Thursday, July 30, 2020

(2) lighter reads with hopeful messages during stressful times - A Little Bit of Grace; Phoebe Fox - What You Wish For; Katherine Center


 A Little Bit of Grace ; Phoebe Fox
Berkley - 2020

Another story with a perfect message during difficult times: choose joy.

Grace Adams McHale was raised to understand that family is everything.  This is despite the fact her father ran off with a younger woman when she was still a child and now her husband and law practice partner has another woman in his life as well. If that isn't bad enough, Grace's mother has just died and she's just not sure how to move on with her life in Missouri.

While sorting through her mother's things she discovers a letter from someone she doesn't know. She soon learns that she has a great aunt named Millie in Florida. It's someone her mother had never mentioned. Not only does Grace need some time away, she's curious about a family member that was never mentioned before, so off to Cypress Keys she goes to meet great aunt Millie.

Millie, is a full of energy 81 year old with a large network of friends. She is known for helping people move on with their lives when bad things have happened.  Millie is a fabulous character with a secret from her past that had severed her relationship with her family.  I went into this novel expecting a light, fluffy read but, ended up with so much more.  The setting is lovely, the characters will make you laugh but, there is also a serious side to the story with a theme of family and self discovery. READ IT (perfect for COVID times).

(eGalley - 4.5/5 stars)


What You Wish For; Katherine Center
Macmillan Audio - 2020

Samantha Casey is a school librarian in Texas who loves her job and the children she helps but, life wasn't also this happy for Sam.  Her school is well run by principal Max who is loved and respected by all.  When Max dies unexpectedly, the community is devastated but, things seem to get worse when Duncan Carpenter, the new principal, arrives as replacement principal.

Duncan is a shocking change, a rules and regulations enforcer. He knows bad things can happen in schools.  Sam knows Duncan from a previous school in California and this isn't the same man she had a secret crush on.  Can Sam's influence make Duncan come around?

I liked the way this story unfolded. Sam was a sympathetic character and I enjoyed getting to know Duncan (although I wish we learned even more about the old Duncan). The secondary characters were well written too. This is another story where I expected a light, fluffy read but, there were definitely some heavy topics to this novel as well. Fortunately, they did not overpower and take away from the joyful moments of the story.

The audio book was read by Therese Plummer who did a great job. The audio download was provided to me by MacMillan audio via NetGalley for my unbiased review.

(audio download -  4/5 stars)

24 comments:

  1. These do sound like perfect reads during these crazy times. Looking forward to both!

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  2. You sure found a couple of goodies.

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  3. Millie sounds like my cup of tea, and a book about a librarian is bound to have a hopeful theme!

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  4. I have What You Wish For on my TBR shelf and was hoping it would be a positive read so I'm glad you enjoyed it.

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  5. I love Katherine Center books and A Little Bit of Grace sounds right up my alley.

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  6. OK, you sold me on A Little Bit of Grace. I'll go looking for it. Glad you liked What You Wish For too. I thought it was just about perfect for crazy times like these. Lots of good themes.

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  7. They sound like nice breaks from our everyday sameness.

    Are you reading more audiobooks during the plague than before? I'm reading about the same number as always, but now that I'm listening at home instead of while driving someplace, I'm tending to either fall asleep entirely or have my mind drift to the point that I end up "rewinding" a lot.

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    1. I've been reading/listening to more audios in 2020. Sometimes I do a combo read/listen which helps me finish a book a bit faster. I don't drive much either since March. We used to take road trips and listen to audios but, since we are not staying in hotels or going far it's at home listening. (I listen before bed and yes, rewind frequently as well.

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    2. I do those "combos," too, whenever I can get both formats at the same time. It helps be, I think, better judge the material and get a good feel for the author's writing style that I don't always seem to get from the audiobook.

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  8. Love these suggestions! My reading has changed so much during this pandemic. Have a great weekend!

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    1. Bonnie, I do need a break between thrillers and lighter reads lately.

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  9. A Little Bit of Grace was delightful!

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  10. This is exactly what we should be reading right now.

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    1. Oh yes, too much doom & gloom without adding to our anxiety.

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  11. Thanks for these recommendations, Diane. Both sound perfect for for my mood these days.

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  12. I'm glad you found hope in these books even though they turned out to be heavier than you expected.

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  13. Both of these look good. I've always wanted to give Katherine Center a try.

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