Posted in Reviews

Review: Brunch and Other Obligations by Suzanne Nugent

Brunch and Other Obligations by Suzanne Nugent – ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Recommended: sure
For a slow start and hot finish, for a book about people, for explorations of connections and community, for enemies-to-friends kind of relationships :). It’s also seriously quotable. So many good lines!

Read for SRC2020!

Summary:
The only thing reclusive bookworm Nora, high-powered attorney Christina, and supermom-in-training Leanne ever had in common was their best friend, Molly. When Molly dies, she leaves mysterious gifts and cryptic notes for each of her grieving best friends, along with one final request: that these three mismatched frenemies have brunch together every month for a year. Filled with heartwrenching scenes and witty prose, Brunch and Other Obligations explores the intricate dynamics of girlhood acquaintances who are forced to reconnect as women. This upbeat novel reminds readers that there’s hope for getting through the hard times in life―with a lot of patience, humor, and a standing brunch date.

Thoughts:
To be honest, when I first started this book I was surprised by how rigid the characters seemed. Each was defined by a very specific characteristic that felt exaggerated and as though it was their whole identity. But as it continued, they were given more characteristics even if they were still a bit pigeonholed into their original cliche. But I ended the book with a smile and a tear in my eye, which is always a solid way to end.

Continue reading “Review: Brunch and Other Obligations by Suzanne Nugent”
Posted in Release Day!

Just Published: Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain!

Reminder that Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain (⭐⭐⭐⭐) released today! Check out the review here, and find a Barnes & Noble to pick up a copy!

Recommended: yup!
For fans of dual narrative, for fans of social-intrigue kind of mysteries, for a well-done blend of then-and-now story-lines that weave together. Must be able to suspend disbelief for one serious plot hole, and be aware the romance is weakly developed.

Then-and-now cover

Summary:
2018: Morgan Christopher is delivered a bizarre twist of fate when she’s offered an escape from her wrongful prison sentence. With her incomplete art degree, she must restore an old mural with a tight timeline. As she rushes to uncover the mural, she learns of the artist’s descent into madness.

1940: Anna Dale desperately accepts the job states away from her own hometown. With prejudices and secrets thriving under the glamour of Southern charm, more lines are crossed than just the Mason-Dixon. This mural will steal her peace, and possibly her life.

Posted in Reviews

The Handmaid’s Tale: The Graphic Novel by Renée Nault

The Handmaid’s Tale: The Graphic Novel by Renée Nault – ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Interesting, but mostly made me feel like I need to read the full novel to get now if the details that feel like they’d make the story have more impact. The creep factor of the control of the world was toned down by the shortened adaptation, but enhanced by the visuals that really hit you in the face with how WEIRD the situations were.

Recommended: For people who have already read the original
For a shorter adaptation with effective art that will enhance an already developed story for those who know it

Summary:
Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead, where women are prohibited from holding jobs, reading, and forming friendships. She serves in the household of the Commander and his wife, and under the new social order she has only one purpose: once a month, she must lie on her back and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if they are fertile. But Offred remembers the years before Gilead, when she was an independent woman who had a job, a family, and a name of her own. Now, her memories and her will to survive are acts of rebellion.

Thoughts:
My overall impression is that I wasn’t able to get the details I would need about the world and the characters to truly appreciate this. In part due to the nature of a graphic novel, where text is limited, I felt like some of the reasoning of why these things had happened, how our MC got to be where she was, and so on, felt undeveloped. I know that’s partly intentional in the story itself, but it felt a little hollow from here.

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Posted in Reviews

The Farm by Joanne Ramos

The Farm by Joanne Ramos – ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Recommended: sure
For a 1984-ish, The Handmaid’s Tale-ish kind of story, for a read that will make you bounce back and forth between whether something is right or wrong until you’re tangled up in knots, for complex evaluations on ways of living and which is better (indignant pride and striving for what you deserve, or gratitude for everything that you have no matter how meager it may seem to others)

They’re pregnant bellies!

Summary:
Golden Oaks caters to women who need or want a surrogate for their pregnancy – provided they can pay the exorbitant price. In a facility with every amenity, secretively selected women can sign on to be monitored and controlled through their 9 months of pregnancy. The promise of Golden Oaks to its clients is to deliver a perfect baby, given every advantage starting from pre-conception; its promise to its Hosts is a pile of money, more than most could dream of. 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.

Thoughts:
The surface story within this didn’t compel me as much as the struggle to figure out who was correct in their view of Golden Oaks and their services. I don’t think I ever came up with a clear answer, but it made me consider some important questions and challenge some of my own beliefs, so that in itself made me keep reading.

Continue reading “The Farm by Joanne Ramos”
Posted in Reviews

Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain

Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain – ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Release Date: January 14, 2020

A+ mystery, F romance, and one huge plot hole that I’m willing to ignore because the rest was so good.

Recommended: yup!
For fans of dual narrative, for fans of social-intrigue kind of mysteries, for a well-done blend of then-and-now storylines that weave together. Must be able to suspend disbelief for one serious plot hole, and be aware the romance is weakly developed.

Then-and-now cover

Summary:
2018: Morgan Christopher is delivered a bizarre twist of fate when she’s offered an escape from her wrongful prison sentence. With her incomplete art degree, she must restore an old mural with a tight timeline. As she rushes to uncover the mural, she learns of the artist’s descent into madness.

1940: Anna Dale desperately accepts the job states away from her own hometown. With prejudices and secrets thriving under the glamour of Southern charm, more lines are crossed than just the Mason-Dixon. This mural will steal her peace, and possibly her life.

Thoughts:
The feeling of doom that hung over this was critical in its success. You don’t know what happened to Anna, but you have a feeling the answer is nothing good. Without that foreknowledge of her insanity, the first half of this book would read as though nothing was really happening. For some, that may still be the case, but trust me: once you’re about halfway, events start happening quite quickly and with significant urgency.

Continue reading “Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain”
Posted in Reviews

Manga Classics: Macbeth by Crystal S. Chan

Manga Classics: Macbeth by Crystal S. Chan – 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Let me put it this way: I got a free digital copy for review, and it was so good that before I’d even finished it I had bought the print version to finish it on. 😍😍😍 Just brought so much depth to the story, even I caught some new details! Absolutely loved this adaptation!

Recommended: Yes!!
For teachers looking for ways to make Macbeth clearer for students while still using the original language, for those who love a badass graphic novel, for an interesting and faithful illustrated interpretation of Macbeth.

All good things come with this cover ♥

Summary:
Welcome to the Manga Classics’ brilliant adaptation of Macbeth! In this dark tale by William Shakespeare, a brave Scottish general named Macbeth receives a prophecy from a trio of witches that one day he will become King of Scotland. Consumed by ambition and spurred to action by his wife, Macbeth murders King Duncan and takes the Scottish throne for himself. He is then wracked with guilt and paranoia. This manga adaptation brings a modern look to the classic language with the full original text alongside 300+ pages of stunning art.

Thoughts:
As an avid reader and someone who majored in English and English Education in college, I’ve read Macbeth a good number of times. I even did a thesis on it and created a website around it at one point! I have some pretty solid theories around the 3rd murderer and Hecate’s role in everything. And yet, despite my familiarity, there were still details I had never fully understood before that the manga version of Macbeth revealed to me.

Continue reading “Manga Classics: Macbeth by Crystal S. Chan”
Posted in Reviews

Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams

Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams – ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Recommended: Yes!!
For people who are ok with honest depictions and discussions of all kinds of sex, as well as racial barriers + barriers women face. For those who are ok laughing while reading a book ^.^

I had been laughing while reading SO MUCH, that my boyfriend asked if it was a comedy book

IDK what a comedy book is, but I can probably say yes!!
I can’t stop tracing the paths of the braids through the title

Summary:
Queenie is on a break with her is-he-still-her-boyfriend, and she’s trying not to self-destruct. At least, no more than she does in a usual day. But… is it cheating if she hooks up with the guy down the street? And why can’t she stop calling up the guy who just uses her body for sex? Her love life is noticeably lacking the “love” part of that, and on top of that she’s hanging by a thread at work. Queenie has to rely on her best friends to help see her through this, and hope that they won’t get too sick of her in the process. She just has to hold on until after this “break.” Her sort-of-boyfriend and his family might have been a smidge racist, and maybe he touched her weave too often, but it’s not like that makes her crazy for still wanting to marry him and have babies…right?

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Posted in Reviews

The Wednesday Letters by Jason F. Wright

The Wednesday Letters by Jason F. Wright – 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟

Recommended: YES!!!
For those who like a quick, warm-fuzzies sort of read. It’s charm comes largely from the style it’s written in (featuring the letters from the title), and the relationships between the siblings.

Even the cover has adorable origins that you discover while reading!! They just completely nailed this, every aspect.

Summary:
The adult children of this family suddenly lose their parents and all come together in their hometown to handle it, when they find a basement full of THOUSANDS of letters that their father wrote to their mother, weekly, without fail, for their entire marriage. Including the last one, which he wrote immediately after his wife died in his arms and before he takes his own life / dies of heartbreak. Reading through the letters reveals some intensities of their parent’s marriages they had never known, and deeply rattles all the kids as their images of their parents – and themselves – changes forever.

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Posted in Reviews

I Owe You One by Sophie Kinsella

I Owe You One by Sophie Kinsella – ⭐⭐

Recommended: nope.
Stay away if you like developed characters, original plot, likable characters…. Blech.

Don’t be fooled by the nice cover

Summary:
Fixie is trying to keep the family shop from falling apart while her mother is away on vacation for a few months. But with her useless sister and pompous brother trying to change the shop from a local favorite to a new-age bourgeoisie boutique, she’s starting to lose her mind a little bit. Oh, and her long-time crush is back in town professing his love after his failed stint in Hollywood. Cue meet-cute with Seb, and the trading of favors back and forth after she rescues his laptop from a ceiling collapse. A long-time love and an intriguing new man both pull Sophie away from the family shop even more.

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Posted in Reviews

The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters by Balli Kaur Jaswal

The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters by Balli Kaur Jaswal – ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Recommended: yes!!!
For fans of travel, learning new cultures, exploring family dynamics, and wonderfully written and developed characters. Left me fist pumping and cheering along with them!

Summary:
To go or not to go; that’s the debate the Shergill sisters have after their mother’s death. Her dying wish for them to return to their homeland, India, and complete a pilgrimage together, is one none of them are thrilled about completing. Growing up in Britain, none of them know much about their supposed home, and growing up in a tense household at odds, they don’t know much about each other either. The stresses they each carry with them are going to make time in close quarters even more challenging. The sisters struggle with trusting themselves, trusting their mother, and trusting each other. And occasionally, trusting Tom Hanks.

Continue reading “The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters by Balli Kaur Jaswal”