Tag Archives: Contemporary

A Thousand Questions by Saadia Faruqi

Overview

Title: A Tousand Questions
Author: Saadia Faruqi
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Children, Contemporary
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Year: 2020

Thoughts

What an incredibly, incredibly beautiful story. I mean, everything about this is impossible not to love. The building of the friendship alone in this was beautiful. We, the world, need more tales of friendships and girl-love. About being women and girls who want to support one another and love each other for everything that we are. And the fact that this is all in a children’s book? So much happiness and pride.

Sakina and Mimi are such wonderfully sweet children. I read a lot, absorb a lot of media, so a story in which children are genuinely just children? Very enjoyable. Honestly, Sakina and Mimi are just so wonderfully sweet that I wanted to give them a big mumma hug. Both girls had their own issues, but, ultimately, even with culture, country and social status to separate them, they find a way to become friends.

This is definitely a story that I look forward to sharing with my daughter – it’s a wonderfully heartfelt story about friendship. But it’s also a reminder that at the run of it all children are the same. It’s the crap that we pile on them that can cause the whole “us vs them” attitude. It’s such a beautiful outlook and honestly, every moment of this left me with a huge smile on my face.

I’ve never read anything set in Pakistan, my entire knowledge of the country is that it’s, well, a country. I love that this tale was written by a woman who grew up in the very city in which it was set. That all of the differences, but more importantly, the similarities between Faruqi’s life in Pakistan and the USA are highlighted. A truly beautiful novel that I look forward to reading again and again.

<- A Place at the TableYusef Azeem is Not a Hero ->

Image source: Booktopia

Snow Angel by Kate Angell

Overview

Title: Snow Angel
Author: Kate Angell
In: Unwrapped (Erin McCarthy, Donna Kauffman & Kate Angell)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Christmas, Contemporary, Contemporary romance
Pace: Medium
Format: eBook, Novella
Year: 2011

Thoughts

Considering this novella started with a “three years ago” prologue, I knew this was going to be a reunion story of some kind. And I knew that it was going to be incredibly cute and adorable. Because these stories always are. And it was in a collection with two other completely adorable Christmas romance novellas. But I was kind of surprised by just how cute this story was.

I’m not sure why, but there is something that is just ridiculously cute about snow. And Christmas. And snow when you’re inside by the fire and candlelight… having such a gorgeous backdrop to this novella heightened the romance of the moment. And, it rounded out the Unwrapped collection beautifully. Snow Angel was a very sweet and classically romantic story that left me smiling and feeling all warm and gooey inside.

Allied and Aiden are a fantastic couple. They’re both so damn sweet and accepting of each other. And I like that there is a bit of build up to getting to know one another. The instant attraction is there, but it’s the more they get to know each other, the more they fall for each other.

<- Santa in a KiltUnwrapped ->

Image source: Amazon

Shirley From a Small Place by Alexia Arthurs

Overview
How to Love a Jamaican by Alexia Arthurs

Title: Shirley from a Small Place
Author: Alexia Arthurs
In: How to Love a Jamaican (Alexia Arthurs)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Contemporary
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: Picador
Year: 2018

Thoughts

Stories featuring fame and the famous seem to  e finding themselves ra on my shelves quite a bit at the moment. I’m not sure if I’m just noticing it, or they are genuinely more common in my selections right now, but it’s definitely interesting. Which brings me to this review. For all of the fame featured tales, this is the only one that deals with immigrants and fame, the ways that the disjunct between a home country is so vast and sometimes difficult to connect.

Shirley’s tale is kind of sad, and very intense. There’s a whole facet of aspects to her life that make you sad. But then there’s a slew of moments that you feel she has bought upon herself. It’s kind of tragic and definitely hurt my heart a little bit.

Ultimately though, this story is about the decision to be happy. Which, realistically, is a decision. You can’t control what life throws your way. But you can control how you view it and how you decide to feel about things.

<- We Eat Our DaughtersHow to Love a Jamaican ->

Image source: Goodreads

On Shelf by Alexia Arthurs

Overview
How to Love a Jamaican by Alexia Arthurs

Title: On Shelf
Author: Alexia Arthurs
In: How to Love a Jamaican (Alexia Arthurs)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Contemporary
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: Picador
Year: 2018

Thoughts

This Alexia Arthurs short story focuses on a marriage of convenience. And not the cute ones that result in finding happily ever after. Rather, it’s what I’m sure is far more common, and marriage that is about companionship and convenience. Not one that is about passion.

I like that although this is a marriage of comfort, it’s ultimately about the children. The narrator’s voice is focused on that beautiful positive and outcome. It makes sense and left me with a bit of a smile on my face at the end of the day.

I enjoyed this different perspective into marriage. It’s not one I often come across in my reading. It also fascinates me the idea of what is it that makes someone settle for less than their ideal.

<- How to Love a JamaicanWe Eat Our Daughters ->

Image source: Goodreads

Blue Christmas by Erin McCarthy

Overview

Title: Blue Christmas
Author: Erin McCarthy
In: Unwrapped (Erin McCarthy, Donna Kauffman & Kate Angell)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Christmas, Contemporary, Contemporary romance
Pace: Medium
Format: eBook, Novella
Year: 2011

Thoughts

I always love a good romance by Erin McCarthy. They’re always light, cute and just an incredibly easy read. This novella was no different. But with a lovely Christmas twist. I do love that the female was the grouchy, Christmas hater too. With a very happy and cheerful male lead instead.

I don’t always love the idea of a grouchy grinch lead. But something about Blue’s sass won me over from the very beginning. She was just pessimistic enough to be interesting, but not so much that I found her overbearing stereotypical and painful. Likewise, Christian was incredibly and almost painfully cheerful, but not quite over that line that made you want to smack him one. After all, pretty much no one is that damn happy.

Althpug I totally guessed how this novella would end, it still took a few extra twists that I didn’t quite expect. Plus, I loved that although this was a bit of an insta-love tale, it didn’t end with a declaration of love. Rather it was a declaration of intent and trying to make their relationship work. Far more tenable and realistic in my view.

<- UnwrappedSanta in a Kilt ->

Image source: Amazon

The Blind Date Diaries by Brenda St John Brown

Overview

Title: The Blind Date Diaries
Author: Brenda St John Brown
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Contemporary, Contemporary romance
Pace: Medium
Format: eBook, Novel
Year: 2020

Thoughts

I downloaded this book on the suggestion of one of my favourite authors, so I had absolutely no idea what to expect. But it was most definitely a pleasant surprise. I mean, i actually seriously enjoyed this story. It was easy, light and fun. Very cute and just all round enjoyable.

I like how Jake and Angelina are at constant loggerheads from the beginning, all because of one simple misunderstanding. And a whole bunch of insecurities. It’s a great reminder of how first impressions always stick with us and are hard to change, no matter how incorrect they are. That, and sometimes jumping to assumptions is a huge mistake that could potentially cost you your future happiness.

It was kind of fun to live vicariously through Angelina on her blind dates. I’ve never actually been on a date, and have no dating horror stories, so I’m always love reading about the joys and pitfalls of this. Plus, the whole set up just gave this novel such a beautiful romcom vibe. That, and the fact that you are constantly questioning whether Jake’s mother knew of his feelings or not…

The Blind Date Diaries is a fantastic novel that transported me to a fun and easy world where love triumphs overall. It was funny and sassy, with enough heartfelt moments in it that your heart gets entangled. I absolutely adored the adorableness of this story and can’t wait to read more tales of romance and love from Brenda St John Brown.

<- More Brenda St John BrownMaid in England ->

Image source: Goodreads

Unwrapped by Erin McCarthy, Donna Kauffman & Kate Angell

Overview

Title: Unwrapped
Author: Erin McCarthy, Donna Kauffman & Kate Angell
In: Unwrapped (Erin McCarthy, Donna Kauffman & Kate Angell)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect
My Bookshelves: Christmas, Contemporary, Contemporary romanceShort story collections
Pace: Medium
Format: Anthology, eBook
Year: 2011

Thoughts

This was a fantastic anthology of cutsie Christmas romances. All three novellas were fun and adorable, incredibly fun and ridiculously yummy. I loved the winter feeling of each of the stories and the imagery of snow falling around.

Each of these novellas were fun and light, with just enough drama to make them interesting. Plus, each and every one had a great little happy ending. One that left me with a happy smile on my face.

What a great collection of authors, old and new. I love a good Christmas romance, and the length of these novellas made it perfect to read just before bed without keeping me up too late.

<- Snow AngelBlue Christmas ->

Image source: Amazon

Touchstone by Karen Stivali

Overview

Title: Touchstone
Author: Karen Stivali, Heart Eyes Press
Series: Speakeasy Taproom #1
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Contemporary, Contemporary romance
Pace: Medium
Format: eBook, Novel
Year: 2021

Thoughts

I have to admit, having Sam as the male lead was incredibly yummy. And I’m not normally all that interested in reading about hipsters. Or just hipsters in general. But, he’s Wiccan, so the hipster thing was forgiven, and I actually enjoyed getting to know this so very yummy man a little bit better… there’s just something about not only his characterisation, but also the gorgeous relationship he has with his grandmother and great-aunt that had me smiling and digging further and further into this story.

Although I’ve been reading a lot of contemporary romances lately, I actually haven’t read many that feature the internet. I love that this tale actually uses the internet and our current obsession with memes to drive the storyline. It’s kind of a cruel beginning – memes drive a woman out of her life and thrust her into a whole new one. But I do love that it is something that generally happens these days. Plus, I seriously can’t get the idea of Phoebe with a huge hunk of meat flung over her shoulder, righteously marching off.

I’ve never been to America, let alone Vermont (where I think this is set). But I love the feeling of this setting. It actually kind of made me think of the tiny towns scattered throughout the Adelaide Hills. That sense of greenery and seclusion is so peaceful as you’re travelling through the region. It’s certainly the feeling that I get when I’m journeying into this tiny town. A feeling that I look forward to returning to with the reading of Heartwood.

Not only did I really enjoy both Phoebe and Sam independently and together, I also really loved all of the cooking and food throughout. I’m definitely developing an obsession with any kind of romance that features food and cooking. It’s just too delicious and… yummmm. So I had multiple reasons to drool while reading this fantastic romance.

<- More Karen StivaliHeartwood ->

Image source: Goodreads

Mad About Ewe by Susannah Nix

Overview

Title: Mad About Ewe
Author: Susannah Nix, SmartyPants Romance
Series: Common Threads #1
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Contemporary, Contemporary romance
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Year: 2021

Thoughts

I really like reading romances that feature an older couple. It definitely seems that the older I get, the older I want my protagonists to be (which makes total sense). Dawn and Mike might be a little bit older than I had kind of anticipated / desired, but they still fit that happy space in which I had older protagonists that made me happy. Plus, Dawn literally opens her own yarn store… something that I most definitely can see myself doing later in life.

There are a number of quite intense themes of moments throughout this novel. Starting with Dawn’s health scare and the crisis that she deals with. She may not have the best of responses to making sure that she gives those around her the benefit of the doubt, but I can also completely understand where she’s coming from. Spun throughout the romance that builds between her and Mike, it gives a far more realistic backdrop to the ways in which we have to negotiate romance in adulthood. Although, that may just be because health scares seem to be a fairly common occurrence within my life.

Mike is a pretty good lead. There is something to be said about people moving on from the past. High school is a weird time that seems to stick with all of us. But for some, it’s a time that they never move on from. I love how all throughout, Mike is kind of ashamed of who he was in high school (as I think we all are to some degree). But, the fact that he was a jock and popular doesn’t make him feel like revisiting his heyday. In fact, his past with Dawn is something that he actively regrets. It made me love him all that much more.

This is my second Susannah Nix book, and I must say, I am most definitely in love. Her characters are wonderfully relatable, and the story line just way too lovely and relatable. That, and the fact that the protagonists in this aren’t quite what fits the normal mould for romantic comedies that I’m used to. I’ll definitely continue to fill my shelves with her works, and keep smiling my goofy smile as I devour them…

<- More Smartypants RomanceGive Love a Chai ->

Image source: Goodreads

Fallen Star by Susannah Nix

Overview

Title: Fallen Star
Author: Susannah Nix
Series: Starstruck #2
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Contemporary, Contemporary romance
Pace: Medium
Format: eBook, Novel
Year: 2019

Thoughts

This is the second book in an absolutely adorable series, and it’s just encouraging me to read more and more within this world. I mean, I’m absolutely falling in love with Nix’s writing, but I’m probably also just, in general, becoming more and more enamoured with the world created in the Starstruck series. Mostly because they’re all just so damn cute. And they wonderfully investigate issues of self worth, and the persona we show the world versus our actual self.

I love how a simple mistaken impression and prejudice completely derails a relationship from the very beginning of this story. A stupid comment made in a moment not only screws with the relationship between Scott and Grace. But it also pretty seriously messes with Scott. Not only is this story all about them both overcoming their initial impressions to find a way to work. But, it is also, very much, about Scott learning how to overcome his own nonsense.

Nix does a fantastic job of dealing with mental health and addiction. She does this in a way that is beautifully relatable and accessible. Scott’s battles are so heartbreaking in moments. Particularly later in the story when he acts as his own worst enemy. Recovering from addiction is a constant journey, one that takes an immense amount of willpower. Nix also reminds us that it is an ongoing battle. For some people, mental health never leaves, but is our constant companion. And that is okay.

This was a brilliant cover to cover read when I was having a bad night. Whilst it deals with some pretty serious issues, it’s also just incredibly cute and adorable. Honestly, an incredibly easy read. With just enough drama and emotion, without making me literally grip the edge of my seat. Seriously enjoyable.

<- Star BrightRising Star ->

Image source: Goodreads