It’s the end of the first Shallowreader Bingo month! A Woot woot! Shout out to A Willful Woman who won this month’s bingo call – head over to her blog to see her winning entry. She won with Laughter, As You Wish, Hero/ine, MnomMnomMnom and used Red for her wildcard. If you have been playing, let us know in the comments which boxes you scored and what you read and there is a new bingo card out on Monday!
As for me, despite not getting any of bingo boxes in a row, I read several books that matched the squares. Here are my notes on them:
by Jessica Tom
Bingo Squares: 7 Deadly Sins and MnomMnomMnom
Tia Monroe, a post-graduate student in New York City finds herself ghost writing food reviews for restaurant critic, Micahel Saltz. I wasn’t convinced by how she was caught up in Michael’s fraudulent behaviour, her ethics were (obviously) questionable which culminated in Tia having to reveal all her misdoings and making amends. I think I would . Overall a good read with a view of how reviews can make or break a restaurant.
by Chris O’Dowd (yes – the actor) and Nick V. Murphy
Bingo Squares: Red (errmmmm – yep, there is red on the cover)
This book was funny and weird and made me laugh. I loved the whole Imaginary Friend (IF) story and I love love loved IF Loopy Lou even though Martin (the protaganist) didn’t. I also loved the distinctly Irish voice and culture that is woven through this book.I’m usually wary of celebrity authors but this one is an absolute treat. If you can pull off an Irish accent, it would make a particularly awesome bedtime reading story.
by Anne McAllister
Bingo Squares: It’s a secret, Baby (comma optional)
Theo Savas and Marta Antonides accidently shack up on Santorini. I love this book. It’s sharp and funny. I adore Anne McAllister’s American Greeks and particularly their fear of their Greek mamas. One day I will write a proper review for this favourite book but for now I just recommend you find yourselves a copy. An absolute keeper. I reread it for the umpteenth time and still love it.
by Julia Donaldson
Bingo Square: Shiny Sparkly Glitter
I enjoyed this book but I really missed Julia Donaldson’s signature rhymes and rhythms. I ADORE the glitter on every page.
by Sara Craven
Bingo Square: Frisson
Sara Craven seems to specialise in female protagonists in their late teens who are compelled to marry the older man who has known them since childhood. At once uncomfortable yet compelling. I enjoyed reading this book. Quite the cinderella story filled with misunderstandings and a lack of communication resulting in intense, unrequited love tension. Even the appearance of what I initially perceived as the “other woman” was a beautifully orchestrated plot device that was needed to deliver the impact of Laine’s teenage immature reactions on hero Dan’s life. And Dan was oh-so sweet. This book is a Craven gem.
by Jeff Bartsch
Bingo Square: Hero/ine
A fake wedding crossword romcom. This novel opens with teens Stanley Owens and Vera Baxter meeting and tying at the National Spelling Bee. They meet again every year as champion alumni and when they are 18 they decide to stage a fake wedding – Stanley to get away from his controlling mum and Vera because she loves Stanley. Their fraudulent relationship is on again and off again over many years before they reconcile through the crosswords they construct. The novel is well-written and well-structured however, it lacked the emotional punch that I expect from a book whose central premise is romance. The hero and heroine were SUPASMART which, of course, sets out this book from other romances, because, you know, high IQ protags=High IQ readers=romance (oooops! rom-com) that is different from all the others – excuse my momentary snark. I guess I am a frustrated reader. What should have been a fabulous read ended up being mediocre purely because there was more attention placed on how smart (at studies/dumb at life) both Stanley and Vera are but they remain distant and detached even at their supposed lows and highs and the book is lacking in emotional complexity. To be fair, this is a first novel for the author and romance fiction is incredibly hard to achieve this emotional complexity particularly as the line between sincerity and sentimentality can be tipped much too easily. Craft and storywise, this is a fine read and non-readers of romance fiction will love it.
The Sara Craven and Anne McAllister novels are old keepers that I bought at the time of their publications. I borrowed the rest of the books from a public library in New South Wales.