Book Review: The Authenticity Project

The Authenticity Project and green notebookThe Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley

The story of a solitary green notebook that brings together six strangers and leads to unexpected friendship, and even love

Julian Jessop, an eccentric, lonely artist and septuagenarian believes that most people aren’t really honest with each other. But what if they were? And so he writes–in a plain, green journal–the truth about his own life and leaves it in his local café. It’s run by the incredibly tidy and efficient Monica, who furtively adds her own entry and leaves the book in the wine bar across the street. Before long, the others who find the green notebook add the truths about their own deepest selves–and soon find each other In Real Life at Monica’s Café.

The Authenticity Project’s cast of characters–including Hazard, the charming addict who makes a vow to get sober; Alice, the fabulous mommy Instagrammer whose real life is a lot less perfect than it looks online; and their other new friends–is by turns quirky and funny, heartbreakingly sad and painfully true-to-life. It’s a story about being brave and putting your real self forward–and finding out that it’s not as scary as it seems. In fact, it looks a lot like happiness.


The Authenticity Project is just the tonic for our times that readers are clamoring for–and one they will take to their hearts and read with unabashed pleasure.
Review:
I loved the concept of this book, that of someone writing their authentic truth in a book and leaving it for others to find and do the same. In an age of social media and comparing our lives to what other people present, this idea is appealing.
And the book does a great job of delving into it!
I loved the cast of characters and how they were woven together all because of the little green notebook — which is almost a character itself — and how it made them want to connect and help and be authentic. The characters were fun and their stories were compelling. They make mistakes, they take chances, they help and look out for one another. I wanted to wander down the street and stop for tea at Monica’s coffee shop myself.
This really is a charming book about connection and the author did a great job exploring this theme. It’s easy to read and get lost in on a cozy weekend.
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a review copy of this book.
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Book Review: Get a Life, Chloe Brown

Get a Life, Chloe Brown

(The Brown Sisters #1) by Talia Hibbert

Talia Hibbert, one of contemporary romance’s brightest new stars, delivers a witty, hilarious romantic comedy about a woman who’s tired of being “boring” and recruits her mysterious, sexy neighbor to help her experience new things—perfect for fans of Sally Thorne, Jasmine Guillory, and Helen Hoang.

Chloe Brown is a chronically ill computer geek with a goal, a plan, and a list. After almost—but not quite—dying, she’s come up with seven directives to help her “Get a Life”, and she’s already completed the first: finally moving out of her glamourous family’s mansion. The next items?

Enjoy a drunken night out.
Ride a motorcycle.
Go camping.
Have meaningless but thoroughly enjoyable sex.
Travel the world with nothing but hand luggage.
And… do something bad.

But it’s not easy being bad, even when you’ve written step-by-step guidelines on how to do it correctly. What Chloe needs is a teacher, and she knows just the man for the job.Redford ‘Red’ Morgan is a handyman with tattoos, a motorcycle, and more sex appeal than ten-thousand Hollywood heartthrobs. He’s also an artist who paints at night and hides his work in the light of day, which Chloe knows because she spies on him occasionally. Just the teeniest, tiniest bit.

But when she enlists Red in her mission to rebel, she learns things about him that no spy session could teach her. Like why he clearly resents Chloe’s wealthy background. And why he never shows his art to anyone. And what really lies beneath his rough exterior…

Review:
I loved reading Get a Life, Chloe Brown. I do not often read romance but this one caught my eye — namely because it involves the types of characters that are often underrepresented in books.
The main character is Chloe Brown, who has an invisible disability and is in constant pain. She struggles to do things that most people would find easy or normal. After being in a situation where she could have been killed, Chloe decides to get a life and makes a list of things she wants to do.
I love Chloe and feel that her character was really well done. Her illness felt authentically portrayed and I loved her strange tenacity, for example climbing a tree to save a cat when it really was the last thing she should have done. It is interesting to watch her grow as she tries to get out of her comfort zone and do things that many people take for granted.
Red, the handyman at the apartment building she lives in, is also an engaging character with a past of his own. He is elusive about himself, and with good reason as he is suffering from a trauma of a different sort.
Even though there are some big issues being dealt with, the book is told in a romantic comedy type of way full of traditional tropes and sexual tension. In fact, the book is quite steamy.
This is an interesting take on traditional romance and I would highly recommend it if you like explicit sexual romance that is both light and inclusive. It is difficult to balance humour and big issues and inclusiveness, but Hibbert does a great job.
Thank you to Edelweiss and the publisher for a review copy of this book.
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Book Review: The Bookish Life of Nina Hill

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman

The only child of a single mother, Nina has her life just as she wants it: a job in a bookstore, a kick-butt trivia team, a world-class planner and a cat named Phil. If she sometimes suspects there might be more to life than reading, she just shrugs and picks up a new book.

When the father Nina never knew existed suddenly dies, leaving behind innumerable sisters, brothers, nieces, and nephews, Nina is horrified. They all live close by! They’re all—or mostly all—excited to meet her! She’ll have to Speak. To. Strangers. It’s a disaster! And as if that wasn’t enough, Tom, her trivia nemesis, has turned out to be cute, funny, and deeply interested in getting to know her. Doesn’t he realize what a terrible idea that is?

Nina considers her options.

1. Completely change her name and appearance. (Too drastic, plus she likes her hair.)
2. Flee to a deserted island. (Hard pass, see: coffee).
3. Hide in a corner of her apartment and rock back and forth. (Already doing it.)

It’s time for Nina to come out of her comfortable shell, but she isn’t convinced real life could ever live up to fiction. It’s going to take a brand-new family, a persistent suitor, and the combined effects of ice cream and trivia to make her turn her own fresh page.

Review:
I really enjoyed this book. Nina is a fun, quirky character, full of flaws and anxiety, but also a passion for books and trivia. It’s a fun book for bookish people to read because it is full of book and pop culture references.
Nina grew up with no family around, raised by her nanny. She loves her structured life, it feels full to her and she’s organized herself to minimize her anxiety. One day, everything gets turned upside down when a lawyer comes into the bookstore and tells her that her (absent) father has died and that she has a whole herd of family. She also realizes that she’s falling for a man on the opposing pub trivia team and the bookstore where she is working is threatening to close.
Nina doesn’t react well to all of these changes to her carefully structured and well thought out life. It was interesting to watch her reactions and thoughts and see her develop and grow. At one point she has a serious panic attack and I thought this was dealt with really well.
Overall, this is a fun, light read. Nina is a quirky character and I was totally invested in her, wanting her to figure out a way to resolve her inner conflicts. I loved the pop culture references, the descriptions of her bookshelves, and how she grows as a person. This is a great book for book lovers looking for a summer read.
Thank you to Edelweiss and the publisher for a review copy of this book.
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Book Review: My Sister, the Serial Killer

My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

My Sister, the Serial Killer is a blackly comic novel about how blood is thicker – and more difficult to get out of the carpet – than water…

When Korede’s dinner is interrupted one night by a distress call from her sister, Ayoola, she knows what’s expected of her: bleach, rubber gloves, nerves of steel and a strong stomach. This’ll be the third boyfriend Ayoola’s dispatched in, quote, self-defence and the third mess that her lethal little sibling has left Korede to clear away. She should probably go to the police for the good of the menfolk of Nigeria, but she loves her sister and, as they say, family always comes first. Until, that is, Ayoola starts dating the doctor where Korede works as a nurse. Korede’s long been in love with him, and isn’t prepared to see him wind up with a knife in his back: but to save one would mean sacrificing the other…

Review:
The title and cover of this book were instant draws for me. Then there’s the synopsis, which is absolutely wonderful.
I really enjoyed this book — the story of 2 very different sisters, Korede who takes care of everything and does what is expected of her and Ayoola who is very beautiful and flits her way through life. This is the story of Korede and how she cleans up after her sister after Ayoola murders her boyfriends, but there is also so much more.
It is a story of family relationships and expectations and how we are perceived. It’s about wants and desires and what we do to get them. It’s about social media and how men view women.
I loved Braithwaite’s writing and how she used satire and dark humour to get her points across. The characters were well developed, even in this short book, and I couldn’t wait to see what would happen next. She certainly doesn’t mince words!
Overall, this is a short and sweet read that is engaging, funny, and well worth the read.
Thank you to Edelweiss+ and the publisher for a review copy of this book.
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