Everyday Tidbits...

Be Kind. Do Good. Love is a Verb.

Thursday, September 24, 2020

What's Not Said...#BookReview

About the book:
Kassie O’Callaghan’s meticulous plans to divorce her emotionally abusive husband, Mike, and move in with Chris, a younger man she met five years ago on a solo vacation in Venice, are disrupted when she finds out Mike has chronic kidney disease—something he’s concealed from her for years. Once again, she postpones her path to freedom—at least, until she pokes around his pajama drawer and discovers his illness is the least of his deceits.

But Kassie is no angel, either. As she struggles to justify her own indiscretions, the secret lives she and Mike have led collide head-on, revealing a tangled web of sex, lies, and DNA. Still, mindful of her vows, Kassie commits to helping her husband find an organ donor. In the process, she uncovers a life-changing secret. Problem is, if she reveals it, her own immorality will be exposed, which means she has an impossible decision to make: Whose life will she save—her husband’s or her own?

In a nutshell, Kassie wants to divorce her husband and just as she plans to tell him, she discovers he has a chronic disease he has concealed for years. 

I find myself with very mixed feelings about What's Not Said. I am so appreciative of the fact that the main characters are in their 50s. That was refreshing to read. 

Marriage isn't an easy ride. It requires communication and cooperation and sharing. Kassie is a woman who has always put her husband's needs above her own and Mike is a selfish man who just expects it. None of these characters is particularly likeable, but we're not meant to love every character we read about. The story isn't a polished romance either. Instead it is a stark reminder that life is happy and sad; painful and challenging; brutal and beautiful. 

What's Not Said, is a slower paced novel, but with enough drama that you just keep turning the pages. It is the first in a series and I am curious as to what happens next.

Thanks to Netgalley and She Writes Press for the opportunity to review this book. You can learn more about Valerie Taylor on her website and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

Read 9/20

* * *
3/5 Stars

Thursday, September 17, 2020

The Rules of Love & Grammar...#BookReview

About the book:
A woman finds love and closure when she returns to her roots in the newest novel from the author of The Irresistible Blueberry Bakeshop & Cafe.

Newly jobless, former technical writer Grace Hammond is unmoored. Desperate to escape the city and her problems, Grace hits 'pause' and returns to her Connecticut hometown, where she discovers that the answers to what her future holds might be found by making peace with-and embracing-the past.

As Grace sets out to correct her mistakes and come to terms, finally, with her sister's death, she rekindles a romance with her high school sweetheart, Peter, now a famous movie director, and finds herself sparring with Mitch, who works at the bike shop.

Torn between the promise of a glamorous life and the allure of the familiar, Grace must decide what truly matters, and how to move on without forgetting where she came from.

I had enjoyed The Irresistible Blueberry Bakeshop & Cafe and how could I resist a book with this premise and title? It sat on my TBR for awhile though and last week I wanted something that I thought might be light and easy to read. This fit the bill.

After having lost her job and her boyfriend at the same time, Grace's ceiling falls in and needs repair. So she leaves New York and returns home to Connecticut to lick her wounds and celebrate her father's birthday. 

I liked Grace, but I found her attitudes and behaviors more suited for a teenager, rather than a thirty-year-old. That she reverted back to high school level jealousy over her former boyfriend and classmate was annoying. I kept wanting to tell her to just grow up. However, the story flowed well and the secondary characters are what made it enjoyable. I laughed out loud at times. 

I think the story had more potential than it reached, but this is light reading with a few heartwarming moments. 

I purchased my own copy.

Read 9/20

* * *
3/5 Stars

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

What If It's Us...#BookReview

About the book:
Arthur is only in New York for the summer, but if Broadway has taught him anything, it’s that the universe can deliver a showstopping romance when you least expect it.

Ben thinks the universe needs to mind its business. If the universe had his back, he wouldn’t be on his way to the post office carrying a box of his ex-boyfriend’s things.

But when Arthur and Ben meet-cute at the post office, what exactly does the universe have in store for them?

Maybe nothing. After all, they get separated.

Maybe everything. After all, they get reunited.

But what if they can’t quite nail a first date . . . or a second first date . . . or a third?

What if Arthur tries too hard to make it work . . . and Ben doesn’t try hard enough?

What if life really isn’t like a Broadway play?

But what if it is?

This isn't a book I would have ever picked up on my own. YA just isn't my thing. But, a young friend brought it to me and asked if I would read it and I did and we had a great discussion about it afterwards.

And it's a cute story. Arthur meets Ben at the post office and likes him immediately. But the two are separated and they each wonder how to find the other in a city as big as New York. So, I learned about missed connections on Craigslist. Kind of cool.

When the boys do meet up again, it's a classic romance of misunderstandings and miscommunications. Ben is getting over a break-up and Arthur has never had a boyfriend. The boys are high schoolers and so expecting levels of maturity is a bit unrealistic.

The secondary characters are almost more fun than the main ones. Dylan just steals the show. You'll love him. The pop culture references are many, almost to the point of saturation. Sorry. Not a fan of Hamilton, but with Arthur and his love of theater, it was inevitable that show tunes will be heard.

I've seen reviews that criticize the ending, but I found it realistic to the story line and the fact that these boys were still in high school. Loved the inclusion: to these boys' family and friends, they were just Arthur and Ben. Being gay wasn't an issue, as it shouldn't be. That the boys were Jewish and Puerto Rican characters was a plus. The one homophobic interaction on the train was handled well by Ben.

I didn't find anything remarkable or special about the book.  It's just a sweet story about two boys who fall in love.

I borrowed a copy.

Read 9/20

* * *
3/5 Stars