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.

 

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. 

The Turn of The Key by Ruth Ware | Gallery Books| Book Review

book of the month selection

The Turn of The Key by Ruth Ware

(August 2019 Book of The Month Selection)

Book Summary:

“When she stumbles across the ad, she’s looking for something else completely. But it seems like too good an opportunity to miss—a live-in nannying post, with a staggeringly generous salary. And when Rowan Caine arrives at Heatherbrae House, she is smitten—by the luxurious “smart” home fitted out with all modern conveniences, by the beautiful Scottish Highlands, and by this picture-perfect family.

What she doesn’t know is that she’s stepping into a nightmare—one that will end with a child dead and herself in prison awaiting trial for murder.

Writing to her lawyer from prison, she struggles to explain the unraveling events that led to her incarceration. It wasn’t just the constant surveillance from the cameras installed around the house, or the malfunctioning technology that woke the household with booming music, or turned the lights off at the worst possible time. It wasn’t just the girls, who turned out to be a far cry from the immaculately behaved model children she met at her interview. It wasn’t even the way she was left alone for weeks at a time, with no adults around apart from the enigmatic handyman, Jack Grant.

It was everything.

She knows she’s made mistakes. She admits that she lied to obtain the post and that her behavior toward the children wasn’t always ideal. She’s not innocent, by any means. But, she maintains, she’s not guilty—at least not of murder. Which means someone else is.”

Publication Date:

August 6th, 2019

Genre:

Psychological Thriller

My Rating:

⭐️⭐️⭐️

My Review:

The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware was one of my highly anticipated summer reads. I have really enjoyed her writing in the past and the Woman in Cabin 10 left me on the edge of my seat with anticipation. The summary of the book sounded right up my alley and I was intrigued by the idea of it being written in letter format.

I found that the story was a slow build and didn’t totally engage me right away but I stuck with it. I think Ware is a fantastic author who really knows how to keep you guessing and The Turn of The Key had all the elements of a Gothic tale…a faraway vacation home, a nanny, a garden and house filled with secrets, mysterious characters, and haunting happenings.

Unfortunately, I struggled to connect and kept waiting for the mysteries to unravel. When they finally did, they felt like they were really crammed into the last few chapters of the book and many of them just seemed unbelievable. I am not sure if it is just me and maybe I am just thrilled out”, but this one just didn’t deliver as I had hoped. All in all, this one was just okay for me.

Thank you to NetGalley and Gallery Books for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.