Book Reviews: The Four Winds, The Soulmate Equation & The Lost Apothecary

The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah

Goodreads blurb: Texas, 1934. Millions are out of work and a drought has broken the Great Plains. Farmers are fighting to keep their land and their livelihoods as the crops are failing, the water is drying up, and dust threatens to bury them all. One of the darkest periods of the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl era, has arrived with a vengeance.

In this uncertain and dangerous time, Elsa Martinelli—like so many of her neighbors—must make an agonizing choice: fight for the land she loves or go west, to California, in search of a better life. The Four Winds is an indelible portrait of America and the American Dream, as seen through the eyes of one indomitable woman whose courage and sacrifice will come to define a generation

My take: 4.5 out of 5. Kristin Hannah had high expectations with me as The Nightingale is one of my all time favorite books (And i also binged o Fireflylane on Netflix last weekend and loved it!). Comparing any book to the Nightingale was going to be hard, but this didn’t disappoint. Is it as good? no. But is it a really good book? Yes! It was a bit slow to get into but once i did I was involved. I was very involved and suffered along side of it. I loved the strong, if naive at times female characters. This is not a happy story. It is a gritty, sad, depression era story, but its grittiness seems so real and raw. Very important warning, this book needs a solid Kleenex box by your side. Do not attempt to get through the last third of the book without it, you will be a slobbering mess on your sweater (that was me so I’m imparting my wisdom so you have a better reading experience 🙂 )

I loved this quote: “Love is what remains when everything else is gone. Love in the best of times it is a dream. In the worst of times, a salvation.”

The Soulmate Equation by Christina Lauren

Goodreads blurb: Single mom Jess Davis is a data and statistics wizard, but no amount of number crunching can convince her to step back into the dating world. Raised by her grandparents–who now help raise her seven-year-old daughter, Juno–Jess has been left behind too often to feel comfortable letting anyone in. After all, her father’s never been around, her hard-partying mother disappeared when she was six, and her ex decided he wasn’t “father material” before Juno was even born. Jess holds her loved ones close, but working constantly to stay afloat is hard…and lonely.

But then Jess hears about GeneticAlly, a buzzy new DNA-based matchmaking company that’s predicted to change dating forever. Finding a soulmate through DNA? The reliability of numbers: This Jess understands. At least she thought she did, until her test shows an unheard-of 98% compatibility with another subject in the database: GeneticAlly’s founder, Dr. River Pena. This is one number she can’t wrap her head around, because she already knows Dr. Pena. The stuck-up, stubborn man is without a doubt not her soulmate. But GeneticAlly has a proposition: Get to know him and we’ll pay you. Jess–who is barely making ends meet–is in no position to turn it down, despite her skepticism about the project and her dislike for River. As the pair are dragged from one event to the next as the “Diamond” pairing that could make GeneticAlly a mint in stock prices, Jess begins to realize that there might be more to the scientist–and the science behind a soulmate–than she thought.

My take: 4 out of 5. I got this advance review copy of the Soulmate Equation that comes out on May 18th, and I was very excited as I discovered and became a fan of Christina Lauren last year having read the Unhoneymooners , Josh and Hazels Guide to Not Dating and Holidaze (yes i went into a deep dive of their books. Funny story, its their because they are a duo of writers, Christina and Lauren). As a funny cute romantic story, this book ticks all the boxes. It appears to be a predictable story, but there are enough turns that keep it interesting and engaged. Also I enjoyed all the characters. They were interesting more developed than most and you peel their layers whilst they get to know each other.. Proof that I was thoroughly into the book was that I started it when i went to bed, and thought i’d only read a few chapters before going to sleep and before you know it it was WAY past my bedtime and the book was done! But lets get to the most important part of the story: the premise is really cool! This DNA matching doesn’t exist now (i think??) but can someone invent it? I think I want to try it out!

The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner

Goodreads blurb: Hidden in the depths of eighteenth-century London, a secret apothecary shop caters to an unusual kind of clientele. Women across the city whisper of a mysterious figure name Nella who sells well-disguised poisons to use against the oppressive men in their lives. The apothecary fate is jeopardized when her newest patron, a precocious twelve-year old, makes a fatal mistake, sparking a string of consequences that echo through the centuries. Meanwhile in present-day London, aspiring historian Caroline Parcewell spends her tenth wedding anniversary alone, running from her own demons. When she stumbles upon a clue to the unsolved apothecary murders that haunted London two hundred years ago, her life collides with the apothecary’s in a stunning twist of fate – and not everyone will survive

My Take: 3 out of 5. I “read”, i.e. heard this audibook from an advance review copy, the book comes out on march 2. I had mixed feelings about this one as it was a bit of a rollercoaster. At the beginning i was having a hard time getting into it. Then towards the middle I was hooked, I really needed to know what happened. At the end I was disappointed again and it think it was mostly with how the storytelling was handled. The general premise I found interesting, im a sucker for historical fiction and old apothecaries seem interesting, but there are plenty of books that deal with this, some even i read last year like Magic Lessons, which deal with historical magic and potions beautifully. The story is told in the viewpoint of three characters, Caroline, Nella and Eliza. I can conclude and say that most of the things I didn’t enjoy about the book had to do with Eliza’s narration. I was mostly annoyed at her naivety when she was narrating and then at the end I felt that there was a total lost opportunity of giving her final version of the events. If we weren’t going to get that, then they book would have been so much better in my mind if we only had the narration of Nella and Caroline and the story of Eliza be deducted from those other viewpoints. Also if this was going to be a about Caroline’s discovery, shouldn’t the whole book be through her discovery? In general there were a lot of question marks in my book as to how the telling of the story was handled. However I enjoyed the strong female perspective, an the fact that it dealt with three women in different times having to face difficult decisions. How their interactions and disappointment with the men in their lives lead them to take drastic and interesting life choices.

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