Noemi Taboada receives a confusing letter from her cousin, Catalina, who married a stranger and moved from Mexico City to a remote village. When Noemi arrives, she quickly learns that Catalina has moved into a silent and unloving house. The family sets strict rules and refuses to let the cousins see one another for long periods.
Noemi is stubborn and smart though, and she finds ways around the rules set forth. She makes an unlikely friend in the house and begins to question her past motives as a socialite in Mexico City. Just when Noemi begins to make headway in her rebellion of the house though, she begins to see things that aren’t there and has such intense nightmares, it feels as if they are real. Is she beginning to go crazy like Catalina? Or is the house truly haunted?
Noemi and Catalina must work together to overcome the unseen forces of the house and family. This book had me guessing throughout the pages. I couldn’t figure out exactly what, or who, was causing the cousins to imagine things.
Elzbieta and her family live in a comfortable home in Warsaw during World War II. They live outside the Warsaw ghetto and don't see much of what's happening to their Jewish neighbors behind the patrolled walls. One day, Elzbieta stumbles upon her neighbor assisting Jewish escapees and she decides to help. She's trained to walk inside the ghetto walls each day and teach future escapees. There, she meets Roman, a Jewish boy living with his family and struggling to survive.
This story follows Elzbieta, her family, and Roman throughout the years of World War II, and the exchange of their freedom from Germans to Russians. This story if full of pain, loss, love, trauma, and forgiveness. If you love books about World War II, I recommend The Warsaw Orphan.
I had a difficult time reading parts of this book because Rimmer delves into traumatic events that unfortunately happened to many people during the war, so a trigger warning is necessary. Rimmer's writing style is so realistic that I felt some of the anxiety, shame, and guilt that the characters were feeling and working through. You'll feel many emotions throughout the various chapters and you'll be left feeling sympathy for those who actually lived through the atrocities of the war.
Based on a true story, Just Mercy, highlights America’s problem of mass incarceration and racial injustice present in our judicial system. Bryan Stevenson is a lawyer who founded the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama. He mainly helps inmates who are on death row and this is where he met Walter McMillian.
Walter McMillian, a young black man, was falsely accused of murdering a young white woman in his small town. There was no evidence proving Walter’s guilt; in fact, all of the evidence proved his innocence. Yet, he was still convicted and sentenced to die for the crime. The sheriff, investigators, judge, jury, and prosecuting attorney were all white and showed bias in the courtroom, and the days leading up to judgement.
In this book, Bryan talks of the lengthy process and he also writes about other death penalty stories as well as his fight to end the cruel practice of sentencing children to die in prison. This story was infuriating to read because it’s so obvious Walter was wrongly accused and the justice system failed him and many others. The public servants involved were obviously racist and kept ignoring the law to suit their own personal, judgmental views. This is a great and necessary read for everyone, in my opinion.
Bob Woodward is an investigative journalist and has been reporting through eight presidencies. In Fear, Woodward details President Trump’s campaign trail, conversations and meetings with staff, and the beginning years of his presidency.
This biography offers insight into the interactions Trump had with his staff and the decisions they made with, and without, his help or knowledge. Woodward does a great job of offering details and delving deeper into the intricacies of the Trump administration.
I was surprised with some of the reporting in this biography because Woodward confidently states many of Trump’s senior officials didn’t trust him in almost all decisions that needed to be made. In fact, many staff were reported to take things off Trump’s desk to avoid him making rash decisions. The knowledge Woodward reports in Fear undermines, even further, Trump’s overzealous assertions.
Former FBI Director, James Comey, worked various government and private sector jobs throughout his career. Over the years, he was able to distinguish what makes someone a leader and what makes someone a bully.
In this autobiography, he shares his experiences working in the Bush, Obama, and Trump administrations. He compares the differences in the administrations and the choices he had to make.
This book revealed another side of government that the general public isn’t privy to. It was also interesting to read Comey’s side of the story regarding various hot topics. Comey is a thorough writer and presented all of his opinions, thoughts, and experiences in an organized and understandable manner.
Racism is still rampant in our society today. People can no longer own slaves and every race is now allowed to vote, but racism is still very much a part of our world.
Austin Channing Brown teaches what racism looks like in America today. It’s not always a loud or obvious comment. Sometimes, racism is quiet, complicit, and overlooked. Companies and people think they are being inclusive when a diversity quota is met or when the black coworker is included. However, comments and actions are still being made that minimize black voices and rights.
In her powerful book, Brown talks about being black in America and how obvious white culture prevails. She speaks on white guilt, white fragility, and white complacence. This book opened my eyes even further to the systemic racism still prevalent today and made me question why white men still hold most of the powerful positions throughout society.
Erin and Mark are passionately in love and embark on their dream honeymoon to Bora Bora. They enjoy the romance and relaxation of their honeymoon until they go scuba diving. While diving, they see something in the water and they are faced with a difficult choice.
The decision they make in Bora Bora triggers a long chain of events that test their relationship and their sanity back in their home in London. Erin is hiding secrets from Mark only to learn he’s hiding some of his own.
Something in the Water left me guessing throughout the book. There were so many side characters that were brought in that I found myself guessing, incorrectly, what would happen next.
Homo Deus is Yuval Noah Harari’s second novel about humankind. The first book, Sapiens, examines humanity’s past, while Homo Deus examines humanity’s future.
Humanity is always looking to become better. As a species, we have evolved over the centuries and have found solutions to once seemingly unsurmountable obstacles such as famine and plague. Yet for the first time in history, humans are dying in record numbers from eating too much, not too little. We have access to vaccines that help prevent once rampant diseases, but more people are refusing them than ever before.
Humanity also has access to more technology in the 21st century. With this access, humans act like self-made gods by altering DNA sequences for future offspring and by trying to extend the length of human life. How much is too much? Can we really overcome death? How are we impacting our world and our futures with our destructive choices today? Homo Deus delves into the choices humans make and the impact those choices can have on our future.
The CEO of Truviv, Inc has died unexpectedly and the man rumored to take his place, Ames, has some shadows in his past that the women of Truviv are struggling to come to terms with. Sloane, Ardie, Grace, and Rosalita have worked with the company for years and each has her own relationship and experience with Ames. Ames is a great businessman who respects the women in the office; after all, he advances some to higher positions, right?
A new hire, Catherine, brings the ladies together and they realize something must be done to stop Ames' promotion. Together, they talk about Ames and how he is unfit for a CEO position and is inappropriate with the women in the office. Separately, they each make choices that ultimately lead to a lawsuit that involves Truviv, Inc. During this time, Ames is added to a list, made by women, of inappropriate men in the workplace. Thousands of women have access to this list and Ames is incensed when he finds his name on it. After both of these occurrences, someone dies at Truviv, Inc and an investigation is added to the mix.
Whisper Network is a powerful story of women coming together and standing up to misogynistic men. Baker does a great job showing how Ames is at once a great employee, but is a confusing boss and coworker. At times, he's respectful and helpful to the women in the office, but he's rumored to have done some terrible things to others. The women have to accept that sometimes monsters are hidden behind polite smiles and business suits. This was a great story and I found myself wanting to get to the end quickly so I knew the fate of the women in this "me too" story.
Joana, a Lithuanian; Florian, a Prussian; and Emilia, a Pole; are all trying to escape Germany in the midst of World War II. During their escape, they find one another and must avoid the Nazis and the advancing Russian soldiers while traversing across farms, open fields, and war-torn cities with a group of other desperate souls.
After many restless nights and terrifying days, they finally lie their way onto a German cruise liner that is supposed to ferry personnel and refugees to safety from the Red Army. Only, the cruise liner is attacked and all on board have to once again fight for their lives.
Sepetys has a tendency to draw her readers into her stories and Salt to the Sea is no different. I couldn't put this book down.