Goodreads Monday – The Fortunate Ones by Ed Tarkington

Welcome back to Goodreads Monday! It’s been a very hot minute since I did one but I figured I might as well get back into it! This weekly meme was started by @Lauren’s Page Turners and it invites you to pick a book from your TBR and explain why you want to read it. Easy enough, right? Feel free to join in if you want to! I’ll be using a random number generator to pick my books from my insanely long GR Want-to-read list.*

*Sorry if a book has been featured twice. I need to make better note of which ones I’ve done already!

This week’s featured book is The Fortunate Ones by Ed Tarkington. This is a literary fiction that is set to be published in January 2021 and currently has a 4.0 rating on Goodreads with 32 reviews. So very early days!

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First Impressions Spotlight: Big Girl, Small Town by Michelle Gallen

So it turns out that I noted my date incorrectly for this Algonquin tour and I didn’t bother to recheck it like I usually do because it’s been so busy… and I feel terrible about it! 😰 I have read 30% of the book though so this will be a “First Impressions” review but I will follow it up with a full review ASAP!

Thanks to Algonquin Books and NetGalley for providing the ARC in exchange for an honest review!

Goodreads: Big Girl, Small Town
Publisher: Algonquin Books
Release Date: 01 December 2020
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Irish Literature

Majella is happiest out of the spotlight, away from her neighbors’ stares and the gossips of the small town in Northern Ireland where she grew up during the Troubles. She lives a quiet life caring for her alcoholic mother, working in the local chip shop, and watching the regular customers come and go. She wears the same clothes each day (overalls, too small), has the same dinner each night (fish and chips, microwaved at home after her shift ends), and binge-watches old DVDs of the same show (Dallas, best show on TV) from the comfort of her bed. But underneath Majella’s seemingly ordinary life are the facts that she doesn’t know where her father is and that every person in her town has been changed by the lingering divide between Protestants and Catholics. When Majella’s seemingly mundane existence is upended by the death of her granny, she comes to realize there may be more to life than the gossips of Aghybogey, the pub, and the chip shop. In fact, there just may be a whole big world outside her small town. 

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#5OnMyTBR: Books about Death

Hello Mondays, welcome back to #5OnMyTBR, a meme created by the wonderful E @ The Local Bee Hunter’s Nook. This bookish meme gets us to dig even further into our TBRs by simply posting about five books on our TBR! You can learn more about it here or in the post announcing it. You can find the full list of prompts (past and future) at the end of this post!

This week’s prompt is: Death

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Blog Tour Review: His Only Wife by Peace Adzo Medie

I’m back with another Algonquin blog tour and this time it’s for this gem of a debut: His Only Wife by Peace Adzo Medie. Thanks to NetGalley and Algonquin Books for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

Goodreads: His Only Wife
Publisher: Algonquin Books
Release Date: 01 September 2020
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, African Literature
Panda Rating:

Afi Tekple is a young seamstress whose life is narrowing rapidly. She lives in a small town in Ghana with her widowed mother, spending much of her time in her uncle Pious’s house with his many wives and children. Then one day she is offered a life-changing opportunity—a proposal of marriage from the wealthy family of Elikem Ganyo, a man she doesn’t truly know. She acquiesces, but soon realizes that Elikem is not quite the catch he seemed. He sends a stand-in to his own wedding, and only weeks after Afi is married and installed in a plush apartment in the capital city of Accra does she meet her new husband. It turns out that he is in love with another woman, whom his family disapproves of; Afi is supposed to win him back on their behalf. But it is Accra that eventually wins Afi’s heart and gives her a life of independence that she never could have imagined for herself.

A brilliant scholar and a fierce advocate for women’s rights, author Peace Adzo Medie infuses her debut novel with intelligence and humor. For readers of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Candice Carty-Williams, His Only Wife is the story of an indomitable and relatable heroine that illuminates what it means to be a woman in a rapidly changing world.

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#WWWWednesday: 26 August 2020

Can someone please tell me where August went because… Is it really already the final full week of August?

Hello, hello and welcome back to another episode of WWW Wednesday, a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World of Words, which means I’ll be answering these questions:

  1. What did you read last?
  2. What are you currently reading?
  3. What will you read next?

Since my last WWW check in I’ve managed to read these five books. I feel like I’m missing books that I’ve read and just didn’t mark on Goodreads but if that’s the case then… we might just never know LOL My brain has been shrouded in a fog of lethargy lately and it can get really frustrating when this happens!

Ignite the Sun by Hanna Howard ★★★☆☆
This was an enjoyable, fast-paced and adventure filled story with lots of our favourite magical creatures. It’s the perfect read for fantasy newbies or fantasy lovers who aren’t looking for anything complicated or for anything “new”. Read my review!

Starcross Manor by Christie Barlow ★★★☆☆
This was a fun and easy read about mistaken first impressions, community and good friendships that left me feeling hopeful and warm. Our protagonists are older in this romance and I liked that focus as it’s rare to read about people above the age of 30/35 finding love! Read my review!

The Heart of a Peach by Jess B. Moore ★★★½
With such an adorable cover, I was surprised by the darker themes in this book. CW: abuse (emotional/mental), gaslighting. There’s also insta-love (a trope I hate), but I was able to look past that and rooted for the characters and their HEA. This was a surprising and enjoyable romance. Read my review!

The Little Wedding Shop by the Sea by Jane Linfoot ★★★☆☆
I’ve mixed feelings about this one. I liked the story, most characters and even the slow burn enemies-to-lovers romance, but as the story went on (and it really rolled on for quite a while) I found myself getting too irritated with our MC, Poppy. Still, it’s a sweet story set in a cute town and I wouldn’t mind coming back to read more around the wedding shop. Review coming soon!

Accidentally in Love by Belinda Missen ★★★★☆
This was the romance I didn’t know I needed this weekend. I love me a strong heroine who knows what she’s worth and what she wants out of life and goes for it 100%. Katharine was a great heroine and Kit is a hero that will steal your heart (although he could be immature at times). Loved the family relationships, especially the bond between Katharine and her brother, and the banter had me laughing out loud multiple times! Would definitely recommend it. Review coming soon!

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First Lines Friday – 14 August

Happy Friday book lovers! We’re back with another First Lines Friday, a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines? Here are the rules:

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book!

First lines:

“The snow in the mountains was melting and Bunny had been dead for several weeks before we came to understand the gravity of our situation. He’d been dead for ten days before they found him, you know.”

Do you recognize the book these first lines come from?

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#WWWWednesday: 12 August

Hello, hello and welcome back to another episode of WWW Wednesday, a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World of Words, which means I’ll be answering these questions:

  1. What did you read last?
  2. What are you currently reading?
  3. What will you read next?

Since last Wednesday I managed to finish 3.5 books (the .5 because I DNF’d one and so I won’t include that here). One of my goals for a while now is to allow myself to DNF and not feel guilty about it and although it’s really slow going, I think I’m doing a pretty good job this year since I’ve already allowed myself to DNF three books. Slow and steady, right?

With or Without You by Caroline Leavitt ★★★★½
I was pleasantly surprised by With or Without You especially because it’s the kind of book that I’d normally find myself disliking–not because it’s poorly written but because the characters are so flawed and I find it hard to connect to stories when I dislike characters. That (obviously) didn’t happen here though. This was a very bittersweet and deeply emotional book about love, loyalty, the choices we make in life and ultimately, about growth, change and finding yourself. Read my review!

A House is A Body by Shruti Swamy ★★★☆☆
I struggle with the way short stories are usually written but I continue to read them in the hopes I’ll find my “one” collection. While I enjoyed some of these stories, most of them mainly confused me and that impacted by overall view. Swamy’s writing is wonderful and she does an amazing job writing stories rooted in both fantasy and reality! I recommend it if you like diverse and fantastical short stories. Read my review!

The Black Kids by Christina Hammonds Reed ★★★★★
Although I initially struggled to connect with Ashley, I was able to empathise with her as I read on. She’s still a very unlikeable character but her growth in this book was so well done and I felt so proud of her in the end! This was a heavy book. It angered me, frustrated me, made me despair but I commend Hammonds Reed for ending this book in such a hopeful way. Although everything wasn’t okay, you felt like eventually, we’re going to get there. Read my review!

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Blog Tour Review: A House is a Body by Shruti Swamy

Today I’m back with another Algonquin book tour for A House is A Body by Shruti Swamy. Thanks to NetGalley and Algonquin Books for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. This book is out 11 August 2020!

Goodreads: A House is a Body
Publisher: Algonquin Books
Release Date: 11 August 2020
Genre: Literary Fiction, Short Stories
Panda Rating:

In two-time O. Henry-prize winner Swamy’s debut collection of stories, dreams collide with reality, modernity collides with antiquity, myth with true identity, and women grapple with desire, with ego, with motherhood and mortality. In “Earthly Pleasures,” Radika, a young painter living alone in San Francisco, begins a secret romance with one of India’s biggest celebrities. In “A Simple Composition,” a husband’s moment of crisis leads to his wife’s discovery of a dark, ecstatic joy and the sense of a new beginning. In the title story, an exhausted mother watches, distracted and paralyzed, as a California wildfire approaches her home. With a knife blade’s edge and precision, the stories of A House Is a Body travel from India to America and back again to reveal the small moments of beauty, pain, and power that contain the world.

Buy: Amazon (US)

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Blog Tour Review: With or Without You by Caroline Leavitt

I’m back with another Algonquin blog tour and this time it’s for With or Without You by Caroline Leavitt. Thanks to NetGalley and Algonquin Books for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

Goodreads: With or Without You
Publisher: Algonquin Books
Release Date: 04 August 2020
Genre: Literary Fiction
Panda Rating:

A powerful story of love, identity, and the price of fitting in or speaking out.
After her father’s death, Ruth Robb and her family transplant themselves in the summer of 1958 from New York City to Atlanta—the land of debutantes, sweet tea, and the Ku Klux Klan. In her new hometown, Ruth quickly figures out she can be Jewish or she can be popular, but she can’t be both. Eager to fit in with the blond girls in the “pastel posse,” Ruth decides to hide her religion. Before she knows it, she is falling for the handsome and charming Davis and sipping Cokes with him and his friends at the all-white, all-Christian Club.

Does it matter that Ruth’s mother makes her attend services at the local synagogue every week? Not as long as nobody outside her family knows the truth. At temple Ruth meets Max, who is serious and intense about the fight for social justice, and now she is caught between two worlds, two religions, and two boys. But when a violent hate crime brings the different parts of Ruth’s life into sharp conflict, she will have to choose between all she’s come to love about her new life and standing up for what she believes.

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Top 5 Saturday: Books I Need to Finish!

We’re back with another Top 5 Saturday! Just in case you don’t know Top 5 Saturday is a weekly meme created by Mandy @ Devouring Books and it’s where we list the top five books (they can be books on your TBR, favourite books, books you loved/hated) based on the week’s topic. You can see the upcoming schedule at the end of my post 🙂 This week’s topic is actually: books I’d give a second chance.

But as we know by now I don’t normally DNF books for a number of reasons but mostly guilt. Most of the time I power through that baddie and just “get it over with” (which also doesn’t sound great), but that’s also a longer discussion for another time! So since I don’t have (m)any DNFs to choose from, I decided to dig deep into memory banks and recall the books that I have put to the side but am determined to (eventually) finish!

As a mood reader, it can be pretty tough to stick to a book when my mood is swinging wildly all over the place. It doesn’t happen often because most of the time I settle into a book/story and I end up really enjoying the read and my moods quickly “calm down”… But when my moods are particularly erratic, I usually end up jumping through at least 5-10 books until I find one I can handle (this is making me sound insane, right? Lol). Most of these were put down because my mood just wouldn’t comply and I ended up repeatedly re-reading passages until I decided it’s not for now. Without any more waffling, here we go:

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