Posted in Book Talk, Chatty

In Progress with ELEANOR OLIPHANT IS COMPLETELY FINE

Progress: page 221/325 (68%)

Finally started this one that’s been hanging around for a while.

Why did I start reading it?

I’ve had this for a while now, and it’s been out for even longer. Long enough for the hype to die down so I don’t hear about it so much anymore. Which means I can finally read it. 😁 I started reading it because I had nothing I particularly wanted to read and this looked nice on my shelf for a sunny day. I actually started it once a while ago but the first incident with the Hollywood waxing made me too sad and I had to stop at the time.

Where have I gone?

(UK English) Words I’ve Learned:

Lemon-colored explosively fizzy boiled sweets – apparently called sherbet lemons?

Lines that linger

The streets were all named after poets – Wordsworth Lane, Shelly Close, Keats Rise – no doubt chosen by the building company’s Marketing Department. They were all poets that the kind of person who’d aspire to such a home would recognize, poets who wrote about urns and flowers and wandering clouds. Based on past experience, I’d be more likely to end up living in Dante Lane or Poe crescent.

“I marveled at the generosity of those humans who performed intimate services for others.”

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: This is My America (7/28)

In contrast to Throwback Thursday, I like to use Fridays to look forward to upcoming releases I’m excited about! Today’s book is This is My America by Kim Johnson, which feels remarkably appropriate for the way society is here in the US right now.
Expected release: July 28, 2020

Why wait on this one?

I adore this clever cover
  • On the fiction side of this, we have the mystery at its heart. Why is Tracy’s brother being accused of murder? What role did he actually play in the event, if any? Will Tracy ever succeed in helping acquit her father as an innocent man?
  • On the more real side of this, we have the painful realism of how Black people in America are treated by law enforcement and the government in general. This book sounds like it will bluntly face the injustices and blatantly shitty things that are handed to Black people. I’m always trying to learn more about the reality of all people, and reading is one way I do so.
  • I fully expect this book to make me feel lots and lots of emotions. I know I will probably cry. And rage. And end feeling exhausted. But those are important things to feel, because for others (too many others) it’s their daily existence and not just a novel they can turn the last page on.

Summary:
Every week, seventeen-year-old Tracy Beaumont writes letters to Innocence X, asking the organization to help her father, an innocent Black man on death row. After seven years, Tracy is running out of time—her dad has only 267 days left. Then the unthinkable happens. The police arrive in the night, and Tracy’s older brother, Jamal, goes from being a bright, promising track star to a “thug” on the run, accused of killing a white girl. Determined to save her brother, Tracy investigates what really happened between Jamal and Angela down at the Pike. But will Tracy and her family survive the uncovering of the skeletons of their Texas town’s racist history that still haunt the present?

Posted in Release Day!

Just Published: What You Wish For by Katherine Center!

Just a reminder that What You Wish For by Katherine Center published today! Check out the full review here or pick up your own copy at Book Despository!

Recommended: sure
For teachers, for those who like Center’s writing style, for a blend of teaching pedagogy and medical/personal self-discovery, for a book where you know exactly what to expect, for something uplifting and quotable if you’re having a bad day

Summary:
Samantha Casey loves everything about her job as an elementary school librarian on the sunny, historic island of Galveston, Texas—the goofy kids, the stately Victorian building, the butterfly garden. But when the school suddenly loses its beloved principal, it turns out his replacement will be none other than Duncan Carpenter—a former, unrequited crush of Sam’s from many years before. When Duncan shows up as her new boss, though, he’s nothing like the sweet teacher she once swooned over. He’s become stiff, and humorless, and obsessed with school safety. Now, with Duncan determined to destroy everything Sam loves about her school in the name of security—and turn it into nothing short of a prison—Sam has to stand up for everyone she cares about before the school that’s become her home is gone for good.

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Well Behaved Indian Women

In contrast to Throwback Thursday, I like to use Fridays to look forward to an upcoming release I’m excited about! Today’s is Well Behaved Indian Women by Saumya Dave. I have hope that the title will be quickly revealed as a sham, and these women will in fact be a little bit less well-behaved, to their own benefits. 😁
Expected Release: July 14, 2020

Why wait on this one?

  • I’ve come to love books that are multi-generational, as they give a fascinating look at how culture and people change over time. When done well, the weave of different moments in time blends beautifully to create a robust picture of life.
  • This sounds like it will be a combo of hard situations and family support. The kind of thing where they start off at odds with each other, and slowly come to realize they can depend on each other. I hope they’ll learn that each is more than just who she is to them: more than just a mother, a daughter, etc.
  • And, okay, yes, I am excited to hear the juicy details of each woman’s struggles and inner turmoil that she carries and tries to deal with on her own. But I’m also interested in seeing how those burdens come to shape their relationships with each other for the better. Drama and secrets!

PS – I think this book will remind me a bit of The Unlikely Adventure of the Shergill Sisters by Balli Kaur Jaswal and The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan. If that’s the case, then it will certainly be a delight.


Summary:
Simran Mehta has always felt harshly judged by her mother, Nandini, especially when it comes to her little “writing hobby.” But when a charismatic and highly respected journalist careens into Simran’s life, she begins to question not only her future as a psychologist, but her engagement to her high school sweetheart.

Nandini Mehta has strived to create an easy life for her children in America. From dealing with her husband’s demanding family to the casual racism of her patients, everything Nandini has endured has been for her children’s sake. It isn’t until an old colleague makes her a life-changing offer that Nandini realizes she’s spent so much time focusing on being the Perfect Indian Woman, she’s let herself slip away.

Mimi Kadakia failed her daughter, Nandini, in ways she’ll never be able to fix—or forget. But with her granddaughter, she has the chance to be supportive and offer help when it’s needed. As life begins to pull Nandini and Simran apart, Mimi is determined to be the bridge that keeps them connected, even as she carries her own secret burden.

Posted in Book Talk, Chatty

In Progress with City of Saints and Thieves

Progress: page 245/401 (61%)

I got this book months ago in March and was so excited about it! I’ve finally got the chance to pick it up. I am currently reading City of Saints and Thieves by Natalie C Anderson. Here’s how it’s going so far!

Why did I start reading it?

I’ve been trying to purchase a load of books from my favorite nonprofit bookshop in the past few months since they are trying to stay afloat during COVID shutdowns. I don’t typically purchase physical books because I don’t have a lot of space, but this is a worthy cause! I browsed what they had online and found this one, which sounded fantastic and I had never heard of it before.

Where have I gone?

(Swahili!) Words I’ve Learned:

kanga

Lines that linger

The air is whipping past me and the shadows and the sun ripple over my arms and legs as we rocket through the jacaranda trees that tunnel the road. Their flowers lie on the ground like purple snow.

I can tell he doesn’t see the amazing view of the city, or that I’m safe here. All he sees through his rich-boy eyes is a poor refugee girl living in a filthy half-finished building.

Posted in Reviews

Review: Beach Read by Emily Henry

Beach Read by Emily Henry – ⭐⭐⭐

Recommended: sure
for a different style of romance, for complex family betrayal and love, for a comforting quick read

Don’t be fooled: they read on the beach exactly ONCE

Summary:
Augustus Everett is an acclaimed author of literary fiction. January Andrews writes bestselling romance. When she pens a happily ever after, he kills off his entire cast. They’re polar opposites. In fact, the only thing they have in common is that for the next three months, they’re living in neighboring beach houses, broke, and bogged down with writer’s block. Until, one hazy evening, one thing leads to another and they strike a deal designed to force them out of their creative ruts: Augustus will spend the summer writing something happy, and January will pen the next Great American Novel. She’ll take him on field trips worthy of any rom-com montage, and he’ll take her to interview surviving members of a backwoods death cult (obviously). Everyone will finish a book and no one will fall in love. Really.

Thoughts:
First things first: I don’t think I’d consider this a beach read. Those are usually fluffier and light with the main issue the old trope where the characters just don’t talk to each other and misunderstand something stupid. This book is not that. In fact, I was delighted that, for the most part, when they were hurt or angry or confused they did address it and talk to each other instead of letting idiocy fester. THANK YOU, EMILY HENRY.

Continue reading “Review: Beach Read by Emily Henry”
Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: The Bitter and Sweet of Cherry Season

Unlike Throwback Thursday, I’m using Fridays to look forward to an upcoming release that I’m excited about! Today’s is The Bitter and Sweet of Cherry Season by Molly Fader. A generational story of women trying to connect and find themselves among each other, it takes place on a cherry farm in Northern Michigan where the main character and her daughter have fled to an estranged aunt for unknown — but seemingly dark — reasons.
Expected release: June 9, 2020

  • I’m sure there will be a lot of interesting things new to me that I”ll learn from this book. Most simply, what a cherry farm entails, and what life is like in Northern Michigan. Two things I know little about, that will at the very least be something new!
  • I’ve been trying to read more stories about women and generational stories. They aren’t my usual style, but I’ve really enjoyed some, so I’m pushing myself to keep trying them. With an estranged aunt, single mother, and young daughter, this pretty easily fits the bill.
  • My interest is undeniably piqued by the description of someone having a terrible secret, because we always get to try sniffing out what the secret is before the big reveal. Then after the big reveal, we usually get the pleasure of forgiveness and redemption. Basically, a whole lot of cathartic emotion that is a wonder to live through vicariously. Without the requirement of my own terrible secret. 😉

Summary:
Everything Hope knows about the Orchard House is from the stories of her late mother. So when she arrives at the northern Michigan family estate late one night with a terrible secret and her ten-year-old daughter in tow, she’s not sure if she’ll be welcomed or turned away with a shotgun by the aunt she has never met. Hope’s aunt, Peg, has lived in the Orchard House all her life, though the property has seen better days. She agrees to take Hope in if, in exchange, Hope helps with the cherry harvest—not exactly Hope’s specialty, but she’s out of options. As Hope works the orchard alongside her aunt, daughter and a kind man she finds increasingly difficult to ignore, a new life begins to blossom. But the mistakes of the past are never far behind, and soon the women will find themselves fighting harder than ever for their family roots and for each other.

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 Reviews

Review: Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner

Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner – ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Recommended: sure
For people open to surprises! For female friendships that are more complex than talking about boys.

Summary:
Six years after the fight that ended their friendship, Daphne Berg is shocked when Drue Cavanaugh walks back into her life, looking as lovely and successful as ever, with a massive favor to ask. Daphne hasn’t spoken one word to Drue in all this time—she doesn’t even hate-follow her ex-best friend on social media—so when Drue asks if she will be her maid-of-honor at the society wedding of the summer, Daphne is rightfully speechless. Drue was always the one who had everything—except the ability to hold onto friends. Meanwhile, Daphne’s no longer the same self-effacing sidekick she was back in high school. She’s built a life that she loves, including a growing career as a plus-size Instagram influencer. Letting glamorous, seductive Drue back into her life is risky, but it comes with an invitation to spend a weekend in a waterfront Cape Cod mansion. When Drue begs and pleads and dangles the prospect of cute single guys, Daphne finds herself powerless as ever to resist her friend’s siren song.

Thoughts:
It is so hard for me to talk about this book because I expected something very different than what I got, and I loved it! But this book was so much more than I expected, and that’s the kind of surprise we don’t get very often anymore. Like Edge’s big return to WWE that was kept entirely secret, it made it so much sweeter when it happened!

Continue reading “Review: Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner”
Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Beach Read

Unlike Throwback Thursday, I’m using Fridays to look ahead to books publishing soon that I’m excited for! For once, the hype around Beach Read by Emily Henry hasn’t pushed me away, and in fact has continued to draw me in.
Expected Release: May 19, 2020

Why wait on this one?

  • It’s a rarity for me, because I’m for once kind of drawn in by the hype! I’ve heard so much about this book, seen it all over bookstagram, and it’s even in the SRC2020 line up. Usually that drives me away from a book, but this one I’m still pushing for!
  • It’s entirely possible that I won’t be able to do much actual beach reading this summer depending on how COVID19 continues around here and what regulations are in place. This is my way of living vicariously in a slightly wry way.
  • Reading books about authors or librarians or booksellers always feels familiar in a way. I guess people who love to read especially love to read about people who love to read. That’s kind of a confusing sentence to read but I stand by it!
  • As I’ve said, I’ve seen this book all over, and honestly the reviews are encouraging. I’m hoping for the promised blend of romance and personal discovery, and that’s largely what people have reported. I like books and romances in particular where the character’s define themselves by more than how they feel about each other.

Summary:
Augustus Everett is an acclaimed author of literary fiction. January Andrews writes bestselling romance. When she pens a happily ever after, he kills off his entire cast. They’re polar opposites. In fact, the only thing they have in common is that for the next three months, they’re living in neighboring beach houses, broke, and bogged down with writer’s block. Until, one hazy evening, one thing leads to another and they strike a deal designed to force them out of their creative ruts: Augustus will spend the summer writing something happy, and January will pen the next Great American Novel. She’ll take him on field trips worthy of any rom-com montage, and he’ll take her to interview surviving members of a backwoods death cult (obviously). Everyone will finish a book and no one will fall in love. Really.