February & March Wrap Up

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Sooo when exactly did it decide to be the month of April, already? I know that it’s been quiet on the blog the past couple of months, but that doesn’t mean reading hasn’t taken place! The saying “so many books, so little time” truly holds to be true, as my TBR list continues to grow exponentially. Anyone else have the habit of continuously purchasing new reads, despite currently reading one, having three queued thereafter, and additional shelf purchases awaiting your attention? I’m going to assume you just said, “Nope, you’re not alone”, and therefore we clink our wine glasses in bibliophile unison. I recently had to ban…yes, BAN…myself from adding more titles into my Amazon shopping cart. Before I cave in,  I’m determined to first get through my purchased book clubs reads for the month (All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin and Girl, Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis), along with other exciting titles I can’t wait to dig into, such as Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams. So basically this is my silent plea for anyone reading this to hold me accountable – can you do that for me, pretty please? I pay back in the form of book reviews.

January was off to a great start with a whopping SEVEN books read. While I read nearly half throughout the months of February and March, I’m excited to dig deeper and share more thoughts on my pre-spring selections.

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1.       American Street by Ibi Zoboi

As some of you may already know, during the month of February I dedicated my time to reading titles solely by black authors - *If you missed out on my queued selections click here for my January Wrap Up post. I had had ‘American Street’ bookmarked on my shelf for what felt like the longest time (about two years to be exact), and all I can ask myself now is “why did it take me this long to crack it open?” A long-time fan of YA fiction, I thoroughly enjoyed this read by Caribbean writer, Ibi Zoboi. A National Book Award Finalist and New York Times Notable Book of 2017, it’s no surprise that others are raving about the title also.

Meet Fabiola, a Haitian teen that finds herself separated from her mother due to ICE, and placed in the unfamiliar, harsh streets of Detroit. Now enter her three cousins: Pri, Donna, and Chantal, also known as “The Three Bees”, along with her aunt, Mamant Jo. Without giving too much away, I loved how this YA novel captured the raw details of an immigrant teen’s transition to unfamiliar territory, and the unexpected danger that can possibly accompany it. Something I really appreciated about this read was how Zoboi, a Caribbean native herself, incorporated the Haitian culture throughout the pages. I was able to learn so much! A fuse between ‘The Hate U Give’ and a Law & Order episode, ‘American Street’ is necessary read for both teens and adults alike.

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2.       The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory

I want to say that I thoroughly enjoyed this read, but you guys know I’m always going to be honest with you. I was looking for something of light humor and fluff, and that’s exactly what I got. You get what you wish for, right? Previously I had read Jasmine Guillory’s debut novel ‘The Wedding Date’, which it made it a no brainer that I wanted to continue with her second release. And it was just okay. A spinoff of ‘The Wedding Date’, Drew’s best friend, Carlos plays the lead this time around. When freelance writer, Nikole (Nik), attends a Dodgers game with her actor boyfriend, the last thing she expects is a highly public proposal…and humiliation. However, both Carlos and his sister come to Nik’s rescue…in more ways than one. Is Carlos just a rebound or the real deal? Almost a little too predictable for my taste, this was an easy read. Much like current temperatures, this read heats up! However is it a MUST read? I wouldn’t go that far - perfect for the individual looking for a light, vacation read, this one is for you.

 
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3.       Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

Then we save the best for last. I actually have no words for this one…I have legitimately been left speechless since finishing it. I was spoiled to have this read selected by not one, but both of my book clubs for March is reading selection. Pachinko (you’ll find out what this means upon reading) follows one Korean family through generations, dating back to the early 1900s. Sunja is the prized daughter of a poor yet proud family, and her unplanned pregnancy threatens to shame them all. Abandoned by her Japanese lover, Sunja is rescued when a young, yet deathly ill minister, offers to marry and bring her to Japan. Through harsh struggles a sprinkle of victories, these family members are bond together as they endure generations of various trials.

From the very beginning, Min Jin Lee captivates us all. The author did such a phenomenal job of touching on various topics such as: race, culture, socioeconomic status, gender, sexuality, and so much more. Every page was beautifully executed, leaving the reader deeply enthralled in the lives of these characters. It takes a lot for me to give a book five stars, but I would give this title 10+ if it were left up to me. I’m truly envious of any and everyone who gets to read this book for the very first time. I wish I could rewind and start it all over again, savoring each page like pistachio gelato. There were so many elements of this novel that reminded me of my 2018 favorite, ‘Homegoing’ by Yaa Gyasi. I loved how Jin Lee utilized each chapter to dig deeper into the story of a specific character/s, until eventually they all intertwined. This book is absolutely phenomenal, and it’s going to be hard for me to find another read to beat it! This novel is currently reigning as my 2019 favorite…yup, I said it.

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So that wraps up my reads for both February and March! Throughout the month of April I’m keeping it light and realistic with three reads total. Want to see what I have queued? Follow me on Instagram at @thegabriellec to see my highlights button titled ‘Books’ for more!

 Current Reading Goal Status for 2019: 10 out of 30 books read

Stay Lit(erary),

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