Party of Two is the fifth in Jasmine Guillory’s Wedding Date series. I have also read The Wedding Date (reviewed here), but none of her others. I would describe this one as saccharin at best. It’s just SO filled with cliche, so predictable, and the story is so sweet that it’s just too much. “Dating is the last thing on Olivia Monroe’s mind when she moves to LA to start her own law firm. But when she meets a gorgeous man at a hotel bar and they spend the entire night flirting, she discovers too late that he is none other than hotshot junior senator Max Powell. Olivia has zero interest in dating a politician, but when a cake arrives at her office with the cutest message, she can’t resist—it is chocolate cake, after all.”
The Last Train to Key West by Chanel Cleeton has been on my list for a while and finally was only $1.99 for Kindle. It’s a quick read with stories from three main characters that finally weave together in the end. Each story takes place in 1935 in the Keys of Florida. While I would argue that this novel tied up much too neatly at the end, this seems to be a time for me to enjoy such diversions. The Last Train has the added plus that the hurricane and many other details in the story are true, which always appeals to me.
Beach Read by Emily Henry was exactly that. A perfect beach read, candy-like experience. Nothing deep here, but a good story, nonetheless. “Augustus Everett is an acclaimed author of literary fiction. January Andrews writes bestselling romance. When she pens a happily ever after, he kills off his entire cast. They’re polar opposites. In fact, the only thing they have in common is that for the next three months, they’re living in neighboring beach houses, broke, and bogged down with writer’s block.” You can imagine how it ends. But, it’s a fun road to get there. If you are looking for a distraction (and who isn’t?!), this is a decent one.
I thoroughly enjoyed Ruth Reichl’s Save Me the Plums (reviewed here) and in the great summer bookshelf purge, picked up Garlic and Sapphires, which a friend lent me years ago (lesson here – don’t even lend me books – it often takes me forever to get to them with library books always taking precedence). Reichl was a food critic at the NYT among other awesome editing jobs over her career. Garlic and Sapphires’ subtitle is “The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise,” which tells you everything you need to know about this one. It’s a great memoir, not only because it’s fun and funny, but also because of the wonderful descriptions of food at NY’s finest restaurants, the recipes she sprinkles throughout, and also the actual reviews, which I assume were in the Times. It’s a great book, but not as good as Save Me the Plums.
Who knows where I got Good Morning, Midnight by Lily Brooks-Dalton. Perhaps the Little Free Library? But, boy am I glad I did. It was a wonderful book. It’s a post-apocalyptic tale told from the perspective of a man and girl stranded in the Arctic and then in alternating chapters a group of astronauts coming back from a two-year mission to Jupiter. It’s desolate, but hopeful (kind of) and a really well developed story. One of the best books I’ve read in a while.
I am not sure when I got a copy of And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie, but it’s been on my shelf for a while. I have made dents in my TBR bookshelf this summer, both by culling and by reading. This slim volume is a classic and I’m surprised that I haven’t ever read it. I’m glad I did, though at first all the characters were confusing, but it turned out that a good mystery is a good mystery and, for me, this one held up. I am not going to be running out to grab any other Agatha Christie’s, but it certainly was gripping and I didn’t guess the ending by a long shot.
I Was Told It Would Get Easier by Abbi Waxman was recommended all over the place. I’ve also read multiple other books by Waxman: Garden of Small Beginnings (loved), Other People’s Houses (so-so), and The Bookish Life of Nina Hill (liked). It’s the story of a mother and daughter who go on a college trip. It was pretty fluffy and not too good at first, but it won me over about 3/4 of the way through. It’s definitely a summer read with not much to it, but it’s funny if you have a teenager in the house.
The Atlas of Reds and Blues by Devi Laskar was a challenging read for me. Many of the characters are referred to as their role, rather than by name, but then sometimes by name. In addition, I kept having to reread sections and chapters to be sure I understood what was happening. But, because of the short chapters, it was a relatively quick read otherwise. It’s the story of Mother who has moved her family to the suburbs of Atlanta, but it’s a lot like the small Southern town where she grew up. Her anger rears up one morning during a police raid on her home. As she is lying in her driveway thinking about her childhood, she thinks about an alternate reality to her present. I really wanted to like this story, but it wasn’t for me.
I must have received Lush by Kerry Cohen as a free author giveaway, because it’s signed. It’s been on my shelf for a while (this summer has been one to try to clear off the shelves since the library has been closed). It’s a memoir of a period in her life when she was in an unhappy marriage and smoking and drinking far too much. It’s a decent memoir, and eye-opening, but not amazing. It’s a quick read, though, and an interesting take on moderation management to cure addiction. It also made me curious about another of her books, Loose Girl.
Marisa de los Santos’ I’d Give Anything is the fourth in a series of four. I think I have read all of them, but two of them perhaps before I started keeping this blog (Love Walked In, Belong to Me, and I’ll Be Your Blue Sky). In any event, any of you who know me know that even if I did read them all, I can’t remember them! You do not have to have read any in the series to enjoy any of the others. This was the back and forth of Ginny’s high school years (told in journal form), where tragedy struck her best friend in their senior year, and her current life, told from her perspective and the perspective of her daughter. It’s a good story and keeps you wondering until the end. Some of the characters could have been developed more thoroughly, but overall, it’s a decent summer read.