Book review – Lyn Liao – “Crazy Bao You”

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Looking at her bio, Liao seems to normally write and publish thrillers, but this light romance was really well done and interesting for its multicultural background.

Lyn Liao – “Crazy Bao You”

(3 April 2023, NetGalley)

I couldn’t believe I’d just told Matt I was Russian. Bad enough that I thought I was Korean, then Chinese, and then Taiwanese. Now Matt thought I was Russian. My identity crisis was getting worse. I was lying to a man I was starting to care about a lot. And I had no idea how to get myself out of this predicament.

Kimmie Park always thought she was Korean, but when her parents died, she found out she was Chinese and adopted. Since she was 16, she’s been living in the family flat in Oklahoma, having to drive an hour to find decent East Asian groceries, with a bit of a dead-end job with a horrible boss in a home furnishings shop and an Etsy shop on the side where she sells cute bags and purses to a small but appreciative audience.

Then suddenly two things happen: Kimmie takes down her horrible boss by dancing (really?) and shouting the truth at him, it’s filmed and shared and goes viral against her wishes and knowledge, and not wanting this to get associated with her shop, she takes some pictures of her superficially more attractive best friend Alicia with her products, leaving everyone to assume Alicia is her. Including hot trust-fund kid, family-firm-abandoning Matt, who has bought a bag for his grandma (his grandma was an excellent character). If it had been the other way around, would it be catfishing? Because Kimmie and Matt establish a close relationship on the phone and in Instagram DMs but she can’t work out a way to tell him she’s not who he thinks she is. However, he’s somehow worked out from their chats that she might not look like Alicia, so when things are eventually resolved, he doesn’t mind at all (there’s also a very positive meet-the-adoptive-mother story arc with no conflict apart from some initial nervousness).

Will Kimmie pluck up the courage to leave Oklahoma when she gets an amazing business opportunity? Her worries were made real and she’s offered an opportunity to work on her anxiety and grow. I liked the casual multiculturalism of the cast (Alicia has Mexican and Japanese heritage, Matt’s best friend is Black, Kimmie reconnects with the only other Asian American girl at her school) and the descriptions of Kimmie finding she doesn’t stick out so much in New York and can find wonderful food and cultural experiences as soon as she steps out of her door. The plot is a bit far-fetched but is positive and thoughtful, and toxic masculinity is addressed and unpicked to an extent in the scenes in Matt’s fire department workplace.

This would make a fun holiday read and the representation is likely to please GMP readers and those who like to read about different cultures and especially their food.

Thank you to LLB Independent Book Publishers Association for selecting me to read this book via NetGalley. “Crazy Bao You” is published on 06 June 2023.

Book review – Nova Reid – “The Good Ally”

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Although I forgot to note the date in the book, I apparently pre-ordered it to arrive upon publication in September 2021. I did record it in my October 2021 TBR post and I am pleased to note that I have now read and reviewed everything that had come in that September. This was at the beginning of my current TBR but I’m OK with that lag – there was such an outpouring of “Black Lives Matter” reading around 2021 and I’ve purposefully kept books back to keep reading and keep sharing authors’ words on racism and allyship. This one I can remember buying because I was looking for “what I can do next” while a lot of books were setting questions and not giving answers (which is absolutely fine, of course) and also continuing my search for UK-based books on social justice and anti-racism. I’ve read a few books in the meantime (see the categories under the blog heading for more, for example this one) and it sat well with that reading for me personally.

Nova Reid – “The Good Ally: A Guided Anti-Racism Journey from Bystander to Changemaker”

(21 September 2021)

Let’s reframe privilege as advantage. Even though I experience discrimination for being a woman and racism for being Black, in my social location, I can also recognise, as a Black able-bodied woman I still have societal advantage. As a woman and then a Black woman, whilst statistically receiving less pay than white women, nearly 40 per cent less than white men in similar roles, I will statistically receive more than my Black peers who also have a disability. Accepting and acknowledging this does not take away from my own very real and painful experiences of gender discrimination, systemic racism and anti-Blackness as a dark-skinned Black woman. (pp. 21-22)

Reid is a Black British woman who took to work within social justice after setting up a wedding business for Black women and couples to address their under-representation in the wedding industry. She explains how she felt a calling to help people to model anti-racism, and TED talks and training programmes later, she’s written this book to help White people to work towards anti-racism, address our own learned racism and privilege in an institutionally racist society, and model how to be a good ally.

This book covers all the bases – and with a UK slant which is very welcome, too (there are other people doing good work here but a lot of the initial books were from the US: both countries, of course, have racism, but it exhibits in different ways and has different routes and pathways, so this is important).

Reid talks about history and policy, from the slavery era through the post-World War One race riots through government policies and examples of institutional racism. She relates this to why situations are as they are today, and makes it clear how race is a construct. She explains microaggressions and lists ones the reader might have engaged in. Then she goes on to discuss how the reader can be actively anti-racist in their personal life, in raising children, and in work and society. All of this can be found in different places in other books; this one brings it all together beautifully in one place.

There are prompts for journalling and Reid also shares powerful stories of sessions she’s run where participants have not got it, and feedback from her participants who have grown and learned, modelling what and what not to do.

One particularly fine piece of work in the book is Reid’s reframing of privilege as advantage, privilege as a word having a class-based response in the UK that is not helpful (see quote above). There is also some useful information about trauma epigenetics – that trauma is passed down through generations so that when something awful happens now, it can trigger “deep-rooted historical trauma we were not even witness to” (p. 175). I was aware there was some work going on about intergenerational trauma that’s come out in books I’ve seen others read so it was useful to see a summary of the topic presented so clearly and understandably here.

Another very useful aspect of the book is actual ‘worked examples’ of how you can reframe a child’s comment to make sure they understand race and racism in an appropriate way, or how you can push back and speak up in other ways. I appreciate the author doing the work to present this in one place, revisiting her own trauma and struggles, so readers can do the work in absorbing and noting these ways they can be actively supportive and re-route conversations among those close to them.

There is still a lot to be done, of course – a lot of people who will not read this book and actual legislation that needs to be campaigned about for change (e.g. race discrimination cases do not work in the same way as sex discrimination cases, with less time to raise them and unequal treatment if the claim is upheld). As a whole, the chapter on allyship at work is excellent, laying out exactly the process of how to create a safe space for a colleague or employee.

Uncompromising in the writing and uncomfortable to different extents in the reading (I love the opening paragraph in the second-to-last chapter where Reid points out that people who have skipped to this “Action and Advocacy” chapter they need to go back and do the work of reading and taking in the previous 340 pages) this is highly recommended, especially to those employed in organisations or involved in raising children, but to all interested readers.

Listed in the back after the extensive notes are Reid’s own resources: The Good Ally pages and Reid’s own website.

Book review – Lisa Z. Lindahl – “Unleash the Girls”

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Lisa Z. Lindahl Unleash the Girls, black and white cover shown on a Kindle in a purple case

Continuing my quest to finish the older items on my NetGalley TBR, here is one that, shamefully, I downloaded in September 2021 (it’s not the one I’ve had the longest, but it is the oldest publication on there). Every now and again, when I’ve finished my reads published in the current month, I’m picking one of these up.

Lisa Z. Lindahl – “Unleash the Girls: The Untold Story of the Invention of the Sports Bra and How It Changed the World (And Me)”

(25 September 2021; NetGalley)

I just find it so fascinating, and truly ironic, that the sports bra – a true gift to girls and omen – was to a great degree born out of such a contentious relationship between two women. It was powerful fuel for my own inner search and growth.

That quotation sums up the book, really. It’s a blow-by-blow account of Lisa’s, plus colleagues Polly and Hinda’s invention and development of the sports bra in the 1970s and the subsequent ins and outs of the company they formed to take it to market in the 70s and 80s. Very much of their time, Lisa, at least, concentrates on being woman-centric and personal growth, where Hinda is more confrontational and competitive. This leads to what sounds like a horrible environment for both them and their eventual employees, with disagreements and shouting and an eventual grudging acceptance of their different ways of doing things (Polly gets bought out early on but is still a presence in Lisa’s life), which then fractures again when they sell the company.

It’s interesting on the growth of “jogging” in the US and the mechanics of setting up manufacturing and sales, but there are also a lot of musings on the nature of power and women’s personal growth. Lisa has lived with epilepsy her whole life and it’s fascinating to read her insights into how that has affected both her personal life and her business practices. We do get an update on what happened next, and it’s an interesting story to read. There are reproductions of adverts and business documentation in the middle of the book which add to it, and are now archived in the Smithsonian!

Thank you to BooksGoSocial for approving me to read this book via NetGalley and apologies for taking so long to do so. “Unleash the Girls” was published on 9 September 2019.

Book review – Adam Nicolson – “The Sea is Not Made of Water”

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Adam Nicolson - The Sea is Not Made of Water - image of hardback book on a yellow duvet cover, there is a drawing of a prawn across the white dust jacket.

Our latest Emma and Liz Reads book (if you want to find them all, click here or on the category in the category cloud), and we started it in January, finishing last night. Chapters were quite long so we did some in two parts. I originally acquired this in September 2021 and I’m pleased to say that I’ve read all the books I reference in my round-up post here including the charity shop splurge I link to in that post, as I’ve also just finished Nova Reid’s book “The Good Ally” which is also in that list. I’ve enjoyed Adam Nicolson’s books for a long time and was excited to pick up this one; it was a partial (majority, I think) success, although not exactly what we were expecting.

Adam Nicolson – “The Sea is Not Made of Water: Life Between the Tides”

(2 September 2021)

These oscillations are patches in time, just as the patches on the rock are oscillations in space. Micro-tides flood and ebb across every dimension of their world. Their micro-catastrophes and micro-blooming are the guarantee of calm. Life is unsealed. There is no distinction between flux and stillness; they are one. The core of being is interplay, and is give-and-take of quick and still is the animation of life (p. 321)

This book takes a very close look at a patch of coastline in Scotland, and using the remit “Life Between the Tides” to cover, it turns out, flora and fauna, history and people, geology and the tides themselves. We had expected it to be more of a nature book and to be fair, the text on the flap makes it clear it takes in a zone “where the philosopher, scientist and poet can meet and find meaning”.

Emma and I both loved the straightforward nature bits, and learned some fascinating things about winkles, prawns, starfish and sea anemones and sea urchins (I was amazed to discover the sea urchin is related to the starfish and those five lines running up them are the fused remnants of the “legs” that starfish have. Another interesting thing we learned was the plural for the prehistoric proto-cow, the aurochs: aurochsen. Nicolson spends a lot of time digging and creating two rock pools, then a final one in the conclusion, and studying what colonises there and how the creatures interact and that was fascinating.

There was a lot of philosophy in the book, and I can see that this was written during the early days of lockdown, as this was mentioned in the conclusion when he made a pool then couldn’t visit it – I imagine Nicolson then curled up with some books and we had Iris Murdoch and attention, goodness and unselfing, which I could just about deal with having spent a lot of time absorbing stuff on IM over the years, and then on to Heidegger et al., which flummoxed both of us. He does come to the conclusion, I think I’ve understood, that being-with is the thing, sitting in communion with nature, history and the tides rather than imposing meaning or purpose. I think.

There was also a lot of history in places – social and political, which was OK, but also a long history of all the previous incorrect theory of the tides, which we sat there in our respective armchairs trying to understand before realising we only really needed to understand what actually happens (and we we much aided in this by me having happened to have just read Katherine May’s “Enchantment“, which had the best and simplest explanation of the tides I have ever found, which helped us grasp the explanation in this book). I enjoyed the sections on geology, having always been interested in it, and we both found the myths and legends of the sea and this area interesting although also a bit horrific in places. In summary, I think we both agree we enjoyed this book more than we struggled with it, on balance; that it wasn’t quite what we’d expected; and that we learned some new things.

I should mention the illustrations: animals and people by Kate Boxer and maps and figures by Rosie Nicolson, with photographs by the author. The colour plates were in both our hardback and paperback copies and explained a lot of the descriptions of life in the rock pools and aquaria. Halfman, Halfbook reviewed this very well last year and gave a good overview of the structure which I might have missed a bit in the episodic way we read it.

In an interesting note, Emma’s paperback had a different title and subtitle: “Life Between the Tides: In Search of Rockpools and Other Adventures Along the Shore” although still a pretty cover with a nice prawn on it.

Our next book is Deborah Frances-White’s “The Guilty Feminist” for a bit of a change from the nature of the last two books.

Book review – Ben Jacob – “The Orchid Outlaw”

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As we probably know by now, I do like a nature book, and I quietly admire a transgressive author who pops over fences or swims in places they shouldn’t. So this tale of rescuing British orchids looked like it was right up my street – and it was.

Ben Jacob – “The Orchid Outlaw: On a Mission to Save Britain’s Rarest Flowers”

(NetGalley, 19 April 2023)

So, in my own small way I do what I think is right: I take the law into my own hands to save a few plant species from being driven to extinction.

Jacob (presumably a pseudonym) gets into orchids when he sees one of the exotic ones we probably all think about when encountering the plant name, and in fact spends time when teaching English in Venezuela tracking down the big showy ones in a local rainforest. An unfortunate encounter with the police later, he’s back in the UK, and he notices a clump of Bee orchids in his dad’s field. This leads him to fall in love with the more subtle British orchids (here, some pictures would have been useful; maybe they have them in the print or completely copies) but they’re easy enough to look up, and they are peculiar and quirky but not the huge blooms we might think of.

Having looked into environmental protections and the law, he realises that there is no real protection against damage to most of our flora and indeed fauna, with schedules of rarity way out of date and developers in particular able to churn up land and destroy plants while claiming they will reinstate similar land (very much not like-for-like). He goes into the laws in detail then sets out to break them, doing dawn raids on development sites, taking plants home, then harvesting plants for their seeds and growing new plants with a weird lab in his kitchen, and doing guerrilla rewilding to plant them in spots he thinks they will be safe.

So we get the whole process, pleasingly, carried out over more than a decade so far, with an orchid orchard in his back yard and cheering sightings of growing plants, as well as the inevitable many failures. He also covers the history of various orchids and their descriptions, orchid hunters and the loose band of people who have protected orchids during the 20th and 21st centuries.

He has something on rewilding in general, and covers land ownership in Britain as well. There’s a thorough list of the British orchids and their habitats in the back of this nicely done book which has interest for anyone interested in plants and nature, though naturally quite doomy at times.

Thank you to John Murray for approving me to read this book via NetGalley in return for an honest review. “The Orchid Outlaw” was published on 11 May 2023

Book review – Caleb Azumah Nelson – “Small Worlds”

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When I read Caleb Azumah Nelson’s debut, “Open Water”, a couple of years ago, I found the narrative innovation a bit trying (it was all written in the second person singular) I thought (but didn’t say in my review, it turns out) that I would look out for what this writer did next, as I appreciated his portrayal of Black masculinities and his evocative description of London. This is the book he did next, and it’s more approachable in many ways, having what looks at first like a more conventional narrative style, but still exploring Black masculinities and still presenting an authentic and visceral London. Quite a few people in my book circles have read this recently – see my link to Jacquiwine’s excellent review below.

Caleb Azumah Nelson – “Small Worlds”

(5 April 2023, NetGalley)

It feels like a quiet life, but it’s mine. I’ve tried to build my own small world in the vastness, and it’s helping: I’m feeling more and more like the person I was, or the person I might become.

We’re in that summer where you get your A-level results and life is about to change, meeting Stephen, who is in love with fellow musician Del and working at his Auntie Yaa’s shop in Peckham, drifting a little and worried about what is to come, feeling pressured by his dad, who expects him to go and do a “proper” degree and bring wealth and prosperity to the family.

We explore his parents’ arrival in London from Ghana, his mum’s shock at arriving at a time when people were being blamed for riots and racism was rife, the struggles they had to settle and establish themselves, but we also get immersed in music, and music also informs the narrative: as you read on, you realise that certain images and phrases repeat themselves in slightly different forms again and again as the text moves through a few years of Stephen’s life, the sun reflected on people’s skin, the value of dancing as healing, people’s eyes, the appearance of a character called Marlon who is grieving a lost parent and presents a sort of model of that journey.

Like Harley in “Small Joys“, Stephen struggles at university with its strangers and microaggressions, and withdraws (this does suggest, along with non-fiction that’s around at the moment (like “Taking up Space“) that we really do need to be doing something to invest in Black young people’s experience of higher education), and other serious topics are covered subtly: the difficulty of going back “home” to Ghana when you’re perceived as being very well-off and able to look after people and the exclusionary gentrification of areas like Peckham, the two linked by Auntie Yaa’s outcome and decision as she’s threatened with being forced out of her shop. There’s also the legacy of enslaved peoples, with one female character knowing that her family came to London via Ghana but there had been a round trip via Brazil “by way of force; this history only spoken and, if not spoken, in danger of being lost”.

So lots of points are made subtly, placed in the reader’s mind to be pondered. Stephen grows, his relationship with his brother Raymond, starting a new generation of the family, shifts, and a break with their father starts to heal, turning into a different kind of care and showing yet another way men can relate to one another.

A lovely book, lyrical and almost hypnotic to read, beautifully written and, I think, a step forward for the writer. I can’t wait, again, to see what he does next.

Thank you to Penguin / Viking books for selecting me to read this book via NetGalley in return for an honest review. “Small Worlds” was published on 11 May 2023.

Jacquiwine’s excellent review which says all I would have wanted to say is here.

Book review – Deesha Philyaw – “The Secret Lives of Church Ladies”

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I remember there being a lot of talk about this book when it came out in 2020 – I was interested in it at the time but thought it might be a bit rude (it’s quite rude) and I assumed it would appear for me when the time was right. Earlier this year, my friend Jenny shared some books she was passing along and here this one was, so I said yes please and it reached me in February. Weirdly for me, I’m doing pretty well with February’s incomings, having already read four out of the nine print books that came to me! I promoted this one up the pile when my old friend Melanie said she was reading it with her book group – I ended up a bit late but these two ex-librarians (who used to be Saturday library assistants) happily coped with the racy bits and both enjoyed these short stories – Melanie’s thoughts at the end.

Deesha Philyaw – “The Secret Lives of Church Ladies”

(11 February 2023, from Jenny)

I grew up watching my mother eating the crumbs and leftovers from another woman’s table. I swore I never would. But here I am grubbing, licking the edges. (p. 184)

We’re plunged straight into more than just friends best friends Eula and Caroletta with their assignations that Eula definitely thinks are just a way of passing time until a man comes along. But it’s not all sex scenes: the stories are clever and surprising, pulling out the hypocrisy of pastors who preach to gain new cars and are sleeping with their parishioners and good young ladies who take revenge on the older men who prey on their friends.

Although they are separate stories, two seem linked by a perfect peach cobbler dessert, and we range through gay and straight relationships, “Snowfall” the most affecting, showing two Southern women trying to cope with a snowy winter in a northern state which seems to be freezing their relationship; as well as the sun, they miss the more genteel racism of the South. “Instructions for Married Christian Husbands” is a narrative by a strong, independent woman who only takes so much from her married lovers and has strict rules; it’s a powerful and sharply satirical piece which takes in colourism as well as misogyny and adultery.

The language is rich, direct and powerful, with an informal tone I was familiar with from reading other fiction by Black women centring Black women’s voices. I felt like the narrators were right there, talking to me. An excellent collection and I will certainly look out for more by this author.

Melanie’s thoughts: I read it with my book club! Overall our reviews were positive and we enjoyed the stories. I liked some more than others, definitely the longer ones, which reinforces my feelings in general to short stories – I think I need more to get my┬áteeth into. The rude bits were fine (although I felt a little taken aback jumping straight into “Eula”!), I struggled more with some of the colloquial language which I found jarring at times. My favourites were “Peach Cobbler” (which I read while waiting to donate blood – maybe not the most appropriate reading material!) and “Snowfall”, both of which I found more fully-rounded and quite poignant. I enjoyed the contrast between the lives the women were expected to lead and those they were yearning to lead, and the people they knew themselves to be. I wasn’t sure if the later story referencing peach cobbler (“Instructions for Married Christian Husbands”) was meant to be an older version of the young woman we meet earlier. Interestingly, Melanie’s US copy had this cover, while checking the UK version, it’s a pink cover with a peach in hardback, paperback and kindle versions!

Book review – Daphne du Maurier – “The Parasites”

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I’ve finally got my book for Daphne du Maurier Reading Week read and reviewed. You can read Heaven-Ali’s introductory post here. and I’m curating the list of reviews on this page (I did a post to explain it all here). I’m fortunate in being a friend of Ali’s and living quite near to her, so while she’s given me DDM books in the past, I borrowed this one from her so I could take part in the challenge this year. She said I’d enjoy it and she was correct!

Daphne du Maurier – “The Parasites”

(April 2023, loan from Ali)

Her right hand, with Niall’s ring upon the third finger, dropped in weary fashion over the side of the sofa, the fingertips touching the floor. Charles must have seen it from where he sat, in his deep armchair, opposite the sofa; and although he had seen and known the ring for as long as he had known Maria, accepting it in the first place as he would have done any personal belonging of hers dating possibly from childhood days, like a comb, a bracelet, worn from routine without sentiment; yet the sight of it now, the pale aquamarine stone, clinging tightly to the third finger, so valueless and paltry compared to the sapphire engagement ring that he himself had given her, and the wedding ring too, both of which she was always leaving about on the wash-basin and forgetting, may have served as further fuel to his smouldering anger. (p. 10)

The thing about du Maurier is that her writing is somehow always laden with meaning and portent, and so you can’t stop reading on and on – in both thrillers like “Rebecca” and more family-based narratives where nothing particularly dark happens like this one. We meet the three Delaneys, Maria, Niall and Celia, their father (or the father of two of them) a singer and their mother (or the mother of two of them) a flamboyant dancer. It’s important that two of them aren’t actually related by blood (even though they grew up together as siblings, though they knew their parenthood, so it’s still more than a little uncomfortable) as two of them become extremely close in adolescence and adulthood, something that’s hinted at strongly but not shown as such.

The narration takes a bit of getting used to, as there’s a sort of omniscient narrator who refers to the three as “we” and then we zoom into the head of Maria, Niall or Celia, quite often seeing the same scene or relationship from all three of their perspectives in turn, and it’s sometimes almost dizzying – like a Cubist painting – but you do get the hang of it quite soon. It’s also notable for most of the main action taking place over one afternoon, at Maria and her husband Charles’ house in the country, where everyone is most weekends and three of them are accused of being parasites. As Charles stomps off for a wet walk, the three siblings discuss various points in their lives in order, zipping back to the present at points. Then there’s a fundamental scene and we see what happens next to each character in turn.

So an unusual narrative voice and a fairly unusual structure make this interesting book more so. All three main characters are fairly unsympathetic, Maria inheriting her mother’s actressy flair and dislike for the job of being a mother, Niall being fit only for writing light songs, and Celia getting stuck with the caring role, foregoing her own talent as a writer and artist (I feel like she is the DDM character as this book is know to be semi-autobiographical, but DDM did of course go on to write many, many books). They’re not so unpleasant as to be unreadable though and the narrative zipping backwards and forwards gives a strong impetus to the novel.

It’s also very funny – the description of what awful country house weekend guests the siblings are, getting the wrong train, lying in bed all morning and wearing the wrong clothes is one I remember with a smile. It’s so psychologically perceptive, as usual with DDM, seeing how Maria hardly ever slips out of playing a character, how Celia gets lost in routine, how Niall sees his own vapidity but can’t climb out of the shallows. A really good read I’m glad I was able to get to.

I have a Bookish Beck Book Serendipity moment here, as the action all taking place over one afternoon was reminiscent of “The Three of Us“, read pretty recently and therefore counting – also, that book had a marriage made up of two married people and, well, a parasite, like this one.

Book review – Emily Kerr – “Her Fixer Upper”

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I was offered this book by the PR for the publisher because I’ve already read quite a few One More Chapter novels and I’ve also read two of Emily Kerr’s other books (“Meet Me Under the Northern Lights” and “Take a Chance on Greece“) so I knew I could trust her to provide a good story without silly errors or anything else to worry about. I took coaches to and from the south coast last weekend and this was absolutely perfect coach-home-after-a-tiring weekend reading, which is a segment of books we absolutely need to have in our lives!

Emily Kerr – “Her Fixer Upper”

(28 March 2023, NetGalley)

“We share a house. We’re financially died to each other. if I go and make things all awkward between us by declaring undying love while he’s very much friend-zoned me, it’s going to mess everything up. We’ll have to carry on living together, all the while knowing that there’s this great big uncomfortable elephant of a declaration sharing the house with us. I can’t bear to imagine the sad but kind look he’ll give me when he has to gently let me down.”

A fun novel with plenty of detail and an excellent dog (which is OK throughout). Old primary school friends Freya and Charlie end up throwing their lots in together when neither can get on the housing ladder. With lots of nice detail about how they learn DIY skills and gradually start to piece a manky old cottage together, we see their friendship grow (into something else: of course it does) but with plenty of respect and kindness and naturally a big dollop of misunderstanding.

I like the story arc of Freya’s grandad, still advising them into his late 80s and coming up with novel solutions for all kinds of things, and Freya has a great best friend who’s there to support her and give her a kick (and a hot shower) when she needs it and she’s not a chaotic millennial but a woman with a career and strong family ties. The village setting is done well, with the odd bit of enforced jollity but decency and support when it’s needed. A fun read that’s just the thing when you need something light but decent.

Thank you to One More Chapter for inviting me to read this book via NetGalley in return for an honest review. “Her Fixer Upper” is published on 19 May 2023 so is available for pre-order now and not long to go.

Time for Daphne du Maurier Reading Week 8-15 May 2023

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It’s time for Daphne du Maurier Reading Week, hosted and expertly run by the lovely Heaven-Ali with her introductory post here.

I’m curating the list of reviews for her this year, so once you’ve read and reviewed your book(s) I will gather them into a list on this page. It would really help me if you a) use the hashtag #DDMreadingweek on social media or b) add a link to your review in the comments on my page here.

If you can’t see your review on the review page within about 24 hours or so, please definitely comment either over there or under this post!

So please enjoy Ali’s posts on her blog this week and the book(s) you choose to read (I’m doing “The Parasites”) and I’ll look forward to gathering up your reviews!

Useful links

Heaven-Ali’s blog

Heaven-Ali’s welcome post

My review round-up

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