The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor: A Review

"... despite the best efforts of all the detective's and all the town's men, her head was never found, and the girl in the woods was never put together again."

Eddie and his friends use chalk drawings in different colors to communicate with one another.  One of their chalk pictures will signal that they should all meet in the park while another will lead the others to the woods.  One day, the boys follow their chalk drawings to the body of a young woman that has been murdered.  When the boys grow up and drift apart, they are all drawn back together when they begin to receive creepy chalk drawings again. They begin to wonder if the person accused of the crime was really the person who killed the girl.

The ending to this book shocked me.  I had no idea what really happened until the very last chapter.  There was so much suspense that I felt myself reading another page and another until I finished the book and found out the truth.  I frequently read books that are susp…

Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman: A Review

I loved Britt-Marie but Britt-Marie Was Here was not my favorite Fredrik Backman book.  I still loved the book but I have come to expect a certain story when I read a Backman book and this one didn't hit the spot in the same way as the others did.  This book was still a wonderful book, though.

Britt-Marie has spent her life taking care of everybody and everything around her.  She has become invisible until the day that she decides to leave her cheating husband and take a job as a caretaker in the small, neglected town of Borg.  She tries to make the best of it and make her time there as orderly as possible.  She locates a container of baking soda and begins to clean.  When the children of Borg ask her to be their soccer coach, a sport of which she knows little about, she agrees and learns what it is like to be accepted and make an impact on a place and its people.

Like other stories by Backman, the cozy writing style and characters really make up this book.  Britt-Marie was such…

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate: A Review

Rill and her siblings, along with their parents, are river people.  They live on a boat and travel with the river.  They don't have a lot of money but they love each other immensely.  When Rill's mother, Queenie, begins to have trouble during one of her deliveries, Rill's father takes Queenie to the hospital to give birth to the twins and leaves the children at home, with Rill in charge.  Before her parents can get home, Rill and her siblings are kidnapped and brought to Georgia Tann, a woman who brokers adoptions.  Georgia Tann runs the Tennessee Children's Home Society and many of the children that she claims are orphans are very much loved children to alive, but usually poor, parents.  Rill struggles to keep her siblings together while fighting off the abuses that she experiences at the boarding house she is entrusted to.

Avery Stafford is a gifted District Attorney who has traveled home to help out with her senator father after he has been diagnosed with cancer. …

We Are Never Meeting in Real Life by Samantha Irby: A Review

I love a good book consisting of comedic essays.  Samantha Irby did not disappoint.  I laughed out loud as Irby describes how she hides from children she babysits so that she doesn't have to help with math homework and models clothes for her cat, Helen Keller.  Irby also described her difficult childhood that was a challenge to read but many readers will feel a connection to.  The essays in this book reminded me of the books by Jenny Lawson, another super funny writer.  I really enjoyed the escape that this book gave me and anyone who is looking to have a few good laughs should definitely read this book.

My rating:

Reviews of books like this one:
I Hate Everyone, Except You by Clinton Kelly
Sleepless Nights and Kisses Before Breakfast by Matteo Bussola
Hungry Heart: Adventures in Life, Love and Writing by Jennifer Weiner

This book is currently available and can be purchased from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.  Read more reviews on this book on Goodreads.

This is my honest opini…

The Lauras by Sara Taylor: A Review

Alex's mom has always been a wanderer but, one night, she decides to take Alex for an epic, across the country road trip to settle scores and learn to overcome her unhappy childhood.  By accompanying her, Alex's childhood pains and lessons are revealed.  
I liked the story about Alex's mom a lot.  I love stories about one's childhood that eventually lead to healing.  It was rather annoying, though, that one of the central parts of this book was that we never discover whether Alex is a boy or a girl.  I didn't really care one way or another but it felt as if the author was trying to be trendy in that "genderless" is very on topic right now.  It felt like the author was trying to bank on that trendiness.  It just didn't feel like it should be an important part of the book and too much of it was used for something that I don't think most people care that much about anyway.  That being said, I really liked both Alex and Alex's mom.  While both ha…

The Stolen Marriage by Diane Chamberlain: A Review

Chamberlain's The Stolen Marriage has a lot going for it but it could be slow getting there, at times.  Tess DeMello will soon wed her childhood best friend, Vincent, when she decides to take a trip to Washington, DC with one of her friends.  There, she meets a wealthy furniture salesman from Hickory, North Carolina named Henry.  After an evening of too much drinking, Henry gets Tess pregnant.  Shamed by her strong Catholic faith and fearing that her fiancĂ©e will not accept her, she travels to North Carolina to ask for financial help from Henry.  He proposes that she marry him instead of raising the child alone.  She agrees but she soon finds that Henry, and her new in-laws, keep a lot of secrets from her.

This book has a lot of things going on.  There is the end of World War II, the polio epidemic and race relations in the American South.  While all of these make for great background stories, there were too many moving parts in this book.  It felt like an imitation of Forrest G…

Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood: A Review

Having really enjoyed The Handmaid's Tale, I was very excited to read Alias Grace and to see that it is a new series on Netflix.  I really enjoyed The Handmaid's Tale but I have to say that I actually liked Alias Grace more.  It might have been because it was based on a true story but the story was fascinating to me. 

Grace Marks is a prisoner, having been found guilty of the grisly murder of her employer and his housekeeper.  She is said to have committed the murders of Nancy Montgomery and Thomas Kinnear with her coworker, James McDermott, who is a surly and jealous man.  While she was initially sentenced to hang like McDermott, she is saved by her lawyer, who pleads with the court to consider her youth, and her sentence is commuted to a life term.  Soon after she is imprisoned, she is committed to an asylum on account of fits and her amnesia surrounding anything to do with the crime.  While she is treated with the worst of the time's psychiatric treatments, she still …