Title: Spines & Leaves
Author: Chautona Havig
Series: Bookstrings (introductory novella)
Major Themes: California, Bookstores, Romance
Synopsis: When Milton steps into a bookstore in the California High Desert, he finds more than just books and a floundering business—he finds a potential friend!
I love the story in Spines & Leaves! I enjoyed it, not only for the fun storyline, but also for the setting. My parents grew up near the California desert, so that area is part of my heritage. I have only been there once myself, but it made enough of an impression that, 30 years later, I can still picture the area quite vividly. Milton, Ced and Marcus are very real people, too. I loved getting to know them!
Milton was on his way from one job to the next, in his career of saving small businesses from bankruptcy or takeover by bigger companies, when he stopped in Tamarisk, California—on the edge of Joshua Tree National Park. He stepped into the Spines & Leaves bookstore, and before he knew it he was saving another floundering business. Milton was a book lover collecting books for little free libraries—but he could see that Spines and Leaves needed help! Would Ced accept his help?
Marcus just knew that Ced would fall for Milton. How could he keep letting himself be roped into helping Milton help Ced? And why was he letting himself spend so much time helping her when he knew she would be leaving as soon as her father could take over the bookstore again?
I loved the story about revamping the bookstore. (Of course, since I love organizing books!) I found Milton’s advice for the business fascinating, and loved the descriptions of the desert. The setting of this book really came alive, likely because it is where the author actually lives. The love story in the book is beautiful. Milton’s realization that he needs friends is special. And Milton’s parrotlet (I never heard of such a thing before this book!) is delightful! Spines & Leaves is a book not to be missed.
WARNING: There is a bad accident in chapter 9, and blood is mentioned.
Reading Independently—Ages 15 and Above, Adults
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