Review of Beach Read by Emily Henry

Beach Read is about two writers, Augustus Everett and January Andrews, who despite going to school together have wildly different writing styles. January is more of the happy-ending type while Augustus has more of an affinity for the dark and twisty where at least one of his characters perishes by the end of the novel. They found themselves to be neighbors along the beach of Lake Michigan as they try and work through their writer’s block as well as their respective personal traumas that are greatly contributing to their lacking ability to put pen to paper. In hopes of sparking some inspiration, they agree on a bet: January will write something dark and twisty like Augustus and Augustus will try to write a happy ending and whoever sells their book first wins. Their weekly “research” field trips slowly turn from friendly to something more.

Emily Henry is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. I’m not quite sure how this is possible but I loved this book even more than People We Meet on Vacation. The complexity of Augustus and January as characters is truly remarkable. Although they’re completely different novels I couldn’t help but compare the relationship between Poppy and Alex and Augustus and January, and I felt like the slow burn Henry developed between Augustus and January made for an even more enjoyable read. The vulnerability both main characters showed in Beach Read made it feel so honest and real and allowed me to easily get lost in the story. Henry simply does a phenomenal job of creating multidimensional, beautifully flawed character that I can’t help but fall in love with.

Needless to say, I have already pre-ordered my copy of her next book entitled Book Lovers and I am counting down until May when it gets released. At this point, I would read this woman’s grocery list and think it was amazing she’s just that great. You need this book in your life. I promise.

5 out of 5 stars

PS. If there’s anything you’re dying for me to review, feel free to leave me a comment or DM me on IG and I will gladly add to my seemingly never-ending TBR list.

Review of Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson

In this novel, the death of Eleanor Bennett leaves her two children with a strange inheritance: a traditional Caribbean black cake and a voice recording that unveils her true history. Byron and Benny are now faced with mourning their mother’s death, attempting to rebuild their strained relationship, and coming to terms with their true heritage.

I experienced the full spectrum of emotion while reading this book. Not only was this book beautifully written but I had never read anything where the characters were representative of my own multiracial background. It was so powerful for me to connect with characters that had experiences that some of my own family did growing up in Jamaica.

I am truly floored that this is Wilkerson’s first novel. She expertly developed such dynamic characters and the transition between each point of view was seamless. Every single character, no matter how ancillary, had a full spectrum of character development, leaving the reader with a true resolution at the end of the novel, rather than wondering about any story lines that weren’t addressed. The pace of this book was also perfect. As the reader, each character’s secrets were revealed in due time in an authentic way, as if you were sitting right along side of Benny and Byron listening to their mother’s confessional voice recording.

Everyone’s family history is messy in its own beautiful way and Charmaine Wilkerson captures that authentically in the characters and storyline she created. Bump this gem up to the top of your reading list, I promise it won’t disappoint.

5 out of 5 stars