Christmas Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella | Random House Dial Press {Book Review}

Sophie Kinsella Shopaholic Series

Christmas Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella

Book Summary:

“’Tis the season for change and Becky Brandon (née Bloomwood) is embracing it, returning from the States to live in the charming village of Letherby and working with her best friend, Suze, in the gift shop of Suze’s stately home. Life is good, especially now that Becky takes time every day for mindfulness . . . which actually means listening to a meditation tape while hunting down online bargains.

But Becky still adores the traditions of Christmas: Her parents host, carols play on repeat, her mother pretends she made the Christmas pudding, and the neighbors come ’round for sherry in their terrible holiday sweaters. Things are looking cheerier than ever until Becky’s parents announce they’re moving to ultra-trendy Shoreditch—unable to resist the draw of craft beer and smashed avocados—and ask Becky if she’ll host this year. What could possibly go wrong?

Her sister demands a vegan turkey, her husband insists that he just wants aftershave—again, and little Minnie demands a very specific picnic hamper: Surely Becky can manage all this, as well as the surprise appearance of an old-boyfriend-turned-rock-star and his pushy new girlfriend, whose motives are far from clear. But as the countdown to Christmas begins and her big-hearted plans take an unexpected turn toward disaster, Becky starts to wonder if chaos will ensue, or if she’ll manage to bring comfort and joy to Christmas after all.”

Publication Date:

October 15th, 2019

Genre:

Holiday/Humorous Fiction

My Rating:

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

My Review:

Sophie Kinsella

I have such wonderful reading memories of the Sophie Kinsella Shopaholic books and it was one of the first series that I really got into as an adult reader in the early 2000s. It was so fun to reconnect with Becky in Christmas Shopaholic and see what she is up to now all these years later. Becky Bloomwood (now Becky Brandon) has matured and grown in many ways and is now juggling life as both a wife and mother.

While Becky has changed in many ways, her shopping habits and overthinking just about everything has not… which always was part of the charming appeal of these lighthearted booked. Christmas Shopaholic was a wonderful addition to this collection and it was the perfect weekend read to curl up with on the couch. We get to see Becky take on hosting Christmas for the very first time and there was plenty of laugh out loud moments.

Becky is flawed but completely lovable and you can’t help but root along for her while also being highly entertained. While this is part of a series, Kinsella created a book that can also be read as a stand-alone book, although it might intrigue you to read the rest of them after.

Thank you to NetGalley, Random House, and The Dial Press for an advanced copy.

The Antidote for Everything by Kimmery Martin | Berkley Publishing {Book Review}

The Antidote for Everything book review

The Antidote for Everything by Kimmery Martin

Book Summary:

“In this whip-smart and timely novel from acclaimed author Kimmery Martin, two doctors travel a surprising path when they must choose between treating their patients and keeping their jobs.
 
Georgia Brown’s profession as a urologist requires her to interact with plenty of naked men, but her romantic prospects have fizzled. The most important person in her life is her friend Jonah Tsukada, a funny, empathetic family medicine doctor who works at the same hospital in Charleston, South Carolina and who has become as close as family to her.

Just after Georgia leaves the country for a medical conference, Jonah shares startling news. The hospital is instructing doctors to stop providing medical care for transgender patients. Jonah, a gay man, is the first to be fired when he refuses to abandon his patients. Stunned by the predicament of her closest friend, Georgia’s natural instinct is to fight alongside him. But when her attempts to address the situation result in incalculable harm, both Georgia and Jonah find themselves facing the loss of much more than their careers.”

Publication Date:

February 18th, 2019

Genre:

Medical Fiction

My Rating:

⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

My Review:

The Queen of Hearts and The Antidote for Everything

I was very intrigued by this book after reading Kimmery Martins’ debut novel The Queen of Hearts. While I enjoyed a lot of the storyline, I struggled with some of the stereotypical language the author chose to include when describing some of the patients and it was off-putting as the reader.

When I read the premise of The Antidote for Everything I was very curious to see how she would handle a topic that is important but also something that I hoped would be spoken about with compassion and understanding. The Antidote for Everything takes on the issue of discrimination against members of the LGBTQ community specifically in the healthcare world.

I applaud Martin for taking on this highly relevant and important topic and it did seem as though she did her research to connect with people who are actually living this (because yes, this does still happen and without legal ramifications in place!)

This is a medical drama written by someone who obviously knows her stuff as she is a medical doctor herself. There is a certain amount of medical jargon throughout the book but not so much that someone that doesn’t work in this field would feel completely confused.

As far as the connection with the characters, that is where it got a little lost for me. I often long for more backstory and I just wanted a little more and to feel more of an understanding of who they were as individuals and in relation to one another. I felt strongly about the topic but unfortunately, things feel a little flat with the actual plotline because I felt I was analyzing things more than getting fully pulled into the writing.

So I have mixed feelings about the Antidote for Everything. It was an intriguing storyline that just lacked a strong connection with the characters for me. I do appreciate that she took on this highly relevant and timely topic that hopefully will help raise awareness of something that is still going on right now in our non-fictional world.

Thank you to NetGalley and Berkley Publishing for an advanced copy. All opinions are my own. 

Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson | Riverhead Books {Book Review}

book review of Red at the Bone

Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson

Book Summary:

An unexpected teenage pregnancy pulls together two families from different social classes, and exposes the private hopes, disappointments, and longings that can bind or divide us from each other, from the New York Times-bestselling and National Book Award-winning author of Another Brooklyn and Brown Girl Dreaming.
 
Moving forward and backward in time, Jacqueline Woodson’s taut and powerful new novel uncovers the role that history and community have played in the experiences, decisions, and relationships of these families, and in the life of the new child.

As the book opens in 2001, it is the evening of sixteen-year-old Melody’s coming of age ceremony in her grandparents’ Brooklyn brownstone. Watched lovingly by her relatives and friends, making her entrance to the music of Prince, she wears a special custom-made dress. But the event is not without poignancy. Sixteen years earlier, that very dress was measured and sewn for a different wearer: Melody’s mother, for her own ceremony– a celebration that ultimately never took place.

Unfurling the history of Melody’s parents and grandparents to show how they all arrived at this moment, Woodson considers not just their ambitions and successes but also the costs, the tolls they’ve paid for striving to overcome expectations and escape the pull of history. As it explores sexual desire and identity, ambition, gentrification, education, class and status, and the life-altering facts of parenthood, Red at the Bone most strikingly looks at the ways in which young people must so often make long-lasting decisions about their lives–even before they have begun to figure out who they are and what they want to be.

Publication Date:

September 17th, 2019

Genre:

Literary Fiction

My Rating:

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

My Review:

audiobook recommendation

The hard copy of Red at the Bone is patiently waiting in my October TBR pile but that stack is getting pretty big…So a couple of weeks ago I looked on the Libby App (you can read more about the Libby App on my blog post about Kindle e-readers HERE) and our library recently purchased a copy of the audiobook so the wait was only 2 weeks. I listened to this one yesterday (clocking it at 3.5 hours it was totally doable!) and wow!

This was an amazingly beautiful audiobook and the four narrators along with Jacqueline Woodson were just incredible. ⁣⁣I love stories that bring us back to how someone arrived at a poignant moment in time. Red at the Bone moves back and forth with different timelines to include stories of the main character’s family members and flowed very easily for me as a listener. ⁣⁣
⁣⁣
The perspectives on life, parenthood, identity, race, class, and self-discovery are raw, powerful, thought-provoking and also heartwarming. While this book is on the shorter side, it packs a punch. Woodson’s writing evokes emotion and I love that she had each multi-faceted character speak for themselves which I think added so much depth and perspective.  I highly recommend this and it was just wonderful on audio!