November 2, 2021

What I Read in October 2021

This is a catch up post, but includes all nine books I read in October 2021.

If the Shoe Fits was a really fun rom com, while The Younger Wife was a more intense family drama. Both highly recommended!

5 stars:

If the Shoe Fits, by Julie Murphy: I loved this sweet and fun read, and finished it in just two nights! Cindy is an orphan who is living with her (actually delightful) stepmother and stepsisters, all of whom end up competing on a Bachelor-style reality show. I honestly didn’t totally pick up the Cinderella allegory until trying to write this description, which I think is good – it meant that the story felt fresh and original. I love books with a Bachelor-type premise, and this had some fun behind-the-scenes of how reality TV shows work. Was it totally realistic? Nah, but it was fluffy and delightful 🙂

The Younger Wife, by Sally Hepworth: Love, love, loved this book – I couldn’t put it down and read it in one night! Sisters Rachel and Tully are dismayed that their father is going to marry his girlfriend who is younger than them – and he announces this while he is still married to their mother, who is suffering from dementia and lives in a home. The family dynamics are fascinating, and I found each of the characters to be likeable – yes, even the dad, Stephen, who makes everyone else in the family question what’s real vs what’s in their head. This made me think a lot about things I perceive vs know to be true, and I would highly recommend it!

4 stars:

The Sixth Wedding, by Elin Hilderbrand: I loved this short story! Elin Hilderbrand takes us to follow up with the characters from 28 Summers, four years later, and it was awesome to see where they all ended up. I was pleasantly delighted by how great a job Hilderbrand did reminding us what happened in the original novel without recapping it, and I particularly loved the “what are we talking about in 2023” that opened the novella – that was one of my favorite literary devices from the original book, and it was lovely to go back to it 🙂

How to Love Your Neighbor, by Sophie Sullivan: This novel was so much fun! I stayed up late to read it in two nights. Grace is finishing her design degree and moving into a fixer upper on the beach; she’s excited to transform it. Her real estate developer neighbor Noah, however, wants nothing more than to buy her house and bulldoze it to add a pool and more land to his property. Unsurprisingly, the two fall for each other, but the twists and turns along the way are a lot of fun. I love the chemistry between Grace and Noah, and the book felt a bit more grounded by the family drama each of them face, which kept it from being too fluffy. As a bonus, the HGTV-like side plot was a lot of fun!

The Great Gatz, by Lauren Baratz-Logsted: I love, love, LOVED this sweet rom com! In “Joint Custody”, the first book in this series, Gatz the dog splits his time living with The Man and The Woman (as he refers to them, since the novel is told from his perspective). The Woman is now engaged to New Man, while The Man begins dating New Woman, and Gatz is there through all the ups and downs to help The Man and The Woman find happiness. I was really impressed by how the authors spent the first chapter reminding readers what happened in the first novel, as I hate when authors jump right in and assume we are reading them back to back; however, the recap was done in a really natural way that didn’t feel like the “Chapter 2” of the Babysitter’s Club books of my youth 😉 I had a tough time putting this down, and ended up reading it in just two days. I really hope there is a Gatz Chronicles #3, as these characters are delightful and the writing is sparkly fun without being at all ditzy.

A Day Like This, by Kelley McNeil: Annie is taking her daughter to the pediatrician and gets into a car accident; when she wakes up in the hospital, she’s told that she doesn’t have a daughter and all her memories of her previous life are not real. The novel follows her as she tries to figure out what happened, but while this sounds like a thriller, it’s actually more of a slow-burn psychological reflection on her life. The premise was interesting, particularly in the last third of the book, but it dragged a bit for me – maybe because the book synopsis made it seem more like a thriller? The writing was lovely though, with beautiful descriptions of various scenes that made you feel like you were right there.

The Checklist, by Addie Woolridge: Dylan is a corporate consultant who excels at listmaking and order, but when she’s sent up to Seattle (where her crazy family lives) on an assignment, she wonders if the perfect life she has built is really the right one for her… particularly as the stress of her assignment wears her down. I was excited to read a book about a fellow consultant, and parts of it rang true, but other parts were ridiculous. (She had to stay with her family instead of at a hotel? That would never happen.) I alternated between cheering for Dylan and being annoyed by her not-so-smart choices, especially with her lame boyfriend, but overall thought it was a fun and light rom com.

3 stars:

Apples Never Fall, by Liane Moriarty: This wasn’t my favorite Liane Moriarty book, but it was still a pretty good read. After hosting a stranger in her home for several months, Joy Delaney has disappeared – and the most likely suspect is either her houseguest or her husband. Her children don’t know what to think, and the narrative weaves back and forth between the past events leading up to Joy’s disappearance and the present day. I appreciated that there were references to the pandemic, but there were references to a LOT of different things; it felt like the plot was trying to do too much, and the book was a bit dragged down by its length.

Run Fast. Eat Slow., by Shalane Flanagan and Elyse Kopecky: I read this beginning to end (since there were descriptions for each recipe), bookmarking my favorites. I didn’t love the writing style, where some parts seemed a bit self-evident (whole foods are better than processed foods? You don’t say!) and a lot of it seemed rather fake. I think it’s always a challenge when you have two authors writing and they try to lump it in as one voice; I’d rather see one author write the description for each recipe, and alternate. But the recipes I tried from this have been good. My favorite so far is the fartlek chili.

Any book recommendations for me? Follow me here on Goodreads to keep up with what I’m reading in real time.


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