Author: Joanne Ramos
Published: May 7, 2019
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: April 23- May 5, 2019
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars
Nestled in the Hudson Valley is a sumptuous retreat boasting every amenity: organic meals, private fitness trainers, daily massages—and all of it for free. In fact, you get paid big money—more than you’ve ever dreamed of—to spend a few seasons in this luxurious locale. The catch? For nine months, you belong to the Farm. You cannot leave the grounds; your every move is monitored. Your former life will seem a world away as you dedicate yourself to the all-consuming task of producing the perfect baby for your überwealthy clients.
Jane, an immigrant from the Philippines and a struggling single mother, is thrilled to make it through the highly competitive Host selection process at the Farm. But now pregnant, fragile, consumed with worry for her own young daughter’s well-being, Jane grows desperate to reconnect with her life outside. Yet she cannot leave the Farm or she will lose the life-changing fee she’ll receive on delivery—or worse.
Heartbreaking, suspenseful, provocative, The Farm pushes our thinking on motherhood, money, and merit to the extremes, and raises crucial questions about the trade-offs women will make to fortify their futures and the futures of those they love.
The thriller lover in me wanted a novel where Golden Oaks, aka ‘The Farm’ was ‘the big bad evil’ with ulterior motive and missing surrogates, etc. The Farm is Joanne Ramos’ debut novel and instead of thriller we get a novel about class and privilege and extreme differences. The differences in race, immigration status, lack of freedom, morality and greed, and many more topics are also explored.
‘The Farm’ seems like a resort for surrogates, and in some ways it is. The surrogates are given most everything they could need, but not want. They are subject to rules and regulations but they are also paid significantly as the pregnancy progresses. There are both positive and negative consequences to ‘The Farm’. In reality, the women are numbered like cattle carrying commodities, and it is all about the health of the fetus and the end result of a healthy baby delivered for ‘the client’. Most of the ‘hosts’ are immigrants who need a job and see a high payout with working at ‘The Farm’ and most of the clients are white. The ‘clients’ of Golden Oaks are not necessarily people who cannot have children: They are the rich who may not want to ruin their ‘perfect bodies’ with pregnancy or don’t want to deal with the time involved with doctor’s appointments and possible complications.
We get four points of view in The Farm:
Jane- an immigrant and our main protagonist
Reagan- another Host/Surrogate
Mae- Golden Oaks’ Director of Operations
Ate- Jane’s cousin
Each character makes decisions based on what works best for them and their given situation. I liked Jane and was on her side the whole novel. When she made bad decisions I just wanted to knock some sense into her! I felt for her when she missed her baby girl that she left with her cousin to ‘work’ at ‘The Farm’ for 9 months. Nine months can be a short amount of time to earn a huge payout, but at what cost? Jane begins to realize this as time passes and she misses her daughter’s milestones.
This is yet another novel that will leave you thinking. How far away is our society from having real life ‘farms’ for the wealthy that are made up of ‘hosts’ who are the poor and want or need that paycheck?
Many thanks to NetGalley and Random House Publishing for my copy.
Of Blood and Bone: Chronicles of The One (Book 2)
Author: Nora Roberts
Published: December 4 , 2018
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: March 17-25, 2019
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars
They look like an everyday family living an ordinary life. But beyond the edges of this peaceful farm, unimaginable forces of light and dark have been unleashed.
Fallon Swift, approaching her thirteenth birthday, barely knows the world that existed before—the city where her parents lived, now in ruins and reclaimed by nature since the Doom sickened and killed billions. Traveling anywhere is a danger, as vicious gangs of Raiders and fanatics called Purity Warriors search for their next victim. Those like Fallon, in possession of gifts, are hunted—and the time is coming when her true nature, her identity as The One, can no longer be hidden.
In a mysterious shelter in the forest, her training is about to begin under the guidance of Mallick, whose skills have been honed over centuries. She will learn the old ways of healing; study and spar; encounter faeries and elves and shifters; and find powers within herself she never imagined. And when the time is right, she will take up the sword, and fight. For until she grows into the woman she was born to be, the world outside will never be whole again.
Year One was the first in this series and now we have book two in the trilogy with Of Blood and Bone. The story continues and the books focus is on Fallon, who is nearly thirteen, and she knows what her future will be in being The One. And let me tell you, even in a post-apocalyptic world, teenagers will still be teenagers! At times it was humorous to read. We do see Fallon grow as she undergoes her training with Mallick. It was good to see some of the other characters returning from the previous book to see what is going on in their lives. My favorite character is Arylis, so I liked being ‘updated’ on her life.
Now, I am not a fantasy reader and the fantasy element really kicks in for this book. It’s the story of the people and living in an apocalyptic world that intrigues me. I couldn’t care less about the faeries, magic, etc, so Of Blood and Bone isn’t really for me. Because Fallon is the focus, Of Blood and Bone has a YA feel to it, but remember she IS a teenager! I am still surprised that this series is written by Nora Roberts, who writes romance. I have never read any of her other books, but wow, she can write!
Year One dealt with the ‘end of the world’ and I am thinking the final book in this series will heavily focus on the future battles and will have a significant fantasy element, so I might skip out on it. There is nothing wrong with the novel, I am just not the demographic reader for this series. If you enjoy fantasy books, then The Chronicles of The One series will be for you![Top]
Author: Neal Shusterman
Published: November 22, 2016
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: April 30-May 11, 2018
Jessica’s Rating: 5 stars
Thou shalt kill.
A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery. Humanity has conquered all those things, and has even conquered death. Now scythes are the only ones who can end life—and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control.
Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe—a role that neither wants. These teens must master the “art” of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own.
I loved Scythe 100% by Neal Shusterman! Thank you to Kim whose review influenced me to want to read it. Her review is here. I listened to the audiobook and OMG, I wanted to keep driving and not stop! I can’t say anything negative about Scythe!
Scythe takes place in the future in a world where natural death no longer occurs and the Internet is an all-powerful being called the Thunderhead. All knowledge is acquired and we all have ‘nanites’ in our blood that heal us. If someone does die then they can be revived….. So no one dies… But you have to wonder: What about overpopulation?!?!?!? That problem has also been solved and the answer is one word: Scythes.
Scythes are appointed to perform random ‘gleanings’. Gleanings are deaths where one cannot be revived. All first responder type occupations are not to interfere with any Scythe business. There are many rules to gleaning. One of them is the scythe gets to decide the method of the gleaning. And we get to experience various methods of gleaning throughout the novel: from no pain to pure brutality.
You can see where this is going…. Scythe will make you think long after you have finished it. It will cause serious thought-provoking ethical discussions. I did figure out and suspect a few things that were revealed as twists later on, but it did not cease my enjoyment.
I liked both Citra and Rowan and we see them evolve over the course of the novel as they become apprentices. I adored Scythe Faraday and really liked Scythe Curie. I look forward to reading the sequel Thunderhead, and then I can bet I will be highly anticipating the third in the series which Goodreads has titled as The Toll. I just need to find Thunderhead on audio!! Neal Shusterman is a genius!!
Scythe is very highly recommended!![Top]