Three Reviews: I Know My Name by C.J. Cooke, The Baghdad Clock by Shahad Al Rawi & Layover by Amy Andelson & Emily Meyer

I Know My Name by C.J. Cooke

Publication Date: June 15th, 2017

Rating: 2 ¼ Stars

This book is not at ALL what I expected. This psychological drama is sure to keep you guessing as the author transports the reader between past and present, and among different narrators as the reader works to unwind Eloise’s twisted secrets.

I LOVE psychological dramas. Typically, books with changing timelines or flipping narrators spark my interest, but I Know My Name had a bit too much of everything. The grandmother’s narrations, although brief, did not seem to fit the outward views other narrations gave her and Lochlan’s behavior and lack of parenting/husbandly duties rubbed me the wrong way early on. But, despite this, my “meh” feelings toward this book arise from the lack of an “ah ha” moment. The climax is so slowly untangled by the time you’ve reached the peak you’ve forgotten why it was thrilling to begin with.

*Disclaimer: A review copy of this book was provided via a Goodreads Giveaway in exchange for an honest review.

The Baghdad Clock by Shahad Al Rawi

Publication Date: May 3rd, 2018

Rating: 2 Stars

The Baghdad Clock begins with a childhood fantasy, quickly transitioning to life in a war zone as the young narrator works to keep the neighborhood’s memories alive. Spanning the Gulf War to Desert Storm and “Bush’s Attack” this story is the unfortunate history many children likely share as neighbors are forced to emigrate from their homes.

I originally was drawn to this book as it was compared to The Kite Runner. This comparison led me to disappointment as this novel did not live up to the timeless and moving story housed within The Kite Runner. Translated to English by Luke Leafgren, the underlying themes shone through still seemed to be missing the emotional story encased in The Kite Runner. This book felt like there was interlocking details lost in translation, especially as it surrounded the dreams and fantasies of the book’s narrator. This “lost in translation” element caused the book to lose its cohesiveness and ultimately the transitions from chapter to chapter were lacking in seamlessness.

*Disclaimer: A review copy of this book was provided via LibraryThing in exchange for an honest review.

Layover by Amy Andelson & Emily Meyer

Publication Date: February 6th, 2018

Rating: 3 ¼ Stars

Three step siblings, on a layover in LAX, decide to skip their impending family vacation and awaiting bombshell to become “runaways” enjoying all that LA has to offer. The experiences that follow this decision build a deeper sibling bond than any “typical” vacation as we are reminded that family comes in all different shapes and sizes.

This young adult fiction will breeze by, not unlike that of 806 by Cynthia Weil, as unlikely siblings each with their own complex issues run into all sorts of drama as runaways (pun intended). A fresh take on siblings of a broken family, Layover will leave you satisfied.

*Disclaimer: A review copy was provided via a Goodreads Giveaway, in exchange for an honest review.


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