• Filter by Genre

  • Sort

  • Lessons in Chemistry

    • A
    Lessons in Chemistry
    Grade: A

    I absolutely loved this book! I found it completely endearing and utterly unputdownable. I went in blind, not knowing what it was about (and I am kind of glad I did). It is the 1960’s and Elizabeth Zott is a single mother and chemist, turned cooking show host. Through a series of happenstance, she found herself hosting an a rather groundbreaking cooking show, Supper at Six. The show is feminist and empowering– and it might just change the world, if Zott’s critics don’t get to her first. The sexism that she encounters at times (there is a TW for sexual assault) is brutal, but she perseveres through tremendous amounts of adversity: all with a very endearing straightforward sense of humor. I found Zott to be such a charming lead, but the rest of the characters are wonderful too. You really just love them all! There is her brilliant daughter Madeline, her next-door-neighbor turned pseudo-grandmother/babysitter Harriet, the local priest, the producer of her show who becomes a great friend to Zott and her family, and Zott’s boyfriend (Madeline’s father) Calvin Evans: the lonely but brilliant Nobel prize-nominated scientist at her research lab. But also, their (incredibly intelligent) dog, Six Thirty. I think Six Thirty was my favorite character. This book is all at once funny, sharply observant, and feminist. It will break your heart at times and warm your heart at others. It has been compared to Where’d You Go Bernadette and I definitely see the similarities but liked this one even better!

  • The School for Good Mothers

    • A
    The School for Good Mothers
    Grade: A

    I think this may be one of the most polarizing books I have ever read. Any time I would post it, my DM folder would light up. This is very dark, and if you have a young child or are pregnant I might skip this one… I am not a mom and it still broke my heart in half. A lot of people hated this book but I think it takes a good book to make you feel so many emotions. Critics are calling this a modern classic and I would tend to agree with them. I could see this book becoming curriculum some day. Frida Liu is a new mom. She is struggling with just about everything. Her husband has left her for a younger woman. Her career is in shambles. She is falling apart. One day, she has a very bad day and does a very bad thing: leaves her daughter unattended for two and a half hours. A neighbor calls the police and they take her daughter away. The only way to get her back is to go away for a year to a Big Brother-like institution where she will learn to be a better mom. What ensues next is where the Handmaid’s Tale stuff kicks in. I don’t want to ruin anything so I won’t tell you anything else. But it’s traumatic. I couldn’t stop reading because I needed to know what happened. Would Frida be deemed good? Would she get her daughter back? Throughout the book, other themes are introduced. There is sexism (and a school for good fathers too), critiques of the wellness industry, and more. I did not enjoy reading this book, but I still loved it in a way. I think that’s the best way to describe it: a very good, upsetting book.

  • Anna

    • A-
    Anna
    Grade: A-

    If there is a memoir or biography about someone prolific in magazines, especially fashion + food mags, you can be sure that I will be all over it. So, despite reading mixed reviews, I needed to read Amy Odell’s biography of Anna Wintour. The criticism of the book is that Odell didn’t go deep enough and was too favorable/not critical enough/only skimmed the surface. If you go into it knowing that, I think you will still enjoy it. This is NOT a juicy tell-all or salacious memoir (for that, I can’t recommend ALT’s book enough). This biography is an impeccably researched, factual account of her life (with probably 50 pages of footnotes at the end). And her life (without any opinions or fanfare) is interesting enough to make for a fascinating read. Odell takes us from Anna Wintour’s childhood all the way through modern day. My favorite parts were those about her childhood, her rise to fame, and then modern day as there was so much that I remembered just from following her career and living in New York. At other times, it lagged and felt dry (I will confess, it was a little slow and boring at times… but it always picked up). It’s favorable but fair; overall I am an Anna fan. I think a lot of the negative press about her has been sexist, and whether or not you are a fan you have to admit that she is incredibly talented. I will hold out hope that someday Anna will write her own juicy tell all (doesn’t seem on brand) or someone close to her will… but I don’t think that will happen. You absolutely will not feel like you know Anna any better from reading this, but you will learn quite a bit about her life, where she came from, and how she got to where she is today.

  • Meant to Be

    • A
    Meant to Be
    Grade: A

    I think this may be my all time favorite Emily Giffin book, which is saying a lot as I’ve loved so many of her books! It’s loosely inspired by the Kennedy family (specifically: John F. Kennedy Jr. and Carolyn Bessette). Told from alternating narratives, it follows Joe Kingsley and Cate Cooper from childhood through a chance encounter when they meet and fall in love. Joe is rebellious and free spirited (think: adventurous womanizer with a heart of gold). Cate has more of a fairytale arc. She grew up with just her mom (and a revolving door of boyfriends), and when her mom falls in love with an abusive man… Cate’s life just gets harder and she’s basically on her own. She finds herself dropping out of high school to pursue a modeling career (anything to get away from her stepfather), slowly building a life for herself and even becoming the face of Calvin Klein. Even with her newly glamorous life and her face all over billboards, she constantly feels like an outsider… never telling anyone about her past, keeping men at arms length. I tore through this in just a couple days. It was extremely fun to read: part fairy tale, part Carolyn Bessette fan fiction (Bessette’s background is very different from Cate’s but there are still plenty of similarities). This would be the perfect beach read or summer book club pick… I think there would be so much to talk about!

  • Counterfeit

    • A
    Counterfeit
    Grade: A

    I absolutely loved this. I read it in just about a day. From the first few pages, we realize our narrator (Ava Wong), has been caught and is in deep trouble. The book is addressed to the perspective of “detective,” as Ava explains what went wrong. I will warn you that (major pet peeve) the author didn’t use quotation marks, which drives me bonkers. Once you get past that, you will not be able to stop reading. Ava’s life looks perfect on paper: Stanford graduate, new mom, successful lawyer… married to a successful surgeon. But behind the scenes, it’s all falling apart. Her toddler throws tantrums, she hasn’t used her law degree in eons, and her marriage is falling apart. When her old college roommate Winnie turns up (glamorous, and dripping in designer bags), one thing leads to another and the two women end up working together. Only for Ava to have to take the fall. I will say no more but LOVED this book, especially the second half of it. This is fun, feminist, and totally unputdownable. The perfect summer beach read!

  • Meant to Be Mine

    • A-
    Meant to Be Mine
    Grade: A-

    I loved this book! I am not a big romance person but have loved other books by Hannah Orenstein (especially, Head Over Heels). This one has such a fun premise. Edie Meyer is a talented stylist living in Williamsburg, Brooklyn (this book gave me allllll the nostalgia and made me miss my old Brooklyn life!). For years, her grandmother Gloria has predicted the exact date that her family members met their significant others. On Edie’s “day,” the day she’s waited for her entire life (and even broke up with a seemingly wonderful boyfriend for), she has a very adorable meet-cute with handsome rocker Theo. But as time goes on, Theo and her seem to be really different people – and he doesn’t seem like he’s going to be able to commit to her. Edie is forced to decide: stick with her chosen person and settle, or dream big and look for something more! I loved this and it definitely kept me guessing as to what would happen. I will say that I wish it ended differently but that didn’t take away any of the enjoyment for me. This is a fantastic summer read. Light, fun, and a total page-turner.

  • Can’t Look Away

    • A
    Can’t Look Away
    Grade: A

    I am a giant fan of Carola Lovering’s books. Tell Me Lies is an all time favorite and I also really loved Too Good To Be True. This was one of those books that made me stay up late reading, needing to know what would happen… it was just so suspenseful! I would liken to this book to a perfect hybrid combination of You, Big Little Lies, and The Light We Lost. The book alternates between past and present, when Molly Diamond was just 23, living in Brooklyn (she lived on my old street and went to so many favorite spots which was fun!) with her rockstar boyfriend Jake, pursuing a career in writing. The two are madly in love and they know they’ll grow old together. Ten years later, Molly is married to someone completely different. She has abandoned her writing and is essentially a bored, Connecticut mom. The women in her town are terrible and she feels friendless and out of place until Sabrina walks into her yoga studio. The two bond over their fertility struggles, and Molly thinks that she’s finally found a great friend. Of course, all is not at is it seems. I will say no more, just that I absolutely LOVED this book and think you will too.

  • Run, Rose, Run

    • A
    Run, Rose, Run
    Grade: A

    My mom recommended that I read this and I absolutely loved it! The book first came onto my radar from this episode of Adam Grant’s podcast (highly recommend and it’s only 25 minutes long!). AnnieLee is a gifted singer, with a past. The book opens with her hitchhiking from Texas to Nashville, set on pursuing a career in country music. From the very beginning of the book, we can tell she has talent. And she will do everything she can to pursue it. Sleeping in parks, hiding in bushes. When she plays at a local dive bar, the crowd is blown away. From there, she meets Ethan (a fellow musician) and through him, RuthAnna (Nashville’s retired queen of country music, who feels a lot like Dolly Parton herself). RuthAnna wants to help AnnieLee, but AnnieLee is reluctant. She has trust issues, and with every bit of success she has, her past threatens to come barreling in and ruin her. I LOVED this (and I am not a big country music person!) and thought it was so fun… I read it in just a couple days. It’s the perfect combination of rags to riches fairytale meets high stakes thriller. Highly recommend!

  • Mean Baby

    • A
    Mean Baby
    Grade: A

    I went into this book not knowing what to expect. I’ve always liked Selma Blair, and of course I loved her in Legally Blonde and Cruel Intentions. I also liked the cover of the book, had seen a lot of people posting about it, and let’s be honest: LOVE a celebrity memoir. So I scooped this one up, only to be unable to put it down. First of all, BLAIR CAN WRITE. The book is incredibly well-written. Second, she is very self-aware, and very raw and vulnerable. She talks about trauma, abuse, addiction (so CW for all of those), and of course her MS diagnosis in a way that is honest and messy, heartbreaking, but still somehow hopeful. It’s a look at her life from birth (literally, she was born with a cute little smirk and deemed a “mean baby”), all the way through present day. There is also fun stuff: Hollywood tea, working with Reese Witherspoon and Sarah Michelle Gellar, the friendships she has made in the industry, etc. I tore through this in just a few days and think that you will do the same. Cannot recommend it enough!

  • The Dilemma

    • C
    The Dilemma
    Grade: C

    I would not usually lead with an image of a book I didn’t enjoy very much but I typically love any and all things B.A. Paris (she’s up there with Greer Hendricks + Sarah Pekkanen for fun, read in a day thrillers) so my photographer shot it pre-emptively. They are cute photos so I am using them anyway. This was just.. not good. In theory I liked the plot (a couple each knows something bad that they need to tell the other one but they want to preserve the other person’s happiness), but the characters were so unlikeable. Livia has been planning her 40th birthday for the past 20 years (yes seriously – sorry but what the heck!?) but she’s hiding a secret from her husband that could unravel the whole family. Meanwhile, her husband learns terrible news the day of the party… so he is hiding that from her. It is fast-paced and had potential (I like that it is told hour by hour, in alternating perspectives) but the characters were so unlikeable (and unrelatable) that I found myself bored and annoyed throughout most of it. I read it in a single day, but that doesn’t mean it was any good. You can skip this one (still, love this author. If you haven’t read Behind Closed Doors, it’s such a good one!). Order on Amazon.com or Bookshop.org

  • Tippi

    • A
    Tippi
    Grade: A

    I read (listened) to this one on such a whim (it’s a little older, from 2015) because I had been watching Hitchcock films (The Birds and Marnie) and just loved Tippi Hedren’s style. Upon googling her, I learned she had a lot of drama with Hitchcock (and had blamed him for ruining her career). I also learned that she was Melanie Griffith’s mother. So I got curious, and downloaded the book. I loved (if that is the right word, it sounds like what she went through was horrible) learning more about her experience working with Alfred Hitchcock but the book is so much more than that. Her three marriages, but especially: living with LIONS. Yes, you heard that right. Her and her second husband lived with lions and established an entire lion preserve. That was the most fascinating part of the book. I felt like my very glamorous and exciting grandmother was telling me a story and just love love loved every minute of it. I highly recommend this book. Even if it feels a little bit random, I promise that you will enjoy it! Order on Amazon.com or Bookshop.org

  • Rivals

    • A
    Rivals
    Grade: A

    This book was such a treat. I read it while I was really sick and it was such a wonderful distraction. I think it might actually be my favorite of the whole trilogy? If somehow you haven’t heard of American Royals, you may want to just go ahead and order all three books. They are the best. The premise is this: Imagine that George Washington had become king, instead of president. Now layer on tons of Gossip Girl level drama with rich, royal!, (mostly) unsupervised teens, and you have one of my absolute favorite little series. This go around, the main plot is between Nina and Daphne, former enemies who unite over a new mutual enemy. I loved this part, and I really love getting to see a more sympathetic side to Daphne. We all love a redemption story, right? Anyway, I could not put this book down and it has a giant cliffhanger ending. The good news is, Katharine has confirmed a fourth book. I cannot wait for it, I cannot get enough of this series.

  • The Younger Wife

    • A-
    The Younger Wife
    Grade: A-

    I read this book in one day while I was sick! I am a big fan of Sally Hepworth. I’ve read two of her books so far (The Mother-in-Law and The Good Sister). She writes books that are thrillers/suspense… but also, strangely heartwarming? And this was no exception… I just loved it! The book opens with sisters Tully and Rachel Aston meeting their father’s much younger (younger than them) new fiancé. The women are naturally upset, seeing her as an interloper who is clearly just a gold digger. Meanwhile, their father Stephen is perfect. The golden heart surgeon that everyone loves. The only thing is, he has to divorce his current wife, suffering from dementia. And then there is Heather, the new fiancé… she has secrets of her own! I am not telling you much about the plot as I don’t want to give you any spoilers, but I really liked this. I will say that there are trigger warnings for domestic abuse and alcoholism.

  • The Counselors

    • A-
    The Counselors
    Grade: A-

    Oh my gosh, I loved this! It might just be my favorite of all of Jessica’s books, I can’t decide. It deals with a group of three best friends, all counselors at an idyllic summer camp in upstate New York that caters to wealthy, exceptionally gifted students. Except, as the “townie” of the group whose parents work at the camp, Goldie never feels quite like she fits in – her two best friends Ava and Imo both come from wealth. She constantly feels the divide between the locals in her town (who hate the camp) and the kids at camp (who mock the town and everyone who lives there). It is the summer after graduation and all three girls show up to camp with more than their fair share of secrets. We know that Goldie has become the town pariah after a horrible accident that past winter, and that Ava is hiding something too. When a local boy winds up dead in the lake (on camp grounds), the town swirls with questions… and secrets come out. I couldn’t put this down. It’s YA but the kind of YA adults will enjoy too. It is fast paced (and a little scary at times) and it surprised me a few times.

  • Dear Child

    • A-
    Dear Child
    Grade: A-

    This is one of those dark and disturbing (but not so dark that you feel sick, there is a difference!) thrillers that you think about weeks after finishing. I tore through this thriller in just a couple of nights because I needed to know what happened! It has been compared to a combination of Room and Gone Girl, which is pretty spot on. A woman escapes from a windowless shack in the woods; a little girl in tow. She says her name is Lena, who had disappeared without a trace 14 years before. But as her family is called in to reunite with their daughter, they know it isn’t her. Meanwhile, the little girl she’s with (who has never experienced daylight) clearly has secrets. This is twisty and suspenseful, a little bit scary, and completely captivating… it’s a perfect thriller. I really enjoyed it. I can’t believe it’s the author’s first book! Order on Bookshop.org or Amazon.

  • The Love of My Life

    • B
    The Love of My Life
    Grade: B

    I netted out medium on this, only because I somehow (I have no idea) guessed the twist/plot pretty early in. When that happens, it kind of sucks because the book feels tedious. But if that hadn’t happened, I think I would enjoy it more. Emma and her husband are happily married with their young daughter Ruby. Leo is an obituary writer, and Emma is a famed marine biologist. When Emma falls ill with a rare type of cancer, Leo copes in the only way he knows how: researching and writing about her life. But as he does this, he discovers a web of lies. Is she the woman he married? Has she been unfaithful? Does the Emma he loves so much even really exist? A fast paced journey ensues as Leo tries to uncover the truth and Emma tries to prove to him that she still is very much the woman he fell in love with.

  • Cloud Cuckoo Land

    • A+
    Cloud Cuckoo Land
    Grade: A+

    Oh my goodness, this book. It came recommended to me by a friend whose taste in books I really, really respect but when it showed up, it was such a big book that I got intimidated. I started it, and friends… I finished it in just a couple days. I couldn’t put it down! I will say that this one is a little bit polarizing. There are so many different stories that it took me a little while to become invested in each one, and then when I did, I wondered how they would ever intersect. But anyway, this is a masterpiece. There are 3 different main story arcs: one set in ancient Constantinople, one set in modern day, and one set in the future on a space ship (!!! – but it’s not sci-fi-y, if that worries you at all). You are kind of like “what is happening” in parts, but trust me… just stick with it, the way it all ties together is magical. The last 200 pages took my breath away! I don’t know if I will ever be able to stop thinking about this book. Order on Amazon.com or Bookshop.org

  • The Lies I Tell

    • A-
    The Lies I Tell
    Grade: A-

    You might remember how much I loved The Last Flight (same author), which made me extra excited when her publisher sent over an advance copy of this one, her newest! This was very good. Not as good as The Last Flight (in my opinion), but still very good. It was a satisfying, read in 24 hours thriller. It also satisfied a few of my favorite thriller tropes: two women who hate each other but really should be best friends, con artist with a heart of gold, and also: scorned woman taking down the man who wronged her years ago. (Those aren’t spoilers, both become pretty clear right from the beginning.) The plot surrounds Meg (a cunning con artist with a fascinating backstory) and Kat (a journalist who believes Meg has wronged her). Their paths intersect at a Los Angeles fundraiser where both women attend, with their own separate agendas. It is fast paced and twisty (set amongst a lot of beautiful California real estate) and a very satisfying ending. I couldn’t put this down, I found it so enjoyable. Order on Amazon.com or Bookshop.org

  • Going There

    • A+
    Going There
    Grade: A+

    I need to stress that I have never been a big morning show person or even a fan of Katie Couric. I knew who she was and she seemed like a smart, good person, but she just wasn’t someone I cared about or thought of as relevant to my life. So when a slew of you recommended her memoir as my next audiobook (saying how juicy it was), I was intrigued but thought… “can I handle 16 hours with this person I don’t really care about?” The answer is YES, and also, I now care deeply about Katie Couric. I loved this book. Loved. Katie takes us all the way from her childhood through her rise in media to the #metoo movement and what happened between her and Matt Lauer all the way through until today. I went from not knowing anything about her to feeling deeply invested in her life. It is heartbreaking (she takes us through her husband’s death from colon cancer), self-deprecating and vulnerable at times, and also very salacious (she does not hold back). There have been a lot of criticisms about this book. Some say too much name dropping (ummm, she’s Katie Couric, she is allowed?), and the New York Post leaked several quotes out of context, but I really, really enjoyed this book and think that pretty much anyone and everyone will enjoy it. Order on Amazon.com or Bookshop.org. 

  • Capote’s Women

    • A
    Capote’s Women
    Grade: A

    This book was amazing and such a fun listen. I have always been especially drawn to/captivated by mid-century glamour… style icons like Babe Paley and C.Z. Guest… the sort of lives Slim Aarons photographed. This book was a (sometimes ruthless and brutal) look into their world, with Truman Capote at its center. It was really fun to listen to, and felt like fiction at times. I found the chapters on Lee Radziwill particularly salacious. For years, Capote struggled to write his (never published) final novel, Answered Prayers, a thinly veiled work of “fiction” that documented the dark secrets behind his group of female friends (which he called his swans). Ultimately, when he published a few chapters of the book in Esquire magazine, it cost him his friendships. The swans almost immediately banished him from their high-society world and he was left a social pariah. In this book, Laurence Leamer re-creates the world of the swans (Barbara “Babe” Paley, Gloria Guinness, Marella Agnelli, Slim Hayward, Pamela Churchill, C. Z. Guest, Lee Radziwill (Jackie Kennedy’s sister) – their secrets, relationships, and friendships… with Truman at the heart of the novel. It’s absolutely fascinating. I learned a lot and was also entertained throughout. Order on Amazon.com or Bookshop.org.

  • Sister Stardust

    • A-
    Sister Stardust
    Grade: A-

    I loved this book! It took a little while to get into but once I did, I was hooked. It felt a little bit like a mashup of The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and Daisy Jones and the Six. Think of an older (wiser) woman telling her story of her younger (wilder, irresponsible) years in sixties London (and Morocco!). Claire is from a small town outside of London. She has a difficult relationship with her stepmother, she struggles with her weight, she has no idea what she’s doing with her life. A chance encounter leads her to Morocco and suddenly she’s befriended a group of incredible musicians, fashion designers, and artists. She befriends the magnetic, ethereal Talitha Getty (falling a bit in love with her in the process), but the glittery life is not as it seems. This world contains a dangerous amount of drugs, sexual experiences that make her uncomfortable, plus violence and abusive relationships she can’t make sense of. I loved the blend of history and fiction, and could not put this book down. It also made me want to plan a trip back to Morocco immediately. I felt like I was back there again (I went years ago, and fell in love with the city). Highly recommend this… one of the most fun historical fiction books I’ve read in ages. Besides, I have such a soft spot for Jane Green! Order on Amazon.com or Bookshop.org

  • A Visit From the Goon Squad

    • A
    A Visit From the Goon Squad
    Grade: A

    I wanted to read this book before tackling The Candy House it’s a little bit older, from 2011. I don’t need to tell you that it is exquisitely written and smart (it won a Pulitzer after all), but this is such a good book! It is one of the stranger books I’ve read, centering around music executive Bennie and his troubled assistant Sasha. The book feels a little bit like a tangle of vines. Each chapter is a different story, told from the perspective of someone new (we hear from Bennie and Sasha in the beginning and then from a different person somehow connected to one of them throughout). Sometimes it is confusing whose story it is. But the way that each of the different stories intersect, casually providing backstory to the other stories (if this sounds confusing, it’s because it is confusing to explain so just trust me!) Is really beautiful and so smart. I have never read anything quite like this book. Also, do not listen to this one, this is best consumed as Audio, as a big section of the book is actually in chart form! Order on Amazon.com or Bookshop.org.

  • Cover Story

    • A-
    Cover Story
    Grade: A-

    I will start by telling you that I am currently experiencing scammer fatigue after all of the TV shows that were out this season (My Friend Anna, The Dropout, etc!) but saw this book on so many must-read lists, so ordered it immediately. Scammer fatigue be damned, I loved this book! If you ask me, this is 2022’s perfect beach read. I read it within 24 hours and loved every minute. Just a fun, unputdownable little scammer story. Anna Delvey, but have her work for a fashion magazine. With a side of a Caroline Calloway ghostwriting? Lora Ricci is a naive college student, struggling to make ends meet… attending NYU and interning for ELLE. When she meets glamorous clean-energy heiress Cat Wolff, the two form a highly unlikely friendship… with Lora ultimately dropping out of NYU, moving in with Cat at The Plaza Hotel, and going to work as her ghostwriter. You know what’s going to happen and you really cringe as Lora giddily (and naively!) writes about her new life in her diary. I absolutely loved this book. Also, the ending gave me whiplash – I’m still thinking about it! Order on Amazon.com or Bookshop.org

  • Taste

    • A
    Taste
    Grade: A

    This book was just… completely lovely! I am a huge fan of Stanley Tucci (and could listen to him read the dictionary to be honest) but loved getting to know him and his story better. I had no idea of his previous marriage (and losing his wife to cancer) or his own personal journey with cancer. And you know I love a foodie memoir. The way he talks about food will make you hungry (and it will make you want to travel), and I (somewhat randomly), I really enjoyed learning about the food he ate on set and when he traveled for work. I also loved all his stories about his friends (you know, Meryl… Ryan and Blake). No gossip but fun stories, and you will feel like he is your old pal by the end of the book. I will say that my only complaint is that if you do listen to this book, which I would recommend, you are going to want to buy a hard copy as well just for the recipes. So many recipes – it’s part memoir, part cookbook! Order on Bookshop.org or Amazon!