The Imperfects

What I read: The Imperfects by Amy Meyerson

Why I picked it up: I liked the cover and downloaded it on Hoopla.

How I read it: On audio at 1.5x while planting bushes on my hill and working around the house over 4 days.

What it’s about: Their grandmother dies, and the email Bec sends to announce it to her family begins a reunion fraught with turmoil. Helen’s daughter and grandchildren have struggled with how to love each other, and now there’s a very large diamond coming between them. The story also includes a World War II story line as well, but there’s not a lot of confirmed knowledge about what happened to Helen and her mother, Flora.

What I liked: There’s a lot going on in this book, and I appreciated the varied storylines.

What I disliked: There’s a lot of distance between the family members throughout, and even when apologies are made, almost none of it is resolved. More like real life than a HAE story – which this one is not.

Genre: Family saga, dysfunctional family, World War II, grief.

Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and yes.

It’s Not You, It’s Them

What I read: It’s Not You, It’s Them by Portia MacIntosh

Why I picked it up: I read something by her a few weeks ago and downloaded all of her available books on Libby.

How I read it: On Kindle in an evening and a morning.

What it’s about: Roxie and Mark get engaged, and now it’s time to meet his family. Except his family is still really set on him getting back together with his childhood sweetheart, Bea. Being snowed in doesn’t help the situation much – but neither does Roxie’s tendency to speak before she thinks or write about her life for all of the internet to see.

What I liked: There were some moments when Roxie was definitely in the right and being really manipulated and put down by her future in laws, but…

What I disliked: There were also a few times when she was ridiculous, and she really took things in the wrong context, expecting them to just bow to her glory without putting any effort into the relationship.

Genre: Family saga, closed door romance, rom com.

Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ and maybe, not the most “laugh out loud rom com I’ve ever read” but not awful (ringing endorsement).

Bend Toward the Sun

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!

The Summer That Made Us

What I read: The Summer That Made Us by Robyn Carr

Why I picked it up: When I picked up holes last week I tried to find a non-series book of Robyn’s after finishing the first in the Virgin River series.

How I read it: On paper.

What it’s about: One summer when the girls were little everything changed. It was a summer of tragedy and nothing was the same after. Now, 27 years later, Meg has cancer and wants one more summer at the beloved lake house. Everything changes again, and even though it ends in tragedy, this time they come together instead of being broken apart.

What I liked: I really enjoyed Krista’s story and point of view. Much of the book is from her side.

What I disliked: The mothers needed a little more attention; something from Louise’s perspective would have been good.

Genre: Family saga, dysfunctional family, closed door.

Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and it was a good end of summer read!

When We Found Home

What I read: When We Found Home by Susan Mallery

Why I picked it up: I’m working my way through her backlist.

How I read it: On hard cover, the large print version; it’s all the library had.

What it’s about: Alberto had one son who had three children, except he never took responsibility for them and most weren’t known to Alberto until after his son’s death. He finds them and brings them into life, gives them the family they should have had from the beginning.

What I liked: The sense of family was really strong in this book, even when it was to the detriment of the characters.

What I disliked: I didn’t love Santiago’s view of women and his attitude toward Callie for most of the book.

Genre: Family saga, open door.

Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and I think it’s worth the read.

The Summer Sisters

What I read: The Summer Sisters by Sara Richardson

Why I picked it up: I got this out months ago and returned it without reading, then picked it up again before realizing it’s the second in a series. (That I have now discovered wants to be read in order.)

How I read it: On paper at dinner, before bed, and before work. So quickly!

What it’s about: It picks up six moths after the previous novel with Dally having moved to Juniper Springs with her kids, Rose renovating the Inn so they can reopen the week of Sassy’s 70th birthday, and Mags just having had her little baby. There’s a lot of healing and restoration and love. It wrapped up nicely but could also have another book in the story.

What I liked: I want to visit this inn, to spend a week there with no worries for a delightful summer.

What I disliked: I don’t think any of them handled Maya’s anxiety about her mother dating very well.

Genre: Family saga, sisters, closed door.

Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and as a follow up to the first, yes.

Home for the Holidays

What I read: Home for the Holidays by Sara Richardson

Why I picked it up: I got the second in this series weeks ago from the library and decided to read number one first.

How I read it: On paperback in just a couple of sittings.

What it’s about: Three flowers, three sisters: they’re invited to their aunt’s inn out in Colorado for Christmas and each say yes for a different reason. A rough engagement, a holiday when her ex has the kids, a broken heart for a baby that just won’t come. They reconnect with their aunt and each other.

What I liked: There are some aspects of a love story here but it’s really about the sisters, which I loved.

What I disliked: Their mother never redeemed herself, and that made me sad. I’m sure she and the one daughter’s fiancée will find much to complain about together.

Genre: Sisters, family saga, Christmas.

Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and yes, even in July when Christmas is months away!

The Summer Getaway

What I read: The Summer Getaway by Susan Mallery

Why I picked it up: I like her books, and it was on the new release shelf last time I was at the library.

How I read it: On hardcover today. It was a nice escape read.

What it’s about: Robyn takes the summer to go spend time with her Aunt Lillian as she comes to the realization she has no firm plans for her life. Everyone around her who’s having the slightest concern about life ends up following her.

What I liked: Robyn sounded like a delightful person who I thought “I could be a bit like her.”

What I disliked: Mindy and her decision to cheat, that’s not a story line I can get behind. There were two characters who seemed to struggle deeply with monogamy.

Genre: Family drama, open door.

Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ and maybe, if you like this kind of thing.

A Place for Us

What I read: A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza

Why I picked it up: I purchased it when it released in 2018 because Anne Bogel said it was one of her best books of the year. However, I just picked it up this month when I chose it as our book club read for April.

How I read it: Alternating between the audio and the hardcover.

What it’s about: An Indian family’s life in America from the beginning of Layla’s arranged marriage to her daughter’s marriage for love. It really seemed like it was the story of the son’s walking away from faith around the time of September 11th and later his walk away from the family who raised him.

What I liked: I liked the story, it’s very character driven rather than plot driven. The characters were delightful, but I would have liked more action.

What I disliked: It felt slow, I liked it but struggled a bit which is why I buddied the audio with the hardcover.

Genre: Family saga, immigrant story, fiction.

Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and yes. I’m looking forward to discussing it.

Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe

What I read: Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe by Heather Webber

Why I picked it up: Anne Bogel recommended it forever ago and it somehow got in my mind again recently so I picked it up.

How I read it: The hardcover, from the library, in two days.

What it’s about: Anna Kate comes back to her family’s hometown after her grandmother’s passing. She finds her father’s family, friends, and healing while running the cafe.

What I liked: Everything! This is my favorite book of the year so far! It’s got hope, healing, love, family, friends, belonging!

What I disliked: I wanted ten more chapters about what happens next!

Genre: Magical Realism, family, finding yourself after loss.

Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and run, don’t walk, to get this one!! I might need a copy for my shelf so I can reread at my leisure!