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!

Meet Me in Paradise

What I read: Meet Me in Paradise by Libby Hubscher

Why I picked it up: Kate, who I follow in Goodreads, read it and loved it. She also gave the warning that it’s not a lighthearted romance, so I went in prepared.

How I read it: On paper in just a day or so.

What it’s about: Marin has always been a homebody while her sister Sadie is almost never home. They’re both grieving their mother’s sudden death from twelve years ago in different ways. What Marin thought was a sister’s retreat away becomes the weeks that save and change her life. This is a book about family, grief, cancer, young death, and healing love.

What I liked: I loved the sister relationship here and how Sadie takes care of Marin. Lucas also was a delight!!

What I disliked: Sadie thinks she has to do so many things on her own because her sister can’t handle hard things … but she’s wrong. That was hard to see play out.

Genre: Sisters, family, grief, love, closed door.

Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and definitely. I think this is one of my top books of the year. I’ve already been a bit weepy and this book brought me to tears repeatedly.

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 Optimist’s Guide to Letting Go

What I read: The Optimist’s Guide to Letting Go by Amy E. Reichert

Why I picked it up: I realized I loved this author a few weeks ago so I’ve been working my way through her back list and now I’ve finished!

How I read it: On audio when I just couldn’t pick up a book these past couple days.

What it’s about: Gina and Vicky have had trouble connecting with their mother, and after she has a stroke, they find out why. Secrets have made life hard, but everything gets revealed.

What I liked: I really appreciated how the sisters respond to their family news. It was mature and honored all of the parents involved.

What I disliked: I want more time with Gina and Daniel!

Genre: Sisters, parenthood, grief.

Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and this is a good one!! Go read 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!

The Lost Husband

What I read: The Lost Husband by Katherine Center

Why I picked it up: Same trip, same need for a delightful audiobook as I’ve had for twelve days now.

How I read it: On audio via Hoopla.

What it’s about: Libby’s whole life changed when her husband died in a car accident almost four years ago. Now she got a letter from “crazy Aunt Jean” inviting her to live with them and work her goat farm. She says yes, if for no other reason than to get away from her selfish mother.

What I liked: Jean!! I want to be like her, great house, ignores everyone to finish a good book, knows just what to say and when to say it!

What I disliked: Marsha, and also the weird threatening situation at the end – feel like it should have been done differently.

Genre: Women’s fiction, finding oneself, grief.

Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and yes! Also the Netflix movie!

The Switch

What I read: The Switch by Beth O’Leary

Why I picked it up: I think this was on Anne Bogel’s Summer Reading Guide – just took me quite awhile to put it on hold.

How I read it: The paperback from the library on a few airplanes.

What it’s about: A grandmother and granddaughter decide to switch lives for two months. Leena needs a break from the hustle and bustle of London to grieve and find herself again. Eileen needs some action in her life again. So they swap and it’s delightful.

What I liked: Great advice, excellent side characters, vivid imagery, and funny one-liners throughout. I also love the senior characters in the book – all over the age of 70 and really loving and living life! I laughed out loud and cried tears at many points.

What I disliked: Howard – he was the worst kind of man.

Genre: Romance, closed-door, grandmothers, mothers, and daughters.

Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and absolutely!! This is an absolute delight!! I could start it over again right after finishing it!!

The Reading List

Find it on Goodreads

What a beautiful debut! A love story to books and libraries and finding oneself in someone else’s story. Mukesh is grieving the loss of his wife. Aleisha has taken a summer job at the library. Neither knows that they need the other, but they become one another’s life lines.

Someone has written a list of books and it seems to be invading everyone’s reading life. It changes them as they let the books open them up to new worlds.

The story is really a love letter to how books shape and change us. It was lovely!

“Sometimes, books just take us away for a little while, and return us to our place with a new perspective.”


The Guncle

Find it on Goodreads

I started out really loving this book. Annie Jones from From the Front Porch read it and said it might be her favorite book of 2021! What a compliment.

There were some great lines and laugh out loud scenes in the midst of this man and his niblings (niece and nephew) working through the grief of their mom and his best friend dying.

The guncle, Patrick, seems to be off course in his life, and doesn’t really get anywhere at the end … not anywhere I wanted to see him.

I loved the kids and their stories, I didn’t love his.

“Guncle Rule number eight: Live your life to the fullest every single day, because every day is a gift. That’s why people die. To teach us the importance of living.”


130: In Five Years

In Five Years by Rebecca Serle

I’m not sure how or why this got on my library hold list, maybe from Anne Bogel. I read it in one day, less than 4 or so hours, and it was interesting.

The premise of the book is that Dannie wakes up on the evening of her engagement 5 years in the future … a different future. After she wakes up the next five years are lived considering how her life looks completely different on December 15, 2025.

I didn’t realize her best friend was going to get sick and there would be a strong cancer storyline. I’m telling you in case that’s a trigger for you. It’s not for me, but if I’d known, I probably would have passed.