Our Tiny, Useless Hearts by Toni Jordan

Caroline is married to Henry.
Henry is having an affair with Martha.
Caroline and Henry’s neighbours are Lesley and Craig.
Caroline is having an affair with Craig.
Janice is Caroline’s sister.
Alec is Janice’s ex-husband. Janice still loves him, it seems.
Alec springs Janice and Craig in bed together (nothing happened).
Lesley has had enough of Craig.
Lesley announces she’s sleeping with Alec.
And then things descend from there. Continue reading

The Stud Book by Monica Drake

The title of Monica Drake’s second novel, The Stud Book, suggests something along the lines of last week’s ‘Oil up, rigs out’ episode of The Bachelorette. Here’s a reminder:

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However, it’s anything but. The title is literal – a stud book is a breed registry of animals. The novel is rooted in biology and explores themes of mating and motherhood via a group of friends, who all find themselves at different points on the ‘breeding cycle’. Continue reading

Addition by Toni Jordan

Confession: I set my alarm for a number ending in a two or a seven every morning. My alarm goes off and then I lie in bed for another five minutes until a two or a seven rolls around. On days I don’t have an alarm set, I wait for a two or seven before getting out of bed. Naturally, my ultimate get-up time 7.27am – unfortunately that would be considered a sleep-in these days… Anyway, before you start thinking that I am completely OCD, know that if the house was burning down I wouldn’t wait for my digital clock to click to a two or seven. I’m obsessive but not compulsive (or is it the other way around?).

There’s safety in numbers, as Grace Vandenburg, the main character in Toni Jordan’s Addition, knows. Grace’s life is ordered by numbers – how many bananas she buys, how many steps she takes to the café, what time she cooks her dinner, how many strokes it takes to brush her teeth. Continue reading