Get A Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert

Hello Kittens! Are you in the part of the country getting a weird cold snap right now? Me too! But no worries, because this next book out to warm you right up. Definitely steamy! I’ve been making a concerted effort to add more fiction featuring diverse characters and by diverse authors into my book diet and this book checks off both of those boxes. This book came out back in November, but the next title in the series is coming out in June (assuming no publishing delays), so it’s a great time to pick this one up. The writing is modern and funny and you’ll be rooting for these characters all the way.

Title: Get a Life, Chloe BrownGet a Life, Chloe Brown (The Brown Sisters, #1)

Author: Talia Hibbert

Author website: https://www.taliahibbert.com/

Publisher: Avon

Publish date: November 5th, 2019

ISBN: 9781643854786

Buy the Book: Amazon, Barnes and Noble

Summary

After a near-death experience, Chloe Brown begins rethinking her life’s accomplishments, or lack thereof. She decides that maybe her family has the right idea in encouraging her to, “get a life”. So what’s a girl in this situation to do? Create a get-a-life list, of course! Chloe’s list includes enjoying a drunken night out, riding a motorcycle, going camping, and having, “meaningless but thoroughly enjoyable sex”, among other things. You know, the average. But first, she needs to move out of her family’s house and get her own place.

That part actually turns out to be pretty easy, but once she moves to her new apartment complex, she runs into the prickly building manager, Redford. Chloe finds his presence thoroughly unpleasant and doesn’t understand why no one else in her life can see how utterly annoying he is.

For his part “Red” isn’t exactly enamored with the new diva living in the complex either. She treats him as decidedly less-than in all of their interactions, and every time he turns around he seems to be running into her. And what’s more, he’s pretty sure he caught her spying on him while he was painting in his apartment. As Red’s annoyance builds, so does his attraction to Chloe. Maybe she’s not as bad as he first thought, but she’s definitely peculiar and he doesn’t need that kind of energy in his life. Red’s just beginning to put his life together after a really bad break-up and he does not need a complicated woman like Chloe in his life…but he can’t seem to stay away.

Chloe was definitely watching him paint. After all, what kind of guy paints in his apartment shirtless with the blinds open. Plus, this fulfills the “do something bad” portion of her get-a-life list. Red is a harmless distraction, but not a friend and definitely not boyfriend material. Chloe tried the boyfriend thing before and it went horribly wrong. Chloe has enough to deal with in her life without adding a complication like Redford. Red however, is persistent in changing her opinion of him…and he might just be worth re-writing her list for.

Why I liked the book:

I really like how the author handled the interracial relationship aspect of the story. I also appreciated reading a story where the main character is suffering from chronic illness. The story emphasizes how Chloe’s fibromyalgia impacts her life from pre-diagnosis to now. Hibbert spends a decent amount of time talking about how a diagnosis of a chronic illness that is difficult to manage even with medication can take a toll on the sufferer’s personal relationships. Despite all of the hardship, Chloe is still a lovable character with a strong will. I think readers are going to love her and her sisters.

Red comes across as an imperfect, but still really good guy. He is the kind of guy that most girls would drool over, but he’s got baggage from a prior relationship and he’s drifting in his life right now. Above all, I appreciate that as a character, he didn’t struggle with the caregiver nature of the situation. He presents as understanding of Chloe’s limits without pushing her unnecessarily. Both characters have something to learn about themselves and each other.

What I would like to see changed:

Chloe’s sisters come across a little shallow, even though they are also very compassionate about her life. I’m looking forward to seeing Hibbert explore deeper parts of their characters in the rest of the series.

Also, can we just get a book about their grandmother? Because she sounds like someone readers would enjoy getting to know.

Disclaimer: No disclaimer needed. I chose this title for my Book of the Month selection back in November and finally got around to reading it.

My library rating: There are a few pretty spicy sex scenes in this one. It’s a romance after all! But between those, a some indiscriminate curse words sprinkled throughout the book, I’d have to be cautious about recommending this one at work. I would maybe give it a shot for people who tell me they enjoyed The Kiss Quotient or The Rosie Project. Interestingly enough for my rating system, one of my best friends recommended this title to me.

1 glass of lemonade. A book that can only be recommended to someone whose reading taste you know well, like a best friend. There may be a fair amount of curse words, spicy sex scenes, or potentially morally repugnant behavior. This does not mean that the book is bad, just that the audience might be a little more limited.

My personal preference rating: I gave this title 4 stars. It’s sweet and sexy and features diverse characters, so what’s not to love?

Reading Group Guide and Read-a-Like suggestions.

The Bookshop on the Shore by Jenny Colgan

Good day to you Kittens! This week I have for you pure delight in the form of a book. There are certain books that, when you read them, you know are written by a person for whom books bring great joy. Everything that I have ever read by Jenny Colgan brings this feeling to mind. She loves books and she loves people who love books. Her books tend to revolve around female characters and they typically end up being love stories. For those of you who might not be into that kind of thing, let me be clear, there’s more to each story than a romance. I would argue that Colgan’s stories are more about women finding themselves than they are about women finding a man. For these stories, the men are just window dressing. “The Bookshop on the Shore” is a follow up to Colgan’s 2016 release, “The Bookshop on the Corner”. A word to the wise, when you are looking for these books just keep in mind that Colgan’s U.K. Editions sometimes have slightly different titles and they have drastically different covers. “The Bookshop on the Shore” is out today!

Title: The Bookshop on the ShoreThe Bookshop on the Shore

Author: Jenny Colgan

Author website: https://www.jennycolgan.com/

Publisher: William Morrow

Publish date: June 25, 2019

ISBN: 9780062913555

Buy the Book: Amazon, Barnes and Noble

The Bookshop on the Shore continues the story of Nina Redmond, a Librarian we met in The Bookshop on the Corner. Colgan returns to the town of Kirrinfief in Scotland, but this time the story focuses on a young woman named Zoe. Zoe is a single mom to an adorable boy named Hari. She is struggling to make ends meet in London as Hari’s deadbeat dad continues to come up with excuses for why he can’t help take care of his son, why he can’t tell his family about Hari, and why they can’t make their relationship work for Hari’s sake. At the end of her rope and unable to afford her rent, Zoe accepts a job offer in Kirrinfief. She will be acting as au pair to a well-established, though mysterious, family while also assisting Nina with the book van. Zoe has experience working with children and loves books…plus, she’s desperate, so this has to work out.

So, of course, it doesn’t work out at all. The children of the Urquart family are little hellions. She is not their first au pair and they want her gone. Their mother has left them and their father is absolutely no help at all and the housekeeper isn’t go to throw Zoe any bones. The one redeeming factor was supposed to be helping Nina with the book ban, but the citizens of Kirrinfief don’t know what they want in a book and they don’t want anything Zoe suggests for them. Hari’s father is still falling down on his responsibilities. Zoe’s at her limits and then, things get even worse.

This book is Jenny Colgan as her readers have come to expect. There’s humor, there’s romance, there’s plenty of unexpected mayhem caused by the very nature of the Scottish weather and people. Zoe is definitely given the fish out of water treatment by the locals. Colgan conveys some of the struggle of being a single parent, particularly to a child with some peculiarities with beautiful poignancy while not weighing the story down too much. Zoe’s life is hard and it wouldn’t be a stretch to understand how she could give up on herself and her dreams, but you know that she will always keep fighting for Hari. This story is about a mother’s unfailing love for her child and the strength of that same women when life throws everything it’s got at her.

The writing is clean and precise. The colloquialisms are easy to gather from context (at least they were for this American reader) and the interspersed cultural details about Scotland and it’s traditions will inspire readers to want to learn more. This book is an easy read. It doesn’t hit the reader over the head with the romance, and in fact I consider that the least important element to the story. Zoe is a triumph who will inspire so many people to get back up when life has bowled them over. This book was lovely while still dealing with the harsh realities many women face when it comes to motherhood and making a living.

Disclaimer: I received an e-galley of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

My rating:

lemonade_iconlemonade_iconlemonade_iconlemonade_icon4 glasses of lemonade= a book you could recommend to a book group or anybody who reads.  You might find controversial subject matter, but it is handled delicately.

I really went back and forth on whether to give this one the full 5 glasses of lemonade rating, but I held back for one reason: the story delves into mental health with both adults and children. For that reason, the book might need a trigger warning for some readers, especially those who are sensitive to the idea of medicating young children for mental health purposes. In general, I feel that I can recommend anything Jenny Colgan writes to any reader I come across who just needs a boost.