Already Home

What I read: Already Home by Susan Mallery

Why I picked it up: I grabbed a bunch of hers I haven’t read last time I was at the library.

How I read it: On paper while flying! I had three chapters left when we landed, it was hard not to just sit on the plane and keep reading.

What it’s about: Jenna comes home after her divorce and opens a cookware shop, on a whim. Once she hires Violet and lets her actually help run the store things really take off. Then her birth parents show up, and nothing is ever the same again.

What I liked: I loved this story. I laughed. I cried. I was ready to beat up an ex-fiancée and a new boyfriend.

What I disliked: There are two abusive storylines for the two younger women, and they were hard to read.

Genre: Mothers and daughters, domestic abuse, adoption.

Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and yes, this was a good one!

Regretting You

What I read: Regretting You by Colleen Hoover

Why I picked it up: Recommended by a friend.

How I read it: On paper in less than 24 hours once I actually picked it up.

What it’s about: It’s told from alternating perspectives of mom, Morgan, and daughter, Clara, as they navigate life after their husband/father dying in a car accident. Turns out the accident isn’t the worst thing that happened that day though. Clara is a typical teenager who expresses her grief through rebellion, but her story ends up sweet, nothing nothing like and everything like her mother.

What I liked: Jonah’s story was a surprise for me. I really liked it.

What I disliked: Jenny was also a surprise, but hers was awful. So many bad choices.

Genre: grief, mothers and daughters, first love.

Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and absolutely!

Evening Stars

What I read: Evening Stars by Susan Mallery

Why I picked it up: liked the first two in the series so decided to read them all.

How I read it: On hard back in big chunks over two days.

What it’s about: Nina has lived on the island her entire life. At 16 her mother got pregnant with her, and when she was 12 she started taking care of the household while her mother went off on buying trips for the antique store. Nina has had to be the adult for the majority of her life and it’s catching up on her.

What I liked: I loved Dylan. I appreciated his maturity, friendship with her, and overall character.

What I disliked: I didn’t love her mother, she never really redeemed herself either.

Genre: Women’s fiction, finding oneself, mothers and daughters

Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and it’s a good stand-alone but better as part of this series since you get a bunch of clues to previous characters and how their stories have worked out.

One Italian Summer

What I read: One Italian Summer by Rebecca Serle

Why I picked it up: I read somewhere this was good on audio (probably from Anne Bogel), and then I realized I read the author’s previous book too.

How I read it: On audio but only at 1.5 speed. Lauren Graham is such a great narrator.

What it’s about: Katie’s mom is her whole world and then she gets sick and passes away before her 30th birthday. She has no idea how to live now, but decides to take their mother/daughter trip to Positano alone to find herself again.

What I liked: This book plays with timeline which I didn’t realize, but it works out great!!

What I disliked: There’s an element of “leaving one’s marriage behind” which is my least favorite element in a book.

Genre: Finding oneself, mother/daughter, grief.

Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and yes, audio was with a great narrator.

The Push

Find it on Goodreads

I’m not sure what I think about this book. It’s well written. And page turning. And deeply dark.

It’s about mothers and daughters and marriage. Also mental illness and how it can be passed down through generations.

It also illustrates how significant it is that we learn how to be humans from the people who raise us. How to be mothers from our mother. It’s really hard to act differently from your parents, it’s possible but it takes an intentional effort.

“I would be different. I would be like other women for whom it all came so easily. I would be everything my own mother was not.”


The Book of Two Ways

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A friend has been raving about this book since she listened months ago and since I have a love-hate relationship with Jodi Picoult I was hesitant to pick it up and use one of my precious hold spots at the library for it. So when I was perusing the new release section while picking up my holds and it was available, I decided to take a chance.

Like every other reviewer says, it’s heavy on Egypt. The first chapter almost turned me away because it felt like a textbook, it under the excellent review of my friend, I persevered.

I’m glad I did. The structure is interesting and feels like two universes based on the real historical book called The Book of Two Ways. I gasped aloud at one point around page 230-250, when I finally understood the structure.

It begs the question of when do you decide who you want to be? And can you ever leave your past behind?

The book is a lot about death and understanding the Egyptian view of the afterlife. The main character is a death doula, which is a fascinating career … but there’s no mention of the Christian version of the afterlife. It felt weird to completely leave it out and base the story on the premise that there is nothing after death. I know it’s not everyone’s view of what happens next, but it felt weird to have zero mentions of such a widely accepted belief system.

“Why are people so afraid of dying? Well, that’s easy. Because it’s hard for us to conceive of a world without us in it.”


A Cup of Silver Linings

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This is the second in a magical series set in North Carolina outside of Asheville. It’s sweet and delightful and the perfect amount of magical realism for my taste.

The Dove Sisters have powers around tea and books (two of my favorite things)! The books are each about someone else in town needing them while also sharing so much about the Dove Sisters.

The mother/daughter relationships in the story were so well written. Also the sisters and friends!! Can’t wait for the next installment!!

“We can’t always fix what we break. Sometimes we just have to accept the consequences and let time heal things as well as it can.”


All You Knead Is Love

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Middle Grade Fiction has become one of my favorite go to genres for a feel good, heart felt, quick read. This one did not disappoint.

Alba has seen somethings in her 12 years including a mother who was being controlled by an abusive spouse. The effect of the situation on her was more than her mom wanted to acknowledge.

So she’s sent to Barcelona to be with her Abuela Lola who she hasn’t seen in almost a decade. The book is about how she finds herself and learns how to love and be loved. Also it’s about amazing bread!

“Abuela Lola came into the room and sat beside me. ‘I know it feels like you’re being punished, Alba. But that’s not the case. Your mother just need some time to figure things out… And meanwhile, you and me, we can get to know each other better. All these years have passed, and I’ve missed out on so much.’”


135: How Lulu Lost Her Mind

How Lulu Lost Her Mind by Rachel Gibson

It’s not often you get a mother daughter story, and even less often I read two in a row. Lulu is Lu Anne and the book opens with her mother being kicked out of the care facility she’s been in for the past two years. Patricia suffers from dementia and a love for flirting with any man she sees.

Patricia asks her daughter to “take her home” to Louisiana and the shenanigans begin. It was such a delightful story, even though it’s about the final months of Patricia’s life that are consumed by Alzheimer’s.

I really appreciated the mother daughter story, which is rarer than it should be.


134: I Was Told It Would Get Easier

I Was Told It Would Get Easier by Abbi Waxman

Well this was just a delightful read. Jessica and Emily (mother and daughter) spend a week exploring east coast schools while figuring out life. It’s the longest they’ve spent together in quite some time.

They have a lot of learning about the other to do.

It’s a fast read and just delightful! I realized that I’ve loved other books by Abbi too. A new “let’s read everything she’s ever written” author to add to my pile.