May-Be Some New Reads…

Here’s what I’ve been reading lately… what books have captured you of late?

–Marissa

The Caretakers by Amanda Bestor-Siegal ended up just being ‘eh’ for me, despite high hopes of tragedy, nannies, Paris, rich and entitled women, you know the drill. Instead, this audiobook failed to really capture me, though I did finish it (at 2x speed!).

Marrying the Ketchups by Jennifer Close is a story of three generations of the Sullivan family, deeply rooted in Oak Park, Illinois owing to their longtime restaurant business. But when the patriarch suddenly dies, it seems everyone comes home to roost – and not always comfortably. This is a very character-driven novel (don’t expect twists or turns or car chases or explosions…), and while I hung in there for a while on the family dramas and family interactions and personal dramas and personal interactions, I just got.. bored. I ended up skimming the back half of this novel. :-/

By the Book by Jasmine Guillory is the second in the “meant to be” series featuring contemporary takes on Disney princesses, and this time it’s Belle and the Beast! Izzy is an overworked publishing assistant who, through several strange turns, finds herself living in the house of Hollywood star Beau Towers in order to force him to complete his long-promised autobiography. Of course they clash, they reluctantly agree to work together, and then they fall in love. This was an enjoyable audiobook listen – Guillory is always a delightful, transporting romance read.

Notes on an Execution by Danya Kukafka had a great structure… counting down hour by hour (starting at Hour 12) before Ansel Packer, serial killer, is due to be executed. From there, the story unpacks his complicated relationships with a variety of women in his life and how much he wants to be remembered, not just gone. I wanted to like this more than I did… it felt super draggy to me in parts, and I found myself becoming less invested in the story as I went, though again, the setup was great.

A Thousand Ways to Pay Attention by Rebecca Schiller is billed as a memoir of Rebecca’s struggle with severe ADHD on her family, her life, and their living on a homestead in the English countryside. And while I loved the bits that spoke directly about her ADHD (as I’m married to someone with ADD and know the struggles), I struggled with how slowly paced this story was, and how confusing the narrative (she often dove from topic to topic, which, while indicative of a disordered mind, made for a difficult linear read.

Adult Assembly Required by Abbi Waxman is just a warm, at times funny character novel about a group of misfits who all live in an illegal boardinghouse in LA. There’s Impossibly Handsome Bob, the gardener, Polly, the free spirit, Maggie the matriarch (and owner), and newcomer Laura, who has secrets and struggles of her own. This is just a lovely, meandering novel about finding your new ‘framily’, a romance, and a dog shaped like a loaf of bread. 😉

I also read Atomic Habits by James Clear, like every other human being already has. 🙂

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