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Book Review: The Changeling by Victor Lavalle

3⭐️’s from me

Goodreads Summary: “Apollo Kagwa has had strange dreams that have haunted him since childhood. An antiquarian book dealer with a business called Improbabilia, he is just beginning to settle into his new life as a committed and involved father, unlike his own father who abandoned him, when his wife Emma begins acting strange. Disconnected and uninterested in their new baby boy, Emma at first seems to be exhibiting all the signs of post-partum depression, but it quickly becomes clear that her troubles go far beyond that. Before Apollo can do anything to help, Emma commits a horrific act—beyond any parent’s comprehension—and vanishes, seemingly into thin air.

Thus begins Apollo’s odyssey through a world he only thought he understood to find a wife and child who are nothing like he’d imagined. His quest begins when he meets a mysterious stranger who claims to have information about Emma’s whereabouts. Apollo then begins a journey that takes him to a forgotten island in the East River of New York City, a graveyard

31147267full of secrets, a forest in Queens where immigrant legends still live, and finally back to a place he thought he h

ad lost forever. This dizzying tale is ultimately a story about family and the unfathomable secrets of the people we love.”

My Review:

This novel starts off incredibly well. The excitement and mystery quickly drew me in.  Apollo, a man tormented by his past family issues, struggles to live-up to his own expectations of the perfect father. He strives to be the best for his family, but doesn’t quite realize what it is costing him. This is an excellent depiction of the conflict between social expectations and reality.

True to fairy tale form, this normal beginning soon introduces dark elements. The story picks up the pace that somehow within its fantasy still seems to capture the struggles of the modern day. It was hands-down a creative and exciting ending – that definitely shocks.

Unfortunately, this was a little too unrealistic for me; but I know this is not my typical genre. If it is, definitely give this one a try!

**I received my copy via Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. Thank you to the author and publisher for this opportunity.**

2017 Book Review, Netgalley, Uncategorized

Book Review: The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich

4 ⭐️’s from me

Goodreads Synopsis: Before Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich begins a summer job at a law firm in Louisiana, working to help defend men accused of murder, she thinks her position is clear. The child of two lawyers, she is staunchly anti-death penalty. But the moment convicted murderer Ricky Langley’s face flashes on the screen as she reviews old tapes―the moment she hears him speak of his crimes―she is overcome with the feeling of wanting him to die. Shocked by her reaction, she digs deeper and deeper into the case. Despite their vastly different circumstances, something in his story is unsettlingly, uncannily familiar. Crime, even the darkest and most unsayable acts, can happen to any one of us. As Alexandria pores over the facts of the murder, she finds herself thrust into the complicated narrative of Ricky’s childhood. And by examining the details of Ricky’s case, she is forced to face her own story, to unearth long-buried family secrets, and reckon with a past that colors her view of Ricky’s crime. But another surprise awaits: She wasn’t the only one who saw her life in Ricky’s. An intellectual and emotional thriller that is also a different kind of murder mystery, The Fact Of a Body is a book not only about how the story of one crime was constructed―but about how we grapple with our own personal histories. Along the way it tackles questions about the nature of forgiveness, and if a single narrative can ever really contain something as definitive as the truth. This groundbreaking, heart-stopping work, ten years in the making, shows how the law is more personal than we would like to believe―and the truth more complicated, and powerful, than we could ever imagine.”

My Review:

You may remember that when I set my blogging goals for this year, I stated I wanted to try a memoir. As I have a background in the law, this one caught my attention right off the bat…32076678

This is not a comfortable read and could have triggers for some, but definitely a journey worth taking. As the synopsis says, this is so much more than a story about murder, its a moving memoir. While preparing to follow her family’s footsteps in a law career, Marzano-Lesnevich is introduced to a murder case. However, this murder case parallels so significantly with her own life, Marzano-Lesnevich is soon facing her own demons at the same time. Secrets hidden for years must be revealed for a deeper understanding of the past. What is particularly amazing about this journey is not only does the author discover herself, but she so poignantly captures how one’s own history can color the frame of a legal decision – what is justice and who is it for? This book is a perfect example of how the law is not black and white – there is a ton of grey.

Go get your copy now – this book is out today!

**I received my copy via Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. Thank you to the author and publisher for this opportunity.**