A few books I’ve listened to lately.
Taste: My Life Through Food by Stanley Tucci
Rating 5/5: As a self-proclaimed foodie, I LOVED this book! Stanley Tucci narrates his memoir with so much charm and wit, making it a true delight to listen to. Although, I do wish I had grabbed this in hardback as there are recipes he shares that I want to make now. If you like food, especially Italian food, you will fall in love with this book. It’s a short, quick read and is filled with heartfelt stories of Tucci growing up in an Italian family, his love for cooking and flavor, some of his most fond food memories while traveling, and more.
Wrong Place Wrong Time by Gillian McAllister
Rating 3/5: UNPOPULAR OPINION — I didn’t love this book as much as I’d hoped. There are lots of loops, the premise is unique, and the twists were clever, but I kept losing interest and felt like the book dragged at times (especially mid-way through). However, the pace picked up around the ending (which I thought was the best part of the book)!
Book Summary: Can you stop a murder after it’s already happened?
It is midnight on the morning of Halloween, and Jen anxiously waits up for her 18-year-old son, Todd, to return home. But worries about his broken curfew transform into something much more dangerous when Todd finally emerges from the darkness. As Jen watches through the window, she sees her funny, seemingly happy teenage son stab a total stranger.
She doesn’t know who the victim is, or why Todd has committed such a devastating act of violence. All she knows is that her life, and Todd’s, have been shattered.
After her son is taken into custody, Jen falls asleep in despair. But when she wakes up… it is yesterday. The murder has not happened yet—and there may be a chance to stop it. Each morning, when Jen wakes, she is further back in the past, first weeks, then years, before the murder. And Jen realizes that somewhere in the past lies the trigger for Todd’s terrible crime…and it is her mission to find it, and prevent it from taking place.
Mad Honey by Jodi Picoult
Rating 4.5/5 stars: I devoured this book. This was one of the most recommended books from my reader poll and it was thought-provoking, shocking, and cleverly constructed. I definitely did not see the bomb coming mid-way through. Wow. The audio narration is also outstanding.
Summary: Olivia McAfee knows what it feels like to start over. Her picture-perfect life—living in Boston, married to a brilliant cardiothoracic surgeon, raising a beautiful son, Asher—was upended when her husband revealed a darker side. She never imagined she would end up back in her sleepy New Hampshire hometown, living in the house she grew up in, and taking over her father’s beekeeping business.
Lily Campanello is familiar with do-overs, too. When she and her mom relocate to Adams, New Hampshire, for her final year of high school, they both hope it will be a fresh start.
And for just a short while, these new beginnings are exactly what Olivia and Lily need. Their paths cross when Asher falls for the new girl in school, and Lily can’t help but fall for him, too. With Ash, she feels happy for the first time. Yet at times, she wonders if she can she trust him completely . . .
Then one day, Olivia receives a phone call: Lily is dead, and Asher is being questioned by the police. Olivia is adamant that her son is innocent. But she would be lying if she didn’t acknowledge the flashes of his father’s temper in him, and as the case against him unfolds, she realizes he’s hidden more than he’s shared with her.
Mad Honey is a riveting novel of suspense, an unforgettable love story, and a moving and powerful exploration of the secrets we keep and the risks we take in order to become ourselves.
Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt
Rating 3.5/5: This was a cute, heartwarming, feel-good beach read that I enjoyed but it was a sloooooow burn. I found myself skimming paragraphs and sometimes even pages at a time just to get back to the octopus’s side of this story (which was terrific)! Take my review with a grain of salt, most readers gave this 5 stars and it was one of the most popular reader recommended books from my poll.
Summary: After Tova Sullivan’s husband died, she began working the night shift at the Sowell Bay Aquarium, mopping floors and tidying up. Keeping busy has always helped her cope, which she’s been doing since her eighteen-year-old son, Erik, mysteriously vanished on a boat in Puget Sound over thirty years ago.
Tova becomes acquainted with curmudgeonly Marcellus, a giant Pacific octopus living at the aquarium. Marcellus knows more than anyone can imagine but wouldn’t dream of lifting one of his eight arms for his human captors–until he forms a remarkable friendship with Tova.
Ever the detective, Marcellus deduces what happened the night Tova’s son disappeared. And now Marcellus must use every trick his old invertebrate body can muster to unearth the truth for her before it’s too late.
People Like Her by Ellery Lloyd
Rating 3/5: A disturbing psychological thriller about an influencer stalked by a deranged killer. I went into this one blind and it kept my attention over two days but DANG this book is DAAAAARK and hard to listen to at times. Trigger warnings: All of them.
Book Summary: To her adoring fans, Emmy Jackson, aka @the_mamabare, is the honest “Instamum” who always tells it like it is. To her skeptical husband, a washed-up novelist who knows just how creative Emmy can be with the truth, she is a breadwinning powerhouse chillingly brilliant at monetizing the intimate details of their family life.
To one of Emmy’s dangerously obsessive followers, she’s the woman that has everything—but deserves none of it. As Emmy’s marriage begins to crack under the strain of her growing success and her moral compass veers wildly off course, the more vulnerable she becomes to a very real danger circling ever closer to her family.
In this deeply addictive tale of psychological suspense, Ellery Lloyd raises important questions about technology, social media celebrity, and the way we live today. Probing the dark side of influencer culture and the perils of parenting online, People Like Her explores our desperate need to be seen and the lengths we’ll go to be liked by strangers. It asks what—and who—we sacrifice when make our private lives public, and ultimately lose control of who we let in…
Swipe Up For More by Stephanie McNeal
Rating 4/5: I am a sucker for a good influencer book and this one was well done. The author/journalist did a really good job with her research and it was fun listening to her report the tea and share the experiences, challenges, and successes from 3 of the biggest OG bloggers. If you follow a lot of influencers, are an influencer yourself, or are just interested in peeking behind the scenes in the industry, you will probably like this book.
Book Summary: An unfiltered, colorful romp through the IRL world of influencers that spills the tea on the multibillion-dollar industry of content creation.
If you’re anything like journalist Stephanie McNeal—aka, a millennial woman—you spend hours every day indulging in Instagram’s infinite scroll. The influencers on the platform aren’t just providing eye candy; these tastemakers impact how we cook, consume, parent, decorate, think, and live. But what exactly is going on behind the curtain of the perfectly curated Instagram grids we obsess over the most?
Through intimate, funny, and vulnerable reporting, McNeal takes us through the looking glass and into the secretive real world of three major fashion and lifestyle juggernaut Caitlin Covington of Southern Curls & Pearls, runner and advocate Mirna Valerio, and OG “mommy blogger” Shannon Bird. Swipe Up For More! is based on three years of unprecedented, fly-on-the-wall access that offers a rare glimpse into how these influencers build their empires, struggle with the haters and snarkers, fight for creative control from the tech platforms that enable their businesses, parent in public, and try to look good while doing it.
Along the way, McNeal answers burning questions, Why are there so many Mormon mommy influencers? What is it like to work for a popular influencer? What do they do with all the free swag? How do brand partnerships work? And how much money do they really make?