Friday, May 17, 2019

The Stationery Shop - Marjan Kamali

The Stationery ShopThe Stationery Shop by Marjan Kamali
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Set in Iran and the US from the 1950’s to present day, this book centers upon Roya, a teenager growing up in Tehran and its political turmoil. Roya finds sanctuary and love in the neighborhood stationery shop. But, as with life, all does not go as planned for anyone. The book revolves around the themes of love, family, and fate.

This book sounded interesting to me when I read about it on NetGalley. (Thanks, NetGalley and Gallery Books for the advanced copy! All opinions are my own.) I don’t know that I’ve really every read anything set in Iran and know little of its history. Besides, the title has “Stationery Shop” as its name. How could I resist that?

The book did not disappoint. I was interested in Roya and invested in her story pretty much from the start. The flow of the writing, while at a slower pace, fit the narrative. I enjoyed learning about the culture of Roya and her family, how she adjusted in moving to the United States, and the keeping of her identity there. I was also a bit sad for her throughout as I thought on her life and potential regrets. All the characters were complex; even the ones I didn’t like, I liked the way they were written.

I’m glad to have read this book and plan to check out Marjan Kamali’s backlist for more.

Read more of my reviews at

View all my reviews

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Vox - Christina Dalcher

VoxVox by Christina Dalcher
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This book was my book club pick for May 2019, and I think it will lend itself to some interesting discussions.
This dystopian novel is set in a United States where the women and girls have been effectively silenced. Each is allotted only 100 words a day. No female can hold jobs; girls are taught only the skills for homemaking in school. Dr. Jean McClellan can’t believe this limited existence came about so quickly, and she is determined to do what she can to make her voice heard.
I had heard amazing things about this book from many different people. The story itself was fascinating. The way the country came to be so restricted. Jean chafing against the new order but unsure how to change it. The characters representing the conservative Christians who instituted and enforced the new laws were more caricatures than the other main characters were. I’m assuming that was on purpose to create a bias.
I could have done without the romance and sex. I think it took away from the overall (and more important, in my mind) story. Also, there was so much language. It was distracting, not adding to the characters in any way. Additionally, I felt that one of the thread conclusions was just too pat, too easy for the build up it had.
Probably would have been a 3 star “I liked it book” but for the above. It does make one think, though.

Read more of my reviews at

View all my reviews

Friday, May 3, 2019

Spark of Light - Jodi Picoult

A Spark of LightA Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I knew going into this book that it was going to be a difficult read for me just due to the topic. I think abortion is something people are strongly divided about. So a book tackling it faces some unique challenges.

It has two stars because, as usual, Jodi Picoult made me think. However, I really didn't feel like the writing of this book was on par with her past books. I didn't like the backwards timeline. I don't think it served any of the character's stories or the overarching themes of the book well. And there were so many inconsistencies. Perhaps that's from the timeline going backward. Or maybe it was because all of the narrators were unreliable in their own ways. Either way (or a different reason entirely), I didn't like it. I did like the portrayal of the father/daughter relationships.

See more reviews at

View all my reviews

Go See the Principal: True Tales from the School Trenches - Gerry Brooks

Go See the Principal: True Tales from the School TrenchesGo See the Principal: True Tales from the School Trenches by Gerry Brooks
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

As a former middle school teacher, I do enjoy Gerry Brooks videos. I follow him on Facebook and YouTube, appreciating how each video is both relevant and humorous. So, I was super excited to learn he had written a book.
Then I read the book.
It was a disappointment. I think my overarching issue was I’m not sure who this book was directed to. One chapter (or paragraph…or sentence) would be clearly addressing teachers. Then the next would jump to parents. Or administrators. Or bus drivers. Who is the true audience, because I don’t think this book clearly reached any of them.
While there were some funny bits, there were also many incomplete thoughts and ideas. Additionally, the transcriptions of some of his videos just don’t work. You need the visuals for the humor and key points to come across. They were weird to just read.
For now, I’ll be sticking with the videos to get my Gerry Brooks fill ups.

Thanks to the publisher, author, and NetGalley for the review copy. All opinions are my own.

See other reviews at

View all my reviews

Printed Letter Bookshop - Katherine Reay

The Printed Letter BookshopThe Printed Letter Bookshop by Katherine Reay
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Yes! This is Katherine Reay as I like her best. A book of friendship and love (in its various forms) and books!
Madeline inherits a bookshop from her estranged aunt, along with the loyal employees and customers. She intends to see the store turn a profit and then sell at the first opportunity. But life, of course, has other plans.
This book is told from three points of view: Madeline as well as the workers at her aunt’s shop, Claire and Judith. I enjoyed the multiple perspectives and especially liked Claire’s chapters told in third person unlike the others in first person. The way the relationship between the three women developed was realistic.
I don’t think any of the side plot distracted from the main story. It developed at an even pace and kept me turning the pages.
And that book list at the back…Brilliant!

Thanks to the author and NetGalley for the advanced copy to review. All thoughts are my own.

See other reviews at

View all my reviews