Monday, August 24, 2020

One to Watch

The only way I can describe this book is that it was a roller coaster I knew I was getting on.

Bea Schumacher is a plus size fashion blogger and lover of Bachelor-esque T.V. show, Main Squeeze. But this latest season of contestants is nothing new, and Bea takes to the internet to voice her frustration in the lack of diversity and body sizes present. 

When her rant takes the internet by storm, she expects to get a nasty call from her favorite T.V. show but instead, she's invited to be the next Main Squeeze!

With any novel centered around a plus-size protagonist searching for love, you know you're going to get the tropes, and this story didn't disappoint. But there were unexpected twists and turns and even the expected ones were fun to read. Overall, this was a fun story to pass the time on my daily drive home. I'd recommend it to anyone looking for a happy story about looking for love in exactly the wrong place.

Big Summer

 If you're needing some body positivity mixed with social media stardom, then this is your book. 

Daphne Berg is a successful influencer and she's more popular than she's ever been. Her body positive, tell it like it is, plus-size style has gotten her designer duds and sponsors galore. So when her ex-friend invites her to be a part of her wedding, she's thrown through one massive loop. 

This story is a fun summer beach read, that takes a sharp turn about halfway through the book. While I don't want to give anything away, you'll be sitting on the edge of your seat wondering what exactly is going to come next. But one thing I can tell you, it'll be binge worthy.

The Lost and Found Bookshop


Recently I've read a string of books that have been about bookshops. For the longest time I actually thought I'd read this title already, but soon realized my error after reading the inside jacket cover. As a librarian, I think we have a soft spot for any titles having to do with books, but this one was pretty special. The Lost and Found Bookshop is a story of family, history, and trust that seamlessly blends San Francisco history and society into the story. The protagonist is not happy with her job, but too fearful to take on the risk of her mother's bookshop which would provide an unsteady income. Upon the death of her mother and her grandfather's unwillingness to sell the shop, she is forced to make the choice between security and happiness, family and independence. Add in a good looking handy man who knows a thing or two about classic literature, and you've got a soft and heartwarming story about finding your way when the outcome isn't certain.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

The Gilded Hour

 I was first drawn to the beautiful cover of this title but put off reading it because of it's girth (it's a total of 768 pages). So when the audio book came up as available on Overdrive I decided it was time to see if it sounded as good as it looked.

It. was. worth. every. minute (and there were 1,800 minutes total). The book's details of an 1880 New York City created a vivid picture without seeming to drone on and on. The characters were unique, but still believable for the time period. I didn't want to stop listening, and found myself listening while gardening, doing laundry, and everything else in between! 

The story centers around the family of Anna Savard and her cousin Sophie who are both doctors and working in the local women's hospital. They are well off, which allows them to skirt a number of the preconceived notions of the time period, but both women still deal with issues of racism, sexism, and women's rights. It's a beautiful, yet realistic picture of a changing time period.

If you're a lover of historical fiction, feminists, and medicine, you'll love this first book in Sara Donati's new series. 

An Elderly Lady is Up to No Good

"And though she be but little, she is fierce."

Helena, regarding Hermia, in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream (slightly modified from its original form)

I cackled all the way through An Elderly Lady is Up to No Good. Yes, a homicidal old lady is a hilarious concept, and none of the five stories disappoint. But my inner old lady and introversion felt a kinship to Maud, and that's what kept me turning pages. I took off half a star because mysteries aren't exactly my cup of tea, but I ended up loving these stories and there's so little of this book!

I cannot tout Maud enough. Little Maud, as we discover, has lived quite a life. Her fiance spurned her because she was not rich. She made a career as a teacher. She cared for her mentally ill sister, Charlotte, until Charlotte's death. Maud outlived her family and retained ownership of their large apartment. Her neighbors glared at her, a single, elderly lady, and she continued to live her life. Maud earned her comfortable life, which makes the intrusions all the more intolerable.

"Maud lived alone, and she went on vacation alone. That was the way she wanted it. Freedom, no idle chatter, and no problems."

An Elderly Lady is Up to No Good

I recommend this book to anyone rendered mildly homicidal by an overly-extroverted neighbor. If you, dear reader, have ever contemplated the pros and cons of murder to avoid an imminent social situation, I beseech thee: live vicariously through Maud.

Read more at Aida Fox Reviews.

The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires

 No sooner had housewife Patricia Campbell silently wished for something exciting to happen in her small town did the mysterious James Harris show up on her block. Patricia has a bad feeling about Mr. Harris, but is her intuition obscured by the massive amounts of true crime books her book club is reading?

I was disappointed, but not unhappy, with Grady Hendrix’s The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires (referred to from here on out as TSBCGTSV). I place the blame an earlier Hendrix book, We Soul Our Souls.

We Sold Our Souls is a satanic, brutal, raw, and METAL story. Kris is a former rockstar guitarist, scraping herself through “normal” life after fame. Kris must get the band back together after a dark revelation occurs, to say the least. There are no Stepford Wives for miles in We Sold Our Souls, and edgy humor is abundant. If adapted to film, and adapted well, there is no way We Sold Our Souls would merit a rating less than “R.”

I had recently finished We Sold Our Souls when news broke of a forthcoming Hendrix title. Publisher Penguin Random House markets TSBCGTSV as, “…Steel Magnolias meets Dracula.” I would describe it as one of those horror movies that squeaked by with a PG-13 rating just shy of an R-rating. If you enjoy Stranger Things, you will appreciate the well-developed 90’s aesthetic of TSBCGTSV.

While I did not enjoy TSBCGTSV as much as I thought I would, let it be known that I will and do read everything Grady Hendrix writes. I recommend The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires as a multi-faceted, intermediate-level horror read.

Read more at Aida Fox Reviews.

Big Girl Panties

Holly, a young widow, is not happy with how she looks. She knows she's gained some weight but who hasn't? Unfortunately, she's been stuck next to personal trainer to the stars, Logan, on her homeward bound plane ride. What ends up happening, every romance lover can expect.

I didn't expect much from this book and was pleasantly surprised with it. This isn't a fitness Cinderella story, but two people coming to terms with the long-held biases of society and finding each other along the way.