Which books are worth the read and which should you skip? Find out what books I’ve been reading lately and whether I recommend them.
Halloween is just days away, and I’ve been getting in the mood with a stack full of thrillers this month.
Normally, I don’t read too many thrillers, but this year I can’t seem to get enough of them. At the beginning of October, I went to the library and picked up a handful from some of the authors I’ve been enjoying this year. Add in a few from Book of the Month and I had an intense reading list this month.
Even though my book count is lower this month than usual, I really had a great month of reading. With a few more days until November, I think I might try to squeeze another thriller (or two) if I can.
Scroll on down to see my opinions, and if you have any book recommendations for me, please leave them in the comments!
October Reading List
After writing about recovering a marriage rocked by infidelity in Love Warrior, Glennon Doyle has a new memoir admitting that she forced herself to live a lie to achieve the fairy-tale ending of Love Warrior. In her newest memoir, Doyle explains the freedom of realizing that her true power comes from within. She divorced her husband and fell in love with US soccer star Abby Wambach and built a life that was true to herself.
I appreciated the courage it took Doyle to admit to the world that her marriage was over after writing so publicly about saving it. Doyle makes some great points about understanding our true beliefs and examining what we believe versus what we have been trained to believe. The first half of the book was excellent, but the second half lost its cohesive message and was full of tangents that often felt rather preachy.
Twin sisters Iris and Summer are practically identical, though Iris has always been jealous of Summer’s good luck. After Summer invites Iris to help the family sail to the Seychelles, Iris gets more than she expected when Summer vanishes overboard. How long can Iris deceive everyone pretending to be Summer in her sister’s not-so-perfect life? With a crazy soap-opera premise (the first child to produce an heir inherits the family fortune), I knew this wasn’t going to be a paragon of literature. But still, I just couldn’t get past the awkwardness of The Girl in the Mirror. Reviews called it edge-of-your-seat, but the story seemed to take forever to unwind, and all the twists were so predictable. A meh thriller if I ever read one.
Ten years since they last spoke, Nora is unexpectedly invited to her old friend Clare’s bachelorette party. Haunted by her breakup with her high school boyfriend, Nora hopes it will be the chance to put the past behind her until she realizes Clare is marrying her ex. When Nora wakes up in the hospital, she tries to remember how the weekend ended in such a disaster. Ruth Ware’s debut novel wasn’t nearly as interesting as her later books. Frankly, Nora is a pathetic protagonist and the mystery didn’t make much sense. It was an enjoyable read, but not as gripping as I had hoped.
“I need you.” Those three words send Isa Wilde running to her friend’s side. At boarding school as a teenager, Isa befriended Fatima, Thea, and Kate in a year that would change their lives. The three were inseparable and reckless, playing a game of their own making where they lied to everyone around them but not to each other. When a bone is found in the marsh, their childhood lies come back to haunt them. I wouldn’t say that it kept me gripped to the page, but I enjoyed unraveling the mystery, which was by far more plausible than most psychological thrillers I’ve read.
In a Maine resort town, Avery Greer and Sadie Loman strike up an unlikely friendship. Avery is a local orphan while Sadie belongs to one of the wealthy families who vacation on the coast. Inseparable for years, Avery is rocked when Sadie commits suicide. Now with the one-year anniversary of Sadie’s death, Avery realizes Sadie was most likely murdered. Megan Miranda is quickly becoming one of my favorite writers of thrillers. She weaves a tangled web, giving you plenty of suspects and red herrings to keep you guessing. The plot twists and revelations give the book a gripping pace, and I loved every minute of it.
Ten years after her daughter disappeared, Laurel Mack still hopes for the return of her golden teenage girl. After Ellie’s body is discovered, Laurel finally begins to put her life back together. Soon she is swept off her feet by a charming stranger who turns out to have a young daughter who looks exactly like Ellie. From start to finish, I loved Lisa Jewell’s domestic thriller. Instead of using tense action sequences, Jewell knows exactly when to jump timelines and change perspectives to keep the story from becoming stale. Of all the thrillers I’ve read lately, Then She Was Gone stands out for its rosier view of humanity and hopeful ending.
Reporter Camille Preaker is unsettled by an assignment that sends her back to her hometown. For years, Camille has avoided her hypochondriac mother and her charming but manipulative half-sister. When two preteen girls are murdered, Camille must investigate their deaths while not letting her past experiences affect the story. I ended up hating this psychological thriller about a screwed up protagonist from a screwed up family. Flynn loves toying with the shock factor, and I just hated the dark and sexualized tone of this book. The slow pace did nothing for me, and Camille’s idiotic choices left me wanting to throw the book across the room. I gave up 85% through, but I skipped ahead to see if I could guess whodunit. As I thought, the ending was as utterly predictable.
Published in 1949, George Orwell’s terrifying vision of the future is just as important today as when it was written. Telling the story of Winston, a depressed Party worker who longs to join the Resistance, 1984 shows the horror of a totalitarian society continually at war. Commonly referenced in modern culture (i.e., Big Brother, doublethink, thoughtcrime,), 1984 is one of the best dystopian novels of all time and my all-time favorite book.
Serving as a Navy SEAL in the Iraq war for over a decade, Chris Kyle was the deadliest sniper in American military history. Kyle’s autobiography (written with the help of Scott McEwen and Jim DeFelice) is a frank account of his life – from his roots as a Texas cowboy to his four tours in Iraq with the SEALs. The ghostwriters did an excellent job leaving the story in Kyle’s voice while given it needed structure. Kyle’s story is unapologetically his own, an unvarnished account of his experiences, with lots of f-bombs to go with it. I was fascinated by the rare opportunity to get such candid insights into a man and to see life in the military from his viewpoint, and occasionally through from his wife’s perspective.
My To-Read List
What’s up next for me? Before I let you go, here are a few of the titles I’m hoping to get through this upcoming month.
Be sure to come back in November to see which ones I read.
What books did you read in October?