Hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

Side Jobs by Jim Butcher – This is a series of short stories in the Dresden Files world. There is a novella at the end that takes place after a book I haven’t read yet. I managed not to read that novella. Yes, I’m feeling very virtuous.

Luncheon of the Boating Party by Susan Vreeland-  This is the fictionalized story of the painting by Renoir. All of the models have been identified so the author weaves their stories together with what was going on in the French art world at the time.

The Four Ms. Bradwells by Meg White Clayton – Mia, Betts, Laney and Ginger have been friends since the first day of law school in 1979.  Now Betts is nominated for the Supreme Court and Laney is running for Congress. During the confirmation hearings for the Court, Betts is asked about a death that happened at Ginger’s family’s summer house while they were all visiting. The four friends flee the press by heading back to that house for the weekend. They need to decide what to say. What really did happen that weekend?  They all have doubts that the death was really an accident but who is going to ask the questions first?

This book was a little slow for me. It told the story with flashbacks mixed in with present time told in all four points of view. I just wanted them to get to the point.

You Know When The Men Are Gone by Siobhan Fallon-  This is a collection of short stories about life on a military base when the soliders are deployed. I’m not a huge short story fan and this is my second book of them this week. These were very good. She writes about infidelity, about wives deciding to leave injured soliders, about kids coping with war, and about the problems of men readjusting to home life.

Rag Man by Pete Hautman – Mack started a business with his partner Lars and everything is going well until Lars runs off with all the money. When Mack and Lars next see either other Lars ends up dead. Mack decides to live his life like Lars would do it – with no moral code. Suddenly he is making all kinds of money but his personal life is falling apart. What happens when a good man decides not to live by the rules anymore?

I wasn’t crazy about this book. The premise was good but it was fairly predictable.

How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life by Kaavya Viswanathan – Opal Mehta’s parents have had a plan to get Opal into Harvard since she was conceived. Step 1 – Move to the US from India. Now Opal is a starting her senior year of high school, is fluent in four languages, president of every club, taking every AP class, and even knows how to weld. The plan is flawless until the first question in her early acceptance interview at Harvard is “What do you do for fun?” Opal breaks down and her parents make a new plan – How Opal Will Get A Life (HOWGAL). They study teen movies and TV shows, buy her designer clothes, and even organize a wild party at their house in an attempt to make their daughter into a smart AND popular girl.

This book was funny but it got a little bit too much into the predictable Mean Girls territory. When it veered away from that into the family dynamics it was original and fun.

Where I am reading update — Illinois, France, Michigan, Texas, Minnesota, New Jersey