Book Reviews: Pineapple Street, In The Lives of Puppets, The Perfumist of Paris & A Typical Family

Pineapple Street by Jenny Jackson

Goodreads blurb: Darley, the eldest daughter in the well-connected, carefully guarded, old-money Stockton family, followed her heart, trading her job and inheritance for motherhood, sacrificing more of herself than she ever intended. Sasha, middle-class and from New England, has married into the Brooklyn Heights family and finds herself cast as the arriviste outsider, wondering how she might ever understand their WASP-y ways. Georgiana, the baby of the family, has fallen in love with someone she can’t (and really shouldn’t) have and must confront the kind of person she wants to be.

Rife with the indulgent pleasures of life among New York’s one-percenters, Pineapple Street is a smart escapist novel that sparkles with wit. It’s about the peculiar unknowability of someone else’s family, the miles between the haves and have-nots and everything in between, and the insanity of first love.

my take: 4 out of 5. I thought it was a very interesting family story. I love that you got the perspective of both the family members and the new in-law and how really things are just never as they same. It’s a beautiful family intertwining story with the realization that nobody’s perfect and everybody should just talk and sort things out because everybody’s hurting a little bit. Everybody has issues and you can’t assume.

In the Lives of Puppets by TJ Klune

Goodreads blurb: In a strange little home built into the branches of a grove of trees, live three robots–fatherly inventor android Giovanni Lawson, a pleasantly sadistic nurse machine, and a small vacuum desperate for love and attention. Victor Lawson, a human, lives there too. They’re a family, hidden and safe.The day Vic salvages and repairs an unfamiliar android labelled “HAP,” he learns of a shared dark past between Hap and Gio-a past spent hunting humans.

When Hap unwittingly alerts robots from Gio’s former life to their whereabouts, the family is no longer hidden and safe. Gio is captured and taken back to his old laboratory in the City of Electric Dreams. So together, the rest of Vic’s assembled family must journey across an unforgiving and otherworldly country to rescue Gio from decommission, or worse, reprogramming. Along the way to save Gio, amid conflicted feelings of betrayal and affection for Hap, Vic must decide for himself: Can he accept love with strings attached?

This is an ARC review thanks to a gift from the publisherThis book comes out April 25th.

My take: 3.25 out of 5. In the life of puppets was hard for me. I am a fan of TJ Klune’s past work, Remarkably Bright Creatures is spectacular. His second book took me a while to get into, but I really liked it too. This one took me even longer to get into, and it just never gelled as much as I wanted it to. The ending was beautiful, and I think by the last chapters I was invested, but I had to put it down five different times, so it took a while to finish. I think what was taking me time was to get invested with the characters. As beautiful as his non-traditional romances and relationships are, it’s pushing it a little bit for me here. I don’t know if I was very comfortable with all the robot/human relationships even though I understood what they were trying to do. It’s very avantgarde and it might not have been for me,

The Perfumist of Paris by Alka Joshi

Goodreads blurb: The final chapter in Alka Joshi’s New York Times bestselling Jaipur trilogy takes readers to 1970s Paris, where Radha’s budding career as a perfumer must compete with the demands of her family and the secrets of her past. Paris, 1974. Radha is now thirty-two and living in Paris with her husband, Pierre, and their two daughters. She still grieves for the baby boy she gave up years ago, when she was only a child herself, but she loves being a mother to her daughters, and she’s finally found her passion—the treasure trove of scents. When her friend’s grandfather offered her a job at his parfumerie, she quickly discovered she had a talent—she could find the perfect fragrance for any customer who walked in the door. Now, ten years later, she’s working for a master perfumer, helping to design completely new fragrances for clients and building her career one scent at a time. She only wishes Pierre could understand her need to work. She feels his frustration, but she can’t give up this thing that drives her.

Tasked with her first major project, Radha travels to India, where she enlists the help of her sister, Lakshmi, and the courtesans of Agra—women who use the power of fragrance to seduce, tease and entice. She’s on the cusp of a breakthrough when she finds out the son she never told her husband about is heading to Paris to find her—upending her carefully managed world and threatening to destroy a vulnerable marriage.

my take: 4 out of 5. The Henna Artist is one of my favorite books. It is a gorgeous beautiful book, and if you have not read it, you need to go back and read it right now. The second installment of this trilogy, I didn’t love. It was okay. However here it brings it all back together. It is not Henna artist, but it goes back to the same beautiful, strong female character driven, historical drama that I loved.

The setting is spectacular and so well described. I don’t love perfume (there’s just one perfume I use in my life and hate going into perfume stores they give me headaches) but I felt I was transported into this world of smell and just wanted to be surrounded by it. The descriptions are so gorgeous, the sights, the smells, everything just made me wanna be in this story. And it’s a thoughtful ending to this family that we saw grow. Definitely do not read this book unless you read the other two.

A Very Typical Family by Sierra Godfrey

Goodreads blurb: All families are messy. Some are disasters. Natalie Walker is the reason her older brother and sister went to prison more than fifteen years ago. She fled California shortly after that fateful night and hasn’t spoken to anyone in her family since. Ten years later, Natalie receives a letter from a lawyer saying her estranged mother has died and left the family’s historic Santa Cruz house to her–sort of. To inherit it, Natalie and her siblings must claim it together.

Natalie drives cross-country to Santa Cruz with her willful cat in tow expecting to sign some papers, see siblings Lynn and Jake briefly, and get back to sorting out her life in Boston. But Jake, now an award-winning ornithologist, is missing, and Lynn, working as an undertaker in New York City, shows up with a teenage son. While Natalie and her nephew look for Jake–and meeting a very handsome marine biologist along the way–she unpacks the guilt she has held on to for so many years, wondering how, or if, she can salvage a relationship with her siblings after all this time.

This is an ARC review thanks to a gift from the publisher

my take: 4 out of 5 I had no expectations reading this book. I was actually a little bit hesitant that I might not love it, but I was very kindly gifted an arc and thought to expand my boundaries. The first chapter I was a bit what am I reading? who are these people ? This is all very bizarre. But im glad i read it because it was heartwarming and heart tugging. I was so invested. I loved every flaw of these characters. I think they were so developed, so truthful, and I was crying during the end.

I think it’s not for everybody, but it’s one of those things that I think are worth reading, especially if you love family dramas and the nuances of family dynamics.

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