My Girlish Whims Book Club #28

Hello and welcome back to my channel!

Oops, wrong social media outlet. I definitely don't have a YouTube account but have always wanted to say that, lol. Realistically I feel like I'm a terrible blogger as well these days - I much more prefer the easy-to-share diary on Instagram but for situations like book reviews where I need some more space to type, I love dragging the good ole' blogger blog platform out to share my thoughts with you guys!

Here's a super recap up of what I've been up to since my last round up of books I've read!
After we got back from our last trip to Chincoteague we only had a few days at home before heading off on our next trip. We worked from home, hit up the gym a few times (nothin like working out in a mask during a global pandemic!) and I frantically did laundry and tried to get my life together before our next trip.


During that time I started reading An American Marriage,  but as soon as we got to Philly airport to set off on our next trip to NANTUCKET, I knew it was time to pause that one and read a little something more fitting for a trip to the Island.

So I tucked my kindle back into my carryon and pulled out Summer People  - signed by THE one and only Elin Hilderbrand, and read that book for the rest of our trip to Nantucket!

We had such a fun time in Nantucket.  Coronavirus definitely changed the experience, but it still felt nice to be away from home in such a quaint little town.  They don't call it the "gray lady" for nothing though - it was literally cloud EVERYDAY we were the but the first day! Luckily our flight to Boston was on time, we hit very minimal traffic driving to Hyannis, and we caught an earlier ferry so we arrived in time to sneak a little beach time in on our first day in town!


This picture was taken at Steps Beach which was just SO beautiful. The ocean was calm, there were tons of shells laying around, and it was the perfect beach experience to kick off out trip (and make use of the only sunny day we were there - lol).


Luckily I don't need a sunny day to wear a sun dress OR to have a good time. Our next full day we were in Nantucket I woke up earlish and went for a 45 minute jog around Nantucket to get my bearings for where we were staying mid-island. The island really is pretty small - in 45 minutes I was able to do some exploring and find the downtown and make it back to the Air BnB. Going for a jog has always been one of my favorite ways to explore new places - you never know what kind of views will you find.  Granted, it's pretty easy to find some gorgeous views like this when you are staying on such a picturesque island like Nantucket!


After my jog I made it back to the Air BnB with time to spare before we have bikes delivered to do some more exploring! We used Easy Riders who was located mid-island near us but they actually will come deliver bikes to wherever you are staying.  Since we didn't have a car this trip and UBER was kind of touch and go because of COVID, it was nice to have another option to get around! We biked around to do some more exploring - I lead the way downtown this time with hubby since I was such a pro at getting around after my jog (lol) and we eventually ended back up at Island Kitchen for brunch close to our house.  See that orange drink up there? Yeah, it's a "Fromosa" with is supposed to be an elevated version of a mimosa: champagne mixed with OJ sherbet instead of juice.  It made for a cute picture but unlike many things on Nantucket that I think are worth the price, it basically tasted like $15 worth of watered down cheap champagne, so save your drinking pennies and only order food here - LOL. 


Speaking of saving your pennies: the rest of our day was pretty chill! We decided to bike out to Cisco Brewers which was about a half hour{ish} ride away.  I say {ish} because unlike my jog downtown, I had no idea how to get there and tried listening to google maps spew directions from the basket of my bike at me while biking along in Nantucket, so it took one or two wrong turns to get there, lol.  BUT! Low and behold we arrived! And once again because of COVID (damn pandemic) and a holiday weekend it would have been a 1.5-2 hour wait JUST to be seated.  So, I did what any self respecting/slightly wine obsessed individual would do: I put my mask on, grabbed a bottle of rosé to go, plopped it in my bike basket, and biked right back home again.


On July 4th the actual holiday we had the most beautiful walk with friends on the 'Sconset Bluff Walk. We had tried to find this on our last trip to Nantucket when we biked 18.5 miles there and back (we did not realize it was that far!!!) but had no clue where to find the actual bluff walk when we arrived in Sconset.  Luckily this time we had a local with us (hi Rebecca!) and it was so cool to see all the huge houses, amazing flowers, and hazy views looking out at the ocean.


For dinner on July 4th we splurged on a fancy dinner downtown at Cru. The lobster rolls here are just SO delicious. This restaurant is located right next to the harbor in Nantucket so it's got a great setting to be able to people watch and look out at some pretty boat views too!


Our last full day in Nantucket was another cloudy and overcast day, but we decided to venture to the beach anyway.  We packed up some beach chair backpacks and hopped back on our bikes to bike over to Surfside beach which was MUCH different then Steps beach.  This beach was a lot larger and had more waves unlike the calm water at Steps beach.  Both were nice, but there was no swimming in the ocean this day for me, it was more of a plop-down-in-the-beach-chair-with-your-towel-as-a-blanket-for-warmth and read a good book in a pretty setting kind of day :)


SO: was this one a good book??? Let's get to my full reviews and find out!


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An American Marriage

By Tayari Jones. Synopsis from Amazon:

Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. Roy is arrested and sentenced to twelve years for a crime Celestial knows he didn’t commit. Though fiercely independent, Celestial finds herself bereft and unmoored, taking comfort in Andre, her childhood friend, and best man at their wedding. As Roy’s time in prison passes, she is unable to hold on to the love that has been her center. After five years, Roy’s conviction is suddenly overturned, and he returns to Atlanta ready to resume their life together.

This stirring love story is a profoundly insightful look into the hearts and minds of three people who are at once bound and separated by forces beyond their control. An American Marriage is a masterpiece of storytelling, an intimate look deep into the souls of people who must reckon with the past while moving forward—with hope and pain—into the future.

This book gave me a lot of emotions. It’s going to be hard to review without giving away any spoilers, so I’ll stick the to basics. First and foremost, the author is a very talented writer. I admire her skill, but this book also reads a little more in depth than some of the more “fluffy” books I’ve read. She’s big on imagery and comparing things. Sometimes she wrote in such a way that I really didn’t know what was happening next until it happened and I had to re-read sections to make sure I didn't miss anything. She’s not big on details but more on moving the plot and emoting what the character is feeling. It was an enjoyable literary change up for me.

Subject matter wise: at the heart of the story it’s about an innocent black man named Roy who gets thrown into jail for a crime he didn’t commit. It’s painful to read how the justice system failed him and painful for me as a white reader to try and understand how this can also happen way too often in real life as well. The story continues to develop while Roy is in prison and eventually gets out and how his marriage evolves and struggles throughout it. This is not a happy book, but a heart-wrenching and thought provoking book. It made me feel the feels, made me think about racism, about the covenant of marriage, and a lot of other things and overall I’m really glad I read it.

One to Watch

By Kate Stayman-London. Synopsis from Amazon: 

Bea Schumacher is a devastatingly stylish plus-size fashion blogger who has amazing friends, a devoted family, legions of Insta followers—and a massively broken heart. Like the rest of America, Bea indulges in her weekly obsession: the hit reality show Main Squeeze. The fantasy dates! The kiss-off rejections! The surprising amount of guys named Chad! But Bea is sick and tired of the lack of body diversity on the show. Since when is being a size zero a prerequisite for getting engaged on television?

Just when Bea has sworn off dating altogether, she gets an intriguing call: Main Squeeze wants her to be its next star, surrounded by men vying for her affections. Bea agrees, on one condition—under no circumstances will she actually fall in love. She’s in this to supercharge her career, subvert harmful beauty standards, inspire women across America, and get a free hot air balloon ride. That’s it.

But when the cameras start rolling, Bea realizes things are more complicated than she anticipated. She’s in a whirlwind of sumptuous couture, Internet culture wars, sexy suitors, and an opportunity (or two, or five) to find messy, real-life love in the midst of a made-for-TV fairy tale. In this joyful, wickedly observant debut, Bea has to decide whether it might just be worth trusting these men—and herself—for a chance to live happily ever after.

I really enjoyed this book.  It was a fun summer read that made me smile every time I cracked it open. I like that this book stood up for body positivity and focused on a plus-size Instagram influencer.  The backdrop of having it set on a dating show was a really fun theme in the book - I loved getting to read about all the dates and drama Bae went through during the show process. The tongue-and-cheek commentary about the show throughout the book from dialog from other shows, tweets, and online articles was a fun touch as well  The only thing I didn't like about this book was how insecure Bae was at times.  She is supposed to be this bad-ass babe standing up for being larger than average who literally has a huge Instagram platform that she uses to share that, but so often during the book she was constantly self-conscious and over analyzing everything.  I guess all of us women are a little insecure at times, but as someone in a similar situation to Bea (not being on a dating show - lol - having a platform with followers that look up to you) I wished she would have been a stronger character for believing in herself and her worth throughout the book and not only figuring it out at the end.  The ending was a liiiiittle bit predictable, but overall it was still a good book.  I would definitely recommend giving this one a read!

   The Wives

By Tarryn Fisher. Synopsis from Amazon:

Thursday’s husband, Seth, has two other wives. She’s never met them, and she doesn’t know anything about them. She agreed to this unusual arrangement because she’s so crazy about him.

But one day, she finds something. Something that tells a very different - and horrifying - story about the man she married.

What follows is one of the most twisted, shocking thrillers you’ll ever hear.

You’ll have to grab a copy to find out why.

I have a weird fascination with polygamy.  Not a fascination like I want to be a sister wife myself (lol - figured I should clarify) but I loved watching the fictional show Big Love and the real life show Sister Wives on TV because I just find it so intriguing!! I was excited for this book when it first came out because it had a lot of hyped up reviews.  I did enjoy this book, but it was not exactly what I was expecting.  It's hard to review it properly without giving things away so I will keep it simple.  The book did continue to keep me guessing, and I did enjoy the author's writing style.  I will say certain elements of the plot were not the most original storyline, but even with that being the case I was still intrigued to keep reading and interested to see how it ended. I wish she would have added in a little more character background because I feel like that would have helped us connect and emote better to the characters (particularly Seth, Thursday, and her father), but it was a pretty short and fast read.  I didn't see the ending coming, and would still recommend reading this one!

Summer People

By Elin Hilderbrand. Synopsis from Amazon:

Every summer the Newton family retreats to their beloved home on Nantucket for three months of sunshine, cookouts, and bonfires on the beach. But this summer will not be like any other. When Arch Newton, a prominent New York attorney, dies in a plane crash on his way home from a business trip, his beautiful widow, Beth, can barely keep things together. Above all, though, she decides that she must continue the family tradition of going to Nantucket, and at the same time fulfill a promise that Arch made before he died.

Beth invites Marcus, the son of Arch's final and most challenging client, to spend the summer with her and her teenage twins, Winnie and Garrett, who have mixed reactions to sharing their special summer place with this stranger. Always a place of peace before, Nantucket becomes the scene of roiling emotions and turbulent passions as Marcus, Winnie, and Garrett learn about loss, first love, and betrayal. And when they stumble upon a shocking secret from Beth's past, they must keep it from destroying the family they've been trying so hard to heal.


Alright: first and foremost you all know that I love me some Elin Hilderbrand, so no one @ me for this review.  While the book was fine, it's an earlier novel of hers that just doesn't stand up in story, character and plot as much as some of her other books.  Not a bad book, just not a great one.  I picked this one up when I first visited Nantucket.  I was lucky enough to get to meet up with Elin in person to have her sign a book so I needed to buy one for her to sign! I grabbed this one at a bookshop in Nantucket on a whim since I had not read it before. This book had a sad premise from the start: Beth's husband just passed away in a tragic accident and the family is trying to cope with healing from his loss and escapes to Nantucket for the summer to do so.  I tend to like her novels that focus more on the drama and storyline of the adults, and Beth really wasn't the main character here - most of the storyline followed the kids (well, young teenagers) in this book.  I probably connected most and enjoyed Marcus's story best - the other kid's stories just seemed a little youthful/superficial/not worth writing an entire book over.  All the drama over Beth's "secret" was just overblown for me as well.  Meh.  I love love love Elin Hilderbrand books, but this one was just a miss for me! If you are going to read an older novel of hers I always love and recommend The Blue Bistro best (reviewed here).

It's been AGES since I've been able to met up with my local book club (ya know, a world pandemic kinda really sucks for social activities) but last week we *virtually* got together on zoom again which is better than nothing.  We read An American Marriage for our pick this time around, so we spent about 5-10 minutes discussing that, and then the rest of the time just catching up on life in general, hah! Keeping my fingers crossed that things become more safe in the future for us to met up together again in person for another book club soon.  For now I'll just keep looking at my fun outdoor social distance trip pictures from Nantucket to get me through :)

1 comment

  1. I enjoyed seeing your Nantucket photos, Rebecca. It is such a wonderful place. My husband's nephew is working as a personal chef there this summer and enjoying the experience. I also enjoyed your book reviews--some good ones I want to look into!

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