Book Reviews: People we Meet on Vacation (the book you need to read this summer), Of Women and Salt & Tidelands

People we Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry

Goodreads blurb: Poppy and Alex. Alex and Poppy. They have nothing in common. She’s a wild child; he wears khakis. She has insatiable wanderlust; he prefers to stay home with a book. And somehow, ever since a fateful car share home from college many years ago, they are the very best of friends. For most of the year they live far apart—she’s in New York City, and he’s in their small hometown—but every summer, for a decade, they have taken one glorious week of vacation together. Until two years ago, when they ruined everything. They haven’t spoken since.

Poppy has everything she should want, but she’s stuck in a rut. When someone asks when she was last truly happy, she knows, without a doubt, it was on that ill-fated, final trip with Alex. And so, she decides to convince her best friend to take one more vacation together—lay everything on the table, make it all right. Miraculously, he agrees. Now she has a week to fix everything. If only she can get around the one big truth that has always stood quietly in the middle of their seemingly perfect relationship. What could possibly go wrong?

My take: 5 out of 5. I adored this book and its the perfect beach read. This and Life’s too short have to be your summer reads. Run to read it! It is beautifully written, and I loved the dual timelines. It is exactly what you want from a romcom. It has a slow burn but it is not predictable. It has twist and turns but it is not gratuitous, it is all appropriate. Both character are wonderful. Well developed, flawed and endearing all at the same time. I am also obsessed with the Summer trip idea and now I wish I had that tradition. Last years Beach read was one of my favorites and I was concerned she wasn’t going to be able to live up to my expectations but she completely exceeded them! Can I say again how you need to go and buy this book and tell me what you think?

Of Women and Salt by Gabriela Garcia

Goodreads blurb: A daughter’s fateful choice, a mother motivated by her own past, and a family legacy that begins in Cuba before either of them were born In present-day Miami, Jeanette is battling addiction. Daughter of Carmen, a Cuban immigrant, she is determined to learn more about her family history from her reticent mother and makes the snap decision to take in the daughter of a neighbor detained by ICE. Carmen, still wrestling with the trauma of displacement, must process her difficult relationship with her own mother while trying to raise a wayward Jeanette. Steadfast in her quest for understanding, Jeanette travels to Cuba to see her grandmother and reckon with secrets from the past destined to erupt.

From 19th-century cigar factories to present-day detention centers, from Cuba to Mexico, Gabriela Garcia’s Of Women and Salt is a kaleidoscopic portrait of betrayals–personal and political, self-inflicted and those done by others–that have shaped the lives of these extraordinary women. A haunting meditation on the choices of mothers, the legacy of the memories they carry, and the tenacity of women who choose to tell their stories despite those who wish to silence them, this is more than a diaspora story; it is a story of America’s most tangled, honest, human roots.

My take: 3.5 out of 5. I really wanted to like this book, but in the end it was just solid but not spectacular which was a disappointment. The first page with the genealogical tree sent me back to the start of 100 years of solitude, but this is not that. It could have been more epic but it is cut short on what could be a great family saga. I usually never say this but it could have been longer. It is a good book, and a lot of immigrant issues that are very relevant and quite sad. A happy book it is not, but it is a strong and relevant story and a latin story in the USA that is not the usual norm. A worthy read just not the best read I had this year.

Tidelands by Philippa Gregory

Goodreads blurb: #1 New York Times bestselling author Philippa Gregory begins a sweeping new series with the story of a poor, uneducated midwife named Alinor who is tempted by a forbidden love affair–but all too aware of the dangers awaiting a woman who dares to step out of the place society carved for her.

My take: 2.75 out of 5. This is not your usual Phillipa Gregory fare. Same century but in a very different environment, no royal courts here. I had mixed feelings about this one, at times it felt really slow and I hated Alices character throughout the book. I feel there was opportunity for more in the book and it just doesn’t go there. However the ending left me wanting to know what happened next and i already ordered the part 2 just to finish it off. Interesting take on the non royal female position in post Tudor times, but it could have been explored even further.

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