This month I have been doing a lot of crafting, specifically I’ve been revisiting cross stitch, something that I did a lot of as a kid and young adult, but haven’t picked up in quite a few years. I completed this picture of a succulent, as well as some other pieces that I’m gifting to people who may be reading this blog post, so I can’t show them here 😉
What does this have to do with reading? Well, as you know, there are only so many hours in the day. So all that time I spent stitching meant less time reading. I’ve thought about listening to audiobooks while I work, but I’m usually in the same room as my kids, or watching TV with my husband, so that hasn’t worked out. So as far as quantity goes, March was a slow reading month. However, the books I did read were really good! To see everything I read this month, visit my Goodreads page; below are some of my favorites.
I’ve discussed this series on the blog before, and although I’ve enjoyed all four of the books, this one was definitely my favorite. In each book, Khan chooses a different global issue as the background for the mystery being investigated. I can’t imagine the amount of research she has to do in order to pull this off as well as she does. In A Dangerous Crossing, she takes us to the Syrian refugee crisis and shows us the perspectives of those fleeing persecution and war, as well as those trying to help resettle the refugee population. Even though she chooses somber topics to explore, she approaches them in a way that makes the books enjoyable to read. I love seeing her characters and their relationships develop throughout the series.
For Inspector Esa Khattak and Sergeant Rachel Getty, the Syrian refugee crisis is about to become personal. Esa’s childhood friend, Nathan Clare, calls him in distress: his sister, Audrey, has vanished from a Greek island where the siblings run an NGO. Audrey had been working to fast-track refugees to Canada, but now, she is implicated in the double-murder of a French Interpol agent and a young man who had fled the devastation in Syria.
Esa and Rachel arrive in Greece to a shocking scene, witnessing for themselves the massive fallout of the Syrian war in the wretched refugee camps. Tracing Audrey’s last movements, they meet some of the volunteers and refugees―one of whom, Ali, is involved in a search of his own, for a girl whose disappearance may be connected to their investigation. The arrival of Sehr Ghilzai―a former prosecutor who now handles refugee claims for Audrey’s NGO―further complicates the matter for Esa, as his feelings towards her remain unresolved.
Working against time, with Interpol at their heels, Esa and Rachel follow a trail that takes them from the beaches of Greece, to the Turkish–Syrian border, and across Europe, reaching even the corridors of power in the Netherlands. Had Audrey been on the edge of a dangerous discovery, hidden at the heart of this darkest of crises―one which ultimately put a target on her own back?
Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
I kept hearing good things about this book on every book podcast I listen to, so I finally caved and bought the kindle version. This is a phenomenal fantasy story; the first in a trilogy. The author incorporates issues of race, class, and politics that we see happening globally today, but she does it in a way that you aren’t really aware of it until you stop reading and start thinking about what you’ve read. Based on West African folktales, this is not Harry potter type magic, but it is as much a pge turner as any book in that series. It will be hard to wait for the next one!
They killed my mother.
They took our magic.
They tried to bury us.
Now we rise.
Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.
But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.
Now Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.
Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers and her growing feelings for an enemy.
I mentioned this book in last week’s post about Spring releases, but I had to update you now that I’ve read it. Some parts of this book were difficult to read, as both of the main characters are horribly abused throughout their lives. However, this is ultimately a story of hope and friendship, and what it means to never give up on someone. This is a must read for anyone who believes “we are only as free as the least free among us.”
Poornima and Savitha have three strikes against them: they are poor, they are ambitious, and they are girls. After her mother’s death, Poornima has very little kindness in her life. She is left to care for her siblings until her father can find her a suitable match. So when Savitha enters their household, Poornima is intrigued by the joyful, independent-minded girl. Suddenly their Indian village doesn’t feel quite so claustrophobic, and Poornima begins to imagine a life beyond arranged marriage. But when a devastating act of cruelty drives Savitha away, Poornima leaves behind everything she has ever known to find her friend.
Her journey takes her into the darkest corners of India’s underworld, on a harrowing cross-continental journey, and eventually to an apartment complex in Seattle. Alternating between the girls’ perspectives as they face ruthless obstacles, Girls Burn Brighter introduces two heroines who never lose the hope that burns within.
An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
I’ve had this on my TBR since before Oprah said we should read it, and I finally got the chance this weekend. I have been reading a lot of books lately that deal with the injustice of our justice system, particularly toward African Americans. This book adds another layer to the topic, by showing us both the perspective of a person wrongly accused of a crime and that of his loved ones, left to carry on without him while he’s in the prison system. I can’t say I agreed with everything the main characters did, or even liked them all, but this was a very well written book that sheds light on a way of life I’ve never had to consider – that of being persecuted because of the color of your skin.
Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. Roy is arrested and sentenced to twelve years for a crime Celestial knows he didn’t commit. Though fiercely independent, Celestial finds herself bereft and unmoored, taking comfort in Andre, her childhood friend, and best man at their wedding. As Roy’s time in prison passes, she is unable to hold on to the love that has been her center. After five years, Roy’s conviction is suddenly overturned, and he returns to Atlanta ready to resume their life together.
This stirring love story is a profoundly insightful look into the hearts and minds of three people who are at once bound and separated by forces beyond their control. An American Marriage is a masterpiece of storytelling, an intimate look deep into the souls of people who must reckon with the past while moving forward–with hope and pain–into the future.
What great books have you been reading lately? Share in the comments – I’d love to know!