Category Archives: Fiction

Sleeping Beauties

Finished Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King and Owen King. 

Everywhere in the world, women are going to sleep and not waking up. It’s weird enough anyway but they’re basically cocooned in this weird, gauze-ish stuff…and if they’re awakened, they attack whomever wakes them. And when I say “attack,” I mean “horror movie-level slaughtered.”

The book is mostly set in the world left behind, but some chapters are set in the alternate, women-only world. And that world seems pretty fantastic, not going to lie.

Stephen King is known for being liberal, but this is definitely his most feminist work to date. He co-wrote this with his son, Owen, and I had a lot of fun trying to figure out who wrote which parts. 

It took me longer than usual to read this and I think it’s because this is a little TOO relevant, if that makes sense. But I loved this book and I loved that it was insanely fun and yet there would also be these sentences that would make me smile and think, “These guys get it.” 

If I had one wish, though, it would be that Owen King would end up being as prolific as his dad. 

Recommended. 

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Don’t Let Go

Finished Don’t Let Go by Harlan Coben. I received a copy for review. 

Napoleon “Nap” Dumas has never really gotten past his senior year of high school. His brother and his girlfriend were killed in what could be an accident or a double suicide and almost immediately after, Nap’s girlfriend disappeared. Now, 15 years later, Maura’s prints are found at a crime scene…

Like everything Harlan Coben writes, this is a phenomenal book that is seriously impossible to stop reading. I had a bunch of theories about what happened and who was to blame; I couldn’t have been more wrong. 

I need to stop even trying to figure out his plots ahead of time and just go with it. 

Highly recommended. 

Copycat

Finished Copycat by Alex Lake. I received a copy for review. 

Sarah has just learned that there are two accounts under her name on Facebook. One is full of pictures of herself and her family, complete with all the mundane details that we all post there. The problem is, that’s the one that isn’t actually her account. Someone has figured out how to get pictures of Sarah and her family (sometimes even inside her house). But who? And why?

This is a great concept but I didn’t love the book. It felt like Sarah freaked out far too early and then there was no room for her fear to escalate. I mean, yes, OBVIOUSLY we would all be concerned if someone had a super stalker-y Facebook account claiming to be us. But as things get worse, she doesn’t actually get more afraid. It is all at the same level for her. 

The identity of the person involved was pretty obvious the whole time to me and her motivation was a little offensive to me. But that’s me and I’m political so I will fully accept that that’s on me and not necessarily a valid criticism of the book. 

All that said, I was entertained throughout. I just didn’t love it. 

Friend Request (mini review)

Finished Friend Request by Laura Marshall. I received a copy for review. 

Louise is not over the events of her senior year of school. She played an incredibly mean prank on a girl named Maria, and it escalated to the point that Maria is probably dead. 

Except now, in the present day, Maria has sent her a friend request…

8/10s of this book is fantastic. I loved Louise’s story (both in present day and in flashback) but the big reveal left me cold. If we could have had a change in villains, I think this would be one of my favorite reads of the year. As it stands, though, if’s a solid B. 

Blame

Finished Blame by Jeff Abbott.  I received a copy for review.

Summary (from Goodreads):

Sometimes the person you thought you knew best…Turns out to be someone you never really knew at all.

The crash that killed him

Two years ago, Jane Norton crashed her car on a lonely road, killing her friend David and leaving her with amnesia. At first, everyone was sympathetic. Then they found Jane’s note: I wish we were dead together.

A girl to blame

From that day the town turned against her. But even now Jane is filled with questions: Why were they on that road? Why was she with David? Did she really want to die?

The secrets she should forget

Most of all, she must find out who has just written her an anonymous message: I know what really happened. I know what you don’t remember…”

I’ll be honest, if I hadn’t seen so many great blurbs about this book, I wouldn’t have picked it up.  I was afraid that a book about amnesia would be completely ridiculous and would feel like a daytime soap opera (especially with the “I wish we were dead together” note.  If you’re feeling that way, too, WE ARE BOTH WRONG.

This book was completely insane in the best way.  Even while creepy things were happening, it still felt completely plausible and it never felt like Days of Our Lives or a similar show.

Probably the most impressive thing, though, is the way that Jeff Abbott makes the reader feel sympathy for Jane and Perri, two characters who are completely at odds.  The accident completely destroyed both their lives, leaving Jane with amnesia (even now, a couple of years later, she still has a few years of her life unaccounted for) and her future is now totally up in the air because she can’t concentrate on things like college.   (And what can you do for money without a degree and with a small town that thinks you murdered one of the most popular teenagers?)

And then there’s Perri.  David was her only child and he died in a pretty horrible way and the person you hold responsible was never held criminally responsible.  How do you ever recover from that?

The two of them are pretty horrible to each other, and understandably so.  But they don’t seem like horrible people altogether and I could understand and forgive both of them.

This is such an intense, fun book.  I hope you pick it up. Recommended.

Snap Judgment

Finished Snap Judgment by Marcia Clark. I received a copy for review. 

After Alicia broke up with her boyfriend, he posted naked selfies of her on a revenge porn site—with a note that she was into rape fantasies. Days later, she was found dead, her throat slashed. The ex is obviously a suspect but wasn’t arrested…and later, he’s found dead (suicide via hanging). Except maybe it WASN’T a suicide. Maybe Alicia’s father did it. 

This is the third Samantha Brinkman novel and my favorite of the three (a high bar; all are excellent). I love that, though she is…we’ll go with “morally ambiguous,” she uses her powers for good. So while yes, she may use very sketchy means, bad people get punished. (Team Sam.)

I recommend binging the series, as I did, but now I miss her. But I think there will be another one (and hopefully soon). 

Highly recommended. 

Moral Defense (mini review)

Finished Moral Defense by Marcia Clark. 

Cassie is the only survivor of a mass murder that left her parents and brother dead. Except the police are wondering if maybe she isn’t really a victim at all. And enter Samantha Brinkman. 

I am such a fan of this series! It’s beyond entertaining and is perfect for fans of mysteries (even if legal thrillers aren’t generally their thing). 

Sam is a great heroine, too (OK, maybe antiheroine, though from where I sit, she only uses her powers for good). 

Recommended. 

Blood Defense

Finished Blood Defense by Marcia Clark. 

Samantha Brinkman is a defense attorney, and not one of the flashy ones. She runs a small operation, one that’s constantly on the verge of going out of business. And then she gets the case of a lifetime: a detective accused of murdering a young actress and her roommate. 

I loved Sam and her coworkers, Michelle and Alex. I had my theories about whether her detective client Dale was guilty, and everything about this book was a complete delight. There are some loose threads going into book two, and I can’t wait to see how they’re resolved. 

I haven’t read any of Marcia Clark’s books before, though I hear her other series (about a prosecutor) is excellent, as is her nonfiction book about the OJ Simpson case. I plan to read them all, but I’m happy I started with this one AND that I have the other two to binge. 

As with any good thriller, good luck getting anything else done while you’re reading this. My commutes were too short (a rare complaint) and I begrudged everything that kept me from the book (including work and sleep, generally two things I love). 

Recommended. 

Reincarnation Blues (mini review)

Finished Reincarnation Blues by Michael Poore. I received a copy for review. 

Milo has lived thousands of lives—almost 10,000, in fact. That is the second most interesting thing about him. The first is that he’s in love with Suzie—who we know better as Death. 

This is such a hard book to review. It’s more concept-driven than plot-driven or character-driven. Whether you love this book will largely depend on how you feel about reincarnation. 

I enjoyed it very much and liked Milo through most of his incarnations (but not all). 

This is a thought-provoking novel and I haven’t read anything like it before. 

The Good Daughter

Finished The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter. I received a copy for review. This is a mini-review because of spoilers. 

When they were young, Sam and Charlie were injured in an incident that left their mom dead. (The incident was due to their public defender dad, who wasn’t home at the time.) Sam was shot and buried alive; Charlie was injured but mostly psychologically scarred. Now adults (and both lawyers), they end up ensnared in a school shooting case. 

This book is INSANE. I was so proud of myself for solving the central mystery that I forgot to pay attention to other details and ended up punched in the face by a different revelation. That is some excellent story-telling. 

This isn’t my first Karin Slaughter novel but it’s close to it. Like the last time, I really need to read more of her books. (This time I really mean it.)

Recommended.