Dava Shastri’s Last Day by Kirthana Ramisetti

Domestic fiction is one of my favorite subgenres, especially novels that are set in situations that are different than my normal life. Domestic fiction is usually written by, for, and about women. It is also usually told through multiple viewpoints. My latest read fits all the above criteria!

Dava Shastri’s Last Day tells the story of Dava Shastri and her family. Dava Shastri is one of the world’s wealthiest women. Devastated by a brain cancer diagnosis at the age of seventy, Dava is determined to approach her death like she approaches everything else in her life – with planning and determination.

Dava’s reputation has always been important to her. She wants her name to live on for generations. Both her public and private legacies are of utmost importance, but her family members don’t feel quite as strong about keeping the Shastri name alive.

Dava summons her four adult children, their spouses, and children to her private island where she tells them her news. In addition to having a terminal illness, Dava has also arranged for the news of her death to be released early, so that she can read the obituaries and articles written about her before she dies. Since she spent her life dedicated to the arts and to the empowerment of women, Dava expected that the articles written after her death would focus on those topics. Instead she finds the articles to be significantly more scandalous, focusing on two secrets that have the power to destroy her life, secrets she hoped would stay buried forever.

Now that her secrets are published, her children know and the fallout is not great. Dava must use what little time she has left to come to terms with the life she has lived and the various decisions that have led her to this point.  Most importantly she must use that time to talk it out with her family and make peace with their past, present, and future.

This book is also available in the following format:

The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood

Ali Hazelwood’s debut novel The Love Hypothesis is the start to a new contemporary romance series. Hazelwood’s books all center around women in STEM and academia, which represents her life. Hazelwood is originally from Italy, then lived in Japan and Germany, and after that she moved to the US to pursue a PhD in neuroscience. She is now a professor (and author).

Olive Smith is a third-year PhD candidate at Stanford. She’s not a fan of romantic relationships – they just aren’t her thing. Science has always been there for her, so lasting romance doesn’t interest her. Slight problem though: she did have a boyfriend for a while that it turns out her best friend has a major crush on. In order to finally convince her best friend that she really doesn’t care if she dates Olive’s ex-boyfriend, Olive needs to get a new boyfriend stat. A ‘real’ boyfriend isn’t in the cards, so Olive does the next best thing: she panics and kisses the first man she sees.

Utter disaster. Well, the kiss wasn’t that bad, but the man she kissed – a whole other story. She planted her lips on Adam Carlsen, a young professor who is known throughout her department to be utterly rude and condescending, especially to the students in his labs. Forced to explain why she forced herself upon him, Olive is stunned when Dr. Carlsen agrees to keep up the pretense and be her fake boyfriend. Rumors swirl around campus, putting Adam and Olive into very awkward positions with other faculty, students, and friends.

The more they get to know each other, the more Olive thinks that this experiment may not be a bad idea. Especially when they are thrown together at a big conference and in addition to the surprise of his six-pack abs, Adam proves to be incredibly supportive when Olive’s life starts to crumble. There are bigger things at play than just biology: Olive may have to deal with the feelings that are starting to creep into their relationship.

The second book in this series, Love on the Brain, is set to be published in August 2022.

This book is also available in the following format:

Love Hypothesis series

  1. The Love Hypothesis
  2. Love on the Brain (will be published in August 2022)

 

A Phở Love Story by Loan Le

Loan Le’s debut novel, A Phở Love Story, reads a bit like a happy ending Romeo & Juliet (in fact that story is mentioned many times by the characters throughout this book).

Bảo Nguyen and Linh Mai are high school seniors who work at their families’ Vietnamese restaurants. Sounds perfect, right? Oh so wrong. It turns out that their familes are in a years’ long feud even though their restaurants are across the street from each other.

Bảo is average and not that interesting – his words. He goes to school and isn’t particularly amazing at anything in general. He is reliable, his grades average, and he isn’t quite sure what he wants to do with his future.

Linh loves art. She desperately wants to have a career in it. For as long as she can remember, Linh has been an artist. The only issue is that her parents do not believe that art is a stable enough career choice. Her parents rely on her to help them with their restaurant almost every day, so on top of her school work and her art projects, Linh spends hours at the restaurant.

Even though the Mai and Nguyen’s restaurants are across the street from each other, the two families do not interact. In fact they are incredibly competitive. When one does a contest, so does the other. Rumors swirl about each respective restaurant. The feud between the two families seems very complicated to Bảo and Linh, but their parents won’t discuss why it exists.

One day, a chance encounter between Linh and Bảo results in sparks. They find themselves working close together and despite their family history and their initial desire to steer clear of each other, there is an undenable attraction. The more they get to know each other, the more they wonder why it took so long for them to meet and become friends. The tensions between their parents has the power to destroy their budding relationship. Bảo and Linh will have to decide what they want and how far they are willing to go for love and answers.

This book is also available in the following format:

Romance Reads: Kiss Quotient series by Helen Hoang

Helen Hoang is a New York Times bestselling author of the Kiss Quotient series: The Kiss Quotient, The Bride Test, and The Heart Principle. While these books are considered a series, they are loosely connected and do not require you to read the previous books in order to understand the later books. These books are also steamy romance reads. Helen has been obsessed with romance books since eighth grade. She currently lives in San Diego with her family.

What drew me to Helen Hoang’s novels is her relationship with Autism Spectrum Disorder. In 2016, Helen was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, specifically what was previously known as Asperger’s syndrome. In each of her books, at least one of the main characters is diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Helen’s knowledge of this disorder is clearly present when she writes each of those characters and how they interact with the world.

The Kiss Quotient is the first book in this series. Stella Lane loves math. She believes that math is the only thing that makes the universe make sense. In her job, Stella comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases. Her job gives her more money than she knows what to do with, but unfortunately doesn’t help her at all in the dating department. You see, Stella has Asperger’s syndrome. She doesn’t necessarily want to date, but recognizes that she needs practice. She is wealthy and successful, but one-on-one interactions with people are awkward for her.

Wanting to get more practice, Stella decides to hire a professional, escort Michael Phan. She wants Michael to teach her how to be a good girlfriend and comes up with a detailed lesson plan of what she wants to learn. Michael has mounting bills and a hard rule that he doesn’t take repeat customers. When Stella presents him with an unconventional proposal, he decides that he can’t turn her down. What starts as a no-nonsense partnership starts changing when they fall into a pattern. Michael and Stella spend more time together, learning more about each other as they work through Stella’s list. Stella starts to grow on Michael, while Stella learns that love isn’t something that can be quantified.

These titles are also available in large print, as OverDrive eBooks, and as OverDrive eAudiobooks. Visit our catalog to find those other formats!

Kiss Quotient Series

  1. The Kiss Quotient (2018)
  2. The Bride Test (2019)
  3. The Heart Principle (2021)

What You Wish For by Katherine Center

Katherine Center’s newest novel What You Wish For is fast-paced, engaging, and whimsical. Even though it deals with heavy topics, Center manages to share the message that choosing joy in the midst of difficult and painful times will help you heal.

Samantha Casey is a school librarian. She has been in Galveston, Texas for only a couple of years, but in this short time she has managed to carve out a life that makes her happy. Sam loves her job, the kids that come to visit her in the library, and her school family. Her new school fits the new Sam: colorful, fun, engaging, and full of personality. After disaster strikes the school, Sam finds herself floundering. The new school year has been thrown into chaos, but with the hiring of Duncan Carpenter, Sam is hopeful that the school will begin to heal.

Sam knows Duncan. Well, she knew the old Duncan. The new Duncan is rigid. He lives by rules and regulations. He believes that he needs to upgrade the school because the way it is now is only asking for bad things to happen. The old Duncan did not care about rules. He was the cool teacher, the one who juggled, wore funny clothes, and advocated for anything and everything fun. Sam had the biggest crush on lovable old Duncan, but the old Sam was too timid. She has changed so much in just a couple years and is hopeful that she can turn Duncan back into the fun-loving man she remembered from before.

Sam and Duncan couldn’t be more different now. Duncan only wants to protect the school even if that means that he has to destroy it. Desperate to save the school, Sam and some other teachers work to remind Duncan of the joy he used to feel. While helping Duncan remember who he used to be, Sam finds herself wanting to know him again.

This book is also available in the following formats:

Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto

Jesse Q. Sutanto has written a deliciously entertaining story that covers a wide variety of topics in her latest book Dial A for Aunties. Combining comedy, drama, murder, and culture, Dial A for Aunties tells the story of a Chinese-Indonesian family stuck in a humorous, yet deadly, situation.

Meddelin Chan loves her family. They may drive her slightly crazy, but they are always there for her. Her mother and three meddling aunts never hesitate to come whenever Meddy calls, which is something that she both loves and doesn’t fully appreciate. This loyalty comes in handy when Meddy suddenly finds herself with a dead body. Her aunties and mother quickly come to her aid to help her with this disastrous situation.

This couldn’t come at a more desperate time for the family though as it is the weekend of the biggest wedding job their family has ever had. Truly a family business, one aunt handles the cake, another is the singer, another the makeup and hair, her mother the flowers, and Meddy herself as the wedding photographer. Together they are responsible for an incredibly expensive and over-the-top billionaire’s wedding that is taking place at a brand new island resort on the California coast. Just as Meddy and her family think they have found a solution, something goes awry, leaving them scrambling to divert major disaster.

To make matters worse, Meddy’s greatest love, and her biggest heartbreak, shows up in the middle of this complete disaster. Can Meddy hide the body, divert the police’s attention, pull off this career-making wedding, AND get her ex back? With the help of her aunties, Meddy may be able to get everything she ever wanted.

This book is also available in the following formats:

Book Club @ Night – ‘City of Girls’ on April 21

Want to join a book club? Join Book Club @ Night. On Wednesday, April 21st, Book Club @ Night will be discussing City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert. Books are available at our Eastern Avenue curbside location for patrons to borrow for this book club. Registration is not required. This program is meeting virtually using GoTo Meeting. Information about how to join is listed below.

Curious what City of Girls is about? Check out the following description provided by the publisher:

“Life is both fleeting and dangerous, and there is no point in denying yourself pleasure, or being anything other than what you are.”

Beloved author Elizabeth Gilbert returns to fiction with a unique love story set in the New York City theater world during the 1940s. Told from the perspective of an older woman as she looks back on her youth with both pleasure and regret (but mostly pleasure), City of Girls explores themes of female sexuality and promiscuity, as well as the idiosyncrasies of true love.

In 1940, nineteen-year-old Vivian Morris has just been kicked out of Vassar College, owing to her lackluster freshman-year performance. Her affluent parents send her to Manhattan to live with her Aunt Peg, who owns a flamboyant, crumbling midtown theater called the Lily Playhouse. There Vivian is introduced to an entire cosmos of unconventional and charismatic characters, from the fun-chasing showgirls to a sexy male actor, a grand-dame actress, a lady-killer writer, and no-nonsense stage manager. But when Vivian makes a personal mistake that results in professional scandal, it turns her new world upside down in ways that it will take her years to fully understand. Ultimately, though, it leads her to a new understanding of the kind of life she craves – and the kind of freedom it takes to pursue it. It will also lead to the love of her life, a love that stands out from all the rest.

Now ninety-five years old and telling her story at last, Vivian recalls how the events of those years altered the course of her life – and the gusto and autonomy with which she approached it. “At some point in a woman’s life, she just gets tired of being ashamed all the time,” she muses. “After that, she is free to become whoever she truly is.” Written with a powerful wisdom about human desire and connection, City of Girls is a love story like no other.

This book is also available in the following formats:

Book Club @ Night – ‘City of Girls’ by Elizabeth Gilbert
Wed, Apr 21, 2021 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM (CDT)

Please join my meeting from your computer, tablet or smartphone.
https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/471996333

You can also dial in using your phone.
United States: +1 (872) 240-3311

Access Code: 471-996-333

New to GoToMeeting? Get the app now and be ready when your first meeting starts:
https://global.gotomeeting.com/install/471996333

The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes

There is no religion without love, and people may talk as much as they like about their religion, but if it does not teach them to be good and kind to man and beast, it is all a sham. – ANNA SEWELL, Black Beauty

The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes is the embodiment of the above quote. The town of Baileyville, Kentucky is not what Alice Wright expected. Growing up in England, all Alice wanted was to get away from her stifling life and her narrow minded parents.  When she met Bennett Van Cleve, a handsome American who promised her a thrilling life away, Alice married him and left. Traveling across the world and eventually ending up in Baileyville, Kentucky, Alice has stars in her eyes about her new life and all the wonderous things she can do.

Baileyville does not live up to her expectations. It quickly becomes claustrophobic as Alice and Bennett are forced to live with Bennett’s overbearing father. Struggling to carve out a life for herself separate than that of her domineering father-in-law and away from the judgmental eyes of the local townsfolk, Alice wants so much more than this life has. When the opportunity to join the team of women delivering books as part of Eleanor Roosevelt’s new traveling library appears, Alice promptly signs up.

Beginning to work with the team, Alice learns more about their daily lives and the motivations for why(and how) each ended up with the horseback librarians. The leader of the local horseback librarians is Margery, a woman who quickly becomes Alice’s friend and, more importantly, her ally. Margery has always lived on the outskirts as a self-sufficient, self-confident, and quick-witted woman who has never asked for a man’s permission to do anything. Margery, Alice, and three other women become known as the Packhorse Librarians of Kentucky and start bringing books, magazines, recipes, and information to families who desperately need them.

The women are clearly the focus in this novel, but the relationships with the men they love quickly show how compassion, loyalty, humanity, and justice are all necessary components to life in Baileyville, but whether or not the townspeople follow them is another story altogether. Although these women are working hard to provide a necessary service to people, the community doesn’t support their efforts entirely. The dangers these women face grow everyday as they travel the mountainside to bring books and materials to people who have never had any. Apparently giving the community access to facts and information is offensive to some and those people will stop at nothing to end the packhorse librarians for good.

This book is also available in the following formats:

Book Club @ Night – ‘The Sun is Also a Star’ on December 9th

It’s time for a new book club! On the second Wednesday of the month through December 2020, Book Club @ Night is meeting at 6:30pm to talk about young adult books!

On Wednesday, December 9th, Book Club @ Night will be discussing The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon. Information about how to join is below.

Using GoTo Meeting, patrons will be able to meet to talk about a new book with one of our librarians. Book club books available at the Eastern Avenue Library.

Curious what The Sun is Also a Star is about? Check out the following description provided by the publisher:

Two teens–Daniel, the son of Korean shopkeepers, and Natasha, whose family is here illegally from Jamaica–cross paths in New York City on an eventful day in their lives–Daniel is on his way to an interview with a Yale alum, Natasha is meeting with a lawyer to try and prevent her family’s deportation to Jamaica–and fall in love.

This book is also available in the following formats:

Book Club @ Night
Wed, Dec 9, 2020 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM (CST)

Please join my meeting from your computer, tablet or smartphone.
https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/171122357

You can also dial in using your phone.
United States: +1 (224) 501-3412

Access Code: 171-122-357

New to GoToMeeting? Get the app now and be ready when your first meeting starts:
https://global.gotomeeting.com/install/171122357

The Daughters of Erietown by Connie Schultz

The world right now is uncertain. I find myself longing for times when family and friends could get together without care or worries. In an effort to feel more of that carefree spirit(without actually getting close to people), I have been searching for more books to read about families. Cue: literary generational fiction.

The Daughters of Erietown by Connie Schultz tells the story of Ellie and Brick. In the 1950s, Ellie and Brick are growing up in Clayton Valley, Ohio. Ellie wants to marry Brick McGinty. She wants to go to nursing school. It seems Ellie has finally figured out how she can get what she wants, even if her grandparents don’t approve.

Brick may be a basketball star at his high school, but he has big plans to go to college on a scholarship to play basketball. That is his chance to escape his abusive father, to be the first in his family to attend college, and to become a man that he can be proud of. Ellie and Brick are determined to succeed together and start a new life in a new place.

Their plans fall apart when Ellie finds out she is pregnant. Realizing that their big dreams will have to be put on hold, the two switch gears and begin to build their family. Ellie and Brick quickly discover that this new life is full of ups and downs. They have to rely on each other and work together to provide a stable and loving home for everyone. Just as they seem to settle back into a rhythm, someone knocks on their front door and delivers news that has the power to destroy their lives.

The Daughters of Erietown follows the evolution of women’s lives over fifty years. While each person in this story may have their own secrets, others have the power to reach out and destroy the precious balance that they have created. This novel discusses the known and the unknown, the whispers that may be true or not, and how you choose to deal with them.

This book is also available in the following formats: