Hauls & Unboxings

Book of the Month | December 2020

Hello and welcome to my BOTM unboxing. This month I ended up choosing two books instead of the standard one book. They really are starting to make it harder and harder to just pick one book because their choices have improved dramatically from when I first subscribed. Anyway, on to the books I picked!

The Books

The Office of Historical Corracerections by Danielle Evans

Evans zooms in on particular moments and relationships in her characters’ lives in a way that allows them to speak to larger issues of race, culture, and history. She introduces us to Black and multiracial characters who are experiencing the universal confusions of lust and love, and getting walloped by grief—all while exploring how history haunts us, personally and collectively. Ultimately, she provokes us to think about the truths of American history—about who gets to tell them, and the cost of setting the record straight. –goodreads.com

This Close to Okay by Leesa Cross-Smith

On a rainy October night in Kentucky, recently divorced therapist Tallie Clark is on her way home from work when she spots a man precariously standing on the side of a bridge. Without a second thought, Tallie pulls over and jumps out of the car into the pouring rain. She convinces the man to join her for a cup of coffee, and he eventually agrees to come back to her house, where he finally shares his name: Emmett.

Over the course of the emotionally charged weekend that follows, Tallie makes it her mission to provide a safe space for Emmett, though she hesitates to confess that this is also her day job. But what she doesn’t realize is that he’s not the only one who needs healing — and she’s not the only one with secrets. –goodreads.com


Why I Picked These Books

The main reason I decided to pick The Office of Historical Corrections was due to the focus on relationships. As of late I have really been enjoying books that seemed to focus on relationships between characters to tells a larger story that is larger than the characters as well as the readers. I feel like it is more impactful and I make more connections between the story and other moments in my life, whether that be to another story or something in my own life.

As for This Close to Okay, the same is particular the reason. The main characters seem like they are going to make a strong connection to one another which will lead to very impactful dialog. I also have been in the mood to read a book where a single moment is a turning point for a character.


What was the most recent book added to your TBR?
Do these books sound interesting to you?

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Reviews

Someone Picks My Books | Olivia’s Catastrophe | Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

Hello and welcome to another installment of Someone Picks My Books! For November I was lucky enough to have Olivia from Olivia’s Catastrophe pick my book for me. She is very active over on her youtube channel, which is amazing, and twitter @oliviascatastro. I was so happy when she picked Clap When You Land, I heard nothing but amazing things and she even said she gave it 5 stars. I felt like this month was going to be a huge win.


One Sentence Review

A beautifully written exploration of the complexities of relationships and people, on top of that it explores the life of two half sisters that have no idea existed until they experience a life changing tragedy.

Description

Camino Rios lives for the summers when her father visits her in the Dominican Republic. But this time, on the day when his plane is supposed to land, Camino arrives at the airport to see crowds of crying people…

In New York City, Yahaira Rios is called to the principal’s office, where her mother is waiting to tell her that her father, her hero, has died in a plane crash.

Separated by distance – and Papi’s secrets – the two girls are forced to face a new reality in which their father is dead and their lives are forever altered. And then, when it seems like they’ve lost everything of their father, they learn of each other.

Papi’s death uncovers all the painful truths he kept hidden, and the love he divided across an ocean. And now, Camino and Yahaira are both left to grapple with what this new sister means to them, and what it will now take to keep their dreams alive. -goodreads.com


What I Liked

Just a warning, this review is just going to be me gushing about a book I loved. This book is so beautifully written. I am actually surprised that I am saying this. Going into this book I had no idea that it was written in verse before I actually went to read it. I normally don’t do well with books written in this manner, but Acevedo really made it count in this book and not just a gimmick. The words were powerful, meaningful, and beautiful. You can see the authors care when it came to constructing each sentence and picking each word.

As for the two main characters, I really felt that the dual perspective worked wonderfully and we really were able to explore the lives of Camino and Yahaira. I really appreciated the fact that the author didn’t just tell us how different these half siblings lived, but showed us. I felt like while exploring the grief they had the author really opened up their worlds and made them dimensional. I really loved their personalities and I really enjoyed following them both. Normally when I read a dual or muliple perspective book there is one I am not too fond of, but in this book, I really enjoyed them both. I would not be sad to see another book with these two, I would love to see how they are doing. When I put down this book initially, I was thinking of all the possible situations they could be in now.

I also want to take a moment to appreciate that this author talked about a very difficult topic that in my opinion was very respectful, but also did not shy about from the difficult aspects as well.

What I Didn’t Like

Honestly, nothing. I really enjoyed reading this book and I am so happy that Olivia picked this one for me. I can see why she also gave it 5 stars.

Overall

Overall, I loved and adored this book so much. I have already recommended it to a few people in my life and will continue to do so. This book is a beautiful exploration of relationships, people, and family.


Next month I am reading a book picked by Erica who you can find on twitter as @2020hines_sight or on her youtube channel The Broken Spine. I am beyond thrilled to read her pick, I have been holding myself back from reading it too early for months!

Have you read this book before or is it on your TBR?

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Hauls & Unboxings

Book of the Month | November 2020

Hello and welcome to my BOTM unboxing, I am not going to do a huge introduction to this post today, but I am excited to share what I picked this month. This month I added an add on book, which is great because you get to add a hardcover to your order for about $10, don’t quote me on that because I don’t remember the exact amount. But, I. ended. up getting aa horror and a contemporary romance that takes place in Italy. Since traveling this year is not a thing, maybe I can through a book! Anyway, on to he unboxing!


Books pictured on top of piece of wood

The Books

The Whisper Man by Alex North

After the sudden death of his wife, Tom Kennedy believes a fresh start will help him and his young son Jake heal. A new beginning, a new house, a new town. Featherbank.

But the town has a dark past. Twenty years ago, a serial killer abducted and murdered five residents. Until Frank Carter was finally caught, he was nicknamed “The Whisper Man,” for he would lure his victims out by whispering at their windows at night.

Just as Tom and Jake settle into their new home, a young boy vanishes. His disappearance bears an unnerving resemblance to Frank Carter’s crimes, reigniting old rumors that he preyed with an accomplice. Now, detectives Amanda Beck and Pete Willis must find the boy before it is too late, even if that means Pete has to revisit his great foe in prison: The Whisper Man.

And then Jake begins acting strangely. He hears a whispering at his window… –goodreads.com

The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany by Lori Nelson Spielman

A trio of second-born daughters set out to break the family curse that says they’ll never find love on a whirlwind journey through the lush Italian countryside by New York Times bestseller Lori Nelson Spielman, author of The Life List.

Since the day Filomena Fontana cast a curse upon her sister more than two hundred years ago, not one second-born Fontana daughter has found lasting love. Some, like second-born Emilia, the happily-single baker at her grandfather’s Brooklyn deli, claim it’s an odd coincidence. Others, like her sexy, desperate-for-love cousin Lucy, insist it’s a true hex. But both are bewildered when their great-aunt calls with an astounding proposition: If they accompany her to her homeland of Italy, Aunt Poppy vows she’ll meet the love of her life on the steps of the Ravello Cathedral on her eightieth birthday, and break the Fontana Second-Daughter Curse once and for all.

Against the backdrop of wandering Venetian canals, rolling Tuscan fields, and enchanting Amalfi Coast villages, romance blooms, destinies are found, and family secrets are unearthed—secrets that could threaten the family far more than a centuries-old curse. -goodreads.com


Why I Picked These Books

The Whisper Man was mainly added to my TBR because I felt like I should read it before I read The Shadows by the same author. While you don’t need to read the other first, I have heard that there are some nods and I wanted to make sure I got the most out of my reading experience. On top of that I have heard really good things about this book so it can’t hurt to give it a go.

As for my other pick, Star-Crossed Sisters in Tuscany, the blurb said family curse and I was sold. There are a few phases that make a book an insta pick or buy for me and that is one of them. I am really curious to see where this book and plot take these sisters. I have never read a book by this author as well, so it will be fun to give their work a go, especially since their other books have been given pretty decent ratings.


What was the most recent book added to your TBR?
Does this book sound interesting to you?

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To Be Read

To Be Read | November 2020, Using a Prompt Generator

Hello and welcome to another TBR post, this month I decided to try something new and use a TBR prompt generator. I came across the website https://heyreader.me/random-prompt and thought it would be fun to give it a try. Anyway, on to this months picks!


First prompt is pick a book with a map. Well, the first book I picked up with a map happened to be The Devil in the Dark Water by Stuart Turton who wrote 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcase, which I absolutely loved. Plus, this only came out a few weeks ago so I am really happy it has a map in it.

Next we have pretty cover. Well, I cannot think of a more beautiful cover on my TBR other than The House on the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune. I have heard nothing but good things about this book, online and in my day to day life. I am so glad I was able to fit this in as well. I am told I will really enjoy the dynamic between two of the characters.

For the third prompt we have published in the last year. For this one I decided to pick Before the Coffee Gets Cold: Tales from the Cafe by Toshikazu Kawaguchi . I really loved the first book in this series when I read it earlier this year and I cannot wait to get to this one. It came out a month or so ago. I can’t wait to read more about this magical cafe.

The fourth pick is a blue cover. I only have one blue book on my TBR currently and that is Envelope Poems by Emily Dickinson. I have never read any of her poems that I can remember, but I picked this up because I have heard her poetry was really good. Plus, the edition I found was adorable.

The last prompt I picked was award winner. I decided to go with The Nickle Boys by Colson Whitehead. I read The Underground Railroad by this author a few years ago and thought it was brilliant. My edition of The Nickle Boys has a stamp that says, “Winner of the Pulitzer Prize” so I am very happy that it fit into the prompts and I get to read it this month.


Now, as you know every month I have someone picks my books. Well, this month the book I am going to read was picked by Olivia who you can find on twitter at @oliviascatastro or youtube at Olivia’s Catastrophe. She picked Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo and said she gave it 5 stars! So, I have a good feeling I am going to LOVE this book as well because she has such great taste in books.


What are you planning on reading this month?

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Reviews · Wrap Up

Wrap Up | October 2020

Hello and welcome to my October wrap up. I am so glad that I was able to fit in some spooky read this month and really found quite a few I enjoyed. A really fun experience this month was when I took part in Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon, if you want to see a more in depth review of what that was like you can read my post called, Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon Recap | October 2020. Even outside of this readathon, I feel like I had a really good month. Now, on to the books!


The Order of the DayThe Order of the Day by Éric Vuillard
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

While the content and the writing overall easily warrants 4 or 5 stars I cannot give it this rating. The main reason being there are no footnotes or end notes to share any sources. Quotes that are in the text have no mention of where it is from, which is very disappointing. This is not acceptable for a nonfiction book.

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Teen Titans: Beast BoyTeen Titans: Beast Boy by Kami Garcia
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another wonderfully cone graphic novel from the author and illustrator, I cannot wait for the next bind up. It was really fun to see this versions origin story for beast boy . The story was great, the art was beautiful, and he next installment is hinted at just perfectly.

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FrankensteinFrankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It was really fun to read the source material for so many adaptations on screen and on the page. This book has been on my bucket list for a long time and I can now say I have read it and I enjoyed it!

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Between the World and MeBetween the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In the great words blurbed on the front of this book by Toni Morrison, “This is required reading”. Honestly I cannot agree with this quote more.

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The Amityville HorrorThe Amityville Horror by Jay Anson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A great book to read during October, if you want a scary story this is a creepy one for sure. I read it mostly in a single day and it kept me engaged. I thought the way the story was organized and bounced between perspectives very well.

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UnboxedUnboxed by Briana Morgan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Great plot and writing, great horror aspect and I like the used of an online “celebrity”. I knew I would enjoy this play, but I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would, I finished it in a single sitting.

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What was your favorite or least favorite read of October?

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Wrap Up

Middle Mark | October 2020

Hello and welcome to my mid month check in for October! So far I am overjoyed with the books I have read. I cannot believe that we are already halfway through the month, but I am still really happy with the four books I have managed to read. One was a tome too and another was nonfiction!


Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs?: And Other Questions About Dead BodiesWill My Cat Eat My Eyeballs?: And Other Questions About Dead Bodies by Caitlin Doughty
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Once again, Caitlin Doughty has written a very interesting and morbid book. This is much different than her previous two that I have read. It is set up as someone asks a question about death or death adjacent and she answers the question. Throughout the book she uses science, personal experience, and history to answer the questions which I enjoyed. Her voice is very similar to how she presents herself in her videos, which is great that her personality carries over so well.

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Strange Weather in TokyoStrange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was not expecting to be so pulled into their companionship, but the writing and structure of their story was beautifully done. I really enjoyed seeing them find each other over and over again.

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A Breath of Snow and Ashes (Outlander, #6)A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another great installment of this historical fiction series. I don’t want to stay too much since this is book 6 in a series, but this one did not disappoint and it holds its own within this saga.

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If It BleedsIf It Bleeds by Stephen King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another good collection of short stories by King. It was really nice to see Holly again from the Mr. Mercedes series. I think she is now no of my favorite King characters or at least in the top 3 easily. This collection has 4 stories, three I really liked, the second one I didn’t like too much.

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I am currently reading two books at this point in time. I am reading Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas, I am really loving this book so much and I am so glad I am able to read it. At this time I am only 12% into it and I can tell it will be a contender for a top book of 2020. The second book I am reading is Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. I am about 8% into this and I am enjoying finally reading this classic horror.


What was the last book you read, did you like it?

How are your reading month coming along? 

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Hauls & Unboxings

Book of the Month | September 2020

Hello and welcome to another unboxing of my subscription of BOTM. This month I am happy to say I actually picked two books for my box and both just sound amazing! I honestly had a really hard time between all the awesome choices. One good things was they had Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson and if I had not bought it the day before I would have picked that one so I was able to pick another as well as a book from a previous month. Now, on to my picks and why I chose them!


Descriptions

Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi

Gifty is a fifth year candidate in neuroscience at Stanford School of Medicine studying reward seeking behavior in mice and the neural circuits of depression and addiction. Her brother, Nana, was a gifted high school athlete who died of a heroin overdose after a knee injury left him hooked on OxyContin. Her suicidal mother is living in her bed. Gifty is determined to discover the scientific basis for the suffering she sees all around her.

But even as she turns to the hard sciences to unlock the mystery of her family’s loss, she finds herself hungering for her childhood faith, and grappling with the evangelical church in which she was raised, whose promise of salvation remains as tantalizing as it is elusive. Transcendent Kingdom is a deeply moving portrait of a family of Ghanain immigrants ravaged by depression and addiction and grief–a novel about faith, science, religion, love. Exquisitely written, emotionally searing, this is an exceptionally powerful follow-up to Gyasi’s phenomenal debut. -goodreads

The Shadows by Alex North

You knew a teenager like Charlie Crabtree. A dark imagination, a sinister smile–always on the outside of the group. Some part of you suspected he might be capable of doing something awful. Twenty-five years ago, Crabtree did just that, committing a murder so shocking that it’s attracted that strange kind of infamy that only exists on the darkest corners of the internet–and inspired more than one copycat.

Paul Adams remembers the case all too well: Crabtree–and his victim–were Paul’s friends. Paul has slowly put his life back together. But now his mother, old and senile, has taken a turn for the worse. Though every inch of him resists, it is time to come home.

It’s not long before things start to go wrong. Reading the news, Paul learns another copycat has struck. His mother is distressed, insistent that there’s something in the house. And someone is following him. Which reminds him of the most unsettling thing about that awful day twenty-five years ago.

It wasn’t just the murder.

It was the fact that afterward, Charlie Crabtree was never seen again… -goodreads


Why I Picked These Books

When it comes to Transcendant Kingdom, I picked it because I have been really enjoying hard hitting emotional reads as of late. This book really tells the story of a woman who is spending her life trying to find a way to help her family while they suffer from mental illness, addiction, and loss. I think it will also explore the pressure this puts on Gifty and her struggles that come from this. Not only does this book peak my interest, so does the author. I have heard such wonderful things about this authors outstanding gift when it comes to writings and I just felt like I needed to pick up a book by them.

The second book I picked, The Shadows, was added to my book because I have been into true crime and horror a lot lately and this seemed like a fictional combination of these. On top of that, I have heard promising things about this authors works and I have not read anything by them before.


What was the most recent book added to your TBR?
Does this book sound interesting to you?

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To Be Read

To Be Read | September 2020

Hello and welcome to another TBR post! This month I have a large stack of books to get through this month, but I am really excited about finally reading a lot of them. I am so close to getting my owned TBR down to the 10s and I am determined to do that this month, fingers crossed! Anyway, onto the books!


Book Stack of Tidy the F*ck Up by Messie Condo, Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami, The Test by Sylvain Neuvel, Stay with Me by Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀, The Financial Diet by Chelsea Fagan, Shiver by Junji Ito, and The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi.

As you can see, I have quite a book stack for September. I plan on reading 7 books, but I hope for a few more. Also, a huge thank you to those who voted my on poll, it was really helpful!

Tidy the F*ck Up by Messie Condo, so a few years ago I read Marie Konodo’s books and I have been feeling the urge to do the method again, but I wanted to read something different to get the inspiration I need and I came across this parody book and I knew I needed to get it if not for the motivation, but for the laughs as well.

Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami, I saw this floating around online a few months ago and after looking further into it, I wanted to read it. I have really been into short stories as of late so I think this will be perfect!

The Test by Sylvain Neuvel, was picked for me to read this month by Heidi over at This is My Bookshelf Blog. I am really looking forward to this one, I am so happy to finally be able to read it and not stare at it on my shelf. The summary I have read for this short story has me thinking I am going to be reading it in one sitting.

Stay with Me by Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀, now this book I came across by complete chance while browsing my local indie bookstore. The bright cover pulled me in and when I looked at the description my heart broke and I knew I needed to read this story in its entirely.

The Financial Diet by Chelsea Fagan, I picked this up recently because I wanted to learn more about finance and get better with my money. From my understanding, this is more of a starting point and I should in theory already know everything in here, but we shall see.

Shiver by Junji Ito, if you like manga and you like horror, you should look into this author. I read one of his collections and I really liked the creepy vibes, this guy has an imagination that might even put King to shame. I am really in the mood for some good horror so I am finally picking up another one of his works.

The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi, this was my BOTM pick for August and sadly I was not able to get to it in August, but I really want to read it ini September, it really sounds like it is going to be a great story. Please see my post, Book of the Month| August 2020 for more information!


What are you planning on reading this month?

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Reading Challenges

Reflection | Reading a Shortlist Vol. 2

Reflection

Hello and welcome to my second check in for my Read a Shortlist Challenge for 2020, you can find more details in my post, Reading Goals | 2020 Edition. In my first check in, Reflection | Reading a Shortlist Vol. 1 I reviewed and talked about the books entitled Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann and Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo. In this post I am going to be talking about the next two books I tackled on this list, which are Quichotte by Salman Rushdie and 10 Minuets, 38 Seconds in this Strange World by Elif Shafak. I am very excited to be talking about these two books, so without further delay, onto the reviews!


QuichotteQuichotte by Salman Rushdie

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Overall, I really liked this book it addressed a lot of issues in our society when it comes to both race and mental illness. I recommended this to quote a few people after reading this retelling of sorts of Don Quixote. But, it is more than a retelling, as I mentioned it address quite a few topics, but does so as a magical realism novel mixed with a couple other genres. This one really really took me for a ride, I honestly really enjoyed this read. This novel is the reason I do this challenge every year, I always end up finding a few gems and this is one of them.

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10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World by Elif Shafak

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I want to start off by saying that this is one of the most inventive and unique books I have read based upon the idea alone. But, this book is penned by a very talented writing and it just makes the book that much better. The first part of this book follows the 10 min. after death of a woman named Leila, who lived a very interesting life. You learn about her life through various memories that come to her in her last moments of life. It really hits home the “life flashes before your eyes” idea.

The second part discusses humility, society, and just being a decent human and how a system takes that away. How some individuals in life and in death can be discriminated against. It was a very interesting book that not only showed you the life of the characters, but also talked about society and highlighted how friendship can be such a powerful thing. I feel like this is a book I will be rereading because I feel like I can get even more out of it.

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There you have it, my second installment of this year long project of reading the Man Booker shortlist. I have to say that these two books were both really enjoyable, this year I am really enjoying this challenge more than I did last year. I think at this point last year I only liked 1 book I read and this time around I have enjoyed 3! Now, I have two more books to read from this list and I am very curious about them. I will be honest. I did not enjoy the Handmaid’s Tale, so I am not too excited about The Testaments, but I am very interested in An Orchestra of Minorities by Chigozie Obioma.

Liked: 3

Hated: 1


Have you read either of these books? Are either of them on you TBR?

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Hauls & Unboxings

Book of the Month| August 2020

Hauls & Unboxings

Hello and welcome to another unboxing of Book of the Month! This month I am very excited about the book I picked for a few reasons, the major ones I will get into more so later in the post, but one I will share up front is that I was able to find this new to me author! As soon as I read the description, I knew I needed to pick it as my book this month.


Description

One afternoon, in a town in southeastern Nigeria, a mother opens her front door to discover her son’s body, wrapped in colorful fabric, at her feet. What follows is the tumultuous, heart-wrenching story of one family’s struggle to understand a child whose spirit is both gentle and mysterious. Raised by a distant father and an understanding but overprotective mother, Vivek suffers disorienting blackouts, moments of disconnection between self and surroundings. As adolescence gives way to adulthood, Vivek finds solace in friendships with the warm, boisterous daughters of the Nigerwives, foreign-born women married to Nigerian men. But Vivek’s closest bond is with Osita, the worldly, high-spirited cousin whose teasing confidence masks a guarded private life. As their relationship deepens—and Osita struggles to understand Vivek’s escalating crisis—the mystery gives way to a heart-stopping act of violence in a moment of exhilarating freedom.

Propulsively readable, teeming with unforgettable characters, The Death of Vivek Oji is a novel of family and friendship that challenges expectations—a dramatic story of loss and transcendence that will move every reader. –goodreads.com

Why I Picked This Book

The main reason I picked up this novel is because it seems to have a huge focus around relationships, which is something that we all have. But, I always find it interesting to learn about how others balance their relationships. I also have not read an emotionally charged book in a while and from the description, I am picking up that this will be a heart wrenching one.

Also, I did happen to read a blurb of this book already, just to give myself a look into the authors style. From what I have read already, I think I am going to enjoy their form of writing. I can’t wait to get to it!


What was the most recent book added to your TBR?
Does this book sound interesting to you?

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