Hmmm. I don’t really know how to do this, so I’m just going to tell you what books I’ve read lately and if I liked them. I’m not a great critic, so beware if you have very critical and excellent taste in literary greatness. I am not the gal to come to for recommendations if that is the case. I love good women’s fiction, chick lit if you will – and I only feel comfortable saying that because I want to write chick lit. Scratch that – I am GOING to write chick lit. I have no qualms admitting that I prefer happier endings and maybe even unrealistic stories over real life stuff… because, um I get enough of that in real life. I like to escape! That being said, I have been reading some more “real life” stuff. But just some. Here’s the list.

I know I mentioned these two books in my March favorites, but I had just read them near the end of the month so they are worth mentioning again. I loved, loved, loved Heft. I actually love it more the further I get away from it and reflect on it. Am I the only one that does that? I lose myself so much in books that I constantly think about the story like it’s real life. The other book was Jane Green’s Family Pictures, which I also liked.

Last week I read The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer which I ended up loving. It was another one of those stories that I’ve loved even more as the days have gone on. I was a bit surprised at first because it truly is just the story of a group of friends – their lives spanning a few decades. But if you’ve ever been jealous of a friend, envious of someone close in your life or thought that the grass was always greener, this is an awesome read. I went back and forth between loving and hating the main character, feeling sorry for her and wanting to punch her in the face. It was great.

I read Anna Quindlen’s memoir, Lot’s of Candles, Plenty of Cake. While I’m sure I would appreciate this even more in another twenty years, it was an awesome read. But I mean, I’m a thirty year old who would rather go to a Barry Manilow concert than go out to a bar and get wasted, so take that as you will.

My favorite authors are a toss up between Elin Hilderbrand and Kristin Hannah. I thought that I had read every book that each of them had wrote, but realized that I’d missed The Beach Club which was Elin Hilderbrand’s first novel. I wanted to read it even more then, being an aspiring fiction author and seeing where she was then vereses how far she has come. Super cute read. I love beachy stuff. Also, because of her I am obsessed with going to Nantucket. Someone tell me about this lovely place please.

Two weeks ago I read Arranged, which was another book that Kristen recommended to me. She mentioned it in December when she told me about Heft and thought I would like it since she knows I am interested in writing in that genre. It was also really cute and a very quick read. Fun fun.

Last year I talked about being sucked in to the Gone Girl vortex. While I rarely read mysteries or suspense novels (I’m afraid of the dark. This does not bode well for me.), a few weeks ago I went through both of Gillian Flynn’s other books, Sharp Objects and Dark Places after recommendations from Bev. I enjoyed both, but the latter was definitely my favorite of the three. It had a solid ending (which if you’ve read Gone Girl, you will appreciate) and while not being my cup of tea at all, sucked me in.

The only book I read that I did not enjoy much was The Mystery of Mercy Close. I know that most people love this popular author but for some reason, I just can’t get into her stuff. She is a great writer… just not for me.

At the moment, I am reading The Best of Us and totally loving it. I’m halfway through. After this, I plan on moving on to another novel by the same author, These Girls.

Finally, I can’t even contain my excitement about Kristin Hannah’s new book that comes out on Tuesday, Fly Away. It is a sequel to Firefly Lane, and if you’ve been reading for some time, you know that is one of my most favorite books EVER. If not my all-time favorite. I can hardly wait. My guess is I do nothing all day Tuesday and finish reading it by early evening because I don’t know the beauty in savoring things.

Let’s talk about cookbooks for a second. Three of my good blog friends recently came out with some killer books. This weekend I made some blueberry tequila punch from Lori’s new cookbook, RecipeGirl. As a tequila lover, it was incredible. Her book has TONS of recipes. My friend Heather is putting out one of the most gorgeous (seriously!) cookbooks I have EVER seen. A few weeks ago I made her greek chicken & potatoes for dinner. That girl knows her stuff. Her book won’t officially come out until May 1, but it is definitely worth pre-ordering. And my friend Lisa just came out with an awesome gluten-free ebook, which means it can be yours in seconds. I have no patience, so I like that.

Annnnd that’s a wrap. Everything I’ve read since the end of March. What have you been reading? Oh and the photo up above is just of my desk with some books I like sitting there looking cute.

[note: all of these books were purchased by me because I wanted to read them. some of the above links are amazon affiliate links.]

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69 Responses to “What I’ve Been Reading.”

  1. #
    Gina_AcuteDesigns — April 21, 2013 @ 6:12 pm

    I totally reflect on books I loved and then love them more the more I think about them and discuss them. A god book can get inside your soul like that :). I am going to check out Heft. Thanks for the recommendation!


  2. #
    Averie @ Averie Cooks — April 21, 2013 @ 6:13 pm

    Thanks for sharing all your reads and I knew you read a lot, but I didn’t realize you read THAT much. Don’t know how you find the time to cook, run your blog, do everything else, and read this much. So impressed. And need your time mgmt skills! And yes for chick lit and happier endings. We get plenty of the other stuff in real life as you said!


  3. #
    Milisa @ Miss in the Kitchen — April 21, 2013 @ 6:14 pm

    I hope you do write a book one of these days! I am reading The Light Between Oceans which sucked me in from the get go and Heft is next on my list.


  4. #
    Jenna @ — April 21, 2013 @ 6:19 pm

    So excited for the sequel to Firefly Lane! That’s one of my favorites. I read it every summer. Btw, another book that reminds me of Firefly Lane is Judy Blume’s Summer Sisters. If you haven’t read it, give it a try! Also, for fab chick lit that is even lighter than Kristin Hannah, I recommend Jennifer Weiner. Good in Bed was hysterical. I bet you’d like her.


    • Jessica — April 21st, 2013 @ 6:26 pm

      yes yes! loved summer sisters though it has been years since i read it. love everything jennifer weiner too and have read them all!


  5. #
    Molly @Bakelette — April 21, 2013 @ 6:20 pm

    I am terrified of the dark, especially being outside in the dark. Also your desk stack is adorable! What are those lovely bottles atop the books? :)
    Can’t wait to check out some of these reads!


    • Jessica — April 21st, 2013 @ 6:25 pm

      little perfume bottles! my grandma collected them and also started giving them to me when i was younger for birthdays and holidays, etc, so i have a ton of pretty perfume bottles.


      • Molly @Bakelette — April 21st, 2013 @ 10:32 pm

        Is this Mother Lovett?! She sounds like she was a wonderful and funny woman!
        That is really sweet and great way to hold onto memories!

  6. #
    Kristin — April 21, 2013 @ 6:21 pm

    I LOVE Kristin Hannah, The sequel for Firefly Lane is going to be spectacular. Also Mariah Keyes who wrote The Mystery of Mercy Close wrote a fantastic book called “This Charming Man”! Ok one last recommendation is Angry Housewives Eating -Bon-Bons by Lorna Landvik. Sorry, I love books and we see to have similar taste!


  7. #
    Foodiewife — April 21, 2013 @ 6:21 pm

    I would love to see you on That’s how I discover all the books that I read. Heft sounds like a good listen (I’m an audible addict).


  8. #
    Jenna @ — April 21, 2013 @ 6:22 pm

    My favorite book lately though hands down is Silver Linings Playbook. Definitely worth the read and very different from the movie.


    • Jessica — April 21st, 2013 @ 6:24 pm

      ahhh really?! I was in LOVE with the movie!


      • Jenna @ — April 21st, 2013 @ 6:58 pm

        Yep me too! That movie was awesome. The book was almost as good, very different but so well written! Try it! You’ll love it!

  9. #
    Pam Gardner — April 21, 2013 @ 6:24 pm

    Hi jessica,
    I live on Nantucket. What would you like to know?


    • Jessica — April 21st, 2013 @ 10:13 pm

      um… can i move in? :)


      • Pam Gardner — April 23rd, 2013 @ 4:12 am

        Haha…funny girl. Nantucket is a wonderful place to be. I was born and raised here. After living “off-island” for many years in several different places, I returned to have my children. The older I get, the more I have come to appreciate each season on Nantucket and not just live for Summer. Please, if you ever do plan for a trip to Nantucket, I am happy to give you suggestions or help out however I can.

  10. #
    Ali @ Ali Eats Clean — April 21, 2013 @ 6:47 pm

    I love, love, love Kristin Hannah, but I actually did not like Green’s Family Pictures, Have you read anything by Sarah Jio? I did a book review of one of her books on my blog yesterday (shameless plug), but she quickly became another one of my favorite authors.


  11. #
    Amy — April 21, 2013 @ 7:10 pm

    Thank you! I’m always looking for good book recs and it seems we have similar tastes. I just finished Family Pictures and I liked it alot. Elin Hilderbrand is one of my favorites, I love beach fiction and there’s nothing Iove more than sitting at the beach with one of her books in the summer and read the afternoon away. And how did I not know that there was going to be a sequel to Firefly Lane? gah!


  12. #
    EA Waybright — April 21, 2013 @ 7:14 pm

    I’m excited to start “Gone Girl” sometime soon. I have it, but haven’t started it. I just finished “The Fault in our Stars”, by John Green, and it was amazeballs. I just started “The Silver Linings Playbook”, am starting “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress” by Robert Heinlein, am in the middle of “Birthday Letters” by Ted Hughes, and will be starting “The Bell Jar” next week if I finish “Birthday Letters”.



  13. #
    Megan — April 21, 2013 @ 7:39 pm

    Thanks for the ideas! I loved Gone Girl and Dark Places was the best out of her other two novels (some of the drama in that one took place in my hometown of Kearney, so I felt weirdly excited about that). I just read Firefly Lane for the first time last week and loved it! Reminded me a lot of Beaches.


  14. #
    lynn @ the actor's diet — April 21, 2013 @ 7:52 pm

    I recently finished Gone Girl and was surprised how quick it was to read! I am notoriously slow about finishing books. And, I just finished narrating my first audio book! It’s called “Crazy Rich Asians” and will be out on Random House in June.


    • Jessica — April 21st, 2013 @ 7:53 pm

      ummm omg that is amazing. i want to listen!


  15. #
    Sarah — April 21, 2013 @ 8:08 pm

    I read Night Road by Kristin Hannah and I couldn’t stop reading it. It was so good!


  16. #
    Kim @ Hungry Healthy Girl — April 21, 2013 @ 8:21 pm

    I just read all of Gillian Flynn’s novels too and loved them all. I hope she hurries up with another. Even though I contenplate it a lot, I’ve never read one of Kristin Hannah’s books. Your favorite is going on my “to read” list. Love this post!


  17. #
    Tieghan — April 21, 2013 @ 9:03 pm

    Wow! You read a lot! All of these books just went on my must read list!

    I can not wait to get Heather’s book. It is killing me that I cant have it now!
    Lori’s book is killer!! I have been scouring it for the last couple of days and am in love! Lisa’s book is on on my must buy list! Which means I am headed to buy it now!


  18. #
    Emily — April 21, 2013 @ 10:03 pm

    Um I totally went to Nantucket last summer strictly because I’ve read all of Elin Hilderbrand’s books! I’m obsessed with it and loved seeing the places she mentions in her novels. You need to go. And take me with you!


    • Jessica — April 21st, 2013 @ 10:13 pm

      haha this makes me feel so much better!!


  19. #
    Lisa — April 21, 2013 @ 11:13 pm

    I LOVED Gone Girl. One of the best books I’ve read this year. It was so disturbing and stayed with me so long after the book was over. Currently reading Sharp Objects…another disturbing book. Wow.


  20. #
    Hamayon — April 21, 2013 @ 11:57 pm

    Hey Jessice, I would be very grateful if you will suggest me some romantic books.


  21. #
    Marcie@flavorthemomets — April 21, 2013 @ 11:59 pm

    Love all the book recommendations! I will look through them and surely will come up with a few to recommend at my next book club meeting! I will be reading Jane Eyre as I ordered it today. I sure hope its good!


  22. #
    Katie — April 22, 2013 @ 12:11 am

    Ahhh sequel to firefly lane??!?! Why didn’t know about this so much sooner?? I am so dang excited.


  23. #
    Becca @ Amuse Your Bouche — April 22, 2013 @ 5:26 am

    I just started Dark Places yesterday so I’m glad to hear you enjoyed it! I have Gone Girl on my bookshelf ready to be read as well! :)


  24. #
    Sherrie — April 22, 2013 @ 8:04 am

    I’m not much of a reader myself, but my daughter is! Her old faves are a series by Emily Giffin. I remember her not being able to put them down, which could only mean they’re worth reading. Maybe one day I’ll take up reading, just like my daughter and my mom. :)


  25. #
    Brenda — April 22, 2013 @ 8:22 am

    I just finished reading the “Secret Society Girl: An Ivy League Novel” by Diana Peterfreund. This is a great series you’ll love! This is the first book in the series but do yourself a favor, just get all 4 books. Once you finish the one you’ll have to start the next one. It’s a great series and great chick lit. Seeing what types of books you are reading right now, these are right down your alley. GET THEM! You won’t be disappointed.

    Thanks for all the recommendations. I’m going to Amazon right now!


  26. #
    Julia Kent @ The Domestic Blonde — April 22, 2013 @ 8:36 am

    OMG I just LOVE this! So happy you decided to share. I feel I am a much slower reader than you though! These are my five favourite books from last year:
    I really think you would love One Day! Have you read it yet?


  27. #
    Jodie — April 22, 2013 @ 10:10 am

    Thank you for sharing these! I just requested a ton from my library. you got me hooked on Elin H. last summer and I am also obsessed with going to Nantucket!


  28. #
    Heather Christo — April 22, 2013 @ 10:14 am

    Jeez I need to read more. Thank you for the recc’s! And thank you so much for mentioning my cook book :) XOXO


  29. #
    Michelle — April 22, 2013 @ 10:21 am

    I was going to suggest too! It looks like we have similar tastes in books, so I’d love to keep up with your reading and ratings there. In the meantime, keep em comin on the blog!


  30. #
    Amanda — April 22, 2013 @ 12:47 pm

    I love this post, thanks so much. I received The Island for Christmas and flew through it, loving it. I’ve got a couple trips coming up so thanks for the ideas :)


  31. #
    Maria — April 22, 2013 @ 1:05 pm

    OMG. I love Elin Hilderbrand. Her books are amazing. Makes me want to visit Nantucket (which shouldnt be hard since I live in Massachusetts). Great picks!!


  32. #
    Maria — April 22, 2013 @ 1:06 pm

    and I just realized you mentioned your favorite authors are mine! (Elin & Kristin). :) :)


  33. #
    Maisk — April 22, 2013 @ 1:06 pm

    Please do more book posts, I love it! I am constantly reading, about 2-3 a week! I have tons of recommendations for you if you’re interested…I just finished The Fault in Our Stars (was recommended by a friend) and I loved it. Lot of humor but an underlying sad story. Id love to hear your take! Thanks again! .


  34. #
    Abbey — April 22, 2013 @ 1:08 pm

    Ok, I love love love chick lit. Please tell me you have read the Shopaholic Series? i love all the Sophia Kinsella books. Sarah Mlynowski has a few great books. She stopped writing chick lit though, and now writes mostly teen. But, her books are great. Love Emily Giffin, Lauren Weisberger, Emma McLaughlin, Megan Crane, Kristin Harmel, Candace Bushnell, Anna Maxted, Stephanie Lessing, Jennifer Weiner, Wally Lamb. I have read most of all those authors books, and they are easy reads, total chick lit. I’m with you. Life is serious enough, I need to escape when I read. If you start a chick lit book club in Pittsburgh, I’ll join!


  35. #
    Amanda @ Once Upon a Recipe — April 22, 2013 @ 2:05 pm

    I love this post! I have been looking for book recommendations, so your timing is perfecto. I just finished reading Gone Girl, and while i loved the book (totally sucked me in too), I was really disappointed with the ending. I’ll have to check out Dark Places!


  36. #
    Maggie @ Just a Couple More Pages — April 22, 2013 @ 3:41 pm

    I’ve had Dark Places and Sharp Objects forever and haven’t read them. And I loved Gone Girl. I need to get on those.

    I liked Arranged, and Catherine McKenzie’s two other books, too. The one about the writer pretending to go to rehab, I think it’s called Spin…? I think that one was the best of the three.

    I’m pretty sure I commented with this last week, but if you haven’t you should check out Allie Larkin. She writes amazing chick lit.


  37. #
    gary — April 22, 2013 @ 4:40 pm

    Anne Lamott is a very funny woman. At least a couple of her books are semi-autobiographical.I heard her interviewed on the radio years ago and she was asked if she were concerned that ex boyfriends might sue for libel based on characters in those books. She replied that she guarded against that problem by giving those male characters small penises so the exes would never claim the connection.


  38. #
    Karen — April 22, 2013 @ 4:44 pm

    I hope you do write a book. I love your blog and I think you’re a pretty good writer from that. It’s just my opinion, but I think first books are usually the best.


  39. #
    Dana Bate — April 22, 2013 @ 9:56 pm

    You totally should write chick lit! Who doesn’t love a happy ending? I still can’t figure out why “chick lit” has become a pejorative term. So frustrating.

    Apologies for the shameless plug, but if you like chick lit, and you like Sarah Pekkanen, you might enjoy my book! Chick lit + humor + food = possibly something you’ll enjoy? I’m actually co-hosting a book event with Sarah Pekkanen this Thursday at a bookstore in Arlington, VA. She’s lovely :).

    Also? As a long-time lurker on your blog, I kind of can’t believe this is my first comment. I’ve been making your “Better-Than-Crack Brownies” for years…


  40. #
    Mari — April 22, 2013 @ 10:26 pm

    I totally recommend “The House On Olive Street” by Robyn Carr. Those women are awesome! I love how one runs away from home (from her pig boys/husband) and STAYS away long enough that I actually felt there was some resolution! Nothing worse that a kiss & make up scene two pages later….


  41. #
    dervla @ The Curator — April 22, 2013 @ 10:44 pm

    Ummm, YES you are going to write chick lit my friend. Awesome book suggestions.


  42. #
    Becky — April 23, 2013 @ 7:20 am

    I read “These Girls” in one sitting a few months ago – fantastic! I was just thinking about it the other day and I was frustrated because I couldn’t remember the name of the title. And here it is on your post! Thanks for the memory jog! :)


  43. #
    Jilll Pedley — April 23, 2013 @ 9:23 am

    Like others: I encourage you to join goodreads. It is awesome. Great reviews & a wonderful way to track what your reading. I find it amazing each year to see the number of books I’ve read. If you join: let us know so we can add you to our friends list.

    Just finished Me before You. Based on your lst of likes – you may find it an interesting read. (I could not put it down.)


  44. #
    Liselle — April 23, 2013 @ 10:15 am

    If you love Chick Lit and I know you are in Pittsburgh, you should join the book club I’m in called The Chick Lit Book Club! We read chick lit of course plus what I call Chick Lit with edge. As long as it has a strong female character it’s fair game. We meet in a bunch of different locations – Shadyside, North Hills, South Hills, Sewickley, Robinson and we just added one in Monroeville. Each location reads a different book so you can go to more than one if you want. I go to the ones in North Hills and South HIlls. Go to and look for our book club to see what books we are reading for May. We read These Girls for North Hills in April and I loved it.

    As for books, my favorite book of this year so far is The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult.


  45. #
    Stacy'smom3 — April 23, 2013 @ 10:26 am

    You must read The School of Essential Ingredients and everything else by Erica Bauermeister. Perfect for someone that likes food and chick lit. Also, I would recommend the audio version of Bossy Pants by Tina Fey. She is sooo funny. Not a fan of Gone Girl, but liked Sharp Objects. I also recommend Sarah Jio – the Bungalow was great. Can’t wait to dive into some of your recommendations.


  46. #
    Joanna @ things after the rings — April 24, 2013 @ 4:47 pm

    First of all I want to say that I love the style of this post. I always want to post about the books I’m reading but feel like I can’t articulate well enough what I liked about it or get into a deep analysis of it. But isn’t the point just to share what you’ve read so that others can check them out? Note to self: use this post as a guide.
    I was super excited to see this post because I’ve had an epiphany lately that I need to have a fiction book to read at all times. Something about it just keeps me balanced so I’ve been looking for recommendations.
    What I’ve read lately and enjoyed: The Wednesday Sisters by Meg Waite Clayton (shared some quotes on my business blog here: and The Four Ms. Bradwells by her too. I also would recommend Fury, a tale of a good girl gone ballistic. It’s actually a memoir about a women and how she deals with anger. She mixes in a lot of research about anger and I had quite a few “ah-ha” moments from that.


  47. #
    angela @ another bite please — April 25, 2013 @ 11:09 pm

    i love when people share what books they are reading….i’ve had Heft on my list so i bumped it up next to read!


  48. #
    deb — April 26, 2013 @ 5:31 pm

    Wonderful thread – I LOVE books – books and food and food and books!

    This is a true love story – I highly recommend!
    Feels Like the First Time – by Shawn Inmon

    Also the Ladybug Farm Series by Donna Ball:


  49. #
    Leslie H. — April 27, 2013 @ 8:04 pm

    This list seems right up my alley and I am so excited for some novels in my life. I can see you devour books like I do so I thought I would recommend a fantastic love story that I just read (and perhaps you can add it to your next list!).

    The book is called Shanghai Love, by author Layne Wong ( It is an unlikely love story between a Chinese herbalist and a Jewish refugee looking for safety from Nazi Germany. The herbalist, Peilin, was betrothed to a man who was killed before their wedding but tradition and honor forced the marriage along anyways. She is sent to Shanghai to manage his family’s herbal shop. Shanghai is also Henri’s destination as he has graduated from medical school as Hitler is rising to power. He flees to Shanghai where he’s befriended by Ping, Peilin’s brother. Through her kindness, Henri becomes fascinated with Chinese herbs as well as the exotic culture surrounding him. New surprises emerge throughout the story – it’s an enthralling page-turner! I hope you will give it a read!


  50. #
    Kendra — April 28, 2013 @ 1:31 am

    I love chick lit and books about food combined. Some of the great books Ive read this year are:

    *The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister (LOVED this one) the author lived in Italy for awhile and the way she describes food and love are so passionate.

    *The Last Chinese Chef by Nicole Mones

    *Joy for Beginners by Erica Bauermeister – a woman has battled cancer and sets goals for her woman friends, not about food but so heartfelt

    *All Over Creation by Ruth Ozeki

    *Five quarters of the orange by Joanne Harris (she also wrote chocolat)



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