November 2021 Mini Reviews

I shared a What I’ve Been Reading Recently wrap-up last week, but I am back with another wrap-up semi-based off on what I read during the Thanksgiving Break (and by semi, I mean yes I will be sharing a contemporary romance review here soon!). This mini review round-up features a memoir based on a super popular Netflix Mini series, a contemporary fiction read that was SO addicting, and a recently released poetry collection. 

 Palm Beach by Mary Adkins 

My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

Since I’ve been busy with work and life things this fall, I’ve really made an effort to read books that make me excited to read in my free time. Palm Beach had been on my TBR for a while, and then Becca Freeman from Bad on Paper Podcast posted it on her Instagram story raving about it and I immediately put the book on hold from my library. Palm Beach is an adult contemporary fiction read, following  married couple Mickey and Rebecca. Rebecca is a freelance writer whose works focuses on economic inequality and exposing the lives of the wealthy, while Mickey is a Broadway actor and caters in between show jobs. When Mickey loses his ability to sing and is offered to work as a house manger for a multimillionaire, Rebecca, Mickey, and their young son relocate to Palm Beach and soon find themselves involved in the lives of the rich & elite. 

Something about Palm Beach made it the type of book that I just did not want to put down – I managed to read it in less than 4 hours. I loved the character development, following the third person perspectives of Rebecca & Mickey, and much like Rebecca, I loved learning about the couple Mickey works for. In a way, the book reminded me of Laura Hankin’s Happy & You Know It, being that both books should different perspectives of wealth and service jobs like nannying and house managers. I have to admit that the semi-twist/direction of the story involving Rebecca and Mickey’s family felt unexpected in the second half of the story, but overall I thought this was such a thought-provoking and well-written contemporary! Definitely pick this one up if you like slice of life type books that you can’t put down.

Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, & a Mother’s Will to Survive

My Rating: 4/5 Stars 

In a very rare instance being the bookish person that I am, I watched the Netflix limited series adaptation of Stephanie Land’s memoir, Maid, before reading the book. I actually wasn’t planning on watching Maid, but seeing it so much on the Netflix Top 10 and some rave reviews finally got me to watch it and I was hooked – I knew by the third or fourth episode that I need to get my hands on the memoir ASAP.

Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, & a Mother’s Will to Survive follows Stephanie Land’s struggle to raise her daughter as a young mother after experiencing domestic violence and becoming a housekeeper to help make ends meet and prevent her family from homelessness. There are numerous differences between the book and TV show – for example, in the book, Stephanie’s mother is nearly out-of-the-picture and lives abroad, while in the TV show, Alex’s mother is fairly present and deals with mental illness. While both the memoir and TV show both deal with heavy subject matter and provide light on socioeconomic inequality and domestic violence, I do feel weird admitting that I actually preferred the TV show to the book. The book definitely focused more on Stephanie’s job working for cleaning services and cleaning people’s houses and provided more snapshots of her clients, as well as how she felt trying to take care of her daughter, Mia, and the lack of assistance available, but unlike the show, the book didn’t really deep dive into her relationships with both partners and her family.

flower crowns & fearsome things by amanda lovelace

My Rating: 3/5 Stars

I’ve been fortunate enough to receive poet amanda lovelace’s poetry collections from her publisher over the past few years, including her recently published flower crowns and fearsome things. I also was able to go to one of her readings & signings a few years ago for the release of the witch doesn’t burn in this one. I absolutely loved shine your icy crown earlier this year, so I was looking forward to amanda lovelace’s latest collection. Like her other collections, flower crowns and fearsome things is a collection of brief poems, and this collection alternates between imagery of wildflowers and wildfires and correlating themes of softness and fierceness. As always, I loved the full-page illustrations. amanda lovelace’s poetry does take on a variety of serious themes/issues – warning that this collection does include poems that allude to abuse, cheating, and toxic relationships. 

While a handful of poems stood out to me- my favorite is actually the very first in the collection, “goddess of spring,” – I’m kind’ve sad to admit that I wasn’t really into flower crowns and fearsome things.There were a number of poems related to what it means to be a strong female, but overall,  this collection didn’t necessarily bring anything new to the table compared to the author’s other work. Her books also tend to comment on current conversations and moments, and the only poem that seemed to do so in this collection was about wearing a mask and being able to conceal one’s appearance underneath. 

This review is based on a review copy provided by the publisher. By no means did receiving this book affect my thoughts & opinions. 

Have you read any of the books that I mentioned? What have you been reading this month? Share in the comments! 

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