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MALIBU RISING by Taylor Jenkins-Reid

The book of the season has to be Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins-Reid, with its azure ocean blue cover (with surfboards!) and its breezy early 80s California setting. It has been everywhere this summer – BOTM, Read With Jenna, Instagram, on and on. Jenkins-Reid is an automatic-read author for many people, so this book was destined for bestsellerdom. But for me, Jenkins-Reid has been a bit of a mixed bag – I’ve liked some of her books more than others but I never seem to love them as much as other people do (Daisy Jones And The Six, Maybe In

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WHO GETS IN AND WHY by Jeffrey Selingo

I don’t usually read horror books, but I made an exception for this one: Who Gets In And Why: A Year Inside College Admissions by Jeffrey Selingo. I have two high school juniors and am already mired in the fun process of watching my daughters try to get into college. Who Gets In And Why is an in-depth look at how we got to this point in time, where the most selective schools in the

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TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE by Carola Lovering

When Too Good To Be True by Carola Lovering opens, we learn that a couple, Burke and Skye, have just gotten engaged. They haven’t known each other that long, but Skye is head over heels for Burke and is sure that he’s the guy for her, even if her friends and family are a little wary of him. Soon after, we are introduced to Burke’s diary entries, where he chronicles meeting Skye and getting involved

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DO STAND SO CLOSE TO ME by Jeffrey Lee Campbell

The memoir Do Stand So Close To Me by Jeffrey Lee Campbell may have a narrower audience than most books I review on this blog, but here goes. In 1987, while in his early 20s, Campbell moved to New York City from North Carolina to try to make it as a guitarist. Through a series of lucky breaks, Campbell landed a coveted gig as the guitarist for Sting’s band for the Nothing Like The Sun

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RECIPE FOR A PERFECT WIFE by Karma Brown

Is a book set half in the present and half in the 50s historical fiction? The 50s don’t seem long enough ago to be considered “historical”, right? I am going to call Recipe For A Perfect Wife by Karma Brown contemporary fiction. It’s about two women who live in the same house in a Westchester suburb: Nellie, a housewife in the 50’s trapped in a marriage to a difficult, volatile man, and Alice, a young

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CONFESSIONS ON THE 7:45 by Lisa Unger

After my very slow reading March, I decided to kickstart April with a thriller to get myself back in the reading game. I’ve had Confessions On The 7:45 by Lisa Unger on my nightstand since Christmas, tempted by this irresistible plot: a woman takes a train home from the city one night, confessing to a stranger that she saw her husband having sex with their nanny on their webcam. A few days later, the nanny

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WE RUN THE TIDES by Vendela Vida

We Run The Tides by Vendela Vida has many things I like in a novel. Coming-of-age story? Check. Elusive friendships? Definitely. 80s setting? In San Francisco? Even better. In the end, though, it wasn’t quite what I expected. I liked it, but it was sort of a strange book. Why I picked it up: We Run The Tides has been on my radar since I picked it for our Winter Preview show on the podcast.

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BETWEEN TWO KINGDOMS by Suleika Jaouad

Part of my reading slowdown in March was due to Between Two Kingdoms by Suleika Jaouad, which is a very good book that happened to take me a long time to get through. It’s a memoir about Jaouad’s diagnosis of leukemia in her early 20s, the years of intense treatment she endured, and her life post-treatment. The titular “two kingdoms” comes from Susan Sontag, who coined it to represent the kingdom of the well and

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THE BAD MUSLIM DISCOUNT by Syed Masood

Ok, I finished a book in March. Finally. My first read of the month (yes, it’s March 20) was The Bad Muslim Discount by Syed Masood. A recent release that’s gotten a lot of buzz, it’s the story of two Muslims – one traditional and devout, one modern and non-devout – whose lives cross paths in San Francisco. I am not sure what I was expecting, but The Bad Muslim Discount turned out to be

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Reading Slump

I haven’t posted for two weeks. Crazy! It’s the 18th! What is going on??? I am in a reading slump. I have no idea why. I am surrounded – literally – by books that I am excited to read. I am in fact in the middle of three books that I am really enjoying! For whatever reason, I am having trouble reading. Pandemic fatigue, new rescue dog in the house, kids back in school, TikTok

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MY DARK VANESSA by Kate Elizabeth Russell

It has taken me a few days to get my thoughts together about My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell. Written over the course of 20 years starting when Russell was 16, it’s the story of the sexual relationship between Vanessa and her English teacher, Mr. Strane, and the hold that relationship had on the rest of Vanessa’s life. My Dark Vanessa was written long before #MeToo, but its publication was certainly timely, as it

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LANDSLIDE by Susan Conley

Reading Landslide by Susan Conley is like walking into someone else’s very stressful life, which you may or may not want to experience. Jill is a middle-aged woman living with her husband Kit and two teenage sons in Maine, where Kit is a commercial fisherman and Jill makes documentary films. When the book opens, Kit has been seriously injured in an accident on his boat, and he is in a Nova Scotia hospital several hours

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BECOMING DUCHESS GOLDBLATT by Anonymous

I just finished an interesting memoir called Becoming Duchess Goldblatt, which was penned by an anonymous author. It’s about a woman who, facing a divorce, single parenthood and the loss of her father, decided on a whim to launch a Twitter account under the name of an alter ego: Duchess Goldblatt. She started posting smart, wry tweets that address the bittersweet nature of life, and slowly but surely amassed a devoted following. (Her account now

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GOODNIGHT BEAUTIFUL by Aimee Molloy

Sometimes, you’re just in the mood for a thriller. Goodnight Beautiful by Aimee Molloy has an intriguing premise. Sam Statler and his newlywed wife Annie have moved from Manhattan to upstate New York so that he can be closer to his mother, who is in a nursing home with dementia. Sam is a psychologist and sees patients from an office in the basement of a grand, old house. Annie, who was a professor in Manhattan,

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THE PUSH by Ashley Audrain

I started reading about The Push by Ashley Audrain long before it came out last month, and I was admittedly a bit apprehensive to read it. (When a book is compared to We Need To Talk About Kevin – one of the most disturbing books I’ve ever read – and Baby Teeth, well, you proceed carefully.) But then the glowing reviews starting pouring in, with people talking about how hard it was to put down,

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THE GIRLS FROM CORONA DEL MAR by Rufi Thorpe

Isn’t it funny how you can make an impression – wrong or right – of a book just based on its title? I picked up The Girls From Corona Del Mar several years ago knowing only that it was a book about friendship, and I assumed that it was going to be a gauzy, possibly retro read about the ups and downs of a relationship between two Southern California girls. But I read Thorpe’s latest

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