bunch of great reads for the month of April!!! I’ve been so excited to do my monthly book round up because I really liked so many of the books I read. (It doesn’t happen as often as I’d like, especially lately.)

Without further ado…

HUNT, GATHER, PARENT by Michaeleen Doucleff

4/5 Stars

I haven’t read too many parenting books and I’ve actively tried to avoid reading many. Instead, I choose bite-sized podcasts with experts, or just advice from my friends/family, or just simply trusting my gut. Hunt, Gather, Parent kept popping up on my radar and I saw that it was available in the Scribd library, so I decided to give it a try. Like every parenting book, some resonated with me and some did not resonate with me… but overall I really liked it The premise of this is looking past “modern” parenting advice and turning to what ancient cultures can teach us about parenting. It opened my eyes to a lot of things and had a lot of “tools” we can implement as parents to raise good kids with good attitudes. Poor Mike hasn’t heard me shut up about it– I’m getting him a copy so he can read it too!


2.5/5 Stars

Honestly, did not care for One Italian Summer at all. It was quite short and I struggled to connect with any of the characters. I also generally can suspend disbelief when reading books, but I had a hard time doing it here. (If you read Rebecca Serle’s In Five Years, it has a similar “time traveling” element.) Even if the plot wasn’t my thing, I was also hoping for more… I don’t know immersive descriptions? I love reading about Italy and was hoping to get swept away by the novel and transported to the Italian coast and I just wasn’t.

PLAYING WITH MATCHES by Hannah Orenstein

4.5/5 Stars

LOVED this fun, light read. It’s a rom-com about the daughter of a mail-order bride becoming a matchmaker in NYC. It was just a joy to read. The main character Sasha navigates her new matchmaking career while juggling her own dating struggles as a 20-something in New York. I loved reading about her quirky clients and her budding summer romance. (Great pick for a beach read.)


4/5 Stars

Another gem from Casey McQuiston (author of Red, White, and Blue and One Last Stop). It’s a great book for young adults/teens. I’m probably not the target demo, but I still enjoyed reading this! Think a modern day Breakfast Club meets Pretty Little Liars with an LGBTQ+ spin. Personally, I loved that the book celebrated a modern-day coming of age story featuring two teens competing for the valedictorian spot in their high school class, while fighting their small southern town’s prejudices… and helping their friends along the way too.

MARY JANE by Jessica Anya Blau

4/5 Stars

LOVED this coming of age novel about a girl named Mary Jane who is hired as a summer nanny. She finds herself torn between the quirky family who hired her and her very uptight parents. There’s a ton of personality and a heaping dash of rock and roll. You know those books with characters that come to life so vividly and quickly that you find yourself totally hooked from the start? That’s this book. Another great summer read.

SISTERS FIRST by Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Pierce Bush

4/5 Stars

When I found out that I was getting to moderate a discussion with Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Bush, I felt like I needed to get prepared for the interview by reading the memoir that they wrote together. I loved getting a peek into their personal lives. I’m sure I’m not the only one fascinated by twins and twin relationships! I really liked how the book was set up– it’s written more like personal essays in their own voices (they take turns).

I realized when putting together this post that I forgot to share that I read Facing the Mountain in March!

FACING THE MOUNTAIN by Daniel James Brown

Boys in the Boat is one of favorite books and I was really looking forward to reading this one. Funny enough, I got a copy of it as a Christmas gift for my father in law and he gave me a copy of it for Christmas too– we both loved Boys in the Boat! I will say, I didn’t have as much of a personal connection to Facing the Mountain, but as always Daniel James Brown is just an incredible storyteller. It wasn’t long before I was swept up into the story. It’s about Japanese American heroes fighting in World War II. I was overcome with emotion throughout most of the book, between the way the Japanese people were treated and the sheer heroism of the young boys fighting for their country.


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Glad you had a good reading month, I’ll have to check out that last one! If you are interested in the topic any more, I would recommend Midnight in Broad Daylight by Pamela Rotner Sakamoto— it’s a true story about a Japanese American family that was split up during WWII with brothers fighting on both sides. I read it for a class I took on the changing nature of American citizenship throughout history and it was really fascinating and emotional at times.


I COMPLETELY agree about One Italian Summer. I was so excited for it, and ended up so disappointed. I can also usually suspend disbelief (even with time travel), but just COULND’T for this book. 🙁


I read (on audio) Brown’s “The Indifferent Stars Above” about the Donner Party and was blown away by his talent for telling these true stories. Highly recommend that one too (and while it was hard to listen to at times, it wasn’t gruesome. Very respectfully done.)


It’s interesting to read your take & the comments about One Italian Summer- I loved the book but I now wonder how much of that was my personal connection to the story. My parents have been going to Positano since the 1970’s- I’ve been once so between my own memory & the yearly hundreds of photos my mom shows me 🙂 I knew so many places described in the book. I wonder now if me being transported was because I can envision it so clearly vs. descriptive writing.

This year was also the first year my mom went since my dad died, so that emotional tug was definitely there.

I will say that the ending was a bit of a letdown – I’m interested to read now what other people thought!