On My Nightstand: October 2021

Happy November! I think I was more busy at my day job in October than I’ve ever been at work in my entire life, so my reading definitely fell a bit behind my average eight books or so a month. I read three really great books—including several I stayed up late reading, which is always a simple joy of mine—and three pretty meh books, so the month really averaged out.

As is custom on these posts, I wanted to call out that I’m part of a program where Random House will send me some of their new titles each month. I’m under no obligation to post about any titles I receive, so I really can tell you my own opinion (good or bad!) about them. I’ve starred the books Random House sent me for free below. I’m so lucky to be sent books and that’s not lost on me.

Happy reading! x


Eve, Justin, Susie, and Ed have been friends forever. Thursday night trivia is a can’t-miss event for the friend group, and one Thursday, Ed’s longtime girlfriend proposes to him. This sends Eve into a tailspin, as she’s been secretly in love with Ed for years. To try and ease the pain, she texts a casual hookup and ignores her BFF Susie’s texts.

The next morning, though, Ed calls her with horrible news: Susie was hit by a car on her walk home and passed away. In the aftermath, Eve’s whole world is upended—and she discovers secrets she wished weren’t true.

Would I recommend it? This is one of the BEST books I’ve read all year and is definitely my favorite Mhairi McFarlane book to date — she’s a great author to check out if you enjoy Elin Hilderbrand, Christina Lauren, and/or Taylor Jenkins Reid.


I wasn’t super enthralled by the description of this book, so don’t let it deter you if you’re not. Augustus Everett is an acclaimed literary fiction writer, and January is best known for her chick lit best sellers. They have nothing in common, except that they’re living in houses next door to each other for the summer, both suffering from writer’s block. So they strike a deal: Augustus will write a romance novel and January will write an intense work of literary fiction, and whoever sells the most books, wins.

Would I recommend it? I absolutely loved this one—I stayed up late to finish it, which is always one of my simple joys in life. I think I even liked it more than People We Meet on Vacation, which is saying a lot.


Admittedly, I was not familiar with R. Eric Thomas’ work when I picked this one up—and candidly, I think I probably would have enjoyed this one more if I had. I really enjoyed some of these essays—especially the ones about growing up in Baltimore and his mom. Others didn’t hold my attention and had a lot of superfluous conversation in them.

Would I recommend it? I would probably pass unless you’re familiar of R. Eric Thomas’ work already—but I also have friends who really enjoyed this one, so it could just be me!


Piper lives on a small island (think population: 100) in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay. Her husband, a waterman, goes missing and is presumed dead after his boat is found floating at sea. Piper, in her grief, carries on as if her husband is still alive—and the rest of the town goes along with it. All the while, Anders, a young reporter, is assigned to a story about the island’s Cake Walk fundraiser and finds an even bigger story than expected.

Would I recommend it? This book wasn’t the best, wasn’t the worst—I became more invested in the story about halfway through when the plot really started to pick up. As such, I would probably pass on this one.


It’s 1928 and Clara begins teaching at Grand Central School of Art—she has big dreams of becoming an illustrator for Vogue, but can’t override the public’s disdain for her as a “woman artist.” As she finds herself in a love triangle, torn between two men—one a fellow starving artist, and one who can give her the world—the Depression and tragedy loom.

Nearly 50 years later, Grand Central has declined as much as Virginia’s life. Recently divorced and a cancer survivor, she finds work at Grand Central and accidentally stumbles across the old art school. There, she finds a striking water color and goes on a mission to find the artist of the unsigned masterpiece.

Would I recommend it? This book was so good! I liked it as much as I liked Lions of Fifth Avenue, my other favorite read by Fiona Davis.


Lizzie was just diagnosed with cancer and dumped by the guy who she thought she was going to marry. So she decides to take one last lavish vacation with her best friend and his boyfriend. While there, she meets world renowned chef, Dante, and his 12 year old daughter, Etta. While enjoying her time with the pair, Lizzie is confronted with a dilemma — is it right to fall in love if time is short?

Would I recommend it? I wanted to like this book more than I did, but I felt like I knew what was going to happen from the first chapter and that made it really hard to get invested. As such, I would probably pass on this one.

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