Hum If You Don’t Know the Words by Bianca Marais

28264701Title: Hum If You Don’t Know the Words

Author: Bianca Marais

Pub Date:  July 11th, 2017

My Rating: ★★★☆☆

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

Perfect for readers of The Secret Life of Bees and The Help, a perceptive and searing look at Apartheid-era South Africa, told through one unique family brought together by tragedy.

Life under Apartheid has created a secure future for Robin Conrad, a nine-year-old white girl living with her parents in 1970s Johannesburg. In the same nation but worlds apart, Beauty Mbali, a Xhosa woman in a rural village in the Bantu homeland of the Transkei, struggles to raise her children alone after her husband’s death. Both lives have been built upon the division of race, and their meeting should never have occurred . . . until the Soweto Uprising, in which a protest by black students ignites racial conflict, alters the fault lines on which their society is built, and shatters their worlds when Robin’s parents are left dead and Beauty’s daughter goes missing. 

After Robin is sent to live with her loving but irresponsible aunt, Beauty is hired to care for Robin while continuing the search for her daughter. In Beauty, Robin finds the security and family that she craves, and the two forge an inextricable bond through their deep personal losses. But Robin knows that if Beauty finds her daughter, Robin could lose her new caretaker forever, so she makes a desperate decision with devastating consequences. Her quest to make amends and find redemption is a journey of self-discovery in which she learns the harsh truths of the society that once promised her protection. 

Told through Beauty and Robin’s alternating perspectives, the interwoven narratives create a rich and complex tapestry of the emotions and tensions at the heart of Apartheid-era South Africa. Hum if You Don’t Know the Words is a beautifully rendered look at loss, racism, and the creation of family.

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Hello, Sunshine by Laura Dave

27274420Title: Hello, Sunshine

Author: Laura Dave

Pub Date: July 11th, 2017

My Rating: ★★★☆☆

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

From Laura Dave—the author of the “addictive” (Us Weekly), “winning” (Publishers Weekly) and critically acclaimed bestseller Eight Hundred Grapes—comes a new novel about the secrets we keep…even from ourselves.

Sunshine Mackenzie has it all…until her secrets come to light.

Sunshine Mackenzie is living the dream—she’s a culinary star with millions of fans, a line of #1 bestselling cookbooks, and a devoted husband happy to support her every endeavor.

And then she gets hacked.

When Sunshine’s secrets are revealed, her fall from grace is catastrophic. She loses the husband, her show, the fans, and her apartment. She’s forced to return to the childhood home—and the estranged sister—she’s tried hard to forget. But what Sunshine does amid the ashes of her own destruction may well save her life.

In a world where celebrity is a careful construct, Hello, Sunshine is a compelling, funny, and evocative novel about what it means to live an authentic life in an inauthentic age.

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The Potion Diaries by Amy Alward

23344222Title: The Potion Diaries (American title – Madly)

Series: Potion

Author: Amy Alward

Pub Date: July 2nd, 2015

My Rating: ★★★☆☆

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

When the Princess of Nova accidentally poisons herself with a love potion meant for her crush, she falls crown-over-heels in love with her own reflection. Oops. A nationwide hunt is called to find the cure, with competitors travelling the world for the rarest ingredients, deep in magical forests and frozen tundras, facing death at every turn.

Enter Samantha Kemi – an ordinary girl with an extraordinary talent. Sam’s family were once the most respected alchemists in the kingdom, but they’ve fallen on hard times, and winning the hunt would save their reputation. But can Sam really compete with the dazzling powers of the ZoroAster megapharma company? Just how close is Sam willing to get to Zain Aster, her dashing former classmate and enemy, in the meantime?

And just to add to the pressure, this quest is ALL OVER social media. And the world news.

No big deal, then.

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A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle

51v-zdqvwll-_sl300_Title: A Study in Scarlet

Series: Sherlock Holmes #1

Author: Arthur Conan Doyle

Pub Date: 1887; audiobook I’m listening to is from 2017

My Rating: ★★★☆☆

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

‘There’s a scarlet thread of murder running through the colourless skein of life, and our duty is to unravel it, and isolate it, and expose every inch of it.’

From the moment Dr John Watson takes lodgings in Baker Street with the consulting detective Sherlock Holmes, he becomes intimately acquainted with the bloody violence and frightening ingenuity of the criminal mind.

In A Study in Scarlet , Holmes and Watson’s first mystery, the pair are summoned to a south London house where they find a dead man whose contorted face is a twisted mask of horror. The body is unmarked by violence but on the wall a mysterious word has been written in blood.

The police are baffled by the crime and its circumstances. But when Sherlock Holmes applies his brilliantly logical mind to the problem he uncovers a tragic tale of love and deadly revenge . . .

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Faery Tale: One Woman’s Search for Enchantment in a Modern World by Signe Pike

9588705Title: Faery Tale: One Woman’s Search for Enchantment in a Modern World

Author: Signe Pike

Pub Date: 2010

My Rating: ★★★☆☆

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

A skeptic’s search for magic, one faery at a time.

In search of something to believe in again, Signe Pike left behind a career in Manhattan to undertake a magical journey-literally. In a sweeping tour through England, Ireland, Scotland, and beyond, she takes readers to dark glens and abandoned forests, ancient sacred sites, and local pubs, seeking those who might still believe in the mysterious beings we’ve relegated to the dusty corners of our childhood imaginations: faeries. But as Signe attempts to connect with the spirit world, she’ll come to view herself and the world around her in a profoundly new way.

Engaging and full of heart, “Faery Tale” is more than a memoir-it’s the story of rekindling that spark of belief that makes even the most skeptical among us feel like a kid again.

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