book reviews

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

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, ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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Book Review: Birdman

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

Dennis Lehane might not be an author whose name you recognize, but you know his work. Mystic River, Gone Baby ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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Book review: The Submission

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

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

My first taste of Tana French was reading In the Woods last spring. Then I read Faithful Place. Of the ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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, ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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Book Review: You

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Small town North Carolina, early 1960s, two children who light fires and kill chickens. Unspeakable things happen when a crazy ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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Conclusions on Gone Girl

When I read this book last year, I was hooked on every word, relishing the twists and giddy over all ...
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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, ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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