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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The Witches of New York by Ami McKay

30233919Title: The Witches of New York

Author: Ami McKay

Pub Date: October 27th, 2016

My Rating: ★★☆☆☆

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It was a very mediocre read for me. I didn’t love it nor did I hate it. It was jus all right, and I’ll probably forget about this book soon. It had it enjoyable moments, and at the beginning of the story I was hooked, the writing and the scenery were marvelous and I just wanted to read and read about those three witches of New York – Eleanor St. Clair, Adelaide Thom, and Beatrice Dunn. Eleanor and Adelaide run a tea shop in NYC, and Adelaide secretly posted a job announcement in  a paper to look for help for an overworked Eleanor. This is when Beatrice joins their tea shop, a girl that appeared too late and after all the other girls that wanted the job were dismissed by Eleanor. But she’s different, she was let into the closed shop by a ghost of Adelaide’s mother, an event that truly scared Beatrice who is yet to discover that she can see communicate with ghosts.

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The Girls by Emma Cline book cover

The Girls by Emma Cline

9780812998603Title: The Girls

Author: Emma Cline

Pub Date: June 14th, 2016

Honors:  

Rating: ★★★★★

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“That was part of being a girl–you were resigned to whatever feedback you’d get. If you got mad, you were crazy, and if you didn’t react, you were a bitch. The only thing you could do was smile from the corner they’d backed you into. Implicate yourself in the joke even if the joke was always on you.”
I rarely read book blurbs; I choose my reads mostly on intuition and cover (don’t judge a book by its cover? Please, my judging rarely disappointing me. And I think that if the cover is appealing to me, then it means that I’m the target audience for that book). So I had no idea what to expect when I started the book. I highly recommend reading books like this, when you find such an amazing book like this, not knowing anything about it is just the best! You can experience the book without any expectations, just knowing that you like the cover.