The Printed Letter Bookshop by Katherine Reay

Rating: 5/5 stars. Recommended to bookworms!

Published: 14 May 2019 by Thomas Nelson

Genre(s): Contemporary fiction; Books about books

Pages: 336 (Kindle)

One of Madeline Cullen’s happiest childhood memories is of working with her Aunt Maddie in the quaint and cozy Printed Letter Bookshop. But by the time Madeline inherits the shop nearly twenty years later, family troubles and her own bitter losses have hardened her heart toward her once-treasured aunt—and the now struggling bookshop left in her care.

While Madeline intends to sell the shop as quickly as possible, the Printed Letter’s two employees have other ideas. Reeling from a recent divorce, Janet finds sanctuary within the books and within the decadent window displays she creates. Claire, though quieter than the acerbic Janet, feels equally drawn to the daily rhythms of the shop and its loyal clientele, finding a renewed purpose within its walls. When Madeline’s professional life takes an unexpected turn, and a handsome gardener upends all her preconceived notions, she questions her plans and her heart. She begins to envision a new path for herself and her aunt’s beloved shop—provided the women’s best combined efforts are not too little, too late.

The Printed Letter Bookshop is a captivating story of good books, a testament to the beauty of new beginnings, and a sweet reminder of the power of friendship.

Source: Goodreads
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Full Circle by Regina Timothy

Rating: 2/5 stars

Published: 24 December 2017

Genre(s): Contemporary literary fiction

Pages: 314 (eARC)

Eight years after the 9/11 attacks, Samia-Al-Sayyid an Iraqi immigrant is living a quiet life in New York City after she fled her home to avoid imminent death.

She works hard for her cold, heartless, high-strung boss, loves her seventeen-years-old-son, and cherishes the close friendship she has formed with her best friend Susan.

Nothing can go wrong, or so she thinks – until the estranged brother she left back in Iraqi shows up on her door step. Then she finds herself in a cab, on her way to the hospital to identify her son, a terror suspect who has blown the city, and with it her boss’ husband, and her best friend’s son. With everything lost, she is forced to flee to Iraq where she confronts her past. Will she make peace with her past? Can she get forgiveness for all the damage she has caused?

Full Circle is a contemporary fiction tale of friendship, family, and hope. It explores the devastation of loss, the great capacity to forgive and the lengths our loved ones will go to protect us.

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How Hard Can It Be (Kate Reddy, #2) by Allison Pearson

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Goodreads

Rating: 4/5 stars

Published: 5 June 2018 by St. Martin’s Press

Genre(s): Contemporary Women’s Fiction

Pages: 384 (eARC – Kindle)

Few sequels beat the original, but How Hard Can It Be? does so hands down.

Kate Reddy’s comeback as a pushing-50 “Returner,” re-entering the workforce after a spell on the mommy track, is zesty, razor-sharp, and hilarious. With a robust absence of self-pity, she has defined the humiliating onset of “invisibility” that coincides with the onrushing pressures of parents, teenage kids, and a marriage gone flat, all while attempting to reinstate her perilous professional worth. It’s full of such quotable casual profundity on the female condition I couldn’t read it without a pencil to underline the abundance of great lines. Get ready for Kate!” —Tina Brown

Allison Pearson’s brilliant debut novel, I Don’t Know How She Does It, was a New York Times bestseller with four million copies sold around the world. Called “the definitive social comedy of working motherhood” (The Washington Post) and “a hysterical look―in both the laughing and crying senses of the world―at the life of Supermom” (The New York Times), I Don’t Know How She Does It introduced Kate Reddy, a woman as sharp as she was funny. As Oprah Winfrey put it, Kate’s story became “the national anthem for working mothers.”

Seven years later, Kate Reddy is facing her 50th birthday. Her children have turned into impossible teenagers; her mother and in-laws are in precarious health; and her husband is having a midlife crisis that leaves her desperate to restart her career after years away from the workplace. Once again, Kate is scrambling to keep all the balls in the air in a juggling act that an early review from the U.K. Express hailed as “sparkling, funny, and poignant…a triumphant return for Pearson.”

Will Kate reclaim her rightful place at the very hedge fund she founded, or will she strangle in her new “shaping” underwear? Will she rekindle an old flame, or will her house burn to the ground when a rowdy mob shows up for her daughter’s surprise (to her parents) Christmas party? Surely it will all work out in the end. After all, how hard can it be?

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Breathing Underwater by Julia Green

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Rating: 4/5 stars

Genre(s): Fiction; Young Adult; Contemporary; Realistic Fiction

Published: March 1st 2015 by Bolinda Publishing

Format: Audiobook (4 hours 46 minutes)

Freya has come to visit her grandparents who live on a remote island. Last year she visited them with her brother – but last year her brother died alone in a boating accident. Whilst back on the island, Freya finds a way, with the calming presence of her grandparents and the gentle care and attention of the people around her, to adjust to the fact that her brother has gone, and that life – and love – are still vibrantly in the air. A perfect coming of age for any young girl just tipping into teenhood.

Breathing Underwater starts with Freya and her brother Joe finding a washed-up body on the beach of an island where they go every year to visit their grandparents during the summer. Exactly a year after, he died. Read More »

No One Ever Asked by Katie Ganshert

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Rating: 5/5 stars. Highly recommended!

Published: April 3rd 2018 by WaterBrook

Genre(s): Fiction; Christian Fiction; Contemporary

Pages: 352 (eARC – Kindle)

“Challenging perceptions of discrimination and prejudice, this emotionally resonant drama for readers of Lisa Wingate and Jodi Picoult explores three different women navigating challenges in a changing school district–and in their lives.

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. This story explores the implicit biases impacting American society, and asks the ultimate question: What does it mean to be human? Why are we so quick to put labels on each other and categorize people as “this” or “that”, when such complexity exists in each person?”

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P is for Pearl by Eliza Henry-Jones

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Rating: 5/5 stars. Recommended!

Published: February 19th 2018 by HarperCollins

Genre(s): YA Fiction; Contemporary Fiction; Family

“From the talented author of the celebrated novels In the Quiet and Ache comes a poignant and moving book that explores the stories we tell ourselves about our families, and what it means to belong.

Seventeen-year-old Gwendolyn P. Pearson has become very good at not thinking about the awful things that have happened to her family. She has also become used to people talking about her dead mum. Or not talking about her and just looking at Gwen sympathetically. And it’s easy not to think about awful things when there are wild beaches to run along, best friends Loretta and Gordon to hang out with – and a stepbrother to take revenge on.

But following a strange disturbance at the cafe where she works, Gwen is forced to confront what happened to her family all those years ago. And she slowly comes to realise that people aren’t as they first appear and that like her, everyone has a story to tell.”

P is for Pearl feels so familiar, so Australian. How can it not? With mentions of footies, Vegemite toast, I feel right at home. Fun fact: Eliza Henry-Jones originally wrote this story when she was sixteen. How amazing is that? For a sixteen-year-old to begin writing about things like grief and family. Amazing.Read More »

Developing Minds: An American Ghost Story by Jonathan LaPoma

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Rating: 4/5 stars

Genre(s): Fiction; Contemporary Fiction; New Adult; Satire

Published: September 14th 2015 by Laughing Fire Press

“Developing Minds: An American Ghost Story follows a group of recent college graduates who struggle with feelings of alienation and their addictions as they try to survive a year of teaching at two dysfunctional Miami public schools.

A poetic and insightful coming-of-age novel, Developing Minds is centered on 24-year-old Luke Entelechy, an aspiring writer who sees his creative output suffer when he begins teaching at one of Miami’s most challenging middle schools. As the year progresses, however, Luke begins to relate to the neglect and abuse his students suffer, and is faced with a “haunting” decision: continue to let his dark past destroy him, or rise above the struggle to realize his potential as an artist and a “real” human being.

Equal parts disturbing and humorous, Developing Minds offers a brutally honest look at the American public school system and the extreme measures many teachers take to cope with working in it.”

This book reveals plenty about the American educational institution and how it’s not designed to be the most appropriate system for troubled young minds from a troubled neighbourhood. The narrator, Luke and his friend, BillyRead More »