Tuesday, November 12, 2019

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

4 Star

After the grisly murder of his entire family, a toddler wanders into a graveyard where the ghosts and other supernatural residents agree to raise him as one of their own.

Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn't live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead. There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack—who has already killed Bod's family...





Kathryn - 4 Star

Completely outside of my usual genre this was an interesting read and I'm glad I'm in a book club that will push my boundaries!   Firstly I don't often read stories that delve into the fantastical (apart from Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings) as I often spend half the novel getting my bearings on the new world and not focusing on the characters.  However this book didn't require too much brain reconfiguration at first so I was able to focus on people and plot.  It's a bit alarming that this tiny child finds himself being raised by a load of ghosts, but they are good ghost people and obviously care for their charge very much.  

I wish we had had more details on the living accommodations and the practicalities of how they actually fed an alive child when they were dead.. but likely that was just my inability to just accept things as they were.  The novel is a touch creepy, not because of the ghosts but because someone is clearly after this small child and there is a scene where he is chased by some foul creatures that made me feel very uneasy. 


Despite my misgivings and nitpicking about the practicalities I was quite touched by this story.  The kindness of strangers and the sense of community was very hopeful.


All opinions are our own.


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Monday, November 4, 2019

The Orphan Sisters by Shirley Dickson

2 Star

1929: Four-year-old Etty and eight-year-old Dorothy are abandoned at Blakely Hall orphanage by their mother, never to see her again. With no other family to speak of, the sisters worship their beloved mam – confused and heartbroken to be deserted by her when they need her the most.

1940: Etty and Dorothy are finally released from the confines of Blakely Hall – but their freedom comes when the country is in the grip of World War Two and its terrors. Amidst a devastating backdrop of screaming air-raid sirens and cold nights huddled in shelters, the sisters are desperate to put their broken childhoods behind them.

But trouble lies ahead. Dorothy must bid goodbye to her beloved husband when he’s sent to war and Etty must nurse a broken heart as she falls in love with the one man she can never be with.

Etty and Dorothy survived the orphanage with the help of one another and neither sister can forget the awful betrayal of their mother, which has haunted them their whole lives. But when a shocking secret about their painful childhood comes to light, will the sisters ever be the same again?




Kathryn - 2 Star

In truth I was expecting more from this book. The premise was there to give a gritty account of the two sisters lives but in reality each period of their lives seemed incomplete for me.  I wanted more from their time in the orphanage and more of their jobs once they grew out of the system.  I wanted to know more about their daily lives as adults before we reached the point where they were dealing with more tragedy.  And though I loved Dorothy's husband, I was unimpressed with the back and forth with Etty's love interest.  The romance bored me and made the rest of the book less interesting. 

There were some interesting moments such as the girls arrival and time at Blakely Hall and I liked the mystery surrounding their mother.  I also did enjoy the relationship between the sisters.   I'm not sure quite where it went wrong for me, likely Etty's love life, but it just didn't keep me engaged as I had hoped.  


Thank you to Bookouture for our review copy.  All opinions are our own.


Connect with Shirley Dickson:




Monday, October 28, 2019

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

4 Star

For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life–until the unthinkable happens.




Madison - 4 Star

I had been hearing a lot of praise about this novel and thankfully it did not disappoint. Where the Crawdads Sing is set in Barkley Cove, a small quiet town on the North Carolina coast. The protagonist is Kya Clark, known by the townspeople as “Marsh Girl”. When she is six years old her Mother walks away and slowly the rest of her family leaves until she is left to fend for herself.

There are several heartbreaking moments in this novel as Kya deals with being abandoned by her family, though the author does a good job of exploring the reasons behind this abandonment. Kya is a refreshingly strong female protagonist that even when being stubborn you find yourself always rooting for.

I found myself completely immersed in the descriptive nature writing in this novel with elegant prose and sweeping descriptions of the marsh and its wildlife. It felt fitting in light of the current climate crisis to have a main character that is literally raised by Mother Nature, and who is deeply grateful for her surrounding environment. Parallel to Kya's story of survival is also a mystery around the death of a town legend and golden boy Chase Andrews.  I don't know that this novel would satisfy hardcore mystery fans, it is definitely a great combination of mystery, nature writing and historical fiction.


All opinions are our own.

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Monday, October 21, 2019

The New Beginnings Coffee Club by Samantha Tonge

4 Star

Everyone deserves a second chance…don’t they?
Jenny Masters finds herself living the modern dream. Wife to a millionaire, living in a mansion and mother to Kardashian-obsessed ten-year-old April, there isn’t anything missing. Until, her whole world comes crashing down, forcing Jenny and April to leave behind their glittering life and start over with nothing.

With village gossip following her wherever she goes, she finds refuge and a job in the new coffee shop in town. As the days pass Jenny fears she doesn’t have what it takes to pick herself back up and give April the life she always wanted to. But with the help of enigmatic new boss Noah, and housemate Elle, Jenny realises it’s never too late to become the woman life really intended you to be!




Kathryn - 4 Star

This is a sweet novel full of things to restore feelings of friendship and faith in humanity.   I appreciated though that Jenny's daughter April was a typically self centered pre-teen with attitude I could recognize.  There was certainly an element of reality injected into this novel mingled with the loveliness.   A good start was Jenny's decision to get herself a new life as soon as she realized that she could not salvage her marriage.  I adored that she didn't feel her new abode was beneath her recent status nor did she shy away from hard work, making friends with people she would not have known in her prior life and she didn't give her daughter any leeway in getting on with it.

I often find myself a bit annoyed with leading ladies in stories of this nature but Jenny was different and I loved her and her colleagues.  They were the best kind of people and she was so lucky to find them. I was also pleased that April wasn't left out of the story line, we are given her story even though the focus was on Jenny and I gleaned a little insight into my own children by reading about her.

A good story with some different takes and I enjoyed it.


All opinions are our own.

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Monday, October 14, 2019

No One Ever Asked by Katie Ganshert

4 Star

When an impoverished school district loses its accreditation and the affluent community of Crystal Ridge has no choice but to open their school doors, the lives of three very different women converge: Camille Gray--the wife of an executive, mother of three, long-standing PTA chairwoman and champion fundraiser--faced with a shocking discovery that threatens to tear her picture-perfect world apart at the seams. Jen Covington, the career nurse whose long, painful journey to motherhood finally resulted in adoption but she is struggling with a happily-ever-after so much harder than she anticipated. Twenty-two-year-old Anaya Jones--the first woman in her family to graduate college and a brand new teacher at Crystal Ridge's top elementary school, unprepared for the powder-keg situation she's stepped into. Tensions rise within and without, culminating in an unforeseen event that impacts them all. 




Kathryn - 4 Star

No one ever asked by Katie Ganshert was a big surprised to me.  Not only was I fully engrossed by the story but I was impressed with the tackling of such diverse points of view.  This is my first read of this author and I was impressed.   

The three women come from different backgrounds and face different obstacles but all are affected by the same district reorganization of their schooling system. It was a tough subject to tackle and I think Ganshert did it with grace.  I'm not completely sure all voices could be considered one hundred percent authentic but I found each one fascinating as I'm not in a position to relate to any of them.
I tend to be inclined to give anyone the benefit of the doubt but even I had a lot of trouble warming to Camille.  She epitomized everything that made me and still makes me nervous about the "cool" kids.  The teacher, Miss.Jones, had me much more comfortable though I am not of the same background.  I loved her attitude, her empathy towards all her students and her strength.  And I related most to Jen who had finally realized her dream of being a mother and yet found herself floundering.   The three  stories overlapped but not in a way that seemed unnatural. 

My only issue with the book was the "climax" which I found a bit contrived and obvious.  I wish it had been a more subtle event.

The novel is worth reading for it's examination of the three very different lives which are tackled with great genuineness.


Thank you to Waterbook for our review copy.  All opinions are our own.



Connect with Katie Ganshert:

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Monday, October 7, 2019

Fake Like Me by Barbara Bourland

4 Star

After a fire decimates her studio, including the seven billboard-size paintings for her next show, a young, no-name painter is left with an impossible task: recreate her art in three months-or ruin her fledgling career.

Homeless and desperate, she flees to an exclusive retreat in upstate New York famous for its outrageous revelries and glamorous artists. And notorious as the place where brilliant young artist Carey Logan-one of her idols-drowned in the lake.

But when she arrives, the retreat is a ghost of its former self. No one shares their work. No parties light up the deck. No one speaks of Carey, though her death haunts the cabins and the black lake, lurking beneath the surface like a shipwreck. As the young painter works obsessively in Carey's former studio, uncovers strange secrets and starts to fall--hard and fast--for Carey's mysterious boyfriend, it's as if she's taking her place.

But one thought shadows her every move: What really happened to Carey Logan?




Sabrina-Kate - 4 Star

Another thriller that gripped my attention, I quite enjoyed Fake Like Me, despite not being into the art scene. I feel like if I was, I would have enjoyed it even more because it would have had that much more meaning.

The book had a lot of things that I wondered about, like were they things that were just added to the story, or were they actual facts? It did somewhat add to the overall mystery of the plot and I suspect that they had a basis in reality for those immersed in that scene.

The title could not have been more apt; but, as I think it over, it meant so many things in the book! A big, recurring theme was the authenticity of art and what that means. I can say I certainly learned a lot as far as those things go and how they are viewed.

An eye opening novel that taught me many things, Fake Like Me also surprised me in many ways, including how very much things can be changed to appear differently and the long lasting and numerous effects.


Thank you to Grand Central Publishing for our review copy.  All opinions are our own.

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Monday, September 30, 2019

The Mother-in-Law by Sally Hepworth

3 Star

From the moment Lucy met Diana, she was kept at arm's length. Diana is exquisitely polite, but Lucy knows, even after marrying Oliver, that they'll never have the closeness she'd been hoping for.

But who could fault Diana? She was a pillar of the community, an advocate for social justice, the matriarch of a loving family. Lucy had wanted so much to please her new mother-in-law.

That was ten years ago. Now, Diana has been found dead, leaving a suicide note. But the autopsy reveals evidence of suffocation. And everyone in the family is hiding something...






Kathryn - 3 Star

I am a big fan of Sally Hepworth. It began with The Secrets of Midwives and I've read everything she's written since.  I like that she puts challenges into relationships that seem like they should be fairly simple to solve- but never are.

I enjoyed The Mother in Law simply because I was still doubting my assumptions right until the very end.  Though one could assume certain things is valid, but that didn't take away from the suspense for me. 

Poor Lucy is so desperate for a mother figure and I felt so much empathy for her because Diana is very much surface supportive of the relationship even though she obviously is devoted to Oliver - in a slightly distant sort of way.  The frustrating thing is that in hearing both sides there are missteps and misunderstandings that could likely have been cleared up if Oliver had sat them down or they'd gone to some therapy on how to communicate.  Diana obviously is not an unkind person, she devotes much of her life to helping others.  But she's tough on her daughter as well as Lucy. The mother daughter bond seemed to be fractured for her also.   

Once you get into the history of Diana there is a lot of clarity about her upbringing that helps to show us why she is the way she is but it doesn't help make the end any better, except maybe for the reader! 

On the whole the suspense was there for this book but I did find it more frustrating that their problems could have been solved with a bit more listening- hindsight indeed.  I enjoyed it but it's not my favourite from this author.


Thank you to St Martin's Press for our review copy.  All opinions are our own.

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Monday, September 16, 2019

My Sister the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

3.5 Star

When Korede's dinner is interrupted one night by a distress call from her sister, Ayoola, she knows what's expected of her: bleach, rubber gloves, nerves of steel and a strong stomach. This'll be the third boyfriend Ayoola's dispatched in, quote, self-defence and the third mess that her lethal little sibling has left Korede to clear away. She should probably go to the police for the good of the menfolk of Nigeria, but she loves her sister and, as they say, family always comes first. Until, that is, Ayoola starts dating the doctor where Korede works as a nurse. Korede's long been in love with him, and isn't prepared to see him wind up with a knife in his back: but to save one would mean sacrificing the other... 








Madison- 3.5 Star

This book catches your eye, with a provocative title and stunning cover art. It is a unique, quirky and quick read. 

Despite the title, this book is not a gripping thriller but rather a character study focusing on issues of family, loyalty and societal expectations of beauty. Braithwaite examines how our society treats those it deems beautiful through the character of the younger sister Ayoola. 
Everything is easier for Ayoola because of her looks, and her life has always been consequence free. 

The difficulty I had with this novel is that the younger sister Ayoola seemed unbelievably obtuse and cruel, and therefore I struggled to picture this character existing in real-life.  I did find the author was successful in demonstrating the complicated bond between family. 

The older sister, Korede was written in such a way that you could deeply feel for her plight, especially if you understand the bond that siblings can have, but at the same time her complacency in her sister’s behaviour is frustrating. It is an intriguing take on codependency and rivalry amongst family. 

Overall, I did enjoy this novel but I would not rave about it.


All opinions are our own.


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Friday, June 21, 2019

Washington Black by Esi Edugyan


Please welcome Madison- our newest reviewer!  
Please see the bottom of our review policy page to contact her for your review requests.




 4 Star

Washington Black is an eleven-year-old field slave who knows no other life than the Barbados sugar plantation where he was born. 

When his master's eccentric brother chooses him to be his manservant, Wash is terrified of the cruelties he is certain await him. But Christopher Wilde, or "Titch," is a naturalist, explorer, scientist, inventor, and abolitionist. 

He initiates Wash into a world where a flying machine can carry a man across the sky; where two people, separated by an impossible divide, might begin to see each other as human; and where a boy born in chains can embrace a life of dignity and meaning. But when a man is killed and a bounty is placed on Wash's head, Titch abandons everything to save him. 

What follows is their flight along the eastern coast of America, and, finally, to a remote outpost in the Arctic, where Wash, left on his own, must invent another new life, one which will propel him further across the globe. 





Madison- 4 Star

I highly recommend reading Washington Black by Esi Edugyan. When I began reading this novel, all I knew was it was set in the 19th century, and narrated by Washington Black – a slave boy born on a plantation in Barbados. What I discovered was a grand historical adventure story that takes you all over the world. I could not put this book down and found myself excitingly waiting until the end of the day when I could curl up in bed and find out what was going to happen next in the life of Washington Black. Esi Edugyan tackles themes of friendship, family and what is means to be free. The protagonist Washington Black possesses scientific and artistic skills that allow him privileges that others born into slavery would not be afforded. He muses “I had long seen science as the great equalizer. No matter one's race, or sex, or faith - there were facts in the world waiting to be discovered. How little thought I'd given to the ways in which it might be corrupted.” 
I was very impressed with how Edugyan recreated a time she did not live with such vivid detail, certainty and elegance. Each character was realistic and complex with Washington Black, the narrator, being someone you could relate to even if you share no common characteristics. 

My only complaint would be that I found the ending fell a little bit short for how grand and epic the rest of the story had been.


All opinions are our own.

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Friday, May 31, 2019

Return to the Little Cottage on the Hill by Emma Davies

3.5 Star

It has been a difficult few years for thirty-year-old Megan Forrester, completing her apprenticeship and trying to maintain a long-distance relationship with her gorgeous boyfriend, Liam. 

She’s returned home to compete in a local craft competition. The prize is the chance to design beautiful new gates for the estate at the bottom of the hill, a job which could secure her future in the village forever. 

As the contest gets underway, Megan is devastated when a rival design turns out to be almost identical to hers. Someone in the close-knit community must have leaked her sketches, but who? Is it the same person spreading heartbreaking rumours about Liam? 

Down to the last few left in the competition, Megan throws her heart and soul into a show-stopping final piece… but will winning even matter when the truth about Liam is finally revealed? 



Kathryn - 3.5 Star

I read this novel a little while ago so am writing my review without the benefit of it being freshly on my mind- not recommended as the details are a bit fuzzy.  However, sometimes it actually just helps you to remember how you felt about the story overall rather than being picky about little things.  

For starters I remember being fascinated by the blacksmith trade and the running of the big house more than the characters and their inter-minglings.  This is likely due to the fact that this is book three of the same series and I may have missed some of the details of the people running the house.   
I remember thinking that I needed to seek out the first two books to really get into the series.   It can certainly stand alone but I did feel that I was missing a certain level of feeling for them.  

The personalities are all warm and lovely though and I was rooting for them all to succeed in their various pursuits.   I felt a bit lacklustre about the romances, but truly that's ok with me as the friendships and the depth of the ventures kept me entertained.

The were a number of storylines to keep me entertained and I felt very much engrossed with the plot and hopeful for all those involved.  I also found myself very visually aware of the setting which I always appreciated!  Definitely interested in the other novels in the series. 


Thank you to Bookouture for our review copy.  All opinions are our own.


Connect with Emma Davies:
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Friday, May 17, 2019

The Shop Girls of Lark Lane by Pam Howes

3 Star

Liverpool, 1945. As the war draws to a close, Alice and Terry Lomax are building a new life with their young daughter Cathy. After years away fighting, Terry is a stranger to his daughter and must work hard to win her trust and love. 

Alice and old friend Sadie work in the haberdashery of Lewis’s department store, where bomb damage scars the walls and rationing is still in force. Yet Lewis’s remains open, a sign of strength in the midst of Liverpool’s post-war ruins. 

Though memories of those lost in the war are fresh, Alice and Sadie look forward to the future. But then a tragic accident leaves Alice a widow, and the father of Sadie’s child – a man she hoped never to see again – is back in Liverpool… 

With Alice struggling to start again alone, and Sadie desperate to protect her son, can these two shop girls overcome their troubles and keep their hopes alive – even with all the odds against them?



Kathryn - 3 Star

I am a fan of Pam Howes because she creates characters that seem perfectly placed, with depth and warmth but also weaves into the narrative some serious challenges. I really enjoyed the last series I read from her (The Liverpool Girls) so I was hoping for the same immersion into this novel.  

Howes gave Alice a really difficult start and an even more challenging middle.  Her husband returning from war to be killed so shortly afterwards was heartbreaking so I was immediately entrenched in the hardship that was about to follow for her. But her choice to allow herself to be pursued by another man, a friend of her husband,  seemed doomed from the start and I couldn't quite get my head or heart to see it the way Alice did.  Her life was difficult without remarrying but I was not a fan of the new man.  I was also frustrated because her life without a husband didn't seem to be insurmountable, she had support from her brother, friends and her mother in law.  It's perhaps a sign of the times that the need for a husband would have her still choose someone with red flags rather than be alone.   

But what I loved most about the story was Alice's love for her brother, her daughter and her friends.  This is really a novel of friendship and family relationships rather than romance.  The strength of all the women is apparent.  


Thank you to Bookouture for our review copy.  All opinions are our own.


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Friday, May 10, 2019

Stranded on a desert island with Bo Kearns

Please welcome Bo Kearns, author of Ashes in a coconut, as she tackles our Desert Island Interview!



Bo Kearns is journalist and writer of fiction, is the author of Ashes in a Coconut, a novel set in Indonesia, where he lived for three years. He is a feature writer with Northbay biz magazine and the Sonoma Index-Tribune newspaper. His short stories have won awards—First Prize, Napa Valley College writing contest, Honorable Mention-Glimmer Train Fiction Open competition, and Finalist- Redwood Writers On the Edge genre competition. Other works have been published in the annual California Writers Club Literary Review, Napa Valley Writers First Press, The Red Wheelbarrow Literary Magazine and Sonoma: Stories of a Region and Its People. He is a UC Naturalist, beekeeper, avid hiker and active supporter of conservation causes. He lives in the wine country of Sonoma with his wife. 



Connect with Bo:
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Bo Kearns Stranded on a Desert Island

If you could only have one book with you, what would it be?

The aptly named One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Márquez. I could read the engaging, complex, weird family saga over and over again while waiting for help to arrive.

What one luxury item would you want to be stranded with?

A top-of-the-line hammock.

What is the one practical item you would want to have with you to use?

A machete. I could use it to slash off the tops of coconuts and drink the refreshing milk while swaying in the hammock, reading Solitude.

Would you enjoy the solitude, even briefly, or would it drive you crazy?

I’m a social person. Briefly would be okay. After a few weeks I’d invent a character and we’d have a chat.

If you could be stranded with one other person, who would you want it to be?

The ghost of Carl Sagan. We could gaze at the clear night sky and the brilliant stars, while discussing the mysteries of the universe and the possibility of extraterrestrial life.

What modern technology would you miss the most?

A toss up— my electric toothbrush or my laptop.

What food or beverage would you miss the most?

A glass of crisp, cold California Chardonnay to sip with my sashimi catch-of-the day.

How many days do you think you would cope without rescue?

By nature I’m optimistic. I could hang in there as long as ships appeared on the horizon, even if they passed me by.

What is the first thing you would do when rescued?

Have a group hug—me, my wife, my daughter and my dog.

What would be your first Tweet or Facebook update upon your return?

You won’t believe what happened to me!


Ashes in a coconut



Set in 1983, when Laura Harrison sets aside her fashion design career to follow her banker husband, Jack, to Jakarta, hoping the effort will save her marriage. She has a bad feeling about it all, though. There, he struggles with different rules and corrupt business people while she thrives, joining the effort to save the rain forest and orangutans. But when Jack considers funding development in the rain forest, and when his business associates turn frightening, all Laura's premonitions seem less far-fetched. 




Available at:
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Friday, May 3, 2019

The Single Mums' Mansion by Janet Hoggarth

3.5 Star

Amanda Wilkie unexpectedly finds herself alone with her three children in a rambling Victorian house in London. Her husband leaves them, claiming he's just 'lost the love', like one might carelessly lose a glove.

A few months later, Amanda's heavily pregnant friend, Ali, crashes into her kitchen announcing her husband is also leaving. So, after Ali's baby Grace is born, they both move into Amanda's attic. And when Jacqui, a long-lost friend and fellow single mum, starts dropping by daily, the household is complete.

Getting divorced is no walk in the park, but the three friends refuse to be defined by it. And, as they slowly emerge out of the wreckage like a trio of sequin-clad Gloria Gaynors singing 'I Will Survive', they realise that anything is possible. Even loving again...




Kathryn - 3.5 Star

I quite enjoyed this book but it wasn't what I was expecting.   Far from light-hearted it actually had some quite serious situations in it that had me questioning the genre I thought I was reading.  It's entirely possible that I'm a bit far removed from the situation of single parenting and dating with children!   

I liked Amanda and her attitude towards her children and her friends.  Despite being in a quite precarious position she does tend to just get on with things while still questioning everything she's doing.  I would be the same I think.   Her ex is a most confusing character and he's not exactly helpful about his intentions.   Her mum friends each come with baggage of their own which was realistic and well plotted to enhance the story.   

The book definitely takes on all the emotions from the heartbreak (for me it was particularly hard for Amanda's children) to the chaos and laughs of trying to find a new normal. 

My only issue was that the partying evenings seemed a bit out of place with the rest of the feel of the story and the characters.


All opinions are our own.

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Friday, April 26, 2019

At the Wedding by Matt Dunn

3 Star

Livia’s been planning her wedding to Jed for ages. Now, at the venue in beautiful Barcelona, with her dress pressed and the guests all on their way, she’s only left one tiny detail until the last minute: letting the groom know he’s about to get hitched.

But as far as Jed’s concerned, they’ve been bumping along just fine for ten years and even have a baby on the way, so why spoil things with an ‘I do’? Especially when he’d really rather not.

Meanwhile the guests are arriving with plenty of baggage of their own. Fading reality star Liam’s still on the lookout for a plus-one; Rachel’s has refused to come—and dumped her into the bargain; and divorcee Patrick’s date is more of the ‘mid-life crisis’ variety.

But as the ceremony approaches, and with no sign of Jed, there’s only one thing on all of their minds: will there be a bride and groom at the wedding?



Kathryn - 3 Star

Truthfully as I was reading At The Wedding I was completely involved in the plot.  It was intriguing and eventful throughout and I sped through it.   But... it turned out mostly as you would expect which was a touch disappointing given the amount of suspense drawn into those couple of days.  

My other issue was that I think it was partially supposed to be fun (as well as heartfelt). While funny in parts I can't actually say I was laughing out loud and I think there may have been room for some more silliness and shenanigans given the scene.   I was also mildly concerned that I didn't really feel for the two main characters.  I found them frustrating and could not get on board with the hold up in getting married.   Perhaps this is because I am the marrying kind though and I should not expect others to be?

A good aspect was that I was as interested in the supporting characters as much as the main couple which is tricky to accomplish in a fast paced read and I appreciated that.  I like Matt Dunn's writing and overall felt that this novel was entertaining and provided some food for thought about how people's minds work.


Thank you to Lake Union Publishing for our review copy.  All opinions are our own.

Connect with Matt Dunn:
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Thursday, April 18, 2019

RX by Rachel Lindsay

4 Star

In her early twenties in New York City, diagnosed with bipolar disorder, Rachel Lindsay takes a job in advertising in order to secure healthcare coverage for her treatment. But work takes a strange turn when she is promoted onto the Pfizer account and suddenly finds herself on the other side of the curtain, developing ads for an antidepressant drug. She is the audience of the work she's been pouring over and it highlights just how unhappy and trapped she feels, stuck in an endless cycle of treatment, insurance and medication. Overwhelmed by the stress of her professional life and the self-scrutiny it inspires, she begins to destabilize and while in the midst of a crushing job search, her mania takes hold. Her altered mindset yields a simple solution: to quit her job and pursue life as an artist, an identity she had abandoned in exchange for medical treatment. When her parents intervene, she finds herself hospitalized against her will, and stripped of the control she felt she had finally reclaimed. Over the course of her two weeks in the ward, she struggles in the midst of doctors, nurses, patients and endless rules to find a path out of the hospital and this cycle of treatment. One where she can live the life she wants, finding freedom and autonomy, without sacrificing her dreams in order to stay well. 



Sabrina-Kate - 4 Star

I don't often read memoirs, nor do I really read graphic novels. This book has been hanging around on my side table for a couple months now, waiting for me to pick it up. For some reason it spoke to me, possibly because the author now lives in Burlington,Vermont, which is one of my favorite places.

It didn't take me very long to get through it, even with the time I stopped to peruse the drawings in more detail. I felt compelled to slow down and take my time with this book, probably partly because the art spoke to me on it's own but also partly because of the subject matter.

Mental illness is something I'm not very comfortable with, probably because I don't feel like I know enough about it but also because I know everyone's experience is, or can be, vastly different. I felt like I didn't understand where the author was coming from at times with her reactions but I also don't suffer from her disease and I also don't have to worry about health care coverage.

So this book opened my eyes about what this type of experience could be like and what challenges a person may go through. I really appreciated her candor and bravery in sharing something so very personal as it was most probably very difficult to do.


Thank you to Grand Central Publishing for our review copy.   All opinions are our own.

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