book reviews

(For the 50 Books Challenge list, click here.)

Book Review: The Lying Game

Book Review: The Lying Game

Already on a Ruth Ware roll, I decided to finish all five of her books and read The Lying Game ...
Book Review: Three novels by Ruth Ware

Book Review: Three novels by Ruth Ware

I didn't immediately jump on the Ruth Ware bandwagon after reading In a Dark, Dark Wood back in 2016. I ...
Book review: Behind Her Eyes

Book review: Behind Her Eyes

I love a story with a good twist. Better yet, I love a story with several good twists. I enjoy ...
Book review: We Need to Talk About Kevin

Book review: We Need to Talk About Kevin

I've had this book on my shelf for a while, and when a BookTuber I follow selected it as the ...
Book review: I Found You

Book review: I Found You

I'm not sure if double or triple timelines is a trend that authors are choosing independently or if literary agents ...
Favorite books I read in 2018

Favorite books I read in 2018

In 2017, I settled into a genre that doesn't seem to be waning. I've always enjoyed a good whodunit, but ...
Book review: The Last Mrs. Parrish

Book review: The Last Mrs. Parrish

The quickest way to describe this book to you is to reference "Single White Female" and point to that level ...
Book review: The Ruin

Book review: The Ruin

Twenty years ago the body of Hilaria Blake was found in her home. An apparent overdose left her two children ...
Book review: I'll Be Gone in the Dark

Book review: I’ll Be Gone in the Dark

I'm late on this review, but it is not a reflection on its quality. I listened to it on audiobook ...
Book review: The Lady in the Tower

Book review: The Lady in the Tower

One of my favorite historians is Alison Weir. Not only is she thorough and detailed, but she writes in a ...
Book review: Burntown

Book review: Burntown

Burntown has been on my TBR (To Be Read) list since I heard about it. Already a big fan of ...
Book review: Frankenstein

Book review: Frankenstein

One of the perks of developing my own English class for our co-op is selecting works I love and think ...
Book review: Magpie Murders

Book review: Magpie Murders

My experience with The Word is Murder was so delightful that I immediately investigated other Anthony Horowitz novels and selected ...
Book review: The Word is Murder

Book review: The Word is Murder

If you are a fan of Sherlock Holmes, whether the original Doyle stories or the Benedict Cumberbatch show, then The ...
Book Review: Lying in Wait

Book Review: Lying in Wait

Since I have another half marathon coming up - in a few days, no less - I've kept on with ...
Book Review: The Secrets She Keeps

Book Review: The Secrets She Keeps

Now that half marathon training exceeds an hour (and nears two), I'm in the market for wholly absorbing thrillers to ...
Book Review: The Anatomy of Dreams

Book Review: The Anatomy of Dreams

Well, they can't all be perfect. I've been on a roll with books lately, devouring one right after the other ...
Book Review: Something in the Water

Book Review: Something in the Water

Catherine Steadman is a British actress known for her role as Mabel Lane Fox in season 5 of Downton Abbey, though ...
Book Review: The Immortalists

Book Review: The Immortalists

It's 1969 in New York City's Lower East Side when the Gold siblings - Daniel, Varya, Klara, and Simon - ...
Book Review: Sometimes I Lie

Book Review: Sometimes I Lie

I resolved to write this book review before diving into other things because I simply must implore you all read ...
Book Review: A Faint Cold Fear

Book Review: A Faint Cold Fear

I am slowly making my way through a stack of borrowed Karin Slaughter books, but goodness gracious almighty, I have ...
Book Review: Astonish Me

Book Review: Astonish Me

I've had this one on my shelf for a couple of years, waiting for the pull to read it. I ...
Book Review: 12 Rules for Life

Book Review: 12 Rules for Life

This book was born out of Jordan Peterson's knack for answering questions on Quora. When asked, "What are the most ...
Book Review: The Taming of the Queen

Book Review: The Taming of the Queen

On the morning of the Royal Wedding, I felt a strong pull back to an early literary love of mine ...
Book Review: The Wife Between Us

Book Review: The Wife Between Us

I've shied away from reading books with titles that have been directly marketed. Yes, all titles are designed to spark ...
Book Review: Blindsighted

Book Review: Blindsighted

After reading Pretty Girls, I knew I wanted to explore more of Karin Slaughter's work. Happily, one of my besties ...
Book Review: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

Book Review: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

It is only May, but I could easily give you my five favorite books of 2018, Eleanor Oliphant included. I ...
Book Review: Pretty Girls

Book Review: Pretty Girls

Occasionally I'm drawn to historical fiction, high brow literary works, and out-of-the-box fantasy, but my mainstay is a true crime ...
Book Review: The Story of Reality

Book Review: The Story of Reality

I began my Lenten reading with The Story of Reality, which was a throwback to the narrative of my early ...
Book Review: The French Girl

Book Review: The French Girl

I listened to The French Girl on Audible since I've settled in to audiobooks during long runs. (It's wonderful how ...
Book Review: Homegoing

Book Review: Homegoing

(This review was originally published on The Same, an online literary journal for women, by women.) Every once in a ...
Book Review: The Trespasser

Book Review: The Trespasser

In her sixth book from the Dublin Murder Squad, Tana French hits it out of the park again. I think ...
Book Review: Parable of the Sower

Book Review: Parable of the Sower

Before The Hunger Games, the Divergent Series, and The Maze Runner, there was the Parable of the Sower. Unlike today's ...
Book Review: Armada

Book Review: Armada

I've been adamant about my love for Ready Player One, not only listing it as one of my favorite books ...
Book Review: Artemis

Book Review: Artemis

It's been a long time since I didn't finish a book, but look at me now, not finishing this book ...
Book Review: The Dinner

Book Review: The Dinner

Every time you pick up a new book, you're taking a tiny risk. Have you wasted your $3 at the ...
Book Review: Killman Creek

Book Review: Killman Creek

Killman Creek picks up where Stillhouse Lake ends. Resolved, but not. However, this time Gwen Proctor isn't on the run ...
Book Review: Fates and Furies

Book Review: Fates and Furies

I am late to this book, but it's been on my radar since coming out in 2015. The title was ...
Book Review: Stillhouse Lake

Book Review: Stillhouse Lake

How good it feels to have a book in your hands that you can't put down! Stillhouse Lake is a ...
Book Review: There Will Be Stars

Book Review: There Will Be Stars

I hung in there for 395 pages because I was sure there was going to be a big reveal. I ...
Book Review: The Man Who Smiled

Book Review: The Man Who Smiled

Since I enjoyed Faceless Killers so much, reading a second Henning Mankell book was an easy choice. The Kurt Wallander ...
Five Favorite Books I Read in 2017

Five Favorite Books I Read in 2017

I chose poorly in 2017, which is perhaps why I was unable to reach my 40-book goal this year. (I’m ...
Book Review: Faceless Killers

Book Review: Faceless Killers

A few years ago I caught a show on Netflix called Wallander starring Kenneth Branagh as the Swedish detective. It ...
Book Review: Island of Lost Girls

Book Review: Island of Lost Girls

After reading Winter People and The Night Sister last year, I resolved to read all of Jennifer McMahon's work. Both ...
Book Review: A Column of Fire

Book Review: A Column of Fire

In 2007, I was the young mother of a one and four-year-old. I wrote a column for our city paper, ...
Book review: The Child Finder

Book review: The Child Finder

Private investigator Naomi is in a specialized field: she finds lost children. Sometimes they are still alive, and occasionally they ...
Book review: Ready Player One

Book review: Ready Player One

The year isn't close to being over, but I already know Ready Player One will be on my Top Five ...
Book Review: All the Missing Girls

Book Review: All the Missing Girls

When Nicolette (Nic) returns to the small North Carolina town where she was raised to help manage the sale of ...
Book Review: A Study in Charlotte

Book Review: A Study in Charlotte

I'm not generally a fan of Young Adult fiction, which is why I barely made it through the first book ...
Book Review: The Black Banners

Book Review: The Black Banners

I finished this book in late May and completely forgot to review it here. I know most of you who ...
Book Review: Bill and Hillary: The Politics of the Personal

Book Review: Bill and Hillary: The Politics of the Personal

If you know me, then you know I was #NotWithHer during the 2016 presidential election. I had the privilege of voting ...
Book Review: Hillbilly Elegy

Book Review: Hillbilly Elegy

Though released in June 2016, it wasn't until after President Trump was elected in November that I started hearing about ...
Book Review: Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald

Book Review: Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald

Reading this book was an act of magnetism because I've been drawn to the Lost Generation writers and their work since ...
Book Review: No Wonder They Call Him the Savior

Book Review: No Wonder They Call Him the Savior

I unearthed Max Lucado's 1986 book to read during Lent because I've been craving the story of the cross. In ...
Book Review: The Great Divorce

Book Review: The Great Divorce

After the cluster that was my Searching for Sunday reading experience, I craved a literary touchstone so spiritually challenging that I'd be knocked right ...
Book Review: Searching for Sunday

Book Review: Searching for Sunday

If this reads like a break-up letter, that's because it is. Rachel won't receive it, and that's fine. Her pool ...
Book Review: Hidden Bodies

Book Review: Hidden Bodies

First, an English lesson: Deus ex Machina ("god from the machine") is a literary device often used when the writer has ...
Book Review: Birdman

Book Review: Birdman

After reading The Devil of Nanking last year, I sought out Mo Hayder's entire collection because I knew she was ...
Book Review: The Good Girl

Book Review: The Good Girl

Instead of reading a paper book, I listened to this one (for free) in audiobook format. It's not my favorite ...
Book Review: Everything I Never Told You

Book Review: Everything I Never Told You

Lydia Lee is dead. It is 1977 in rural Ohio and she is the middle child of a mixed race ...
Top Ten Favorite Books of 2016

Top Ten Favorite Books of 2016

In 2015, I read 53 books, verifying to myself that I could, indeed, read 50 books in a year. For ...
Book Review: The Snow Child

Book Review: The Snow Child

I'm working on a post about the favorite books I read this year, and I was about 30 pages into The Snow ...
Book Review: Tell the Wolves I'm Home

Book Review: Tell the Wolves I’m Home

There is much to say about this book, but in the interest of not spoiling it for the reader, I'll ...
Book Review: The Night Sister

Book Review: The Night Sister

In London, Vermont, there's a small motel off of Route 6 that used to be the go-to place for travelers ...
Book review: The Winter People

Book review: The Winter People

This book was so good I read it in two days. Then I found a second book by Jennifer McMahon ...
Book Review: The Forgotten Girls

Book Review: The Forgotten Girls

I've been on a kick of needing complete escapism, and for me, that means mystery, thriller, murder, scary, and what ...
Book Review: The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

Book Review: The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

I assigned this book for my literature and creative writing class at the co-op, and I'm so glad I did ...
Book Review: The Drop

Book Review: The Drop

Dennis Lehane might not be an author whose name you recognize, but you know his work. Mystic River, Gone Baby ...
Book Review: In a Dark, Dark Wood

Book Review: In a Dark, Dark Wood

For Leonora, going to a hen party isn't her cup of tea, but when an old friend from a decade ...
Book Review: Her Fearful Symmetry

Book Review: Her Fearful Symmetry

To officially welcome my favorite month, I started October with a ghost story written by Audrey Niffenegger (author of Time ...
Book Review: This is where I leave you

Book Review: This is where I leave you

In the span of a short time, Judd Foxman's marriage falls apart and his father dies. He's living in a ...
Book Review: From the Memoirs of a Non-Enemy Combatant

Book Review: From the Memoirs of a Non-Enemy Combatant

I picked up this delightful on account of its cover design and title. After reading the inside flap, I was ...
Book Review: Everything She Forgot

Book Review: Everything She Forgot

Margaret Holloway is involved in the worst pileup in London's history. Crammed into her crunched vehicle, which is on fire, she fears ...
Book Review: Dietland

Book Review: Dietland

I thought I was picking up a little light reading, but no. Dietland is social commentary, and I can't make up ...
Book Review: The Devil of Nanking

Book Review: The Devil of Nanking

I get book recommendations from myriad places - friends, acquaintances, online reviews, etc. It was from BookTube (the small literary ...
Book Review: Cage of Stars

Book Review: Cage of Stars

After finishing Cage of Stars, I sat still for a few minutes and wondered if I'd read the same book ...
Book Review: The Little Friend

Book Review: The Little Friend

This is the third book I've read by Donna Tartt. Compared to The Goldfinch and The Secret History, it fell ...
Book Review: Wonder

Book Review: Wonder

If you recall, I'm teaching a middle school literature and creative writing class at our co-op this year. Wonder is the ...
Book Review: The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance

Book Review: The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance

I found this book immediately after listening to author Elna Baker on a podcast (episode #589) from This American Life ...
Book Review: Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World

Book Review: Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World

Do I really need to explain why I read this book? If you're a parent, then you have already spent ...
Book Review: Bel Canto

Book Review: Bel Canto

Pulling from a real event (the hijacking of a Japanese embassy in Peru in 1996), Ann Patchett creates a similar hostage ...
Book review: The Submission

Book review: The Submission

The irony of reading this book in the midst of the Orlando attack is not lost on me. The timing ...
Book Review: The Secret Place

Book Review: The Secret Place

Well, the streak was bound to end. They can't all be great. Unlike Into the Woods, Faithful Place, The Likeness, ...
Book Review: Broken Harbor

Book Review: Broken Harbor

It wouldn't be accurate to say that Tana French writes the traditional "Whodunit?" crime thriller because it's almost always clear ...
Book Review: Long Man

Book Review: Long Man

The first thing I want to tell you is that Amy Greene is a local. For that reason alone, I ...
Book Review: The Likeness

Book Review: The Likeness

My first taste of Tana French was reading In the Woods last spring. Then I read Faithful Place. Of the ...
Book Review: The Girl on the Train

Book Review: The Girl on the Train

Similar to my review of All the Light We Cannot See, I'm going to break the mold with a unenthusiastic ...
Book Review: Special Topics in Calamity Physics

Book Review: Special Topics in Calamity Physics

This one took me nearly three weeks, which is almost unprecedented. It was also surprising, considering how much I loved ...
Book review: The Mermaid Chair

Book review: The Mermaid Chair

For the first time ever, I listened to an audiobook, and while I'm not sure it's something I'll do regularly, ...
Book Review: Heretics: The Creation of Christianity from the Gnostics to the Modern Church

Book Review: Heretics: The Creation of Christianity from the Gnostics to the Modern Church

To be a heretic in earlier centuries - that is, to denounce a proclamation from the church at-large - was worse ...
Book Review: One Second After

Book Review: One Second After

Since Lent is over I'm back to reading fiction and will be posting more book reviews frequently. Before I attacked ...
Book Review: The Seven Storey Mountain

Book Review: The Seven Storey Mountain

I gotta say - I miss fiction. It feels like I've been immersed in monks and heretics and religious history ...
Book Review: Gilead

Book Review: Gilead

I don't know what to say about this book. It is unlike anything I've read so there's nothing that I can ...
Book Review: Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore

Book Review: Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore

When Clay Jannon lands a third-shift front desk job at a strange 24-hour bookstore in San Fransisco, he doesn't suspect that ...
Book Review: You

Book Review: You

Two things: 1. This is a psychological thriller, emphasis on the psycho. 2. It is vulgar. Now that I've made ...
Book Review: The Devil in the White City

Book Review: The Devil in the White City

I'm late to this game, and not just because it was published in 2003. Last year I noticed a handful of ...
Book Review: Between Shades of Gray

Book Review: Between Shades of Gray

When you think of Europe during World War II, the reign of Hitler and his persecution of the Jewish people ...
Book Review: The Secret History

Book Review: The Secret History

I've read enough books in my life to know not to be swayed by the remarks on the cover. Every ...
Book Review: Hausfrau

Book Review: Hausfrau

Anna Benz is an American ex-pat living with her Swiss husband and three children in Zürich. She doesn't work outside ...
Book Review: The Enchanted

Book Review: The Enchanted

Set in present day between the damp, stone walls of an old prison, we are told the sobering story of ...
Book Review: Station Eleven

Book Review: Station Eleven

After seeing the final Hunger Games movie with Jeremy the last week of December, I decided that I'm really, quite ...
Top Five Books of 2015

Top Five Books of 2015

I completed the 50 Books Challenge by late November, a feat that both surprised and pleased me. I went on ...
Book review: All the Light We Cannot See

Book review: All the Light We Cannot See

This is a Pulitzer Prize-winning book. It spent two years on the NYT Bestseller list. On Goodreads, it averages 4.3 ...
Book Review: Night Film

Book Review: Night Film

There are about ten pages I would cut from Night Film, but they don't transpire until the last sliver of the ...
Book review: Housekeeping

Book review: Housekeeping

I'm tempted to call Marilynne Robinson a favorite writer of mine, but this is the only work of hers that ...
Book Review: Big Magic

Book Review: Big Magic

I finished reading my fiftieth book of the year last night and it was a good one. In the most fitting ...
Book Review: The Cuckoo's Calling

Book Review: The Cuckoo’s Calling

Every Harry Potter fan knows what happened after JK Rowling moved on from the wizarding world. She wrote a subpar ...
Book Review: Help for the Haunted

Book Review: Help for the Haunted

This one will not make my top five favorites, or even my top ten. It's going to swim somewhere in ...
Book Review: The Martian

Book Review: The Martian

As I've chipped away at the 50 Books Challenge of 2015, I've made mental notes along the way counting the top ...
Book review: Gods in Alabama

Book review: Gods in Alabama

Reading has slowed down considerably this month on account of several things, but I hope to get back to normal ...
Book Review: Wildwood

Book Review: Wildwood

It took me a while to finish this book, and not just because it's 540 pages. Granted, the book is ...
Book review: The Shock of the Fall

Book review: The Shock of the Fall

When I saw Silver Linings Playbook a couple of years ago, in which one of the main characters is bipolar, I ...
Book Review: Animal Farm

Book Review: Animal Farm

At first I didn't think I'd review this book since I figure everyone read it in school, but considering I ...
Book review: Rescue

Book review: Rescue

I think we've reached the first book - no, the second book - that I won't recommend to you, and ...
Book Review: We Were Liars

Book Review: We Were Liars

This book got a lot of accolade last year and was all the buzz among bloggers, BookTubers, and the GoodReads ...
Book Review: An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination

Book Review: An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination

What do you do when you toss and turn all night? Get up and read. I'm still reading Wild Things: ...
Book Review: We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

Book Review: We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

You guys. THIS BOOK. I don't even know where to begin. Rosemary, the narrator and main character, doesn't even start ...
Book review: The Art of Fielding

Book review: The Art of Fielding

Here's a confession: The only reason I picked up this book was because of its fabulous lettering. The cover is gorgeous ...
Book Review: Lucky

Book Review: Lucky

I don't remember the first time I saw the cover of Lucky (published in 1999), but when I did I ...
The Book Depository

The Book Depository

I've recently become an affiliate with the Book Depository, an online bookstore that offers free delivery and discounted prices. I'm ...
Book Review: Pastrix

Book Review: Pastrix

I first heard of Nadia Bolz-Weber about two or three years ago when I was in a heavy place of ...
Book Review: The Light Between Oceans

Book Review: The Light Between Oceans

This one took no time to finish because I couldn't stop wondering how it would end. Major props to M.L ...
Book Review: Riding Lessons by Sara Gruen

Book Review: Riding Lessons by Sara Gruen

You may not recognize the name Sara Gruen, but you probably recognize Water for Elephants - the beautiful novel, the ...
Book Review: A Moveable Feast

Book Review: A Moveable Feast

This book has been on my To-Read list for years. More than a decade, really. My fascination with Ernest Hemingway ...
Book Review: And the Mountains Echoed

Book Review: And the Mountains Echoed

There are a handful of writers who have a place in my default folder of "People Whose Stuff I'll Always Read." ...
Book Review: Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

Book Review: Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

Man, I'd love to know what Gillian Flynn thinks about right before she falls asleep. Sharp Objects was her debut novel ...
Book Review: Faithful Place by Tana French

Book Review: Faithful Place by Tana French

When I read In the Woods, I didn't know it was part of a series about Dublin murder cases, but ...
Book Review: If Jack's in Love

Book Review: If Jack’s in Love

The cover is foiled and crisp, but If Jack's in Love could've been a novella or even a short story ...
Book Review: The Goldfinch

Book Review: The Goldfinch

At nearly 800 pages, The Goldfinch was a commitment, but it was one I was ready to make because I'd ...
Book Review: The Heights

Book Review: The Heights

The Heights caught my attention primarily for its cover. One cannot underestimate the power of a beautiful book cover! Other than author familiarity, ...
Book Review: The Signature of All Things

Book Review: The Signature of All Things

I acquired this book in November 2013, so to read it so long after its release feels unsupportive of Liz Gilbert and ...
Book Review: The Senator's Wife

Book Review: The Senator’s Wife

Hmm. What to say about this one... To start, I picked it up at the Charleston County Library last week ...
Book Review: The Night Circus

Book Review: The Night Circus

I didn't know that a book could be completely vague and painfully detailed at the same time, but such is ...
Book Review: The Husband's Secret

Book Review: The Husband’s Secret

Holy moly. I read The Husband's Secret in three days. It would've been one day had I no children or a coonhound ...
Book Review: A Good Hard Look

Book Review: A Good Hard Look

Having only read her short story, A Good Man is Hard to Find, the one thing I really knew about Flannery ...
Book Review: The Circle

Book Review: The Circle

This image must have been used for promotion since it pinpoints the release date (which was in 2013), but I ...
Book Review: The God of Animals

Book Review: The God of Animals

Alice Winston is a pensive girl and the entirety of this book is an outpouring of her thoughts throughout a ...
Book Reviews: The Longings of Wayward Girls and Help Thanks Wow

Book Reviews: The Longings of Wayward Girls and Help Thanks Wow

I found this book at a discount store for $2.99, and after reading it, I would've paid more. That in ...
Book Reviews: Seventy-Seven Clocks and Dark Places

Book Reviews: Seventy-Seven Clocks and Dark Places

I have no experience with Christopher Fowler books, but based on Seventy-Seven Clocks, I won't be trying out his work ...
Book Review: The Patron Saint of Liars

Book Review: The Patron Saint of Liars

I've not read anything by Ann Patchett before but I'm going to remedy that soon. She's a lovely storyteller and ...
I'm just like Wally Lamb.

I’m just like Wally Lamb.

That's a stretch, I know, but hear me out. I just finished reading We Are Water, Wally Lamb's latest piece ...
Book Review: Nightwoods

Book Review: Nightwoods

Small town North Carolina, early 1960s, two children who light fires and kill chickens. Unspeakable things happen when a crazy ...
Book Reviews: The Execution of Noa P. Singleton and American Sniper

Book Reviews: The Execution of Noa P. Singleton and American Sniper

Noa is on death row in Pennsylvania for the murder of a girl her age. In a few months, she'll be ...
Book Review: In the Woods by Tana French

Book Review: In the Woods by Tana French

It's important to note that In the Woods was Tana French's first novel. Not only was it warmly received, but ...
Two days in Horrorstör

Two days in Horrorstör

I don't normally finish books in two days, but this one was a quick read. The short page count helped, but it ...
Edge of Eternity and the 50 Book Challenge

Edge of Eternity and the 50 Book Challenge

So I finished the third and final installment of Ken Follett's Century trilogy, Edge of Eternity, and I can say ...
Book Review: Left Neglected

Book Review: Left Neglected

The synopsis of Left Neglected prepares you for the accident. Sarah is a busy working mother of three, living the high ...
Conclusions on Gone Girl

Conclusions on Gone Girl

When I read this book last year, I was hooked on every word, relishing the twists and giddy over all ...
Book Review: May We Be Forgiven

Book Review: May We Be Forgiven

This is perhaps the most unusual book I've read in a while. I've tried to nail down a better adjective, ...
My ten most influential books

My ten most influential books

I was tagged by our cousin, Annette, to list the ten books that have had the greatest influence on me ...
School update and a book review

School update and a book review

We've begun our second week of school and if the boys keep at this pace we'll be finished by March. Not ...