Dominicana by Angie Cruz | Flatiron Books | Book Review

book review of Dominicana by Angie Cruz

Dominicana by Angie Cruz

Book Summary:

“Fifteen-year-old Ana Cancion never dreamed of moving to America, the way the girls she grew up within the Dominican countryside did. But when Juan Ruiz proposes and promises to take her to New York City, she has to say yes. It doesn’t matter that he is twice her age, that there is no love between them. Their marriage is an opportunity for her entire close-knit family to eventually immigrate. So on New Year’s Day, 1965, Ana leaves behind everything she knows and becomes Ana Ruiz, a wife confined to a cold six-floor walk-up in Washington Heights. Lonely and miserable, Ana hatches a reckless plan to escape. But at the bus terminal, she is stopped by Cesar, Juan’s free-spirited younger brother, who convinces her to stay.

As the Dominican Republic slides into political turmoil, Juan returns to protect his family’s assets, leaving Cesar to take care of Ana. Suddenly, Ana is free to take English lessons at a local church, lie on the beach at Coney Island, see a movie at Radio City Music Hall, go dancing with Cesar, and imagine the possibility of a different kind of life in America. When Juan returns, Ana must decide once again between her heart and her duty to her family.

In bright, musical prose that reflects the energy of New York City, Angie Cruz’s Dominicana is a vital portrait of the immigrant experience and the timeless coming-of-age story of a young woman finding her voice in the world.”

Publication Date:

September 3rd, 2019

book review of Dominicana by Angie Cruz

(I bought my own hard copy from Book of The Month and as it was available early through their August 2019 book selections. You can get your first Book of the Month book for FREE by using my referral link HERE.)

Genre:

Literary Fiction, Historical Fiction, Immigrant Fiction & Coming of Age Fiction

My Rating:

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

My Review:

Dominicana is a coming of age story that is set in NYC in the turbulent and bustling 1960s. Angie Cruz shares a remarkable story about a young girl named Ana. At 15, Ana was forced to marry a man twice her age and move from the Dominican Republic to America…with her family’s hope, she could achieve the “American Dream”.

Upon her arrival, Ana ends up finding herself isolated from her family and at the mercy of a husband who neither seems to care for her or her needs. While this was a heartbreaking story in many ways, it was also a tale of strength, persistence, and resilience.

I loved that Cruz chose to share this story from the point of view of Ana. While it was very clear she was a teenager in many ways, she has this introspection that made her wise beyond her years. I loved watching her learn how to exert her own independence in difficult situations when the hits just kept on coming. The connection between Ana and her doll Dominicana was just so beautiful and heartbreaking and added so much to the story for me.

This book follows her as blooms both literally and figuratively into the self-assured women she was meant to become. She is able to find joy in the darkest times and I loved the feeling of lightness she was able to find when she spent time with her brother in law. Ana was able to just be without the constraints of other’s expectations or the brutal reality of her marriage to Juan.

This was one of those books that I enjoyed reading but found it even more thought-provoking and powerful once I finished and reflected upon it. I think it would make a wonderful book club selection and I look forward to following more of Angie Cruz’ writing in the future.

Thank you to NetGalley and Flatiron Books for an advanced ebook copy of this book.

 

August 6th, 2019 New Book Releases | Happy Publication Day!

August 6th, 2019 new book releases

New Book Releases!

The new books keep on coming and I don’t know about you, but my summer reading stack is getting pretty big! I have way more books than I will ever be able to read during the next few weeks but that is just how I like it…My reading tastes very much depend on my mood so I always love having a lot of choices.

Maybe it is because I am keeping better track of it, but 2019 has had so many amazing book publication already so there have been a lot of wonderful options. I recently recapped some of my favorite books of 2019 (so far!) and you can check that out HERE if you missed it.

Kristan Higgins and Berkley Publishing

Pleasure Reading…

This time of the year I am drawn to books that are engrossing and easy to get drawn into. I have been reading a lot of books that are a bit lighter but have enough depth to not be total fluff. When I think of authors that totally succeed at this kind of writing, Kristan Higgins comes to mind!

I love her books and her writing is engaging and thought-provoking while also being fun and enjoyable to read. These kinds of books work well for “escape reading” which is something I tend to look for during this more hectic time of the year. I read her newest release a few months ago and I am excited to share that it is available today!

August 6th, 2019 New Book Releases:

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Life and Other Inconveniences by Kristan Higgins

Life and Other Inconveniences involves four generations of a family, the ties that bind and the complexities of past choices and how they affect relationships today. Higgin’s offers multidimensional characters, diverse relationships and the ability to weave real-life issues into her plotlines.

While this is a fun and engaging read, Higgins is also able to provide a level of depth that makes her writing thought-provoking and satisfying. Higgin’s ability to share these stories from multiple different perspectives allows you as the reader to see where these characters are coming from, even if you don’t always agree with their choices.

In order to move forward, we must often look back at the choices and decisions we have made and Higgins excels at presenting this story in such a powerful and multilayered way. The ending of this book is bittersweet and real, which I find much more satisfying than a “happily ever after” scenario.

You can read my full review HERE

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Keeping Lucy by T. Greenwood

Keeping Lucy was my first book my T. Greenwood and I was immediately drawn into this story and the characters. Greenwood’s storytelling was wonderful and her attention to detail made me easily picture the scenes and the amazingly well-developed characters that were based in the 1960s and early 1970s. I have been wanting to read a book that just captivated me and this one did from the start.

I felt emotionally connected to the characters and was rooting for them all in different ways. Within the very powerful main storyline (that was based on real events) were smaller ones that also were very timely and powerful in their own right. Although it doesn’t seem that long ago, the last 1960s were shockingly different in many ways and I was impressed at how Greenwood could bring me there with such vividness in her writing.

This book was filled with themes of fear, persistence, friendship, hope and the most wonderful thing of all, the power that we can all learn and change. The ending of the book all came together for me in a very satisfying way and I was sad it was over which is a sign of a book you really loved.

You can read my full review of Keeping Lucy HERE.

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The Lemonade Life by Zack Friedman

The Lemonade Life was the perfect dose of inspiration while also being very relatable. Friedman shares advice and examples of how to live life on your own terms by being more aware of the control we have over our thoughts and emotions. This is what he calls “The Lemonade Life”.

Taking control helps give you the ability to have more positive changes in your own life. You will feel like you are in the driver’s seat instead of everyone and everything around you. While we can’t always control what happens to us, we can control how we respond and move forward.

I got so much out of this book and I know it is one I will refer back to again and again. While not every section was totally applicable to my own life, there was something I was able to get out of each of them. I loved the idea that The Lemonade Life isn’t a destination but a way of life. When we know ourselves, use the tools we have and work towards our own personal goals, we have the ability to live full and happy lives right where we are and as we grow.

You can read my full review of The Lemonade Life HERE

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Because You’re Mine by Rea Frey

Because You’re Mine has all the elements of a great domestic thriller, highly detailed characters, mystery, and suspense. I think what I have been missing lately with thrillers is the ability to really get to know the characters and what happened in their pasts to play into their current situations and Frey did an amazing job with this aspect. I also loved getting to know Lee’s son Mason. His character was great and I loved what a big role he had in this book.

This book had a perfect balance of thinking I had it all figured it out and also keeping me on the edge of my seat. Her writing is edgy and this book is full of secrets. I thought I knew what was happening and I was in for a big surprise at the end.

You can read my full review of Becuase You’re Mine HERE


 

Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center | St. Martin’s Press | Book Review

Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center

Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center

Book Summary:

“Cassie Hanwell was born for emergencies. As one of the only female firefighters in her Texas firehouse, she’s seen her fair share of them, and she’s a total pro at other people’s tragedies. But when her estranged and ailing mother asks her to give up her whole life and move to Boston, Cassie suddenly has an emergency of her own.

The tough, old-school Boston firehouse is as different from Cassie’s old job as it could possibly be. Hazing, a lack of funding, and poor facilities mean that the firemen aren’t exactly thrilled to have a “lady” on the crew―even one as competent and smart as Cassie. Except for the infatuation-inspiring rookie, who doesn’t seem to mind having Cassie around. But she can’t think about that. Because love is girly, and it’s not her thing. And don’t forget the advice her old captain gave her: Never date firefighters. Cassie can feel her resolve slipping…and it means risking it all―the only job she’s ever loved, and the hero she’s worked like hell to become.

Katherine Center’s Things You Save in a Fire is a heartfelt and healing tour-de-force about the strength of vulnerability, the nourishing magic of forgiveness, and the life-changing power of defining courage, at last, for yourself.”

Publication Date:

August 13th, 2019

Genre:

Fiction

My Rating:

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⁣

My Review:

Things You Save in A Fire was my second Katherine Center book and I had high expectations. I really enjoyed How to Walk Away but I loved this one even more! I am not usually that into the romance genre but her books are different…there is that element but there is so much more.

Her characters are multifaceted and imperfect and she covers some pretty deep issues while still being completely enjoyable reads. This story was unique and the subtle elements of sexism, past trauma and what forgiveness really means all played a part in making this story so thought-provoking. There were many “quotable” lines that really stuck with me.

“Telling the story changed the story for me. Not what had happened-that, I could never change-but how I responded to it…Even though nothing about the story had changed, I had changed.”

Things You Save in a Fire had heartbreaking moments and heartwarming moments and I loved the idea that becoming who we are is a journey and not a destination. We can choose how to react to life’s ups and downs and opening up to one another can help us do that.

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for gifting me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.