The Comfort of Favorite Things (by Alison Kent)

Contemporary Romance

After escaping an abusive relationship, Thea returned to her childhood home of Hope Springs with a suitcase full of money and ragtag group of women, other survivors of domestic violence. She immediately bought a decrepit old house and a shop with plans on turning the house into a shelter for women on the run from their abusers and the shop as a place to get them working and earning a few dollars.

Then her boyfriend from high school walks in the door and she finds herself dealing with her past as well as her present.

The last time Dakota saw Thea was the night before he was dragged off to prison for beating up his sister’s rapist six ways to Sunday. After his release he hit the road and it’s only now with the birth of his niece and his sister getting married that he has returned to Hope Springs. But despite everyone wanting him to hang around, the road is calling him and once he finishes the renovation for Thea he plans on moving on.

Such a beautiful, sweet book. It’s about damaged women who are getting their lives back and I really found myself engaging with all of them. While it sits comfortably in Contemporary Romance there are definitely some elements which I would describe as Women’s Fiction. Truthfully the romance didn’t really start till the last 30% of the book and that’s fine. Everything about this book is great.

Screen Shot 2014-02-15 at 8.51.33 pmMany thanks to Montlake Romance and Netgalley for providing me with this ARC

Orange, Red, Yellow. What it means: red-orange-yellow-guide

Eleanor & Park (by Rainbow Rowell)

“I don’t like you Park, ” she said, sounding for a second like she actually meant it. “I…”––her voice nearly disappeared––”think I live for you.”  

He closed his eyes and pressed his head back into his pillow. 

“I don’t think I even breathe when we’re not together,” she whispered. “Which means, when I see you on Monday morning, it’s been like sixty hours since I’ve taken a breath.”

For Eleanor, the only thing worse than going to school is going home. Coming from a home where her violent and abusive step-father lords over the household, her life is one of hopelessness and despair.

Park is a fringe dweller, a person who is on the edge of the popular group but not really a part of it. When Eleanor starts sitting next to him on the bus to and from school their journeys are at first silent, but gradually they start to communicate in small ways. Over time Eleanor comes to depend on Park, and Park falls in love with Eleanor. But the price of saving her might be losing her.

Eleanor & Park is an amazing book. It is a poetic and beautiful book which occasionally made me ache with despair. In a world with an abundance of really great books, Eleanor & Park is somehow a little bit more. One of the best books I read in 2012.

Many thanks to St Martins Press and Netgalley for providing me with this ARC.