How To Bury Your Brother by Lindsey Rogers Cook

How To Bury Your Brother by Lindsey Rogers Cook

D7059D25-E48F-442C-B443-14BAB2750E62How To Bury Your Brother is a  heartfelt book about family, secrets and love really took me by surprise.  It went much deeper than I anticipated and I’m still thinking about it days later.

Synopsis:

Alice always thought she’d see her brother

again. Rob ran away when he was fifteen, with so many years left to find his way home. But his funeral happened first.

Now that she has to clear out her childhood home in Georgia, the memories come flooding in, bringing with them an autopsy report showing her family’s lies-and sealed, addressed letters from Rob.

In a search for answers to questions she’s always been afraid to ask, Alice delivers the letters. Each dares her to open her eyes to her family’s dark past-and her own role in it. But it’s the last letter, addressed to her brother’s final home in New Orleans, that will force her to choose if she’ll let the secrets break her or finally bring her home.

Everything I Never Told You meets The Night Olivia Fell set against a vivid Southern backdrop, How to Bury Your Brother follows a sister coming to terms with the mystery behind her brother’s disappearance and death.

My Review:

One of the thoughts that kept reverberating through my mind while reading How To Bury Your Brother was surprise. I was surprised at the deep life insights found within the pages from a seemingly young author. I am not sure just how old Ms. Cook is, but the picture on her website shows a young lady who looks like she has at least a few more years before hitting 30. How she managed to convey such mature and wise-beyond-her-years digressions about life and relationships is a wonder. I found myself relating to much of what the characters were going through and it made my reading experience so immersive.

This is a story about so much: loss and grief, but also love and relationships.  And more than anything, how keeping secrets, no matter how good the intentions, can hurt those closest to you. This was a slow burner of a novel but packed full of emotional depth.  And it was all moved along smoothly by Alice’s quest to deliver her brother’s letters.  I really don’t have anything bad to say about this one, it was beautiful and I think it will stay with me for a long time.  I will definitely be looking for more from Lindsey Rogers Cook in the future!

Long Bright River by Liz Moore

Long Bright River by Liz Moore

40CAF368-508D-42D0-A1D0-E3F3B3D882BC@librofm [[partner]] 🐈 Book Review 🐈

I read Long Bright Winter last week and was happy to have a free audio copy from Librofm and @penguinrandomhouse to help me get through it faster!

I felt like this book was split into two separate stories: a police procedural/murder mystery and a family story of how drug abuse hurts everyone involved. I felt like both stories were good, but that they didn’t necessarily need to go together. I liked both parts, but honestly would have preferred them to be two separate books.

I can say that the writing itself was very good, with enough lyrical quality to make it heartfelt, but not so much that it was overpowering. Long Bright River is definitely a heavy read that can be a little sad at times yet surprisingly relatable. Overall, I liked it but didn’t love it. I do think it’s worth reading and that different people may get different things out of it.

Such A Fun Age by Kiley Reid

Such A Fun Age by Kiley Reid

D75A981C-CA18-49F8-9179-A51A40FB75A1I received a free audio copy of Such a Fun Age from the Libro.fm ACL program, and Macmillan Audio.  All opinions are my own.

Synopsis:

Alix Chamberlain is a woman who gets what she wants and has made a living, with her confidence-driven brand, showing other women how to do the same. So she is shocked when her babysitter, Emira Tucker, is confronted while watching the Chamberlains’ toddler one night, walking the aisles of their local high-end supermarket. The store’s security guard, seeing a young black woman out late with a white child, accuses Emira of kidnapping two-year-old Briar. A small crowd gathers, a bystander films everything, and Emira is furious and humiliated. Alix resolves to make things right.

But Emira herself is aimless, broke, and wary of Alix’s desire to help. At twenty-five, she is about to lose her health insurance and has no idea what to do with her life. When the video of Emira unearths someone from Alix’s past, both women find themselves on a crash course that will upend everything they think they know about themselves, and each other.

My Review:

I usually prefer plot driven novels, and only occasionally like character driven novels if they are done well and let me tell you: this one fits that bill! Such A Fun Age is one of the best character driven books I have ever read! 

Each characters is so well developed that they seem like people you know.  And maybe that’s what’s so great: they don’t feel fictional, they feel real. Nothing unbelievable, nothing over the top, just very realistic characters that perfectly lend themselves to tell this complex story of different social classes, races, and genders. Instead of approaching any of these emotional topics with angst or one polarized point of view, Reid has expertly written her characters to play devils advocate for her: I was truly able to see both sides of each complicated situation, even though it saddened me to think about just how much our societal norms dictate the way we think, speak  and interact with others.

That being said, I find this novel to be an important look into those tough ideas. The confrontation mentioned in the synopsis is really just the tipping off point for a very heartfelt story about love, life, loss, moving on and finding one’s self. I was fully vested in this story and recommend it to everyone.

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

DB30A728-9209-414D-BD9C-5134B173A4B3Since moving to a new state and town, I have been looking for ways to get involved with the community.  So I joined a monthly book club at the local library.  The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry was the September choice.  Many of my reader friends have read and loved this book so I was ready to give it a shot.

Well, a fairy simple and easy read, I read this book in two nights. My first impression of the book, however, differs from my impression of the book now, after my book club  discussion. So let’s start with my FIRST impressions.

I found A.J. to be very much like Ove (from the book A Man Called Ove) which I liked, yet a part of me found him unbelievable. I felt like his reason for being curmudgeonly (widower) wasn’t enough for me.  I mean, he was a flat out jerk to people.  I also had a huge problem with the way he all of a sudden is an adoptive father to a young girl (she was left on his door-step!!)  Such a strong part of me was rolling my eyes at that.  But his time with his daughter was really beautiful and it was nice to see him change.  So after I finished reading, I thought “Ok, this book is cute, but not deep and definitely not blowing my mind”.

AFTER going to book club and discussing the book with other readers, I realize I needed to tell my brain to shut up and focus on the emotions of the book.  I can be such a realist and have issues when a story doesn’t seem realistic to me.  But what I realized with this book is that it wasn’t exactly meant to be realistic, it was meant to show how people need each other, how people influence each other and how we meet people at the right times in our lives.  This book isn’t really the best story, but that isn’t the point. The point is to show all the different ways people make up our lives.  Sometimes we view our lives as so cellular and personal, but really, it’s so much bigger than that and the people around us make it so.

I am happy to say that I changed my rating from 2 stars to 4 stars because of the book club discussion and I look forward to continuing with this book club experience!