Saint X by Alexis Schaitkin | Celadon Books {Gen The Bookworm Book Review}

Saint X book review

Saint X by Alexis Schaitkin

Book Summary:

Hailed as a “marvel of a book” and “brilliant and unflinching,” Alexis Schaitkin’s stunning debut, Saint X, is a haunting portrait of grief, obsession, and the bond between two sisters never truly given the chance to know one another.

Claire is only seven years old when her college-age sister, Alison, disappears on the last night of their family vacation at a resort on the Caribbean island of Saint X. Several days later, Alison’s body is found in a remote spot on a nearby cay, and two local menemployees at the resortare arrested. But the evidence is slim, the timeline against it, and the men are soon released. The story turns into national tabloid news, a lurid mystery that will go unsolved. For Claire and her parents, there is only the return home to broken lives.

Years later, Claire is living and working in New York City when a brief but fateful encounter brings her together with Clive Richardson, one of the men originally suspected of murdering her sister. It is a moment that sets Claire on an obsessive pursuit of the truthnot only to find out what happened the night of Alison’s death but also to answer the elusive question: Who exactly was her sister? At seven, Claire had been barely old enough to know her: a beautiful, changeable, provocative girl of eighteen at a turbulent moment of identity formation.

As Claire doggedly shadows Clive, hoping to gain his trust, waiting for the slip that will reveal the truth, an unlikely attachment develops between them, two people whose lives were forever marked by the same tragedy.

Publication Date:

February 18th, 2020

Genre:

Domestic Thriller/Fiction

My Rating:

⭐️⭐️⭐️

My Review:

Saint X book summary

I had a lot of anticipation about Saint X by Alexis Schaitkin and it was just one of the 2020 books I was the most excited about. Unfortunately, after a really great start, it ended up being a reading letdown for me.

I think my lack of connection with this book has to do a lot with what my expectations were when I read the book summary compared to my actual reading experience. I was just expecting something very different!

I love a slow burn with highly detailed characters but this one totally threw me off with the fast-paced beginning. I think if I knew it was going to be less plot-driven I would have had very different expectations for it.

I don’t need twists and turns but this was ending up being so wordy and after a dramatic beginning just lacked any oompf for me after the beginning set me up with so many questions I needed answers for.

Because the characters weren’t likable and even though it was rich with text, I never ended up feeling like I “knew them” which just made me feel uninvested in the storyline. I think this book did have some powerful messages regarding race, class, and privilege, but these fell flat for me with the particularly wordy writing style.

I think Saint X is going to be one of those books that there are strong feelings about. Even just reading the initial ARC reviews on Goodreads, there is a whole range of reactions, some that are very positive. I think, all in all, this just was a case of being the wrong timing and expectations for me as a reader.

Thank you to Celadon Books, NetGalley and LibroFM for advanced copies. All opinions are my own.


Disclosure: Some of the links on this blog are Amazon affiliate links. This means if you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission that helps support this blog (at no cost to you). Thank you!

You’re Not Listening by Kate Murphy | Celadon Books {Gen The Bookworm Book Review}

Celadon Books

You’re Not Listening by Kate Murphy

Book Summary:

At work, we’re taught to lead the conversation.
On social media, we shape our personal narratives.
At parties, we talk over one another. So do our politicians.
We’re not listening.
And no one is listening to us.

Despite living in a world where technology allows constant digital communication and opportunities to connect, it seems no one is really listening or even knows how. And it’s making us lonelier, more isolated, and less tolerant than ever before. A listener by trade, New York Times contributor Kate Murphy wanted to know how we got here.

In this always illuminating and often humorous deep dive, Murphy explains why we’re not listening, what it’s doing to us, and how we can reverse the trend. She makes accessible the psychology, neuroscience, and sociology of listening while also introducing us to some of the best listeners out there (including a CIA agent, focus group moderator, bartender, radio producer, and top furniture salesman). Equal parts cultural observation, scientific exploration, and rousing call to action that’s full of practical advice, You’re Not Listening is to listening what Susan Cain’s Quiet was to introversion. It’s time to stop talking and start listening.

Publication Date:

January 7th, 2020

Genre:

Communication

My Rating:

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫⁣

My Review:

Kate Murphy

You’re Not Listening

“When all we crave is to understand and be understood, You’re Not Listening shows us how.”⁣

In You’re Not Listening, author Kate Murphy explains what listening truly is and isn’t, and how important it is to our connection with ourselves and one another. Not only is this book super fascinating but it is always making me rethink so many things!

In our technology-filled world, there are so many new ways for us to interact, yet we are all longing for connection more than ever before. Many of us long for the days of simplicity and meaningful face to face conversations. When we do interact, it is often rushed and interrupted by the distractions of the fast-paced world around us.

I loved the balance of informative research and relatable text that made You’re Not Listening both engaging and thought-provoking. I also appreciated that Murphy emphasizes that listening skills are learned through implementation and practice and that it is something we can always learn, no matter how old we are.

“It takes awareness, focus, and experience to unearth and understand what is really being communicated. Good listeners are not born that way, they become that way.”

From The Publisher…Q&A with Author Kate Murphy:

communication

How did you get the idea to write this book?

As a journalist, I listen for a living, and, increasingly, I noticed that people I interviewed seemed surprised, almost taken aback, that I was actually paying attention to what they said. They began telling me profoundly personal things, wholly unrelated to the stories I was writing, as if they’d been long waiting for the opportunity. And these were very successful, well-connected people—not lacking for company, but apparently lacking for listeners. They would always thank me for listening, and also often apologize for unloading. It happened with such regularity, it made me think this was something worth investigating.

What does it mean to be a good listener?

What I found is that rather than being a checklist of dos and don’ts, listening is more a state of mind. It’s about getting yourself in a receptive mode and also developing an awareness of the kinds of things that hijack your attention, cloud your perception, and make you zone out during a conversation. And, just as importantly, listening has to do with how well you respond—the degree to which you are able to encourage and elicit the clear expression of someone else’s thoughts. It’s both an art and a skill.

How do we balance planning what to say next and listening to the person talking?

A better response will come to you when you have taken in all that the other person has to say. Then, pause if you need to after the other person concludes to think about what you want to say. And if you’re still at a loss, it’s okay to say, “I don’t know what to say.” You can also say, “I’d like to think about that,” which conveys that you’re honoring what the other person said by taking time to think about it, while, at the same time, honoring that part of you that is uncertain or anxious and needs time to process. Better that, than responding in a way that is insensitive or misses the point.

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


Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links. This means if you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission that helps support this blog at no cost to you. Thank you!

Permission to Feel by Marc Brackett | Celadon Books | Book Review

Unlocking the power of emotions

Permission to Feel by Marc Brackett, Ph.D.

Book Summary:

“Marc Brackett is a professor at Yale University’s Child Study Center and founding director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. In his 25 years as an emotion scientist, he has developed a remarkably effective plan to improve the lives of children and adults – a blueprint for understanding our emotions and using them wisely so that they help, rather than hinder, our success and well-being. The core of his approach is a legacy from his childhood, from an astute uncle who gave him permission to feel. He was the first adult who managed to see Marc, listen to him, and recognize the suffering, bullying, and abuse he’d endured. And that was the beginning of Marc’s awareness that what he was going through was temporary. He wasn’t alone, he wasn’t stuck on a timeline, and he wasn’t “wrong” to feel scared, isolated, and angry. Now, best of all, he could do something about it.

In the decades since, Marc has led large research teams and raised tens of millions of dollars to investigate the roots of emotional well-being. His prescription for healthy children (and their parents, teachers, and schools) is a system called RULER, a high-impact and fast-effect approach to understanding and mastering emotions that have already transformed the thousands of schools that have adopted it. RULER has been proven to reduce stress and burnout, improve school climate, and enhance academic achievement. This book is the culmination of Marc’s development of RULER and his way to share the strategies and skills with readers around the world. It is tested, and it works.

This book combines rigor, science, passion, and inspiration in equal parts. Too many children and adults are suffering; they are ashamed of their feelings and emotionally unskilled, but they don’t have to be. Marc Brackett’s life mission is to reverse this course, and this book can show you how.”

Publication Date:

September 3rd, 2019

Genre:

Self-Help/Parenting

My Rating:

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

My Review:

Permission to Feel is a wonderful guide to recognizing our own emotions and those of others. Author Marc Brackett has spent years researching this important topic after his experiences as a child showed him how life-changing it was to have someone see, listen and truly recognize the things you have gone through as an individual.

While Brackett has spent decades studying this important topic, he presents the information in this book in an attainable and accessible manner for his readers. The first part of this book dives into how understanding emotions and determining their sources can help us influence our behaviors moving forward. When we understand where and why we are feeling a certain way, we can regulate our own emotions instead of them regulating us. The more we know the more we can find practical strategies for dealing with what we feel and why we be might feeling that way.

Brackett shares that emotions are a powerful source of information. He shares that when we become “emotion scientists” we can learn how to use our emotions wisely, even when they are challenging emotions. Learning how to use them instead of ignoring them can help our figure out our steps forward.

Both physical and emotional symptoms can help us identify our feeling so we can respond appropriately. Feelings are strengths we all have when we learn how to label and understand them. When we can better understand both ourselves and each other, more people are able to be their best most authentic selves. “Emotional skills are the key to unlocking the potential inside each one of us.” Highly recommend!!

Thank you to Celadon Books for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

The Whisper Man by Alex North |Celadon Books| Book Review

The Whisper Man by Alex North book review

The Whisper Man by Alex North

Book Summary:

“In this dark, suspenseful thriller, Alex North weaves a multi-generational tale of a father and son caught in the crosshairs of an investigation to catch a serial killer preying on a small town.

After the sudden death of his wife, Tom Kennedy believes a fresh start will help him and his young son Jake heal. A new beginning, a new house, a new town. Featherbank.

But the town has a dark past. Twenty years ago, a serial killer abducted and murdered five residents. Until Frank Carter was finally caught, he was nicknamed “The Whisper Man,” for he would lure his victims out by whispering at their windows at night.

Just as Tom and Jake settle into their new home, a young boy vanishes. His disappearance bears an unnerving resemblance to Frank Carter’s crimes, reigniting old rumors that he preyed with an accomplice. Now, detectives Amanda Beck and Pete Willis must find the boy before it is too late, even if that means Pete has to revisit his great foe in prison: The Whisper Man.

And then Jake begins acting strangely. He hears a whispering at his window…”

Publication Date:

August 20th, 2019

Genre:

Thriller/Suspense/Mystery

My Rating:

⁣⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⁣

My Review:

The Whisper Man came highly recommended and it did not disappoint. In a very oversaturated thriller market, it can be hard to find a suspenseful book that feels unique and satisfying anymore. I was hesitant to read another so-so thriller but The Whisper Man was a pleasant reading surprise.

The characters are detailed and well written and the story is captivating and chilling. This book takes you on a suspenseful ride while also keeping you guessing until the very end. It’s a race against time to solve a decades-old mystery that just might be happening again and it is full of twists and turns with a satisfying ending. If you love suspense and thrillers, you should definitely add this one to your reading list!

Thank you to Celadon Books for an advanced copy of this book.