Recent Reads and Reviews

Reading is one of those things for me that goes in waves- if I have a steady stream of good books that keep my attention I can read forever. But, if there's a lull in my library loans or a book that's dull I won't pick up a book for months. I'm in one of those "READ EVERYTHING" moods at the moment, and wanted to share some reviews of some of my recent books! Some I loved, others not so much. I'll be sharing more soon since I've finished a few others while I was working on this post!

A Simple Favor

She’s your best friend.
She knows all your secrets.
That’s why she’s so dangerous.
A single mother's life is turned upside down when her best friend vanishes in this chilling debut thriller in the vein of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train.

The premise of this book was great, and I really like how it started off.  By the end, though, I thought the plot and characters got to be really unlikable and it seemed like a cheap rip-off of Gone Girl. There's a huge twist in the middle, and I feel like the book can be put away after that!  I also watched the movie (afterwards) and had many of the same feelings.  

Rating - 2/5

An American Marriage

Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. In this deft exploration of love, loyalty, race, justice, and both Black masculinity and Black womanhood in 21st century America, Jones achieves that most-elusive of all literary goals: the Great American Novel.

I read this book because of all the hype that surrounded it, and got through it really quickly on a plane ride. While I liked the plot and the characters in this, I wasn't a huge fan of the writing and it seemed like there were a lot of plot holes. Definitely worth a read, but be prepared to be a bit disappointed.

Rating - 3.5/5

Save Me the Plums

This is the story of a former Berkeley hippie entering the corporate world and worrying about losing her soul. It is the story of the moment restaurants became an important part of popular culture, a time when the rise of the farm-to-table movement changed, forever, the way we eat. Readers will meet legendary chefs like David Chang and Eric Ripert, idiosyncratic writers like David Foster Wallace, and a colorful group of editors and art directors who, under Reichl's leadership, transformed stately Gourmet into a cutting-edge publication. This was the golden age of print media—the last spendthrift gasp before the Internet turned the magazine world upside down.

This was a book that I saw highly recommended on a number of blogs and other websites, so I had it checked out for a while. It was one of those books that always came available when I had 100 others checked out at the same time, so I kept missing an opportunity to actually read it! Fast forward to this year and I finally did- it was amazing and well worth the wait. The writing was amazing, the stories and people were interesting, and I loved hearing about Ruth's rise to have the job of her dreams (and the sad/abrupt ending to it). If you love memoirs, cooking, or just a good story- check this out!

Rating - 5/5

Ladies Who Punch

Based on stunning interviews with nearly every host and unprecedented access, award-winning journalist Ramin Setoodeh takes you backstage where the stars really spoke their minds. Here's the full story of how Star, then Rosie, then Whoopi tried to take over the show, while Barbara struggled to maintain control of it all, a modern-day Lear with her media-savvy daughters. You'll read about how so many co-hosts had a tough time fitting in, suffered humiliations at the table, then pushed themselves away, feeling betrayed—one nearly quitting during a commercial. Meanwhile, the director was being driven insane, especially by Rosie. Ladies Who Punch shows why The View can be mimicked and mocked, but it can never be matched.

Apparently I went through a non-fiction phase this year, because after Save Me the Plums I dove into this tell-all book about The View. It was an ok book, with some scandalous stories and behind the scenes looks of an iconic show. I've never really watched The View but of course have heard of it, so I wasn't aware of a lot of the dramatic moments that the book covered. It felt kind of gossipy to me, and made every host look petty and immature. If you love the show I think it's worth a read, but definitely not a must-read!

Rating - 3.5/5

Three Women

It thrills us and torments us. It controls our thoughts and destroys our lives. It’s all we live for. Yet we almost never speak of it. And as a buried force in our lives, desire remains largely unexplored—until now. Over the past eight years, journalist Lisa Taddeo has driven across the country six times to embed herself with ordinary women from different regions and backgrounds. The result, Three Women, is the deepest nonfiction portrait of desire ever written.

I'm so conflicted about this book! It has a great premise- tells the stories of three separate fictional women (based on interviews with dozens of real women) and how their sexual lives really affected them. One had a relationship with a teacher in high school, one is hitting a lull in her marriage and starts an affair, and one whose husband likes to watch her be intimate with other people. I got into the stories immediately, but then it seemed to drag on..and on...and on. I ended up disliking all three women (and most of the people they interacted with), and ended up giving up a few chapters short. I think this could be a great book if it was handled in a different way!

Rating - 3/5

What's the best book you've recently read?
Do you read physical books or e-books?


  1. I watched A Simple Favor but did not read the book, and I felt like the movie was almost a satire making fun of Gone Girl, but I wasn't sure whether the book was the same way or if it was more serious?

    1. It was even more cheesy- I think that Anna Kendrick tamed down the character in the movie. In the book it's REALLY bad.


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