Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman

starfish

Originally published in: 2017

What’s it about:  17-year-old Kiko Himura spends her days struggling with her social anxiety and feeling like her half-Japanese identity means she’ll never fit in anywhere – especially not with her mother. She lives for the day she’ll escape to art school, but first, she has to get in.

What made me pick it up: It was a finalist for the Morris Award given to the best YA debut novel.

My favorite things: Bowman includes the most magical descriptions of Kiko’s art. They make her paintings and drawings come to life and reflect and inspire real emotion. There’s a strong romantic element to the story that is perfectly complicated.

Who it’s great for:  Teens interested in a complicated romance with lots of family drama.

Abby’s rating: three-and-a-half-shells


Find this in your local library or on Amazon (affiliate link).


 

The Convenient Marriage by Georgette Heyer

convenient marriage

Originally published in: 1934

What’s it about: Horatia offers to take the place of her reluctant sister as a wife to the Earl of Rule, who accepts with little convincing. Each agreeing not to interfere with the other, theirs truly is a marriage of convenience – he marries into the family he desired while she marries into wealth and access to all the best parties.

What made me pick it up: I set a few reading resolutions this year. One was to read in a few genres I don’t tend to prefer, including romance. A colleague suggested Georgette Heyer because she thought I’d like her spunky heroines.

My favorite things: Spunky indeed! I loved Horatia’s character. She is fearless, outgoing, and very clever – though not quite as clever as she thinks. Her charming stubbornness is softened by her willingness to admit and learn from her mistakes. She is well aware of and completely unbothered by the fact that she doesn’t meet anybody’s beauty standards – cursed by straight eyebrows.

Who it’s great for:  Fans of historical romances with more focus on a strong female lead than on the romance itself.

Abby’s rating: three-and-a-half-shells


Find this in your local library or on Amazon (affiliate link).


 

Princess Jellyfish #1 by Akiko Higashimura

princess jellyfish

Originally published in: 2016 (Japanese edition 2009)

What it’s about: A house full of geeky manga-illustrating women is shaken up by the threat to sell and raze their home and by a pair of dreamy brothers infiltrating their women-only world.

What made me pick it up: I’m not a big manga reader, but a colleague recommended it to me promising that it was a good choice for readers not used to manga.

My favorite things: This is a cute story with fun characters and nothing too far off the wall. I love the Higashimura’s ability to poke fun at herself and her world of manga creation through these characters.

Who it’s great for: Good for readers who are interested in manga but don’t know where to start.

Abby’s rating: three-and-a-half-shells


Want a copy? Find one at Amazon (affiliate link) or see if it’s available at a library near you.


Letters from Paris by Juliet Blackwell

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Originally published in:
2016

What it’s about: A woman follows her grandmother’s death bed instructions and heads to Paris to try to figure out the mystery of a broken mask.

What made me pick it up: It was mentioned on a blog I follow. I read Blackwell’s first book The Paris Key and enjoyed it.

My favorite things: Aside from all the French details with which I’m obsessed? Blackwell has a great ability to build in twists to her story. Her characters are fully realized and she keeps the pages to this sweet story turning. She also does love stories really well. If you want a Nicholas Sparks story with a strong female protagonist set in France, pick up these books.

Who it’s great for: Those who like a bit of mystery in their fiction. Anyone who appreciates stories of women finding themselves and love in foreign places. Readers obsessed with Paris/France everything. Fans of Nicholas Sparks.

Erica’s rating: four-shells


Find The Paris Key and Letters From Paris at Amazon (affiliate links) or your local library.