April, where have you gone? Actually, the month wasn’t the problem is was the last week when the universe decided to shift from neutral to overdrive in my world. A quick update because it does impact the blog.
Our move to Ann Arbor was supposed to be for 5 years, but like anything else in the corporate arena, anything can change at any time. So…we’re headed back to Seattle this summer. Not a big deal per se, but the insane real estate market and the fact that we have our Seattle house rented out to a tenant until 7/31 means we have to wait. Except, the best time to sell a house is NOW so we did. We listed our Ann Arbor house on 4/21 and it sold 48 hours later. I’m trying to unscramble the Rubik’s cube of pieces to get us out of one house and back into another at the busiest time of year for movers and travel. A first world problem, but it has thrown my reading and reviewing for a loop. I’m trying to maintain both, but things will be hit or miss until we land back in Seattle.
For now, let’s see how April went!
This Might Hurt by Stephanie Wrobel
Published by Berkley Books
Publication date: February 22, 2022
Your Local Book Store, Amazon
I loved Stephanie Wrobel’s debut Darling Rose Gold for her sharp writing and her disturbed take on a mother-daughter relationship so I was really looking forward to her newest novel, This Might Hurt. It’s the story of sisters, Natalie and Kit. Kit has gone to an isolated island off the coast of Maine as part of a spiritual retreat to figure out her life. After months of no contact, Natalie gets a threatening anonymous email from the retreat and heads out to find Kit. The present is mixed in with a past including a sadistic father who warps the ambitions of his young daughter. The mystery is in the who’s who, but once the knots are untangled, the novel loses steam and sputters to a stop.
Memphis by Tara Stringfellow: Stunning debut about three generations of Black women and healing family trauma. My review
Elektra by Jennifer Saint: More Greek drama! Review to follow
Last Dance on the Starlight Pier by Sarah Bird
Published by St. Martin's Press
Publication date: April 12, 2022
I was on the fence about this novel of dance marathons during the Great Depression, but had read the author before so decided to give it a chance. The story is of a young woman abandoned by family who ends up becoming a de facto nurse for a dance marathon group. Until she’s called upon to dance. Between a story that felt outlandish and a well-intentioned effort to recreate the dialect, tone, and jargon of the times the novel left me cold. If this time and place (Galveston, Texas of the 1930s) is in your wheelhouse, give it a try. It just wasn’t enough to hold my interest.
Cover Story by Susan Rigetti: Oh, I loved this wickedly twisted tale based on the Anna Sorokin story. My review
Bomb Shelter by Mary Louise Philpott: A contemporary memoir/essays about time and family. Review to follow
Olga Dies Dreaming by Xóchitl González
Published by Flatiron Books
Publication date: January 4, 2022
Your Local Book Store, Amazon
I love novels that entertain while educating. Olga Dies Dreaming is about Puerto Rican siblings who have lived in Brooklyn almost their entire lives. Olga is a successful wedding planner for NYC elites and her brother, Pedro, is an up-and-coming is a congressman. On the surface, all seems golden, but underneath the lives of neither are as they appear. Their mother is a militant activist whom they haven’t seen in decades as she fights for an independent Puerto Rico.
This novel lands in the sweet spot of lots of well-planned plot and real issues. I knew very little about Puerto Rico so appreciated the details about this American territory and the untenable position it’s been trapped in since 1898.
How has your spring reading been?
This post contains affiliate links which means if you click on a link and make a purchase of any kind, I get a small commission (at no cost to you).
I finished 8 books last month. I had one A, five B’s, 2 C’s. My favorite of the month was the emotionally riveting “The Next Thing You Know” by Jessica Strawser. The book is literary fiction no matter how it’s being marketed its very timely. This author just keeps getting better! I love Susan Mallery’s writing she gets women and she’s funny and moving in how she does it, plus its usually light easy reading. The Summer Getaway by Susan Mallery was my 2nd favorite. What Happened to the Bennets? by Lisa Scotoline was my second B book. The book was intense and had a few hard moments to look at, but I could not look away. All that to say I recommend those three books that I read in April.
Good luck with your move. We understand about your blog reviews and will be here when you’re ready to write!
I don’t know this author! I’m adding this to my list right now.
Good luck with the moving!
Thank you! I know you’ve had a lot going on recently as well. I hope things are settling down.
Wow! That’s huge news! Holy smokes, you’re moving back. I wouldn’t have guessed that news. What are your thoughts on all this — besides chaos. Are you happy about it — or did you like the house in Ann Arbor? Hmm back in the NW again. The I-5 corridor. The housing market here is crazy too. Places are going quickly. Maybe it’s all the Americans fleeing the far-right agenda …. good god. Well that’s one way to change your summer. Congrats on selling the house so quickly. Hopefully the turnover can happen in a few months so you can get back into your former Seattle house. (Speaking of long distance moves: I once had a moving truck unload a Seattle storage locker and truck belongs to Arlington, VA in 1993 … I never went back to oversee it … I just had them do it, crazy). Good luck with everything.
It will be interesting for sure. I do like the layout of the house here. The Seattle house is beautiful but smaller. I’m just ready to stop moving and settle in. I’m too old for this kind of chaos. what’s happening in the U.S. is bad enough.
I know you’ll understand this- I wish I could stay until the midterms are over because my vote really matters here. Not so much in Washington state. Oh well.
Gretchen Whitmer will miss you there … and all the other voters who aren’t totally nuts. If Roe gets taken away … the country likely will fall into the abyss …
There’s an important race in the state as well. So much so that I have honestly thought we shouldn’t move until mid-November. Not possible. So, yes, here comes the abyss.
Linda McMichael says
Catherine, I came across your site while looking for material on The Splendid and the Vile. I’ll be presenting that wonderful book at our May 20 Book Club meeting. Your review was spot on. I was born two years after the end of WWII but find the subject endlessly fascinating, to use a cliche. If you’re not familiar with Ben McIntyre’s non-fiction books about spies, I recommend Operation Mincemeat. I hope that the new Netflix movie of the same name (with Colin Firth!) will be as heart-stopping and funny (those Brits!) as the book.
I’m happy to subscribe. I’ve been running a local book club here in Flagstaff for several years. I’m one of the younger members but we keep adding new members of all ages. Your reviews should help guide our reading. I’ve been relying on The New York Times Book Review but would like another point of view. Good luck with your return to Seattle. We lived in Duvall and Sammamish for 34 years. We don’t miss the rain or the traffic, but the Pacific NW will always have a place in our hearts. Fortunately, Flagstaff is 7000 feet up from the rest of Arizona’s politics and is home to Northern Arizona University, Lowell Observatory, and the Museum of Northern Arizona.
Welcome! I’m so flattered I can be a resource for your book club. I miss being in one. They are such a marvelous way to connect.
I agree completely about Washington state’s traffic. We’ll be looking for a retirement home once we have a chance to breathe. Probably in Oregon because we’re not bothered by rain and loved it when we lived in Portland.