Category Archives: Fiction

The Fifth Letter

Finished The Fifth Letter by Nicola Moriarty. I received a copy for review. 

Joni, Trina, Deb and Eden have been best friends since they were children. Now they are older, all married and most with at least one kid–and it’s harder to stay as close as they used to be. So when they do get together for a few days, they decide to do a sort of bonding exercise. Each types up a letter with a secret, one the others don’t know. Except there’s a fifth letter, one almost destroyed (but still legible enough to share some pretty disturbing sentences). So who wrote the fifth letter?

You guys, this book is insanely fun. It’s smart and creepy and just excellent. 

I also have friends I’ve had essentially forever (some I’m still really close to; some that have become more just FB friends) and this has me wondering how well I know any of them. 

If you’re in the mood for a bit of suspense and a lot of fun, this is for you. Recommended. 

The Wicked City

Finished The Wicked City by Beatriz Williams. I received a copy for review. 

This is impossible to describe but I’ll do my best. This book takes place in two time periods: present day (Ella left her husband after he cheated on her and moved into a building that may or may not be haunted) and Prohibition-era (Gen has moved to New York to escape her stepfather, who’s a bootlegger; she may or may not be the only person capable of bringing him down). The bulk of the novel is about Gen; she is FANTASTIC. 

I am a huge fan of Prohibition-era stories, probably for a mix of the excitement of speakeasies, the fun slang and the fact that the women are all complete badasses. 

This is only my second Beatriz Williams story and I want to read them all. The two I’ve read are quite different but they’re also both ridiculously entertaining. 

Recommended. 

A Night In With Grace Kelly (mini-review)

Finished A Night in with Grace Kelly by Lucy Holliday. I received a copy for review. 

This is the third and probably final book in the Libby Lomax series. I’m really going to miss Libby (and the sofa, with its tendency to produce Hollywood stars) but have loved all three books. 

If you are a fan of romantic comedies or old Hollywood, check them out. 

A Night in with Marilyn Monroe

Finished A Night in with Marilyn Monroe by Lucy Holliday. I received a copy for review. 

Libby still has her magical sofa, the one that brought Audrey Hepburn into her apartment. This time, it brings Marilyn Monroe to her. Also back: her best friend Ollie, her occasional boyfriend Dillon, Bogdan (we can’t even describe him) and her completely insane family. 

I love this trilogy and can’t wait to get to the third book (my next read). Libby is basically Bridget Jones for the modern era, and this book only cements that. 

It’s definitely setting up Libby and Ollie to be endgame but seeing them get there is a great time. 

Recommended. 

The Sleepwalker

Finished The Sleepwalker by Chris Bohjalian. I received a copy for review. 

Lianna’s mom has gone missing. It’s scary anyway, but here’s what’s even scarier: she has a history of sleepwalking. Sometimes she even leaves the house. This time, a scrap of cloth from her pajamas was found by the river. 

I know that doesn’t tell you much about the story but really, all you need to know is that this is by Chris Bohjalian and, like all his books, this is excellent. 

This is a book about uncertainty and the way that you can still continue living even if there are major questions. Like most people, I think I’m happiest with absolutes. I prefer knowing things FOR SURE but that’s not always possible. This book is about gray spaces. 

This is the first must-read 2017 release. Highly recommended. 

The Most Dangerous Place on Earth

Finished The Most Dangerous Place on Earth by Lindsey Lee Johnson. I received a copy for review. 

When they were in eighth grade, a boy named Tristan wrote a girl named Calista a love letter. He was a weird kid and she freaked out and shared it with her friends. They all teased him to the point that he committed suicide. 

Now Cally and her friends are in high school. The bulk of the story takes place in junior year and then it ends with senior year. The kids are not OK. 

This is a hard book to review because so much of it is a spoiler. It’s also a hard book to love. It’s written beautifully but it’s a hard book. A REALLY hard book. It’s bleak and hopeful in equal measure. (OK, mostly bleak; I lied.) 

This book is definitely not for everyone. But it’s worth it. 

Her Every Fear

Finished Her Every Fear by Peter Swanson. I received a copy for review. 

Kate Priddy is interested in starting over after her ex-boyfriend broke into her apartment, terrorized her and then committed suicide. She and her cousin agree to switch apartments for six months. It’s like The Holiday, right?

Wrong. 

Almost immediately after she arrives, her next door neighbor is found murdered. And there are signs that maybe her cousin could have done it before hopping on the plane. Although there are ALSO signs that maybe the killer is much, much closer than that. 

There are few things I like more than a good thriller and this is an excellent one. Every time I thought I knew what was happening, the story went in a totally different direction. 

If you’re in the mood for suspense, choose this. Recommended. 

How Will I Know You?

Finished How Will I Know You? by Jessica Treadway. I received a copy for review. 

Joy Enright was originally believed to have drowned, an unfortunate accident. We soon learn, though, that the teenager was murdered. We learn the effect it has on her mother, on the man accused of the crime, on several other residents. You can imagine, I’m sure. 

What we don’t know (until the end) is what actually happened to Joy. 

I was a huge fan of Jessica Treadway’s novel Lacy Eye. Like there, we go back and forth in time, slowly starting to see the big picture. It took me by surprise and also made so much sense. 

Jessica Treadway is absolutely one to watch if you like clever suspense. Recommended. 

Interviewing Peter Swanson

Peter Swanson was kind enough to stop by and discuss Her Every Fear (out January 10). 

1) What’s the Twitter pitch?
 When Kate Priddy swaps apartments for six months with a second cousin she doesn’t know, she begins to worry that she’s living the apartment of a killer.
2) Why did you choose to do multiple points of view?
The story dictated it. Originally, I was just going to tell everything through Kate’s point of view, but then I realized that in order to tell the whole story I needed other voice’s as well. In the end, I was really happy that the story is told through several different viewpoints.
3) Can you share the first sentence?
Sure. “The fastest route from Logan Airport to downtown Boston is a mile-long tunnel called the Sumner.”
And the four I ask everyone:
4) What 2017 releases are you excited for?
Will there be a new Cormoran Strike novel from Robert Galbraith/J.K. Rowling? If so, I’m definitely excited for that.
5) What are you reading?
I am currently reading the insanely entertaining second novel in the Joe Goldberg series by Caroline Kepnes. It is called Hidden Bodies.
6) If you could make one book mandatory, what would it be?
I used to work at a bookstore, and when customers asked for my number one recommendation I would always recommend Lonesome Dove, Larry McMurtry’s western novel that clocks in at about a thousand pages. Most wouldn’t take me up on it, but those who did would often come back to say how much they loved it. It really should be a contender for great American novel.
7) What are your five favorite books? You can do authors if that’s easier.
My five favorite authors are Kingsley Amis, John D. MacDonald, Stephen King, Ira Levin and Barbara Pym. That list will probably change next week.