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 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!

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!!

Dial A for Aunties

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Laugh out loud funny, love story, and a murder – all in one book!! That might be my favorite genre, and I found two this month.

Meddy has a Ma and Aunties who are meddlers of the best kind. They love her and would do anything for her, which they do.

Her mom catfishes a guy who ends up being the reason the police show up at the wedding she’s photographing. There’s a surprise blast from the past and plans that aren’t fully thought out end up saving the day!!

It took me three days to start it but only one to finish!

“There might be insta-love and also someone might die. We’ll see.”


The Push

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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.”