Tag Archives: Picador

Review: Make Your Home Among Strangers

Make Your Home Among Strangers

Make Your Home Among Strangers
By Jennine Capò Crucet
Picador, 9781250094551, July 2016, 416pp.

The Short of It:

A young woman is pulled between her family at home, her studies at school, and the political turmoil over the forcible removal of a young Cuban boy and his return to his father back in Cuba.

The Rest of It:

Many of you may recall the story of Elián González. He was the center of an international custody battle back in 2000. Make Your Home Among Strangers includes a fictionalized account of his story in the form of Ariel Hernandez.

Lizet is the first in her family to attend college but when she announces her acceptance, she is met with disappointment. Her sister just found out she is pregnant and Lizet’s mother was just left by her husband and the house has been sold out from under her. No one in the family is happy about this turn of events but Lizet is curious about a life outside of what she knows and goes, leaving some bad feelings behind.

At school, Lizet struggles. The schooling she’s had prior to college did not prepare her for the rigorous work that is expected of her. Her ties to home and the guilt she has over not helping her sister during this time, cause her to visit home often which confuses her more.

In the midst of all this, Lizet’s mother has joined with others to protest the removal of Ariel Hernandez. He lost his mother leaving Cuba and they feel that since he made it to the US, that he should be allowed to stay but the possibility of his removal looms large as the rest of the story unfolds.

This was a quick, one-two punch of a read. Crucet’s writing is genuine and thoughtful. Lizet is a very believable character. Not perfect, but trying. My discussion group chose this book for next week’s discussion. I had to go back to read up on Elián González because I had forgotten a lot of the particulars. Do you remember his story?

Source: Purchased
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

Review & Giveaway: The Last Pilot

The Last Pilot

The Last Pilot 
By Benjamin Johncock
(Picador USA, Hardcover, 9781250066640, July 7, 2015, 320pp.)

The Short of It:

Amid the excitement of space exploration, one couple is forced to deal with a horrible tragedy and the aftermath that it leaves behind.

The Rest of It:

The story centers around Jim Harrison and his wife Grace. Jim is an Air Force test pilot in Muroc, California on a base which later becomes Edwards Air Force Base. He’s a member of the New Nine, which is the first group to fly manned missions to space. As you can imagine, this is a very exciting time for them all.

Grace is not your typical Air Force wife. She worries, but she seems to know deep down, that things will turn out okay. But things are not okay. Jim and Grace suffer a terrible tragedy and it’s threatening to tear them apart. Grace desperately needs Jim during this time, but Jim chooses to bury himself in work.  How can you help another person when your own grief is too heavy to bear?

I really liked this novel. The excitement of space exploration is what grabbed my attention initially, but this couple’s situation really stayed with me. Not to mention the casual mentions of real-life astronaut Jim Lovell and larger-than-life Pancho Barnes. Barnes, who seriously steals the show in this one, could be the subject of her own book. She runs a bar, flies an airplane and basically knows everyone and better yet, seems to know exactly what everyone needs.

This knack of hers comes in handy more than once.

This was a smooth read for me. Even without the use of quotation marks, the writing and dialogue flowed effortlessly. Yes, there might have been a little confusion on my part when more than one character had the same name (two Jims, two Graces) but I quickly figured out who was who.

Overall, I really enjoyed this debut from Benjamin Johncock and I would absolutely read his work again. Check out his website here.

If you’d like a chance to win a copy, check out the details below.


This giveaway is for one copy of The Last Pilot and is open to the US and Canada. A winner will be chosen randomly by me. The book will come directly from the publisher. Only one entry per person.  Giveaway closes on Sunday, July 26, 2015 (pacific). I will contact the winner for his/her mailing address.

CLICK HERE TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY! (giveaway has closed!)

: Review and giveaway copy provided by the publisher.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.