Review: A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty

A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty

A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty
By Joshilyn Jackson
Grand Central Publishing, 9780446582360, 2012, 352pp.

The Short of It:

A thoroughly engaging story about three generations trying to live the best life they can, but battling demon after demon along the way.

The Rest of It:

Liza is a “grown-up kind of pretty” which gets her in trouble more times than her mom “Big” can count. Boys are not her issue, but men? Grown men, preferably married ones are what catch her eye. Drugs too. But when Liza becomes pregnant at the age of fourteen, Big becomes her fierce protector.

Years later, when Liza’s daughter Mosey enters her own teen years, Liza suffers a massive stroke which leaves Big as Mosey’s primary caregiver. Big’s sole purpose in life is to keep Mosey from going down the same path as Liza. But Liza has many secrets. Some of which Big is just now discovering and include something buried in the back yard.

I have to tell you. I have had this book on my shelf for a long, long time. Seven years. Possibly more.  One of the Instagram accounts I follow posted a photo of the book and since she was reading it, and I happened to have it, I joined her. So glad I did. This book has it all and it’s not full of fluff, which the cover might lead you to believe. It reminded me a lot of Steel Magnolias. You know how the women stuck together no matter what? Plus, Jackson can write her fanny off.  These characters leap off the page with all their faults but I still loved them.

If you need a quick read but one that is kind of fun but deep at the same time, go find a copy of A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty.

Source: I won this copy in a giveaway!
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

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Review: The Bookshop of the Broken Hearted

The Bookshop of the Broken Hearted

The Bookshop of the Broken Hearted
By Robert Hillman
G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 9780525535928, April 9, 2019, 304pp.

The Short of It:

I wasn’t quite sure which direction this story would take but when I turned that last page I was pretty satisfied.

The Rest of It:

Tom and Trudy live on a farm. Trudy, not once but twice leaves Tom for greener pastures. Tom, a kind, gentle man, doesn’t understand her need to flee but in the end accepts it. His only regret is not keeping Peter, the son she brought back with her after leaving him that first time. A son who wasn’t his to begin with.

Enter Hannah. She’s older than Tom but her eccentricities appeal to Tom in a way that surprises him. She’s lived in Budapest and is more worldly than anyone he’s known and plans to open a bookshop in his tiny town. She seems a little out there but when she needs help putting the shop together, Tom offers his services and the two fall in love.

It sounds like a very sweet story but then it gets more complicated. Long ago, Hannah survived the horrors of Auschwitz but her first husband, and her dear son Michael did not. Tom doesn’t really understand what she’s been through and although she mentions it here and there, the full horror of her past is not revealed in its entirety. This makes Hannah push back when things get really serious and leaves Tom thinking that he has yet another wife who wants nothing to do with him.

This novel took me by surprise. It felt pretty safe when I read those first few chapters. The only thing that stood out at the time was that there was a lot of sex! I even mentioned it to another blogger because it seemed like there was a lot of it but the characters had barely gotten to know one another. But then we learn of Hannah’s past and the horrors that she was forced to endure and everything began to fall into place.

Love is complicated, especially when there is a lot of baggage brought into the relationship. I enjoyed the quirkiness of Hannah, and Tom’s genuine love for her. There is some bookish talk, but not as much as the title would suggest. This story isn’t really about the bookshop at all so if that’s what you are expecting, you might be a little disappointed. However, I really enjoyed The Bookshop of the Broken Hearted. The characters seemed very real to me and I like that not everything was perfect. I’ve always enjoyed stories about lost souls who find each other and this book was no exception.

Source: Review copy provided by the publisher and First to Read.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

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