Book Reviews

April 2021 Book Review

It’s the first weekday in May and it’s Book Review Day!! I maybe took some liberties of pushing this to May 3rd solely because I had to cruise through my last book this weekend before I hit ‘publish.’ And so, so glad I did. The twist in the last book was exactly what I was hoping for! Three books, three reviews, and a whole lot of opinions.

First up…

Four Winds by Kristin Hannah

If this isn’t one of my top books of this year, if not THE BEST book of the year for me, I’ll be completely shocked. And it will mean that this year was a strong book year. After reading this one, I think I can officially call Kristin Hannah my absolute favorite author. Between Four Winds, The Great Alone, and The Nightingale, I’m shookith.

This historical fiction read centers around a Midwest migrant family during the Dust Bowl and Great Depression. Elsa, a hard-working mother of two, who spends day in and day out working on their family farm is suddenly forced to make life or death decisions just to keep her family alive. Brought up in a childhood of neglect and emotional abuse, Elsa finally has a place that she feels comfortable, loved, and worthy, and now the dust storms are taking that away from her, too. The farm can’t produce with the intense drought and relentless dust that is blanketing the land, their home, their belongings, and their lungs. Now she must decide if she leaves all that she knows and loves at the farm to keeping her children healthy in the unknown of California. It was constantly reemphasizing just how far you would go to keep your family safe.

Four Winds is a story about survival and the human spirit, especially through the eyes of a mother. Kristin Hannah did an incredible job telling this story, developing the characters, and bringing so much accurate history into this book. By the end, I was crying for the characters, I was crying because it was beautiful, and I was crying because it was just done so, so well. I loved this book and I really believe that you will, too.

The Push by Ashley Audrain

The Push was one of those books that I summarize to Jerod and he asks, “Why would you ever want to read that?” And to be honest, I wish I hadn’t. This book was intense, had me on my toes the entire time, and I really couldn’t put it down, but it was beyond disturbing. Like ‘I can’t get it out of my head, you start to question society,’ kind of books.

Blythe Connor has a warm, loving relationship with her husband, Fox. They adore one another, they tend to each other, and are genuinely charming together. When Blythe gets pregnant with a little girl, she wants so badly to be a warm and loving mother. In more than one scene, you find Blythe basically trying to ‘pump herself up’ to be the kind of mother she never had. And when I say she never had, I truly mean it. She comes from a line of horrendous women that not only failed to exude any motherly instincts, but they regularly abused and neglected their children.

Although Blythe is trying her hardest, she begins seeing signs that her little girl may not be like other little kids. She’s convinced that something is wrong with her. It’s not until something catastrophic happens in their home that Blythe not only thinks that something is very wrong with Violet, she knows. Now Blythe’s mission is to make sure her daughter can’t strike again.

Wow. This book is a lot to take in. It’s generations of mental health issues that have gone untouched by husbands, by children, by the world. It’s terrifying. It’s gruesome. It’s intense. I couldn’t put it down in hopes that it ended better than it was going. Well written and great character development, but this one was a little too much for me.

Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson

A total cat and mouse thriller that wasn’t the typical rollercoaster ride that so many suspense books take you on. Joshilyn Jackson did a great job of throwing in plenty of curves, but not so many that you felt like you had whiplash. Each turn was more for character development and understanding where each one was coming from. I liked this one! It was well done and I liked what Jackson did with this one.

Summary: Amy Whey is a very typical stay-at-home mom in a middle- to upper-class suburban neighborhood, swarming with mom friends. She’s married to Davis, a college professor, has a teenage stepdaughter, Maddy, and a newborn son, Oliver. And right down the street is her best friend, Charlotte, that she does everything with. Life seems perfect. Then at a monthly book club, a new girl, Roux, who is renting the house down the street shows up and not only crashes book club, but slowly has each woman sharing damaging secrets with one another about their own lives. Suddenly, Amy’s buried secret from 25 years prior gets unearthed and she has to fight to keep it a secret from those she loves. How does Roux know her secret? And how far can Amy go to keep it one?

No twist was earth-shattering in this book and I didn’t have the adrenaline pumping while reading it, but it was a good read with great characters and an interesting plot. A solid thriller from Jackson that I really liked reading. Could be a perfect book to take poolside or on a flight!

Okay May, what do you have in store for me? I’m ready for some sunshine, lounge chairs, my Kindle, and a long list of good reads to start this summer off right! What are some great summer reads you think I should dive into?

xx Rachel

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