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Book Review: Mary Jane by Jessica Anya Blau

Mary Jane by Jessica Anya Blau is a coming of age novel taking place in Baltimore, Maryland. During the 1970's, fourteen year old Mary Jane is caught in the middle of her family's conservative ideals and the progressive ideals of the Cone family where she is a summer nanny. Mary Jane is a sheltered teen who enjoys cooking with her mother, listening to Broadway Show Tunes, and singing in the church choir. On the first day of work, she is shocked at the mess in the Cone's home and introduces them to home cooked meals and keeping the house clean. In return, Mary Jane gets a front row seat to sex, drugs, and rock & roll. This novel was the selected for the book club I belong to. Again, this is a novel that I likely wouldn't have chosen to read on my own, but I was glad I did. Mary Jane is the first novel I've read by Jessica Anya Blau, and I was impressed with her storytelling.  Touching on race, class, and stereotypes, along with drugs and infidelity, it reminded

Book Review: Luck, Love & Lemon Pie by Amy E. Reichert

luck love and lemon pie amy e reichert
When MJ Boudreaux's husband shows up several hours late for their lunch date to celebrate their anniversary, she realizes that they're drifting apart. Her husband seems more interested in spending time at a Milwaukee casino than with her. MJ decides the perfect way for them to become closer is to take up poker, but her plan isn't working in the way she thought.

Luck, Love & Lemon Pie by Amy E. Reichert was given to me as a Christmas present by my mother. When I first started reading this book, I was a bit unsure if I was going to like it or not. However, I ended up really enjoying the story line. It featured topics such as jealousy, infidelity, divorce, friendship, gambling, and alcoholism.

At the beginning of the book, MJ admits that she and her husband Chris haven't been on the same page and decides to take matters into her own hands instead of just sitting down and having a conversation with her husband. Some people probably think this is the wrong way to handle this situation, but I'd probably handle it similarly to MJ because I don't like confrontation, and I would likely have a similar outcome because of it. However, I felt like this situation was written very realistically because it the characters became distrustful and paranoid about everything the other one was doing.  

Another way that I would've behaved like MJ was how floored she was when her archenemy Tammie Shezwyski moving to her town. I would've been irritated with Tammie holding up traffic and trying to nose her way into my groups, and I would've absolutely livid with her spending time with my husband after learning the history between all of them. Again, this part was written so very realistically. Anyone who says otherwise can't have been in a similar situation.

There were parts that did drag a little, but overall, I really enjoyed Luck, Love & Lemon Pie by Amy E. Reichert and gave it four out of five stars.


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