What I read: I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jeanette McCurdy
Why I picked it up: I heard it was a terrible story written very well, and I appreciate an insight into the lives of actors.
How I read it: On audio at 1.5x speed while planting.
What it’s about: Jeanette tells the story of “before” her mom died and “after” through a series of short chapters that could all be considered short essays. It was awful to listen to, meaning the things she was put through were just things no kid should ever have to endure. Her mom made her act so she could live vicariously through her daughter, she taught her how to have an eating disorder, and she was abusive. She showered her until she was at least 16 giving her regular “exams” in the shower – for what purpose, the author still doesn’t know.
What I liked: I appreciated the insight into her life told in such a raw way.
What I disliked: It was horrifying to listen to – her mother wasn’t the only abuser in her life – and she experienced things no child or adult should ever have to endure.
Genre: Celebrity memoir, abuse.
Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and absolutely. Unless abuse or eating disorders are a trigger for you, then stay far away.
What I read: Bend Toward the Sun by Jen Devon
Why I picked it up: I think someone I follow on Goodreads read and loved it, and it was available soon on Libby, so I put it on hold.
How I read it: On Kindle over two days.
What it’s about: Rowan has just received her doctorate in botany and is now looking to publish and continue her post-doc work. Rather than a big academia job, she ends up at the new-to-the-Bradys vineyard in southern PA helping them get the vines back in order. This is not part of her plan, but neither is Harrison (aka Harry). Her history has been full of disappointments in love, including her mother – this has colored her view of love, and her story with Harry becomes a lesson in love.
What I liked: It’s a beautifully written book, very descriptive, and really vivid. I felt like I was there, and now I want to go see a vineyard in southern PA with some sheep, a donkey, a great bed and breakfast, an adorable carriage house, and an amazing greenhouse with a side house.
What I disliked: The conflict in this book is very deep into the interior life of both characters. Some of it was hard to read.
Genre: Emotional abuse, grief, open door, family saga.
Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and definitely. I hope it’s the beginning of a series about the Brady boys!
What I read: The Boy with the Bookstore by Sarah Echavarre Smith
Why I picked it up: There was a category of “books about books” on Libby last week where I found an audiobook last week and this one that I read in one day.
How I read it: On Kindle this afternoon/evening.
What it’s about: A bakery owner and her bookstore owner neighbor end up figuring out they’ve both been dying to ask the other one out for 18 months – now they’re sharing a small space in the back of the building while their old ones are renovated. Lots of misunderstandings, inabilities to talk about their feelings, and family drama take place – not to mention the “sharing a small work space” thing.
What I liked: I appreciated all of the family history with Joelle. Her family is really important and who they are as Filipinos was celebrated and never dismissed. It was so sweet – and also I want to try an ube latte.
What I disliked: Max has a lot of hurt in his past – and I wish there had been even more healing for him.
Genre: Books about books, abuse, open door romance.
Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and I think it’s worth the read.
What I read: Flat Broke with Two Goats by Jennifer McGaha
Why I picked it up: This was on a list somewhere a while ago and I finally accepted the available hold and listened.
How I read it: On audio at 1.75x speed.
What it’s about: It’s about a reluctant homesteader in rural North Carolina with a mix of escaping an abusive relationship, financial issues, motherhood, teaching, chickens and eggs, and goat farming with cheese making.
What I liked: I appreciated the window into this life that is so different from my own, and that it was set almost in my backyard (hours away, but same state).
What I disliked: I wanted more about her cheese making adventures – the goats seemed to come in late in the book, but were still a delight.
Genre: Memoir, homesteading, abuse,
Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and I think it’s worth the listen!