How is it September? SEPTEMBER?! This summer seems to have zipped past, August especially! Despite the summer bustle, I’ve managed to knock out a few titles… here’s what I’ve been reading lately…
Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center was just the right book at the right time! I really love all of Center’s books – they are warm, sweet, romantic, but not cloying or saccharine. This time, we have a female firefighter who has to transfer to a new unit, who aren’t exactly… welcoming. Personal growth, romance, and putting old ghosts to rest all combine into a great story. I loved it!
The Wallflower Wager by Tessa Dare was a must read for me, because, well, TESSA DARE! Dare always writes Regency romances that are witty, sparkly, sexy, and just fun – and this is another good addition to the Girl Meets Duke series (I still love Spindle Cove the best!), especially since it features all manner of creatures – really! 🙂
The Other Mrs. Miller by Allison Dickson was a great, quick-read suspense story that takes place in the Chicago suburbs (which I visit from time to time!). Phoebe is your typical bored housewife, until two things happen: a new family moves into the neighborhood, and a mysterious car starts parking outside her house every day. This was fast, satisfying, and a good whodunit!
Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, Her Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed by Lori Gottlieb is a non-fiction memoir that’s been on a my radar for a while, and did not disappoint. Gottlieb is herself a therapist, so this is a dual story – the story of her going to a therapist after a devastating breakup, and the stories of the patients she sees in her practice. Really interesting stuff here!
The Reckless Oath We Made by Bryn Greenwood is the follow-up novel to Greenwood’s debut All the Ugly and Wonderful Things, which I devoured, and while I liked it, I feel like it didn’t have the same “magic” as before. Zee is down on her luck with a flighty sister and a hoarder mother who is followed around (somewhat) by a neurodiverse man named Gentry, who claims he is her “champion”. When Zee’s sister is kidnapped, Gentry swoops in to help Zee in any way he can. It was tough going getting used to Gentry’s chapters – which are entirely in Middle English, the only way he speaks – but I was definitely invested in the story.
24/6: The Power of Unplugging by Tiffany Shlain was a really thought provoking read for me – and one I aspire to achieve! Shlain, her husband and her two kids have observed a “Tech Shabbat” for years – literally putting away all screen from Friday night to Saturday night in order to disconnect, reconnect with each other, and pursue more than scrolling Instagram. Filled with ideas of how to do it, data supporting it, and general inspiration, this non-fiction work really spoke to me, and I’m eager to try my own “Tech Shabbat” – even just for a few hours to start! Highly recommended!
The Lager Queen of Minnesota by J. Ryan Stradal is his follow up to Kitchens of the Great Midwest, which I really enjoyed, and like Greenwood above, just didn’t *quite* catch the same magic this time around. Two sisters, a rivalry of beer, and a story told across many decades are featured in this novel. I learned a LOT about beer and brewing, and while I liked it, I didn’t *love* it the same way as before.
Mrs. Everything by Jennifer Weiner is her longest, more personal novel to date, and I really liked it (though it took me AGES to read!). This story walks through the lives of two sisters, starting in the 1950s when conformity and marriage were all that were expected of women, and how they both chafe and comply with convention – particularly for one sister, who finds that traditional marriage is not for her. I really liked this story, though again, it is LONG for a Weiner book!
I also read Do You Mind If I Cancel? by Gary Janetti (collection of memoir essays from the guy I think of as Brad Goreski’s husband *smile*)… Pretty Guilty Women by Gina Lamanna (easy, breezy women’s fiction mystery)… As Bright As Heaven by Susan Meissner (a good historical pick for our book discussion at the library)… and Paper Chains by Nicola Moriarty (solid women’s fiction).