Penny's Passion: What I've Been Reading

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

What I've Been Reading

It's time for another Thinking Out Loud Thursday where I share something I'm thinking out loud about and invite you to link up and do the same.  Today I'm sharing what I've been reading!

I always love having a few "real" paper books around, especially to take on vacation.  As much as I love my Kindle, I still love holding a book in my hands.  The Last Thing He Told Me was one of four I purchased last year for my vacation to Alabama.  I didn't get to it then and proceeded to carry it with me on trips to Arizona, Iowa, Kansas, Florida, and then back to Alabama.  It's really made the rounds!  

My rating:  4 out of 5
This story held my interest and there were spots where I didn't want to stop reading.  The story mainly was believable and I did grow to love most of the characters.  The daughter, however, made me a bit crazy!  I would never have had as much patience as the stepmom Hannah did!  

Amazon Summary:
Before Owen Michaels disappears, he smuggles a note to his beloved wife of one year: Protect her. Despite her confusion and fear, Hannah Hall knows exactly to whom the note refers—Owen’s sixteen-year-old daughter, Bailey. Bailey, who lost her mother tragically as a child. Bailey, who wants absolutely nothing to do with her new stepmother.

As Hannah’s increasingly desperate calls to Owen go unanswered, as the FBI arrests Owen’s boss, as a US marshal and federal agents arrive at her Sausalito home unannounced, Hannah quickly realizes her husband isn’t who he said he was. And that Bailey just may hold the key to figuring out Owen’s true identity—and why he really disappeared.

Hannah and Bailey set out to discover the truth. But as they start putting together the pieces of Owen’s past, they soon realize they’re also building a new future—one neither of them could have anticipated.

With its breakneck pacing, dizzying plot twists, and evocative family drama, The Last Thing He Told Me is a riveting mystery, certain to shock you with its final, heartbreaking turn.
Next up was a Kinde Unlimited freebie.  I had heard good things about Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe so I downloaded it for vacation.

My rating:  3.5 out of 5
A cute little story that was great to read on vacation.  Sometimes it was a bit predictable, but the author did throw in a couple twists I didn't see coming.  

Amazon Summary:
Nestled in the mountain shadows of Alabama lies the little town of Wicklow. It is here that Anna Kate has returned to bury her beloved Granny Zee, owner of the Blackbird Café.

It was supposed to be a quick trip to close the café and settle her grandmother’s estate, but despite her best intentions to avoid forming ties or even getting to know her father’s side of the family, Anna Kate finds herself inexplicably drawn to the quirky Southern town her mother ran away from so many years ago, and the mysterious blackbird pie everybody can’t stop talking about.

As the truth about her past slowly becomes clear, Anna Kate will need to decide if this lone blackbird will finally be able to take her broken wings and fly.
The next book was one I actually listened to.  Sometimes I have a hard time listening to books, but The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo was a great listen!  

My rating:  4.5 out of 5
Evelyn Hugo was so intriguing that I had a hard time putting this one down.  The unpredictability made it so enticing!

Amazon summary:
Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one in the journalism community is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?

Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband, David, has left her, and her career has stagnated. Regardless of why Evelyn has chosen her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jump-start her career.

Summoned to Evelyn's Upper East Side apartment, Monique listens as Evelyn unfurls her story: from making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the late '80s and, of course, the seven husbands along the way. As Evelyn's life unfolds - revealing a ruthless ambition, an unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love - Monique begins to feel a very a real connection to the actress. But as Evelyn's story catches up with the present, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique's own in tragic and irreversible ways.

Written with Reid's signature talent for "creating complex, likable characters" (Real Simple), this is a fascinating journey through the splendor of Old Hollywood into the harsh realities of the present day as two women struggle with what it means - and what it takes - to face the truth.
Hardly ever do I finish four books in a month's time, but thanks to us being at the beach for a week I managed it this past month.  The fourth book was one for a book club I'm in.  This month was a classic read and the book chosen was Catcher in the Rye.   

My rating:  2 out of 5
Somehow I had managed to make it through high school and college without reading this classic.  If it hadn't been for the fact that I would be leading the book discussion at book club, I'm not sure I would have finished.  Does anybody love this one?  If so, I'd really like to hear the reasons.  Maybe I missed something.

Amazon summary:
Anyone who has read J.D. Salinger's New Yorker stories--particularly A Perfect Day for Bananafish, Uncle Wiggily in Connecticut, The Laughing Man, and For Esme With Love and Squalor--will not be surprised by the fact that his first novel is full of children. The hero-narrator of The Catcher in the Rye is an ancient child of sixteen, a native New Yorker named Holden Caulfield.

Through circumstances that tend to preclude adult, secondhand description, he leaves his prep school in Pennsylvania and goes underground in New York City for three days. The boy himself is at once too simple and too complex for us to make any final comment about him or his story. Perhaps the safest thing we can say about Holden is that he was born in the world not just strongly attracted to beauty but, almost, hopelessly impaled on it.
Now it's your turn - what are you thinking out loud about today?  Link up and share!

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  1. Shhh, don't tell but I have never read Catcher either. And a lot of the so-called classics as well.
    I thought Evelyn Hugo sounded good. Daisy Jones was all over the place for me...but I enjoyed it. I bet I would like Evelyn, too. I didn't care for the characters much in The Last Thing. And while Blackbird was kind of predictable, I really enjoyed it. And made a black bird pie after reading it.

  2. I always need good book recommendations. Thank you

  3. My son just had to read Catcher last year and while I know I read in it high school I really didn't remember much about it at all.. what an awful and depressing book! LOL. I enjoyed The Last Thing He Told Me though and have the 7 Husbands on my list to be read soon.