May really felt like it kicked off summer reading for me. We have been in Florida for most of the month, so it's been a balance of lots of porch/beach/pool reading time and going out and doing things (!). We've been spending lots of time with family - kayaking, sailing, horseback riding, and enjoying dinners out again. It's been a reenergizing month for me, for sure.
Early Morning Riser by Katherine Heiny | 5 stars. I kicked off the month with this book, which I absolutely adored. Jane moves to a small town and soon falls in love with Duncan, who has been with most women in the city. They end up getting married and having a family, and the story takes us through the years that follow. We meet many quirky characters that could easily come off as caricatures of small-town life but were quite the opposite. What I loved most was Heiny's ability to write about the mundaneness of everyday life in such a fascinating and tender way. It's the same reason I absolutely loved Monogamy by Sue Miller. Nothing 'big' happens in this book, but we get to follow along for a few decades as the characters get to know each other and form a family of their own.
The Nine Lives of Rose Napolitano by Donna Freitas | 4 stars. This book felt like a choose your own adventure book. Rose and Luke agree when they get married that they don't want children, Rose has known this about herself since she was young. A few years later, Luke has changed his mind, and the couple tries to navigate this. The story jumps through nine different versions of what could happen based on the slightest change in decision. I loved this book for exploring the themes of motherhood and all the ways that someone can mother without actually being a biological mother.
Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid | 4 stars. This is already one of the biggest books of the summer, and rightfully so. I absolutely loved The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and Daisy Jones and The Six, so I had high hopes for this one. I didn't love it *quite* as much, but it was still a fabulous, fun book that transported me to the coast of Malibu in the '80s.
Arsenic and Adobo by Mia P. Manansala | 3 stars. This was the Literary League pick for May. It was a cozy mystery full of such delicious descriptions of excellent Filipino food. I loved the characters and look forward to more books coming in this series. I will say that I find cozy mysteries fun, but sometimes I wish they had a bit more depth. This was how I felt here and there with this book as well. I really enjoyed the time I spent reading, but I sometimes found my attention wandering.
The Invisible Husband of Frick Island by Colleen Oakley | 3.5 stars. This one caught my attention because it's set on a small island off the coast of Maryland in the Chesapeake Bay. The island in the book is fictitious but based on a natural island where a small community of people still live - mainly off the grid! So interesting. This was a very heartwarming love story that was just my speed with not a lot of steam. Piper's husband, Tom, has died in a boating accident. Everyone on the island is playing along that he is still alive. Anders, a local journalist, visits the island and gets wind of the story. He starts a podcast about this community of people giving in to Piper's delusion and, inevitably, falls in love. I read this one poolside and it's an excellent, fun, unique summer read.
The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave | 3.5 stars. Another big book of the summer! You've likely seen this one everywhere. I'm not usually a mystery reader, but this one hooked me. I read it in a few sittings and really enjoyed the twists and turns that Dave packed into this. I'm sure this one has already been picked up to be turned into a movie or TV show and I can see it translating to the screen very well.
That Summer by Jennifer Weiner | 4 stars. Jennifer Weiner has become one of my favorite summer reading authors. Her books usually focus on a serious topic, but she can write in such a breezy way that you can really get lost in her stories. This is a 400+ page book that I read mainly in one day (on Memorial Day, swinging on the porch swing, with a steady supply of Spindrift). I just couldn't seem to put it down. The story takes place in both Cape Cod and Philadelphia. There was a bit of mystery to the story. I loved getting the backstory on the two main characters, both Dianas, to see how they were connected. This book is definitely a response to the #MeToo movement, content warning that this book deals with sexual assault and its long-lasting effects.
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