Recent Reads Vol. 5

Usually my recent reads are for books I have recently read, but for some reason, I have forgotten to share my thoughts on the first three books in today’s installment, so I decided to include them today.

The first book I recently read a couple months ago is Fat Chance, Charlie Vega by Crystal Maldonado. While this was not one of my favorite books I have read this year, it is still an important read for teens who have been ridiculed for most of their lives due to their weight. Even though Charlie and I are different individuals, I still related to her and her struggles a lot. A lot of the conversations her mom has with her about her weight were heartbreaking, and in some ways triggering because it reminded me of all the times my mom had discussions like that with me as a teen — honestly, I’m still dealing with issues regarding body image and food because of them. I really wish that a book like this had been around when I was a teen, because most of the books with fat main characters back then were all about them losing weight so they could finally be happy. insert eye roll here. Books like Fat Chance, Charlie Vega are important because they give those of us who are fat hope that there are people out there that will accept us as we are( based on personal experience, there are more than you know!) and that it is okay to love our bodies even if they are considered “imperfect” to a lot of people. There are a few things that I didn’t like about the book, but that was more based on personal preference and taste.

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The next book that I read a couple months ago is Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo. It is a novel in verse following Camino and Yahaira, two girls who live completely different lives – one in New York City, the other in Dominican Republic. Their lives are drawn together after a terrible plane crash happens and their father was one of the passengers, and as a result they discover each other and that their father had two families, and trying to deal with not only the tragedy of his death, but the secret that was hidden from them. Overall, I did like this novel, there were a few elements I didn’t like, but I did enjoy that we get a glimpse of what life in the Dominican Republic is like.

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The last book I read a couple months ago was Dearly by Margaret Atwood. It is a short collection of poetry on a variety subjects, from seemingly personal topics to environmentalism to zombies. I did really enjoy this collection, even though there are subjects and ideas that I know I disagree with the author on, however it was still a fun read in spite of that. It was also a quick read and only took me a couple of hours to complete.

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A more recent read is an audiobook that I listened to, Chapter & Hearse by Lorna Barrett. This is the next installment of the Booktown Mysteries and this time Tricia is trying to figure out who might be behind the explosion that destroyed the history bookstore, killed the store’s owner and injured Bob Kelly, Angelica’s boyfriend. Plus Tricia must deal with a stalker, and figure out who would want to sabotage Angelica’s book tour for her new cookbook. This was an interesting installment in the series, and the author did a good job of planting several red herrings as to who the culprit might be, but I still was not expecting it to be who it was! I found my self hooked and trying to find excuses to keep listening until the end. While not as good as it’s predecessor, this installment was a good addition to the series.

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This last recent read is a hard one to review, because it sounded right up my alley, but I’ll admit that I did not read the synopsis fully other wise I would not have had such high expectations for it. Bookshop by the Sea by Denise Hunter is set in a little seaside town in North Carolina. Sophie Lawson is about to open a book store, however, at the wedding of her younger sister she runs into her high school sweetheart, Aiden Maddox, who broke her heart right when her family was falling apart. After the blessed event, and an unforeseen accident, Aiden offers to stay and help Sophie get the store ready for it’s grand opening, but will a natural accident prevent that from happening? I honestly was not a huge fan of this book. The concept was cute, but I found both characters annoying, especially their reluctance to properly communicate with each other. They often acted like teenagers instead of the adults that they are, and when one confronts the other on an issue the other completely freaks out and the confronter also loses their cool and storms off. I’m all for second chance romances, but honestly I felt like the characters had more growing up to do in order to be with each other, and said growth seemed to happen too quickly. Also, Sophie’s family was irritating, and it was hard to believe that her sister had enough maturity to be married with some of the stuff she does…and her brother is worse! I did love the setting, and I loved the side characters we get to meet in the community, and I wish there had been more focus on them. So while I didn’t like this book, I didn’t completely hate it either, it did have a few redeemable qualities that kept me reading on. Thank you to Thomas Nelson and Edelweiss for providing me with an advanced copy of this book in exchange for my honest thoughts.

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Happy Reading,

Janelle L. C.

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