When Dimple met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

Amy When Dimple met RishiDimple and Rishi are Indian-American teens whose parents think should get married, and they meet for the first time at a University’s summer program. It’s a sweet love story, with really interesting cultural detail, a little predictable, and sometimes silly, but a quick, fun, read.

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Anything is possible by Elizabeth Strout

Amy Anything is possibleI read My Name is Lucy Barton last year and found it a beautiful story. Anything is Possible is a companion book, in which Lucy features. It is, essentially, connected short stories about people in the small town Lucy Barton grew up in. It’s about strength of character, loneliness, loss, hope and the endlessly bizarre turns life and people can take. It’s sad, sweet, puzzling, complex and hopeful; I enjoyed it very much.

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The bad guys by Aaron Blabey

Kate the bad guys

“The Bad Guys” by Aaron Blabey, has been a long sought after series in our house after word-of-mouth in the school classroom, so I borrowed a couple of episodes. Mr Wolf, Mr Shark, Mr Snake and Mr Piranha, the bad guys trying to prove to us they are really heroes, are a big hit. It’s a quick book to read to my eight year old, who thinks it’s hilarious. The comic strip speech style of writing encourages character specific voices (and a Spanish accent for Mr Piranha, of course, as he’s from Bolivia) and much shouting when the text is big, bold and in capital letters like ‘I SAID, BOO HOO. BOO. HOO.’ My eleven year old then takes the book away to read to herself and says she is hooked from the very first page. My kids are eagerly awaiting the next instalment of this entertaining series. (And, me too! I don’t think you have to be a kid to enjoy it.)

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Mr Rochester by Sarah Shoemaker

Amy Mr RochesterThis could have been so bad. Loving Jane Eyre as much as I do, means that I am very sensitive to the story being messed with, so I was surprised to find myself enjoying it so much. Mr Rochester takes Jane Eyre and Wide Sargasso Sea, and endeavours to tell the story of Edward Fairfax Rochester from his childhood. There were a couple of Americanisms, but on the whole the voice was convincing, and the story fit. There were some surprising revelations, even after Jane enters the story, and I wonder whether their love story would be convincing to someone who hasn’t read Jane Eyre, as it was so condensed, but on the whole, it was a good read.

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Three men in a boat by Jerome K. Jerome

Amy Three men in a boatThree Men in a Boat is a classic I am only just getting to now. It’s that particular sort of British humour -bumbling, self-deprecating and obvious, mixed with a travelogue, nostalgic for the history of the countryside along the Thames. Quaintly amusing, historically interesting (given that it was written in the 1880s and was looking back) and with a marvellous dog called Montmorency, this is a quick, fun read.

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Wildflower by Drew Barrymore

Kate Wildflower“Wildflower” by Drew Barrymore is not, she insists, a memoir, as that seemed too heavy for her. She wanted something light, so this book is a collection of short stories about her adventures, challenges and incredible experiences of her earlier years. Being aware of her life as a troubled Hollywood child star, this collection is very light-hearted, and not being in chronological order, it can be a little confusing to determine when each story takes place compared to the last. But if you are fond of Drew, it is an entertaining, funny and insightful glimpse into how she evolved into the happy mother, actress, author, director, model and producer she is today.

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Summer crossing by Truman Capote

Amy summer crossingAs with Go Set a Watchman, I had qualms about reading this, as Truman had abandoned it, and didn’t want it published. Funny, given the connection between Truman and Harper Lee. Still, I read it, and while it really can’t compare with his later work, I did still enjoy it. It’s a New York story, of youth, wealth and intoxicating love; slim, in more ways than one, but I’m glad I read it.

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