This was another slower month of reading. I have had a lot going on, and I will be honest… Opal & Nev took me several weeks to read. I will talk about that more below. I don’t regret reading it, but it was just really slow. And I will tell you that I really loved The Last Thing He Told Me. I read it in a day, and we’ve decided to make it our May Bad on Paper book club pick!
IF YOU’RE NEW HERE AND ARE LOOKING FOR A BOOK, DON’T FORGET THAT YOU CAN ALWAYS CHECK OUT MY BEAUTIFUL BOOK CLUB PAGE.
Every month I update it with everything I read – it includes every book I’ve read in the past six years. The best part is that now you can filter + search by genre (memoir, light read, historical fiction, thriller, books by Black authors, etc!) Now you can also filter by GRADE to find exactly what you’re looking for or just peruse my top picks. If you’re feeling like you need even more book recs, check out last month’s list! And, just in case you missed it… everything I read in 2020, ranked by genre.
EVERYTHING I READ IN April 2021
Ruth Reichl’s fiction book!
Delicious, by Ruth Reichl
This was our April Bad on Paper Podcast book club pick and it was such a fun read. (And you know I am a little bit obsessed with Ruth Reichl; Save Me the Plums is one of my all time favorite books!) Ruth Reichl is known for her food memoirs and memoirs, so it was fun to see her venture into fiction. Becca described it to me as “Devil Wears Prada, but for food,” but that’s only the first section of the book – from their, a whole historical fiction mystery transpires!
Billie is an aspiring food writer from California, who takes a position at Delicious (New York’s most iconic food mag). While she is there, she meets a quirky cast of characters in the food world: writers, chefs, and shop owners. Through a turn of events she ends up uncovering a series of letters written to James Beard from a young girl in Ohio, which leads her on a wild ride trying to track down the girl (now an older woman). In between, she falls in love and comes to terms with some unresolved family issues from her past. I thought this was very cute. A little cheesy at times but a fun read that was hard to put down. Order it on Amazon or Bookshop.org.
- Overall Score: B+
A fun take on my childhood favorite.
Anne of Manhattan, by Brina Starler (out 6/1)
I am going to start out by saying that if you were not a fan of Anne of Green Gables or Avonlea growing up, you can absolutely skip this book. But if you loved the original books or TV show as much as I did as a kid, I think you will really enjoy this. It’s a reimagining of my childhood favorite, set in modern day.
In this case, Avonlea is a small town in the North Fork of the Hamptons… and Anne is attending grad school and living with her best friend Diana Barry in Manhattan. And of course, there is the romance between her and Gilbert Blythe. Similar to with the classic, Anne has her walls up and Gilbert must prove to her that they are meant to be together. (Also I should warn you, it gets pretty steamy at times, there are a couple hot and heavy sex scenes – not a bad thing, but the original books and TV show were so prudish that I wasn’t prepared for it!). This book is very campy but if you loved the books or the show as a child, I think you’ll find this book very satisfying and fun. All of the nostalgia! Order it on Amazon or Bookshop.org.
- Overall Score: B
A Mystery that will keep you on your toes.
The Last Thing He Told Me, by Laura Dave
This book was such a fun little mystery! And frankly… it helped me to get out of my recent reading rut: I read it in a 24 hour period. It is a thriller but not a murdery one… it’s more of a suspenseful mystery? Hannah Hall is a late thirty-something, married to who she thinks is her dream man, raising his daughter in beautiful Sausalito. But one day, everything changes. He disappears, leaving behind only a note that says “protect her.” At the same time, his company goes under fire for fraud. As the FBI and a US marshal both descend upon their home with questions, Hannah becomes determined to figure out what has happened to Owen.
Where did he go? Is he the man she thought he was? What really happened? She enlists a reluctant partner in crime: her stepdaughter Bailey (who basically despises her). What follows is a fast-paced series of events as they find themselves in Texas, searching for the truth. This is fun and twisty and I could not put it down. AND, it’s going to be our May Bad on Paper book club pick! Order it on Amazon or Bookshop.org.
- Overall Score: A-
If You Loved Daisy Jones and the Six…
The Final Revival of Opal & Nev, by Dawnie Walton
You might have seen me whining a bit about this one on Instagram. I had been so excited about this book that I’d even pre-ordered it (it’s gotten a tremendous amount of buzz!), but it ultimately fell flat for me. There were parts I really loved, and I thought it tackled race issues so well. It just (for me) dragged! Set in the 70’s it is the story of Opal and Nev, an interracial (once iconic) rock duo, about to reunite. I think, if I’m being honest, I don’t always enjoy oral histories as they feel like non-fiction but are fiction. So I felt like I was reading this long (very slow at times) history book about this iconic musical duo… but it wasn’t real. I don’t know. Not my favorite.
On a more positive note, I did think the second half of the book was much better than the first half. I really loved all the parts that were told from the narrators’ perspective (I thought she was fantastic). And I don’t regret reading it, but I probably wouldn’t recommend it… (unless you really love these sort of books!). I feel comfortable saying that as when I did an Instagram poll, 75% of you who’d read it said not to keep going and several of you messaged me saying that you had to DNF as it was just too slow! Order on Amazon or Bookshop.org
- Overall Score: B
photography by Anne Rhett.