Simmer Down | Arc Review

Hey heyy, book friends! I am back again with yet another arc review! I am actually so proud of myself. I am tackling my arcs and Netgalley shelf and actually finishing books before they are published!!!

So now that we have gotten that out of the way, I am ready to share with y’all my thoughts on Simmer Down by Sarah Smith!

Synopsis:

In this finger-licking good rom-com, two is the perfect number of cooks in the kitchen.

Nikki DiMarco knew life wouldn’t be all sunshine and coconuts when she quit her dream job to help her mom serve up mouthwatering Filipino dishes to hungry beach goers, but she didn’t expect the Maui food truck scene to be so eat-or-be-eaten—or the competition to be so smoking hot.

But Tiva’s Filipina Kusina has faced bigger road bumps than the arrival of Callum James. Nikki doesn’t care how delectable the British food truck owner is—he rudely set up shop next to her coveted beach parking spot. He’s stealing her customers and fanning the flames of a public feud that makes her see sparks.

The solution? Let the upcoming Maui Food Festival decide their fate. Winner keeps the spot. Loser pounds sand. But the longer their rivalry simmers, the more Nikki starts to see a different side of Callum…a sweet, protective side. Is she brave enough to call a truce? Or will trusting Callum with her heart mean jumping from the frying pan into the fire?

First, I would like to say a big thank you to Netgalley and Berkley Publishing for providing me with an e-ARC in exchange for my honest review!

I have been in a rom-com mood lately, so when I saw this title on Netgalley I was all for getting lost in a love story. I will fully admit that I was not a big fan of the last book by this author, Faker, but I was definitely willing to give her next book a try. I am so glad that I made that decision, because this book did not let me down!

This book provided me with one of my favorite rom-com tropes, enemies to lovers! Something about a good hate to love story just makes me so happy inside and I think this one was really well done.

Nikki, the female lead, came off as an authentic, genuinely relatable character. She puts family at the forefront of her life and is willing to do anything for her mother. Callum, the male love interest, came off a little brash at the beginning but by the end of this book I was ready to steal him for myself!!

Something I really enjoyed and appreciated about this book is that it is more than just a romance. It also weaves in a story of grief and learning how to cope with losing a parent. I felt this topic was done extremely well, while also showing how each person in a family deals with grief in different ways.

The only part of this book that really wasn’t for me was the fact that it is only told from just Nikki’s POV. If you have been following our blog, you know that Thi and I both crave a book with dual POVs. I generally think this brings so much more to a story, especially a romance!

Overall, this is definitely a book I would recommend to anyone looking for a quick and fun, steamy romance!

Book Details:

Title: Simmer Down
Author: Sarah Smith
Publication Date: October 13, 2020
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance

Rating: 4 out of 5.

As always, thank you so much for stopping by our blog! We appreciate all of you for your support.

Well Played | Arc Review

Happy Tuesday everyone, and HAPPY PUB DAY to one of my most anticipated rom coms of the year!! I have been dying to read this book and without further ado, here are my thoughts on Well Played!

Synopsis:

Another laugh-out-loud romantic comedy featuring kilted musicians, Renaissance Faire tavern wenches, and an unlikely love story.

Stacey is jolted when her friends Simon and Emily get engaged. She knew she was putting her life on hold when she stayed in Willow Creek to care for her sick mother, but it’s been years now, and even though Stacey loves spending her summers pouring drinks and flirting with patrons at the local Renaissance Faire, she wants more out of life. Stacey vows to have her life figured out by the time her friends get hitched at Faire next summer. Maybe she’ll even find The One.

When Stacey imagined “The One,” it never occurred to her that her summertime Faire fling, Dex MacLean, might fit the bill. While Dex is easy on the eyes onstage with his band The Dueling Kilts, Stacey has never felt an emotional connection with him. So when she receives a tender email from the typically monosyllabic hunk, she’s not sure what to make of it.

Faire returns to Willow Creek, and Stacey comes face-to-face with the man with whom she’s exchanged hundreds of online messages over the past nine months. To Stacey’s shock, it isn’t Dex—she’s been falling in love with a man she barely knows.

First and foremost, thank you so much to Netgalley and Berkley Publishing for providing me the e-ARC in exchange for my honest review! When I got the email that I was approved for this book I legit did a happy dance! Well Met was one of my favorite books of last year and when I heard that it was going to have a follow up, I was willing to do just about anything to get my hands on it, and it did not disappoint! However, while I really enjoyed this book and was swooning over the romance, I will say I did not quite love this one as much as I did Well Met.

One of my favorite parts about this series is the small town charm of Willow Creek. The writing makes you feel like you are living in this small town and are a part of their Renaissance Faire!

Stacey is a relatable main character and I could understand her want to achieve more. She gave up and sacrificed a lot when her mother fell ill and she now feels that she is in a rut and spends all year waiting for the next Ren Faire season to begin.

Now on to the male love interest!!! My oh my, did I just adore him! *Insert swooning gif here* While there are times I feel like he might have gotten off the hook a little too easily, he meant well and truly had such a sweet soul. He is most definitely towards the top of my romance book boyfriend list!

If you read and loved Well Met, or if you are looking for a quick, sweet, and steamy rom com, then I would whole-heartedly recommend this book. Now that this one is complete, I will sit over here not so patiently and wait for the next book in the series!

Book Details:

Title: Well Played
Author: Jen DeLuca
Publication Date: September 22, 2020
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Have you read Well Met? Did you enjoy it or not? Leave me some rom com recommendations down below! As always, thank you for stopping by our blog and showing us support. We truly appreciate you all!


Don’t Look for Me | Arc Review

Happy Tuesday friends! We are halfway through the month and I don’t know about y’all, but I am apparently so ready to be done with 2020 that I have mindlessly started dating 2021 on some work documents (*inserts face palm emoji, lol).

Anyway, I wanted to stop by and wish Don’t Look For Me by Wendy Walker HAPPY PUB DAY! I am slowly playing catch up with all my arcs and piles of books at home, but YOU GUYS…. seriously- go get this book (or read the synopsis and review and decide, lol). I will keep it short and sweet, because I want y’all to run to the bookstore!

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Synopsis:

In Wendy Walker’s thrilling novel Don’t Look for Me, the greatest risk isn’t running away. It’s running out of time.

One night, Molly Clarke walked away from her life.

She doesn’t want to be found. Or at least, that’s the story.

The car abandoned miles from home. The note found at a nearby hotel.

The shattered family that couldn’t be put back together.

They called it a “walk away.”It happens all the time.

Women disappear, desperate to leave their lives behind and start over. But is that what really happened to Molly Clarke?

Completely racked with guilt from an accident that killed Annie, her nine year old daughter, Molly feels estranged and alienated from her family. One night while she was on the road, Molly notices a storm is near and is practically out of gas (YIKES!). What happens next is a crazy roller-coaster ride when the police find Molly’s car abandoned.

Told from both the perspectives of Molly and her oldest daughter Nic, Don’t Look For Me is paced extremely well. You are hooked from the first page watching Molly try to live with the guilt of the death of Annie to the very last page. There are a few creep factors and twisty turn of events, so buckle up, buttercups! I generally have to be in a mood for thrillers and even then, there are not many that resonate with me afterward; however, Wendy Walker did such an amazing job with keeping my attention. This book had me so captivated and in awe. It is riveting, well-crafted, and overall jaw-dropping.

Thank you to Wendy Walker, St. Martin’s Press, and Netgalley, who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review! It was such a crazy ride, but one that I cannot wait for everyone to read! SO now that you all have read my review, read the book and come back with your thoughts (or if you have read it, what did you think of it?)!

Book Details:
Title: Don’t Look for Me
Author: Wendy Walker
Publication Date: September 15, 2020
Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Psychological thriller

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

A Rogue of One’s Own by Evie Dunmore |Arc Review

Happy Monday book friends! I have finally been able to knock out a few arcs and I am here to share with you one of my most anticipated rom-coms for this year!

A lady must have money and an army of her own if she is to win a revolution—but first, she must pit her wits against the wiles of an irresistible rogue bent on wrecking her plans…and her heart.

Lady Lucie is fuming. She and her band of Oxford suffragists have finally scraped together enough capital to control one of London’s major publishing houses, with one purpose: to use it in a coup against Parliament. But who could have predicted that the one person standing between her and success is her old nemesis, Lord Ballentine? Or that he would be willing to hand over the reins for an outrageous price—a night in her bed.

Lucie tempts Tristan like no other woman, burning him up with her fierceness and determination every time they clash. But as their battle of wills and words fans the flames of long-smouldering devotion, the silver-tongued seducer runs the risk of becoming caught in his own snare.

As Lucie tries to out-manoeuvre Tristan in the boardroom and the bedchamber, she soon discovers there’s truth in what the poets say: all is fair in love and war… 

I want to start by saying thank you to Netgalley and Berkley Publishing Group for providing me with the e-ARC in exchange for my honest review!

In case you didn’t know, Bringing Down the Duke was one of my absolute favorite rom-coms last year and when I heard that a sequel was coming out I knew I needed to read it.

This book, like a lot of rom com sequels, can be read as a standalone. However, since I loved the first one so much, I would highly recommend reading it in order!

The story is told from dual POVs, (YAYYYY!!!) Lady Lucie and Lord Ballantine, as they begin as enemies. I am a sucker for the enemies to lovers trope, provided that it is done well and not an insta-love story. This one does an excellent job progressing their relationship at a natural speed and draws you into their story!

Another thing that is done exceptionally well is Dunmore’s ability to write in such a descriptive language that it makes you feel like you’ve stepped straight into 19th century London. This book is so much more than a rom com as the author brings forth the many issues that women during that time faced and really made me feel like I was fighting this fight right alongside Lucie and the suffragists.

Overall, this story is a well-written Hallmark worthy rom com. It tackles important issues and really makes me want to demand the third book right this minute! If you have not read Bringing Down the Duke yet, I recommend reading that one ASAP. If you have read that one, be sure to pick up A Rogue of One’s Own (out tomorrow, Sept 1st)

Title: A Rogue of One’s Own
Author: Evie Dunmore
Genre: Romance, Historical Fiction, Adult
Publication Date: September 1, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Thank you again to Netgalley and the publisher for allowing me the opportunity to read this book! And as always, thank you so much for stopping by and supporting our blog!

Hieroglyphics | Blog Tour

We are back with another blog tour and we could not thank Algonquin enough for our copies in exchange for our honest review!

This review and blog highlight is for Hieroglyphics by Jill McCorkle!

Synopsis:

Lil and Frank married young, launched into courtship when they bonded over how they both—suddenly, tragically—lost a parent when they were children. Over time, their marriage grew and strengthened, with each still wishing for so much more understanding of the parents they’d lost prematurely.

Now, after many years in Boston, they have retired in North Carolina. There, Lil, determined to leave a history for their children, sifts through letters and notes and diary entries—perhaps revealing more secrets than Frank wants their children to know. Meanwhile, Frank has become obsessed with what might have been left behind at the house he lived in as a boy on the outskirts of town, where a young single mother, Shelley, is just trying to raise her son with some sense of normalcy. Frank’s repeated visits to Shelley’s house begin to trigger memories of her own family, memories that she’d rather forget. Because, after all, not all parents are ones you wish to remember.

Hieroglyphics reveals the difficulty of ever really knowing the intentions and dreams and secrets of the people who raised you. In her deeply layered and masterful novel, Jill McCorkle deconstructs and reconstructs what it means to be a father or a mother, and what it means to be a child piecing together the world all around us, a child learning to make sense of the hieroglyphics of history and memory.

This book takes place across many decades as we follow Lil and Frank, a married couple that share a tragedy of both losing a parent who died too soon. It follows their journey from being young and having kids, living in Massachusetts, to decades later when they move down to North Carolina.

This story weaves together a tale of family, from the perspective of child and parent as they learn to navigate through relationships and heartbreak.

The writing in this book was quite beautiful and at times you could feel completely immersed into the heartbreak of losing a parent.

While the writing was something that brought this story to life, it also felt that the plot line got a bit repetitive. This sometimes made for a slow building story, as you felt like you were just revisiting the same things over and over.

As we have mentioned many times, we absolutely love books that are written with dual or multiple POVs to provide a deeper look into other character’s perspectives. So it will come as no shock that one of the things that we enjoyed about this book, is that it is told from 4 POVs. We get to follow both Lil and Frank on their journeys, as well as, a single mother Shelley and her son, Harvey who happen to live in the house that Frank grew up in.

All in all, this was a well written story that provides a look into family, relationships, heartbreak, and the legacy people would like to leave behind for their family and loved ones.

Book Details:

Title: Hieroglyphics
Author: Jill McCorkle
Publication Date: July 28, 2020 (TODAY!!)

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Thanks again to the publisher for providing us copies for review. And as always, thank you so much for stopping by our blog, we really appreciate you all!


Boyfriend Material | Arc Review

Synopsis

Wanted:
One (fake) boyfriend
Practically perfect in every way

Luc O’Donnell is tangentially–and reluctantly–famous. His rock star parents split when he was young, and the father he’s never met spent the next twenty years cruising in and out of rehab. Now that his dad’s making a comeback, Luc’s back in the public eye, and one compromising photo is enough to ruin everything.

To clean up his image, Luc has to find a nice, normal relationship…and Oliver Blackwood is as nice and normal as they come. He’s a barrister, an ethical vegetarian, and he’s never inspired a moment of scandal in his life. In other words: perfect boyfriend material. Unfortunately apart from being gay, single, and really, really in need of a date for a big event, Luc and Oliver have nothing in common. So they strike a deal to be publicity-friendly (fake) boyfriends until the dust has settled. Then they can go their separate ways and pretend it never happened.

But the thing about fake-dating is that it can feel a lot like real-dating. And that’s when you get used to someone. Start falling for them. Don’t ever want to let them go.

HAPPY PUB DAY!!! First, we would like to thank Netgalley and Sourcebooks Casablanca for providing us with the e-ARC in exchange for our honest review!

If you haven’t learned by now that we are total rom com lovers, let this be us telling you now, WE LOVE ROM COMs!! So when we saw this book on netgalley, you know we had to request it!

This book is told from the perspective of Luc, who is thrust into the public eye due to a famous, absentee father. With all the to unwanted publicity, Luc has many insecurities and plenty of trust issues. After one too many bad pictures in the press, he is now in search of a fake boyfriend to change the narrative!

Enter Oliver, the polar opposite of Luc. He is a put together barrister, healthy eating vegetarian, who wouldn’t ever stir up a scandal in the press. So, basically perfect fake boyfriend material!

This book provided so many laugh out loud moments that it is hard to track them all. The witty banter and sarcastic undertones made for quite the pleasant read. And while this book was a bit longer than most rom coms we have read, we think the fun dialogue made it a quick read.

Throughout the first part of the book it was a bit heart breaking to read about Luc’s insecurities and that fact that he genuinely didn’t tend to think very highly of himself. Oliver provided the support he needed and it was a pleasure to watch Luc grow throughout this book.

The only thing that would have made this book better, is a dual POVs. We were dyingggg to know Oliver’s thoughts!

All in all, this was a fun, LGBTQ+, laugh out loud rom com that we would definitely recommend to all rom com lovers!

Title: Boyfriend Material
Author: Alexis Hall
Genre: LGBT Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: July 7, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Thank you again to Netgalley and the publisher for allowing us the opportunity to read this book! As always, thank you so much for supporting our blog and stopping by!

In The Neighborhood of True | Blog Tour Review

We are so excited to be taking part in our very first blog tour! Today is the paperback release of In the Neighborhood of True by Susan Kaplan Carlton and we are happy to provide our thoughts on this story!

A powerful story of love, identity, and the price of fitting in or speaking out.

“The story may be set in the past, but it couldn’t be a more timely reminder that true courage comes not from fitting in, but from purposefully standing out . . . and that to find out who you really are, you have to first figure out what you’re not.” —Jodi Picoult, New York Times bestselling author of A Spark of Light and Small Great Things

After her father’s death, Ruth Robb and her family transplant themselves in the summer of 1958 from New York City to Atlanta—the land of debutantes, sweet tea, and the Ku Klux Klan. In her new hometown, Ruth quickly figures out she can be Jewish or she can be popular, but she can’t be both. Eager to fit in with the blond girls in the “pastel posse,” Ruth decides to hide her religion. Before she knows it, she is falling for the handsome and charming Davis and sipping Cokes with him and his friends at the all-white, all-Christian Club.

Does it matter that Ruth’s mother makes her attend services at the local synagogue every week? Not as long as nobody outside her family knows the truth. At temple Ruth meets Max, who is serious and intense about the fight for social justice, and now she is caught between two worlds, two religions, and two boys. But when a violent hate crime brings the different parts of Ruth’s life into sharp conflict, she will have to choose between all she’s come to love about her new life and standing up for what she believes.

Book Details:

First things first, we want to say thank you to Algonquin Young Readers for our copies in exchange for our honest review! The paperback release for this book is TODAY!

This book takes place during the 1950s in and around Atlanta, GA. To say racism was prevalent would be an understatement. The Klan was in full force during this time period and brought forth a very divided community.

Ruth (who is Jewish), with her mother and younger sister have recently moved to Atlanta from NYC after the unexpected passing of her father.

Ruth’s mother was born and raised in the debutante society of Atlanta, where who you know, how much of a Christian you are, and what crowns you obtain justify your place in society. Ruth wants so badly to fit into this new society she has been thrust into, thanks to the friends she has made, as well as, having a grandmother that craves those things for her.

This story is one of Ruth trying to find her way in a place that does not welcome people being different than a white, God fearing Christian. She struggles with her identity of being Jewish, while also wanting to fit in.

This book tackles many important issues, that are still clearly and sadly prevalent in today society. It started out a bit slow, but once it grabs your attention and you can grasp the true importance of this novel, we think it brings forth many discussions that still need to be had.

The story is told from the perspective of Ruth, who is 16, but sometimes felt like it read like someone much younger than that. While this didn’t detract too much from the story, it did read a little less like a YA and at times more of a middle grade.

Overall, this book tackled the hard issues of identity and accountability, and Ruth as a character finding herself and telling her truth during this difficult time was extremely powerful.

Book Details:

Title: In the Neighborhood of True
Author: Susan Kaplan Carlton
Paperback Release Date: July 7, 2020

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Thank you so much again to the publisher for providing us the opportunity to read this timely novel. And as always, thank you for stopping by our blog and supporting us, we truly appreciate it!

Destination Wedding| Arc Review

Happy Saturday, friends! I wanted to hop on and write this review, so as not to run into my next couple of reviews because I am determined to knock out a few more arcs before June is over!

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What could go wrong at a lavish Indian wedding with your best friend and your entire family?

Tina Das wants to belong, but she just isn’t sure where. India or America? Brooklyn or Bombay? Manhattan or Delhi? Or start from scratch in London–she still has fond memories of her one-night stand with Rocco Gallagher, the handsome Australian, as they traipsed through Covent Garden and Seven Dials, but he never called back so maybe it’s time to let that dream go, and focus on finding the next big story for her streaming network instead.

She’s hoping she’ll find it at her cousin’s lavish, weeklong Delhi wedding, and has taken her best friend Marianne Laing along for the ride to Delhi’s poshest country club, Colebrookes. Marianne has always had international tastes, in life and in love, yet can’t help but think of sweet, steady, khaki-clad Tom back home in New York.

Also in attendance are Tina’s divorced parents: her mother, Radha, who’s bringing her American “boyfriend,” David, to the wedding, and her father, Neel, who’s using the visit to India to explore the idea of dating again, only to discover it and he have both changed completely in the decades he’s been away.

Infused with warmth, charm, and wicked humor, Destination Wedding grapples with the challenges of work, love, and finding the people who make a place feel like home. 

Firstly, I would like to thank Netgalley and Ballantine Books for providing me with an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review of Destination Wedding.

You know how sometimes you breeze through a book in a matter of hours or days? And sometimes, a book takes weeks or even longer?

Well, this book has been on my kindle for a couple of months and I have been reading a chapter here and there. The premise is everything I’d love in a book. Tina was born in Ohio, but doesn’t feel like she belongs or identifies as American. Her family is from India and she used to visit there in the summer, but also feels like an outcast. Now, in her early 30s, Tina, her family, and her best friend flies to India for a big lavish wedding, where Tina goes through an identity crisis.

It seemed like it would be a fun quick read; however, this book started quite slow for me. I originally wasn’t sure if I would finish it. I kept picking it up and putting it down. It took me a while to really get into the book because the chapters are a lot longer than I’d like. I like short chapters because I tend to zone out, so books with long chapters just generally drag for me.

I did not get invested in any of the characters, which is another reason why it took so long for me to finish. The characters all felt underdeveloped. It also jumps around multiple POVs within the chapter instead of alternating them by the chapter. This made for a confusing read at first because it is quite a few characters being introduced. However, once you meet all the characters, it flows better and makes more sense. Basu also has a creative way of inserting subtle humor throughout the book. It made reading the chapters more bearable and fun.

One of the things I really did love about this book was that with the story being based in India, Basu incorporates Indian rituals and cultures and that made the book feel more authentic.

Overall, while there were bits and parts of the book I enjoyed, it fell flat for me. I honestly think this would probably have been better as a movie instead of a book.

Book Details:

Title: Destination Wedding
Author: Diksha Basu
Publication Date: June 30, 2020

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

I honestly really hate leaving low rating for books, especially for arcs that publishers and authors are so generous to send out. Does it ever get easier or how do you go about leaving reviews for books you don’t connect with?

Party of Two | Arc Review

Synopsis

A chance meeting with a handsome stranger turns into a whirlwind affair that gets everyone talking.

Dating is the last thing on Olivia Monroe’s mind when she moves to LA to start her own law firm. But when she meets a gorgeous man at a hotel bar and they spend the entire night flirting, she discovers too late that he is none other than hotshot junior senator Max Powell. Olivia has zero interest in dating a politician, but when a cake arrives at her office with the cutest message, she can’t resist–it is chocolate cake, after all.

Olivia is surprised to find that Max is sweet, funny, and noble–not just some privileged white politician she assumed him to be. Because of Max’s high-profile job, they start seeing each other secretly, which leads to clandestine dates and silly disguises. But when they finally go public, the intense media scrutiny means people are now digging up her rocky past and criticizing her job, even her suitability as a trophy girlfriend. Olivia knows what she has with Max is something special, but is it strong enough to survive the heat of the spotlight?

I have read every book in the Wedding Date series that Jasmine Guillory has written, because I am a sucker for a cute, light-hearted rom-com. Like all of the other books in this series, Party of Two did not disappoint. If I am being completely honest, the synopsis got me at chocolate cake, regardless of who wrote the book!

I had planned to read this book when it was released, however I saw it on Netgalley and thought why not take a chance, and to my utter astonishment, they accepted me and I could not be happier about it!

One main thing I enjoyed about this book, just like all of Guillory’s, is the fact that it is told from dual POVs. I feel like this adds so much more to a book, especially in a romance novel, so that you get the whole story from both perspectives.

I really enjoyed Olivia as a main character in this novel. You got a small glimpse at her in the first book, The Wedding Date, but this story shows you how strong and independent of a woman she is. She is risk adverse and spends most of her time strategically planning out her next move. In contrast, Max is a charming, spontaneous and intelligent senator.

As I have stated in a few of my other rom-com reviews, I tend to have a hard time if the male love interest comes off as controlling or overbearing. Luckily, Guillory seems to have it down and as always, Max was such a delightful male love interest and one that I found myself swooning over a time or two.

Lastly, the most surprising thing I loved most about this book was all the food talk. I am not sure you could go a single chapter without some sort of food being talked about. As mentioned before, the chocolate cake reeled me in from the synopsis and it made a few appearances throughout the book that made me want to run to the store and get one for myself!

So with all that being said, I would highly suggest this book to anyone who enjoys a good, light hearted rom-com. Also, this book is technically part of a series, but can definitely be read as a standalone.

Thank you so much to Netgalley, Berkley Books and Jasmine Guillory for providing me with an ebook review copy in exchange for an honest review!

Book Details:

Title: Party of Two
Author: Jasmine Guillory
Publication Date: June 23, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Have you read any of Jasmine Guillory’s books? Or do you have any other rom-coms that you would recommend? I am always looking for more light-hearted reads!

Thank you as always for stopping by our blog! We appreciate all the support and love having you here!

Book of Longings | Book Review

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Synopsis

“I am Ana. I was the wife of Jesus.” So begins the new novel from the number one New York Times bestselling author of The Secret Life of Bees and The Invention of Wings, an extraordinary story set in the first century about a woman who finds her voice and her destiny in a time of great despair and great hope.

In her fourth work of fiction, Sue Monk Kidd brings her acclaimed narrative gifts to imagine the story of a young woman named Ana. Raised in a wealthy family in Sepphoris with ties to the ruler of Galilee, she is rebellious and ambitious, a relentless seeker with a brilliant, curious mind and a daring spirit. She yearns for a pursuit worthy of her life, but finds no outlet for her considerable talents. Defying the expectations placed on women, she engages in furtive scholarly pursuits and writes secret narratives about neglected and silenced women. When she meets the eighteen-year-old Jesus, each is drawn to and enriched by the other’s spiritual and philosophical ideas. He becomes a floodgate for her intellect, but also the awakener of her heart.

Their marriage unfolds with love and conflict, humor and pathos in Nazareth, where Ana makes a home with Jesus, his brothers, James and Simon, and their mother, Mary. Here, Ana’s pent-up longings intensify amid the turbulent resistance to the Roman occupation of Israel, partially led by her charismatic adopted brother, Judas. She is sustained by her indomitable aunt Yaltha, who is searching for her long-lost daughter, as well as by other women, including her friend Tabitha, who is sold into slavery after she was raped, and Phasaelis, the shrewd wife of Herod Antipas. Ana’s impetuous streak occasionally invites danger. When one such foray forces her to flee Nazareth for her safety shortly before Jesus’s public ministry begins, she makes her way with Yaltha to Alexandria, where she eventually finds refuge and purpose in unexpected surroundings.

Grounded in meticulous historical research and written with a reverential approach to Jesus’s life that focuses on his humanity, The Book of Longings is an inspiring account of one woman’s bold struggle to realize the passion and potential inside her, while living in a time, place, and culture devised to silence her.

Have you ever read a book that leaves you completely inarticulate? Because I just did. I read a lot of books that leaves me at a lost for words, but the Book of Longings has left me not only speechless, but also breathless.

I’m going to be frank with you guys- I’m agnostic, so the Book of Longings was originally no where near being in my pile. I was scrolling through Goodreads one day, and someone gave this book a one-star without even reading it because it didn’t follow their religious view, so it peaked my curiosity.

I was skeptical going into this book, worrying it would be more focused on the religion aspect than the synopsis leads you to believe. It came through on Libby three days ago, and you guys- I practically inhaled the book. WOW! I’ve been working on this review the last three days, and yet- I find myself continuously rambling because I still cannot articulate my thoughts.

It is a poignant story that is character-driven and may not be for devout Christians unless you are willing to keep an open mind, reminding yourself it is a work of fiction because it is traditionally believed that Jesus did not marry. While obvious mentions of God, prayers, and biblical stories are present throughout the book, the story primarily focuses on Ana, the wife of human Jesus, an amiable husband who is in the background. Ana is fierce and strong. She speaks her mind and writes her words in a time period that tries to silence women.

What I loved about this book are the women, their resilience, and their friendship. There are definite note of feminism, courage, and perseverance. Ana’s voice is strong and she uses that to make sure other’s stories get told and are heard.

All in all, Kidd did a terrific job balancing the book between biblical stories and weaving in a woman’s voice and determination to stand up for herself and others as well as maintaining equality in her marriage with human- Jesus. It is very clear that Kidd put a lot of research into this novel, and while I am not familiar with all biblical stories, I know they are sprinkled throughout the book.

This is a book I’d highly recommend for anyone willing to step out their comfort zone, regardless of which side you stand on, because you have to have an open mind in order to see all the beauty this book has to offer. It is a book that’ll sit with you for a long time if you’re willing to look at the big picture instead of dissecting every phrase of paragraph, or page.

Title: The Book of Longings
Author: Sue Monk Kidd
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publication Date: April 21, 2020

Rating: 5 out of 5.

If you are a BOTM member, do you have any books in mind that might be a contender for the year, because I can see Book of Longings being one! I’d love to hear your thoughts and chit-chat 🙂