Book Review: An American Marriage

Book-cation Location: Atlanta, Georgia

screenshot_20180622-195732_instagram.jpgBook: An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
Genre:  Fiction, Contemporary, Literary Fiction
Print Date: February 2018
Goodreads Score: 4 stars

Short Review: A captivating and sad story of the American justice system!

Book Summary

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.

Long Review: This was a book club pick that everyone was excited to read after being an Oprah Winfrey pick. This isn’t a genre that I normally browse for so I am always excited when the book club picks something like this for me to read. I’m not exactly sure what I was expecting, but it ended up being nothing that I anticipated at all.

Celeste and Roy were both wonderful characters. You found yourself connecting to both and wanting the best for their relationship from the start. I personally liked Roy more than Celeste from the beginning, and this just continued to increase as the story went on. One character that I absolutely did not like was Andre. I will let you be the judge, but I feel he was the most deceitful in all of this because he missed his shot and then pounced when Celeste was at her weakest. What was great about this book was the way that the author choice to really introduce you to the characters. Just when you think you knew all their secrets and internal thoughts, more was revealed.  She also did a wonderful job of writing it to wear while I really liked Roy, I found myself questioning if I should be blaming Celeste as much as I was. It was very intriguing to see how each character dealt with the adversity they were facing.

I especially liked the way the author chose to write the story from multiple people’s perspective. You were able to get a better grasp on each character by getting straight into their minds. I also loved the addition of the letters to each other where you could see the marriage falling apart on paper. While this was far from a happy read, it was so well written and you couldn’t help but keep reading in hopes that things would end the way you hope.

This book made for some amazing discussions during my book club meeting after we had all finished. It was interesting to see where everyone felt strongly about the same plot points, and while others we all interpreted slightly differently. Overall this is a well written and thought provoking story.

BOOK-CATION IDEAS!

As I mentioned above the Book-cation location for An American Marriage is Atlanta! While the majority of this book was a sad read, I decided to pick some fun spots for the book-cation!

  • High Museum of Art. This is a must on your stop to go along with this book. Celeste was an artist so this had to be the first stop on my list! https://www.high.org/
  • Atlanta History Center.  For all you history buffs out there add this stop to your itinerary. It is situated on 33 acres with several historic buildings. They also offer tours from here of historic homes in the area and goes through the Buckhead neighborhood. This is wear I imagine that Roy would have worked until retirement had things not gone so wrong.
“Much of life is timing and circumstance, I see that now.” 
~ Tayari Jones, An American Marriage
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Book Spotlight: Eight Days on Planet Earth

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Book: Eight Days on Planet Earth by Cat Jordan
Genre: Young Adult, Fiction, Contemporary
Print Date: November 2017
Giveaway: $10 Amazon Gift Card
Enter the giveaway at the bottom of the post!

Pre-Order Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million | Indie Bound | Harper Collins

Book Summary

A heart-wrenching romance full of twists that are sure to bring tears to readers’ eyes, from Cat Jordan, author of The Leaving Season.

How long does it take to travel twenty light years to Earth?

How long does it take to fall in love?

To the universe, eight days is a mere blip, but to Matty Jones, it may be just enough time to change his life.

On the hot summer day Matty’s dad leaves for good, a strange girl suddenly appears in the empty field next to the Jones farm—the very field in rural Pennsylvania where a spaceship supposedly landed fifty years ago. She is uniquely beautiful, sweet, and smart, and she tells Matty she’s waiting for herspaceship to pick her up and return her to her home planet. Of course she is.

Matty has heard a million impossible UFO stories for each of his seventeen years: the conspiracy theories, the wild rumors, the crazy belief in life beyond the stars. When he was a kid, he and his dad searched the skies and studied the constellations. But all of that is behind him. Dad’s gone—but now there’s Priya. She must be crazy…right?

As Matty unravels the mystery of the girl in the field, he realizes there is far more to her than he first imagined. And if he can learn to believe in what he can’t see: the universe, aliens…love…then maybe the impossible is possible, after all.

This book sounds so good!  I’m usually not a huge fan of alien type stories, they usually scare me because I am a big chicken, but this one sounds like one that I would really enjoy! Take a moment to read the guest post from the Author below!

If I were Priya…8 Days of Data Collecting

When Matty meets Priya in the field, she tells him she’s a visitor from another planet, here to collect data. Her notebook, he discovers, is filled with her data, from what a dog is to what a railroad crossing looks like.

If I were visiting this planet, I wonder what I might want to collect data on:

1. Food
Naturally! In Eight Days on Planet Earth, Priya samples mostly pizza because that’s what Matty loves to eat. Plus he’s not really a gourmet! But for me, I think I would want to try lots of kinds of foods, both items that are grown and which represent the earth (vegetables, fruits, legumes) and meals that are created by people because they represent the creativity of the human race. Everything from homemade cheesy casseroles to Michelin-starred entrees and gooey, sugary desserts.

2. Entertainment
We know that Priya has watched television since she knows about the different incarnations of Star Trek. If I were new to this planet, I would spend at least a full day watching television and going to the movies. It’s impossible to sample all of the kinds of movies and TV series out there so maybe I would just get myself a Netflix subscription so I could check out what was trending in all the different genres of movies and television.

3. Music
In the movie, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, the scientists use music to communicate with the aliens. The organization SETI (Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence) describes Europeans in the 17th Century as conceiving of interpreting language with musical notes in order to contact life beyond our planet. So it’s possible that aliens could know about our music, although it’s probably classical compositions rather than today’s pop. However, I think I would want to know as much as possible about rock music too, and hip hop, jazz, electronica, and so on, in order to fully grasp what moves humans musically.

4. Sports
While Priya doesn’t seem to know much about traditional sports like swimming, she can walk on her hands, which makes me think she knows about gymnastics. I think I would want to learn about popular sports among kids and adults in as many countries as I could. Rugby and cricket and ice fishing in addition to baseball and tennis and volleyball. If I were really lucky, I’d be on this planet during the Olympics so I could sample a variety of sports.

5. Language
Currently there are nearly 7000 languages in the world; I have to believe there is at least one that would resonate with alien life. Of course finding the one that would be most like my own could take a really long time. Still I think it would be worth it in order to find the connection between our species.

6. Animals
Much to Matty’s surprise, Priya asks if Ginger, Matty’s Labrador retriever, is a dog. So it’s clear that she doesn’t have canines on her planet. I personally can’t imagine a planet without dogs! A life without puppies sounds horrible to me! That being said, there must be thousands of species I don’t know about on earth. It’s not just the obvious ones like cats and mice and elephants and giraffes. There are species of fish that most people have never seen other than in photographs yet they have been on this planet for eons. Learning about them and bringing knowledge of them back to my planet could be critical to understanding how earth functions as an ecosystem.

7. Art & Architecture
I imagine that creative expression on other planets might be radically different from what we have here on earth. Perhaps there is no art? While writers and dancers and painters might argue that art is a necessary component to humanity, that we all need to express ourselves and to experience the art of others in order to understand each other, there are some people who think it’s a luxury. Since art can be found in all walks of life, all cultures and among all demographics, I think if I were an alien and maybe unused to creative expression, I would want to know how humans view their world in abstract or non-linear forms. That could be movement or sound or the written word; it could be painting or sculpture, formally presented in a museum or street art like Banksy. I would probably start in Italy at the Uffizi. Just because it’s Italy and I would like to believe aliens would appreciate Italy.

8. Relationships
Priya tells Matty that on her planet, families don’t exist the same way they do on earth. I think it’s important to note that families are different from one culture to the next all over this planet. Not everyone lives in the same nuclear family situation that Americans might be familiar with. Then there are the relationships between friends, extended families, co-workers, and so on. Similarly love relationships vary as well: dating, marriage, parenting – all have different parameters. And, um, yeah, kissing would definitely be on my list of experiences to collect data on.

 

About the Author
cat jordanWhen I was a teenager, the very first book I ever tried to write was pretentious and stilted and set in a future where there was no paper. Obviously, I fancied myself another Ray Bradbury (who I was thrilled to meet not once but twice!). The book had an awesome title and no plot but I had the most fun creating the characters and the world they lived in. That to me is the most enjoyable part of writing a novel: envisioning a world and populating it with all kinds of people and dogs. Gotta have a dog.

The worlds I create now as an adult are based on my travels from coast to coast in the US, to Europe and Mexico and Canada, and on the people I have met and loved and admired and feared. And dogs.

Currently I live in Los Angeles. With my dog.     WebsiteGoodreadsTwitterFacebook

To enter the Giveaway to win one of three $10 Amazon gift cards Click Here!

“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existence. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery each day.
~Albert Einstein

Soundtrack Reveal: A French Girl in New York

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Book:
 A French Girl in New York by Anna Adams
Genre: Young Adult, Fiction, Romance, Musical Series
Print Date: March 2013
Book #1 in the series
Giveaway: 
$10 Amazon Gift card or paperback of A French Girl in New York
Enter the giveaway at the bottom of the post! 

Book Summary

Maude Laurent is a spirited 16 year-old orphan who grew up in a small, provincial town in the North of France with a passion for piano and a beautiful voice. One day in Paris, she is discovered by an American music producer who takes her to New York to live with him and his close-knit family while producing her first album, with help from teen pop star, Matt. Maude will dive into a new fascinating world discovering New York City, music, family, love and the truth about her past.

Download the book for FREE at one of the following locations: Amazon | iTunes | B&N | Kobo

Are you ready for some exciting news? You can now be transported into the novels with an original soundtrack! The Original Soundtrack for A French Girl in New York will be available September 7th!  Pre-Order a copy HERE!

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Author BioPHOTO AUTEUR 2
Born in France, raised partly in the United States and in France, I grew up loving stories in French and English. I currently live in Paris.

I’m the author of the French Girl series, an Amazon bestseller and Wattpad phenomenon.  

When I’m not writing, I enjoy traveling in Europe, Asia, and dream of going to Africa.

WebsiteTwitterFacebookGoodreads

GIVEAWAY
Enter to win a $10 Amazon gift card or paperback of A French Girl in New York HERE!

“Music is everywhere,” Maude said softly. “It is in the water, in the wind’s hum, in the bird’s cry, in the boat’s horn. Rhythm surrounds us. That is one of life’s greatest gifts.”
~Anna Adams, A French Girl in New York

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Book Blitz Organized by: YA Bound Book Tours