Category: Cozy Lady Fiction

May 24

The Simplicity of Cider by Amy E Reichert

Contemporary Fiction, Cozy Lady Fiction 9

Greetings Bookworms!

All apologies for my periodic disappearances. Things that have happened since I talked to you last: I passed the glucose tolerance test meaning that I don’t have gestational diabetes! This is particularly excellent news as I’ve several close friends and family members who have found themselves being stuck with needles and counting their carbs during their final trimester of pregnancy. It seemed extremely unpleasant and I consider myself lucky to have dodged that bullet. Also! I became unnecessarily worried at a doctor’s appointment and had them order extra tests, one of which involved me having to collect my own pee in a jug for 24 hours. That’ll teach me to get worked up over nothing. (So gross. BTW, everything was totally fine. I just have a propensity for foot swelling, nothing more sinister. Because I made them check for everything. They keep claiming I’m nowhere near their most neurotic patient, but I have my doubts.)

Also, I’ve been reading books! One of which was Amy E Reichert’s latest offering, The Simplicity of Cider. *I received a complimentary digital copy of this book through the publisher for review consideration. As per usual, I’m still going to tell you what I actually thought, because that’s how I operate. Terrible manners.*

The Simplicity of Cider takes place at an apple orchard in Door County, Wisconsin. (The Midwest love makes my heart go pitter-pat!) Sanna Lund is single mindedly focused on producing a line of cider from her family’s fifth generation apple orchard. So focused, in fact, that she’s a bit prickly with the rest of the world. Except, perhaps, her elderly father, but that might have something to do with his insistence on having an apple dessert every evening. (It’s hard to be prickly to someone who is willing to make you pie on the regular, you know?) Of course, her father is having a harder and harder time taking care of the orchard, and Sanna’s brother has been pressuring her to consider selling the land.

When Isaac Banks shows up, he is hired to help out with the tasks Sanna’s father finds difficult to do. But, of course, Isaac comes with his own baggage, namely a young son and the specter of the boy’s mother and her troubled past.

I could go on, but this book provided me with everything I wanted. A light read with a little bit of romance and even a tiny dash of Sarah Addison Allen style magical realism. I must admit, I was a little nervous to pick this book up. I loved The Coincidence of Coconut Cake (review) for its light, fun, foodie fiction but wasn’t quite as thrilled with the somewhat more stolid Luck, Love & Lemon Pie (review). I’m so pleased to see that Reichert went in more of a Coconut direction with her latest offering- it was quite the treat. I also ADORED the subtle cameo of a couple of Coconut‘s characters in The Simplicity of Cider. It was the apple dessert to top off this comfort food-esque novel.

Reading this book reminded me of how much I miss hard cider. On the upside, Babysaurus will be here by the fall, so I should be able to sip some cider come apple season. Talk to me, Bookworms. What’s your favorite apple-y treat?

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

 

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Oct 26

The Brazilian Husband by Rebecca Powell

Cozy Lady Fiction, Romance, Tear Jerkers 5

Olá Bookworms!

You know that thing where you do or say or think something only to realize later that it was a dumb thing to do or say or think? That’s basically my life, to be honest: I’m in a constant state of revision. But, among the dumb things I’ve done or said or thought as it pertains to this blog was that I would not accept pitches for self published books. It was snobby and shortsighted of me. I’m sure there are a lot of self published books out there in which I have zero interest, but there are a lot of traditionally published books that fall into that category too. So. I’m wrong a lot. To nobody’s surprise. All this is to say that I received a pitch from a self-published author I was completely unfamiliar with (which is totally different than reading a book written by a blogger I already love, though that has happened) and I accepted a review copy. Are you ready to hear about The Brazilian Husband by Rebecca Powell? *Full disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book for review consideration from the author. The following review reflects my honest opinions.*

brazilianhusbandDetermined to honor her husband’s final request, Judith embarks on a trip from London to Brazil with her reluctant daughter in tow. The trip turns out to be a bit more than Judith bargained for as she begins to uncover secrets to her husband’s past. She soon encounters Ricardo, the dreamboat/human rights lawyer/activist who helps Judith unravel the tangled web of her husband’s life in Brazil. All of this is set against the backdrop of Brazil’s favelas, corrupt city officials, and familial drama.

I can’t recall having read another book set in Brazil, so I was a little concerned a book about Brazil written by a British woman wouldn’t be terribly authentic. I needn’t have worried. A quick review of  Ms. Powell’s bio revealed she spent a year in Brazil working for a women’s shelter, so she knows a little something about the country. Plus, since the protagonist is a British woman visiting Brazil, it was the ultimate “write what you know” scenario. Although, I sincerely hope that the author’s story doesn’t totally mirror this book, because while it was a page turner, it was also heartbreaking.

It reminded me a little of Kate Morton’s work (The Forgotten Garden in particular), the way historical elements were revealed in snippets and the reader discovered the truth of the narrative right along side the protagonist. If you’re into family sagas with a bit of romance, a lot of secrets, and a smattering of tears, definitely give The Brazilian Husband a read. It’s a good one, I promise.

Talk to me Bookworms! I want to read more books set in Brazil. Bonus points if they’re written by Brazilian authors. Recommendations?

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission. You’ll also be supporting an independent author, which is pretty great. Given the fact that the editing and formatting were on point, I imagine a professional editor was involved as well, so you’ll be supporting THAT person too. Just in case you needed to feel warm and fuzzy about indulging in the written word.*

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Sep 21

Sofia Khan is Not Obliged by Ayisha Malik

Cozy Lady Fiction, Romance 8

Good Day, Bookworms!

I’m going to give you a tip. If you’re looking to diversify your bookish repertoire, you can’t beat lurking on Twitter. The #diversebookbloggers hashtag is simply a wealth of information on phenomenal books written by and/or starring folks of diverse backgrounds. That is how I came to discover the gem that is Sofia Khan is Not Obliged by Ayisha Malik (thank you to Amal and Nuzaifa for inadvertently bringing it to my attention!)

sofiakhanFinding love in London has never been the simplest endeavor, but dating while also being an observant Muslim adds a certain level of complexity. At 30, Sofia Khan has been hearing the old “hurry up and get married” line from her family for years. But Sofia is not one to settle. Just ask her recently jilted for being too close to his parents boyfriend. (And really. Can you blame her? I have a fabulous relationship with my in-laws, but I still wouldn’t want to move in with them indefinitely.) During a bout of dating frustration, Sofia finds herself roped into, of all things, writing a book on Muslim dating.

Following Sofia on her journey through dating and compiling stories for her book is seriously freaking charming. The book is a little Bridget Jones’s Diary, a little My Big Fat Greek Wedding, and a lot of wonderful. If you’ve got a soft spot for romantic comedies, I cannot recommend this book highly enough. Fans of Sophie Kinsella, TAKE NOTE!

I haven’t been super vocal about the fact that I’m trying to read diversely, because I’m not an expert on diverse literature and I’m still exploring and learning. Buuuuuuut, I’m totally into trying to read diversely. Yay diverse books! It can be a little overwhelming though, because a lot of the diverse books I’ve read feature really intense, heavy themes. They’re often incredibly powerful and important stories that need to be told, but emotionally wrenching literary fiction isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. I know that I, at least, need the occasional palate cleanser, and that’s why Sofia Khan is Not Obliged was such a breath of fresh air! Diverse books of ALL genres are out there, it just takes a little digging to find them sometimes… Or Twitter lurking. Whatever. GO READ THIS BOOK, FOR HEAVEN’S SAKE!

Talk to me, Bookworms! If your partner wanted to share a dwelling with his extended family, would you be cool with it, or would you run for the hills like Sofia?

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

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Jul 18

Luck, Love & Lemon Pie by Amy E Reichert

Cozy Lady Fiction 10

Greetings Bookworms,

Dessert is one of my favorite things on planet earth. I’m pretty equal opportunity when it comes to sweets- there isn’t much I don’t like. So when you hand me a book with a dessert in the title, I’m probably going to be pretty excited about it. Of course, the dessert in Luck, Love & Lemon Pie wasn’t really the main draw for me. (Although, I must admit I am cringing every time I type the title because OXFORD COMMA 4 LIFE!) I read The Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy E Reichert last year and loved it so much that I’d have read another Amy Reichert regardless of dessert. This fictional lemon pie is really just a bonus. *I received a copy of this book compliments of the publisher through NetGalley for review consideration.*

lucklovelemonpieMJ Bordreaux is a Milwaukee area wife and mother whose husband of 20 years has been showing more interest in playing poker than in spending time with his wife. After a disastrous anniversary celebration, MJ decides to take up poker in an attempt to spend more time with her husband and demonstrate a shared interest. As it turns out, poker playing is not a substitute for marriage counselling, but MJ is kind of awesome at it.

The hours she spends in the casino preparing, however, haven’t done her marriage any favors. After a series of impressive tournament wins, MJ finds herself on a trip to Vegas to play poker with the big dogs. And one of those big dogs has his eye on MJ. Insert appropriate gambling metaphor here.

This novel breaks away from much of the foodie fiction that I was so charmed by in The Coincidence of Coconut Cake. Not that I can cook, mind. In fact, I was rather amused by the fact that MJ could only cook scrambled eggs and her husband did the heavy culinary lifting. As a gal who isn’t much of a cook, I SO related to MJ’s plight.  Although my husband’s specialty is frozen pizza. Whatever he’s super good at cleaning and there’s always takeout. I digress.

I’m not really into poker, so the whole poker story line was a little confusing to me. Like….Why would anyone do this when there are books and jigsaw puzzles? I know, I know, there are tons of people who are super super into poker but I’m about as interested in poker as I am in sports. Which is to say, not at all. (Unless someone is doing a backflip on purpose because that is just awesome.) Gosh, I feel like this post is taking such a grumpy turn. I really enjoy Reichert’s writing, but I think what fell a little flat for me personally was simply the subject matter of the novel.

Let’s be real for a second. The hard work of marriage and daily life is a lot less sparkly and fun than tales of falling in love. I’m not at all opposed to reading books about the realness of marriage, and I’ve railed on more than one occasion about the extreme unreality of certain romantic tropes. It’s just that I went in expecting a sweet romantic romp with a side of dessert and I got… Meatloaf. It’s good and all, just not what I was expecting. So. Yeah. I will still 1000% read Amy Reichert’s next book, I just hope it’s a little more sweet than savory.

Talk to me Bookworms! Do y’all play poker? Am I missing out on a whole lot of awesome?

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

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Feb 23

The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan

Audio Books, Cozy Lady Fiction, Humor 25

Cheerio Bookworms!

This may come as a shock to you, but I have a crush on… England. My feelings on the subject can be summed up in the immortal speech Hugh Grant as Prime Minister gives in Love Actually. “We may be a small country, but we’re a great one, too. The country of Shakespeare, Churchill, the Beatles, Sean Connery, Harry Potter. David Beckham’s right foot. David Beckham’s left foot, come to that.” I could go on and on but nobody wants to hear me sing the praises of clotted cream. You want to talk about books, don’t you? Fiiiiiine, you twisted my arm. The Royal We
by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan is, more or less, the dream of many an American anglophile.

theroyalweRebecca Porter is a down-to-earth gal from America’s Heartland. Her twin Lacey was always the one fantasizing about fame, fortune, and glamour, which is why it’s such a strange turn of events when Bex ends up meeting the dashing Prince Nicholas while studying abroad at Oxford. Bex falls for Nick in spite of herself, and is reluctantly drawn into his tabloid laced, ritual heavy, duty filled, existence.

The book is basically Prince William and Kate Middleton fan fiction. Except that Kate probably had it easier because she at least had the accent going for her. Plus that woman has a fashionista gene that Bex seriously lacked… (Or she’s just got a really good style team. I have no idea what really goes on.) It would have been really easy for this book to fall squarely into the cheeseball Hallmark Original Movie trap (which are prefectly entertaining when it’s Christmas and… You know what? They’re perfectly entertaining. We’re not here to judge my terrible taste in movies.) It managed to avoid that pitfall, though. The Royal We is hilarious without a hint of the saccharine. Think… Hugh Grant movie, vibe-wise. It’s oozing with charm and hilarious sidekicks, but it still manages to pack some intense emotional punches. I may have shed a few tears.

I have one teeny tiny complaint, though. I’ve never met an American girl named Rebecca who goes by Bex. That’s a thoroughly British sounding nickname. A girl from Iowa would go by Becky, maybe Becca, but Bex? It’s like a blaring signal that she’s destined to marry a royal. Is my corner of Illinois MORE BORING THAN MUSCATINE, IOWA when it comes to nicknames for Rebecca?

Obviously I haven’t got anything really to complain about. I’m grasping at straws. The Royal We is delightful. When I finished it, I texted several friends telling them they needed to read it. RIGHT NOW. If that’s not a ringing endorsement, I don’t know what is! (Oh, and the audio book version? Dynamite.)

Talk to me, Bookworms. Do any of you know a Rebecca who goes by Bex? Does it strike anyone else as an unusual choice for Muscatine, Iowa? I’m genuinely interested, here. 

 

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Feb 04

Vintage by Susan Gloss

Cozy Lady Fiction 14

Howdy Howdy Bookworms!

After slogging through some pretty intense literary fiction, I decided I deserved a treat. I needed some feel good, charming lady fiction, and I needed it fast. Enter Vintage: A Novel by Susan Gloss. It was just what the doctor ordered.

vintageViolet Turner owns a small vintage clothing boutique in Madison, Wisconsin. She’s poured her heart and soul into the project and overcome all sorts of obstacles to achieve her dream of owning the shop. All is thrown into upheaval when her landlord delivers unsettling news. April Morgan is 5 months pregnant when she comes into Hourglass Vintage to purchase her wedding dress. The 18 year old returns to the shop a couple of weeks later attempting to return the dress and pick up the pieces of her broken heart. Amithi Singh is a middle aged woman who discovers her husband’s betrayal. She begins selling items to Hourglass Vintage while coming to terms with the life she thought she’d had. These three unlikely friends find each other, each in the midst of personal crisis. Their bond helps them all find hope and sort out their new realities.

You guys!!! I loved this book. I have a soft spot for books set in the Midwest anyway, but man. These charming little towns in Wisconsin are making me want to take little touristy weekend trips to eat cheese and drink beer and probably visit my baby cousins (who are now very old and not babies at all.) This is the sort of book I need to read in the middle of a long dreary winter. If you need a pick-me-up, pick up Vintage

Tell me something, Bookworms. Do you find yourself more connected to books when they’re set in your neck of the woods?

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

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Jan 25

Someone Else’s Love Story by Joshilyn Jackson

Audio Books, Cozy Lady Fiction, Tear Jerkers 12

Happy Monday, Bookworms!

You know what my favorite thing is? No? I don’t really know either, I have so many favorite things. One of the things I do happen to love, though, is when I pick up a book by an author I’ve not read before and upon finishing it want to add said author’s entire back list to my TBR pile. Loving new-to-me authors is a blessing and a curse, the never ending TBR list makes me shake my fist toward the heavens. I took a little road trip to visit some friends and family recently, nothing huge, just a weekend away, but as I was driving solo I simply had to have an audio book to keep me company. I was lucky in that a copy of Someone Else’s Love Story by Joshilyn Jackson was available for immediate download from my local library. Score!

someoneelseslovestoryI’ve actually had a paper copy of Someone Else’s Love Story sitting on my shelf for a while now, but I hadn’t gotten around to it. I have reasons for this. Terrible reasons, but reasons nonetheless. The big one? I do the vast majority of my reading in bed. Like, while my husband snoozes next to me. This means overhead lighting is not an option. Juggling a book light is a pain in the tush, but the light in my Kindle Paperwhite is magical and perfect. Hence, my time reading actual paper books is super limited. Of course, I don’t want to purchase a copy of a book I already own just because I’m lazy and it’s easier for me to read digitally, so it sat and floundered sadly. The cool thing about libraries? They’re free. Heck yes!

I should probably tell you about the book, shouldn’t I? Shandi Pierce is a 21 year old single mother of a precocious 3 year old with a genius level IQ. Her life consists of juggling college, motherhood, and attempting to keep her long divorced parents from all out warfare. As she’s moving from her mother’s house into a condo her father owns (much to her mother’s chagrin) Shandi finds herself in the middle of a gas station holdup. Because she obviously didn’t have enough going on.

It is inside this gas station where her path crosses with geneticist William Ashe, who, in addition to being brilliant, looks fantastic in a pair of jeans. His entire world fell spectacularly to pieces a year previously, and Shandi feels their destinies have collided for a reason. It’s a charming book full of heart, humor, and a cannily crafted plot.

Two things stick out to me about this book. First. William Ashe is on the autism spectrum. This is easily one of the best portrayals I’ve ever read about someone on the spectrum, and it seemed very authentic. I’m no expert on Asperger’s or autism, but my reading experience leads to polarized portrayals; either a quirky, humorous angle or a desperately tragic one. William Ashe had a good dose of both, he was a masterfully drawn character.

The second thing that sticks out to me is a less awesome one. Shandi came to have her son under some pretty upsetting circumstances. I don’t want to hit y’all with spoilers, buuuuuuut I think that Jackson may have done better to take a different angle on Natty’s paternity… I’m all for understanding the shades of gray in a situation, but I wasn’t super keen on how she dealt with it.

Still, that’s not enough to keep me from plowing head first into Joshilyn Jackson’s collected works. You can bet your bottom dollar that I’ll be checking those out. In short? Someone Else’s Love Story is definitely worth your time.

Talk to me, Bookworms. Have y’all read this book? Or anything else by Joshilyn Jackson? I want to talk about all the things. In code, probably, because I like to pretend I’m a spy sometimes.

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

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