Part 2 of my adult reads for the month of May 2017 ~ I had to break it up this month because there are so. many. books! Read Part 1 HERE. Part 3 will be posted on May 31st!
Now, get your cup of coffee………and settle in to meet some new books!
These are listed in order of date finished……..as always, there is a disclosure telling the source of each book and as always, no affiliate links in this post.
My Mother’s Kitchen: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and the Meaning of Life by Peter Gethers
(Henry Holt – April 4, 2017)
Peter Gethers wants to give his aging mother a very personal and perhaps final gift: a spectacular feast featuring all her favorite dishes. The problem is, although he was raised to love food and wine he doesn’t really know how to cook. So he embarks upon an often hilarious and always touching culinary journey that will ultimately allow him to bring his mother’s friends and loved ones to the table one last time.
The daughter of a restaurateur–the restaurant was New York’s legendary Ratner’s–Judy Gethers discovered a passion for cooking in her 50s. In time, she became a mentor and friend to several of the most famous chefs in America, including Wolfgang Puck, Nancy Silverton and Jonathan Waxman; she also wrote many cookbooks and taught cooking alongside Julia Child. In her 80s, she was robbed of her ability to cook by a debilitating stroke. But illness has brought her closer than ever to her son: Peter regularly visits her so they can share meals, and he can ask questions about her colorful past, while learning her kitchen secrets. Gradually his ambition becomes manifest: he decides to learn how to cook his mother the meal of her dreams and thereby tell the story of her life to all those who have loved her.
With his trademark wit and knowing eye, Peter Gethers has written an unforgettable memoir about how food and family can do much more than feed us–they can nourish our souls.
This book was fabulous ~ a wonderful foodie memoir and ode to his mother, a woman who sounds like one of the most marvelous characters on earth. So happy I read this book.
Thanks to NetGalley for the review copy!
One Day We’ll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter by Scaachi Koul
(Doubleday Canada – March 7, 2017)
In One Day We’ll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter, Scaachi deploys her razor-sharp humour to share her fears, outrages and mortifying experiences as an outsider growing up in Canada. Her subjects range from shaving her knuckles in grade school, to a shopping trip gone horribly awry, to dealing with internet trolls, to feeling out of place at an Indian wedding (as an Indian woman), to parsing the trajectory of fears and anxieties that pressed upon her immigrant parents and bled down a generation. Alongside these personal stories are pointed observations about life as a woman of colour, where every aspect of her appearance is open for critique, derision or outright scorn. Where strict gender rules bind in both Western and Indian cultures, forcing her to confront questions about gender dynamics, racial tensions, ethnic stereotypes and her father’s creeping mortality–all as she tries to find her feet in the world.
These essays are hilarious and cutting and so so very real. Koul does not hold back even one tiny bit in her commentary on womanhood, race and culture, which makes this an incredibly refreshing and feminist read. Her dialogue and descriptions of her parents are simultaneously witty and touching, and tell the reader exactly how much she loves them. This book is much needed and highly recommended.
This was one of my April Book of the Month Club picks – a subscription service I pay for.
It’s Always the Husband by Michele Campbell
(St. Martin’s Press – May 16, 2017)
Kate, Aubrey, and Jenny. They first met as college roommates and soon became inseparable, even though they are as different as three women can be. Twenty years later, one of them is standing at the edge of a bridge . . and someone else is urging her to jump.
How did things come to this?
As the novel cuts back and forth between their college years and their adult years, you see the exact reasons why these women love and hate each other—but can feelings that strong lead to murder? Or will everyone assume, as is often the case, that it’s always the husband?
Campbell draws readers in immediately with the college setting, and then horrifies and intrigues them with the account of the year of drugs and debauchery the girls experience together. The mark of a successful thriller, in my opinion, is keeping the reader guessing until the very last minute, and this book almost did that for me – I had several theories that I kept alternating between, with the true one only a glimmer that would pop up occasionally. I devoured this book in less than 18 hours and was genuinely surprised at how things actually happened – not shocked, but intrigued that that’s where she went with it.
I was a little disappointed that I couldn’t connect with a single character, but I also believe that Campbell wrote the characters that way – they perfectly fit the boxes she drew for them. I couldn’t see any evidence whatsoever of why Jenny and Aubrey kept being so loyal to Kate when she was obviously so horrible to them, but some of the references make it seem that those reasons happened outside of the story’s narrative. A solid thriller that the majority of suspense and thriller fans will enjoy.
I received a digital ARC of this title for review – all opinions are my own.
Secrets in Summer by Nancy Thayer
(Ballantine Books – May 16, 2017)
Memorial Day weekend means that seasonal visitors have descended on the glamorous island of Nantucket. For year-round resident Darcy Cotterill, it means late-night stargazing in the backyard of the beautiful house she grew up in and inherited from her beloved grandmother. It s also Darcy s chance to hit the beach and meet her new summertime neighbors. But the last person the thirty-year-old librarian expects to see staying next door is her ex-husband, Boyz, along with his wife, Autumn, and stepdaughter, Willow.
Darcy must also navigate the highs and lows of a new romantic relationship with local carpenter Nash Forester even as she becomes smitten with handsome vacationer Clive Rush, a musicologist in town to write a book and visit family. And she finds herself pulled into the concerns of Boyz, Autumn, a charming elderly neighbor, and an at-risk teen.
As the season nears its end, Darcy must decide her next move: retreating to the comforts of her steady and secure island life, or risking it all for a chance at true happiness.
I am a complete sucker for books set in Nantucket and books with a librarian main character, so this one completely filled those criteria. It’s a very, very frothy story and one that is a perfect beach read for those days when you know you’ll be distracted by kids (or people-watching) constantly and need to be able to not focus on an intricate plot line. I loved all of the Nantucket descriptions and reading about Darcy’s time at work as a children’s librarian. I also really like reading about her love of books and reading.
The one issue I had with this story is just how much I hated Boyz (and his NAME! and his FAMILY!) and every single part of the book where he is included. I completely skimmed over the part where it describes Darcy and Boyz meeting and their time together, and whenever he entered the story later on I wanted to skip it. He is supposed to be an unlikeable character, but I wish he had been a very, very background minor player.
All in all, this one will satisfy most readers of frothy romantic chick lit and long time Thayer fans.
I received a digital ARC of this title for review – all opinions are my own.
Into the Water by Paula Hawkins
(Riverhead Books – May 2, 2017)
A single mother turns up dead at the bottom of the river that runs through town. Earlier in the summer, a vulnerable teenage girl met the same fate. They are not the first women lost to these dark waters, but their deaths disturb the river and its history, dredging up secrets long submerged.
Left behind is a lonely fifteen-year-old girl. Parentless and friendless, she now finds herself in the care of her mother’s sister, a fearful stranger who has been dragged back to the place she deliberately ran from—a place to which she vowed she’d never return.
OPINION: 2/5 (Aubible Audio version)
1.5 stars. Just……no. Maybe it was the audio version that I disliked so much, maybe it was the insane hype, maybe my expectations were too high, maybe the story really was that ugly and boring. I finally put this at 1.25x listening speed just to get through it. Not for me.
I used one of my monthly Audible credits to purchase this audiobook.
This is Just My Face: Try Not to Stare by Gabourey Sidibe
(Houghton Mifflin – May 1, 2017)
Gabourey Sidibe—“Gabby” to her legion of fans—skyrocketed to international fame in 2009 when she played the leading role in Lee Daniels acclaimed movie Precious. In This is Just My Face, she shares a one-of-a-kind life story. Sidibe paints her Bed-Stuy/Harlem family life with a polygamous father and a gifted mother who supports her two children by singing in the subway. Sidibe tells the story of her first job as a phone sex “talker.” And she shares her unconventional rise to fame as a movie star, alongside “a superstar cast of rich people who lived in mansions and had their own private islands and amazing careers while I lived in my mom’s apartment.”
Hilarious and honest, this book that is more essays than memoir lays Sidibe’s life out with absolutely no attempts at shielding readers from the harsh realities that were her childhood experiences. Her honesty about her eating disorder and depression are what earned the 5th star, as these issues are too often kept secret or vaguely referenced. Sidibe does neither, and still manages to be witty while recounting her darkest days. My heart ached for her childhood self, and cheered for her as she pulled her way up through some extremely tough challenges that would have knocked many others down. Highly recommend for adult readers open to raw and open dialogue about family, gender, race and body issues.
I checked this book out from the public library.
Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan
(Doubleday – May 23, 2017)
Kevin Kwan, bestselling author of Crazy Rich Asians and China Rich Girlfriend, is back with an uproarious new novel of a family riven by fortune, an ex-wife driven psychotic with jealousy, a battle royal fought through couture gown sabotage, and the heir to one of Asia’s greatest fortunes locked out of his inheritance.
When Nicholas Young hears that his grandmother, Su Yi, is on her deathbed, he rushes to be by her bedside–but he’s not alone. It seems the entire Shang-Young clan has convened from all corners of the globe, ostensibly to care for their matriarch but truly to stake claim on the massive fortune that Su Yi controls. With each family member secretly fantasizing about getting the keys to Tyersall Park–a trophy estate on 64 prime acres in the heart of Singapore–the place becomes a hotbed of intrigue and Nicholas finds himself blocked from entering the premises. As relatives claw over heirlooms, Astrid Leong is at the center of her own storm, desperately in love with her old sweetheart Charlie Wu, but tormented by his ex-wife–a woman hell bent on destroying Astrid’s reputation and relationship. Meanwhile Kitty Pong, married to billionaire Jack Bing, finds a formidable opponent in his fashionista daughter, Colette. A sweeping novel that takes us from the elegantly appointed mansions of Manila to the secluded private islands in the Sulu Sea, from a schoolyard kidnapping to a gold-leaf dancefloor spattered with blood, Kevin Kwan’s gloriously wicked new novel reveals the long-buried secrets and rich people problems of Asia’s most privileged families.
This series is my utter guilty pleasure! I actually listened to the first two books Crazy Rich Asians and China Rich Girlfriend from Audible, and they were SO amazing to listen to. The accents were outstanding and they were just hilarious. I read this newest installment, and found it just as fun to read in print as it was to listen to the first two. This series has me 1) dying to visit Singapore 2) desperate to own a property like Tyersall Park and 3) so sad I’ll never meet Su Yi.
Down-to-earth and modern couple Nick and Rachel put all of the ridiculousness and pretentious show of their family and friends into perspective, and let you enjoy this as a completely tongue-in-cheek soap opera. We ALL have an extra cool $3 billion to invest in a pet project, right? I love that Kwan ends this latest book in a way that leaves me desperately hoping for a next installment featuring……….no spoilers, but I love the ending!
This book could stand alone, but to appreciate the full pleasure of the story, read books 1 and 2 first!
Thanks to NetGalley for the digital ARC of this title.