Incidental Happenstance by Kim DeSalvo 5/5 Stars
About a third of the way into this book I sent it to one of my best friends because I knew she would love it as much as I was, and finishing the rest of the book didn’t disappoint at all. This is a perfect book for any (former or current) teenage girl who had a crush on a celebrity, especially if they were in a band. On Tia’s first solo social outing since her fiancé’s death the year before, she meets her long-time crush who is in disguise, the vocalist for a band who sells out shows all over the world. We’re lucky enough to have first row seats to Tia’s pinch-me-I-can’t-believe-it’s-real new life and it was an absolute dream to read. A true gem that I found for free on kindle. Highly recommend!
Fresh Water for Flowers by Valérie Perrin 5/5 Stars
I hardly know where to start with Fresh Water for Flowers. I would have been perfectly content with the story of Violette as a caretaker of a cemetery in France, which is delightful on its own, but then Perrin started to weave in Violette’s story starting in her late teens through her late 40’s, which is present time in the book. Really it’s like there are four or five short stories woven together; I can’t say what or it will give the story away. It is so thoughtfully written and beautifully translated; a truly unique book and a treasure.
Joie by Ajiri Aki 5/5 Stars
An Astronomer in Love by Antoine Laurain 5/5 Stars
I absolutely adore this book! It is truly fantastic. I found myself remembering little precious details of it in the days after I finished it. Alternating between Guillaume in 1760 and Xavier in 2012, we only get a a few pages of each story at a time before switching. I really liked this. In typical Antoine Laurain fashion, we have a shorter-than-usual novel (some could argue novella size) but the choice of words is so precise that you have exactly, perfectly, what you need for the story, with nothing extra floating around. I’m adding this to my collection of books I really love.
La Vie, According to Rose by Lauren Parvizi 3/5 Stars
If this wasn’t set in France it probably would have been a DNF for me. I couldn’t relate with Rose and because of that had a difficult time really enjoying the story. I didn’t understand the way she would talk to herself, the choices she made, or why she ignored red flags in people and situations she encountered. She didn’t start standing up for herself until 75% of the way into the book. I did enjoy the small details of the book, like descriptions of people and places in France. The ending was good so overall I don’t regret reading it but it’s not one that I would reread.
A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meissner 5/5 Stars
I normally shy away from alternating timelines but I’m glad my book club picked this for our next book. We go between Clara in 1911 and Taryn in 2011. Most of the story was Clara’s which made it feel less like the alternating timelines and going back and forth often. I really liked Clara’s character; I feel she made smart decisions, or at least thought carefully about how to handle tough situations. I also loved the mentions of how she tries to think of polite ways of saying something or is concerned about being presentable. It’s so off from the world we live in in 2023 that it was nice to imagine a more civil time.