Review: A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza

A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza (June 12, 2018 / SJP for Hogarth)



(Disclaimer: I received a complementary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I received no additional compensation).

Goodreads Summary:
A Place for Us unfolds the lives of an Indian-American Muslim family, gathered together in their Californian hometown to celebrate the eldest daughter, Hadia’s, wedding–a match of love rather than tradition. It is here, on this momentous day, that Amar, the youngest of the siblings, reunites with his family for the first time in three years. Rafiq and Layla must now contend with the choices and betrayals that lead to their son’s estrangement–the reckoning of parents who strove to pass on their cultures and traditions to their children, and of children who in turn struggle to balance authenticity in themselves with loyalty to the home they came from.
In a narrative that spans decades and sees family life through the eyes of each member, A Place For Us charts the crucial moments in the family's past, from the bonds that bring them together to the differences that pull them apart. And as siblings Hadia, Huda, and Amar attempt to carve out a life for themselves, they must reconcile their present culture with their parent's faith, to tread a path between the old world and the new, and learn how the smallest decisions can lead to the deepest of betrayals.
A deeply affecting and resonant story, A Place for Us is truly a book for our times: a moving portrait of what it means to be an American family today, a novel of love, identity and belonging that eloquently examines what it means to be both American and Muslim-and announces Fatima Farheen Mirza as a major new literary talent.

My Review:
A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza released today, published by SJP for Hogarth (yes THAT SJP). You have probalby seen this book everywhere and heard how wonderful it is, and now I'm here to add my voice to the chorus. Opening with the wedding of the eldest daughter, this moving story bounces back and forth to span the years of an Indian-American Muslim family. While there is definitely a major storyline with the son, Amar, this novel beautifully portrays the layers and layers that make up a family. Told from each family member's unique point of view, debut novelist Fatima Farheen Mirza shows us how the "big" things in life (faith, love, identity, family) are made up of a million tiny decisions, regrets, intentions, and gestures. I was absolutely blown away by this book and will be recommending it to anyone who will listen.

Review: Vox by Christina Dalcher

Vox by Christina Dalcher (August 21, 2018 / Berkley)




Summary:
Set in an America where half the population has been silenced, VOX is the harrowing, unforgettable story of what one woman will do to protect herself and her daughter.
On the day the government decrees that women are no longer allowed more than 100 words daily, Dr. Jean McClellan is in denial--this can't happen here. Not in America. Not to her.

This is just the beginning.
Soon women can no longer hold jobs. Girls are no longer taught to read or write. Females no longer have a voice. Before, the average person spoke sixteen thousand words a day, but now women only have one hundred to make themselves heard.

But this is not the end.

For herself, her daughter, and every woman silenced, Jean will reclaim her voice.

My Review:
First of all, let me share the backstory on how I got my hands on a copy of this. When I first came across this novel on one of my upcoming releases searches, I knew I wanted to read it immediately. So much so that I reached out the publisher...twice! I don't ever do that. If I don't hear back from a publisher, I move on and add the release to my "want to read" list in Goodreads so I can buy it or grab it from the library when it releases. I didn't hear back from the publisher regarding either request...which was fine, but disappointing. I really wanted to read this book! When my book buddy Laura (@wonderchick40) posted about giving her copy away on Instagram I was lucky enough to have her send me her copy. 

I love feminist dystopian fiction. The Handmaid's Tale has been in my top 5 favorite books since I read it about 15 years ago and Daughters of the North, The Gate to Women's Country, and Herland all rank right up there, too. I was extremely disappointed in Red Clocks because it was too current (although it could be argued that we are currently living in a feminist dystopia). I absolutely devoured Vox--I mean read the summary! In the near future, women wear "bracelets" that count their spoken words. If the allocated 100 words is passed, the wearer is shocked and each shock is progressively more intense. I don't want to go into too much detail about the story because I don't want to give anything away, but you can imagine that there would be resistance...in many forms. This is a five star read for anyone who loved The Handmaid's Tale and especially those who were let down by Red Clocks

Review: The King of Bones and Ashes by J.D. Horn

The King of Bones and Ashes by J.D. Horn (January 23, 2018 / 47North )



Summary:
From the bestselling author of the Witching Savannah series comes the first book in a fascinating trilogy following the quest of a young witch to uncover her family’s terrifying secret history…
Magic is seeping out of the world, leaving the witches who’ve relied on it for countless centuries increasingly hopeless. While some see an inevitable end of their era, others are courting madness—willing to sacrifice former allies, friends, and family to retain the power they covet. While the other witches watch their reality unravel, young Alice Marin is using magic’s waning days to delve into the mystery of numerous disappearances in the occult circles of New Orleans. Alice disappeared once, too—caged in an asylum by blood relatives. Recently freed, she fears her family may be more involved with the growing crisis than she ever dared imagine.
Yet the more she seeks the truth about her family’s troubled history, the more she realizes her already-fragile psyche may be at risk. Discovering the cause of the vanishings, though, could be the only way to escape her mother’s reach while determining the future of all witches.


My Review:
I originally planned to request this at the end of last year and then second guessed myself. Then I saw that the second book was releasing so I grabbed this one up from the library in anticipation for that one. In a nutshell, I loved the first 75% of the book. Witches, New Orleans, family (and coven) drama. Then I started getting confused with relations, blood lines, and what was really going on. Thankfully there is a list of characters in the back of the book--that helped me. I'll definitely read the next book in the series, mostly to see if it will answer some of my questions.