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December 2021 Mini Reviews - part 2

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 This one's a bit of a Christmas bumper special! The Matzah Ball   by Jean Meltzer Published: 28th September 2021 by Piatkus I received a copy of this e-book from the publisher via NetGalley. This in no way affects my review. As soon as I saw this I knew I wanted to give it a go - there aren't nearly enough non-Christmas holiday romances written or published by big houses, so I wanted to show my support. I really liked Meltzer's writing and found that the alternating of chapters between Rachel and Jacob's POV allowed for good character development of them both. I also think the way in which she incorporated Jewish practices and culture into the story was very accessible but still informative and actually taught me a lot. While I am a big fan of the romance in the story, I thought the fact that such a big part of the story is about Rachel becoming more confident in herself was great. I also really appreciated that Meltzer used her own experience with a chronic illness in

December 2021 Mini Reviews

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The Lost Apothecary   by Sarah Penner Published: 2nd March 2021 by Legend Press I received a copy of this e-book from the publisher via NetGalley. This in no way affects my review. I was really intrigued but he sound of this book - the idea of a women's-only apothecary used for nefarious purposes sounded great! Unfortunately the book didn't pan out exactly how I thought or hoped it would, and I ended up finding myself just trying to get through the book by the end of it. I enjoyed the fact that 2 of the protagonists were older women, in their 30s and 40s rather than the newly-adult women I typically read about. However, I do think my main drawback of the novel was the fact that no connection of any sort was made between modern-day Caroline and Nella from the past until over halfway through the book. It made it read more like 2 books than one cohesive story, sadly. I also didn't think one of the main plot points of the story, the murder, warranted the time it took up in the

September 2021 Mini Reviews

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  The Divines   by Ellie Eaton Published: 18th February 2021 by Hodder & Stoughton I received a copy of this e-book from the publisher via NetGalley. This in no way affects my review. I have to say, I was not expecting to relate to this book or Josephine, the protagonist, as much as I did! I really liked the whole dynamic of the book, being thrown straight into school life and the intense friendships of boarding-school teenage 'Joe', and then the contrast with 'Sephine' and her adulthood relationship with her husband. This coming-of-age novel was told exceptionally well by Eaton, especially seeing Josephine's struggle between her identity as a "Divine" and her blossoming friendship with a "townie". Josephine made for a really relatable main character, and despite initial reservations, her teenage experiences are ones I think most could understand. The ending was very fitting, I found, in showing the difference between how you perceive yoursel

June 2021 Mini Reviews

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  Mother for Dinner   by Shalom Auslander Published: 4th February 2021 by Picador I received a copy of this e-book from the publisher via NetGalley. This in no way affects my review. The premise of this book was too intriguing for me not to request it and give it a go! At first, it was a bit difficult to wrap my head around as you are thrown straight into the story and Seventh's relationship with his mother, Mudd, but the family dynamic does reveal itself after a while. A lot of aspects of Mother for Dinner reminded me of The Umbrella Academy , such as the numbering of the children instead of names, and the estranged family coming together after a long period of time due to the death of the head of the family. I did enjoy the concept, with its interesting family dynamic and Mudd's specific desire to have 12 boys, as well as the interspersing of old childhood memories and the Cannibals' 'origin story' into America. I do think that the pacing of the story towards the

Love In Five Acts by Daniela Krien - Review

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Love In Five Acts  by Daniela Krien Published: April 29th 2021 by Quercus Books I received a copy of this e-book from the publisher via NetGalley. This in no way affects my review. Synopsis Five women, five chapters, five love stories. Five women attempt the impossible -to love, to be strong, and to stay true to themselves. Punchy and entirely of the moment, Love in Five Acts engaging head-on with what it means to be a woman in the twenty-first century. In the vein of Sally Rooney's Conversations with Friends. Bookseller Paula has lost a child, and a husband. Where will she find her happiness? Fiercely independent Judith thinks more of horses than men, but that doesn't stop her looking for love online. Brida is a writer with no time to write, until she faces a choice between her work and her family. Abandoned by the "perfect" man, Malika struggles for recognition from her parents. Her sister Jorinde , an actor, is pregnant for a third time, but how can she provide for

Something In Between by Melissa de la Cruz: Book review

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Publisher/Year: October 6th 2016 MIRA Ink Genre: YA Contemporary Series: No Pages: 384 Source/Format: e-arc | NetGalley (Thanks NetGalley/MIRA Ink!) Rating: 4/5 I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affects my opinion. Synopsis Jasmine de los Santos has been pushed by her Filipino immigrant parents to over-achieve, be the best she can be, work as hard as she can at school and reach for the American Dream. She’s thrilled to be named a finalist for the National Scholarship Award and prepares to go to Washington, D. C. to receive it. But when she brings home the paperwork, she learns that she and all her family are in the country illegally.  As Jasmine’s world shatters around her, she rebels, trying to make sense of herself—who is she? Is she American? Illegal? Something in between? Jasmine decides to accept the award anyway and goes to D.C., where she meets Royce Blakely, the handsome son of a Republican congre

March 2021 Mini Reviews

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  Love Is a Revolution   by Renée Watson Published: 4th February 2021 by Bloomsbury   I received a copy of this e-book from the publisher via NetGalley. This in no way affects my review. I hadn't heard of Watson prior to reading Love Is a Revolution but I absolutely loved her writing style; I flew through this book! One of my favourite aspects of this book was how the characters, particularly the teenagers, were written. As I grow older and slowly start becoming less of a technically-still-teenager and more of a fully-fledged (ahh!) adult, I've noticed how young some teenage characters can read as being, but Watson's representation was refreshing, and allowed her characters to be their own people while still being young. I enjoyed the format, with the lists being interweaved with the story, as it helped to reinforce the main plot points. I really liked Nala as the main character, but the lying did stress me out while I waited for the inevitable fallout, so I was glad to see

February 2021 Mini Reviews

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Luster   by Raven Leilani Published: 21st January 2021 by Picador I received a copy of this e-book from the publisher via NetGalley. This in no way affects my review. Leilani's debut novel is one of the most highly anticipated of 2021, so I was very excited to get into it. While I did enjoy Luster overall, I think I may have failed to connect to the writing style as much as many others seem to have, or maybe it was just less relatable for me, as I didn't really find the book to be funny. I thought it was brutally relatable, but I never laughed out loud. That being said, I appreciated how brutally real and messy the whole book felt - not a glamourised portrayal of an open  relationship at all, which is an easy trap to fall into. I found the interactions between Rebecca and Edie very interesting, with their familiarity being more plausible and realistic than you might initially assume. In general, the curiosity of all the characters in their own ways is really important to the st

January 2021 Mini Reviews

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Beautiful Broken Things  by Sara Barnard (Beautiful Broken Things #1) Published: 11th February 2016 by Macmillan I received a copy of this e-book from the publisher via NetGalley. This in no way affects my review. I had heard great things about Bernard, and I was a fan of one of her later books, A Quiet Kind of Thunder, though I can't remember much about it. I went into this not knowing anything about it, but it quickly became clear that it deals with a lot of important issues for teenagers to grapple with. I won't go into them, but I will say that even though the premise of the book is that Caddy, the protagonist has never had a 'Big Life Moment', I did find it quite hard to believe that she could have lived such a sheltered life that she could be so shocked by everything that occurs. I do think it was well-written, and could be relatable to a lot of people, because of what it covers. I don't think the character of Suzanne got as much attention as she deserved, so