Island of the Blue Dolphins. Scott O’Dell. 1960. 194 pages. Houghton Mifflin. [Source: personal copy.] Admittedly, this is a book I should have read years ago. Like, over 20 years ago when my grandmother gave me a copy. But a good book is both timeless and ageless, so when my little one had to read it for class, I decided it was past time for me to read it as well. I’m upset that I didn’t read this sooner; 10-year-old me would have loved it; adult me, however, had better context for the book and appreciated it more than I could have at that age. Island of the Blue Dolphins centers on Karana, a 12-year-old girl whose family lives on the remote island of San Nicolas. It recounts the coming of Aleuts, who exploit the island’s resources, hunting and failing to pay what they agreed to the island’s inhabitants. The result is a decimated population, with many of the men gone, and the women and children left to figure out how to survive. One day, another ship comes, bearing people who will take the inhabitants to a new home. Everything is fine until Karana’s brother is left behind and she jumps ship to stay with…
The Bed We Made. Ivy Symone. 2016. 343 pages. [Source: Amazon Kindle Unlimited.] The Bed We Made is messy. Remarkably so. Nene is unhappily married to serial philanderer Tavion. When Tavion tells her about his new baby — with a side-chick — Nene decides she’s reached her breaking point. She goes out with the intent of a one-night-stand, but doesn’t anticipate that being at the hands Asad “The Lion” Crawford, her nephew by marriage. The rest of this book follows Nene’s tumultuous relationships with Tavion and Asad. She decides a side-baby is too much, and divorces Tavion, but she can’t seem to shake him from her life in any capacity. Her conscience is guilty, but not so much so that she can leave Asad alone for good. The two are constantly drawn to each other, and have explosive passion with worrisome results. Not only does she have to contend with her role in the family after her divorce from Tavion, she also has to grapple with how her relationship could change if she decides to be with Asad.
Mine to Keep. Ashley Nicole. 2016. 201 pages. [Source: Amazon Kindle Unlimited.] Noelle has terrible luck with men. That’s why when she begins to fall for her next door neighbor Jaylen, she’s hesitant with good reason. Too bad her hesitance is well-founded: the man has a stalker. Jaylen didn’t think much of the creepy notes that were being left on his windshield. Signed SA, he simply thought it was a secret admirer who’d reveal themselves and keep it moving. That changed when the notes became more angry and “coincidences” in his life became more violent.
Heated Harmonies. Alexandra Warren. 2017. [Source: Kindle Unlimited.] A weekend of great reading continued with the release of Heated Harmonies. It’s centered on pop icon Zalaya as she tries to redefine not only her image but also her sound. She fixes her sights on unknown producer Gabriel, but instead of jumping at a chance at stardom, he wants nothing to do with Zalaya or the music industry. Zalaya is used to getting her way. Being harshly rejected by a “nobody” is a bitter pill to swallow, so she doesn’t. In fact, she’s a bit relentless — if not reckless — in getting Gabe on her musical team. However, in trying to find musical chemistry, they actually find a nice amount of personal chemistry as well. It really stands out that their “relationship” actually started from platonic (even if it doesn’t always stay that way).
Something Like Love. Christina C. Jones. 2017. Warm Hues Media. [Source: Kindle Unlimited.] “He’s just a guy; she’s just a girl. They’re just falling in love.” Spoken by the author herself in a pre-release video message, these words are a very apt description for the plot of Something Like Love. The story, which is the sixth book in the Serendipitous Love series, takes a refreshing look at love and sexuality through the courtship between Eddie and Astrid. Eddie holds a generally one-sided animosity toward Astrid, who for her part just seems to be amused. She’s not quite sure where the hostility came from, but quickly decides Eddie’s just mad because he wants her. The problem is that both of them have more or less sworn off relationships. Sure, they’re up for no-strings-attached arrangements, but finding someone who can be with them and accept them for who they are is just not in the picture. So the fact that they keep bumping into each other seems, at least to Astrid, kismet. I was happy to see them explore their obvious attraction, and appreciated the story that came from it.