I thought that this was a fitting end to the series. This last book really felt like the culmination of what came before. All of the characters, the story-lines, they merge in this final installment and there is one last, epic battle to win or lose it all. It was nice to feel like everything was coming to an end and satisfyingly so.

The relationships built in this book have also evolved through the series, in both good and bad ways. Elias’ struggles to turn off and on his emotions could maybe have been done a little differently. I felt more like he was trying to turn it off, rather than Maud(sp?) pulling him away.

Not giving anything away, but I really felt for one of the characters, who always seemed to get the short end of the stick. His/Her revelation at the end is nice but man Tahir, couldn’t you give him/her a little something more at the end.

Overall, this was a neat world to be sucked into for four books. This one gets 4.5 stars from me.

That’s all for now!

-M-

500 Miles from You

500 Miles from You by Jenny Colgan is the third book in the Scottish Bookshop series.

Lissie, is a nurse practitioner in the bustling, overpopulate and just plain hectic city of London. She is highly competent and always keeps her cool when dealing with the ins and outs of her job. She knows her way around the city and how to survive it. That is until she witnesses a boy run down and killed right before her eyes.

With symptoms of PTSD creeping up on her, Lissie’s supervisors arrange for her to take a step back on a “quieter beat” in a Scottish Highlands town called, Kirrinfeif. Lissie will be swapping places with Cormack, an Army veteran and jack-of-all-trades when it comes to Highlands nursing. Lissie’s never lived in a small town and Cormack has never spent much time in the city… what could go wrong?

As these two strangers adjust to totally different lives, they come to depend on the emails they exchange about their patients and just about anything else. But what’ll happen when the two finally meet?

As with all of Jenny Colgan’s books, 500 Miles from You is a light read, or listen, to blaze through when you are looking to just sit back and relax.

I loved seeing the characters from Colgan’s other Scottish Bookshop novels. It’s nice when familiar faces show up and as usual the side characters were memorable and a good addition to the story.

I do think that there were some loose ends and a plot point or two that were introduced but not addressed. Otherwise, I don’t really have much to say one way or another.

This is a good read when you want something light and easy. It gets 4 stars from me.

That’s all for now!

-M-

The Ever Cruel Kingdom by Rin Chupeco

The Ever Cruel Kingdom by Rin Chupeco is the conclusion to The Never Tilting World duology. 

After a treacherous journey to the Great Abyss, twins Haidee and Odessa thought the worse was over. The world has begun to turn again and they fought the void and lived to tell the tale. But even though the world turns once again the Great Abyss will not be satisfied until a sacrifice has been made and a goddesses blood has been spilled. 

Refusing to give in to a tradition of sacrifice that has gone on for decades, Haidee and Odessa must search for answers within the Cruel Kingdom, the underworld. But gaining entrance may cost them more than they are willing to give. 

Will the twins be able to find the answers they seek before it is too late it or will terror, guilt and anger get in their way? 

I often find that duologies work better than trilogies because you don’t get the second book lull that a trilogy often has and I think this is true of The Never Tilting World duology. There was action each step of the way, all while building up to a fairly satisfying ending. 

I did listen to this one on Audible and, as happens when listening vs reading, I think there were a few instances where I was preoccupied while listening and missed a free crucial connections. There were a lot of little intricacies between the two books that all go together to “reveal” the ending. Missing these caused a little confusion here and there for me.  So I think I would recommend reading vs listening to this one. 

Otherwise, I found this world to be really unique and dynamic and the author did a great job of layering on details throughout the story. This one gets 3.5 stars from me. 

That’s all for now! 

-M-