Two Lovely Berries by AM Blair

August 28, 2014 Contemporary Fiction 26

Greetings Bookworms!

Let’s talk for a minute about self published books, shall we? Now. Most of these conversations consist of bloggers explaining why they won’t read self pubs and self pubbed authors complaining that nobody will give them a chance. There have been a million posts written about how to approach bloggers and pitching your work and whatever. You know what works for me? Establish yourself as a blogger. Write interesting content. Make the rounds. When you subtly announce that you’ve written a book, I’m eleventy billion times more likely to read it than if I’d received a random email pitch. Even better? Don’t pitch the book to me at all. I’ll probably just buy it with my own hard earned money and give it a shot. This is all to say that AMB from The Misfortune of Knowing (a fabulous blog about literature and the law) is DOING IT RIGHT. *I was not asked to read or review Two Lovely Berries by AM Blair. I bought it because it sounded interesting. That said, I do have a blog friendship with the author. Take that for what you will.* 

twolovelyberriesTwo Lovely Berries tells the story of the Daley twins, Nora and Aubrey. Born and raised in an affluent suburb of Philadelphia, Nora and Aubrey were close, but still maintained a sense of individuality. After graduating from Yale, Aubrey immediately marries her college sweetheart and moves across the country. Nora is forced to confront her new twin-less reality as she struggles with her post-collegiate identity, complicated family issues, and her own swampy love life. (I wanted to punch both those Wilcox boys more times than I could count… For the record.)

I don’t know what to say other than this book was excellent. I found the story engrossing from the start. Books that focus on interpersonal relationships sometimes turn a corner into a weird introspective place, but I thought Two Lovely Berries stayed grounded firmly in reality. Everything was realistically portrayed, and even the dramatic bits avoided abject melodrama. Tales of infidelity, workaholics, family violence, and sibling rivalry all blend together with refreshing glimmers of humanity that make the whole thing just work.

Blair has an adorable set of red-headed twin daughters who served as her inspiration for this book (though, God willing, they’ll have an easier time of being grown-ups than Aubrey and Nora did.) I really dug the glimpse into a twin’s world, being a boring singleton myself. If I have to lodge a complaint about this book, it would be that I was left craving Greek food, blueberry pancakes, and I was utterly bereft realizing I would never have a personal chef to make me his or her signature lasagna.

If you have any interest in family dynamics, twins, and/or stories about post-collegiate limbo, I highly recommend you give Two Lovely Berries a read! (If you’re interested in another great blogger/author’s fictional offerings, I recommend you check out Lost and Found by Chris Van Hakes as well.)

Talk to me Bookworms! Do you find twin relationships as fascinating as I do?

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

26 Responses to “Two Lovely Berries by AM Blair”

  1. Lisa G

    I have been fascinated by twins since I was a kid. I got even more interested in the dynamics of twins in psychology classes during college. Lucky me, I have my very own set of twin boys, and believe me watching their relationship and individual identities grow has been amazing! I’m almost guaranteed to read anything about twins and this sounds great!

    • Words For Worms

      Ooooh do you ever get the urge to experiment on them? (Questions like this probably very clearly out me as a not-yet-parent. I’m sure actual parents don’t imagine their children as lab rats. I am horrible.)

      • AMB (Koiviolet)

        Lisa, how old are your boys? My twins are six.

        Katie, you’re too funny! Life is a de facto experiment. My girls make such different choices, and I can already see some of the effects (for example, the one who is practically vegetarian is several pounds lighter than her carnivorous twin).

  2. AMB (Koiviolet)

    Wow, what a wonderful surprise! I am so glad that you enjoyed Two Lovely Berries. My twins are the cinnamon-haired duo in the first chapter, which is loosely based on a brief conversation my husband and I had with an employee at Harry & Davids (their “tulas” weren’t as expensive as the ones in the book). I ended up writing most of it during a maternity leave, and then it went through three years worth of edits. Initially, I thought I would try the traditional publishing route, but after I started blogging, I decided against querying the manuscript. I really enjoyed being able to control the process from start to finish. Thank you so much for reading the finished product and for blogging about it!

    • Words For Worms

      Dude, your book rocked. I know a lot of bloggers (myself included) would positively SUCK at trying to write fiction. I’m super impressed. Also, I was cracking up at your girls’ cameo- spatulas over cookies. You couldn’t make that up!

  3. Megan M.

    Twins are just inherently fascinating, aren’t they? Especially identical twins. I read all of that twins-raised-apart psych literature and I’m always interested to read about Girl’s Gone Child blogger Rebecca Woolf’s twins. They’re fraternal (they couldn’t possibly look more different!) but they still have that special twin thing going on.

    A.M. Blair, you have redheaded twin daughters?!! I am dying of jealousy right now.

  4. Laura

    I’ve noticed the anti-self-published thing going around the blogosphere too and I think it’s kind of ridiculous. I wrote about it recently. If I had a blanket “no self-pub” review policy, I would have missed some great books. I agree, a certain amount of “literary citizenship” is a good way to get your foot in the door. When I think about the self-pubbed authors I’ve reviewed, they all blog and are active in the community in other ways, whether it’s organizing events or volunteering.

    This one sounds great! I don’t have a specific fascination with twins, but it doesn’t deter me either.

    • Words For Worms

      I typically don’t accept self published books for review. It’s in my review policy, and it’s there for a reason. Very few of the self published titles I’ve been pitched appeal to me, and they often lack the editorial standards of traditionally published books. Of course, rules, as they say, are meant to be broken. I’m always willing to make an exception for someone whose writing I’ve enjoyed in other avenues, and I think good blogging is an under-utilized tool in the self pub community (and for me “good blogging” isn’t waxing philosophical about the writing process or ranting about how bloggers who don’t accept self pubs are the devil.)

  5. Darlene @ Lost in Literature

    Fascinated with twins?? Well, yes.
    I always thought I would have twins and I did.
    Two 16 year old boys who could not be more different. Night and day on the inside and out.
    Someone told my mom, shortly after they were born that because they were fraternal they weren’t really twins. Just brothers.
    (Tell that to my belly…and some other parts)(sorry)
    I was a post-partum wreck. There would have been violence had I been there for that comment.

    The book sounds great!

    • Words For Worms

      LMAO! Oh my gosh I am laughing so hard. “Tell that to my belly!” One of the girls in my book club has a set of fraternal twins, a boy and a girl. Another of our members recently had a baby, so conversation about “other parts” was rampant on Friday night. She had similar sentiments, LOL!

    • Darlene @ Lost in Literature

      Oh! And if you are ever in my neighborhood, I make a fabulous lasagna and would be happy to make one for you.:)
      You can see it on my LOST meals on the blog.;)

  6. Monika @ Lovely Bookshelf

    I don’t accept pitches for self-published books, but I’m certainly not opposed to reading them. AMB, I hadn’t realized your book had been released (I missed a lot of posts in early August!). SO glad Katie reviewed it, and it sounds wonderful! Congrats!

  7. Jennine G.

    I agree on that stance Katie – someone who has worked to show their ability will definitely hook me into reading their writing! As well as those recommended by readers/bloggers I trust. The book sounds interesting…I will put it on my 2015 list.

Talk to me, Bookworms!

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