Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Book Review and GIVEAWAY: Ordinary Hazards, by Anna Bruno {ends 1/12}

Guest review by: Becki Bayley

A glimmer squeezes through the door, daylight finding its way in. Jimmy comes in from the heat, wiping the sweat from his forehead, making his way to the bar. He’s wearing a dark-blue t-shirt, a size too small. A band name, DIGISAURUS, is inscribed across a boom box with lightning bolts shooting out. The letters are stretched over his pecs, and the bolts curve over his gut, not quite reaching his belly button. This shirt is paired with old Levi’s and black-and-white Sambas—the same shoes kids wore for indoor soccer back in the nineties.

Sometimes I feel like I’m straddling where I came from—Wilton, Cambridge, San Francisco, New York —and where I am, this town, like they are two different worlds. Then the whiskey touches my lips and I realize no matter where I am it tastes just the same.

What a powerful examination of a life. Emma spends the night at the townie dive bar as one of the regulars comparing her life now to her life "before." 

Official synopsis:
Book Review and GIVEAWAY: Ordinary Hazards, by Anna Bruno {ends 1/12}
It’s 5pm on a Wednesday when Emma settles into her hometown bar with a motley crew of locals, all unaware that a series of decisions over the course of a single night is about to change their lives forever. As the evening unfolds, key details about Emma’s history emerge, and the past comes bearing down on her like a freight train.

Why has Emma, a powerhouse in the business world, ended up here? What is she running away from? And what is she willing to give up to recapture the love she once cherished? An exploration of contemporary love, guilt, and the place we call home, and in the tradition of
Ask Again, Yes and Little Fires Everywhere, Ordinary Hazards follows one woman’s epic journey back to a life worth living.

Emma spends a long evening at the local bar observing the locals, who she has known and spent time with for years. She’s comparing herself and her life to theirs, and recognizing both how they are the same, and how they are different. Her insights are interspersed with her previous experiences with some of the locals and others who have brought her to this point. The reader isn’t sure what the line is between "before" and "after" until much further along in the evening, and the story.

There’s something nostalgic about the beginning of the book. The image of a small-town bar and the sense of community there can apply as something that is familiar to many, or sounds quaint and cozy even if it hasn’t been experienced personally. Emma’s flashbacks to her own evolution to adulthood, and the quirks of the regulars who she may or may not consider friends are engaging. As events progress, it is revealed that the story is more unique to Emma and the lives of those hanging out at the bar.

Overall, I’d give this book 4 out of 5 stars. The writing was compelling and relatable. The characters were interesting. I’d recommend this book to those who enjoy contemporary fiction and complex emotional stories.

{click here to purchase}

Becki Bayley enjoys contemplation paired with whiskey. She sometimes shares her own musings at SweetlyBSquared.com, along with other book reviews.


Two of my lucky readers will win a copy of Ordinary Hazards!

Enter via the widget below. Giveaway will end on Tuesday, January 12th, at 11:59pm EST, and winners will be notified via email the next day, and have 24 hours to respond, or an alternate winner(s) will be chosen.

Open to BOTH U.S. and Canada!

Good luck!

Ordinary Hazards, by Anna Bruno


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