Friday, October 04, 2019

Dear Haiti, Love Alaine by Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite

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Dear Haiti, Love Alaine by Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite
Dear Haiti, Love Alaine
Maika Moulite, Maritza Moulite
Genre: Contemporary, YA
Publication date: September 3rd, 2019
by Inkyard Press

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When a school presentation goes very wrong, Alaine Beauparlant finds herself suspended, shipped off to Haiti and writing the report of a lifetime…

You might ask the obvious question: What do I, a seventeen-year-old Haitian American from Miami with way too little life experience, have to say about anything?

Actually, a lot.

Thanks to “the incident” (don’t ask), I'm spending the next two months doing what my school is calling a "spring volunteer immersion project.” It’s definitely no vacation. I’m toiling away under the ever-watchful eyes of Tati Estelle at her new nonprofit. And my lean-in queen of a mother is even here to make sure I do things right. Or she might just be lying low to dodge the media sharks after a much more public incident of her own…and to hide a rather devastating secret.

All things considered, there are some pretty nice perks…like flirting with Tati’s distractingly cute intern, getting actual face time with my mom and experiencing Haiti for the first time. I’m even exploring my family’s history—which happens to be loaded with betrayals, superstitions and possibly even a family curse.

You know, typical drama. But it's nothing I can't handle.
 
-A copy was provided by Inkyard Press for review-

Here is the thing, I like this book but it’s simply too long. At 432 pages, it took me days to drudge through. On top of that, I feel like the book is trying so hard to tackle so many things at once that it fails to really examine any of the issues it presents us with in depth. 

After a presentation that goes very wrong, Alaine is suspended. Her parents decide that maybe spending some time in Haiti will help Alaine redirect her energy so she is shipped off to live with her aunt and her mother – who is also licking her wounds. One of the conditions of her suspension involves her doing an internship at her Aunt’s major non-profit organization and so begins several months of Alaine connecting with her roots and learning about the country her parents left behind.  Along with learning about her heritage and country, Alaine gets wrapped up in trying to undo the family curse and trying to accept her mom’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis. 

First things first, this book is pitched as being written in an epistolary format which had me excited, but it honestly didn’t read particularly read that way?? It felt very much like first person narration with bits and pieces of texts and emails thrown in. For those that don’t really like the epistolary format, this might be a good thing and make you more likely to pick this book up.

I love Alaine’s voice though and I love her discovering and unpacking the long term consequences of colonialism and imperialism during her time in Haiti. There are so many important discussions to be had in this book and I highlighted so many passages. I love that Alaine is allowed to have moments of ignorance which are then corrected by loving elders around her. I love that Alaine is allowed to be genuinely upset by her mom’s diagnosis and does some pretty impulsive stuff as a result.

With the way the book was set up thought, I really expected and wanted more one-on-one time between Alaine and her mother and we never got that. Alaine was struggling with the diagnosis but we didn’t get to see the two deal with what it meant or how they’d repair their relationship in the little time they had left. 

Alaine was also working in a very cool organization that I wish we’d gotten to see more of. Her time at the org was mostly shown as her flirting back and forth with the other intern and never really working on anything?? She makes one or two suggestions that are shot down and that was that. Given that interning at this org was one of the conditions of her suspension, it’s weird we didn’t see more of it.

Also, I am not entirely sure I even understood the family curse or the logistics behind breaking it?

On top of ALL of that, the book was pretty lengthy and there wasn’t much of a plot moving it forward. There were these strings of subplots that never really came together in a way that I felt was significant.

So, I think, maybe the issue wasn’t necessarily that the book was trying to do too many things because it still does some good stuff but, I think it needed to combine these issues in a more meaningful way and actually develop them more so that they could come together better. I’d still recommend this book to anyone looking for a cute summer contemporary read because there is a lot of fun to be had here! I just wish a couple things were done differently. Also everyone should read it and support it so we get even more Haitian #ownvoices down the road!

3 Stars
3 Hot Espressos

Adorable if Lacking Tension: Well Met by Jen DeLuca

Adorable if Lacking Tension: Well Met by Jen DeLuca

Posted by on 09/27/2019 • 5 Comments

All I heard was enemies to lovers and Well Met immediately had my attention. I dove in expecting some good banter and cuteness and I definitely got a LOT of cuteness. So, Well Met is truly a bundle of softness and cuteness but I also felt like the plot itself wasn’t always gripping?? No I wasn’t expecting an adventure or murder mystery amidst its pages but I felt like even with the plot revolving around the Renaissance Faire, there wasn’t any amount of urgency or tension in that regard. It sort of just felt like we were gently floating through the happenings of the Faire and everything that came with setting it up and running it through.

The romance itself was adorable but I also felt that it was also…

Falls Short: No Judgments by Meg Cabot

Falls Short: No Judgments by Meg Cabot

Posted by on 09/20/2019 • 2 Comments

Ummm, I don’t know about this one frankly. No Judgments has Cabot’s signature humor and promises a good time and yet, I feel like it falls short of being a truly good book?? There are certain plot points that are sort of swooped over and things like sexual assault, which I feel, aren’t handled with care.

We were introduced to Little Bridge in Bridal Boot Camp and while Bridal Boot Camp wasn’t my fav, I was still very excited to read more about this town and meet new characters. When I dove into No Judgments I found myself sucked into this town and immediately enthralled. The threat of a hurricane made things slightly more exciting (plot-wise) and I was really excited to see Drew and Bree pushed together under such…

Characters Worth Dying For: Middlegame by Seanan McGuire

Characters Worth Dying For: Middlegame by Seanan McGuire

Posted by on 09/13/2019 • 1 Comment

I want to preface this review by stating that I love Roger and Dodger so much. I would DIE for these kids. Months ago, when Middlegame had just come out, I saw someone describe this as a story about two superheroes who screw up a whole lot (paraphrased because I don’t remember who said this or even what platform I came across this description on.) That description is absolutely perfect for this boo. Even though there is a LOT of stuff-bigger than both the MCs- going on, at its heart, Middlegame is 1000% a coming of age story. It follows these kids from childhood well into adulthood as the navigate all the pains of growing up. 

My love for the main characters unfortunately did not help the plot or the…

Hits All the Right Notes: A Madness of Sunshine by Nalini Singh

Hits All the Right Notes: A Madness of Sunshine by Nalini Singh

Posted by on 09/06/2019 • 2 Comments

It’s been a long time since I’ve read anything by Nalini Singh but when I saw she was venturing into the world of suspense, I knew I’d have to pick up A Madness of Sunshine. A Madness of Sunshine is exactly I want from a mystery. It has no flashy red herrings, but is still enticing. In fact, once I hit the 33% mark, I read the book in one sitting. Which, I read books in single sittings all the time, but I’ve been struggling a lot with reading lately and this just… it was what I needed. If you love small town mysteries, where secrets bubble underneath the surface, A Madness of Sunshine is exactly what you need too.

By the 20% mark in this book, I trusted no…

Fresh Batch (August 25th – 31st)

Fresh Batch (August 25th – 31st)

Posted by on 08/24/2019 • 0 Comments

Fresh Batch, posted weekly, keeps you up to date on the hottest releases of the upcoming week.

Flavor of the week:

Crown of Coral and Pearl Mara Rutherford Series: Crown of Coral and Pearl #1 Publication date: August 27th 2019by Inkyard Press

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For generations, the princes of Ilara have married the most beautiful maidens from the ocean village of Varenia. But though every girl longs to be chosen as the next princess, the cost of becoming royalty is higher than any of them could ever imagine…

Nor once dreamed of seeing the wondrous wealth and beauty of Ilara, the kingdom that’s ruled her village for as long as anyone can remember. But when a childhood accident left her with a permanent scar,…

An Adventure Worth Reading: Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

An Adventure Worth Reading: Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Posted by on 08/23/2019 • 2 Comments

It’s been a while since I finished Gods of Jade and Shadow and yet its managed to linger in my mind. I start every single review I’ve written this year of a fantasy book by stating that I’ve been struggling with fantasy lately but I don’t think that statement truly encompasses how much I’ve been struggling. Part of it is my mood but I think a huge part of it is that fantasy these days is just not the kind of fantasy I grew up loving? I love journeys and adventures through foreign lands. I love fantasies that have strong plots driving them forward. I love fantasies that are fairy-tale-esque. 

When Casiopea’s father died, her mother and her were forced to move in with relatives. Of course, in exchange for…

I Think I Have Turned Reading Into A Chore

I Think I Have Turned Reading Into A Chore

Posted by on 08/14/2019 • 5 Comments

Is it redundant to start this post off with the title of this post? Because yeah I think I turned reading into a chore and am not entirely sure how to read for fun anymore.

I am not even sure blogging is entirely to blame for this because I read a lot more than I review in an attempt to maintain a balance.

When I was a young baby, just starting to dip my toes into the online blogging community, I was driven by this fear of running out of books to read. I added everything I possibly could to my Goodreads shelves and I read like I was running out of time. In 2013, I read close to 400 books.

Ever since, in a desire…