Tales & Tiger Lily: January 2021

My sister recently joined bookstagram as @talesandtigerlily. Her name is Caroline, and Tiger Lily is her adorable sidekick (pictured above). Since she's discovered a love of reading, I've had the best time talking about books with her. Be sure to check out her introduction post to get to know her better. Once a month, you get a new installment of Tales & Tiger Lily. In each post, she reviews three of her favorite reads from the previous month and ends with a list of everything she read with ratings (and links to reviews, if applicable). 

Recapping the Rest of Caroline's January Reads:
Memories by Lang Leav | ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ
Home Body by Rupi Kaur | ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ
Waiting for the Night Song by Julie Carrick Dalton | ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ.5 • Review
The Lost Manuscript by Cathy Bonidan | ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ • Review
Black Buck by Mateo Askaripour | ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ.5 • Review
The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins | ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ
The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides | ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ
The Veins of the Ocean by Patricia Engel | ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ • Review
Outlawed by Anna North  | ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ • Review
The Bass Rock by Evie Wyld | ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ • Review
Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ.5 • Review
Pretty Little Wife by Darby Kane | ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ
The Ruin of Kings and The Name of All Things by Jenn Lyons | ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ • Review
Quit Like a Woman by Holly Whitaker | ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ (not pictured)

Her top three from the month:

“Character is destiny, according to Shakespeare. And yet our bodies, above all our faces, are so bound up with how others perceive us, one might say that, especially for a woman, they are just as powerful an influence over our destinies. Our faces influence the perceptions others hold of us, and those perceptions influence, in turn, our character.” 

I picked up this book months ago because I loved the cover. After sampling it, I really wasn’t sure and decided to put it back. However, my sister listened to From the Front Porch podcast, and someone highly recommended it. So, of course, I bought Crossings last week at the store. 

This novel is genre-bending and has a little bit of everything. It is historical (on the brink of Nazi occupation in France), with fantasy, romance, and mystery. Crossings tells the story of a German-Jewish bookbinder tasked with binding a manuscript called Crossings. He reads the manuscript against his client’s wishes, and uncovers a story consisting of three narratives. As the stories merge, it really becomes a tale of how two lovers were separated by ancient law. 

Crossings is one of the most interesting books I have ever read. The book can be read in two ways: conventionally (from first to last page) or by following the Baroness sequence, which begins on page 150. I bought the audio (with multiple narrators) as well, wanting to have more of an experience while I read. I chose to read by following the Baroness sequence, jumping around the book. This made it so much fun. I was sucked into the story immediately, wondering how the characters and events would come together. 

If you are looking for something completely unique, I highly suggest reading Crossings. As a debut novel, I am blown away by Landragin’s prose and creativity. I can’t wait to see what he writes next. | ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ

“In the mirror I saw my reflection, a face marked by lines and age. A face marked by the persistence of hope, tragedy, abandonment, and grief. I reminded myself I was a woman who maintained strength through everything.” (This quote though. A mantra for all of us.) 

The Removed tells the story of the Echota family—a Cherokee family dealing with grief. Their son, Ray-Ray, was killed 15 years ago in a police shooting. What the reader sees is the devastating aftermath of loss. Each family member has their own set of struggles. The book leads up to the final event of their annual bonfire, marking the Cherokee National Holiday and Ray-Ray’s death. 

The story is told from multiple POVs, and we uncover each family member’s present day struggles. The mother, Maria, struggles with grief and taking care of her husband, Ernest, who has Alzheimer’s. Their daughter, Sonja, lives a life of solitude and has romantic obsessions. Finally, their youngest son, Edgar, turns to drugs to deal with the pain. I loved all of the characters, and I found myself excited to turn the page to hear more from each of them. The pain they experienced was raw and emotional. 

The book contains a lot of Cherokee folklore, and much of the story blends the real and the spiritual. I can see how this may not be every reader’s taste, but I personally loved it. The Cherokee traditions and beliefs passed down through generations brought the book to life. This is a story of racism, devastating loss, and grief. But to me, the most important aspect—it is story of what it means to come home. It also offers hope and redemption. I felt for each character, and I truly adored hearing their stories. 

Hobson blends the harsh truths and struggles of a modern day Cherokee family with beautiful legends and beliefs. Parts will feel real, other parts will lead your mind to into an imaginative, dreamlike state. In my opinion, it was masterfully done. I loved it, and I will definitely buy a regular copy of this book when it is released in February (yes, I know that is extra). If I really love a BOTM pick, I want the real copy. | ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ

“You know, there’s a lot about ourselves that we can’t change—it’s just the way we’re born. But some parts of us are shaped by what we see. And how we’re treated by other people. How we’re made to feel.” 

The Push tells the story of Blythe Connor, a new mother to her baby girl Violet. She wants to be the type of mother she didn’t have—one who will nurture and care for her. However, Blythe becomes convinced that something is wrong with her daughter. Her husband dismisses her concerns and says she is imagining things. As her son is born and she develops a wonderful connection with him, she feels like things could be better—that maybe they can be a happy family. But something devastating changes Blythe’s life in an instant. 

I could. not. put. it. down. I was hooked, I and felt so invested in Blythe. There is a lot of great character development in that we see what Blythe went through in the past with her own mother. I love stories involving how our past shapes us and how people deal with trauma. 

I could fully enjoy this book because I am not a mother. I’m not sure I would have liked it if I had children of my own. The Push is a lot darker than I thought it would be. I’ve always wanted to be a mom, and at times, this book made me question that desire. Lol. Just kidding. But kinda not. 

If you like dark dramas that are bit disturbing, this book is for you. I don’t usually give any content warnings because I like to go in blind. If you’re a sensitive reader, I’d check out Goodreads for more specifics. | ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ.5

1 comment

  1. Caroline, it is totally thanks to you that I've got Crossings on my radar! I'm so intrigued by the premise and the way you've described it, and I definitely hope I have the opportunity to read it this year.


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