In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume

About
The new adult novel from the beloved and best-selling author Judy Blume

When a series of passenger airplanes crashed in Elizabeth, New Jersey within a three-month period in 1951–1952, Judy Blume was a teenager. “These events have lingered in my mind ever since,” says Blume. “It was a crazy time. We were witnessing things that were incomprehensible to us as teenagers. Was it sabotage? An alien invasion? No one knew, and people were understandably terrified.” Against this background, Blume uses her imagination to bring us the lives of three generations of families, friends, and strangers, who will be profoundly affected by these events, either directly or indirectly. But life goes on and Blume digs deep into her characters—we see them coping not only with grief but with first love, estranged parents, difficult friendships, familial obligations, divorce, career ambitions, a grandparent’s love, a widower’s hope, and everything in between. . . . Most important, In the Unlikely Event is filled with the same warmth and authenticity that have won Blume the hearts and minds of readers of all generations.

My Thoughts
As a fan of Judy Blume growing up, I had HIGH hopes for this book. But alas, I only sort of liked it. It’s a very interesting story about Elizabeth, NJ and the plane crashes that took place there years ago. I just am not a fan of books that jump around to SO many characters POV. It’s hard to keep track of who is who, and what is what. I did like Miri, the main character but I honestly couldn’t tell you a lot about the others because it got to be so much back and forth, it got confusing. Miri is a smart girl, if not a little naive. Even with 3 plane crashes all within 6 months of each other, she still has a lot of growing up to do. Her best friend, loses her mind and her body due to the terrifying ordeals.
I always like to see active parenting in books. And Miri’s mom is very active in her life but she’s one that expects the truth but doesn’t necessarily tell it. Their relationship is interesting and only goes from good to bad in the end since Rusty steals her best friends dad. Like I said, confusing.

It’s an interesting tale though. I can’t imaging living through not 1 plane crash, but 3 plane crashes in the same city growing up. Not to mention, having my heartbroken by my first love, my best friend hating me and developing anorexia because she thinks her body has been taken over by a dancer that died on the first plane, and then my mom steals my bff’s father and says we’re moving to another city (Las Vegas). I mean a lot goes on but the way it goes on is just not my liking of reading.

3 out of 5 stars!

China Dolls by Lisa See

About
The author of Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, Peony in Love, and Shanghai Girls has garnered international acclaim for her great skill at rendering the intricate relationships of women and the complex meeting of history and fate. Now comes Lisa See’s highly anticipated new novel, China Dolls.

It’s 1938 in San Francisco: a world’s fair is preparing to open on Treasure Island, a war is brewing overseas, and the city is alive with possibilities. Grace, Helen, and Ruby, three young women from very different backgrounds, meet by chance at the exclusive and glamorous Forbidden City nightclub. Grace Lee, an American-born Chinese girl, has fled the Midwest with nothing but heartache, talent, and a pair of dancing shoes. Helen Fong lives with her extended family in Chinatown, where her traditional parents insist that she guard her reputation like a piece of jade. The stunning Ruby Tom challenges the boundaries of convention at every turn with her defiant attitude and no-holds-barred ambition.

The girls become fast friends, relying on one another through unexpected challenges and shifting fortunes. When their dark secrets are exposed and the invisible thread of fate binds them even tighter, they find the strength and resilience to reach for their dreams. But after the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor, paranoia and suspicion threaten to destroy their lives, and a shocking act of betrayal changes everything.

My Thoughts

I’m not much for historical fiction of any kind. I decided to read this one because all the reviews I read were pretty good and it was time for something different to read. I’m very glad I picked this book up! It was very good. It was the first book by Lisa See I’ve read and I loved it. I’ve even recommended it in my book club to people to read for fun.

China Dolls is about three young Chinese women, Grace, Helen, and Ruby who are trying to make it in show business. They are all different but alike at the same time. Grace is from an abusive background- her father used to beat her everyday. Helen is from a traditional Chinese family where women are not worth anything, only made to have babies and do as their fathers, and eventually husband, tell them to. Ruby, is Japanese, but passes for Chinese to get work. Grace’s big dream is to be famous- a famous dancer. She and Helen both get the chance when they land a job as dancers. Ruby doesn’t get the job at the same place but eventually finds a job, after having many random jobs. The 3 women are best friends, never too far from one another. Ruby and Grace even live together. Helen sets Grace up with her brother hoping one day Grace will be her sister in law and live in the family compound with her and the rest of the women.

In the time the book is set, there is war brewing. Japan drops a bomb on Hawaii and all hell breaks lose. Anyone who even remotely may be thought to be Japanese is taken to a concentration camp. Ruby passes for a while as Chinese but then out of no where these men in uniforms come and take her away. She’s in the concentration camp for a while. Grace never writes but Helen does. Grace is accused of turning Ruby in so Grace can be the star and become famous. But Grace denies betraying Ruby.

Right away, I got this kind of sense about Helen, that she’s not a good person. She wants out of her strict Chinese home but knows nothing else except what’s been drilled into her from birth- women are nothing. As the story progresses, Helen’s whole story comes out and you learn why she is the way she is. Her husband was killed and so was her baby, leaving her to hope that her family would take her back, and they did only to shun her. Helen doesn’t deserve pity for betraying Ruby (another thing you learn is that Helen HATES the Japanese and she’s been holding out on how much she dislikes Ruby from the beginning). Helen lets Grace take the blame for turning Ruby in because she hopes that Grace will then depend on her for friendship. Helen is a bit of a psycho.

Ruby and Grace are both alike in the fact they both LOVE the entertainment world and will do anything to anyone to get to the top. Even though they start out as best friends, they certainly do not stay that way. And it’s because of Helen- Helen feeding them lies about each other so she looks the best and they depend on her. Even when Helen gets pregnant by a white man she still is in control. It’s crazy! But it makes sense. Grace is very naive and doesn’t really know the world. She finds out the hard way, a lot. Especially about love. Gosh, poor Grace. Ruby is not naive, she’s been around the block a time or two- which you understand right away. And then there’s Helen- who has life experience in the worst way possible.

I read some reviews that hated this book. But really, this is a great book. I highly recommend it if you want something different to read or just want something good to read.

5 out of 5 stars!

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

About
Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue never sees them–until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks to her.

His name is Gansey, a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul whose emotions range from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She doesn’t believe in true love, and never thought this would be a problem. But as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

My Thoughts

I’m going to be honest- I didn’t like this book as much as I hoped I would. I read it because Tumblr and other blogs I follow were just praising these boys and how awesome they are. I mean, the story is interesting but man, it was HARD for me to read this book. I just didn’t get that flow ever like I do when I seriously like a book. I think all the hype made it more disappointing than anything. I was certain I would love it as much as everyone else but nope. It’s just okay to me.

The part that I found most intriguing was Blue’s family. Her family is full of seers (fortune tellers) except for Blue. She makes their energies ‘more’. The Raven Boys are an interesting bunch for the reason, you would never really put them together because they are completely different in every way. Gansey is rich and has more money than he knows what to do with- he’s also the one Blue is supposed to kiss and then he dies because he’s her ‘true love’. Ronan is the bad boy who doesn’t give a damn about anything or anyone. Adam is the one who just doesn’t fit- he’s poor, white trash whose father is a drunk and beats him. And then there’s Noah- a ghost. It’s surprising how they don’t realize this. He’s been dead for 7 years. 7. years. It’s crazy not to realize that they guy living with you is dead- a ghost. That blew my mind.

The whole plot is to find the ghost road so Gansey can have powers that no man should have. In trying to find this, it becomes a race against one of their teachers who wants the same thing, and is the one who murdered Noah all those years ago. It’s with Blue’s help that they are able to access the powers and understand what they need to do. Eventually, Adam runs off and opens the ghost road himself gaining all the power for himself.

I think I didn’t like it because a lot of the story is slow and there’s SO much detail about everything and everyone that I just kept thinking about other things, and wanting to read other books. It took me FOREVER to read this book. I liked Maggie Stiefvater’s other series but this one I just could not get into like others who reviewed have.

3 out of 5 stars!

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

About

A sumptuous and epically told love story inspired by A Thousand and One Nights

Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi’s wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend.

She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.

My Thoughts

The opening of the story was a bit confusing- I was all, What the hell does this even mean?, but thankfully as you continue to read you start to piece together just what the hell it means and you have like a lightbuld effect “ding” oh I get it.

Khalid the ruler takes a new bride each night and each morning they are executed. Shahrzad volunteers for this position- to marry Khalid. No one understands why anyone would volunteer to do this especially when everyone knows the outcome- death.

This is by far one of the best books I’ve read this year. Seriously. It has depth and the characters are unique but believable. The love story that happens, unexpectedly for Shazi and Khlaid, is wonderful and it captures your heart. And if you have a cold heart it will melt it and make you a pile of goo. One the most romantic quotes that made my hormonal pregnant self tear up like crazy was,
“What are you doing to me, you plague of a girl?” he whispered.
“If I’m a plague, then you should keep your distance, unless you plan on being destroyed.” The weapons still in her grasp, she shoved against his chest.
“No.” His hands dropped to her waist. “Destroy me.”

I mean. Khalid is the ruler of this land and here comes this girl who destroys his heart, in a good way. He makes him feel like he never thought he could. Shazi is such a wonderful, independent, witty young woman. I LOVE her! She is a character that should be celebrated because she brings down a force that no other girl could.

What makes this story intriguing is that Shazi delays her death day by day by telling stories to Khalid. She never quite finishes so he orders her not to be killed in order to hear the rest of the story. Pretty brilliant. It’s because of her savvy that she’s able to delay her death, forever. Khalid eventually orders that she never be touched by anyone. But, of course, you always have that one person who doesn’t listen. His adviser- tries to kill Shazi a few times before Khalid tells him if he tries it again he’ll be dead. Khalid become so protective and in love with Shazi that in turn, Shazi melts and falls for him.

Truly a griping story of love. Interwoven with other tales, it’s one of the best stories written that has truly made it hard to put it down.

5 out of 5 stars!

Red August by H.L. Brooks

About
What if you found out that you were descended from a long line of clandestine fighters, and that your family was still at war? Or that the love of your life was something other than human? August Archer thinks she’s a normal teenage girl—even though she has been having disturbing and sexy dreams about wolves lately. Still grieving over the loss of her bookish, charming father, and wondering over his final gift of a red hooded cloak, August is uprooted from her New York City apartment to a tiny town in Maryland, and the rambling Victorian house where he grew up. There she meets a wise woman with a gift for herbal medicine, the gentle old man who keeps the house in repair and the grounds thriving, and her new neighbor: an enigmatic, irresistibly fascinating man who refuses to talk to her, yet who seems to know her better than she knows herself, and fuels her most intense romantic fantasies. But it’s when August begins to coax her feisty Scottish grandmother out of her self-imposed catatonia that a strange tale of werewolves and hunters emerges—one in which the man of her dreams may be her family’s oldest enemy—in this modern-day telling of the Red Riding Hood story.

My Thoughts

I’m always down for a modern twist on a fairy tale. I LOVE Grimm Fairy Tales! Seriously, LOVE- one of my favorite things to read are modern tales based on the old tales. Which is why I chose to read this book- it did not disappoint!
Most books are hard to get into or they don’t capture your attention right away, well, this book is NOT like that! It opens with a dream, a sexy dream. And man, woooo! Good one too. August is a smart, beautiful, strong character. She’s perfect for this story of Red Riding Hood. It’s interesting that they weave the tale of her family being ‘Archer’s’ into it and also Hunter’s because it gives something more to the story- especially since she falls HARD for a werewolf. Which brings me to Faolan. From the description in the book and also just the imagery from her dreams, Faolan would be seriously easy to fall in love with. August is a 16 yr old girl so at first you’re all ‘wow, she’s a horny little thing’ but then you realize maybe, she’s not like most hormonal driven 16 yrs olds. And she’s not, I mean she’s Red.

It’s kind of strange to think that in a book, a man who is 100 yrs older than this 16 yr old girl is accepted as her lover/boyfriend but in the real world- Creeper McCreeperson would be arrested so fast…But it’s a work of fiction so let’s get back to it..Thankfully, the dreams and erotica taper down and the story finally reveals itself.

I think what drew me into this story (aside from the fairy tale twist part) was that I love werewolves (and vampires but there’s none here) so it was a good read because I’ve been reading mostly mysteries. The grandmother in this story is fabulous. She’s portrayed at first as the weak old grammy who everyone needs to coddle. But once she gets her memories back, she is wonderful! She is the strength in the family and you can see that. She does blame Faolan for the deaths of her daughter, and his brother for her husbands death (which Faolan agrees is his brother’s fault but explains the party about the daughter). It’s interesting that even though werewolves and August’s family are at odds, Faolan is their protector because he promised to protect them. In all this, Faolan and a couple other characters, reveal why August and Faolan are ‘meant to be’ in a creepy ‘she looks exactly like my first wife’ story. But it’s more than that, it’s fate.

It’s definitely a good story about self discovery, family history, and finding your true love. You should definitely read this book if you like modern twists on fairy tales! It doesn’t disappoint. I’m impatiently waiting for the next book!

4 out of 5 stars!

My Life Update

We found out last month that we are having…wait for it…

A GIRL!

Another beautiful little baby girl ❤

We do have a name but we’re not sharing it as people are stupid and judgy when it comes to naming your own child. I will say her initials will be CPT.

There’s really no other news other than I’m patiently waiting for my parents to come visit soon. It’s crazy how when you get older you miss your parents so much and want to be with them. I miss them so much. One day we’ll live close to each other again.

Hope y’all are having a great weekend 🙂

M