Belinda’s Book Nook Review: The Mothers by Brit Bennett


Title: The Mothers
Author: Brit Bennett
Copyright: October 11, 2016
Genre: fiction
Format: book Pages: 278

Hey, Happy New Year! This book was all over Booktube and I just dismissed it. Not because it was a bad book but I just didn’t really pay attention to it and what it was about but I knew people liked it. And I tend to do that with books when they first come out and there is a lot of hype surrounding it. I wait for the dust to settle and then I go check them out. So when I was in the library right before Christmas break I saw this on the shelf of new arrivals. And I thought maybe I’ll take it out and see what it’s all about.

Now I know many people like to read books and finish them by the end of each month and I had intentions of doing that but vacation is family time in my house so playing games, talking and eating replaced my reading. My plan to finish this by the end of December and have it be my last book of 2016 was foiled. But have no fear, I have finished it and it is officially my last book of 2016 and my first book of 2017. What an honor.

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

A dazzling debut novel from an exciting new voice, The Mothers is a surprising story about young love, a big secret in a small community—and the things that ultimately haunt us most. Set within a contemporary black community in Southern California, Brit Bennett’s mesmerizing first novel is an emotionally perceptive story about community, love, and ambition. It begins with a secret.

My Thoughts:

This book is about a lot of things; family, friendship and community just like it says in the book description. It is specifically about a black community in southern California and it starts with a secret. This secret lasts the span from the main characters teen years into adulthood and how the secret affects all of the community.

I really enjoyed the multiple POVs in this book. It does affect the pacing of the book so if your type person that doesn’t like multiple points of views in stories then this book could be a turn-off.  But for me, I felt it only enhanced the story because it gave you a deeper understanding and slowly the author brings you through how the secret touches everybody and how everybody perceives things quite differently. I really enjoyed the book I enjoyed the pacing which strengthened the character development. I enjoyed being with Nadia, the main character as she worked through complex feelings. It felt like a real story. I also thoroughly enjoyed reading the banter of the women who worked at the church. They had their own opinions but you witness some growth in their thoughts as the book progressed.

I recommend this book for it was very easy to get into and made you want to keep reading to find out what was going to happen next. The book also made me stop and think about my own perceptions or beliefs and made me question things that I might have initially rushed to judgment thus giving me pause.  I think it’s a good book like that might provide lots to talk about in a book club.  I am glad I took a chance and picked up this debut novel and I look forward to her future books.

Four butterflies!!


Happy Reading!!


Belinda’s Book Nook Review: The Icarus Girl by Helen Oyeyemi


Title: The Icarus Girl
Author: Helen Oyeyemi
Copyright: April 11, 2006
Genre: fiction
Format: book Pages: 352

So I finally started this book that I’ve had since my birthday.  I thought that this book might sound good if I read the entire book outloud. I decided that I give it a try. I wanted to hear my mouth try to pronounce the names and hear the words coming through my lips as opposed to just in my head.It started off fine and then challenges presented themselves when my kids arrived home from school early on half days or my husband working from home. So finding time to read out loud needed to be scheduled. Early mornings mid-day when the kids are at school are the prime times when I was able to do this. I was successful for much of the reading of this book.

Quick Synopsis (from Goodreads):

Jessamy “Jess” Harrison, age eight, is the child of an English father and a Nigerian mother. Possessed of an extraordinary imagination, she has a hard time fitting in at school. It is only when she visits Nigeria for the first time that she makes a friend who understands her: a ragged little girl named TillyTilly. But soon TillyTilly’s visits become more disturbing, until Jess realizes she doesn’t actually know who her friend is at all. Drawing on Nigerian mythology, Helen Oyeyemi presents a striking variation on the classic literary theme of doubles — both real and spiritual — in this lyrical and bold debut.

My Thoughts:

I had heard about Helen Oyeyemi about a few years back and then last year on Booktube. Then a show that I watch that talks to author’s about books interviewed her. So my approach to this author and her works is to take the opportunity and the time to explore all of her writings to date in the order published. I don’t always do this but I would like to see how she evolves as a writer from book to book and what similarities or common themes she may have throughout her books. I also really wanted to just hear her stories and learn more about Nigeria and it’s people through her stories. Of course my other motive was to support a black female author.

This book was written by Oyeyemi while she attending college and published at the age of 19 started out very strong. I felt very engaged while reading this story. There were a few areas where the pacing slowed a bit too much but she was building up background information. I think she did a great job of trying to convey the feelings of a biracial child trying to find friendship and ward off bullies. The main character, Jess was a bit of an introvert but wanted to try to figure out how to navigate the world of friendships. Oyeyemi did include the challenges that a young girl of mixed race growing up in a predominantly white environment.

I really enjoyed the way that Oyeyemi included so much detail that help to bring the story to life. For example, I like the description of the grandfathers wrinkles and the lighting in the room and the aromas that she smells when she arrives in Nigeria for the first time. She captured the senses well.

One thing that bothered me about in this book was her portrayal of Jessamy’s father. He is a British white male and his wife is a Nigerian woman and he came off as very weak to me in the book.  There’s were many instances where I just wanted him to have a backbone. The first few instances of that happening in the story I just brushed off as him being a person who wants to avoid conflict and keep the peace. But after a while it just felt like it felt like it was a deliberate characteristic she intended to portray. Perhaps to balance out the stronger characteristics of the wife (Jess’s mom). I do wish she provided more background information of the father. Perhaps that would have brought to light the reasoning for his behavior.

I found the story very interesting and the only thing is the ending that bothers me. I will leave that for any of you that decide to reads it to see what you decipher. I would love to hear from anyone that has read it because I’m not really sure but there was a bit confusion on my part with the ending.

Overall, I would recommend the book and look forward to reading her other books.

Happy reading!


Belinda’s Book Nook Review: Behold the Dreamer by Imbolo Mbue


Title: Behold the Dreamers
Author: Imbolo Mbue
Copyright: August 23, 2016
Genre: fiction
Format: e-book and audiobook Pages: 380

I can’t remember where I heard about this book but I did and as soon as I heard the description I knew I had to read it because it sounded very interesting. As you know, I also review books for publishers and this book came up on the list a while back so I put my name down to see if I could get a copy for review. Time went by and it didn’t come right away so I put my name on hold for the audiobook version from my library as soon as it was released. The audiobook became available first so I started listening to the book. I had forgotten about my request to the publisher and completed the audio version.  Sure enough a few days after I completed the audiobook, the publisher released the ebook to me.

With this current election and the issue of immigrants and immigration under fire it only seems fitting to pick up more books on the experience of immigrants. Just as I believe strongly that it’s important to read about slavery in all the different slave stories I feel this too is important. Sometimes I hear people say oh I’ve read about slavery and I just don’t want to read another slavery book. But my thoughts on that, is that every story is important and every story has it’s own unique perspective. Each story can touch the reader in a different way if given the opportunity. So when I heard about this book I knew I wanted to read it. I had not read anything from the perspective of a Cameroonian before and thought it would give me new insights.

Quick Synopsis (from Goodreads):

A compulsively readable debut novel about marriage, immigration, class, race, and the trapdoors in the American Dream—the unforgettable story of a young Cameroonian couple making a new life in New York just as the Great Recession upends the economy…

My Thoughts:

The book is about Jende Jonga, a Cameroonian immigrant that has come to live in Harlem with his wife Neni and their six-year-old son. The time is the fall of 2007 and Jende gets a job working as a chauffeur for a gentleman named Clark Edwards was an executive at a company called Lehman Brothers.


Let me tell you something, this audiobook was such a treat to experience. The voice talent was Prentice Onayemi and he was amazing and I couldn’t believe how he could do all the characters. The audio version took the story experience to another level as I was able to really experience it with nuances I might not have inflected when I read the story myself.


Now let me tell you what I think about the story. I really liked Jende and his wife Neni. Jende had all the best intentions for his family when he came to America.  He believed all of the things that he heard regarding all of the opportunities that would present themselves to he and his family upon arriving in America. But he soon found out that this was not necessarily the case. Living in New York was very challenging especially when you’re an immigrant. Trying to locate a job was both challenging and degrading at times so he took many until he was able to secure the job as a chauffeur for this very wealthy business executive (Mr. Clark). The resources just weren’t in place to not only guide these new immigrants but even if they were, I don’t think they would as effective unless they read books like this that really get into the thoughts and fears of an immigrant.

The book allows you to see the contrast in the lives between Jende’s family and Mr. Clark’s family. Jende and his wife lived in a very rundown apartment trying to make ends meet. Neni was taking classes to pursue her dream of a pharmaceutical degree. You witnessed the triumphs and obstacles that she faced as an immigrant that lacked the resources that could support her endeavors as a student in this country.  At times I wished I could jump into the story and help them. But you still witnessed this amazing family dynamic between Jende , Neni and their son as they hung on to their cultural beliefs.  You also saw the influence America was having on Neni’s desires and expectations. Mr. Clark had two boys one was 18 and he was heading to India to go find himself and the other son was young but both very privileged. Money was not an object. His wife though not from money tried to adapt to the lifestyle and her issues were also examined in the story.

I kept wondering where the programs were that can truly help immigrants integrate into America while still bringing with them the richness of their own cultures. It felt as though they felt that they have to choose one or the other. I definitely felt some similarities to Jende and then Neni’s experience as a black person in America. So these ideas truly resonated with me.

I enjoyed all the characters in this book. I would find myself wanting to pick the book up again to find out what is going on with each person and how their lives might change. There were many issues explored throughout this book so I think that it provides a great opportunity for readers to reflect and think about the experience of an immigrant in more depth. I enjoyed the audiobook immensely. I highly recommend this book be added to your bookshelves because the more we engage with material like this the more compassion we feel and then we can position ourselves as citizens of this country to help.

Great books stay with you after the last page and this one has definitely done that for me.Read it!

I give this book 5 butterflies!


Belinda’s Book Nook Review: In Other Words by Jhumpa Lahiri


Title: In Other Words
Author: Jhumpa Lahiri
Copyright: February 9, 2016
Genre: fiction
Format: book & audio book  Pages: 233 Translator: Ann Goldstein

I own several of Jhumpa Lahiri’s books and have yet to read one. But this one was in the new book section at our library and I thought it was a fine time to read it. I had the audiobook on hold from Overdrive and it came in the same day I came home from the library. If that’s not a sign! So I began reading and switched back and forth. The format is so unusual – it is called a dual-language format. So on one page she wrote in Italian and the interpreter translated it into English on each facing page. So you can look back and forth to see the Italian equivalents throughout the book. The audio version reads the entire book in English first and then again in Italian.

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

From the Pulitzer Prize winner, a surprising, powerful, and eloquent nonfiction debut

In Other Words is at heart a love story—of a long and sometimes difficult courtship, and a passion that verges on obsession: that of a writer for another language. For Jhumpa Lahiri, that love was for Italian, which first captivated and capsized her during a trip to Florence after college. And although Lahiri studied Italian for many years afterward, true mastery had always eluded her. So in 2012, seeking full immersion, she decided to move to Rome with her family, for “a trial by fire, a sort of baptism” into a new language and world.

In Rome, Lahiri began to read, and to write—initially in her journal—solely in Italian. In Other Words, an autobiographical work written in Italian, investigates the process of learning to express oneself in another language, and describes the journey of a writer seeking a new voice.

My thoughts:

My mom could speak some Italian from the years she lived there and I always wanted to learn. I was doing great trying to teach myself and I even took an adult class several years ago. But then life seemed to put that goal on hold. So when I read about this book, I was intrigued to see her reasons for learning and her thoughts about how to learn a language.

I was impressed how her family picked up and moved with her to Italy to pursue her desire to learn the language. She spoke a lot about the need to be immersed in the language and how learning in America didn’t really prepare her as much as she once thought when she was among native speakers. She also explored the immigrant experience. How she always feels like an outsider whether she is in America or in Italy. Wanting to fit in but never quite feeling it. This is such an interesting an prevalent topic in books as of late and I am always interested in the different perspectives.

Overall, I felt it was a good book and happy I did pick it up. I still love the thought of learning a language but must focus on my current endeavors. I give this book three butterflies.

Happy reading!3rating


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