Welcome to another edition of Style and Savings Reads! This month I read Sourdough by Robin Sloan, The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory, The Turner House by Angela Flournoy and The Herd by Andrea Bartz.
Sourdough by Robin Sloan, 2017 MCD
Short Synopsis: Lois works long, stressful hours at a robotics company, and finds comfort in ordering soup and sandwiches from a local restaurant run by two brothers. The brothers abruptly move away, leaving Lois with their sourdough starter. Lois discovers purpose in and a talent for baking and becomes part of a futuristic farmer’s market.
This book was on my to read list for a few years, and I was reminded of this when baking bread became a trend during quarantine. I thought the commentary of the future of work was interesting, especially the irony of working long hours to program robots that will eliminate work.
“Repetition is the enemy of creativity….repetition belongs to robots”Sourdough, Robin Sloan, page 7
Lois finds comfort in eating the sourdough bread and soup and is driven by the need to take care of a living thing – the sourdough starter she is given. Chef Kate finds satisfaction in feeding people, which reminded me of how until the pandemic, we had lost sight of who the essential workers are and what jobs are most valuable to society. The elder Loises in the Lois club shared things they wished they had done sooner in life and encouraged Lois to pursue baking and crafting the art of sourdough bread full-time. Listening to older people provides a different perspective on life and advice on how to live without regret. Overall, this story is about using savings from soulless high-paying job to to pursue a passion.
The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory, 2018, Jove Books
Short Synopsis: Alexa and Drew meet while stuck in a hotel elevator. Drew asks Alexa to be his pretend girlfriend and last-minute date to his ex’s wedding. Will a pretend date turn into a real relationship?
This is the second Jasmine Guillory book I have read, and both seemed to follow the same formula. I liked The Wedding Date enough, but not as much as I liked Party of Two. I’m not sure sure if I liked Party of Two better because I read it first or because it is Jasmine Guillory’s 5th book and her storytelling has improved. After reading The Wedding Date, I understood why the ladies in the Party of Two book discussion mentioned inconsistencies in Olivia’s character. In The Wedding Date, Olivia was introduced as Alexa’s wild sister, but in Party of Two, Olivia is a cautious, hesitant overthinker and doesn’t like to be in the public eye. As sisters, Olivia and Alexa are very similar characters, they have the same childhood experiences and even the same physical shape & insecurities. Alexa’s leading man – Drew wasn’t as socially aware as Olivia’s love interest, Max, but was still likeable and charming. Generally, I felt like I was reading a variation of the same book, and I enjoyed the comforting predictability of a rom-com.
The Turner House by Angela Flournoy, 2015, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Short Synopsis: Set against the backdrop of 2008 Detroit, the burst of the housing bubble and the start of The Great Recession, siblings in a large family (13 in total) decide whether to keep their childhood home.
The Turner House had also been on my To- Read list for several years and I finally got around to reading it. This book had an overall feeling of gloom and hard times. The story was told from the perspectives of a few of the siblings. and included flashbacks from the the previous generation, from the mother and father’s point of view. I was disappointed that most of the conflicts were left open, but glad that the book ended with the family being together.
The Herd by Angela Bartz, 2020, Ballantine Books
Short Synopsis: Eleanor, the glamorous CEO of a women-only co-working studio was murdered. Just as carefully as she had crafted the aesthetics of her business, she had also cultivated her image. To find her killer, her best friends Katie, Hana, and Mikki must uncover her buried secrets.
I saw a review of this book in one of the past month’s book link-ups and was drawn to the idea of a stylish and feminist workplace. It reminded me so much of The Belle, where Jane becomes a member and Kat finds a new job on The Bold Type. This book also had PLL vibes starring beautiful girls with dark secrets, solving the murder of their best friend (or frenemy).
I was proud that I was able to detect who Eleanor’s killer was before the book revealed this. I was much more surprised by the secondary mystery of what happened while Katie was in Michigan. I loved this book, because it combined a gritty murder mystery with the glamour of a beautiful and exclusive workspace while weaving in additional twists and secrets from the past.
What have you read lately?