Break out the pumpkin spice and Hocus Pocus, kids, because it’s almost OCTOBER! This massive list of spooky books will definitely get you in the mood for Fall.Read More
On the Come Up | Angie Thomas | Release Date: February 5th, 2019 | Yay, new Angie Thomas! Thomas’s The Hate U Give was one of my favorite books from 2017 and I’ve been patiently waiting for On the Come Up since I heard it was coming out. (It’s been pre-ordered for ages). Bri wants to be a rapper but she has big shoes to fill. Her father is a hip hop legend was killed right before he hit it big. Bri’s first song goes viral… for all the wrong reasons. She’ll do anything to make it so she can give back to her family.. even it it means playing into the thing that the media has made her out to be.
The Beantown Girls | Jane Healey | Release Date: February 5th, 2019 | Three girls from Boston go overseas with the Red Cross during WWII to help out with the war effort. They all have their different reasons for going, but are faced with challenges that far exceed anything they thought they could handle.
The Hiding Place | CJ Tudor | Release Date: February 5th, 2019 | Sophomore novel from the author of the Chalk Man! A man is being called back to his hometown after a young kid is being put through the same thing his sister was put through. He’s the only one that knows what really happened and may be the only one who is able to stop it.
The Lost Man | Jane Harper | Release Date: February 5th, 2019 | Yay, a new Jane Harper! Jane Harper is the author of The Dry (a favorite at TBR Etc.) and this is her first standalone. Two brothers finally meet in the Australian outback after months of being estranged. Their third brother lies dead at their feet. The brothers must find out how get got there, because surely, he didn’t do this to himself.
The Silent Patient | Alex Michaelides | Release Date: February 5th, 2019 | Thanks to Book of the Month- this has been getting a lot of early buzz. A seems to have it all- a burgeoning art career, a fabulous home, and a loving marriage- until one day, her husband comes home and she shoots him five times in the face. Or so she thinks. A therapist is working with her and tries desperately to unfold the mystery of what really happened, but she’s not talking.
The Winter Sister | Megan Collins | Release Date: February 5th, 2019 | A suspense debut, a woman with a complicated past returns home to care for her ailing mother and dig deeper into what really happened when her sister was murdered sixteen years ago.
The Hunting Party | Lucy Foley | Release Date: February 12th, 2019 | A modern “locked room” mystery. A group of college friends continues their New Years Eve tradition of getting a house together. A blizzard descends and old arguments reignite… and one of them winds up dead.
The Night Tiger | Yangsze Choo | Release Date: February 12th, 2019 | The Night Tiger sounds wonderful. In 1930s Malaysia, Ji Lin is working nights as a dancehall girl to help pay off her mother’s mahjong debts. Ren is a houseboy who’s been given a peculiar mission- he has 49 days to find his Master’s missing finger, lest the man’s soul be destined for purgatory. There’s mysterious deaths, rumors of men that turn into tigers, and superstition, but in the end it’s a coming of age story about two people who are trying to find their own way in a society that doesn’t want them to have voice.
The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls | Anissa Gray | Release Date: February 19th, 2019 | Althea is the eldest sister in the Butler family- the one who’s always looked out for her sisters and served as a substitute matriarch. So when she and her husband get arrested and put in jail, the town shuns them and the sisters aren’t sure what to think. The only thing they do know is that they’re now in charge of the couple’s teenage daughters. It’s been getting comparisons to An American Marriage, so you know I’ll be reading this one.
Parkland: Birth of a Movement | David Cullen | Release Date: February 19th, 2019 | On my guest episode of Sarah’s Book Shelves Live, I called this one my most highly anticipated book for 2019. David Cullen is a journalist who is well known for his book Columbine. Parkland: Birth of a Movement is being released around the one year anniversary of the Parkland school shooting and the teens that took the tragedy and turned themselves into activists. I’m obsessed with the simple, impactful cover, too.
The Huntress: A Novel | Kate Quinn | Release Date: February 26th, 2019 | Historical fiction- a war correspondent and Russian female bomber pilot join forces to track the Huntress, an elusive Nazi war criminal.
Say Nothing | Patrick Radden Keefe | Release Date: February 26th, 2019 | From New Yorker staff writer comes
a book thats part history, part true crime on a mysterious, unsolved murder, bitter conflict in Northern Ireland, and its aftermath.
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Nonfiction November is winding down and I’m walking away with a ton of new books on my TBR list. Nonfiction is interesting. I find that I end up really enjoying it or abandoning it- I’m really not sure why I didn’t read more before.
This month, I started two nonfiction books that I did not finish. I stopped Lady Killers after about 25%. I loved the feminist angle- hey, women can be psychopaths, too!- but the killers presented were from a long time ago and I just wasn’t enjoying it. The other one I quit on was a case of not the right time for the book. JD Vance grew in in the Appalachia and made it out of poverty to become a Yale educated lawyer. A lot of people loved Hillbilly Elegy- from the little I did read it was leaning toward the self congratulatory and if I’m being honest, I didn’t care to spend my time reading about another white dude. (I know. I don’t want to read in an echo chamber, but I’m not quite ready). If I am going to read a story about a person who came over extreme odds to become successful, I’ll read Tara Westover’s memoir, Educated.
I finished 2 nonfiction books this month and loved them both. Bad Blood was an incredible. Elizabeth Holmes is one of the youngest unicorn’s Silicon Valley has ever seen. Her company, Theranos, alleged to be able perform over 200 blood tests from just a finger prick… but the technology never worked. John Carreyrou does a fantastic job investigating the story and synthesizing all of the information into an incredible narration. Highly recommend on audio!
Speaking of recommended on audio… I’ve spent the last week listening to Becoming by Michelle Obama, and it was exceptional. She has the best speaking voice and I so enjoyed hearing her story, from her childhood on the south side of Chicago, to her time at Harvard Law, to meeting Barack, and their time in the White House. It moved me and I can definitely see myself reading this again.
Here are other peoples’ picks from Nonfiction November that made their way to my TBR list!
New to my TBR (Hosted by Katie at Doing Dewey) It’s been a month full of amazing nonfiction books! Which ones have made it onto your TBR? Be sure to link back to the original blogger who posted about that book.
The Glass Castle, Jeanette Walls | An author’s incredible story about growing up with selfish parents and the siblings that learned to fend for themselves. This is a book that’s been following me around forever, but Allison at Mind Joggle pushed me over the edge. That, and I was recently out at dinner with a friend and she couldn’t believe I haven’t read it yet- and neither could the woman at the table beside us. Message received!
The Stranger in the Woods (on audio), Christopher Knight | A man lives alone in the forest of Maine without talking to another person for 27 years. Sarah at Sarah’s Book Shelves called this one of her favorite audiobooks of all time, so I’m sold.
A Beautiful, Terrible Thing, Jen Waite | Another Sarah's Book Shelves recommendation. This is Waite’s memoir about being married to a cheating sociopath, when “that could never happen to me” actually does.
Whoever Fights Monsters: My Twenty Years Tracking Serial Killers for the FBI, Robert Ressler | The subtitle tells you everything you need to know about why it made it on my list. Somehow, I’ve never heard of this! Thanks to Kazen at Always Doing and her Serial Killer Summer for this recommendation!
Speaking of books that are so in my wheelhouse I can’t believe I’ve not read them yet: Bloodsworth, by Tim Junkin. It’s the story of Kirk Bloodswood, the first death row inmate exonerated by DNA. Thanks to Dee at Dees Book Blog for the rec!
Finally, Maggie O’Farrell’s I Am, I Am, I Am wins the award for the most mentioned (tied with Educated, which was already on my list, and I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, which I’ve already read). Thanks to Sarah's Bookshelves, Bibliobeth, and Reading Beyond for listing!
That’s it! I’m delighted to know that #NonfictionNovember is hosted yearly, because I think knowing that it’s a thing will affect my reading next year. Not that I need more recommendations- but I’m excited to see what everyone else added!
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You know, I always assumed that the end of the year would be slower in publishing, but there are surprisingly so many highly anticipated new releases for me this month! I’ve read one of them already, have pre-ordered two, and have one in my shopping cart. I Here’s what I’m looking forward to for November!
There’s a new Liane Moriarty! She’s the author of Big Little Lies and several other books and I think by this point, I’ve read all of her books. I did not love her last release, Truly Madly, Guiltily, but I have hope for Nine Perfect Strangers. The story centers on nine people who are in a posh health resort in Australia. They all have their own stories about why they’re there- many of them with reasons that are still unknown to themselves. Her books are generally compulsively readable with vivid characters- some of whom you hate, some you love, and some you will want to root for. I am glad that it’s been a couple of years since her last new release- in my mind, it means this one will be a story well told. If you are a Book of the Month Club member (or if you’re not and are so inclined- sign up with my referral link)- this is a November add on! I love the way these books look on my shelf, and for $10, you can’t beat it.
Of course I had to get this one- it’s one of my pre-orders. Michelle is my Beyonce. I cannot wait to listen to her story! I got it on Audible because she self-narrates it, but this might be one that I also need to pick up in hardcover.
Speaking of pre-orders, I also picked this up. It’s apparently only available on Audible and it’s the behind the scenes of the investigation of the Golden State Killer, told from the perspective of those that were there. (Speaking of Paul Holes- did you see that he was the surprise guest at the My Favorite Murder live show in Sacramento!? I live). The Golden State Killer is still one of the craziest true crime stories I’ve ever heard. This would be a great companion to I’ll Be Gone In the Dark.
My Sister the Serial Killer is the book that I’ve already read. The title does not lie. Korede’s sister, Ayoola, has a nasty habit of killing her boyfriends. Since Korede is the responsible older sister and family duty calls, she’s always the one responsible for cleaning up after her messes. Literally, they use her car to transport bodies and since she’s a nurse, she has access to powerful cleaning tools and knows how to get rid of blood stains. It doesn’t help that Ayoola is stunningly beautiful. When she sets her sights on a man that Korede has been pining over for years, Korede is forced to choose between family and doing the right thing. I thought the story was unique, sharp, and nihilistic. It’s also got a great cover and it’s a debut- two of my favorite things!
What are you reading this month? I’ve officially read 80 books this year (my most ever), and for some reason have this compulsion to throw in 20 more to make it an even 100. I think my best shot at getting there are audiobooks, thrillers, and YA. Wish me luck!
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Publication Date: 2/27/18
Page Count: 328
Why I read it: I'm a true crime addict and I couldn't resist. I was also drawn in because of the author- the late Michelle McNamara. She was a true crime blogger and the wife of Patton Oswald.
Synopsis: From Amazon-
For more than ten years, a mysterious and violent predator committed fifty sexual assaults in Northern California before moving south, where he perpetrated ten sadistic murders. Then he disappeared, eluding capture by multiple police forces and some of the best detectives in the area.
Three decades later, Michelle McNamara, a true crime journalist who created the popular website TrueCrimeDiary.com, was determined to find the violent psychopath she called "the Golden State Killer." Michelle pored over police reports, interviewed victims, and embedded herself in the online communities that were as obsessed with the case as she was.
I’ll Be Gone in the Dark—the masterpiece McNamara was writing at the time of her sudden death—offers an atmospheric snapshot of a moment in American history and a chilling account of a criminal mastermind and the wreckage he left behind. It is also a portrait of a woman’s obsession and her unflagging pursuit of the truth. Utterly original and compelling, it is destined to become a true crime classic—and may at last unmask the Golden State Killer.
Opening Sentence: "That summer I hunted the serial killer at night from my daughter's playroom."
My Thoughts: I'm truly shaken. I've been meaning to post my thoughts since I finished the book last month, but to be honest I had to take some time to digest all that I'd read. Then today (4/25/18), word got out that the Golden State Killer has been caught. Yes, just a mere TWO MONTHS after Michelle McNamara's book was published, a suspect tip came to the Sacramento police. They were able to retrieve his DNA and found it was a 100% match to that of the Golden State Killer, a serial killer who is believed to have committed 12 murders and over 50 rapes. The crimes were committed in both Northern and Southern California, and the case has been cold for years.
At last, he's been unmasked. On National DNA Day, no less. If you want to go into a deep dive, here's the Reddit thread about the East Area Rapist/ Original Night Stalker, aka the Golden State Killer.
But back to the book. I enjoyed it immensely- as much as one can enjoy a book about a serial killer rapist. This is largely due to Michelle's skill as a writer. Her tone is so authentic. The writing is strong and she seamlessly weaves facts in with a narrative, drawing you right into the story. There's immense detail and the book could have been extremely dry, but she brought a human element into the victims/ survivors. I also appreciate that the book wasn't exploitative. You can tell she had such compassion for her work and a respect for law enforcement. She was the type of author that I would find myself visiting on Instagram to tell them how much I enjoyed their work. I have to imagine it's painful for her loved ones to read this, but they should be proud. Her hard work has paid off.
There are a ton of resources in the book, including a map of the attacks, a list of the victims, and a list of the key investigators. We get to learn about policing in the 1970s and how different things are today. Back then, there weren't separate crime divisions. You were considered to have experience if you worked on a similar crime once. This was also a stark reminder of how new DNA testing really is- Alec Jeffreys only discovered DNA fingerprinting in 1984 (a fact I learned from this book). I find it absolutely incredible that profilers are able to connect cases that are seemingly unrelated to form a narrative that can be used to find the responsible. As of this writing, the public doesn't have information about where the tip used to catch him came from, but I imagine everything will come out. Already, I can see that some of the suppositions in the book are true- they had an idea about what jobs he might have and where he lived. I already want to re-read this so I can see how much they had correct.
There are many haunting passages in this book (the ones where Michelle talks about her family, not knowing how much time she herself has left comes to mind), but none are more impactful to me than the epilogue. She titles it "A Letter to an Old Man".
"'You'll be silent forever, and I'll be gone in the dark,' you threatened a victim once. Open the door. Show us your face. Walk into the light."
I found this book to be disturbing, thought provoking, exciting, and painful. It reads like a memoir with hugely disturbing bits subtly woven in. This book will scare you- but it's an important reminder that these crimes are real. You might feel, as I do, compelled to make changes to your own home. After all, "prowling is the easiest thing in the world to do." Sometimes I feel bad about reading true crime, thinking about someone profiting off of these terrible acts. But this book is decidedly different- McNamara had a passion and thirst to find out who was behind all of this depravity. She was trying to do good. And ultimately (despite what the Sacramento police officers acknowledge)- she has.
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