The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai

Title: The Great Believers
Author: Rebecca Makkai My verdict: 3.5 stars
In a nutshell: The Great Believers was set in two places – Chicago and Paris, portraying a group of gay friends, mainly focussing on Yale (whom I love and could relate to when he spoke of his childhood) living through the AIDS epidemic in Chicago in the 80's; and Fiona in search of her daughter, Claire, in Paris year 2015. These stories moved back and forth throughout the book.
What I liked: I cried myself to sleep the night I finished The Great Believers. It's a story of loss, love and redemption. I was especially drawn to the story that shed light on the challenges of American gay men living with AIDS in the late 80's and early 90's, and how ignorance had caused thousands of lives. 
I felt their heartbreaks and devastating loss of their loved ones and their own lives to AIDS, especially Fiona. She gave, and gave, and gave, and lost. And the ending was a tear jerker. I never thought I'd tear up. 

Circe by Madeline Miller

Title:Circe Author:Madeline Miller My verdict:5 stars  Highly recommended! (Only if you're interested in Greek mythology!)
In a nutshell:
(Amazon) In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child--not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power--the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves. Threatened, Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, where she hones her occult craft, tames wild beasts and crosses paths with many of the most famous figures in all of mythology, including the Minotaur, Daedalus and his doomed son Icarus, the murderous Medea, and, of course, wily Odysseus.

But there is danger, too, for a woman who stands alone, and Circe unwittingly draws the wrath of both men and gods, ultimately finding herself pitted against one of the most terrifyi…

The Master & Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov

Title: The Master & Margarita Author: Mikhail Bulgakov My verdict:5 stars Highly recommended!
In a nutshell:
This classic was written during Stalin's regime and was banned until many years after Bulgakov's death. The Master and Margarita (TMM) alternates between 2 settings - Moscow in the 1930's and Jerusalem; and it's divided to 2 parts.

Woland (Satan) and his motley crew of 4 (Koroviev, Behemoth, Azazello, Hella) appeared on earth (in this case, in Russia), and brought people whom, in his eyes, have sinned, to justice by punishing them, some to death (in the most gruesome way one could imagine.. *cue intensifying sound effect!), and at the same time gave peace to two lovers - the Master and Margarita. And Margarita, knowing Woland is Satan, worshipped him, for he brought the master back to her and reunited them.

This novel also brings us back to 2000 years ago, in Yershalaim (Jerusalem), where and when Yeshua Ha-Notsri (Jesus) was crucified under Pilate. Pilate's …

There There by Tommy Orange

Title: There There
Author: Tommy Orange My verdict:5 stars Highly recommended!
In a nutshell: 12 Urban Indians. 1 big event. 1 robbery gone wrong.
Set in Oakland, California, the story revolves around the 12 individuals and how they and their families have been treated by America throughout the years; how it affects and have affected them. These 12 characters are to meet at an upcoming big event - the Big Oakland Powwow. That one event, meant to bring Indians of all walks of life together, ironically shattered their lives and those around them.
Was it a good read? Yes. I'd describe it in 3 words: Real, raw, powerful. 
The story starts off with a prologue, (which is one of my favorite parts, the interlude is the other) telling us about the Indian Head that was used as a test pattern on TV in the 1970s to all American TVs everywhere after all the shows ran out. There are some parts which are very graphic. So, be prepared.

Then the prologue continues with the Indian head in the jar; the In…

Happy Birthday, Malala!

HAPPY 21st, MALALA! You're only 21, yet your achievements and accolades can fill a whole phone book! Thank you so much for all that you do especially education for women and young children. What you did and are still doing is an inspiration for us all. Thank you for your bravery, your courage, your intelligence and your will to pursue your beliefs and dreams. Thank you for showing us that "One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world." You let your actions speak louder than words. 
The books in the picture: Most of us would or might have already own a copy of 'I Am Malala'. So, I'm just going to briefly summarize the book behind it, "Malala's Magic Pencil". It is Malala's first picture book and is targeted towards young readers. It is basically a much simpler version of her life in Pakistan and what inspired her to do what she does today and to be who she is today. 
It is about how she wished for a magic pencil that she'd use…

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

Ok. I’m back! Again :P (Sorry been caught up with motherhood..)
Title: An American Marriage 
Author: Tayari Jones My verdict:4 stars Highly recommended!
Synopsis (From the book cover): Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. HE is a young business executive and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are suddenly ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined when, while visiting Roy’s parents in their small Louisiana town, Roy is arrested and sentenced to twelve years in prison for a crime Celestial knows he didn’t commit.
Though fiercely independent, Celestial finds herself lost, taking comfort in ANdre, her childhood friend and Roy’s best man at their wedding. When after 5 years, Roy’s conviction is overturned and he returns to Atlanta ready to resume their life together, Celestial is faced a soul-wrenching decision: whether to let go or to try r…