Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Two under-the radar books

If you liked watching TV’s Parks and Recreation for the description of small-town government, Nina Bocci’s latest novel, On The Corner of Love and Hate is perfect for you.  
Emma Peroni works in the economic development office of her small town in Pennsylvania. Emma’s dad is the popular mayor of the town, and now ready to leave politics and enjoy retirement. He would like to see Emma’s coworker, handsome, charismatic Cooper, run for mayor, and he asks Emma to help Cooper win the election, just as she had done for her ol’ dad.
The problem is that Emma is not a fan of Cooper’s. They have known each other since high school, and Emma feels that Cooper tries to skate by on his charm. She has been picking up his slack at work while Cooper has been courting the voters, and she has no desire to help Cooper even more.
Being from a small community also means the dating pool is smaller than in a big city, and Emma’s love life is less successful than her work life. Her mother would like her to date someone nice (like Cooper), and Emma’s recent dates haven’t exactly been winners, but Cooper is catnip to all women and that does not appeal to Emma. But when Cooper appears to be involved in a scandal, Emma has to come to the rescue.
On The Corner of Love and Hate is a delightful, sweet story, with characters who seem like people from your own small town.
Now that school is back in session, Laurie Gelman’s You’ve Been Volunteered (her sequel to Class Mom) is a timely September read. Jen Dixon has three children, two adult daughters and an elementary-aged son. Her best friend has moved away, and her husband is preoccupied with trying to expand his sporting goods store business.
Once again Jen has been asked to be room mother for her third-grade son’s class, and since she was so successful at that, she has also been asked to head up the volunteer program for safety monitors. As we all know, the better you are at a job, the more jobs you are given. Unfortunately this job is not as easy as class mom.
And once again, readers are treated to Jenn’s hilarious emails to parents about classroom activities, parent/teacher nights and what not to bring to the Halloween party. We delve more into Jen’s life, and I especially liked Jen’s interactions with her aging parents and her loving, supportive husband.
If you enjoy American Housewife on TV, You’ve Been Volunteered is a book for you.
BOOK: On the Corner of Love and Hate by Nina Bocci
GRADE: B+
PUBLISHER: Gallery Books
COST: Trade paperback, $16
LENGTH: 336 pages

BOOK: You’ve Been Volunteered by Laurie Gelman
GRADE: B+
PUBLISHER: Henry Holt & Co.
COST: Hardcover, $26
LENGTH: 268 pages

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