October 2022 Books #AmReading

The autumnal month of October is upon us! How did that happen? Well, I’m still reading away, as my relaxing time, because I need that escape right now! Let’s see what I manage this month!

It was 16, in the end, and many of them were in my half term! We had a crazy term, but reading kept me going through some rough patches, and I hope you like the look of some of the books mentioned below!

Pop over on 10th November when Sandy is coming to visit as one of my Book and A Brew with Ritu guests! I’ll share the review, there.

Releasing 10th November, 2022

The Good News Gazette by Jessie Wells
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Maybe I just really needed something ‘feel-good’, today, but I read this in one go, on a rainy Sunday and absolutely loved it!
Zoe is a single mum in her 30s, having left a fantastic journalist career in London to raise her son back home in the North of England. She’s pootling along working for the local paper, not really feeling the challenge, but employed, nonetheless, until she isn’t. Redundancy strikes, which starts the chain of work; a son to feed, house and clothe, a mortgage to pay, bills and debts raising their heads…
After a confab with her two best friends, she ends up drunkenly committing to an idea which ends up changing lives of many in the community.
I thought this was excellently written. It’s true that you seem to just hear and read constant streams of bad news, when on social media and when watching the news. Zoe’s idea of writing a local paper that just shines the light on the positive in the community was a wonderful idea. You could see the Negative Nellies reading their heads, but she didn’t give up, at all.
The back stories of the other characters really gave good shape to the overall story and as a reader, I felt invested in her venture being a success, too!
And, obviously, there is a bit of romance, and I wasn’t sure which way her head wold turn… (yup, possibly two suitors…) but the end was a perfect, happy end for her, personally, as well as for the story!
Many thanks to Harper Collins UK, One More Chapter, for an ARC in exchange for an honest opinion.

Releasing 25th November, 2022

The Things That We Lost by Jyoti Patel
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Nik is reeling from the loss of his grandfather, as is his mother, but the hole he has left in Nik’s life is trying to be filled with memories and information that he doesn’t have.
Avani, his mum, is keeping something big from him, and he doesn’t know how to get to the bottom of it, to help him heal his own grief.
Dealing with huge issues such as racism, mixed-race relationships, and grieving, this story is told in a beautiful manner.
I’m not Gujrati but understood many of the phrases used in the book, and felt an extra link with my parents both being from Kenya and moving here, too.
Many thanks to Penguin Random House UK for an ARC in exchange for an honest opinion.

Releasing 12th January, 2023

Look out for a Blog Tour post on this one in a few days!

Really Good, Actually by Monica Heisey
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

After reading the blurb, I was excited for a book that was going to make me laugh and maybe sympathise with the main character, Maggie, but I’m afraid I was left a bit flat.
Maybe I’m too old for it, but I found Maggie, a Canadian woman in her late twenties, who is going through a divorce, very self-centred.
It’s not a good situation for anyone to go through but come on, you have to realise the world doesn’t revolve around you, Maggie!
Plus, I found the way it was written quite tiring. There were no obvious chapter breaks and lots of rambling and random lists of internet search histories that I didn’t understand.
Some people may love this. I am just sorry I didn’t.
Many thanks to NetGalley and 4th Estate for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 19th January, 2023

Wishful Witness: The Wishing Tree Series Book 13 by Tonya Kappes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Well, I wasn’t expecting that! A murder? In Linden Falls?
Tonya Kappes has put her delightful spin on the tale of another small-town resident, Cheryl, who owns a yarn shop, Stitchen’ Post Yarn Shop.
She’s not one to gossip, but her knitting groups end up being the place to be to hear what is happening around the town.
When discord is high among many small business owners due to the opening of a new Artisan Market, there is all sorts being said. Cheryl tries to keep herself out of it all, but after hearing gunshots one day while at home, she becomes embroiled in a murder investigation that could implicate her. And all because of that Wishing Tree…
Yes, a different spin on the recent tales of the world of Linden Falls, but just as captivating. I read it in an hour!

The Christmas Postcards by Karen Swan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Karen Swan, you did it again!
I thoroughly enjoyed this story of love and loss and hope through adversity.
Natasha and Rob are back from a holiday that was kinda ‘make or break’ for them. their little girl Mabel somehow ends up leaving her precious stuffed cow toy, Moolah, behind in an Air BnB, and all hell ensues as she is unable to sleep settle or live without it.
An idea by one of Natasha’s friends to post a Lost Toy search on social media attracts the attention they need, and soon there is a reunion of sorts.
Only Moolah the cow has her own adventures to enjoy before she can return, as the person who found her is on his own life-changing trip.
The ensuing story filled with emails and pictures, or postcards as Natasha likes to call them, that wing their way to Natasha and Mabel, keeps you on your edge, especially as there is a past story thread running through the book which weaves its way into the present.
There are a couple of far-fetched conclusions to the story, however, they didn’t detract from the story,
I read it in a day.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Pan Macmillan for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 27th October, 2022

The Sh!te Before Christmas by Serena Terry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What a craic, indeed!
I thoroughly enjoyed this festive giggle with Tara, dealing with the run-up to Christmas accompanied by a moody teen daughter, two gorgeous but hyperactive little boys, a husband who seems to be distancing himself, an absent mammy who suddenly makes a reappearance into her life, work sh!te going down, metamorphosing friends, and a school teacher who appears to judge all of her parenting decisions, all whilst being eight months pregnant!
I giggled throughout and loved it. An easy read with plenty to make you smile.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collins, UK for an ARC in exchange for an honest opinion.

Releasing 10th November, 2022

The Love Match by Priyanka Taslim
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Well, firstly, I will blame Priyanka Taslim for putting a certain Bollywood song in my head, all about how to say I Love You in various Indian languages, including Bengali! (IYKYK) Honestly, I’ve been singing that classic since I finished the book!
Secondly, I LOVED the book.
Being a person of colour myself and a writer of desi fiction, I am thrilled to read books that show characters from more relatable backgrounds. Even though I am not from Bangladesh or Muslim, there are plenty of parallels that can be made between the characters in The Love Match and the lives of your average Asian person.
A girl with aspirations that she already knows won’t ever be reached.
The responsibility of doing right by her family.
The reflection of her behaviour upon everyone else in her family.
Wanting to make her own choices but not being able to.
Zahra Khan is a fantastic main character, with all the above in her mind as she goes about her daily life, achieving excellent grades and working full time after high school to help her widowed mother make ends meet, as well as helping to look after her younger siblings. She has dreams of going to college, just like her best friends; however, that is not a financial priority right now. Neither is her passion for writing, which her mother and most of the adults around her don’t know about or wouldn’t understand.
Then throw into the mix the Aunties, who watch and know everything, passing comments on their WhatsApp groups.
Obviously, the answer to the family’s prayers is for her to be paired off with a boy from an affluent family, so she can live in comfort, and that comfort and respect can be passed on to her own family.
But when you have another interest in mind, these arranged things can go a bit awry.
And all this at eighteen!
I loved it. The story was peppered with Bengali phrases, which meant I learned more as I read, and added words like saa, meaning chai or tea, and shona (darling?) to my very tiny repertoire of Bengali, which previously consisted of hume tumake balo baashi, (I love you) from the lyrics of the afore-mentioned song!
Okay, I am off to go and sing again, but definitely, it’s one to read!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing for an ARC in exchange for an honest opinion.
Releasing 10th January 2023

A Snowflake in December: A Heart-warming, Uplifting, Christmas Tale About Loving and Sharing by Kiltie Jackson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Aw, I loved this Christmas tale, filled with the hope of happiness after years of sadness.
Polly is not interested in Christmas at all. Still, a chance meeting with fashion designer Monty, and his not identical brother, Maxwell, sets her on a 24-day journey to rediscover her love of the festive season. Or an Advent-ure, as it is called.
After discovering why Polly doesn’t do Christmas, Maxwell makes it his aim to reignite that enjoyment.
I loved how this started as a simple friendship that blossoms into something more, but there is still the ‘will they-won’t they?’ element as little blips keep appearing in the way.
And what a great set of festive Advent-ures that Maxwell set up for Polly! I want to have a month of the same!
A wonderfully feel-good festive read that leaves you feeling all warm inside, rather like the hot chocolate with cream and marshmallows that the characters seemed to indulge in, rather a lot!

Looking Out For Love by Sophia Money-Coutts
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another good read by Sophie Money-Coutts!
Stella Shakespeare is in her 30s, but unlike everyone else around her, she hasn’t got her life all sorted. No job, no man, no money. At least she has a flat, paid for by her father, though he’s cut off her money until she sorts herself out. And she has her best friend Billie.
Through a series of strangely unlinked events that end up coming together, she finds herself a job, a man, another admirer, an unexpected new friend, and a lot of new drama on her plate.
It was an easy read that I finished on a rainy Sunday afternoon. A bit of a giggle and a few moments of ‘Come on Stella, can’t you see!?!’
But it’s not all giggles, as there is the more serious topics of a life-threatening illness and infidelity explored within the story.
Many thanks to NetGalley and HQ for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 2nd February 2023

The Theory of (Not Quite) Everything by Kara Gnodde
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A story of two siblings, a brother and sister, who look out for one another and have only got each other after the untimely demise of both their parents.
Art is a keen mathematician with ideas and fixations that mean his sister, Mimi, feels she could never leave him alone. And he is on the edge of solving a specific mathematical problem that mathematicians worldwide are trying to solve. His work is like an obsession.
But, she wants more in life, including romantic love, which Art cannot understand, seeing as in his eyes and mind, there is a reason for everything and a fact to back it up.
She meets Frank at a Mathematics awards ceremony, and he seems perfect. Too perfect, according to Art, whose mathematical equation Frank hasn’t fallen in line with.
Okay, so I will admit this was a slow starter. There was a lot to unravel before things picked up and made me want to read more, but the book’s last quarter really pulled me in.
The siblings have a tragic past, shrouded in cover-ups and tales that need to be uncovered for them to move on in life truly. But it takes time for the reader to really understand what is going on and why they need to be invested.
I’m glad I finished it, but it was hard to get into. If you do read it, persevere. It gets better and easier to understand as you go on, promise!
Many thanks to Netgalley and PanMacmillan for an ARC in exchange for an honest opinion.

Releasing 16th March 2023

Arthur And Teddy Are Coming Out by Ryan Love
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Just the title and cover made me excited to read this debut by Ryan Love, and I am so glad I did!
Arthur is nearing octagenarian status, and he has made a bold decision; to come out to his family. He, along with his fifty-year-old wife, has kept it a secret.
He always knew it wouldn’t be easy, but the reactions from his children were mixed.
His daughter is furious and embarrassed. His son, perplexed.
But what happens when his grandson is in the same situation?
This was a remarkable story, with a feel-good ending, but interlaced with the tensions associated with homophobia, small-town thinking and not conforming to what they all think are the norms.
I loved the parallel storytelling, with the points of view of both Arthur and Teddy switching.
There were plenty of lovely moments in the story, along with ones that were realistic to the situation and not nearly as lovely.
But, a great read, nonetheless.
Many thanks to NetGalley and HQ for an ARC in exchange for an honest opinion.

Releasing 13th April, 2023

The little cupcake shop by the sea: Return to the seaside with this gorgeous, wonderfully uplifting holiday romance by Lizzie Chantree
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love a sequel when you can settle back into familiar scenes with characters you already know before being introduced to others, and it was a pleasure to revisit the Little Shop By The Sea crew.
Fern is the focus this time, trying to settle into life after finding out that her past was built on some untruths and that she had a whole family that she had been unaware of.
She ends up moving to live nearer to the sister she’s only known about for a short while, Genie, and setting up shop there, complementing Genie’s ice cream shop.
While there she finds out more about herself and meets a highly disgruntled but rather hot neighbour, Jesse, who ends up being deeper and far more important to her than she would have thought.
Oh, and it wouldn’t be right without more family secrets being revealed!
I enjoyed this continuation and recommend you read the first one to have the back story straight. However, it can be read as a standalone.
I only wish I had a cupcake shop nearby so that I could sample Fern’s creations!
A lovely story with a few ups and downs and a whole lot of family love!

Review to follow in a Book and a Brew post with our very own Marje, next month!

Releasing 25th November, 2022

A Midlife Baby by Cary J. Hansson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After reading the first in this Trilogy, I was given a copy of A Midlife Baby as an ARC for an unbiased review.
I say this all the time, but it’s true. I love a series where you can slot straight back into the story, having known the characters previously.
We meet with the trio of friends; Caro, hoping have a baby at the end of the last book after going for treatment, secure in the knowledge that she was never going to have a child conventionally since she was too far along in her life to find that kind of relationship; Helen, who wants to have her life back, after slogging away for the past couple of decades as a wife and mother, to people who don’t seem grateful in the least; and Kay, a single parent to an adult child with his own needs, and a mother with dementia, and a father who doesn’t want to cause any issues.
Without giving away some of the surprises at the beginning and end of the book, I’ll say that it was good to see what was going on in their lives and how they were handling the subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) changes that were occurring.
Caro needs to balance her life with the thought of possible motherhood as a middle-aged woman while holding down a powerful job, where news of pregnancy wouldn’t go down well.
Helen has to find a way to stand her ground with her husband and children if she is ever going to leave the marriage, which has left her feeling trapped and unappreciated for so many years.
Kay is dealing with anxiety, from the choices she is having to make for her parents and at the thought of her son gaining independence, as well as some awful goings on in her day job, as well as the awful effects of Perimenopause.
A sad story in some ways, but there are high points and so much that women of a certain age could relate to. I know I did!
Above all, a testament to true friendship. We can put our friends through the ringers, but only the real friends stay with you throughout.
And I can’t wait for book three!

Releasing 1st November, 2022

So, tell me what you have been reading, and what caught your eye from the above!

13 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Marje @ Kyrosmagica
    Nov 01, 2022 @ 10:07:40

    Some lovely reviews Ritu. I must catch up on reading Lizzie… bit behind on that. I enjoy her books. And some interesting titles! Lol. Thank you so much for the mention too for my forthcoming release. x

    Liked by 1 person


  2. robbiesinspiration
    Nov 01, 2022 @ 04:51:07

    Gosh, you have been a busy reading bee. I am also looking forward to reading Marje’s new poetry book.

    Liked by 2 people


  3. OIKOS™- Art, Books & more
    Oct 31, 2022 @ 18:49:12

    Gosh, you are definitely faster in reading as i with turning pages, Sis! But feel you honored to have choosen great books again. Thanks for the listing. Best wishes, Michael

    Liked by 1 person


  4. joylennick
    Oct 31, 2022 @ 18:11:23

    Oh, wow Ritu – you certainly have been busy reading! Mostly quite engaging books from the sound of it. Because I’m retired and am with my, charismatic… husband a lot, things move slower…although he reads a lot too and does many Crossword puzzles daily. As I write poetry at times and a column for a weekly newspaper, plus ‘Chair’ for a group: Writers’ Ink, my time is soon ‘gobbled’ up but I’m definitely slower these days…Hey ho. Carry on with your great work with children, Ritu. It brings its own rewards! I loved my time working as a part-time teacher’s assistant (poetry and reading) for ten years. Hugs xx

    Liked by 1 person


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