Books/book review/fiction

Let’s go and garden!

Digging in
Loretta Nyhan
Fiction, humour, literary fiction
Lake Union Publishing

In author Loretta Nyhan's warm, witty, and wonderful novel, a widow discovers an unexpected chance to start over--right in her own backyard. Paige Moresco found her true love in eighth grade--and lost him two years ago. Since his death, she's been sleepwalking through life, barely holding on for the sake of her teenage son. Her house is a wreck, the grass is overrun with weeds, and she's at risk of losing her job. As Paige stares at her neglected lawn, she knows she's hit rock bottom. So she does something entirely unexpected: she begins to dig. As the hole gets bigger, Paige decides to turn her entire yard into a vegetable garden. The neighbors in her tidy gated community are more than a little alarmed. Paige knows nothing about gardening, and she's boldly flouting neighborhood-association bylaws. But with the help of new friends, a charming local cop, and the transformative power of the soil, Paige starts to see potential in the chaos of her life. Something big is beginning to take root--both in her garden and in herself.

I actually think that Petra Polly might have a good book in there…  so a book within a book. Petra certainly makes some good and valid points from my own experience of organisations, especially about sharing knowledge. But I don’t like the idea of competing for your job! The loser gets sacked.

So an interesting story about the older women at work and how their knowledge and experience works with creativity and enthusiasm as displayed by the ‘youngsters’.

And how digging in a garden is good for your health and growing your own food expands your emotions.

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Books/book review/fiction/Romance

Sometimes you are not your best self

Not Perfect Book Cover Not Perfect
Elizabeth LaBan
Womens' Literature, Romance , Women's Fiction, Humour
Lake Union Publishing
(1 Feb. 2018)

From Elizabeth LaBan, the acclaimed author of The Restaurant Critic’s Wife, comes a captivating and very funny novel about a wife and mother’s fall from grace, and why keeping up appearances is not her biggest secret.

Tabitha Brewer wakes up one morning to find her husband gone, leaving her no way to support herself and their two children, never mind their upscale Philadelphia lifestyle. She’d confess her situation to her friends—if it wasn’t for those dreadful words of warning in his goodbye note: “I’ll tell them what you did.”

Instead, she does her best to keep up appearances, even as months pass and she can barely put food on the table—much less replace a light bulb. While she looks for a job, she lives in fear that someone will see her stuffing toilet paper into her handbag or pinching basil from a neighbor’s window box.

Soon, blindsided by catastrophe, surprised by romance, and stunned by the kindness of a stranger, Tabitha realizes she can’t keep her secrets forever. Sooner or later, someone is bound to figure out that her life is far from perfect.

An interesting novel but not really up to the humour I expected.

I also got rather irritated by Tabitha who a: did not pawn her husband’s cuff-links but used them as tips – if they had value why not use them? And b: for someone who was supposed to know how to cook she really didn’t try.

Does no-one in NY go to a market – not a foodie market but a real market – at the end of the day, when all the fruit and vegetables etc are being sold cheap? I used to go and get crates of tomatoes and peppers etc which made wonderful soup. Add some lentils (dirt cheap) and you have a filling and healthy meal! And it seemed to me, that if she was going to steal, then get something useful – like packets of beans to soak and cook for a protein rich meal…  with peanut butter all the better!

That said.
I did have some sympathy for Tabitha being abandoned like that with no warning and no idea of where the money was going to come from – but again, why didn’t she go back to the carer agency after spending the afternoon with the client and ask for money from them for the work she had done, and start working properly – even take on the receptionist job?

Oh well. Tabitha was a pampered wife with no sense of the real world and how to live in it clearly…

An Amazon Prime Free Book

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Books/book review/fiction/Romance

Hiding? Why?

The Art of Hiding Book Cover The Art of Hiding
Amanda Prowse
romance, contemporary, women's popular fiction
Lake Union Publishing
August 22, 2017

Nina McCarrick has it all: a loving husband, two beautiful boys, a well-appointed home and more time than she knows what to do with. Life is perfect. Until her husband, Finn, is killed in a car accident and everything Nina thought she could rely on unravels. Alone, bereft and faced with a mountain of debt, Nina quickly loses her life of luxury and she begins to question whether she ever really knew the man she married. Forced to move out of her family home, Nina returns to the rundown Southampton council estate--and the sister--she thought she had left far behind. But Nina can't let herself be overwhelmed--her boys need her. To save them, and herself, she will have to do what her husband discouraged for so long: pursue a career of her own. Torn between the life she thought she knew and the reality she now faces, Nina finally must learn what it means to take control of her life. Bestselling author Amanda Prowse once again plumbs the depths of human experience in this stirring and empowering tale of one woman's loss and love.

I have a problem with this book and the storyline. As soon as I read that the husband was dead I knew that the family would be bankrupt, forced to live elsewhere and very down-market and shabby. It was the too obvious next scene in the story.

Why didn’t Nina register as unemployed immediately? And why didn’t she ask for the flat to either have a reduced rent due to the condition? Or get her cousin to improve the state of it, especially as sleeping on old mattresses is very unhygienic. She could probably have got a loan from Social Services to buy a new one even.

And also, when you are told you are bankrupt, the first thing you do is to go through the house and wear all your jewellery – or hide it in your handbag or… AND take all the food in the cupboards and freezer instead of abandoning it. I realise it is not such a good storyline but still really.

So the main character annoyed me and I felt that the story could have been much better constructed.


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