The Cafe by the Sea – Jenny Colgan – REVIEW


Lately I’ve been having such a hard time finding my reading “groove”. I read a variety of different genres and sometimes, deciding what I’m in the mood for is easier said than done. I’ve started quite a few books over the past couple of weeks, only to abandon them because they just didn’t feel right. I’ve picked up countless library holds, and then brought them back not fully read. I definitely have favorite genres though, and there’s a certain style of fiction that I find absolutely comforting, which generally speaking, seems to always get me out of a reading rut!

I’m talking the light hearted, vaguely romantic, “chick-lit” type of fiction. Ideally set somewhere in the UK because I’m an unashamed Anglophile who has a serious longing for a place she’s never even been (don’t we all?). I read a lot of different genres and there was admittedly a point in time where I felt ashamed to admit that I enjoyed anything that would classify as chick-lit but really, I think it’s stupid that we should feel any ounce of shame for what we enjoy reading! I’ve come to embrace what I like and I feel much better for it. 🙂 When I find that nothing I try to read is really working for me, a little escapism from reality through chick-lit seems to always do the trick. Thankfully, I picked up The Cafe by the Sea, by Jenny Colgan from the library on Thursday because it has totally turned my reading mood around.

I’ve read one other Jenny Colgan book before (The Book Shop on the Corner), and now I have to say, that I want to read them all! Her writing is so enjoyable and it was so easy to devour this book, just like the last one. I actually had to force myself to go to bed the first night because I wanted to stay up all night reading. Admittedly, it’s been a long time since I’ve felt that kind of pull with a book.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Years ago, Flora fled the quiet Scottish island where she grew up — and she hasn’t looked back. What would she have done on Mure? It’s a place where everyone has known her all her life, where no one will let her forget the past. In bright, bustling London, she can be anonymous, ambitious… and hopeleslly in love with her boss.

But when fate brings Flora back to the island, she’s suddenly swept once more into life with her brothers — all strapping, loud and seemingly incapable of basic housework — and her father. Yet even amid the chaos of their reunion, Flora discovers a passion for cooking — and find herself restoring dusty little pink-fronted shop on the harbour: a café by the sea.

But with the seasons changing, Flora must come to terms with past mistakes — and work out exactly where her future lies…

There may be spoilers beyond this point!

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84 Charing Cross Road – Helene Hanff – REVIEW


As a lover of books and an anglophile, I was immediately drawn to this book when I first came across it while browsing Book Depository. I ordered it, waited weeks for it to arrive, and then shelved it where it sat forgotten for about a year. The other day I was rummaging through my shelves trying to find something I “put in a safe place”, and met 84 Charing Cross Road again. It’s a teeny little thing so it’s no wonder that it go lost on a bottom shelf. Whoops.

The edition I have is actually two books in one. It includes 84 Charing Cross Road and the sequel The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street. The first is a collection of letters between the author, Helene Hanff of New York City, and a small bookstore in London called Marks & Co. Her correspondence begins when she is in search of a specific book and grows from there. The sequel, The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street is in diary format and chronicles Helene’s experience when she finally makes it to London to visit. I honestly didn’t realize that I was getting two books in one when I purchased, I just liked this cover best (one of my favorite parts about ordering from Book Depository is all the lovely covers we don’t get here in The States)!

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Hope Never Dies – Andrew Shaffer – REVIEW

Politics right now in this country are complicated and draining. We don’t dive into it much, but it doesn’t mean we’re not distressed. So when I heard about this book, I felt like it was just what the doctor ordered!


Hope Never Dies, written by New York Times best-selling author Andrew Shaffer was released in early July. As soon as I heard about it on Twitter, I quickly reserved it from our local library (Seriously go support your local libraries, folks!!) Shaffer has also authored parody works including Catsby: A Parody (a feline riff on the F. Scott Fitzgerald classic The Great Gatsby), Fifty Shames of Earl Grey (a parody on Fifty Shades of Grey) in addition to other humor works such as the yuletide-themed It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like F*ck This and the amusingly-titled How to Survive a Sharknado and Other Unnatural Disasters: Fight Back When Monsters and Mother Nature Attack.

Published by Quirk Books, Hope Never Dies is about 300 pages worth of mystery intrigue in what seems to be the first in a possible series of Obama/Biden fiction. Classified as a Mystery/Thriller fiction, this book isn’t just your run of the mill Sherlock Holmes-inspired mystery! The premise really says it all:

Vice President Joe Biden is fresh out of the Obama White House and feeling adrift when his favorite railroad conductor dies in a suspicious accident, leaving behind an ailing wife and a trail of clues. To unravel the mystery, “Amtrak Joe” re-teams with the only man he’s ever fully trusted—the 44th president of the United States. Together they’ll plumb the darkest corners of Delaware, traveling from cheap motels to biker bars and beyond, as they uncover the sinister forces advancing America’s opioid epidemic.

If you were to combine elements of any Sherlock Holmes mystery, pepper in antics seen in many comedy films such as The Hangover, and of course sprinkle in elements of our beloved political bromance – you’d get this book. Is it cheesy at times? Oh YES! But in these chaotic times isn’t that something we kind of all need?

CAUTION: POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD!!

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A Court of Frost and Starlight – Sarah J. Maas – REVIEW


I know, this book came out months ago – so to some it might seem unnecessary to review it. However, I don’t always get to books right when they come out. There’s just not enough time for me to do that with all the books that I find myself interested in. Further, I just started this series last month – from the beginning. Since I’m now here reviewing A Court of Frost and Starlight – the fourth installment in the A Court of Thorns and Roses series, I suppose its safe to say that I’ve enjoyed it. Unfortunately, the benefit of reading a series well after its come out (and received loads of hype and fans…), is that you can immediately proceed to the next book. Like binge watching a series. Only now it means that I have to wait like everyone else for the next installment… boo, hiss.

It also feels somewhat odd to review the fourth part of a series, having not shared my thoughts on the first three, but I still felt compelled to do it. I’ve been meaning to start incorporating more book reviews, and I didn’t feel like waiting until I was done with this series. That just felt silly. The first book pulled me in and opened my eyes enough to have me immediately seeking out the second. The second filled me with so many feelings – anger, intrigue, fear, … to name a few. The third book absolutely wrecked me at so many moments, but in a bizarrely rewarding way. I feel like that sounds awfully weird, but I can’t think of a better way of putting it?? I picked up the fourth book yesterday from the library and made reading it a priority.

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The Surface Breaks: A Re-imagining of The Little Mermaid by Louise O’Neill REVIEW

I’ve always been a fan of The Little Mermaid. It was my favorite Disney tale growing up. Even when I was young though, there were details, and themes within the story that I took issue with or criticized, even if only in my mind. When I first heard about The Surface Breaks (thank you Bookstagram!), which is a re-imagining of The Little Mermaid, I was instantly intrigued and knew that I had to get my hands on this book by Louise O’Neill. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the simplest of tasks being that the book has only been released in the UK so far (can someone explain to me how this all works??), but eventually I got myself a copy and all was right (or at least better) with the world.

The book seeks to tell a different story based on the original story written by Hans Christian Andersen, challenging the themes that both Andersen and Disney wove into their versions of the story. The idea is to tell the story of The Little Mermaid through a more feminist lens. I would say that O’Neill certainly succeeded in this endeavor.

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Rat Queens Volume One: Sass and Sorcery REVIEW

ratqueens

I’ve really been getting into graphic novels lately. I’ve always been a reader but its a particular genre that I haven’t really delved into much before. There’s been a few books that I’ve read in the past that I really enjoyed (March, Persepolis), but recently, I’ve more or less, jumped head first into the world of graphic novels, and I’m honestly loving it. It’s a great break from the heavier reading of grad school and I love how easily I can get through a book. I think that after this past semester I felt like I was in a rather deep reading rut and graphic novels have been the perfect way to dig myself out and find my reading groove again!

I wish I could remember how exactly I came across Rat Queens because I’m so happy that I did. I requested it in my library system and picked it up a couple of days ago. Today I finished another book (Bitch Planet – pretty good), and felt like reading something else so I dove into Rat Queens right after. I recently finished a couple other graphic novels, but none has been as pleasurable as Rat Queens has been. I think I’ve fallen for this series hard. I know. I’m only on volume one, but I just have a sense that I’m really going to enjoy this series. Have you ever felt that way about a series? There’s just a vibe that you get!

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