Minor Dramas & Other Catastrophes by Kathleen West | Berkley Publishing {Gen The Bookworm Book Review}

Kathleen West

Minor Dramas & Other Catastrophes by Kathleen West

Book Summary:

Perfect for fans of Where’d You Go, Bernadette and Small Admissions, a wry and cleverly observed debut novel about the privileged bubble that is Liston Heights High–the micro-managing parents, the overworked teachers, and the students caught in the middle–and the fallout for each of them when the bubble finally bursts.

Isobel Johnson knows helicopter parents like Julia Abbott–a stage mom whose world revolves around interfering in her children’s lives–come with the territory. Julia resents teachers like Isobel, who effortlessly bond with students, including Julia’s own teenagers, who have started pulling further away from her.

Isobel has spent her teaching career in Liston Heights side-stepping the community’s high-powered families. But when she receives a threatening voicemail accusing her of Anti-Americanism and a “blatant liberal agenda,” she realizes she’s squarely in the fray. Rather than cowering, Isobel doubles down on her social-justice ideals. Meanwhile, Julia, obsessed with the casting of the high school’s winter musical, inadvertently shoves the female student-lead after sneaking onto the school campus. The damning video footage goes viral and has far-reaching consequences for Julia and her entire family.

With nothing to unite them beyond the sting of humiliation from public meltdowns, Isobel and Julia will find common ground where they least expect it, confronting a secret Facebook gossip site that’s stirring up more trouble for this tumultuous, fractured school community.

Publication Date:

February 4th, 2020

Genre:

Contemporary Fiction

My Rating:

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⁣

My Review:

Kathleen West

Minor Dramas & Other Catastrophes

Minor Dramas & Other Catastrophes is a nuanced look at school politics at a prestigious school in an affluent Minnesota community. Written with humor and plenty of drama, West succeeds at sharing a look at high school life from the perspective of a well-meaning teacher who gets caught in the web of meeting the demands and expectations of parents/administrators and other teachers. We meet a slew of characters who set the scene and it is all too relatable to anyone who has ever been a part of a school community, whether as a teacher, parent or both.

There are helicopter parents, bullying on social media and conflicts between faculty and families. And then there are the students just trying to get through their high school years. The overbearing parents rule the roost at this school and West shares a great balance of laughable moments that seem totally unbeliever (unless you have been there and then you get it!) mixed with insight about just what students AND teachers are up against these days.

I found Minor Dramas & Other Catastrophes to be a light read with a great mix of thought-provoking and timely topics many of us can relate to. While some of the storylines may seem over the top, for me, they added to the complexities schools deal with in this digital age. I did struggle at times with keeping track of all the characters but all in all, this was a very enjoyable book that would make for a great book club discussion!

More about Author Kathleen West:

Kathleen West is a veteran middle and high-school teacher. She graduated with a degree in English from Macalester College and holds a Master’s degree in literacy education from the University of Minnesota. She lives in Minneapolis with her hilarious husband, two sporty sons, and very bad Goldendoodle.

For more information, please visit: https://www.kathleenwestbooks.com

Thank you to Berkley Publishing for an advanced copy. 


Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links. This means if you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission that helps support this blog at no cost to you. Thank you!

You Were There Too by Colleen Oakley | Berkley Publishing | Blog Tour & Book Giveaway! {Gen The Bookworm Book Review}

Colleen Oakley

You Were There Too by Colleen Oakley

Book Summary:

Acclaimed author Colleen Oakley delivers a heart-wrenching and unforgettable love story about a woman who must choose between the man she loves and the man fate has chosen for her, in a novel that reminds us that the best life is one led by the heart.

Mia Graydon’s life looks picket-fence perfect; she has the house, her loving husband, and dreams of starting a family. But she has other dreams too—unexplained, recurring ones starring the same man. Still, she doesn’t think much of it, until a relocation to small-town Pennsylvania brings her face to face with the stranger she has been dreaming about for years. And this man harbors a jaw-dropping secret of his own—he’s been dreaming of her too. 

Determined to understand, Mia and this not-so-stranger search for answers. But when diving into their pasts begins to unravel her life in the present, Mia emerges with a single question—what if?

Publication Date:

January 7th, 2020

Genre:

Family Life Fiction/Romance

My Rating:

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⁣

My Review:

You Were There too Colleen Oakley

You Were There Too 

You Were There Too is a unique take on the regular contemporary romance novel and I was very excited when Berkley asked me to be a part of the Blog Tour this past fall.

It was one of those books that when I saw that it included elements of dreams I wasn’t sure exactly where it was going to go. Anything that takes on a more fantastical side can sometimes lose me quickly as a reader. I am so glad I hung on though!

This book was so much more emotional and the characters had a depth that made this book one of those ones I felt super connected to. The dream elements added so much to the storyline, I think because there were so many “real life” issues and situations that pulled it into reality for me.

This book was a lot more emotional than I was expecting and wasn’t always an easy read. The storyline was full of smaller twists and turns that kept me guessing and I just loved the uniqueness of this one. If you are looking for a book to get swept away with and is also super thought-provoking at the same time, this is it!

Book Giveaway!

Gen The Bookworm book giveaway

You Were There Too will be published tomorrow, Tuesday, January 7th, 2020 and I am partnering with Berkley Publishing to share a copy of You Were There Too with one of my readers. You can enter my BOOK GIVEAWAY over on my Gen The Bookworm Facebook Page right now!


Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links. This means if you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission that helps support this blog at no cost to you. Thank you!

 

 

 

 

Meg & Jo by Virginia Kantra | Berkley Publishing {Gen The Bookworm Book Review}

a retelling of Little Women

Meg & Jo by Virginia Kantra

Book Summary:

The timeless classic Little Women inspired this heartwarming modern tale of four sisters from New York Times bestselling author Virginia Kantra.

The March sisters—reliable Meg, independent Jo, stylish Amy, and shy Beth—have grown up to pursue their separate dreams. When Jo followed her ambitions to New York City, she never thought her career in journalism would come crashing down, leaving her struggling to stay afloat in a gig economy as a prep cook and secret food blogger.

Meg appears to have the life she always planned—the handsome husband, the adorable toddlers, the house in a charming subdivision. But sometimes getting everything you’ve ever wanted isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

When their mother’s illness forces the sisters home to North Carolina for the holidays, they’ll rediscover what really matters.

One thing’s for sure—they’ll need the strength of family and the power of sisterhood to remake their lives and reimagine their dreams.

Publication Date:

December 3rd, 2019

Genre:

Contemporary Fiction

My Rating:

⭐️⭐️⭐️

My Review:

Little Women

Meg & Jo

I think expectations tend to be rather high when taking on a retelling, especially one like Little Women. For many people, Little Women is a book that was foundational for their love of reading. When I saw that Meg & Jo was a contemporary retelling of this classic novel, I was intrigued but also a little worried about my own expectations of it.

Seasons Edition

Seasons Edition of Little Women 

I ended up enjoying the modern tale of family, work, love, and siblinghood but I  struggled when comparing it to Little Women itself. For me, this story was entertaining as a stand-alone contemporary fiction novel, but it just didn’t work with its goal of retelling of Little Women.

A lot of this is just coming from my own personal preferences but I struggled to connect and didn’t love the changes to the storyline that happened. I also fully admit that I have rarely enjoyed a retelling(I am talking to you, Eligible, by Curtis Sittenfeld!), so maybe I am just not a good candidate for these types of novels! I do have to say, I admire anyone that takes on the retelling of a classic and I enjoyed Virginia Kantra’s writing style very much.

So the book was totally fine…I liked some of the characters more than others (which often happens for me with family life fiction) but I just didn’t love this because of what I was hoping it would be.

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


Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links. This means if you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission that helps support this blog at no cost to you. Thank you!