Louisiana Catch by Sweta Vikram

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source: free ARC courtesy of Poetic Book Tours
title: Louisiana Catch
author: Sweta Srivastava Vikram 
published: April 10, 2018
pages: 254
genre: fiction

about the book:
Ahana, a wealthy thirty-three-year-old New Delhi woman, flees the pain of her mother’s death and her dark past by accepting a huge project in New Orleans, where she’ll coordinate the Annual Women’s Conference to raise awareness around violence against women. Her half-Indian, half-Irish colleague and public relations guru, Rohan Brady, who helps Ahana develop her online presence, offends her prim sensibilities with his raunchy humor. She is convinced that he’s a womanizer. Meanwhile, she seeks relief from her pain in an online support group, where she makes a good friend: the mercurial Jay Dubois, who is also grieving the loss of his mother. Her work in the U.S. and the online medium brings the two men into her life, and Ahana learns that neither is what he seems. With their differing sensibilities on a collision course, Ahana finds herself in a dangerous situation—and she discovers a side of herself that she never realized she had.

Louisiana Catch is an emotionally immersive novel about trust and who we project ourselves to be in the world. It’s a book about Ahana’s unreliable instincts and her ongoing battle to determine whom to place her faith in as she, Rohan, and Jay shed layers of their identities.

As Ahana matures from a victim of domestic sexual abuse into a global feminist leader, she must confront her issues: both with the men in her life and, ultimately, with her own instincts. Whom can she rely on to have her best interests at heart?

My thoughts:

In Louisiana Catch Ahana is in her early thirties, lives in New Delhi and is very close to her mom who is a successful doctor. Her life changes drastically after she finally divorces her abusive husband Dev and when not long after, her beloved mother passes away. As the story flows Ahana deals with the loss of her mother and she tries to find her inner strength being that she was sheltered for much of her life. She finds a support group online where she meets a man named Jay. She cannot shake the feeling that Jay isn’t what he makes himself out to be as he has a bad habit of manipulating her through his texts and emails yet she can’t fully break off the online connection. She also meets Rohan Brady at work. Ahana initially doesn’t trust Rohan but the two eventually become friends. Also in the mix are Ahana’s family and close friends like Naina and her work as a women’s advocate for a non-profit. She works in public relations for “Freedom Movement”. Her work lets her travel to different parts of the country like Louisiana and NYC.

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Thirsty: An Eastside Brewery Novel by Mia Hopkins

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source: free ARC via NetGalley/Randomhouse/LoveSwept
title: Thirsty: An Eastside Brewery Novel
author: Mia Hopkins/ Twitter
published: March 13, 2018
pages: 254
genre: contemporary steamy romance
first lines: You want a hero. Before we start, you should know-I’m not him. I’m not your hero.
rated: 3 out of 5  1heartred1heartred1heartred

blurb:
My name is Salvador Rosas. Back in the barrio, my past is written on the walls: ESHB. Short for East Side Hollenbeck, my father’s gang—my gang. Hell, it’s a family tradition, one that sent both my brothers away. They used to call me “Ghost” because I haunted people’s dreams. Now I’ve got nothing going for me except a hipster gringo mentoring me in a new career. An ex-con making craft beer? No mames.

Still, people in this neighborhood look out for one another. That’s how I became Vanessa Velasco’s unwelcome tenant. Chiquita pero picosa. She’s little, but with curves so sweet they’re dangerous. I remember Vanessa from the old days, the straight-A student with big plans. Plans that were derailed by another kid stupid enough to think he was bulletproof. Now Vanessa knows better than to believe in empty promises. There’s fire in her . . . and if I touch her, I might get burned.

I’m trying everything I can to go straight. But when East Side Hollenbeck comes calling, I might have to risk it all to find out if there’s a future for Vanessa and me. Because she’s the only one who can quench my thirst for something real.

my thoughts:
You know how sometimes you don’t realize something right away? I’m trying to think of an example to elaborate further but it eludes me right now.

I have to say right off the bat that Mia Hopkins is a great writer, I enjoyed her writing style and Thirsty: An Eastside Brewery Novel drew me in from page one. This is one of those books you can read in one sitting, I read it in two. The story is told first person POV by Salvador Rosas a.k.a. Ghost. I requested this one from NetGalley because I saw it revolved around Latinos. Being Puerto Rican myself this book intrigued me straight away because the main characters are Latin and I enjoy good romance. I haven’t read a full on romance novel featuring Hispanics before. Like ever. I’ve never really come across any. And I read alot of romance, it is a favorite genre but the couples are usually white. So guess what happened when I finally found a romance novel centering on a Latino couple? Guess.

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The hero is a gang-banger. Ghost is Mexican, he has recently finished serving a five-year prison stint for car theft. He’s a janitor now. And duh, this is all in the blurb I know. It didn’t dawn on me until I started reading. I decided to keep reading because like I said the writing was very good. I didn’t like the stereotypes here though and they did bother me. I think the author wrote a good book but it is just that for my first time reading a Latin centered romance, I didn’t like that the hero was a gang-banger. So, I read on and I actually enjoyed the story. I will say, it is a story about getting your life together so the plot was full of hope and redemption.

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Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

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source: purchased
title: Milk and Honey
author: Rupi Kaur/Twitter
genre: poetry
published: 2014
pages: 204
rated: 4 out of 5 stars
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blurb:
#1 New York Times bestseller Milk and Honey is a collection of poetry and prose about survival. About the experience of violence, abuse, love, loss, and femininity.

The book is divided into four chapters, and each chapter serves a different purpose. Deals with a different pain. Heals a different heartache. Milk and Honey takes readers through a journey of the most bitter moments in life and finds sweetness in them because there is sweetness everywhere if you are just willing to look.

my thoughts:
I went to Barnes & Noble with my daughter recently. I love our trips to the bookstore and library because she tends to find really interesting books. We didn’t have anything particular in mind when we went, just stopping to browse on a Saturday morning while out running errands. After a little while, she came up to me with a copy of Milk and Honey and said “Mom, I’ve heard so much about this one. I want to read it.”
She read it first and she would come and read passages to me that she liked.

it must hurt to know
I am your most
beautiful
regret
p.94, Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

I read Milk and Honey afterwards in one sitting. This is a collection of moving poetry by Rupi Kaur. There are sketches by the author with some of the poems. The book is separated into four parts, the hurting, the loving, the breaking and the healing. There are themes of abuse, heartache, family, finding oneself and healing within these poems.

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The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick

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source: purchased
title: The Silver Linings Playbook
author: Matthew Quick {Twitter}
pages: 289
published: 2012
genre: fiction
first line:  I don’t have to look up now to know mom is making another surprise visit.
rated: 5 out of 5 stars
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blurb:
Meet Pat Peoples. Pat has a theory: his life is a movie produced by God. And his God-given mission is to become physically fit and emotionally literate, whereupon God will ensure him a happy ending―the return of his estranged wife, Nikki. (It might not come as a surprise to learn that Pat has spent several years in a mental health facility.) The problem is, Pat’s now home, and everything feels off. No one will talk to him about Nikki; his beloved Philadelphia Eagles keep losing; he’s being pursued by the deeply odd Tiffany; his new therapist seems to recommend adultery as a form of therapy. Plus, he’s being haunted by Kenny G!

David O. Russell’s adaptation of The Silver Linings Playbook features Bradley Cooper (People magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive) in the role of Pat, alongside Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Julia Stiles, Chris Tucker, and Jacki Weaver. As the award-winning novelist Justin Cronin put it: “Tender, soulful, hilarious, and true, The Silver Linings Playbook is a wonderful debut.”-quoted from amazon.com

my thoughts:
Matthew Quick tugged at my heartstrings with The Silver Linings Playbook. We get the story through the eyes of thirty-something Patrick Peoples who as the story begins is finally going home after a few years stay in a mental hospital. Pat’s mom fought hard to get him out and as part of his release agreement he has to continue seeing a therapist and continue taking medications. When Pat gets home to New Jersey you see the dysfunction in his family. His father, his brother and himself are all die-hard Eagles fans. Football is a constant in Pat’s life and it is one of the few things that makes him happy and feel normal again. It is also the main thing that allows bonding time with him and his Dad.

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Things We Lost in the Fire Stories by Mariana Enríquez

thingssource: ARC via AmazonVine
title: Things We Lost in the Fire
auhtor: Mariana Enriquez
published: Hogarth (February 21, 2017)
pages: 200
genre: short stories/fiction/mystery/suspense
rated: 3 1/2 out of 5 stars
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blurb:
Macabre, disturbing and exhilarating, Things We Lost in the Fire is a collection of twelve short stories that use fear and horror to explore multiple dimensions of life in contemporary Argentina. From women who set themselves on fire in protest of domestic violence to angst-ridden teenage girls, friends until death do they part, to street kids and social workers, young women bored of their husbands or boyfriends, to a nine-year-old serial killer of babies and a girl who pulls out her nails and eyelids in the classroom, to hikikomori, abandoned houses, black magic, northern Argentinean superstition, disappearances, crushes, heartbreak, regret and compassion. This is a strange, surreal and unforgettable collection by an astonishing new talent asking vital questions of the world as we know it.

my thoughts:
Things We Lost in the Fire is a quiet, intense and at times disturbing collection of 12 short stories. I dipped in and out of this one intermittently. I’ll cover a few of the stories here in my post.

The Dirty Kid was about a woman who lives in an old house handed down to her by her family. The neighborhood in Buenos Aires which used to be nice, is now seedy and riddled with crime. A five-year old child and his drug addicted mother are homeless and sleep on dirty mattresses in the neighborhood. The narrator here cannot help but become involved and tries to help the five-year old.

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