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broodings from the burrow

December 27, 2021

into the stacks: may and june 2021
posted by soe 12:06 pm

Let’s see if I can get quick blurbs in about what I read this year before the year itself runs out:

In May and June, I finished five books:

A Deadly Inside Scoop by Abby Collette: This should have been a dream cozy, featuring Bronwyn, the new proprietor of her family’s small-town Ohio ice cream shop, who discovers a dead body late one night. It’s a man she met earlier in the day, who, it turns out also once nearly swindled her family, which makes her Black father the lead suspect. One of her BFF’s is a British mystery fan and insists they should investigate, so they do. The book had a good premise, but needed tightening up, and it could be that the next book in the series improves upon some of the thin spots here. Perfectly fine if you just want a cozy.

Serena Singh Flips the Script by Sonya Lalli: Set in D.C., this is a sweet contemporary novel about a young woman who’s trying to find her way in the world and succeeding on the face of it, with a kick-ass new position at her dream job. But as a first-generation American, she’s struggling with issues with her parents. She’s also having a hard time making friends — and goes on a couple of hilarious friend-dates during the course of the story. And then there’s her love life — there’s the cute photographer from her sister’s wedding, but there’s also the guy she used to be in love with, who’s subsequent marriage has broken up, but with whom she swears she just wants to rekindle a friendship. Multi-layered and well-thought out. Recommended.

The Bookshop of Second Chances by Jackie Fraser: Thea, an English woman whose marriage recently ended and who’s just been laid off, learns she’s inherited a Scottish house from a distant relative. She heads up there and discovers her great-uncle was a book collector. In trying to discover the worth of the collection, she meets (and becomes an employee of) a gruff bookstore owner, who happens to be the brother of the charming lord who owns the adjoining property to her family cottage. If you liked Jenny Colgan’s Bookshop on the Corner series, you’d probably enjoy this one too.

Jo & Laurie by Margaret Stohl and Melissa de la Cruz: Little Women (the first half of what we’ve come to think of as a single novel) has just been published and Jo March’s life has been turned around a little bit. Her readers are clamoring for more of the same, but she wants to send her heroines off on radical adventures — could her namesake become a pirate? The fictionalized version of her and her sisters’ story is somewhat true, but what came next in real life is too painful. Beth is still alive in the pages of her novel, after all. When an opportunity arises for her to get away to New York City to see Charles Dickens read, she takes it, but Laurie has other plans for what this trip could mean. If you love Little Women, but found some aspects dissatisfying, I’d recommend reading this novel.

Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert: Eve is the baby of the Brown sisters and has a reputation of being irresponsible and flighty. When her parents try to have a conversation with her about this, telling her that they’re going to cut her off for the next six months to encourage her to stick with some kind of job, she drives off, ends up in a tiny village, and, on a whim, interviews for the job of chef for a B&B (before backing over the up-tight proprietor, which guarantees Jacob can’t interview any more candidates). Eve and Jacob are both more than meets the eye and their friendship — and maybe something more — blooms over the course of the next few months. But will Eve stay on once things get challenging? If you like your romance novels a little more adult (these definitely have some non-PG-rated scenes), the Brown Sisters series are great reads.

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