Happy Monday, friends! I had an excellent weekend, mostly because I spent yesterday shopping with my mom. I’m on the hunt for a rain jacket for Ireland and wanted to check out the Columbia outlet store near me to see if I could get a jacket for a decent price. (Trying not to pay $100+ for a rain jacket.) Unfortunately, I struck out but I still had a fun time with my mom. I got some new tops, a really cozy fleece jacket, and… um… 8 books. Oops! Used bookstores are my kryptonite and I ended up at two of them yesterday.
Now, let’s talk about reading! I finished two books last week, and I loved both of them. My reviews are below!
Pachinko by Min Jin Lee (★★★★★)
Pachinko is a sweeping novel following four generations of a Korean family living in Japan. The story begins in the 1930s when a young girl named Sunja finds out she’s pregnant and agrees to marry a man who brings her to Japan to live. Readers are taken on a journey through Japan in the 20th century, a time when many Koreans were fleeing their country to find a safer place to raise their families but encountering harsh discrimination and poverty along the way. It’s a heartbreaking story but also a hopeful one with well-written characters who felt so authentic and true. It’s a long book – nearly 500 pages – but it didn’t feel overwrought or drawn out. It was perfectly paced and I found myself so engaged with the story and this family. I also realized how little I know about Korea and how they became divided – and how the war and division affected its people – so I went down many a Wikipedia rabbit hole while reading this book!
Emily Donovan arrives on Puffin Island in a state of panic: she’s just lost her job, her estranged sister has died, and she’s become the sole guardian of her six-year-old niece. Not to mention, she’s now going to have to finally face her debilitating fear of the ocean, as it surrounds her everywhere she goes. And then she meets Ryan Cooper, a local, and he makes it his mission to open Emily’s eyes to the beauty of the island and the beauty of life itself. This romance novel is so much more than about a man and a woman who fall in love. It’s also a story about facing your fears, opening your heart, and trusting in yourself. My heart went out to Emily and everything she was dealing with, but she handled it all with such grace and pluck. I found myself cheering her on whenever she made big strides to overcome her big fears – and as she opened her heart to her niece and Ryan and the locals on Puffin Island. A truly wonderful romance from Sarah Morgan, and I’m excited to read the rest of the novels in this series!
I’m currently reading…
> Something Like Happy by Eva Woods, for book club. This novel has gotten high ratings from many trusted reviewers, so I’m crossing my fingers I love it as well.
> What Happened by Hillary Clinton, on audio. I’m finally going to dive into this tome (it’s nearly 19 hours on audio) and I hope it doesn’t make me too emotional.
> The Darkest Link by Scarlett Cole, for my romance pick. I’m a little wary of this novel, as Goodreads tells me the Kindle edition is 456 pages and that’s ridiculously long for a romance, but we’ll see how it goes!