The Seven Year Slip

by Ashley Poston
First sentence: “‘This apartment is magical,’ Aunt Analea once said, sitting in her wingback chair the color of robin’s eggs, her hair twisted up with a silver dagger hairpin.”
Support your local independent bookstore: buy it there!
Release date: June 27, 2023
Review copy sent to me by the publisher rep who has definitely got a bead on what I like to read.
Content: There is some swearing, including multiple f-bombs, and a couple of on-screen sex scenes. It will be in the Romance section of the bookstore.

Celemtine’s favorite aunt has just died and left Clementine her apartment. She’s having a hard time with her aunt’s death, and it’s difficult to go home to a place where her aunt had filled with so much life. That is until she opened the door one day to seven years in the past when Iwan was staying in the apartment. (Poston tells you in the first sentence, that the apartment is magical. She meant it!) Iwan is an up-and-coming chef, someone who wants to make it big in the culinary world. But Clementine’s aunt had two rules about the apartment: 1) always take off your shoes. And 2) never fall in love. When you’re in love with someone seven years in the past, finding them in the present is an impossibility. Isn’t it?

Oh, I adored this. I sat down to read just a bit one day and when I came up for air, I was nearly done with the book. Clementine and Iwan are fantastic characters, and I liked how, while this was a romance, it didn’t follow your typical romance book tropes. When you’re playing with time like Poston is here, you open up a whole lot more possibilities and I enjoyed that.

It just was a perfect book to sit and read on a lazy day. And I’m so glad I did.

Audiobook: The Lonely Hearts Book Club

by Lucy Gilmore
Read by Angie Kane
Support your local independent bookstore: buy it there! Or listen at
Content: There is some mild swearing, and talk of death. It’s in the Adult Fiction section of the bookstore.

Sometimes, you need a book that just reaffirms your faith in humanity. That there are good people out there, and that connecting is the best thing. The Authenticity Project is one of those books. As is this one.

Sloane Parker is an unassuming 20-something, who is engaged to a chiropractor, mostly because he’s safe. She works at the Cour d’Alene library, and one of their patrons – Arther MacLachlan – is an old crank, but he and Sloane take to sparring. So, when he doesn’t show up at the library for a few days, Sloane is worried. She risks her job to get Arthur’s address, where she finds him throwing out home nurse aids, having just been released from the hospital. From there both Sloane’s and Arthur’s world expands as they meet, make, and grow some pretty wonderful friendships along the way. And of course: there’s a book club to propel all this along.

Yes, it is a bit mundane, and everyone’s problems are quite ordinary. But, it’s also delightful, especially on audiobook, so you can hear Kane’s brilliant voices embody the characters and make them come alive. It’s sweet and charming and delightful. And sometimes, you just need that.

Mrs. Nash’s Ashes

by Sarah Adler
First sentence: “Rose McIntyre Nash died peacefully in her sleep at age ninety-eight, and now I carry part of her with me wherever I go.”
Support your local independent bookstore: buy it there!
Release date: May 23, 2023
ARC pilfered from the shelves at the bookstore.
Content: There swearing, including a few f-bombs, talk of sex, and some very on-screen sex scenes. It will be in the Romance section of the bookstore.

The plot: Millicent Watts-Cohen has a mission: she is going to reunite some of her dead neighbor’s/friend’s ashes – the Mrs. Nash of the title – with the woman that she fell in love with in the 1940s, who is currently living in an assisted living center in Key West.

She’s at the airport, all set to fly down there, when the flights all get grounded (the reason doesn’t matter). She ends up pairing with Hollis Hollenbeck, a former classmate of Millicent’s terrible, arrogant, back-stabbing ex-boyfriend, and they end up driving from DC to Key West. The way is not smooth – oil spills, suicidal deer, broccoli fests, and lots of paint-by-number Jesus portraits stand in Millie’s way. But, also, along the way she might just learn how to love again.

Oh, this one was delightful in so many ways. I adored the push-and-pull between the ever-optimistic, and slightly weird, Millie and the grumpy, pessimistic Hollis. I loved their banter – and laughed out loud more than once. I’ve often said that I don’t mind sexytimes in a book (and they were very good in this book), but I need to have a plot and some characters that I can enjoy to actually enjoy a romance book. And while this fits the formula of a romance, it was excellent in its execution. It was so very funny, and yet tender and heartbreaking at times. I enjoyed having Rose’s story interspersed with Millie’s adventures, and it made the ending bittersweet and that much more fulfilling. This is Adler’s debut novel, and I’m excited to see where she goes from here.

Audiobook: B. F. F.

A Memoir of Friendship Lost and Found
by Christie Tate
Read by the Author
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Or listen at
Content: There is talk of eating disorders, alcoholism, and swearing, including multiple f-bombs. It’s in the biography section of the bookstore.

In this memoir, Tate deconstructs her friendships with women, from the way she abandoned her high school friends for a (alcoholic, abusive) boyfriend, to the way she compared and sabotaged friendships as an adult. The throughline for all of this was, yes, her group therapy and recovery sessions, but also a woman she calls Merideth. A woman 20 years Tate’s senior with problems of her own that she is recovering from, Meredith became not just Tate’s rock to lean on, but her conscious and guiding hand. 

So what does one do when Meredith is diagnosed with an incurable and advanced form of cancer? How can she deal with being present for Meredith and with her own grief? How can she learn to be better?

I do have to say up front that, assuming all this is true, Tate is remarkably brave for putting it all out there. She is not likable for a good half of the book when she’s talking about how she abandoned friends due to jealousy and anger. She comes across as petulant and insecure, and yes I was judging her until I started really listening and figuring out where I’m like her. She has much to say about friendship, not just her friendships, and I think that part is worthwhile. The second part is Meredith’s decline and death, and I think Tate has a lot of good things to say about supporting people through that – not just the person who is ill, but the people around them as well – and about grief. But, the final section, after Meredith has passed on, where Tate writes letters about her healing and rekindling friendships she had thought she had permanently destroyed – that was the best section. I think it all had to be there, though. You had to get through petulant Tate to truly understand the healing process. 

While I think it’s kind of uneven in spots, it’s worth it for what Tate has to say about friendship, overall.

Audiobook: Lost & Found

by Kathryn Schulz
Read by the author
Support your local independent bookstore: buy it there!
Or listen at Libro. fm
Content: There’s some mild swearing and frank talk of dying. It’s in the Biography section of the bookstore.

The subtitle of this one is “Reflections on Grief, Gratitude, and Happiness” and I think that sums the book up really well. Schulz divides the book up into three parts: Lost, in which she reflects on the death of her father, and the process of grieving him; Found, in which she recounts the story about how she met and came to marry her wife; and And, in which she talks about coming together, and the importance of community. It’s a simple premise, but Schulz pulls it off beautifully.

I first heard about this when one of our Random House reps, Bridget, spoke highly about how this book about grief and loss wasn’t sad but filled her with gratitude for living. And she’s right: yes, it’s a book about loss and grief, but it’s also a book about learning to live with loss and grief, and gratitude for the simple act of living. It’s reflective and poignant and sometimes quite funny. And Schulz is a good narrator; she reads well and is captivating to listen to.

In short: the RH rep was right: it’s one of the best books about loss that I’ve read in a long time.

Audiobook: Thank You for Listening

by Julia Whelan
Read by the author (who happens to be a very excellent audiobook narrator)
Support your local independent bookstore: buy it there!
Or listen at!
Content: There is swearing including multiple f-bombs and some pretty steamy on-screen sex. it’s in the Romance section of the bookstore.

Sewanee Chester was an aspiring actress untl a tragic accident took that off the table. She turned to audiobooks, doing romance unders a pseudonm for a while, but has let that go too, doing more mainstreem books these days. That is until an offer she couldn’t refuse – a dual record with unknown but super steamy narrator Brock McKnight – came along. While she’s heating up the emails and texts with Brock, she still has her mind on Nick, the one-night stand she had in Vegas after a book convention.

Of course there are ups and downs, of course there are high stakes (and low stakes), and of course there is a Happily ever after. But what I thorougly enjoyed about this one is that it was the thing – a romance book – whiile poking fun at all the romance tropes and romance authors and audiobook narrators out there. I love it when the thing is the thing while poking fun at the thing. And this is definitely lots of fun.

I think it was especially fun because Whelan is an excellent narrator, and she did All The Voices, which just made it that much more enjoyable. (In fact, sometimes I wondered if she made certaincharaters the way there wer just so dhe could do that particular voice for them.) I may not have loved it as much if I had just read it, but it was absolutely delightful and hilarious in audio.

I had a hilariously fun time listening to this one. Definitely recommended.

Nona the Ninth

by Tasmyn Muir
First sentence: “In the dream, he told her the words about where he took his degrees his postdoc, his research fellowship.”
Support your local independent bookstore: buy it there!
Release date: September 13, 2022
Review copy snagged from the publisher when it came in.
Others in the series: Gideon the Ninth Harrow the Ninth
Content: It’s violent and sweary. It’s in the Science Fiction/Fantasy section of the bookstore.

Things you should know:

  1. It’s MUCH better if you read Gideon and Harrow right before reading this one. Seriously. I spent so much time trying to remember things, I finally gave up, found a Wiki, and spent time looking up things to remind myself. If you remember stuff from the previous two books, you will better understand and grasp what is going on in this one.
  2. It’s the …. cheeriest? possibly.. of the three so far. Nona is an endearing character and I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with her, Pyrrha, Cam, Palamedes, and all the new characters we met.
  3. I have no idea what the heck happened in the last 1/4 of the book, and I’m not sure I care that I didn’t know. Truthfully: upon reflection, all the pieces were there, I just didn’t catch them. (See, #1.)
  4. Muir blew my mind in the best. way, and I am utterly impressed with her world-building, with her character development, and just the way this story is unfolding.
  5. Bring on Alecto. I can’t wait to see how this ends.

The Honeys

by Ryan La Sala
First sentence: “My sister wakes me with a whisper.”
Support your local independent bookstore: buy it there!
Release date: May 3, 2022
Content: There is swearing, including multiple f-bombs, and descriptions of sexual assault and rape. It will be in the Teen (grades 9+) section of the bookstore.

Mars is a twin, the undesirable twin, the one who lives in the shadow of Caroline, the Chosen One. He/they is gender fluid, doesn’t quite fit the norms of the rich, societied life his parents set out for him. Especially when it comes ot the summer camp, Aspen. Mars had a falling out years ago at the camp, when he pushed back against the gender norms and roles at the camp and hasn’t been back since. So when his sister unexpectedly shows up in the middle of the night, crazy and delious, attempting to kill Mars and then dying herself, he knows something is up. And that something has to tdo with the Honeys.

The Honeys, as he finds out when he goes back to Aspen, are a clique of girls, set apart, yet welcoming to him. At first, seems heavenly, to be accepted and understood by people who also knew and loved Caroline. But the farther he gets in, the more sinister it becomes.

I really had no idea what to expect when starting this. There’s a lot about bees and the way the hive works (most of which I knew from reading The Bees). But it’s also about societal expectations and the ways in which conforming to those hurts individuals. I have a theory that the hive/honey is Capitalism, but it could also be greed and power, both of which teen girls, even white ones from weathly families, have little of. It’s a fascinating study of groupthink and the power of suggestion, and how sometimes good things go bad.

I don’t know if it’s a book for everyone, but it’s a good book, one that will lead to fascinating discussions. I will be thinking about it for a while.


by V. E. Schwab
First sentence: “The master of the house stands at the garden wall.”
Support your local independent bookstore: buy it there!
Release date: February 2, 2022
Review copy pilfered from the ARCs at work.
Content: There’s a lot of narration, and not a lot of external action. It’s mostly an internal book, which may turn off younger readers. It’s in the Teen section (grades 9+) of the bookstore.

This book is many things. It’s about an orphan — Olivia — being summoned to her family’s home (a family she never knew she had). It’s about standing up for yourself, and finding a place in life. It’s about found family, and belonging. The plot is simple: Olivia is in an orphanage, and gets called home to Gallant — where there are secrets she has to uncover.

What it really is, at its heart, is a Gothic Novel. I din’t realize this while I read reading it; I just felt a vague sense of being unsettled while reading. It’s not gory, it’s not “spooky”. There are monsters, but they are shadows in the night, and you don’t really understand them. No, it wasn’t until I was helping my youngest with an assignment on Gothic novels, that I realized that Schwab has capitalized on a main element of the genre: an uncertainty on the part of her main character. She keeps Olivia in the dark to help build tension (and it works) and to give the climax that much more punch (and it works).

It’s a very, very good story told by a very, very good storyteller. I loved it.

Under the Whispering Door

by T. J. Klune
First sentence: “Patricia was crying.”
Support your local independent bookstore: Buy it there!
Content: There is some mild swearing and talk of death. It’s in the Science Fiction/Fantasy section of the bookstore.

Wallace is a partner in his own law firm, successful, powerful, demanding. He is not well-liked, but that doesn’t bother him. He is determined to milk the most out of his employees and works twice as hard as he demands they do. And yet, one weekend, he finds himself strangely outside his body. That’s odd, but what is even odder is when he finds himself at his own funeral, and the only person who can see him is a woman who calls herself his Reaper. That sets Wallace on a very interesting path as he lands at Charon’s Crossing Tea and Pastries with Mei, the Reapers, and Hugo, the ferryman. Wallace sets about trying to figure out his (after)life, and learning how to live and love better than he did when he was alive.

Oh, my heart. I picked this one up when it came out in October and I have been just waiting to have a chance to sit and savor it. And it was just as wonderful — heartfelt, funny, poignant, bittersweet — as I was hoping it would be. Seriously: if you haven’t given Klune’s books a try, do. His storytelling is incredibly affirming, and you can’t help but be happier having read them. I loved his vision of the Afterlife, of what it means to come to grips with your life and death, and just the overall love and care he put into this story.

I will most definitely be reading everything he writes from here on out.