Springing Into Book Reviews

Reading has still been hit and miss for me lately, but here’s the latest I’ve what I’ve read or listened to!


In Love by Amy Bloom was a heartbreaking, amazing, short memoir I listened to (narrated by Bloom herself). Amy and Brian met and married in their forties, but when Brian was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, he made the immediate decision to end his life with dignity and choice at Dignitas in Switzerland. This memoir – detailing their final days and then flashing back to early life – is just beautiful and heartbreaking, at times funny and warm, amazingly written and courageous. Read this.

Vanderbilt by Anderson Cooper was a necessary listen, since Cooper narrates it himself! Each chapter is a vignette of the Vanderbilts, from the Commodore building his fortune… to THE ball to end all balls thrown by Alva Vanderbilt… to the sinking of the Lusitania… and so many more stories of fortune won and lost. I was utterly fascinated, and immediately went to watch “The Gilded Age” on HBO!

LA Weather by María Amparo Escandón was an audiobook listen, and I was immediately pulled into this story of the LA-based, Mexican-American Alvarado family. Oscar and Keila lack connection, their three daughters are all facing their own tribulations, and above all, the fickle LA weather may hold the key to their fate. This novel was absorbing, warm, at times witty, heartbreaking and family-driven. I really loved it!

The Wild Girls by Phoebe Morgan had such a great premise, with the vibe of Jane Harper’s “Force of Nature”, but set in Botswana, but quickly devolved into idiocy and repetition for me. This was just… bland.

Run Rose Run by Dolly Parton (!!!) and James Patterson was an audiobook listen, since Miss Dolly herself reads one of the characters! Nashville, girl making it big, a past crime… sure it’s silly and nonsensical, but this was a fun, fast, full-on-Dolly drama read. Fun!

Bomb Shelter by Mary Laura Philpott is her latest memoir-slash-essay collection, and I devoured it. Philpott does such a masterful job of combining fear and anxiety with optimism and humor as she wrestles with her son’s medical diagnosis, aging, family life and keeping it all together. Her writing is so engrossing and warm and friendly – I looked forward to picking this up every time I had a chance to!

Cover Story by Susan Rigetti felt a bit… TOO on the nose as a retelling of Anna Delvey’s “I’m an heiress but actually a fraud” tale, but WASN’T a retelling, so it felt kinda muddy and odd. A fine enough diversion, but I’d rather read the real thing.😉

Nine Lives by Peter Swanson is a stand-alone mystery I listened to in which nine people (imagine that!) are on an anonymous list and have no obvious connection to one another, but are targets for murder. The plausibility and ending as always was stretched damn thing, but it was entertaining enough.

I also read The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson (solid YA novel, but not as compelling as I’ll Give You the Sun, as well as The Wise Women by Gina Sorell (women’s dramatic fiction novel). I also listened to The Accomplice by Lisa Lutz and Catch Her When She Falls by Allison Buccola – both solid suspense novels, though I won’t remember them in a few weeks. :-/

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