I read mostly fiction and mystery from all around the world with a lot of non-fiction history and social issues thrown in. Anything that someone tells me is good. I am a sucker for peer book pressure.
If an author could truly capture what small town Midwest looks like in novel form, it would be Laura McHugh. This mystery takes us into the lives of a woman whose brother has died under somewhat questionable circumstances and another woman who wants to escape this small town. Their stories will keep you gripped with anticipation of how their stories will tie together. Will they find their answers? Will they escape? In small Midwestern towns, it isn't so much who is bad but who has control and what will they do to keep it.
With three different storylines in three different voices that are each speaking in a different language, Jean Kwok has created a book that will keep you guessing. Sylvie Lee has disappeared while visiting the Netherlands. While part mystery, this book appeals to readers that really just have to get at the heart of the family.
I love Anne Valente! I love road trip novels! Two sisters have been asked to go on a road trip together to remember their mother. They did not know that there would be a type of scavenger hunt involved or that they would be forced to come to terms with a lot of personal problems. There is a really fantastic scene set in Forest Park right here in St. Louis!
I picked up this book to see if it would make a good gift for my parents. I did not expect to finish it or love it. I did both, and I sent it to them for their 40th Anniversary present. They are loving it and laughing uproariously while reading it together. Dripping with nostalgia and humor, its just fun!
Just beautiful! Ocean has crafted every word to make this story just powerful. Delicate but strong. It is very hard to describe the experience that I had while reading this book, but I am very glad that I now have that experience. Watch any interview with Ocean to fully experience how amazing he is!
Fascinating and horrifying. I have only watched part of one episode of the miniseries, and feel like this adds so much understanding to what I did watch. Growing up in this aftermath did not allow me to really know what happened and what it all meant. Now, I know.
Do you love road trip novels as much as I do? They are basically way better than taking a road trip yourself (at least in my experience). The Shergill sisters have been tasked to reconnect and take their mother's ashes back to India. The sisters do not all see the world in the same manner which creates a comedy of errors situation. This beautiful novel takes you through a beautiful part of Punjab India with many unexpected twists and turns.
Disappearing Earth is going to be a novel that will absolutely be a notable book of the year. I predict that it will be on awards lists and that it will probably be one of my favorite books of the year (probably number one or two). It feels like Julia Phillips took my favorite parts from some of the best books of the last couple of years and crafted something that is truly spectacular. I hope I have expressed how impressed I am!
What you think you know, you do not know. This edge-of-your-seat mystery is set on the streets of St. Louis by a local author! I really kept being shocked by the turn of events. It is fast-paced and deeply psychological. This is one of my new favorite mysteries that kept me up at night.
Not nearly as gruesome as it might seem. But also pretty gruesome. It sounds bizarre to say, but this is a feminist book about serial killers. It gives women the attention that they deserve in the serial killer world. Don't forget about these women. All of these stories were fascinating and horrifying.
Just all heart emojis!!! I completely adored this book. I am thankful for really smart friends that are more on the pulse of graphic novels that convinced me to read this book. ?????
A Fire Story is a stunningly illustrated and incredibly personal graphic memoir about the devastation of the Northern California wildfires. The universality of surviving from an emergency situation puts the author and his family and friends in such a compassionate light. The fire destroyed in such a way that some houses were saved while other neighborhoods completely destroyed. The road to a normal lifestyle has been long and hard.
A courtroom-esque drama showing the spiral of decline for a small town and its residents. Elegant, moving, and captivating. Presented in the form of a monologue, you get to be the judge of this man's tale of woe and destruction.
I picked up this book because I loved Elderly Lady is Up to No Good. This is the first book in a new series by Helene Tursten featuring Embla Nyström as a badass Swedish detective! Embla is on her regular hunting party when two people wind up dead. The radiation of chill from the pages will make you feel like you are deep in the taiga forests. The darkness surrounds you. The mystery could be anywhere.
I was completely shocked by the ending! I thought (for no logical reason) that this was going to be a book about two polar opposite guys working on a project that just can't get along. It is that. But it is also soooo much more.
Ooof. This novel captures small town Midwestern gay in a very "too close to home" type of way. The main character's name is also Shane. I connected to a lot of the claustrophobia, homophobia, and probably a bunch of other phobias that this book throws at the reader. It was a hard read for me, but I am very glad that I read it.
So incredibly interesting! The whole story. I thought there would be some sort of boring non-sequitur part of the story, but I was wrong. This is a super-informative, fast-paced narrative history that keeps you guessing until the very end.
Angie Thomas has followed up her powerhouse The Hate U Give with another fantastic novel. On the Come Up takes place in the same world as The Hate U Give. It gives you another look at the various lives and hopes and dreams of the characters in Garden Heights. Bri is an up-and-coming rapper dealing with school, poverty, boyfriends, and race. It is a book for today, for tomorrow, for everyone!
She's got grace and style and is incredibly blunt in the way only a Southern person could be. I identified so much with the effort of trying to be a good person and just sometimes needing to just be who I truly am. There are galas, gays, porn, and tips and tricks for surviving while still maintaining some form of poise. It's a fantastic read!!
A tense game of cat and mouse that kept me riveted from beginning to end! Joshilynn Jackson is a talent that deserves recognition. Never Have I Ever starts innocently enough with a neighborhood book club meeting. The plot quickly spirals into a meeting of two women with very secretive pasts. An edge-of-your-seat book that will keep you guessing! - Shane
One of my prized possessions! This adaptation tames The Odyssey into something anyone can enjoy. The artwork is simply gorgeous.
This book is like watching a complicated series of dominoes fall. It is fun, makes moves that you don't see coming, and provides a rather spectacular ending! A direct sequel to one of my favorite "laugh out loud novels", we get to live with Allan as he defies all possibility and has disasterous encounters with Kim Jong Un, Donald Trump, and Vladimir Putin. Just really fun!
This book is DELIGHTFUL! Although, it may not be exactly what you think that means. The very concept of this book is something that the extreme talent of Ross Gay can make into something fantastic. Ross sets out to write an essay each day on the topic of delight. The variety of things that can bring on that emotion are incredible. The sheer power of Ross Gay's words will cause you to have your own series of emotions and might inspire you to look at the delights in your own life and how you might help someone else find their delight for the day. Loved it! The way he says "delight" in the audio book brought a smile to my face every time.
I was immediately drawn into this beautiful and captivating debut novel set in the lush and dangerous bush of Trinidad. I may have spent as much time daydreaming about being in this world as I did actually reading about it. I looked up all sorts of facts about Trinidad that I found to be quite different from the world I had imagined. I did not realize how ethnically diverse the island country is. Though it is incredibly close to South America, it is still recognized as a Caribbean island. The fauna of the island is quite magnificent, and I am very thankful that the giant green anaconda does not play a part in this book. The Golden Child is a story of twin brothers growing up in Trinidad. Peter and Paul are opposites in many ways but are still connected through a strong fraternal bond. You will get a glimpse of the entire family history, making this feel like an epic family saga even though so much revolves around this short moment in time. I was propelled through this book, desperate to know how it all would work out.
This gem of a novel surprised me in so many ways. I did not expect it to be touching, a bit of a love story, and entirely captivating. I devoured this book in a day. Read the book and come back and talk to me so that we can discuss!
I'll Be Gone in the Dark redefines the possibility of what a true crime book can be. The book is almost hard to describe because it has so much story behind the story. I have such an appreciation for Michelle and her dedication the story. I cannot wait to see what else happens with the story of the Golden State Killer.
Everything about this book is so spot on! Characters that you want to succeed. A time period that strikes fascination into the heart of Americana. A chase perfectly executed. I was left appropriately devastated by this book. You will not want to put this book down, so plan accordingly.
“’The wild trust in the universe.’” This quote, from near the end of the novel, really encapsulated how I felt about this story. The book begins with Jodi getting released early from prison. From there, it seems that the universe, not Jodi, has control. Jodi had an idea of what she would do after prison but not a plan. Through a series of decisions, she loses control but gains a family. Incredibly heartbreaking. This book also smoothly incorporates social issues such as fracking, drug abuse, prison reform, and LGBT characters.
Beautiful and melodic. If you like classical music and incredibly well strung tales, this is the winter book for you. I highly recommend reading this book while listening to Schubert. I do not recommend blizzards (just a general note).
Think Insecure meets Veronica Mars!
This is definitely not your typical "road trip through America" book. The rich description in the book and vivid characters make this book so enjoyable. We get to take a trip with this crew of strangers and grow with them. It was such a beautiful journey that left me with tears in my eyes.
I love this series and love that we are able to continue living in the world of the Kopp sisters. Book number four takes on the world of local elections, mental illness, and the wild adventures of Constance Kopp. If you like historical books, you must check out this series!
This book delivers on what it promises. We have 10 comedians gathered together for a mysterious purpose that you soon find out will be their deaths. They are stuck on an island full of traps designed for their huge egos. There is humor, violence, and a huge twist!
Beautiful and vulgar! Just what you would expect from Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally! This is definitely my kind of love story.
An incredible collection and possibly the most anti-Trump book that I have read! This is a well-rounded collection of very personal essays from a lot of very familiar names. The collection as a whole is breathtaking and really opens your eyes to so many experiences and world views. American Like Me is a book that you might pick up to read an essay and get completely drawn into or you might be drawn into it just because you should be. If you are looking to incorporate more diversity and inclusion into your reading, this is a great book to help with that.
Such a fast paced chase book! You will wonder who is running and what she is running from. Who is doing the chasing? Incredibly intense! I just kept turning the pages to be surprised by what happened next. A great book to let your imagination go wild.
This book is compact and wonderful! It is the story of a grandfather and a grandson spending a couple of days together in forced isolation trying to figure out how to get along while thinking almost entirely about their needs. It is a constant struggle that results in a beautiful story of generations.
Set in St. Louis during the Great Depression, we get to see a look at the city from a bygone era from an author that lived it. Uplifting and adventurous, this is a delightful little novel about a boy trying to piece his family back together and find new friends along the way. The action jumps all over the city that will make a St. Louisan trying to map it all out. Aaron Broom is a character you can really get your heart behind.
Delia Owen's debut novel will leave you speechless. Kya is an incredibly strong character (and unlike any I have read before). The story jumps back and forth between Kya growing up overcoming great odds and her life after being accused of murder. Living in near complete isolation in the swamps of North Carolina, Kya makes the best out of what life has handed her. Reese and I agree again, this book is great!
Just read the blurbs. I cannot begin to describe this collection of stories. It was so good and nearly terrifiying but deftly done.
Maud is one of my favorite characters of the year! I don't want to give too much away, but Maud knows what she can and cannot get away with. She is also not afraid at all to do what she wants.
Just a delightful and dark romp through the imagined life of Joe Biden solving the crime of his possibly murdered friend. Of course, there is a lot of classic Uncle Joe trying to figure out what to do with his life now that he is not in office. And his pal Obama is along for the ride. It is a great mystery with incredibly recognizable characters.
I feel more woke and shook than I have before. Kiese Laymon has an ability with words that are both striking and lyrical. This memoir will leave you with so many feelings. I don't know if I have ever cried when finishing a memoir both out of being so moved and also not wanting it to end. Relish it. Let it change you.
How to Be a Good Creature is such a smart fun book that is perfect for a little sit down. We get to take a look at some of the most significant creatures that have affected the author's life from spiders and emus to her childhood dog. It is incredibly enjoyable and you will find yourself with a greater appreciation for the animal kingdom. Even if you find yourself full of compassion for other living creatures, be prepared to open your heart just a little more.
I don't know what I expected from The Library Book, but I got what I needed and more! I picked up the book needing a little bit of true crime in my life. What I got was a crime, a history, and a very personal book. Susan Orlean tells her story in a manner that weaves so many stories into one beautiful narrative. If you have ever been inspired by a library, you will be inspired by this book.
I cried! I cried so hard that I had to stop reading because I couldn't read through the tears. The sequel to Beartown is filled with so much heart. I could live in this world forever. I say this without knowing anything about hockey. The only things I know about hockey are what Fredrik Backman has so cleverly taught me. I will read anything that Fredrik Backman writes. Anything!
I am struck by the beauty of this book. This book will make your heart swell and break into pieces. Be careful where you read this. Or better yet don't be embarrassed by crying. Let it out. Hug someone. Let's change the world!
Antony John has stolen my heart once again. I loved Mascot! This is a book that is so St. Louis and yet so universal too. This book has baseball, Fred Bird, wheelchairs, and a farting dachshund. It has antics, a bit of flirting, and a lot of love. This is a book for ANYONE!
I suspected every single character possible of being the killer throughout the course of the book. Everyone has their reasons and their reason to be the suspect. I thought it was brilliant. The characters are so wonderful and some of them are dastardly. The setting is perfect. I did not know that a dark sky park existed, but I want to go to one so bad! If you have a rational or irrational fear, this book will make you feel so comfortable with it (unless you are afraid of murder or the dark). Definitely a must read for your mystery pleasure.
The Great Believers will be a very strong contender for my favorite book of the year. The two storylines are equal in strength. This is a roller coaster of emotion. I had to stop reading because I could not read through my tears. I cannot recommend a book more that will break your heart.
Outside the Wire is a truly unique book with an inspiring story. I thoroughly enjoyed it. The names are familiar to anyone that has lived in Missouri for more than 5 minutes and the stories are soooo good. Some of the people in the book are people that I have had the pleasure of working with. Other people I have had the displeasure of working with (I will not tell you who). The amount of humor and compassion in this book show that Jason truly cares about voters and citizens and wants to make the world a better place.
This book gives an amazing new twist to spy fiction! Absolutely captivating and keeps you on the edge of your seat. Vera is such a unique character living so much of her life in secrecy. This book has been on so many anticipated lists, and now I see exactly why.
This is absolutely not just another book about addiction. Part memoir, part literary bio, part history, Leslie Jamison has the ability to really let you see all of her vulnerability. I honestly did not think I would be as drawn into this book as I was. It helped me to see a new side of humanity and art.
David Sedaris is a master of making you feel embarrassed for humanity. There is no line that cannot be crossed. There is no story too humiliating to share. Plus, he is just such a nice person!
This is amazing historical fiction about something that I did not know was so significant. The Atlanta cultural scene was deeply affected by one plane crash killing a large number of prominent citizens. This book dives into the ramifications of this accident and the many lives it affected. I loved the characters and felt so much compassion for their lives. A truly beautiful work.
Just when you think that you cannot read any more political essays/news, a breath of fresh air comes along. The View From Flyover Country is a collection of essays that give such thorough background on world politics with the hometown feel that is necessary. It explains so much about what I have been thinking and feeling. Very compulsive read!
Curtis' collection of short stories are perfect depictions of today's reality. The flaws of the characters are what makes them most relatable and incredibly realistic. It is hard to pinpoint which one story is my favorite. They are all so good.
I loved this book. I loved the absurdity and the roller coaster of emotion that Adrian provides us with. Collision Theory takes so many twists and turns that I never expected. I almost never expect aliens devoted to Elvis (this is not sci-fi though). Knowing that much of the book was written to Beck's Sea Change album really solidified the tears. Hearing that music as you read scenes packed with emotion made the book all that much more beautiful.
How far apart can two girls be and still keep their bond? Girls Burn Brighter might break your heart, but it will definitely leave you thinking about the story for weeks after. Poornima and Savitha are two incredibly strong girls that are put through the darkest parts of human experience. I don't want to scare you off from reading this remarkable book.
I LOVED THIS BOOK! There is a mystery at the heart of this book, but there is also a lot of math in that mystery. It almost feels like some sort of scavenger hunt that we get to go on with Hazel. This book will make you want to have all of your friends read it so that you can all discuss it. This is one of those books that will please just about any reader (and you will feel so smart).
Jewell Parker Rhodes is one of the nicest authors I have ever met. This book has so much emotion and empathy packed into its pages. It is a heart-breaking story that starts so many conversations.
Jenifer Lewis is amazing! Reading about her life and her fame is an inspiration for actors and non-actors alike. She fought and continues to fight to be the diva that she deserves to be. She is from St. Louis, so there is an added hometown feel to the book.
Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue is a rollicking romp through eighteenth century Europe. There are pirates, love, and plenty of "sightseeing". I loved Monty, Percy, and Felicity and all of their antics. I cannot wait for the sequel. This book is a new definition of "happily ever after".
First, do not read this book in its entirety after midnight on a creepy night. Second, do not read this book in an empty house that makes creepy noises when your boyfriend is out of town. Lastly, read this book in its entirety in one sitting and thoroughly enjoy the experience of getting to live in this world with these characters and one ghost and being thoroughly creeped out. You will appreciate the advice.
This will probably be my favorite book of the year (2018). It is so perfectly timed where I neither needed the book to speed up or slow down. I took pleasure in every single minute of reading. The characters and the story is heartbreaking and beautiful. This is truly a book that Oprah and I will be telling you to read.
I am still trying to formulate my many thoughts into a blurb for this book. There is something so unique about Morgan and yet this book almost feels universal. She is so open and vulnerable that you feel like you really know her. I feel like she also has some kind of magic ability and insight to make difficult subjects and inject moments of humor into them. This Will Be My Undoing will leave you changed.
Rarely do I find myself reading the sources for a book. When I finished The Monk of Mokha, I was so fascinated with the entire book that I looked up the Frontline documentary and read much more on the topic of Yemen. Eggers chose an incredible subject with plenty of humanity. I worked in coffee for years and did not know much of what Eggers explains.
So dark and chilling! Everything about this book is so incredibly atmospheric. The story unfolds about two women that are so similar and so incredibly different that they are almost shadows of one another. Morocco and the world during this period are changing and that change looms through the whole novel. It was breathtaking.
I just imagine this book being made into a movie like an updated version of Alfred Hitchcock. It has all of the intensity and setup that you crave from Hitchcock with a very modern and timely shakeup. I listened to the audiobook on Libro.fm and loved the narration. It kept me on the edge of my seat!
This is truly an innovative look at a classic love story. The main characters (Claude and Suzanne) of this book were historically way ahead of their time. They were gender fluid pre-WWII!! As far as the secondary characters go, I kept looking up to find more information on these movers and shakers of the European art scene. But the thing that kept me coming back was the love story. It was so inspiring to see love conquer so many battles. This is a book that I will be reading again!
Everyone romanticizes Paris. This book has a way of romanticizing that romance in a way that feels original and mysterious. Truly a book for book lovers and lovers in general. If you have ever dreamed of writing a book or owning a bookstore, let this book show you one of the most bizarre ways to end up doing so.
Jellyfish are way more interesting than I ever imagined. If you need more random facts to tell your friends, this is the book. And Juli Berwald grew up here in St. Louis.
A book dealing with the murder of a child does not immediately scream staff pick, but trust me that this book is incredibly interesting and haunting. The author is completely immersed in the story so it is part memoir and part true crime. She was working with a firm that dealt with capital punishment cases when she first heard of this case. From there, it rocked her entire life bringing out her own past. It is definitely a book that will make you think deeply about your own feelings towards the death penalty.
Allende starts the book and you think it is going to be an innocent love story between two academics. Then she throws in a dead body in a trunk during a snowstorm in New York. Allende is a master of her craft. She is also the only author so far that has called me bossy!
This book altered my imagination! I don't read a lot of post-apocalyptic fiction, but I know that this is definitely on the list of must reads. It isn't even really post-apocalyptic in the way that you might be imagining. It is just like if women developed this ability and the world that we know immediately changes. This book is what happens when the whole world changes.
It won the Bailey's Prize for Women's Fiction which is quickly becoming my list of favorite books.