5 Books To Look Out For in February


Hi everyone!  Today I'm starting a new monthly feature on my blog highlighting 5 books which publish the following month that may be of interest to you.  These books will not include those previewed in my Sunday Spotlight, but others that are on my reading radar either to buy or borrow from my local library.  So without further adieu, here are my 5 Books to Look Out For in February 2021.



The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah falls into the Historical Fiction and General Fiction genres.  It is set in Texas in 1934 in the midst of the Great Depression, at a time when farmers were challenged with drought and the resulting financial stress.  It is during this time that Elsa Martinelli and her neighbours are required to make a difficult choice - to fight for the land they love, or head west to California in search of a better life. 

If you enjoy historical fiction with strong female characters, this one may be for you.  

Publishes February 2, 2021 by St. Martin's Press.  464 pages.



This Close to Okay by Leesa Cross-Smith is a Contemporary Fiction novel.  Set in Kentucky, Tallie Clark is a recently divorced therapist who spots a man near the edge of a bridge on her way home from work.  She convinces the man to join her for coffee, and to come home with her.  Over the course of a weekend, Tallie makes it her priority to provide a safe space for the man. She doesn't disclose to him that she is a therapist.  What she doesn't realize is that he also has secrets and that he isn't the only one that requires healing.  The story is told between the alternating points of view of Tallie and the man (Emmett).  

This books sounds like a great choice for those who appreciate Contemporary Fiction.

Publishes February 2, 2021 by Grand Central Publishing. 320 pages.



When Harry Met Minnie by Martha Teichner is in the Nonfiction and Autobiography/Memoirs genre.  It's an impossible-to-explain story of coincidence which changed everything when the author has a chance encounter with an old acquaintance.  Martha's friend knew someone who was dying of cancer who was desperate to find a home for her beloved dog Harry. She explained that Harry was the same breed, a bull terrier, as Martha's own dog Minnie.  The question was asked if Martha would consider providing Harry with a new home?  When Martha meets Harry's owner Carol, a deep and meaningful relationship develops between the two women as they learn about one another.  

I think this would be a great book for those that love dogs and/or appreciate a touching memoir.

Publishes Feb 2, 2021 by Celadon Books.  256 pages.




The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles fits into the Historical Fiction genre.  The book is set in two time periods: Paris, in 1939 and Montana, in 1983.  Odile Souchet has her dream job at the American Library in Paris.  When the war breaks out and the Nazis march into Paris, she joins the Resistance along with her fellow librarians.  At the end of the war, she experiences an unspeakable betrayal.  In 1983, Lily is a lonely teenager who befriends her elderly next door neighbour.  She realizes she shares her love of language and much more with her elderly friend.  What she doesn't know is that a dark secret connects the two.

This book sounds like it would be a great read for those that appreciate Historical Fiction and stories of how interpersonal relationships define us.

Publishes February 9, 2021 by Atria Books.  368 pages.



Base on an actual BBC radio show, The Kitchen Front by Jennifer Ryan falls into the Fiction/Historical Fiction genres.  It's the story of four women competing for a spot hosting a wartime cooking show called The Kitchen Front -and also a chance to better their lives. The show's focus is to help housewives make the most of the food rationing brought on by interrupted supply chains caused by the war. The four women are highly competitive and sometimes bend the rules.  The publisher notes "...will the contest that aims to bring the community together serve only to break it apart?"

If you like a stories about women set in a historical context, this one may be what you're looking for.

Publishes February 23, 2021 by Ballantine Books.  416 pages.



So there you have it - 5 Books to Look Out For in February.  Will you be adding any of these books to your To Be Read shelf?  Let me know in the comments!

Have a great day, and thank you for supporting this blog.





Black Buck by Mateo Askaripour - A Book Review




I love reading debut novels. Every once in a while I discover an author who not only writes entertaining books, but also one whose work pauses me to think and reflect. This is my reaction to Black Buck by Mateo Askaripour.

Plot Summary

Darren is a twenty-two year old Starbuck’s barista living in New York with his mother. Although he was class victorian, he hasn’t lived up to his potential or even attended college. One day while at work he takes a chance with a customer and is invited to interview for a sales position at a hot tech startup called Sumwun.

Upon receiving the position, he starts training in a week-long mental and emotional bootcamp aimed at leading him to sales success. Now nicknamed Buck from his previous work, Darren feels the wrath of racism during this make or break week, but he digs deep and completes this initial training. Not only is Darren successful, but he begins to climb the corporate ladder with the company quite quickly. The only problem is, as Darren invests more and more of his time working, he becomes unrecognizable to his Mom and friends. Indeed, his values had changed so much that he misses the mark completely when a succession of tragedies unfold.

Book Review

I really appreciated Black Buck and was entertained by the style it was written in. The book reads as part memoir and part how to sell anything manual. Labelled as a satire, the book only shows glimpses of this including the fact that every white person notes that he resembles a different famous black man. The book is also an emotional read, as the reader reflects upon all that Darren encounters over a very short time. What I found to be hopeful for Darren is that although he had transitioned away from his values, he was somewhat on the return to these when the story concludes. The character development for Darren was excellent and I couldn’t help but cheer him on despite some of the decisions he made.

Audiobook Review

I listened to the audiobook version of the book which was narrated by Zeno Robinson who was perfectly cast as the voice of Darren. His voice was full of animation and expression in just the right places and he had me hooked to the story right from the very beginning. Having listened to hundreds of audiobooks, this performance was a standout for me. I definitely recommend the audiobook version of this book to those who appreciate this format.

What I Liked About Black Buck
  • Great character development
  • It promotes pause and reflection in the reader
  • It has relevant topics of race and racism.
What I Would Have Liked to be Different
  • The story was a little unbelievable in the sense that so much happened over a short space of time.

I Recommend This Book To:


Anyone looking for a book to give you a better sense of awareness as to the inequality and injustice between races.

Acknowledgments

Thanks to libro.fm and Blackstone Publishing for the ALC of this book in exchange for the honest review provided here.

My rating: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️/5.

Add Black Buck to your Goodreads Shelf

Similar Books I've Reviewed:

My Review of The Vanishing Half by Britt Bennett

My Review of Big Lies in A Small Town by Diane Chamberlain

Thanks for reading and supporting my blog. I hope I've inspired you to read something new!

The Divines by Ellie Eaton - A Book Review

Happy Publication Day to The Divines by Ellie Eaton! This book is a powerful look at what happens when one woman reflects upon her time spent in an English boarding school as her twentieth reunion approaches.

Plot Summary

The Divines are the girls of St. John the Divines, an elite English boarding school. The Divines were famous for their hair flipping, chain smoking and harassment of teachers. Josephine, now in her thirties, spent five years at the school and receives an invitation to the upcoming reunion of former students of the institution that was closed in disgrace with her graduating class. Now married with a daughter of her own and living in California, Josephine is undecided on whether or not to attend. She hasn’t even spoken to any of her former classmates in fifteen years. The invitation evokes a strong need, however, to reflect upon her time as a Divine. The story is told from multiple timeframes - as a student, as a newlywed and the present. As the memories surface , Josephine’s life begins to change: she begins having difficulties with her marriage, she can’t concentrate on her work and most importantly her self identity is challenged.

Book Review

I enjoyed reading this book. The character development was excellent. I appreciated the insight Josephine gleamed from others when they spoke of how she was perceived while at school. Where the book excels to me, however, is in observing Josephine’s personal insight into her true identity as the book progresses. On a more critical note, while I found the antics of The Divines were at times humorous, there was also evidence that some of these girls could be unkind to the point of bullying. The way they treated the staff and town’s residents was abhorrent, strongly suggestive of a pretentious upbringing likely fuelled by their time at the school. As a result, I found the characters were not likeable - a must have for me in order to be fully invested in a book. Additionally, the story felt a little long in parts and I found myself wanting to return to Josephine’s current storyline.


Audiobook Review


I listened to the audiobook edition of the book which was narrated by Imogen Church who gives a very good performance. I appreciated her ability to voice several characters and found her pacing to be excellent. I listened to the book at my usual 1.25x speed which I found to be comfortable. I would not hesitate to recommend the audiobook format to those readers who enjoy this format.


What I Liked About The Divines

  • The development of the characters
  • Josephine's change in self identity
  • The way that Josephine eventually gained insight
What I Would Have Like to be Different

  • Likeability of at least one character
  • A faster pace to the book to keep the reader's interest.

I Recommend This Book To:

Fans of Literary Fiction or Women's Fiction.

Acknowledgments

Thanks to Netgalley and Harper Audio for the ARC of this audiobook in exchange for the honest review provided here.

My rating: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️/5.

Add The Divines by Ellie Eaton to your Goodreads shelf


Similar Books I've Reviewed:

Notes on a Silencing by Lacy Crawford
All the Acorns on the Forest Floor by Kim Hooper
The End of the Day by Bill Clegg
Better Luck Next Time by Julia Claiborne Johnson

Thanks for reading!  Have you read The Divines by Ellie Eaton?  Let me know your thoughts!