Summer Wives by Beatriz Williams. I’ve read some of her other books and enjoyed them, but I literally listened to about 10 hours of this and still gave up because it was so slow. And by “slow” I mean I felt as if I could stop paying attention for 15 minutes and not miss anything from the story line. Sorry B, not your best work.
From the Corner of the Oval by Beck Dorey-Stein. This is a pretty hyped book right now written by a former White House stenographer during the Obama administration. It’s one part love letter to Barack, one (smaller) part politics, and one (larger) part her being a hot mess in her twenties. In thinking about a general human tendency to put yourself in a somewhat positive light, I’m confused about whether she’s just incredibly honest, which would be cool, or if she just doesn’t realize how awful she is. Unfortunately I think it’s the latter.
The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware. My girl Ruthie has some gems out there: The Woman in Cabin 10, In a Dark Dark Wood. I was excited for this one, and I always listen to her stuff because I’m a sucker for a good British accent. Imogen Tate is one of my favorite audiobook narrators (performers? what’s the appropriate lingo here?). But this book wasn’t my favorite. It just moves kind of slow and the ending isn’t all that twisty and satisfying.
Cravings: Hungry for More by Chrissy Teigen. This is her second cookbook and I loved the first. Note: cookbooks on a Kindle Paperwhite would be a big bummer, so I put the Kindle app on my iPad and use that for these. I love her so I enjoy all of her stories, and I made the Sleepytime Beef Stew (on Sheila’s recommendation) and it was a HUGE hit. I’ve made it twice and I can’t wait to make some of her other stuff.
It’s Always the Husband by Michele Martinez. This book is garbage. I read it for probably a week straight and then was horrified to see that I was only 55% of the way through. And, to be clear, there are books that I would be delighted to see I’ve only completed half (ahem, Harry Potter). This book suffers from really unrealistic dialogue that pulls you out of the storyline altogether. So I quit at that 55% mark and I do not care how it ends.
You Think It, I’ll Say It by Curtis Sittenfeld. I started this immediately after quitting It’s Always the Husband (I was sitting in jury duty) and was even more mad that I wasted time on it. Curtis Sittenfeld is an incredibly gifted writer and honestly how many more times can I tell everyone to read Eligible? This is a collection of short stories and I just love her sense of humor and observations about the world. I don’t usually love collections but I was a big fan of this one.
Still Me by Jojo Moyes. This is book 3 of the Me Before You saga. I read the second one so long ago that I didn’t entirely remember all the plot points, just that I didn’t love it. But I decided to read the third one anyway. It’s definitely way longer than it needs to be but I still enjoyed it. And I’m pretty sure this is the last one, so if you liked the first one I recommend. Also Me Before You is one of the few movie adaptations I’ve enjoyed, in case you were wondering.
One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid. I listened to this one a road trip to Richmond and, while it isn’t on the same level for me as Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, I still liked it. I thought it was unpredictable and really respected that she put one big “twist” out there from the very beginning because otherwise it would have been cheesy. Interesting writing choice. Recommend!
Behind Closed Doors by BA Paris. This was one where Sheila asked me to listen to determine whether it was good or bad and if she should continue. Challenge accepted. Unfortunately the verdict is: bad. The premise is disturbing which, in and of itself, I can handle. (Hi Karin Slaughter!! Love you forever.) But it’s incredibly repetitive, predictable, and the ending is not at all suspenseful or creative. Pass.
A Million Little Pieces by James Frey. This came out when I was in high school and everyone went nuts over it, but my fear of drugs was at an all-time high at that point so I was too scared to read it. But it came up recently on Armchair Expert because Dax said that, as an addict, he could tell as soon as he read it that it wasn’t true (of note, he also said he has the same feeling about Hillbilly Elegy…) and that intrigued me. But I don’t know what all the fuss was about. I found it boring and repetitive. It’s like this: I kept a journal while we were on our honeymoon and I don’t expect that any person other than the GS and I ever wants to read “We woke up, got breakfast…” 16 times in a row. And now that I know it’s made up I don’t feel bad about saying that. And the lack of punctuation and random capitalized words just made me feel like he was trying too hard.
Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty. I came into this a bit apprehensive: The Husband’s Secret and Big Little Lies are arguably two of my favorite books ever and I’ve re-read each of them at least twice. But her most recent Truly, Madly, Guilty was really bad. Like I couldn’t believe she wrote it, bad. I listened to this (thanks as always for your Audible, Sheila) and literally I would listen to this woman (Caroline Lee) read the phone book because she is one of the best ever. I may as well have because this is a 19 hour audiobook and basically nothing happens for the first 10 hours. Liane is a master of character development but that’s basically all you get for a loooooong time. I still enjoyed it but I have to say the only way to do this one is the audiobook.
A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult. Damn this one jumps RIGHT in to the action. It’s about a guy in Mississippi who goes into a women’s clinic that performs abortions and starts shooting up the place. It jumps RIGHT in to the action and I really enjoyed it. She has such a gift for creative timelines and telling the story from multiple angles. Recommend.
Tell me what you’re reading/listening to!!