Book Reviews: Highly Recommended (and also some you should give a hard pass!)

Every month I read a few books. I write short reviews that let you know what you should read and what you should definitely skip. If you want to know more details about the plot of a particular book, I trust you to look on Good Reads or Amazon. My specialty is recommendations, not plot synopsis.

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The Glass Castle


I’m a memoir fan—maybe I’m a little voyeuristic, or anthropological. I’m not usually so riveted by them though. People fascinate me. The Walls family intrigued me. I blazed through this book as quickly as I could, shunting aside the other books I was in the middle of.

Told in simplistic style as she begins the memoir at age three, her voice matured along with her child self. It was an amazing feat of storytelling.

No holds were barred either about any of the hardships they went through growing up. I appreciated the thread of genuine love and laughter that came during the tumultuous upbringing. I loved how the siblings did their best to care for one another and didn’t take out their anger on each other. I loved how the parents loved their kids the best ways they knew how and tried to be “there” for them, and at the same time hated how selfish and lazy they were.

It’s a beautifully told story about a sometimes ugly childhood. Recommended.

The Stranger Inside

⭐️⭐️ 1/2

I chose this book at random, while I was sick in bed, looking for an audio book to keep my mind off the pain. Sadly, this book was kind of painful. I only finished it because I was sick and didn’t have anything better to do, and to put my brain to the task of finding another one audio book seemed too hard.

I really liked Diane, the main character, up until about 1/2 way through. Her romance and the ending made me want to jump off the end of pier. But I was too sick for that, thankfully. I didn’t think this was suspenseful, even though it was supposed to be. I did suspect the person you’re “supposed” to suspect off and on, but I also the suspected “the twist” right from the start. I just can’t recommend it.

 The Auschwitz Escape ⭐️⭐️⭐️

I have read many fantastic novels in the genre of WWII. I have also really enjoyed all the of the Rosenberg books I have read. Until now.  I had a hard time putting my finger on what was wrong, but it was, basically, the book. The dialogue wasn’t great. There lacked depth of character in all of the characters. I liked how Rosenberg tried to write a story of a man finding God amid the horrors of WWII and the concentration camp, but it fell short in execution.  I’m disappointed, and it may be only because of my high esteem of the author from previous that I even gave it three stars. Try We Were the Lucky Ones  or The Hiding Place for an incredible WWII read.

The Hobbit ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

If you haven’t made the time to read the Lord of the Ring series, you are selling yourself short. So much beauty to be had here. I recommend all of them. I listened to the audiobooks on youtube. They have actors and action noises, which make it much more fun than reading them yourself. I tend to get bogged down on the names and extraneous details when reading them with my eyes. Reading them with my ears was a new and wholly recommended experience!

I only didn’t give the series five stars because of the dated and detail heavy style of writing. Don’t be afraid to skim in a book like this. Sometimes all the details about landscape or back story is unnecessary and tedious. However, don’t let the antiquated, word heavy writing style deter you from a wonderful interlude.

PopSugar Reading Challenge: a book that makes you nostalgic

The Fellowship of the Ring


Pop Sugar Reading Challenge: a book with more that a million Goodreads reviews

The Two Towers


The Return of the King


In Her Bones


I just checked out this book in a whim when I was searching for something else. It was a happy accident.

Edie Beckett grew up in a pitifully dysfunctional home and as an adult has to live with the actions of her convicted serial killer mother. When Edie is accused of a crime she didn’t commit, she has to solve the crime and clear her name. She ends up on a beautiful journey of self discovery and recovery.

For me her character development usurped the crime novel aspect. The book was suspenseful and sweet-and at the same time jarring and tearful. Definitely recommend.

The Witch Elm


I could not decide between two, three, or four stars, this is an intriguing anomaly of a book. I did not care for the main character Toby and at the same time I felt a lot of pity and empathy towards him. This book is a mystery, a suspense, not a thriller, a family drama.

It was defeating at times. I did not feel a sense of victory even when maybe I was supposed to. The plot dragged, so much inner turmoil. I was depressed by the ending. I wasn’t sure where the book was going even halfway through the book.

The writing and the conversation in particular was scintillating. This was the saving grace. Because even though I didn’t like Toby, or any of the characters really except for Hugo, it was still fairly enjoyable to read.

Nine Perfect Strangers


All I can do is give a long, satisfied sigh.

I love Liane Moriarty. I didn’t even know what this book was going to be about. I just trusted her. It is incredible how, 7 chapters in, all that has happened is people have driven down a road and stopped at a gate and I’m riveted. Her character development and differing points-of-view make it impossible to not carry on reading even though there is NO action. This book was different than the other ones I’ve read of hers, but no less good.

Delicious reading.

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One thought on “Book Reviews: Highly Recommended (and also some you should give a hard pass!)

  1. Hi Jessica – thanks for the book reviews. I have a copy of The Witch Elm I haven’t read yet and am glad to read it has some good qualities to it. You mentioned Cinder when you commented on my blog. I have to say – it takes place in Beijing, not in space… but the second book in the series (The Lunar Chronicles) has some chapters set in space, though primarily takes place in France. I haven’t read the rest of the series yet… but expect it will have some chapters in space and/or on the moon. It is a great series – and I do plan to read the rest.

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