Aug 27, 2022

Mika in Real Life by Emiko Jean/Other Novels

Reviews and To Be Reviewed

Mika in Real Life
 2, 2022, William Morrow, NetGalley

Genre: contemporary fiction, YA, romance, women's fiction

My comments:

A heart-wrenching story of 36-year-old Mika who was encouraged by her mother sixteen years ago to give up her baby for adoption, and the story of the adoptee who finds her. 

Mika Suzuki of Portland, Oregon is gobsmacked by a surprise call from a 16-year-old Penny, who declares herself Mika's daughter. Penny wants to meet and Mika prepares herself for the encounter.

Penny and her adoptive father Thomas are almost too perfect to be believable at first. He is a caring parent, who with his now deceased wife, gave Penny all the love and affection a child could ever want.

However, Mika, the biological mother, is a 36-year-old unemployed woman now, who has a hard time making ends meet, and who decides she has to fake her life so as not to disappoint her daughter when they meet.

The angst of an adoptive child and a woman who gave her up at birth is well portrayed in this novel. It is moving and thought-provoking, and the characters and story line are excellently done. It is so well done, it moved me to tears in several instances. An enthusiastic five stars for  this contemporary novel of adoption.

Blown by the Same Wind by John Straley, December 2022, ARC courtesy of Soho Press
Genre: coming of age, mystery, Alaska crime fiction

About: Mysterious dreams of grizzly bears, a bumbling FBI agent, and a tense hostage negotiation have the town of Cold Storage, Alaska, turned upside down.

Inspired by assassination conspiracy theories, the life of Thomas Merton, and the changing tide of the ’60s, Blown by the Same Wind is a coming-of-age story for the town of Cold Storage as a whole. (publisher)

Addicted to You

by Krista and Becca Ritchie, Aug. 16, 2022, review copy courtesy of Berkley Books

Genre: romance, contemporary fiction

About: Lily is addicted to sex and her boyfriend Loren is addicted to alcohol. For three years, they have pretended to be in a relationship in order to hide their addictions from their families. How will this situation turn out? 

What are you reading this week? 
Memes: The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated BookreviewerAlso,  It's Monday: What Are You Readingand Sunday SalonStacking the ShelvesMailbox Monday

Aug 21, 2022

Reviews of Two Novels of China During Two Wars, 1918 and 1937: Historical Fiction

The Porcelain Moon

I was also fascinated by the little known, overlooked part of history, of over 140,000 Chinese laborers and peasants  brought over to help the WWI war effort in Europe, in non-combatant work such as clearing battlefields, loading goods and ammunition on trucks and trains, keeping the railroads running, and soul-destroying jobs such as handling decayed corpses in the trenches.
, as they struggle to keep their freer life in France, in spite of the war.  There is danger for both of them, and possible death, as they try to find their way during wartime France.

Aug 13, 2022

Bleeding Heart and Lonely Hearts: Book Reviews

Bleeding Heart Yard
by Elly Griffiths
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Publication: November 15, 2022
Genre: mystery, crime fiction, NetGalley

I've enjoyed many of Elly Griffiths' novels, though this is the first in this series for me. I was pleased as expected, and loved the intricate plotting and it subtle twists, the characterizations, and the whodunnit suspense.

The murder mystery revolves around The Group, a set of high school students at Manor Park School, who were always together, even when one of them, David, falls to his death in front of a moving train. Now, twenty years later, the remaining members of The Group are at a school reunion, where another one of them is murdered. Suspicion falls on all of them.

I loved that the mystery plot is not predictable, nor is the culprit or the reasons behind the murders. Another excellent mystery by the author.

View all my reviews (Goodreads)

Sophie Go's Lonely Hearts Club by Roselle Lim
Publication: August 16, 2022; Berkley
Genre: rom com, romance, magical realism, NetGalley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Sophie Go moves out of her demanding and demeaning parents' home, determined to make it on her own as a matchmaker in Toronto, even though she is not accredited by the matchmaking school. Her skills are challenged by the Old Ducks, a group of lonely 70-year-old Chinese Canadian men, who hire her to find them suitable wives or partners.

Sophie is a very sympathetic individual as she struggles to help support her parents as well as herself,  while trying to show she can do the job she has always dreamed of. She becomes close to the Old Ducks, the septuagenarians who are her clients, mostly likeable characters, each personality having his own foibles, quirks, and skill sets.

The character delineations as well as the clever plot make this novel. Sophie becomes close to the Old Ducks while trying to find them love partners, and you wonder if she will also find her own match along the way.

Magical realism makes this rom com unique. Sophie can see the "red threads" of people's hearts that flare to indicate their interest or willingness to meet a special someone.  The matchmaking society or association to which she belongs is a group of people with special magical insights and skills.

What are you reading this week? 

Memes: The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated BookreviewerAlso,  It's Monday: What Are You Readingand Sunday SalonStacking the ShelvesMailbox Monday

Aug 11, 2022

Book Review: The Lost Ticket by Freya Sampson

The Lost Ticket
by Freya Sampson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Genre: contemporary fiction, romance, women's fiction 
Publication: August 30, 2022, Berkley 

When Libby, newly arrived in London, decides to help elderly Frank find the girl he met and lost on the number 88 bus years ago, in 1962, she didn't realize her search would help not only Frank, but herself as well. Libby is estranged from her parents who disapprove of her wanting to be an artist, and she is on her own, but meets Frank and other people who enter her life for the better.

The relationship that develops between young Libby and the aged Frank is heartwarming, as is her determination to paste posters all over the city in order to find the girl Frank lost so many years ago when Frank misplaced her phone number written on that lost bus ticket.

The ending is not as we expected, but refreshing nevertheless, to finally have resolved the question of who the lost girl was and where life takes her. There is new meaning in life for Frank and new friends for Libby, as well as a new romance.

Thanks to NetGalley for providing this ARC.  

View all my reviews

Aug 7, 2022

The Frederick Sisters Are Living the Dream by Jeannie Zusy: Sunday Salon


The Frederick Sisters Are Living the Dream: A Novel


Publication, September 20, 2022, Atria Books


A very funny, occasionally romantic, and surprisingly moving novel about how one woman’s life is turned upside down when she becomes caregiver to her sister with special needs.

Every family has its fault lines, and when Maggie gets a call from the ER in Maryland where her older sister lives, the cracks start to appear. Ginny, her sugar-loving and diabetic older sister with intellectual disabilities, has overdosed on strawberry Jell-O.

Maggie knows Ginny really can’t live on her own, so she brings her sister and her occasionally vicious dog to live near her in upstate New York. Their other sister, Betsy, is against the idea but as a professional surfer, she is conveniently thousands of miles away.

Thus, Maggie’s life as a caretaker begins. It will take all of her dark humor and patience, already spread thin after a separation, raising two boys, freelancing, and starting a dating life, to deal with Ginny’s diapers, sugar addiction, porn habit, and refusal to cooperate. Add two devoted but feuding immigrant aides and a soon-to-be ex-husband who just won’t go away, and you’ve got a story that will leave you laughing through your tears as you wonder who is actually taking care of whom. (publisher)

My NetGalley/Goodreads review:

Bets, Ginny, and Maggie are the Frederick sisters whose relationships are featured in this novel. Maggie the third sister, becomes a caregiver for special needs middle sister Ginny, while the oldest, Bets, lives a life of California surfing.

Sisters and how they relate to one another, the sacrifices they make for one another, or sacrifices they don't make, are the themes
. A surprising turn around at the end of the novel shows the sisters in a new light. 

The novel, however, takes too long to get to this point, frustrating the reader. The book could have been shorter and some of the middle events cut or omitted in order to get to the ending.

I enjoyed the first three-quarters of the book and wished the main points, though surprising and thought provoking, could have been reached earlier.

What are you reading this week? 

Memes: The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated BookreviewerAlso,  It's Monday: What Are You Readingand Sunday SalonStacking the ShelvesMailbox Monday

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