Book Reviews – Jackie’s recent reading list

Staying at home more these days has allowed me the time to do what I have been doing since I was four years old. That is: Reading books.

I love leaving my reality and entering a world created by authors. I love a good story. and have massive sales these days. I got into the .99 cent and 2-for-1 sale and came away with great reads.

Here are three that I just finished.

Lila by Naima Coster – This is supposed to be an intimate true story about the complexities of female friendship and the way two girls can grow up. When Naima Coster met Lila, they were girls of color in a predominantly white private school in Manhattan. As adolescents they found each other. As each comes of age, they live very different lives. (

I am attracted to stories by and about black woman coming of age. I find them affirming. But Lila was disappointing. It was all over the place and didn’t develop a story line I could hang on to. However, there were scenes that made me laugh and some that made me want to slap Lila. The promo for the book speaks about two black girls in a predominantly white private school and the book is not about that experience. Lila is appallingly short. There was too little character development; the years sped by too fast; people enter and leave the story and I never know who they. I can’t recommend this one.

The Murmur of Bees by Sofia Segovia – The book is originally written in Spanish but has been translated. It is one of the best reads I’ve had in a while. It is alive with the scenes, the plot and the well-developed characters. I can climb into this book’s setting with my spirit and live the story. It is set in the fertile fields and rugged hillsides around Monterrey when Mexico was ravaged by revolution and the Spanish flu. This part was really interesting in our COVID-19 times.

I loved the main character, the vibrant boy, Simonopio, the old nurse maid and her ancient story, and generations of the elite Morales clan. They become a loving family unit. The title is real – the main character has a special relationship with bees. They hang out on his body…that part made me squirm a bit. They guide the boy (who was born with terrible physical defects) throughout his life. They even save his life. It is a wonderful, uplifting tale. Check it out.

The Tuscan Child by Rhys Bowen – I could see every scene in this book in my mind’s eye. The book is super clear and easy to read. The author has some overly-long descriptive pages about how the Tuscan town looked, but I waded through it and let my mind paint the picture. In the story, Joanna Langley, the daughter of a recently deceased and financially defrocked British Lord who was a WWII pilot traces her father’s background during the war. The book jumps back and forth in time from the present to 1944. I like stuff like that; some people find it annoying.

The book starts slow and picks up well. But, at heart, I am a sista’ from the ‘hood. In the plotline, Joanna is broke and likely lost her job. I know what that feels like. She gets a tiny inheritance from her father. She doesn’t even have a place to live and yet she spends her only money to take a trip to Tuscany to follow her father’s trail from 1944. Aaah…no. When I am broke, the last thing on my mind is a trip to Tuscany. That part didn’t work for me.

The story had a predictable happy ending. But, it made me smile. It is a good read. Check it out.

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