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Memories From Books on Booklikes

Always a reader. Writing to remember and to share my thoughts on the books I read.

Border Child

Border Child - Michel Stone

As a parent, what would you do to make sure your child had the best life possible? Or rather, is there anything you would not do? This is the question at the heart of the immigrant story of Border Child by Michel Stone. The writing beautifully draws me into Héctor and Lilia's world - all emotions that parents everywhere relate to. Best of all, the book leaves me thinking. What would I do? Faced with Héctor and Lilia's impossible decision, what would I do?


Reviewed for NetGalley.


Source: http://www.memoriesfrombooks.com/2017/04/border-child.html

My Last Lament

My Last Lament - James William Brown

My Last Lament by James William Brown is a story set in World War II and its aftermath in Greece. It is the story of a young woman who feels responsible for one young man, falls in love with another man, and spends her life torn between the two. It is the story of two young men who both love the same girl. The political and war history is on the periphery; it provides context but not the main story. My parting thought on this book is that in some ways, it reads like a memoir of Aliki's life, her last lament becoming a lament of her own life, if you will. 


Reviewed for the Penguin First to Read program.


Source: http://www.memoriesfrombooks.com/2017/04/my-last-lament.html

Miss Mary's Book of Dreams

Miss Mary's Book of Dreams: A Beguiling Story of Family, Love and Starting Again, Perfect for Fans of Chocolate - Sophie Nicholls

Miss Mary's Book of Dreams by Sophie Nicholls is the story of three generations of women – Maadar Bozorg, Fabia, and Ella - and of two sisters Selena and Bryony who enter their lives. Strong women. A bookshop. A really special book. A little big of magic. A beautiful combination for a sweet, engaging story. Definitely one for the "feel good" pile of stories. Note that this book is a sequel to Sophie Nicholl's book The Dress, but it can stand alone as a story.


Reviewed for NetGalley


Source: http://www.memoriesfrombooks.com/2017/04/miss-marys-book-of-dreams.html

Long Black Veil

Long Black Veil - Jennifer Finney Boylan

On the one hand, Long Black Veil by Jennifer Finney Boylan is about an individual emotional journey of self-discovery. This is the "character" part of the book. On the other hand, this book is about a murder mystery and about a group of friends who survive a severe trauma. This is the "plot" part of this book. Unfortunately, the two aspects of this story compete with each other, making this a challenging book for me.


Reviewed for the Penguin First to Read program.



Source: http://www.memoriesfrombooks.com/2017/04/long-black-veil.html

The Idea of You

The Idea of You - Amanda Prowse

The main idea underlying The Idea of You by Amanda Prowse is the definition of "you" – a child lost. The book begins with a focus on the grief of miscarriage but then introduces a second story line. The second overshadows what initially draws me into the book. I wish the book had explored more its initial theme of miscarriage and its impact on not just the woman but the family who experiences it.


Reviewed for NetGalley


Source: http://www.memoriesfrombooks.com/2017/04/the-idea-of-you.html


Lola: A Novel - Melissa Love

The idea of a story about a female gang leader in a world still completely male dominated is intriguing. Lola's story is set in the world of the LA gangs and drug cartels. Ultimately, this is book about a strong woman in extreme circumstances who manages not just to survive but thrive and carve a life out for herself in a man's world. Considering this is Melissa Love's debut novel, I look forward to her next character. Lola certainly leaves an impression!


Reviewed for the Penguin First to Read program.


Source: http://www.memoriesfrombooks.com/2017/04/lola.html

The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane

The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane - Lisa See

The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See presents a culture to explore and a strong heroine to feel for. For me, the first and the second half of the book don't match up. The first half is more focused; the second half feels more scattered and rushed. The deeper and slower pace of the first half works better in this case. The book is still enjoyable in its entirety, but some of the depth is lost to the momentum and speed of the second half.


Reviewed for NetGalley


Source: http://www.memoriesfrombooks.com/2017/04/the-tea-girl-of-hummingbird-lane.html

Hourglass: Time, Memory, Marriage

Hourglass: Time, Memory, Marriage - Dani Shapiro

The words that come to mind reading Hourglass: Time, Memory, Marriage by Dani Shapiro are nonlinear, personal, intimate, quiet, and reflective. This slim book is a reflection and commentary on marriage. This is not a memoir with a linear timeline or a plot; it is more like picking through a photo album, drifting from memory to memory until an image more expansive than the photographs themselves forms. The craft of Dani Shapiro's writing makes it feel real and heartfelt.


Reviewed for the Penguin First to Read program.


Source: http://www.memoriesfrombooks.com/2017/04/hourglass-time-memory-marriage.html


Himself: A Novel - Jess Kidd

Himself by Jess Kidd is a murder mystery couched in the magic of Irish folklore. The book sets up the folklore and the background beautifully. The beginning is colorful and atmospheric. However, the pace is slow, and the characters, plot or setting don't really build. The plot ends up a little scattered and falls a little short of the build up. I do love the premise and setting and enjoy the descriptive writing.


Reviewed for NetGalley



Source: http://www.memoriesfrombooks.com/2017/04/himself.html

Spaceman of Bohemia

Spaceman of Bohemia - Jaroslav Kalfar


I started reading Spaceman of Bohemia by Jaroslav Kalfar expecting a story like The Martian by Andy Weir. Both are about an astronaut surviving the elements and loneliness. This is about where the similarity ends. The Martian is a book about survival; Spaceman of Bohemia is a book about a space journey, a metaphorical journey through a man's past, and a somewhat satirical, absurdist commentary through Czech history and current events. Best of all, it is a book that makes me think and leaves me thinking.


Reviewed for NetGalley


Source: http://www.memoriesfrombooks.com/2017/03/spaceman-of-bohemia.html

The One-Cent Magenta

The One-Cent Magenta: Inside the Quest to Own the Most Valuable Stamp in the World - James Barron

What is it about a not-very-pretty-looking piece of paper not even an inch in size that could make it worth almost $9.5 million? I know very little about the hobby or business of stamp collecting, but even I recognize some of the names who have played a role in the history of The One-Cent Magenta. The book by journalist James Barron tells the journey of this stamp and the story of each of its owners in a light, easy to read narrative, that is almost gossipy in tone.


Reviewed for NetGalley


Source: http://www.memoriesfrombooks.com/2017/03/the-one-cent-magenta.html

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings - Maya Angelou

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is the first of seven memoirs that Maya Angelou wrote. This book tells of her life from childhood to the age of seventeen - the years 1928 to 1945. The story is a harsh and sad one, dealing with poverty, racism, abandonment, rape, sexual abuse, and teenage pregnancy. It is inspirational not in its writing but in the fact that Maya Angelou had courage to live this life, to move forward from the events described, and to tell the story in such a public way.


Source: http://www.memoriesfrombooks.com/2017/03/i-know-why-caged-bird-sings.html

Minds of Winter

Minds of Winter - Ed O'Loughlin

Minds of Winter by Ed O'Loughlin sets a fictional story around a lost polar expedition. Unfortunately, the story lacks an anchor, jumping through time periods, locations, and perspectives. At times, it seems more a collection of short stories loosely linked together. Having read the book and then researched the history, I did learn about the mystery of John Franklin's fatal expedition. Sadly, too many characters, too many plot lines, and a confusing timeline keep this from being the book for me.


Reviewed for NetGalley


Source: http://www.memoriesfrombooks.com/2017/03/minds-of-winter.html

The Fifth Petal

The Fifth Petal: A Novel - Brunonia Barry

Take witchcraft and new age healing practices. Add some mythology. Place it in a historic Salem, Massachusetts setting. Throw in an atmospheric country estate. Write in an eclectic group of strong female characters. Stir in a mystery and a dash of a love story. Orchestrate everything through a police chief with a history and a story of his own. The end result is an entertaining tale – The Fifth Petal by Brunonia Barry.



Reviewed for LibraryThings Early Reviewers program.


Source: http://www.memoriesfrombooks.com/2017/03/the-fifth-petal.html

Dear Friend, from My Life I Write to You in Your Life

Dear Friend, from My Life I Write to You in Your Life - Yiyun Li


To understand Dear Friend, from My Life I Write to You in Your Life by Yiyun Li, you have to understand the context in which it came to be written. I struggle with how to rate this book. On the one hand, I have enormous respect for the author's struggle with mental health. On the other hand, the book reads as a therapeutic outlet for the author rather than a memoir to be shared with others. I bear witness to the struggle, wish her well, and move on.


Reviewed for NetGalley


Source: http://www.memoriesfrombooks.com/2017/03/dear-friend-from-my-life-i-write-to-you.html

The Forgotten Girls

The Forgotten Girls (A Stevens and Windermere Novel) - Owen Laukkanen

Dedicated to the victims of a serial killer in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, The Forgotten Girls by Owen Laukkanen is a police procedural that starts with gruesome pictures on a phone and ends with the hunt for a serial killer. It follows the police chase both from the perspective of the detectives, the girls, and the killer - "the ghost rider." The book is a fiction with a reminder that these things sadly do also happen in real life.



Reviewed for Penguin First to Read program.


Source: http://www.memoriesfrombooks.com/2017/03/the-forgotten-girls.html