Welcome to Quick Lit where I share books that I chose for my own reading enjoyment in a mini-review format. These are not books I received for review, but books that I’ve been wanting to read or that have caught my attention. Most of them have been talked about ad nauseam or have been on my to-read list for a long time so they don’t really need a full review. But, I’d still like to give them some space here on the blog, so instead, I’m offering mini-reviews of the books that won’t get full-page space here.
I’ll be linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy and her monthly Quick Lit link-up. Be sure to head over to see others share their Quick Lit posts. This post contains affiliate links. Click here to read more about that.
I’ve been subbing nearly every day in the last month and if I’m not subbing it’s because I had a prior commitment. Our weekends have been full of activities as well which is great but not so great for my reading life. I seem to have very little time to devote to reading. I’m currently on a trip visiting family, but I’m looking forward to some airplane reading time when I return home.
I recently reviewed NOT THAT FANCY, the new memoir/cookbook/lifestyle book by Reba McEntire. I’m nearly finished with THE SIX about the first 6 women astronauts and MRS PORTER CALLING, the 3rd in the Emmy Lake Chronicles for review. I’ve started watching The Crown due to my recent readings about the Royal Family. I’m also super excited that Call the Midwife Season 12 and The Great British Baking Show are back on Netflix and will be bingeing them soon! I also watched the first 2 episodes of Lessons in Chemistry. Even though there are some differences between the show and the book I still think I’m going to love it.
Here’s What I Did Finish in the Last Month
By: Jenny Jackson
Narrated by: Marin Ireland
Published: March 7, 2023
Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books
Format: Audiobook through Libby
Most of us can never imagine what it would be like to have millions of dollars. To attend lavish parties or have a house so big that we don’t even go into all the rooms. If you’d like to be a fly on the wall with one of these families, then PINEAPPLE STREET is the novel that will let you see that even the elite families aren’t perfect, money doesn’t solve all your problems and sometimes it causes them.
If you are looking for a propulsive plot to pull you through this story, you won’t find it. This is totally a character-driven story. Readers are given an inside look at the Stockton family and all their outrageous opinions, indulgences, and loyalty to one another…unless you are the outsider. Sasha married into the Stockton family and feels like she can’t win…ever. No matter what she says or does, she is looked down on by the family. The Brooklyn Heights gossip, the lavish parties, and their powerful careers may not be enough to keep the members of this family happy though. They aren’t immune to tragedy and sadness just like the rest of us.
I enjoyed this one and felt like there was enough going on in the character’s lives to not miss a shocking plot to keep me interested.
THE SAINTS OF SWALLOW HILL
By: Donna Everhart
Published: January 25, 2022
Publisher: Kensington Books
I love being taken back in time in a novel where I can learn something about a place and time in our history. I know very little about turpentine, how it is collected, and what it is used for. Set in the Carolinas and Georgia during the Depression, readers are taken back to a time when money was scarce and people were desperate for jobs. Women were seen as only good for housework and had very little value in society, much like African Americans. Even though they weren’t considered slaves, they were given the worst jobs and if didn’t perform well enough, they were treated harshly.
Everhart is talented at crafting characters that readers will root for and hate as well as putting you in the time and place by her descriptions. Fans of unique historical fiction stories will appreciate this story of people who take desperate measures when life hands them a curve ball.
A Play in Three Acts
By: Thornton Wilder
Published: Originally 1938
Publisher: Coward McCann, Inc
OUR TOWN really wasn’t on my radar until I heard Ann Patchett’s new novel, TOM LAKE is similar to OUR TOWN. I was intrigued and decided to read it before I read the new Patchett novel. Luckily, I was able to get a copy for very little money at Half Price Books. It’s a quick read and I loved the small town setting. I felt like I could envision the characters on the stage as they traveled through childhood, marriage, and eventually death. OUR TOWN is folksy, endearing, and thought-provoking. It took me back in time and yet is still timely enough to read today.
“The day’s running down like a tired clock.”
By: Ann Napolitano
Narrated by: Maura Tierney
Published: March 14, 2023
Publisher: The Dial Press
Format: Audiobook through Libby
Several months ago, I was lucky enough to be given a mini-matching quiz with Anne Bogel of the popular podcast, “What Should I Read Next” as part of being a Patreon member. I told her 3 books I loved and she gave me a couple of book recommendations. This book was one of her recommendations. I have not read DEAR EDWARD, but I have watched the show on AppleTV and enjoyed it.
This book features the Padavano family that lives in Chicago. The book is told in alternating chapters between the various characters, the Padavano sisters and William the young man who marries one of the sisters. There are four sisters in this family and as you can imagine, they are very close. The book is likened to LITTLE WOMEN which I noticed a little bit, but as a whole, not really. As one of three sisters and a fan of sister/sibling stories, I thought for sure this would be a hit with me. But, at 21% in, I wasn’t so sure and considered DNFing. Since I trust Anne Bogel’s recommendations, I stuck with it and am glad I did. This might have actually been better as a physical book rather than an audiobook. Maura Tierney is an amazing actress and has a soothing voice, but leaves the narration rather blah, especially when you are dealing with such interesting characters. I would have preferred more inflection and character voices.
“Thank you for everything, Mom.” he said. Mom hurt his throat on the way out; he’d rarely used the term – his own mother had seemed to prefer he call her nothing at all, so he’d done that. The word had long been dormant, covered with rust, inside him.
From the loss of a parent to mental health issues to the dissolution of a marriage, this family has gone through a lot. Some of the family members will move on and remove themselves from the tentacles of their family while others become closer than they even were as children.
I became more invested in the family after the halfway point and found myself quite emotional over the happenings in the lives of these special characters. Though there isn’t a major plot to pull you through the novel, you have to trust that being part of the Padavano family is enough to keep you interested.
The author’s acknowledgment pages are also really special. I loved her reason for the title and setting of the novel.