The holiday season is upon us and I am, predictably, frazzled. It is mostly pandemic related stress. I really really don’t want to spend Christmas alone again like we did last year, but Sam is still too young to be vaccinated. The current plan is to simply keep him out of daycare the week of Christmas, take rapid tests the day we leave to visit family and pray we don’t end up in quarantine thanks to an exposure the week before. My kid was out of daycare for 14 months (I worked from home with a 2.5-3.5 year old. I somehow managed to still get my work done. I deserve a friggin medal.) He only went back once the adults in the family could be vaccinated. We never stopped wearing our dang masks. We did all the things we were supposed to do and it’s Still. Not. Over. I keep telling myself that things will get better. I keep telling myself that they’ll approve vaccines for kids 2-5 soon. I keep telling myself that this spring it’ll be safe enough to take some long-postponed trips. I’m tired and I’m sad and I’m so very frustrated. My latest coping mechanism is being extra about our Elf on the Shelf. Did I just order craft supplies so I could fashion a penguin costume for the elf out of felt? MAYBE. But, I’ve also, as always, been reading to tamp down my many woes. I should probably tell you about some books now.
The Chai Factor by Farah Heron- What happens when your family rents out the basement to a Barbershop Quartet? Shenanigans, that’s what. Mira tries to escape the rigors of grad school so she can buckle down and finish up her final project in peace, so she decides to head home. Unfortunately, she finds herself with some unexpected roommates, thanks to her family doing an Air B&B situation. A friggin Barbershop Quartet and their ceaseless rehearsing have crashed Mira’s planned solitude and it’s stressful, to say the least. Also there’s one member of the quartet who is particularly onerous and not at all roguishly handsome in a lumberjack sort of way. Mira is NOT about to fall for Duncan. Nope. Definitely not. This book is actually the predecessor to Accidentally Engaged (review) which I really enjoyed, so it was fun to see Mira and Reena in earlier iterations. Also I kind of want to learn to make Chai now (Except that I am lazy and my husband makes coffee every morning so I’ll get my caffeine with zero effort.)
Sex and Vanity by Kevin Kwan- I really wanted to love this book because I loved the Crazy Rich Asians series so much. Unfortunately, this book didn’t quite have the same vibe. I mean, it was still full of ostentatiously wealthy people doing oddball and amusing things, but I really missed the “normal person” view that we got in CRA from Rachel. Rich people surrounded by other rich people with nobody but the reader to gawk at their ridiculousness is less fun. Cecil’s affectations in particular need an outside observer. The man has his own teacups stored at his favorite tea place because he’s too fancy to drink out of a cup that’s not made of extremely thin porcelain. I need a character like Jim from The Office making that face at the camera after reading something like that, you know? All in all, it’s not a bad book, just not what I was hoping for.
Battle Royal by Lucy Parker- Reading Lucy Parker novels is like getting a cozy warm hug. The banter! The beautifully played tropes! The depth of the characters! It’s all so lovely. And this one also included a whole lot of cake. I LOVE CAKE. Sylvie was a contestant on one of Britain’s most popular baking shows 4 years ago. She was eliminated, however, when the mechanism animating her unicorn cake malfunctioned and the cake exploded all over the stuffiest judge. Luckily, that mishap didn’t stop her from opening her own bakery, and 4 years after the Unicorn-pocalypse, Sylvie is invited to join the judging panel of the very show she once competed in. Alas, this means she now has to work closely with Dominic, Mr. Stuffy Pants himself. Dominic’s bakery is known for its classic, elegant styles and flavors- as high brow as cake can get, really. Sylvie’s style is much more playful (as evidenced by the exploding unicorn) so they both bring unique perspectives to the show. Working together on TV is bad enough, but soon the two find themselves in direct competition to win a commission for a ROYAL WEDDING CAKE and, both Sylvie and Dominic are in it to win. Let the buttercream fly.
Thank heaven for good books. I hope you’re all finding solace in great reads at the moment. Be safe, get your booster (and for heaven’s sake, get vaccinated if you haven’t already), wear a mask, wash your hands, etc. And while you’re at it, make sure to buckle your seatbelt and eat your vegetables. I’m your mom now. XOXO.
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