The GS surprised me with a reservation at The Ledbury for my birthday this year. It was one of the best dining experiences we’ve ever had. It’s definitely at a special occasion price point, but if you’re in London and get the opportunity I can’t recommend it enough! So I’m sharing photos of our meal here- the menu changes constantly so it won’t be a spoiler!
The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave. I think I’ve seen this book on Instagram at least once a week for like 2 years so I finally listened to it. Meh. I thought it was just okay and that it will be added to the list of books that I won’t remember whether or not I’ve read it in 6 months. But Reese Witherspoon liked it so maybe you will, too.
The Paper Palace by Miranda Cowley Heller. Another Reese’s book club that I thought was mediocre. My biggest issue with this one is that it’s way too long. There’s a bunch of stuff in the first half of it that is so irrelevant and drags on, but then there are other characters that I thought were under developed. It’s a sort of sad and twisty story and I liked the way the timeline moved around, but it needed to be edited.
The Last House on the Street by Diane Chamberlain. This follows the structure of some of her other books- one present day woman and one woman from some time period in the past (in this case, 1965), set in North Carolina. I found some of the writing in this one to be especially cheesy, but it held my attention.
Not a Happy Family by Shari Lapena. I really liked this. An older couple is murdered in their home and all three of their adult children become suspects because they stand to inherit a lot of money. It’s really unpredictable and they’re all flawed and kind of unlikeable in different ways. I couldn’t put it down and it was a quick read. Recommend!
Taste by Stanley Tucci. I love Stanley Tucci. In fact if I had to choose a celeb I’d like to see in London, it’s a tie between Stanley and Aziz Ansari. I really enjoyed his book and I always love to listen to the author narrate it, though with this one I’d recommend reading it only because there’s a bunch of recipes in there. BTW he talks about The Ledbury so I felt very special.
The Secrets of Us by Lucinda Berry. Told from the perspectives of two women who grew up as foster sisters, one present day and one back when they were teenagers. It has some good unpredictable twists but not my favorite.
One Two Three by Laurie Frankel. Triplet teenage daughters living in a small town wrecked by poisoned water. One is typically developing, one is on the autism spectrum, and one is a wheelchair-bound genius who uses an alternative communication device. It’s a good story, and I thought the perspectives of each of the girls were well-written. I think I liked her other book (This Is How It Always Is) better, though.
Carrie Soto is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid. Few things excite me more than a new TJR read. This one was good- I think I listened to the entire thing in two days- but it’s not on the level of Evelyn Hugo or Daisy Jones (both of which are must-listen books, in my opinion). If you’re a tennis fan, you’ll probably love it.
A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan. This will likely be an unpopular take given the Pulitzer Prize, but I really did not like it at all. I can definitely appreciate the loosely connected short story model, but I was mostly bored and had a hard time getting through it.
Counterfeit by Kirstin Chen. A wonderfully light read after my Goon Squad suffering. A former corporate attorney is newly a stay-at-home mother to her challenging 2-year-old (something I know a bit about) and gets sucked into a counterfeit handbag scheme by her former college roommate. Not going to win the Pulitzer, but very entertaining and an easy read. Recommend!
Why Not Me by Mindy Kaling. This book is old but I realized I had never read it (I did read Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? and loved it) and after I listened to her on Meghan Markle’s new podcast I wanted to consume more of her content! I am a huge fan of hers so I loved the book, but if you’re looking for a more updated dose of her I recommend the podcast episode because she is excellent.
Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. This is my mom’s favorite book of all time and she was shocked to find out I had never read it. In my defense (and as a warning) it is VERY long. Over 1,000 pages. It’s also about cathedral building in 12th century England. Are you hooked yet?! But it’s actually fantastic and I couldn’t put it down once I got about 10% of the way through. I have holds on the next two in the series and fully intend to plow through them.
Thank You For Listening by Julia Whelan. I know Julia as one of my favorite audiobook narrators, but she’s also an author! This was a nice light read to follow Pillars. Not one that I would urge you to read, but a better-than-average filler book which I occasionally need.
The Maid by Nita Prose. Recommended by my friend Kate. It’s about a woman in her mid-twenties who is a maid at an upscale hotel and discovers a dead body in one of the rooms she’s cleaning. It’s a quick read and I really enjoyed it! Definitely recommend.
Next up: Evvie Drake Starts Over, Our Missing Hearts, & City of Likes