Hannah Brooks is not having a good day. She’s just buried her mother, her boyfriend dumps her and she finds out he’s been cheating on her – with her best friend. Crushed by grief and heartbreak, she asks her boss for an assignment that will take her far away but instead her boss assigns her a job she really doesn’t want – working with world-famous (and very handsome) movie star Jack Stapleton in The Bodyguard by Katherine Center.
Hannah is not pleased and Jack isn’t exactly on board either. You see, Hannah is a bodyguard and despite the fact that people usually mistake her for a kindergarten teacher, she is very good at her job. In fact, the first time she meets Jack he mistakes her for the cleaning lady. Plus, he doesn’t think he needs a bodyguard – a slightly overenthusiastic fan appears to be stalking him, but he doesn’t think she poses a threat. His movie studio thinks otherwise and Hannah is assigned as his principal.
OK, so no big deal, right? Hannah is a professional and she can quietly blend into the background. Things get complicated though when, through a convoluted series of events, Hannah must pretend to be Jack’s girlfriend. To his family.
This is at a glance, a common rom-com trope – fake dating. What raises it a few notches up from the basic is the writing – sharp and fast moving, the humor – lots of bantering between Jack and Hannah as well as Hannah’s inner thoughts, and tackling real issues – grief, loss, guilt and broken relationships. It is heartbreaking and funny, a quick and satisfying read.
What do you think of when you hear the phrase “graphic novel”? Comic books? Japanese manga? A book with pictures and not much to read? While those answers are correct, graphic novels are so much more than what you may think! Graphic novels can be memoirs, fiction, biographies, nonfiction, or adaptations.
For a reader who doesn’t have time to knock out a 400 page novel, graphics are the perfect alternative! I love to read graphics when I want something quick and easy. But don’t let “quick and easy” fool you- graphic novelist have a way of putting a lot of story in just a few lines!
In this series I will be highlighting adult graphic novels that fall outside the comic book and Japanese manga categories.
First up is The Adoption by Zidrou. This graphic novel follows the story of Gabriel, a retired butcher whose life flips upside down when his son adopts a Peruvian orphan, Qinaya. Gabriel is your typical retiree; he workouts with his friends at the local park, he reads with his wife before bed, and he tends to his vegetable garden. Gabriel was absent for most of his children’s lives, so when Qinaya starts spending more time at Gabriel’s house, he isn’t sure how to handle it. As Qinaya and Gabriel begin to bond, an unexpected visit changes everything. Gabriel must face his own past in order to overcome the new challenges in his retired life.
The Adoption is a great pick for first time graphic novel readers. The story highlights family, friends, love, and loss. I did not know what to expect out of the story and Zidrou kept me intrigued until the very end. When I finished reading, I found myself reflecting on my own family and the relationships I have with them.
Alongside beautiful illustrations, The Adoption provides an intimate portrait of life during retirement and how the little things can matter the most.
Adam Newman’s destiny has been predetermined as far back as he can remember in Francesca Segal’s debut novel, The Innocents.
In his close knit Jewish community of North London, Adam has known everyone since birth, including Rachel Gilbert, to whom he is now engaged. Adam and Rachel have been a couple since their were 16 years old and their wedding is fast approaching. The couple has a seemingly perfect life – Adam has been embraced by Rachel’s family, especially her father, who has become a father figure to Adam after he lost his own father at a young age.
Their life is moving ahead rapidly when Rachel’s cousin, Ellie, surprisingly appears in town and everything Adam has every known is thrown into upheveval. As his attraction to Ellie is growing, he is torn between the life that has been scripted for him and a life that he never could have imagined with a person he has not seen for years. This love triangle is coupled with another scandal that could tear his new family apart.
Segal takes her inspiration from Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence, but spins a story that is fresh and modern. I am eagerly waiting for Segal’s next novel.
After listening to Still Summer by Jacquelyn Mitchard, I was excited to listen to another audiobook by her and chose The Breakdown Lane recently. The Breakdown Lane tells the story of Julianne Gilles – wife of lawyer Leo Steiner, mother to three and advice columnist in Sheboygan, Wisconsin.
All is perfect in Julianne’s world until she sees the signs that her husband is in the midst of a mid-life crisis. Leo decides to leave for a seemingly idyllic life at a commune in update New York and it becomes increasingly clear that after a time he is not coming back to Julianne and his children. On top of the stress of becoming a newly single mother, Julianne receives more devastating news concerning her health. Shortly thereafter two of her children, Gabe and Caroline, set off on a quest to find their father and they are stunned when they find out how his life as changed. Thinking all is lost and feeling sorry for herself, Julianne gets an unexpected visitor that completely changes her life. The Breakdown Lane is a fabulous story of loss and the redemptive power of love – it is highly recommended.
The three Andreas sisters, Rosalind (Rose), Bianca (Bean), and Cordelia (Cordy) grew up like no other sisters you have ever met in The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown. Their father, a college professor who speaks to them the majority of the time by rattling off Shakespearean quotes, instilled a love of books in his three daughters.
Raised in the college town of Barnwell, Ohio, the sister’s lives took dramatically different directions after leaving their childhood home. Their lives are as different as their personalities and although they are sisters, they realize that they truly love each other, but actually don’t like each other that much. The three reunite back in Barnwell for a variety of reasons, most importantly, their mother’s battle with cancer.
In addition to their mother’s illness, each of the Andreas sisters has their own personal struggle to deal with whether it be running away from their past lives or struggling with their future and its choices. The engaging characters and witty dialogue make The Weird Sisters a treat to read. You will find yourself immersed in the lives of the sisters as a member of the Andreas family and you will find yourself caught up in their triumphs and in their failures.