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!

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.

Secrets of the Tulip Sisters

What I read: Secrets of the Tulip Sisters by Susan Mallery

Why I picked it up: I’ve been really liking Susan’s work these past couple months and they’re good on audio.

How I read it: On audio

What it’s about: Kelly, Olivia, and Helen are all in their late twenties and now living in a small town in the Pacific Northwest. Kelly runs the tulip farm with her father, Olivia is taking a break from working with her mother in Phoenix, and Helen works in the local diner and plays music on the side. Each of the women have a love story, and the way they’re interconnected is a delight.

What I liked: Griffith is my favorite of the love interests. The way he starts a relationship with Kelly and then opens her whole world up is great.

What I disliked: The mother is awful. She has zero redeeming qualities.

Genre: Fiction, flower farms, sisters, friendship, open door romance.

Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and it’s one of Susan’s better stories, in my opinion.

The Chicken Sisters

What I read: The Chicken Sisters by KJ Dell’Antonia

Why I picked it up: It was instantly available on audio and I’d heard good things somewhere.

How I read it: On audio at 1.75x speed, which at times even felt slow.

What it’s about: There have been two competing chicken joints in town for over a century and now they enter a real competition: Food Wars.

What I liked: The generational aspect and the family component.

What I disliked: The personal relationships felt like they were pretty small in the book, it’s really about the chicken restaurants. But I wanted more of the supporting characters.

Genre: Fiction, sisters, food.

Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and yes!

One Two Three

What I read: One Two Three by Laurie Frankel

Why I picked it up: I’ve appreciated Laurie Frankel’s writing for awhile. She makes me think more deeply about issues even when sometimes her writing can be emotionally manipulating.

How I read it: On paper over a week. It took a bit to really dig into the story, but also maybe I was just tired so audiobooks and tv felt easier this week.

What it’s about: Three sisters, all with different abilities, have grown up in Bourne under the shadow of what a chemical company did but doesn’t take responsibility for. Their mother has been fighting for 16 years and now it’s their turn to help.

What I liked: The sisters and the way the book is structured are delightful. The chapters rotate between Mab (One), Monday (Two), and Mirabel (Three), each with their own perspective and outlook on the world.

What I disliked: Belsum Chemical and others like it make me so angry. Not seeing the consequences, saying even if they did something bad the people they did it to are still better off now because they were seriously worse off then. Companies thinking that because they know someone in high places they won’t be held accountable – and then they aren’t held accountable because they know people in high places. This isn’t a true story, but it could be and it has been.

Genre: Social Justice, sisters, fighting for what’s right.

Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and it’s good. It needs a discussion to go along with it.

Get Lucky

What I read: Get Lucky by Katherine Center

Why I picked it up: I’m working through a re-read of her books, and found this audio on Hoopla

How I read it: On audio.

What it’s about: Sarah gets fired, visits Houston, and then decides to stay while she gestates her sisters babies. She ends up finding purpose, healing, and love.

What I liked: Sarah seems to find herself in the midst of this year at home, she discovers things about herself, about being brave, and becoming open to love. There were many times when I saw myself in aspects of her story.

What I disliked: The surrogacy plot line, I’d forgotten that’s what this book was about. It’s not my favorite.

Genre: Women’s fiction.

Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and yes because Katherine Center is the best, although this is my least favorite of her books.

How to Walk Away

What I read: How to Walk Away by Katherine Center

Why I picked it up: It came in on my holds list and I’m still working on rereading all of Katherine’s back list.

How I read it: On audio at 2x speed, which at times felt too slow.

What it’s about: Chip asked Margaret to marry her then crashed the plane he was flying and changed everything. The story is about her recovery.

What I liked: Margaret’s motivation is inspiring. Everything doesn’t always work out, but it ends up exactly as it should be.

What I disliked: Chip is the WORST and he just keeps getting worse!!

Genre: Fiction, finding oneself, recovery when you’ve lost everything.

Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and yes!!! I recommend everything she’s written: books, novellas, grocery lists!!

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!!