Friday 29 December 2023

Your House Will Pay by Steph Cha | Book Review

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Your House Will Pay by Steph Cha
My rating: 4/5
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Publication date: 15th October 2019

Grace Park and Shawn Mathews share a city, but seemingly little else. Coming from different generations and very different communities, their paths wouldn't normally cross at all. As Grace battles confusion over her elder sister's estrangement from their Korean-immigrant parents, Shawn tries to help his cousin Ray readjust to life on the outside after years spent in prison.

But something in their past links these two families. As the city around them threatens to spark into violence, echoing events from their past, the lives of Grace and Shawn are set to collide in ways which will change them all forever.

In all honesty, when I first started this book, I was close to stopping and potentially going back again later as it was very slow at the beginning. I am so glad I kept going.

Your House Will Pay follows Shawn Matthews, a 45 year old Black man and Grace Park, a 27 year old Korean woman. In the early 90s, Shawn Matthews' older sister Ava was shot and killed in a convenience store by the Korean clerk. She was unarmed and just sixteen years old. 

Now, in 2019, Grace Park's elderly mother is shot whilst leaving her store. Both of their stories are interwoven together and it is a deep, moving and thoughtful read.

Race is a massive focus in this book. I have read a lot of books where the race issues have been between white people and Black people but this is the first I've read about Korean conflict with African Americans. Upon doing some research after the book, I learned that the plot of Ava Matthews being shot by a Korean clerk is reminiscent of a real life event where Latasha Harlins was fatally shot by Soon Ja Du in 1991.

As I mentioned it is a very slow paced book but well worth a read. It surprised me, the characters felt real and I especially loved Shawn's chapters. I could definitely see this made into a TV drama.

Friday 8 December 2023

The Rule Of Three by Sophie Snow | Book Review

The Rule Of Three by Sophie Snow
My rating: 5/5
Publication date: 24th October 2023

Her reputation has never been worse.
Their love fell apart and left them with a missing piece.
Can three broken hearts hold on to each other long enough to fight for their happy ending?

Recovering from a messy public breakup, lonely songwriter Tessa Reid flees the vicious British tabloids for New York. After sneaking out of a one-night stand, she discovers the tattooed man she left behind, and can’t get out of her head, is her new neighbor, River Sage.

Hopeless romantic, River, lives next door with his best friend, and the man who broke his heart, Cassian King. After years of avoiding confronting their feelings, Tessa shows up and makes them question everything.

Sparks fly as a friends-with-benefits arrangement between the three quickly evolves into something deeper, blurring the lines between friendship and more. Used to outrunning the ghosts from their pasts, can Cass, River, and Tessa stop running from each other and learn to stay?

I love love loved this. I am in love with the characters and just absolutely devoured it.

Tessa is a songwriter and has just split up from her abusive older rockstar boyfriend. She wrote most of his songs and following the break-up, she is lost. Whilst in a bookstore after just moving to New York, she bumps into River and they end up having a one night stand. Her life is upside down at the moment so she flees, but River can't stop thinking about her.

River, a romance author writing under a pen name, and Cass, a model, are in their late thirties and River has been in love with Cass for almost his whole life. Cass could never properly commit but they have remained best friends (with some no strings attached benefits). Soon they discover who their new neighbour is - Tessa.

The three of them navigate their feelings for each other and embark on a relationship. What I loved most about this book was following the journey that all three of them go through. I fell totally in love with them and cared massively. I felt their sadness, confusion and happiness.

I love the diversity of the characters and their backstories were fully fleshed. It is spicy but absolutely beautiful too. I can't wait to read more by Sophie Snow.