The Perfect Family

The Perfect Family. Samantha King. 2018. Kensington Books. 304 pages. [Source: ARC provided courtesy of NetGalley]. The Perfect Family is not what it seems, both the book and its main characters. It starts by describing the aftermath of any parents’ nightmare — being asked to choose which of your children will live or die. For Maddie, it’s being asked which of her twins will be spared by a masked man who shows up at her door. Overall, this is an emotionally jarring read — the tension and anxiety were near constant. As you get to see what lies under the surface of Dom and Maddie’s marriage, you learn to take everything else with a grain (or pound) of salt. Through her reflections, you see Maddie struggling to keep from spiraling as she questions herself as a mother, but also no longer understanding what she takes for granted as truth. I compliment King because she was able to evoke emotions in me that made me need to know what happened next so I could have my own resolution. That being said, this book left me constantly questioning what was happening and who to trust. The suspense was real! I can say…

My Sister, the Serial Killer

My Sister, the Serial Killer. Oyinkan Braithwaite. 2018. Doubleday. 240 pages. [Source: public library.] Older siblings are often like surrogate parents to their younger brothers and sisters. They leverage their wisdom and experience to help the younger ones navigate life. Or get away with murder. In My Sister, the Serial Killer, Korede has the misfortune of being the only person her younger sister Ayoola calls when one of her boyfriends has the misfortune of encountering her late father’s prized knife. I suppose the third time is a charm, because that’s what turned her into the textbook serial killer. Korede, with her meticulous attention to detail, has proven herself a worthy accomplice, shielding Ayoola from the consequences of her actions. Ayoola is, by all accounts, the more beautiful and beguiling sister. I read her as flighty and self-centered, and prone to ignoring the perceptions about her behavior, especially as she “mourns” her missing boyfriend. Ayoola, for all her naivete, is also cunning. She uses her charisma to endear herself to people, but her ability to manipulate everyone around her to protect her demonstrates that she’s not the beautiful fool she seems. I found myself very early on not trusting her, straddling a very thin line…

A Spark of Light

A Spark of Light. Jodi Picoult. 2018. Ballatine Books. 384 pages. [Source: Public Library.]  It’s hard to temper your expectations when you know a book starts off with what many consider a worst-case scenario – a hostage situation at a women’s reproductive health care center. I came into this book bracing myself for the worst, but still clinging to hope that there could be a happily ever after … of sorts … for the characters. The book presents a great deal of tension, obviously. There is, of course, the suspense of wondering how the hostage situation will resolve and how many casualties will lie in its wake? But more than that, there’s the tension of a divisive topic – abortion rights — what perspectives will be presented, and how, if at all, that impacts the overall narrative. This was my first foray into Picoult’s writing, and I have to say I was impressed. What became immediately apparent to me was how balanced her writing felt in the face of such a polarizing topic. I expected to read this book and just know I’d be able to pick out any pro-life or pro-choice leanings. I’m glad to say I couldn’t because…

A Princess in Theory

A Princess in Theory. Alyssa Cole. 2018. Avon Books. 373 pages. [Source: Public Library.] A Princess in Theory is a book I couldn’t ignore. I saw frequently in passing, but not at times when I was adding to my TBR pile. Finally, seeing it on the Goodreads lists for best romance book of 2018 made me stop and check it out. Surely, there was some hype I was missing. I thought this was a cute story, but it didn’t draw me in. In fact, it took me 3 separate checkouts over 4 months to finish. I was pretty shocked by this, because the reason I was interested in reading it was due to how much fanfare I’d seen about it. I was disappointed that I was immediately sucked into the story. That being said, A Princess in Theory, is an enjoyable, if not predictable fairy tale. I mean, it has to be, if I went through the trouble of checking it out thrice. I was entertained by the somewhat awkward courtship between Naledi and Thabiso, and genuinely was interested in seeing how their story could be resolved. Naledi is a hard working graduate student whose nuisance du jour is the never-ending emails she gets on behalf of…

Road to Love

Road to Love. Nicole Falls. 2018. [Source: Kindle Unlimited.] This book starts with its main character crying her mascara off in a club bathroom stall. I didn’t know where Road to Love would go from there, but I was along for the ride (pun intended). Emerson Parker has odd luck with men. She didn’t date a lot in high school, thanks to her devout religious upbringing. The one serious relationship she had ended with a swinging hanger in an empty closet and a 4-word goodbye note. She’s been backstabbed by her closest friend and is estranged from her parents. Drama. A much-needed sabbatical from work leads her on a road trip home to Michigan from her new home in L.A. Along the way, she finds an undeniably handsome stranger stranded on the side of a Colorado highway. Roosevelt Ashe is probably too handsome for his own good, and definitely for Emerson’s. Nonetheless, they find themselves unlikely travel companions of sorts, and later, friends. As they both adjust to being back home among family and friends, they provide the support the other needs to face old demons and attempt to move forward in their lives. Road to Love is an enjoyable,…