It's Time to Meet Monica
Before I tell you why I adored this book, I want to explain why Stephanie Affinito suggested it to me. I was telling her all about the Kindred Spirit Mailbox where people go and leave their thoughts in journals. She was very intrigued and did an entire podcast about it (Listen Here). The idea of the mailbox reminded her of one of her favorite books, The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley. And there you have it!
Although the title of the blog is "It's Time to Meet Monica," it could have been Julian or Hazard or Riley or Alice or Lizzie. Each character was so well-developed that it was really difficult for me to choose just one. I focused on Monica because, although she didn't start the project, she seemed to be the glue that kept holding it together.
Julian is an elderly lonely man who writes his "authentic" story in a notebook and leaves the notebook for someone else to find and then to write their own story. Everyone who finds the notebook eventually meets. We get to see how being authentic and letting the world see it changes the world around you.
When I first met Monica, I thought she was a bit uptight and over-the-top. But I learned very quickly that she was kind, generous, and so very lonely. Eventually, I learned why, and my heart went out to her in a greater way. I think that is the way it is in real life, too. As we allow ourselves to get to know others and understand the why behind their actions, we have the opportunity to gain enormous empathy.
The thing I loved most about this book is that I cannot stop thinking about these characters. I want to know more. I've created endings - the happily-ever-after kind because those make me happy. But most importantly, I've wondered what it would be like to start my own notebook - or blog - or podcast - or something - that gave people the space to tell their own truth and allowed others to experience it and potentially make changes in their life because of it.
The book is set in the modern world, with topics like sex, drugs, and alcohol, but done with taste and without anything gratuitous. I highly recommend this novel and am grateful that Stephanie recommended it to me. If you read it, let me know your thoughts!
It's Time to Meet Miss Coltrane
I LOVED The Flight Girls by Noelle Salazar (Follow her on BookBub). I laughed. I cried. I laughed while crying. And because it was historical fiction, I learned. What more can you ask for?
How about great characters?! And that's where Miss Audrey Fitzgerald Coltrane comes in.
I wasn't sure what I thought of Audrey when I first met her. She seemed a bit shallow. Maybe a bit spoiled. A little too self-involved, caring more about her flying than anything else. I wondered if I would grow to like her. I soon discovered that there was a lot more to her than met the eye - and guess what? She learned that about herself, too.
Audrey was a progressive woman stuck in a time when women were only given a chance because the men were busy fighting in war. Despite doing amazing things, women across the country received few accolades, and when the war finally came to an end, were expected to retreat again to kitchens across the US.
Audrey turned out to be smart, funny, generous, loving, and brave. She knew what she wanted, and she worked hard to get it. She learned that following ones dreams doesn't mean that you have to throw everything else out the window. In fact, you just may be able to have your cake and eat it, too.
I highly recommend this book. (I listened to the audio version). If you read it, let me know what you think!
I love this book, but before I go any further, I want my readers to know that this book contains language. I tend to shy away from such books, especially those that drop the f-bomb. However, this was a book club selection, so I persevered. And I'm glad I did because the characters were riveting!
This story is menopause mixed with feminist revenge with a slash of superhero and black magic. Despite the serial killer theme, the women are delightful. As a woman who has lived through midlife and experienced the glass ceiling and groping hands and roving eyes of unwanted men, I found myself in each character - the good girl trying to follow the rules, the livid one ready to make the world pay, and the crazy one who decides that gardening naked isn't such a bad idea after all. Generally, I think I am a pretty even compilation of all three, which is why I connected so easily with this trio.
Of course, Kirsten Miller does an excellent job weaving a tale for these characters which allows us to experience them in all their glory. What I think I loved most was that the book was both angry yet loving, hard as nails, yet soft, tragic yet humorous. I would rate this 5-stars except for the language, but even with the f-bomb, it gets a solid 4.8. ,
Teri M Brown, author of An Enemy Like Me and Sunflowers Beneath the Snow connects readers with characters they'd love to invite to lunch.
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