Saturday, July 1, 2023

In a Nutshell Reviews - The Library Edition


In a Nutshell Reviews are my version of mini-reviews, because sometimes, you just want the highlights.

The Music Shop
 by Rachel Joyce
Published by Random House on July 13, 2017
Age/Genres: Fiction

From the author of the world-wide bestseller, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry:

1988. Frank owns a music shop. It is jam-packed with records of every speed, size and genre. Classical, jazz, punk – as long as it’s vinyl he sells it. Day after day Frank finds his customers the music they need.

Then into his life walks Ilse Brauchmann.

Ilse asks Frank to teach her about music. His instinct is to turn and run. And yet he is drawn to this strangely still, mysterious woman with her pea-green coat and her eyes as black as vinyl. But Ilse is not what she seems. And Frank has old wounds that threaten to re-open and a past he will never leave behind ...

What a lovely story! There’s just something special about record stores and the community of music lovers they draw. Frank grew up immersed in music, thanks to his unconventional mother who shared her love and knowledge with him. This affection, and his mother’s impressive record collection, drove him to open his music shop where he prided himself in only selling vinyl and being able to find the right record for each person.

I adored Frank’s musical wisdom just as much as I adored the people of Unity Street. They had a lovely little community that grew when a woman in a green coat fainted outside the music shop. Ilse won a place in (almost) all their hearts, but especially Frank’s. Given his past, Frank sought to protect himself from growing too close, and that resulted in a lot of heartbreak for me. A wonderful cast, an incredible soundtrack, and a heartwarming ending made The Music Shop a big hit.


  • The characters were all interesting and I wanted to get to know them all
  • The community resulted in a great found family feel that never failed to warm my heart
  • The music featured and all the stories were fantastic. Frank’s music lessons with Ilse were something to look forward to.
  • The music therapy practiced by Frank. It was amazing how he could find the right song, at the right time to help the people who visited his shop heal.
  • Joyce’s passion and love for music shined on every page.

Goodnight June
 by Sarah Jio
Published by Plume on May 27, 2014
Age/Genres: Contemporary, Fiction

The New York Times bestselling author of Blackberry Winter imagines the inspiration for Goodnight Moon

Goodnight Moon is an adored childhood classic, but its real origins are lost to history. In Goodnight June, Sarah Jio offers a suspenseful and heartfelt take on how the "great green room" might have come to be.

June Andersen is professionally successful, but her personal life is marred by unhappiness. Unexpectedly, she is called to settle her great-aunt Ruby’s estate and determine the fate of Bluebird Books, the children’s bookstore Ruby founded in the 1940s. Amidst the store’s papers, June stumbles upon letters between her great-aunt and the late Margaret Wise Brown—and steps into the pages of American literature.

Goodnight June was a really heartwarming tale about being true to yourself and forgiveness. When she received word of her beloved great aunt’s death, June headed west to inherit bookstore she grew up in. Torn between keeping or selling her precious inheritance, June reflected on her life and the future she wanted for herself.

Helping her along are letter’s her aunt left scattered among the books. These were letters exchanged between Aunt Ruby and children’s author, Margret Wise Brown. This was a such a fabulous touch, and I really enjoyed the parallels between the letters and what June was coping with. A touch of romance with a very lovely man was the cherry on top for me. A very sweet and heartfelt tale.


  • The nods to so many familiar and well loved books were a thrill.
  • The mystery June was left to solve with the help of Ruby’s letters gave me something to chew on.
  • The rally to save the bookstore was so much fun, and it was fantastic to see the community embrace the store.
  • The love of books the came through loud and clear, and what reader wouldn’t adore that?
  • The family drama. Some was sad, and some was rather shocking, but it was all engrossing.
  • The setting as I am a sucker for bookstore books.

Have you read Goodnight Moon?
Let us know in the comments!


  1. Wow these two sound like such solid reads for you! I LOVE music themes in books. There is something so relatable about connecting over music.

    1. The music references in The Music Shop were fantastic. I found it so interesting.

  2. The highlights you shared make Goodnight June a book I would want to read.

    1. It was a very sweet story. I have been enjoying Jio's books

  3. I enjoyed With Love From London so much, now I can't wait to read Goodnight June based on your review :)

    1. That was my gateway Jio book. I have read a few more since then and am really enjoying her backlist.

  4. I love stories with record shop and music! I am reading Hook Line and Sinker and Hannah is a music nerd!

    1. Yes! I thought the whole wanting to score films was a cool storyline

  5. Both of these sound great! We love music in our house so I think that The Music Shop would be a winner for me.

    1. The author covered such a wide variety of musical interests too. That combined with the found family element made it a great read