What I Read Lately

Welcome to the first WIRL of the year! I’ve really made reading a priority again lately [it probably helps being home so much!] and I really hope to continue this trend this year. If you have any recommendations for me, do leave them in the comments! Don’t forget that you can also search the title of any book on the blog to see my review if I’ve read it!


Synopsis: The story starts in Ghana in eighteenth century: two half sisters are born into different villages, each unaware of the other. One will marry an Englishman and lead a life of comfort in the palatial rooms of the Cape Coast Castle. The other will be captured in a raid on her village, imprisoned in the very same castle, and sold into slavery. Homegoing follows the parallel paths of these sisters and their descendants through eight generations: from the Gold Coast to the plantations of Mississippi, from the American Civil War to Jazz Age Harlem. This novel illuminates slavery’s troubled legacy both for those who were taken and those who stayed—and shows how the memory of captivity has been inscribed on the soul of our nation.

Would I Recommend It: Oof. This book was HEAVY. It was emotional and jarring. Bits of it were hard to read. Once it got to Part Two, the pace picked up and it was easier to keep the relations straight. I would recommend looking at the family tree at the beginning to familiarize yourself with the names as there are a lot to keep straight. That said, this book is beautiful. It’s important. It’s hard. Some story lines were more captivating than others, but I think that’s the point. I do recommend this book, but go into it knowing that it won’t be fun, but it will be thought-provoking.

We Are Not Like Them

Synposis: Jen and Riley have been best friends since kindergarten. As adults, they remain as close as sisters, though their lives have taken different directions. Jen married young, and after years of trying, is finally pregnant. Riley pursued her childhood dream of becoming a television journalist and is poised to become one of the first Black female anchors of the top news channel in their hometown of Philadelphia. But the deep bond they share is severely tested when Jen’s husband, a city police officer, is involved in the shooting of an unarmed Black teenager. Six months pregnant, Jen is in freefall as her future, her husband’s freedom, and her friendship with Riley are thrown into uncertainty. Covering this career-making story, Riley wrestles with the implications of this tragic incident for her Black community, her ambitions, and her relationship with her lifelong friend.

Would I Recommend It: This was so good. It’s told from both women’s perspectives, which I really liked. This almost read like a Jodie Picoult novel to me [particularly Small Great Things]. It was heartbreaking, endearing, and pulled you in from the very first scene. Obviously the topic is heavy and far too relevant these days, but it’s an honest look at how this can truly impact anyone and how our actions and reactions shape it all.

The Guncle

Synopsis: Patrick, or Gay Uncle Patrick (GUP, for short), has always loved his niece, Maisie, and nephew, Grant. That is, he loves spending time with them when they come out to Palm Springs for weeklong visits, or when he heads home to Connecticut for the holidays. But in terms of caretaking and relating to two children, no matter how adorable, Patrick is, honestly, overwhelmed So when tragedy strikes and Maisie and Grant lose their mother and Patrick’s brother has a health crisis of his own, Patrick finds himself suddenly taking on the role of primary guardian. Despite having a set of “Guncle Rules” ready to go, Patrick has no idea what to expect, having spent years barely holding on after the loss of his great love, a somewhat-stalled acting career, and a lifestyle not-so-suited to a six- and a nine-year-old. Quickly realizing that parenting–even if temporary–isn’t solved with treats and jokes, Patrick’s eyes are opened to a new sense of responsibility, and the realization that, sometimes, even being larger than life means you’re unfailingly human.

Would I Recommend It: I had read some heavy books recently [ahem, the two aforementioned books] and needed a good palette cleanser and, boy, did this deliver! I laughed. I cried. I LOVED it. It is such a heartwarming story about love, family, friendship, and the way relationships intertwine to shape our lives. If you want a somewhat lighthearted read that will warm you up from the inside out, definitely give this is a go.

Winter In Paradise

Synopsis: Irene Steele shares her idyllic life in a beautiful Iowa City Victorian house with a husband who loves her to sky-writing, sentimental extremes. But as she rings in the new year one cold and snowy night, everything she thought she knew falls to pieces with a shocking phone call: her beloved husband, away on business, has been killed in a helicopter crash. Before Irene can even process the news, she must first confront the perplexing details of her husband’s death on the distant Caribbean island of St. John. After Irene and her sons arrive at this faraway paradise, they make yet another shocking discovery: her husband had been living a secret life. As Irene untangles a web of intrigue and deceit, and as she and her sons find themselves drawn into the vibrant island culture, they have to face the truth about their family, and about their own futures.

Would I Recommend It: This was recommended to me as another palette cleansing option, and I dove right in, not realizing it was part of a trilogy! So, I guess I’m sucked in now. This was juicy and suspenseful and while I’m a bit annoyed I’m tied down for two more books. I cannot wait to follow the Steele family and see what happens next! If you want a good beach read, I definitely recommend this, but go in knowing that it will take 3 books to get to the final resolution! This was my first EH novel and I do see what the fuss is about. They’re quick and easy reads while still being fulfilling.

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