Thanks to Ann’s “food and friendship” June Online Reading Challenge, I finally read Sourdough by Robin Sloan, and it surpassed all my expectations and MAY have been better than Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore…
We meet Lois as she moves to San Francisco, wooed by a tech company’s promises of a glamorous, meaningful, and lucrative career programming robots. And then we see her weighed down by a monotonous, workaholic life where the only food that doesn’t upset her stressed stomach is the company’s nutrition gel, Slurry. Until, that is, she discovers a family-owned business that will deliver soup (“double spicy”) and sourdough bread (homemade) at all hours – and she knows peace again. All too soon, the brothers have visa issues and have to leave. But they leave Lois their sourdough starter, and she’s forced to learn how to feed it and bake with it. Somehow this leads her down a path of smiling loaves, reading hipster baking books, building her own brick oven, auditioning for farmers’ markets, butting heads with food gurus, and teaching robotic arms to crack eggs. And maybe she’ll figure out the life she wants along the way.
This book was addictive to read, tugging gently on the heartstrings and written with dry, matter-of-fact humor. Lois’ journey is a heartwarming climb out of dystopia toward contentment and fulfillment by working with her hands. Surprisingly, it’s almost a retelling of Voltaire’s Candide, with a relative innocent swept into unexpected adventures, inadvertently examining the cost of ambition and what really makes a happy life.
If you need a tasty, hopeful read where light shenanigans ensue and many friends are made, you should read this book.
My genre of choice over the last couple of years has been of the psychological and suspense thriller variety. Each are memorable in their own way with the expected twists and turns. The First Mistake by Sandie Jones is a standout in this genre for the usual reasons, but the twists and turns at the end had me exclaiming out loud with shock and disbelief by asking myself how this twist could be possible!
The story begins with successful businesswoman Alice who seems to have it all – a great interior design firm that she founded, a gorgeous home outside London, a dedicated husband and two typical teenage daughters. But Alice’s life had not always been so perfect. Her first husband’s tragic accident weighs heavily on every aspect of their lives, from the business that Alice and her first husband started, to their teenage daughter that they shared (who was a toddler when her father was taken away). In her free time, Alice makes time for her best friend, Beth, whose children attend the same school.
Alice is juggling a potential career changing interior design commission along with her home life, when she starts to notice a change in her husband, Nathan. Distant and secretive, Alice is convinced that he is having an affair. With evidence that she cannot ignore, Alice confides her suspicions to Beth that something is not right with Nathan. Alice soon learns that Beth’s background is just a tumultuous. As secrets are shared, Alice wonders if Beth is all that she seems and if she is hiding something.
If you are a fan of this genre, add The First Mistake by Sandie Jones to your list. You may think that you have the plot figured out but I am confident that when the final twist arrives you will be exclaiming out loud as well!
The One & Only by Emily Giffin is a book about family, whether it be your biological family or the family that you are raised with. Shea Rigsby has lived in Walker, Texas her entire life. After graduating from college, she even decided to stay in town and work in the athletic department at her alma mater. The thought of leaving her beloved hometown never even occurred to her.
Her best friend Lucy’s father, Clive Carr, is the head coach of the Walker college football team, a legend within both the coaching and local communities. He and his wife served as a second set of parents to Shea after her own parents divorced and her mother had a breakdown. Tragedy hits the Carr family, leaving them all reeling and Shea wondering if she is really happy with the way her life is going.
Breaking up with her slacker boyfriend, Shea finds encouragement from Coach Carr and decides to look beyond Walker to expand her life. New relationships and old relationships weave a messy web all around Shea, forcing her to leave her comfort zone and do things she never thought she would do. This book is truly chick lit with some serious football lingo thrown in. If you are fans of Emily Giffin or enjoy chick lit, check this book out.