Category Archives: No Pie Mentioned

Mouth to Mouth

Thoughts by Antoine Wilson , Harper Collins Publishers 2022, 248 pages

Challenge: TOB

Genre/Theme: Adult Literature / Mystery-Thriller?

Type/Source: Tradeback / Purchased at Indie bookstore

What It’s About: Our narrator runs into an acquaintance from college and they have a drink (or ten) while waiting on delayed flights. The college dude tells everything that has happened to him since they last saw each other.

The quick plot – and I must say the that the format of the story as a retelling is part of the “WHA?!“- do we trust this guy? Why shouldn’t we? Anyway, he graduates and thinks he is going to marry his long time sweetie but she dumps him. He’s morose, goes to sit at the beach before dawn and wa la! Someone is drowning. Our dude saves him, then stalks him, then gets a job in the guy’s art gallery, then falls in love with the guy’s daughter. Till finally, they go on a ski trip and someone (the guy, the drowning survivor) does NOT survive an incident – a heart attack? on a challenging slope. The end.

Not quite.

Thoughts: Storms the castle! Charms the Queen – Marries the Princess – Becomes the King. (I think it was Ruthiella who described the plot in this way.) I was quite liking this through most of it; as I encountered interesting (high-falutin’) vocabulary choices and the curious way the story was unfolding. But wham-O! Not sure what I think of the ending. It felt . . . cheap, somehow.

Rating: I think I first-impulse gave this 4 stars in goodreads, NOPE — it shows I didn’t rate it at all. But my personal google sheet track shows 4. I’m resetting to 3.

Copyright © 2007-2023. Care’s Books and Pie also known as and originally created as Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.


Now is Not the Time To Panic

Thoughts by Kevin Wilson, Harper Collins Publishers 2022, 248 pages

Challenge: #ReadICT category time

Genre/Theme: Adult Literature / Childhood friendship, Coming of Age

Type/Source: eBook / Libby

What It’s About: Frankie is 16 and never been kissed. She doesn’t have any friends but unlike what you might expect, she is not a sniveling feelin’-sorry-for-herself, annoying wretch. She is just perplexed. She meets a new kid at the pool during the first week of summer vacation and they hit it off. This also, is rather perplexing. Is he a boyfriend? What do they “DO” exactly? Well, it turns out they secretly spawn mayhem and world confusion! It’s called ART, people! Of course, most don’t get it. And they are not about to attempt to explain.

Also, subnote, Frankie has a half-sister that was given her name. Yep, her dad had an affair, left her mother, spawned a child, a girl, and gave her the SAME NAME as his already born living now-abandoned daughter. I find this perplexing and F%&#-up.

And when Junie burst into the room, holding a half-full box of Milk Duds, absolutely zooted on sugar and instantly explaining the plot of the movie they just saw, I thought, Oh, thank god.

Thoughts: I adore Kevin Wilson. He is an excellent story builder; with lovable smart characters. He adds some delicious comedy but keeps it real. Loved this.

Rating: I think I first-impulse gave this 4 stars in goodreads, but as I write this, I think I just might have to give it a big ol’ FIVE. Hey, it has Oatmeal Creme Pie snacks, so why the hell not?

“I decided I wanted some of those Little Debbie snack cakes, and my mom brought over two boxes, Star Crunch and Oatmeal Creme Pies, and I ate two of each very quickly, and for some reason this made my mom smile.”

Copyright © 2007-2023. Care’s Books and Pie also known as and originally created as Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

The Book of Goose

Thoughts by Yiyun Li, Macmillan Audio 2022, 9 hours 2 minutes, narrated by Caroline Hewitt

Challenge: for TOB 2023

Genre/Theme: Adult Literature / Childhood friendship

Type/Source: Audiobook / Audible

“SOMETIMES YOU HEAR PEOPLE say so-and-so has lived well, and so-and-so has had a dull life. They are missing a key point when they say that. Any experience is experience, any life a life. A day in a cloister can be as dramatic and fatal as a day on a battlefield.”

What It’s About: A French woman who married an American and moved to the US, never had children, tended to her garden and her geese… receives a letter that drops news from the old village that her childhood Fabienne died in childbirth. She reminisces and shares the story of her relationship and adventures with Fabienne. I probably missed some things because I wasn’t captivated by it at all.

Thoughts: I decided about half way that I didn’t care for the characters and I didn’t care what happened to them, as I wondered really where the story was going. So I skipped through the chapters and sampled some words, connected a few dots along the way, listened to the end and said FINIE!

Rating: Two slices of pie. No pie mentioned. I’m sure this went over my head and I failed to give it proper due. I was not in the mood for a meandering mean girl tale. Many reviews compare this to My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante. I wasn’t enamored by that one, either. It’s me.

Copyright © 2007-2023. Care’s Books and Pie also known as and originally created as Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake

Thoughts by Anna Quindlen, Random House Trade 2012, 205 pages

Challenge: What’s in a Name: Celebration category

Genre/Theme: Essays, Family and Motherhood, Aging, Feminism

Type/Source: Tradeback / Second Hand Bookstore Purchase

What It’s About: Anna shares her thoughts on aging. She is so insightful and hopeful.

“At age 60 I find myself poised between the inevitable and the possible, the things I know and understand and the things I hope to learn and perhaps unravel. But it’s still a bit of a mystery, the yet to come, with that greatest of all mysteries, mortality, at its very end.”

Thoughts: She talks a lot about family and her place in the progression of time. Also her timing into the American workforce balanced with the progression of the women’s movement. And, considerate of being thankful that she lived past the age her mother died, and in the realization of how much her mother missed by dying young, and also the perspective of how her mother’s death impacted her appreciation of life ongoing. I was especially thankful and admiring of her essay on religion.

Rating: I don’t think I was cognizant of her use of the the title in the text, nor do I think she ever mentioned pie. Five slices of pie because I love her. And the cover makes me happy.

Copyright © 2007-2023. Care’s Books and Pie also known as and originally created as Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

The Slow March of Light

Thoughts by Heather B Moore, 2021, 10 hours 54 minutes

Narrated by: Stephen Graybill and Christa Lewis

Challenge: What’s in a Name: Speed category

Genre/Theme: Adult Fiction, Berlin/Cold War, Based on a true story. Inspired by real events.

Type/Source: Audiobook, Audible

What It’s About: Bob was a senior in college, majoring in economics with dreams of moving on to law school, when he was drafted into the US Army. The year was 1959. After basics in Oklahoma and proving more than competent in shooting, he is sent to a US base in Germany. He is voluntold into the spy game and is eventually captured, enduring 4-5 months in a GDR communist prison camp.

Before impersonating a US economics student studying post-war economics with a German professor who regularly travels into East Germany, he meets a German nurse named Luisa who through circumstance, personal moral courage, and her determination to get her grandmother out of East Berlin, becomes a resistance fighter.

We get his side of the tale and hers. This is a historical post-WW2 story documenting the building of the Berlin Wall. If communism doesn’t scare you, read this.

Thoughts: Despite the note on my gr progress that I found it to started with few emotional hooks and that it felt rather fact-based more than emotional-story, I ended up liking this very much. I cannot but admire the faith and convictions of Bob and also Luisa; I loved their friendship, I was very touched by the ending. A really lovely story that hit hard in a good way and at the right time.

Rating: Five slices of pie.



Olga Dies Dreaming

Thoughts by Xóchitl González, Flatiron Books 2022, 349 pages

Challenge: Recommended by a friend.

Genre/Theme: Adult Fiction, Puerto Rico Independence, American Dream Pursuit

Type/Source: eBook/Libby Library – 14 day loan

Rather than be irritated, she thought, she should focus on the infallible hilarity of the ultra-wealthy to be penny-wise when it came to compensating human sweat, and dollar-foolish when it came to everything else. She shouldn’t be irritated at all, she counseled herself, and instead laugh her way to the bank.

What It’s About: Olga is a high-achieving owner of a wedding planning business to the wealthy of NYC. Her every move is calculated to take advantage of opportunities to make money and gain status. Her brother is a US Representative from and for Brooklyn. Their father is dead from HIV drug-use and their mom is a fugitive revolutionary-mercenary.

New York had a shocking way of spiraling into chaos whenever met with precipitation, as though the entirety of its infrastructure was actually made of sugar and the water triggered dissolution.

Thoughts: I won’t lie, this was hard to get into. The first third had me pushing myself to keep reading and I wouldn’t give myself permission to DNF because a friend recommended it to me. A friend that I greatly admire. Then I began to wonder, ‘What *IS* this? a love story? A whodunnit tale of treachery? (I was worried that the romantic interest was going to be a bad guy — spoiler: he is a good guy.) A family drama child abandonment story? or an incitation to Revolution, on the part of Puerto Rico?

Yes, and I support PR being granted statehood. The status of this island and these citizens is unjust; to be dependent and taxed, without representation.

She was less uncomfortable than she thought she would be, the realization of which made her uncomfortable.

However, all the stories do come together and I admire this as an author’s strong debut, in mostly– for me– what it accomplishes and addresses, a passionate statement in support of Puerto Rico. I learned a lot more about Puerto Rico.

If your rights are less because you’re born in one place, not another, how meaningful are those rights in the first place?

Rating: Four slices of pie.



Giovanni’s Room

Thoughts by James Baldwin, Vintage Books/div of Random House 2013 (orig) 1956, 169 pages

Challenge: Classics Club 50, part 2 & #BookSpin for January

Genre/Theme: Adult Fiction / Americans in Paris

Type/Source: Tradeback / Purchased Indiebookstore

What It’s About: Wow.

Since I have no idea how to approach a review, I’m going to provide the Jhumpa Lahiri quote on the back of the book:

A novel of unique emotional intensity and exceptional beauty, hypnotic intimate, harrowing. A portrait of a man torn between a woman and another man, groundbreaking for its time, it remains a transcendent novel.”

Thoughts: Gorgeously written. So many layers.

Rating: Four slices of pie. No pie mentioned.



Beautiful World, Where Are You?

Thoughts by Sally Rooney, Farrar, Straus and Giroux 2021, 356 pages or 10 hours 3 minutes

Narrated by Aoife McMahon.

Challenge: TOB 2022

Genre/Theme: Adult Fiction

Type/Source: eBook AND Audiobook from Libby

What It’s About: I’m going to be lazy and share the blurb from goodreads which I might assume is from the publisher? [Yes, I think so?]

Alice, a novelist, meets Felix, who works in a warehouse, and asks him if he’d like to travel to Rome with her. In Dublin, her best friend, Eileen, is getting over a break-up and slips back into flirting with Simon, a man she has known since childhood. Alice, Felix, Eileen, and Simon are still young—but life is catching up with them. They desire each other, they delude each other, they get together, they break apart. They have sex, they worry about sex, they worry about their friendships and the world they live in. Are they standing in the last lighted room before the darkness, bearing witness to something? Will they find a way to believe in a beautiful world?

Thoughts: Do I think they are standing in the last lighted room before darkness? No. Will they find a way to believe in a beautiful world. Yes. Yes, I am thinking positive.

Simon kind of drove me up the wall. Alice was slightly intriguing. Eileen less so. Felix amused me but I am not sure he would be someone I would want to know personally. He does like dogs, so he has that going for him.

I found this very readable. I read it wondering more about why some love it and why some don’t. Lots of sex. Lots of philosophy on morals and how the world-is-going-to-pot. Explores art, the meaning of art and why beauty exists. And yet, it felt like watching someone have those conversations rather than being there experiencing the conversations. It wasn’t transportive. [Huh, I’m being told that isn’t a word.] What do I mean? I mean that it made me feel like an older person watching a different younger generation deal with things without giving me the feeling that I’m right there, too. I can have sympathies, but I wasn’t transported to feel the experience.

…a recondite joke requiring familiarity with several other internet jokes in order to be even vaguely comprehensible,

Rating: Four slices of pie. No pie mentioned.

….compassionate attachment to purely fictional people—from whom we obviously can’t expect to derive any material satisfaction or advantage—is a way of understanding the deep complexities of the human condition, and thus the complexities of God’s love for us.

Like good stationery, heavy pens, unlined paper, they represented to her the possibility of imagination, a possibility so much finer in itself and more delicate than anything she had ever managed to imagine.

He stood in the doorway while she went searching in one of the presses. She looked around at him.

huh? how do you “Look around” and also “at”?


The Mermaid Chair

Thoughts by Sue Monk Kidd, Viking 2005, 336 pages

Challenge: What’s in a Name: Mythical Being or #ReadICT: Mythology (6)

Genre/Theme: Adult Fiction

Type/Source: Hardcover / Library Bag Sale 2021

What It’s About: — An empty-nester SAHM is unhappy. She finds her place in the world diminished and unsatisfied. In the process of rescuing her mom who is suffering from odd behaviors, she moves back to her hometown/island, has an odd affair with a monk, solves a mystery or two, and discovers the artist within. Ultimately, she rescues herself and her marriage.

Thoughts: In my quest to read everything by Sue Monk Kidd, because I really enjoyed her thoughts about how she came to write The Book of Longings (my review May2021), I set this book as my First Book this year. Mostly because I had just lifted it off the shelf to fit the WiaN category. It fits my other big challenge so Big YAY.

I couldn’t quite bring myself to go that far — all that paddling around in the alphabet soup of one’s childhood, scooping up letters, hoping to arrange them into enlightening sentences that would explain why things that turned out the way they had. Revoked a certain mutiny in me.”

(early in the book, when her husbands suggests she talk to a therapist.)

Knowing that the reviews on this book are mixed, I went into it with lower expectations, with a certain curiosity versus and hope-to-enjoy, if that makes sense? I did feel to me, that she set up her plot and then made it happen, but it misses that spark of something created out of nothing. It felt like a collection of thoughts and then-this-happened, etc. Plus, the main character is hard to like or feel anything for, unfortunately. Her assisting cast also felt stereotypical. However, it was readable and I didn’t mind my time in the story. I was curious about her mom and what really happened to her father. The spiritual questioning and awakening stuff wasn’t very convincing yet at the same time, I appreciated how she created her sentences. I won’t deny her writing skills.

This is a sophomore effort, coming off her best-selling debut, The Secret Life of Bees, which I read pre-blogging. She has kept at it and, as mentioned above, her latest is terrific and very brave, original. Now I will dive into her memoirs — I think I might enjoy these the best.

Rating: Three slices of pie. No pie mentioned.



Anxious People

Thoughts by Fredrik Backman, Atria Books 2020,(orig 2019), 352 pages

Translated from Swedish by Neil Smith.

Challenge: Book Club choice for November

Genre/Theme: uh…. I don’t know. Where do these fit?

Type/Source: Hardcover / Library

What It’s About: It is essentially a down-on-your-luck story that interweaves an entire cast of these stories into a bank-robbery-attempt and then inadvertent-hostage-situation thing. While exploring what drives people to do desperate things while being good people. And maybe, aren’t we all just good people trying to survive? and wouldn’t it be lovely if we remember to be kind?

Ok, the first half or so is tedious. People being tedious and professionals NOT being professional and a lot of the author talking to the reader and LOTS of repetition. Hey this is about a bank-robber! Wait, is it? HEY!! this is about people standing on a bridge!!! Ten years ago! OH, but don’t think about then yet; think about cookies.

Um… OK. Can we get on with this, please?

Eventually, we get to know the hostages and figure out all the details that support what we (the readers) think probably happens/happened. Chapter 58 was good – it had a lot of book references…

Laughter is expressing your defiance against despair.

Rating: Three slices of pie. No pie mentioned. (Unless pizza pie will count? This has pizza!)

Copyright © 2007-2022. Care’s Books and Pie also known as and originally created as Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.