We’re Going to Need More Wine was a great memoir by Gabrielle Union. I didn’t know much about Union before I listened to this selection, but I liked the way she told the story and learning about her life. While it would have been good to read, I enjoyed having Union read it and it was great to dip in and out of since each chapter jumped back and forth to different times in her life. I highly recommend.
I generally enjoy Elizabeth Berg and liked the prequel to this story, The Story of Arthur Truluv (reviewed here). In Night of Miracles, the characters we met in Truluv have aged by some years. In a small Missouri town, Lucille teaches baking classes with her assistant, Iris. Next door, Lucille’s new neighbors discover that the mother has advanced cancer. Lucille takes on afternoon care of the son. And, at the same time, taxi driver Tiny falls in love. While the story is quiet, the chapters (each told by a different one of the characters) are short and move the tale forward. As they are all interconnected, it pushes the narrative forward in a way that makes you want to keep reading to find the resolution.
I Am I Am I Am is a quick and unusual memoir of Maggie O’Farrell’s nineteen brushes with death. Each is told in interlocking chapters back and forth in time, and each is interesting in its own right. While I don’t normally enjoy a short story format, this one was a good read that I would recommend.
I must agree to disagree with the NYT who chose Small Fry by Lisa Brennan-Jobs as one of the Ten Best Books of 2018 (don’t agree with There, There either, and keep passing up on The Perfect Nanny, which gets terrible reviews on Amazon, but there you go). I do, however, agree with their choice of Educated, a fantastic read (see my review of that choice here). I found Small Fry, the memoir of Steve Job’s estranged daughter to be dull, repetitive, and unenjoyable to read. Quite a disappointment. Perhaps if I had read Steve Jobs’ biography I would feel differently, but this one did not spark excitement for me in the least.
The Incendiaries by R. O. Kwon has been on my TBR list for a while. It’s a short read and tells the story of three characters (two of them are main characters and one is more peripherally involved) in alternating chapters. Phoebe and Will meet in college and date, but their lives are very different. Phoebe blames herself for her mother’s death and Will struggles with his love for Phoebe and her increasing religious fervor, which he doesn’t want to be involved in. I didn’t love this one and might have abandoned it if it wasn’t so short. If I were you, I’d give it a pass.
Anyone who has read this blog for a while knows of my love for everything involving Reese Witherspoon. So, it is no surprise that I grabbed Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. We also chose it as our read for book club, so that made it even more of a win. I loved this choice and read it in two nights – I could not put it down. It’s a murder mystery and the story of an isolated woman told in mostly alternating chapters (why does it seem like every book I read is in this format?!). And, it certainly kept me guessing as I read. I still have a few questions after finishing, but overall, this was a really enjoyable choice.
The Late Bloomer’s Club by Louise Miller was right up my alley. Sentimental, romantic, and with a happy ending. It’s a lot like a lot of other books I have read where the main character is surprised with some kind of unexpected gift or inheritance that they have to manage even though they have no experience with whatever they are left with. Nora and her sister are left with the property of the cake-maker in town and need to figure out whether to sell it or take the cake-making over. This is not a tough read and would be a nice choice for the beach. It was a little bit too long and a bit predictable, but overall, was a nice read.
Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney was a great quick thriller. In alternating chapters we learn about Now, A Week Ago, and Her Past. Amber is in a coma and we learn about her life through these three perspectives. It’s an edge-of-your-seat thriller that kept the pages turning. In fact, I would have finished the book in two hours if I hadn’t fallen asleep. You are driven to finish to find out what could have possibly happened, given the threads the book teases out. Grab this one – you won’t be disappointed.
The Glass Ocean is another book from the three authors of The Forgotten Room, which I really liked. Lauren Willig, Karen White, and Beatriz Williams (all authors who I enjoy independently) weave three stories together beautifully. In this book, there are three central characters, two who travel on the Lusitania and one historian/author in the present day. The chapters alternate between these intertwined stories. It was a wonderful and absorbing read.
The Dinner List by Rebecca Serle was a quick and imaginative read. Sabrina ends up at her birthday dinner with the five people on her ultimate dinner list, including Audrey Hepburn. We learn the story of her past with the love of her life and her relationship with her father who abandoned her family when she was young. While I didn’t love it, the story of the romance and the premise were interesting. If you can suspend your disbelief about the reality, you might enjoy this one.