The Chestnut Man by Søren Sveistrup was such a good thriller! I first heard about this book on The Popcast podcast when it was Jamie B. Golden’s “green light” one week. (LOVE this podcast and it brings so much joy to my weekly work commutes.)
The Baby Thief by Barbara Bisantz Raymond is the true story behind the novel Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate. I read Before We Were Yours last year and it was one of my favorite books for the year. When I realized it was based on real people and events, I just had to read more. (#enneagram5here) This book tells the true story of Georgia Tann, the woman who single handedly shaped adoption into what it is today. Georgia was a master puppeteer, able to persuade politicians, lawyers, celebrities, and the Memphis elite at the time to follow her every whim. She turned adoption into a for-profit gig, made it trendy, and became a millionaire. Most horrifying was that she stole children, tricked parents into signing them over to her, and walked out of hospitals with infants whose mothers were told they were stillborn. She is both directly and indirectly the reason many babies didn’t survive infancy and why many, MANY children suffered much abuse in both temporary placements and adoptive homes.
November 9 by Colleen Hoover is a romance novel about a spontaneous meeting of two teens on a day that’s usually tough for them, an anniversary of a tragedy. They decide, after spending the day together, to meet every year for the next 5 years and decide to have no contact at all between meetings. Somewhat cute premise, but the ensuing story is full of misunderstanding, hurt feelings, guilt, and lots of steamy scenes. I stuck with this one because it came highly recommended (I can’t remember by who!) and I had added it to my wait list forever ago, but this is not my favorite genre. Maybe it’s my sheltered and conservative upbringing (I mean, my parents made me close my eyes for all kissing scenes in movies or just would fast-forward through them! That kind of sheltered!), but I just can’t read romance without cringing the entire time.
Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators by Ronan Farrow is the detailed account of the investigative journalism that Farrow did to uncover the decades of assault and abuse of women by Harvey Weinstein. He began this story as an employee at NBC and eventually published his work at The New Yorker. His work on this story helped to spark the #MeToo movement and encouraged many women in various industries with untold or unbelieved stories to come forward. At this end of this work there were executives and lead reporters at multiple companies who stood accused of various acts against women. The lengths at which companies went to bury these stories or “catch and kill” them was intense and absurd.
Commonwealth by Ann Patchett is a novel that starts with two marriages imploding and the subsequent fallout over the next 50 years as the children of these two couples become adults and have families and lives of their own.
In an Instant by Suzanne Redfearn was a free book from Amazon with our Prime account. I was SHOCKED to see it had excellent reviews on Goodreads, because I just didn’t think it was that great. Stay tuned to the end of the post for a book I DO recommend.
Finn and her family are in the mountains for a weekend away. They are driving a stripped-down camper, so the whole crew can ride together. On their way to dinner just after arriving, they encounter a deer in the road and the camper goes over the guard rail into a ravine. The book is about the events that happened after the accident and follows each member of the family until they have found happiness again. The whole time I read this book I just felt like something was “off” for me and while reading the author’s note at the end it all started to make sense. This story is based off some real events that happened to the author’s family, but they have been greatly embellished for the sake of drama. Looking back, you can tell the author has some very strong, negative feelings towards a character in the book who was a person in the author’s life.
It was just ok for me. I’m not one to give up on a book once I’ve started, so I did finish this book and I will say it held my attention. It just was not great by any means.
HOWEVER, if you are interested in a GREAT story about tragedy in the mountains, you should read The Mountains Between Us by Charles Martin which is also a movie now. This book was emotional and I couldn’t put it down!
If the beach/remote island setting is more your thing, please read Castle of Water. OH MY this book was emotional, but I loved it so, so much!
Conviction by Denise Mina has all the elements of a book I should love: suspense, mystery and crime, but this was a flop for me. This book has been on my waitlist for months, so I assumed because of its high demand and the number of copies available that I would really enjoy this one. Maybe my hopes were too high? I just felt like it was all over the place, but I will say it’s paced well and a quick read. I wasn’t loving it, but I was still wanting to know the outcome of the plot enough to be interested in getting to the end.
I am not into audio books, so when I can’t read, I listen to podcasts! When I’m driving to work, waiting on my kids to finish at after school activities, while drying my hair, etc. Pretty much anytime that reading isn’t possible and my kids aren’t around I have a podcast going. My favorite app for listening is Overcast! After getting frustrated with the one Apple provides I did some research and found it and it's a game changer! I have some other favorites to share later, but these are all my favorite true crime podcasts. Let me know what I’ve left out!
Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler is an updated take on Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew. I learned after reading this book that it was part of a project by Random House to have contemporary novelists retell stories from Shakespeare's plays.
The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson is historical non-fiction and is the best of two of my favorite subjects: history and serial killers. (I blame Dateline for this!) I first heard of this book while on an architecture cruise in Chicago with two of my favorite people (Shout out to Ashley and Audra for being the VERY BEST travel partners).