Saturday, December 31, 2022

2022 Books

It was a big year in books for 2022; 242 books were read.
I had 31 books on a list of top rated novels that I felt were absolutely the best books of the year. I have pared that list down to the top eleven based on the extra stars I gave them after reading them, beyond the initial rating of five stars. The date following books is when the review was published. Every book on the original list is a winner, but here are my personal favorites:

Top Eleven Best books of 2022

The Winners by Fredrik Backman, 9/27/22 ****** literary
We Are the Light by Matthew Quick, 10/30/22, ***** literary
Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin, 7/13/22 **** literary
A Thousand Steps by T. Jefferson Parker, 1/8/22 coming-of-age/mystery****
Ocean State by Stewart O'Nan, 2/26/22 **** literary fiction
The Cartographers by Peng Shepherd 3/6/22 **** thriller/mystery
French Braid by Anne Tyler, 3/11/22 **** literary
The Candy House by Jennifer Egan, 3/27/22 **** literary
The Wrong Victim by Allison Brennan, 4/18/22 **** procedural
Upgrade by Blake Crouch, 7/4/22, **** science fiction
Girl, Forgotten by Karin Slaughter 8/22 **** procedural/thriller

Honorable mentions:

Girl in Ice, 1/1/22, * science fiction/mystery
Chloe Cates Is Missing by Mandy McHugh, 1/13/22 mystery
Her Last Goodbye by Rick Mofina, 1/20/22, mystery
Shadows of Pecan Hollow by Caroline Frost,1/31/22 *
 How High We Go in the Dark by Sequoia Nagamatsu, 2/5/22 * sci fi
Diablo Mesa by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, 2/7/22 ** mystery/sci fi
Nothing to Lose by J. A. Jance, 2/14/22 * procedural
Chorus by Rebecca Kauffman, 2/14/22, *** literary
The Night Shift by Alex Finlay, 2/23/22 **thriller
The Kaiju Preservation Society by John Scalzi, 3/17/22 *** sci fi
What Happened to the Bennetts by Lisa Scottoline, 3/19/22 *** thriller 
Kingdom of Bones by James Rollins, 4/10/22 *** thriller
The Children on the Hill by Jennifer McMahon, 4/14/22 *** thriller
Look Closer by David Ellis, 6/26/22, *** thriller/mystery
The Floating Girls by Lo Patrick, 7/10/22 *** literary
The Last to Vanish by Megan Miranda, 7/26/22 *** thriller
The Final Equinox by Andrew Mayne, ** thriller/scifi
Strange Habit of Mind by Andrew Klavan, 10/24/22 *** thriller
Doomed Legacy by Matt Coyle, 11/10/22 *** PI crime
A Quiet Life by Ethan Joella, 11/20/22 ** literary


Abominations by Lionel Shriver, 9/16/22 *** essays
Empire of Ice and Stone: The Disastrous and Heroic Voyage of the Karluk by Buddy Levy, 11/26/22 *** nonfiction
The Far Land: 200 Years of Murder, Mania, and Mutiny in the South Pacific by Brandon Presser, 2/25/22 * nonfiction
Nothing but the Night by Greg King and Penny Wilson, 9/17/22 * nonfiction
The Forever Witness by Edward Humes, 11/22/22 * nonfiction

Short Stories:
Denver Noir edited by Cynthia Swanson, 4/25/22
I Walk Between the Raindrops: Stories by T. C. Boyle, 9/10/22
A Sliver of Darkness by C. J. Tudor, 11/5/22

Books Read in 2022:

January – 19 books
1.Girl in Ice by Erica Ferencik, 304 pages, 1/1/22, very highly recommended **
2. Wolf Hollow by Victoria Houston, 288 pages, 1/3/22, highly recommended
3. Find Me by Alafair Burke, 304 pages, 1/4/22, highly recommended
4. A Flicker in the Dark by Stacy Willingham, 368 pages, 1/6/22, highly recommended
5. A Thousand Steps by T. Jefferson Parker, 368 pages, 1/8/22, very highly recommended ****
6. The Night of the Party by Anna-Lou Weatherley, 318 pages, 1/10/22, highly recommended
7. Somebody's Home by Kaira Rouda, 300 pages, 1/12/22, recommended
8. Chloe Cates Is Missing by Mandy McHugh, 312 pages, 1/13/22, very highly recommended * mystery
9. The Appeal by Janice Hallett, 432 pages, 1/15/22, highly recommended
10. The Accomplice by Lisa Lutz, 368 pages, 1/17/22, highly recommended
11. The Happy Family by Jackie Kabler, 400 pages, 1/19/22, so-so
12. Her Last Goodbye by Rick Mofina, 544 pages,1/20/22, very highly recommended * mystery
13. The Overnight Guest by Heather Gudenkauf, 352 pages, 1/22/22, very highly recommended * thriller
14. Nothing Left To Lose by A.J. Wills, 391 pages, 1/23/22, highly recommended
15. Impact by Greg Brennecka, 304 pages, 1/24/22, highly recommended, nonfiction
16. The Violence by Delilah S. Dawson, 512 pages, 1/26/22, highly recommended
17. CRISPR'd by Judy Foreman, 264 pages, 1/27/22, so-so
18. A Dark Divided Self by A.J. Cross, 240 pages, 1/28/22, recommended
19. Shadows of Pecan Hollow by Caroline Frost, 416 pages, 1/31/22, very highly recommended *
February - 20 books
20. The Nineties: A Book by Chuck Klosterman, 384 pages, 2/2/22, highly recommended, nonfiction
21. How High We Go in the Dark by Sequoia Nagamatsu, 304 pages, 2/5/22, very highly recommended * SF
22. The Night She Went Missing by Kristen Bird, 352 pages, 2/6/22, recommended
23. Diablo Mesa by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, 400 pages, 2/7/22, very highly recommended ** mystery/sci fi
24. Every Little Secret by Sarah Clarke, 384 pages, 2/8/22, recommended
25. The Paradox Hotel by Rob Hart, 336 pages, 2/9/22, highly recommended
26. Don't Say We Didn't Warn You by Ariel Delgado Dixon, 320 pages, 2/11/22, recommended
27. Nothing to Lose by J. A. Jance, 368 pages, 2/14/22, very highly recommended * procedural
28. Chorus by Rebecca Kauffman, 272 pages, 2/14/22, very highly recommended ***
29. Her Last Affair by John Searles, 336 pages, 2/16/22, highly recommended
30. Tell Me an Ending by Jo Harkin, 448 pages, 2/19/22, highly recommended
31. Snake Eyes: Murder in A Southern Town by Bitty Martin, 264 pages, 2/20/22, highly recommended, nonfiction
32. The Guilty Husband by Stephanie DeCarolis, 384 pages, 2/21/22, highly recommended
33. The Night Shift by Alex Finlay, 320 pages, 2/23/22, very highly recommended ** thriller
34. The Heights by Louise Candlish, 417 pages, 2/24/22, highly recommended
35. The Far Land: 200 Years of Murder, Mania, and Mutiny in the South Pacific by Brandon Presser, 352 pages, 2/25/22, very highly recommended * nonfiction
36. Ocean State by Stewart O'Nan, 240 pages, 2/26/22, very highly recommended **** literary fiction
37. Private Way by Ladette Randolph, 242 pages, 2/27/22, so-so
38. The Whispers by Heidi Perks, 320 pages, 2/27/22, highly recommended
39. Lost Worlds & Mythological Kingdoms, John Joseph Adams, Editor, 384 pages, 2/28/22, highly recommended, short stories
March – 23 books
40. The Summer Getaway by Susan Mallery, 416 pages, 3/1/22, highly recommended
41. The Stepchild by Nicole Trope, 242 pages, 3/3/22, very highly recommended *
42. A Life for a Life by Carol Wyer, 364 pages, 3/4/22/ highly recommended
43. The Cartographers by Peng Shepherd, 400 pages, 3/6/22, very highly recommended ****
44. A Ballad of Love and Glory by Reyna Grande, 384 pages, 3/7/22, recommended
45. Curfew by Jayne Cowie, 320 pages, 3/8/22, recommended
46. French Braid by Anne Tyler, 256 pages, 3/11/22, very highly recommended **** literary fiction
47. The Lying Club by Annie Ward, 432 pages, 3/12/22, recommended
48. Burning Hope by Wendy Roberts, 240 pages, 3/13/22, highly recommended
49. The Recovery Agent by Janet Evanovich, 320 pages, 3/14/22, very highly recommended *
50. The Long Weekend by Gilly Macmillan, 352 pages, 3/16/22, recommended
51. The Kaiju Preservation Society by John Scalzi, 272 pages, 3/17/22, very highly recommended, *** science fiction
52. What Happened to the Bennetts by Lisa Scottoline, 400 pages, 3/19/22, very highly recommended *** thriller
53. The Secrets We Share by Edwin Hill, 304 pages, 3/20/22, highly recommended
54. A Relative Murder by Jude Deveraux, 336 pages, 3/21/22, highly recommended
55. Songs by Honeybird by Peter McDade, 250 pages, 3/22/22, highly recommended
56. All the White Spaces by Ally Wilkes, 368 pages, 3/23/22, so-so
57. The Younger Wife by Sally Hepworth, 352 pages, 3/25/22, very highly recommended *
58. Out There: Stories by Kate Folk, 256 pages, 3/26/22, highly recommended, short stories
59. The Candy House by Jennifer Egan, 352 pages, 3/27/22, very highly recommended **** literary
60. The Shadow House by Anna Downes, 320 pages, 3/28/22, highly recommended
61. The Club by Ellery Lloyd, 320 pages, 3/29/22, recommended
62. A Family Affair by Robyn Carr, 332 pages, 3/30/22, highly recommended
April - 21 books
63. Kill Her Twice by Jack Fredrickson, 224 pages, 4/1/22, highly recommended
64. Bomb Shelter by Mary Laura Philpott, 288 pages, 4/2/22, highly recommended, essays
65. Unlikely Animals by Annie Hartnett, 368 pages, 4/3/22, highly recommended
66. Her Silent Prayer by M.M. Chouinard, 392 pages, 4/4/22, very highly recommended * procedural
67. The Sign for Home by Blair Fell, 416 pages, 4/6/22, recommended
68. The Patron Saint of Second Chances by Christine Simon, 304 pages, 4/6/22, very highly recommended *
69. Housebreaking by Colleen Hubbard, 368 pages, 4/8/22, very highly recommended *
70. Kingdom of Bones by James Rollins, 464 pages, 4/10/22, very highly recommended *** thriller
71. Watch Out for Her by Samantha M. Bailey, 336 pages, 4/11/22, recommended
72. Marrying the Ketchups by Jennifer Close, 320 pages, 4/14/22, recommended
73. The Children on the Hill by Jennifer McMahon, 352 pages, 4/14/22, very highly recommended ***
74. The Wrong Victim by Allison Brennan, 464 pages, 4/18/22, very highly recommended **** procedural
75. Traitor by David Hagberg, 240 pages, 4/19/22, highly recommended
76. The Patient by Jane Shemilt, 320 pages, 4/21/22, recommended
77. Our Little World by Karen Winn, 352 pages, 4/23/22, highly recommended
78. Magpie by Elizabeth Day, 336 pages, 4/24/22, highly recommended
79. One for Sorrow by Helen Fields, 384 pages, 4/24/22, highly recommended
80. Denver Noir edited by Cynthia Swanson, 288 apes, 4/25/22, very highly recommended * short stories
81. The Murder Rule by Dervla McTiernan, 304 pages, 4/26/22, highly recommended
82. Overboard by Sara Paretsky, 400 pages, 4/28/22, highly recommended
83. The Lioness by Chris Bohjalian, 336 pages, 4/30/22, highly recommended
May – 20 books
84. The Family I Lost by Ali Mercer, 358 pages, 5/1/22, highly recommended
85. This Time Tomorrow by Emma Straub, 320 pages, 5/1/22, very highly recommended *
86. What They Don't Know by Susan Furlong, 286 pages, 5/2/22, highly recommended
87. The Language of Birds by Anita Barrows, 320 books, 5/4/22, highly recommended
88. Seven Days in Virtual Reality by Jeff Yager, 256 pages, 5/4/22, recommended
89. On a Quiet Street by Seraphina Nova Glass, 320 pages, 5/5/22, highly recommended
90. An Island by Karen Jennings, 224 pages, 5/6/22, highly recommended
91. The Island by Adrian McKinty, 384 pages, 5/7/22, highly recommended
92. Two Nights in Lisbon Chris Pavone, 448 pages, 5/9/22, highly recommended
93. Poison Lilies by Katie Tallo, 368 pages, 5/10/22 highly recommended
94. Never Coming Home by Hannah Mary McKinnon, 368 pages, 5/12/22, highly recommended
95. Glitterati by Oliver K. Langmead, 288 pages, 5/14/22, highly recommended
96. The Daughters by Julia Crouch, 324 pages, 5/15/22, highly recommended
97. Deep Water by Emma Bamford, 320 pages, 5/17/22, recommended
98. The Favor by Nicci French, 448 pages, 5/21/22, highly recommended
99. Aurora by David Koepp, 304 pages, 5/22/22, very highly recommended *
100. The Favor by Nora Murphy, 288 pages, 5/23/22, highly recommended
101. The Girl They All Forgot by Martin Edwards, 352 pages, 5/25/22, highly recommended
102. Good Husbands by Cate Ray, 416 pages, 5/30/22, recommended
103. The Midcoast by Adam White, 336 pages, 5/31/22, highly recommended
June – 22 books
104. The Woman in the Library by Sulari Gentill, 288 pages, 6/1/22, highly recommended
105. Vacationland by Meg Mitchell Moore, 384 pages, 6/3/22, highly recommended
106. Local Gone Missing by Fiona Barton, 384 pages, 6/4/22, highly recommended
107. Arms Around Frank Richardson by Sylvia Colley, 6/5/22, 340 pages, very highly recommended *
108. The Lies I Tell by Julie Clark, 320 pages, 6/6/22, very highly recommended *
109. The Catch by Alison Fairbrother, 288 pages, 6/8/22, recommended
110. Little Rumours by Bryony Pearce, 416 pages, 6/10/22, highly recommended
111. Point Last Seen by Christina Dodd, 416 pages, 6/12/22, recommended
112. After Everyone Else by Leslie Hooton, 352 pages, 6/13/22, highly recommended
113. The Girl Who Survived by Lisa Jackson, 384 pages, 6/15/22, very highly recommended thriller*
114. Little Sister by Gytha Lodge, 400 pages, 6/18/22, very highly recommended, procedural *
115. Outside by Ragnar Jónasson, 352 pages, 6/18/22, recommended
116. The Lost by Jeffrey B. Burton, 288 pages, 6/19/22, highly recommended
117. Cold, Cold Bones by Kathy Reichs, 352 pages, 6/21/22, highly recommended
118. Dark Objects by Simon Toyne, 400 pages, 6/22/22, highly recommended
119. When We Were Bright and Beautiful by Jillian Medoff, 336 pages, 6/23/22, highly recommended
120. Listen to Me by Tess Gerritsen, 320 pages, 6/24/22, very highly recommended procedural *
121. The Second Husband by Kate White, 384 pages, 6/25/22, recommended
122. Look Closer by David Ellis, 464 pages, 6/26/22, very highly recommended *** thriller/mystery
123. First Born Will Dean, 368 pages, 6/28/22, very highly recommended *
124. Reputation by Sarah Vaughan,336 pages, 6/29/22, highly recommended
125. A Beginner's Guide to Murder by Rosalind Stopps, 368 pages, 6/30/22, recommended
July – 22 books
126. The Last Storm by Tim Lebbon, 368 pages, 7/2/22, highly recommended
127. Upgrade by Blake Crouch, 352 pages, 7/4/22, very highly recommended **** science fiction
128. The Perfect Neighborhood by Liz Alterman, 288 pages, 7/4/22, highly recommended
129. The Disinvited Guest by Carol Goodman, 336 pages, 7/5/22, recommended
130. The It Girl by Ruth Ware, 432 pages, 7/9/22, very highly recommended * thriller/mystery
131. We Lie Here by Rachel Howzell Hall, 416 pages, 7/9/22, recommended
132. The Floating Girls by Lo Patrick, 384 pages, 7/10/22, very highly recommended *** literary
133. Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin, 416 pages, 7/13/22, very highly recommended **** literary
134. Chrysalis by Lincoln Child, 336 pages, 7/15/22, very highly recommended * thriller
135. After We Were Stolen by Brooke Beyfuss, 400 pages, 7/16/22, highly recommended
136. The Pink Hotel by Liska Jacobs, 336 pages, 7/17/22, so-so
137. Things We Do in the Dark by Jennifer Hillier, 352 pages, 7/19/22, very highly recommended * thriller
138. Lambda by David Musgrave, 372 pages, 7/20/22, recommended
139. Dead Water by C. A. Fletcher, 512 pages, 7/21/22, highly recommended
140. Real Bad Things by Kelly J. Ford, 352 pages, 7/22/22, recommended
141. The Last to Vanish by Megan Miranda, 336 pages, 7/26/22, very highly recommended *** thriller
142. Red Flags by Lisa Black, 352 pages, 7/27/22, very highly recommended * forensic thriller
143. The Pallbearers Club by Paul Tremblay, 288 pages, 7/27/22, so-so
144. The Couple at Number 9 by Claire Douglas, 400 pages, 7/28/22, highly recommended
145. Dirt Creek by Hayley Scrivenor, 336 pages, 7/29/22, recommended
146. The Frederick Sisters Are Living the Dream by Jeannie Zusy, 320 pages, 7/30/22, highly recommended
147. The Deepest Black by Randall Silvis, 320 pages, 7/31/22, very highly recommended * mystery
August – 17 books
148. The Rabbit Hutch by Tess Gunty, 352 pages, 8/1/22, recommended
149. Stay Awake by Megan Goldin, 352 pages, 8/3/22, highly recommended
150. Never Go Home by Christopher Swann, 288 pages, 8/5/22, highly recommended
151. The Dark Circle by Robert J. Mrazek, 336 pages, 8/7/22, highly recommended
152. Long Gone by Joanna Schaffhausen, 304 pages, 8/9/22, highly recommended
153. The Family Remains by Lisa Jewell, 384 pages, 8/11/22, very highly recommended
154. My Lovely Daughter by R.P. Bolton, 288 pages, 8/12/22, highly recommended
155. Complicit by Winnie M Li, 416 pages, 8/15/22, highly recommended
156. The Pier by Matt Brolly, 352 pages, 8/16/22, highly recommended
157. Haven by Emma Donoghue, 272 pages, 8/18/22, highly recommended
158. What She Found by Robert Dugoni, 368 pages, 8/19/22, very highly recommended
159. Girl, Forgotten by Karin Slaughter, 400 pages, 8/22/22, very highly recommended **** procedural
160. The Darkness of Others by Cate Holahan, 368 pages, 8/23/22, recommended
161. Please Join Us by Catherine McKenzie, 320 pages, 8/25/22, highly recommended
162. Number One Fan by Meg Elison, 352 pages, 8/26/22, recommended
163. The Beach Party by Amy Sheppard, 296 pages, 8/27/22, recommended
164. Lost In Time by A G Riddle, 416 pages, 8/29/22, highly recommended
September – 18 books
165. American Demon by Daniel Stashower, 352 pages, 9/1/22, highly recommended, nonfiction
166. On the Rooftop by Margaret Wilkerson Sexton, 305 pages, 9/3/22, highly recommended
167. The Bad Angel Brothers by Paul Theroux, 352 pages, 9/4/22, highly recommended
168. The Rising Tide by Ann Cleeves, 384 pages, 9/5/22 highly recommended
169. The Final Equinox by Andrew Mayne, 336 pages, 9/8/22, very highly recommended, ** thriller
170. I Walk Between the Raindrops: Stories by T. C. Boyle, 288 pages, 9/10/22, very highly recommended *** short stories
171. The Real Mrs. Tobias by Sally Koslow, 336 pages, 9/11/22, highly recommended
172. Edge of Dusk by Colleen Coble, 352 pages, 9/12/22 highly recommended
173. Lessons by Ian McEwan, 448 pages, 9/13/22, highly recommended
174. Abominations by Lionel Shriver, 304 pages, 9/16/22, very highly recommended *** essays
175. Nothing but the Night by Greg King and Penny Wilson, 352 pages, 9/17/22, very highly recommended, * nonfiction
176. A Cigarette Lit Backwards by Tea Hacic-Vlahovic, 240 pages, 9/18/22, recommended
177. Lucy by the Sea by Elizabeth Strout, 304 pages, 9/19/22, so-so
178. Suspect by Scott Turow, 448 pages, 9/21/22, highly recommended
179. The Foster Family by Nicole Trope, 264 pages, 9/22/22, very highly recommended *
180. The Winners by Fredrik Backman, 688 pages, 9/27/22, very, very highly recommended ******
181. Treasure State by C. J. Box, 288 pages, 9/27/22, very highly recommended * procedural
182. The New Couple by Alison James, 298 pages, 9/29/22, highly recommended
October – 22 books
183. The Family Home by Miranda Smith, 292 pages, 10/1/22, highly recommended
184. A Place to Land by Lauren K. Denton, 336 pages, 10/1/22, highly recommended
185. The Animals by Cary Fagan, 220 pages, 10/2/22, highly recommended
186. Blind Faith by Alicia Beckman, 336 pages, 10/4/22, highly recommended
187. The Face of the Waters by Robert Silverberg, 386 pages, 10/5/22, highly recommended
188. Bad Vibes Only by Nora McInerny , 224 pages, 10/6/22, highly recommended, essays
189. Beasts of the Earth by James Wade, 330 pages, 10/8/22, very highly recommended * literary
190. The Maze by Nelson DeMille, 464 pages, 10/8/22, so-so
191. 1989 by Val McDermid, 416 pages, 10/10/22, highly recommended
192. The Last Chairlift by John Irving, 912 pages, 10/12/22, highly recommended
193. Duplicity by Shawn Wilson, 256 pages, 10/12/22, recommended
194. A Fearsome Moonlight Black by David Putnam, 330 pages, 10/14/22, very highly recommended *
195. Found Object by Anne Frasier, 272 pages, 10/16/22, very highly recommended *
196. The Boys from Biloxi by John Grisham, 464 pages, 10/17/22, very highly recommended *
197. Newsroom Confidential by Margaret Sullivan, 288 pages, not reviewed, not recommended
198. The Dark Room by Lisa Gray, 288 pages, 10/24/22, highly recommended
199. No Plan B by Lee Child, Andrew Child, 368 pages, 10/24/22, highly recommended
200. A Strange Habit of Mind by Andrew Klavan, 288 pages, 10/24/22, very highly recommended ***
201. The Singularities by John Banville, 320 pages, 10/25/22, recommended
202. Interface by Scott Britz-Cunningham, 464 pages, 10/28/22, highly recommended
203. Before You Knew My Name by Jacqueline Bublitz, 320 pages, 10/29/22, recommended
204. We Are the Light by Matthew Quick, 256 pages, 10/30/22, very, very highly recommended *****
November – 21 books
205. The Couple at the Table by Sophie Hannah, 368 pages, 11/1/22, recommended
206. A Rattle of Bones by Douglas Skelton, 312 pages, 11/3/22, highly recommended
207. Flight by Lynn Steger Strong, 240 pages, 11/4/22, highly recommended
208. A Sliver of Darkness by C. J. Tudor, 256 pages, 11/5/22, very highly recommended, * short stories
209. The Hollows by Daniel Church, 464 pages, 11/7/22, recommended
210. Doomed Legacy by Matt Coyle, 320 pages, 11/10/22, very highly recommended *** PI
211. Wayward by Chuck Wendig, 816 pages, 11/13/22, highly recommended
212. I Know Where You Live by Gregg Olsen, 304 pages, 11/14/22, highly recommended
213. Summary of The Great Reset: And The War For The World, 47 pages, 11/15/22
214. Summary of Battle for the American Mind: Uprooting a Century of Miseducation, 82 pages, 11/15/22
215. Secluded Cabin Sleeps Six by Lisa Unger, 400 pages, 11/17/22, very highly recommended ** thriller
216. A Quiet Life by Ethan Joella, 304 pages, 11/20/22, very highly recommended ** literary
217. The Personal Assistant by Kimberly Belle, 352 pages, 11/20/22, highly recommended
218. The Forever Witness by Edward Humes, 384 pages, 11/22/22, very highly recommended, * nonfiction
219. Friends Don't Lie by Nell Pattison, 384 pages, 11/25/22, highly recommended
220. Waste of a Life by Simon Brett, 192 pages, 11/26/22, highly recommended
221. Empire of Ice and Stone by Buddy Levy, 432 pages, 11/26/22, very highly recommended *** nonfiction
222. We Knew All Along by Mina Hardy, 261 pages, 11/27/22, recommended
223. Little Red House by Liv Andersson, 320 pages, 11/28/22, highly recommended
224. A Dangerous Business by Jane Smiley, 224 pages, 11/30/22, highly recommended
225. Night Shift by Robin Cook, 352 pages, 11/30/22, recommended
December - 17 books
226. Such a Beautiful Family by T.R. Ragan, 225 pages, 12/1/22, highly recommended
227. A Mother Would Know by Amber Garza, 320 pages, 12/3/22, highly recommended
228. The Girl in the River by Rita Herron, 448 pages, 12/3/22, highly recommended
229. I'm Following You by Emily Shiner, 245 pages, 12/5/22, highly recommended
230. Come As You Are by Jennifer Haupt, 320 pages, 12/7/22, recommended
231. All the Dark Places by Terri Parlato, 320 pages, 12/10/22, highly recommended
232. One Last Secret by Adele Parks, 368 pages, 12/12/22, highly recommended
233. The Girls Who Disappeared by Claire Douglas, 392 pages, 12/14/22, highly recommended
234. The Thing in the Snow by Sean Adams, 288 pages, 12/17/22, highly recommended
235. Sam by Allegra Goodman, 336 pages, 12/17/22, recommended
236. You Should Have Told Me by Leah Konen, 400 pages, 12/20/22 highly recommended
237. Tendrils of the Past by Anthea Fraser, 192 pages, 12/21/22, recommended
238. The Stay-at-Home Mother by Nicole Trope, 256 pages, 12/24/22, highly recommended
239. Blaze Me a Sun by Christoffer Carlsson, 448 pages, 12/27/22, very highly recommended *
240. The Blue Window Suzanne Berne, 272 pages, 12/27/22, highly recommended
241. Off the Deep End by Lucinda Berry, 272 pages, 12/28/22, recommended
242. Hidden in the Pines by Victoria Houston, 288 pages, 12/29/22, highly recommended

Thursday, December 29, 2022

Hidden in the Pines

Hidden in the Pines by Victoria Houston
1/10/23; 288 pages
Crooked Lane Books
Lew Ferris #2

Hidden in the Pines by Victoria Houston is a highly recommended procedural and the second installment of the Lew Ferris series.

Lew Ferris is now the newly-elected Sheriff of McBride County, in the Wisconsin Northwoods. The official cause of death of a teenage girl is being questioned by her parents and Lew, but Alan Stern, Chief of the Deer Haven Police Department and a subordinate to Lew, has ruled it accidental. It appears that there may be some interference in the case, which has some suspicious similarities to a death from years ago.

Newly retired Judith Hanson has returned to the area and been hired to help Dani in the sheriff's office, but what Judith would really like to discover is the truth behind her sister's death fifty years ago. Adding to the stress, Doc Osborne's daughter Mallory learns that there is some suspicious activity being carried out by wealthy local Matt Brinkerhoff. Also, it seems Dani may have her eyes set on Ray, the local fishing guide.

Wolf Hollow, the first Lew Ferris novel in the series was very enjoyable and the second book, Hidden in the Pines, is a worthy follow up to it. These novels are akin to cozy mysteries, only set in Wisconsin and feature a lot of talk about fly fishing. There is enough information provided in the narrative that you can easily enjoy both books as a stand-alone read, but they do compliment each other.

This is a satisfying and pleasing series. Although the mysteries are very straightforward and not extremely complicated, they will hold your attention throughout the novel. With a quick pace and exciting action, the investigations logically follow the clues and discoveries which is a plus in any procedural.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Crooked Lane Books via NetGalley.

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Off the Deep End

Off the Deep End by Lucinda Berry
1/10/23; 272 pages
Thomas & Mercer

Off the Deep End by Lucinda Berry is a recommended psychological thriller involving two families and a tragic accident

Amber Greer asks her neighbor Jules Hart if she could please give Amber's son Isaac a ride home when she is picking up her son, Gabe. A car accident results in the death of Gabe while his mother, Jules, and Isaac both survive. The aftermath of the accident leaves Jules in an unstable and sometimes violent mental state resulting in her institutionalization for a time. Jules also feels a weird connection to Isaac, which causes Amber to take out a restraining order against her. Then, ten months after the accident, Isaac goes missing and it is feared that a serial killer who was targeting teenage boys has taken him.

The narrative alternates between the point-of-view of Amber and Jules. Neither woman is very likable, but both are broken and dealing with unspeakable tragedy and horror. Jules is legally mentally unstable. Amber blames Jules and is desperately trying to find her son as she refuses to believe a serial killer has him, no matter what evidence is there. The police are involved.

The start of the novel will absolutely grab your attention and keep you reading. Then the plot begins to go downhill as the drama dries up or seems to be repeating itself. Jules is talking to police forensic psychiatrist over chapters and it is tedious. There is foreshadowing that she knows something, but after a few chapters of this, you don't care. Amber is blaming Jules and continually telling the police to investigate her while all current clues seem to point to Isaac being taken by a serial killer.

Then, toward the end we abruptly come to some actual progress, new revelations, and several shocking twists. (Some of which have been done so much better by another author, but no spoilers here.) All progress in the case and new information is saved for the end where numerous facts, ideas, and actions are all thrown at you all at once. You have to suspend disbelief that all of this is happening/discovered at one time. It would have been a much better novel with some clues leading to the ending or perhaps have Isaac narrate a few chapters earlier. The denouement is simply too over-the-top.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Thomas & Mercer via NetGalley.

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

The Blue Window

The Blue Window Suzanne Berne
1/10/23; 272 pages
Scribner/ Marysue Rucci Books

The Blue Window Suzanne Berne is a highly recommended generational family drama about secrets.

Lorna, a psychotherapist, has a 19 year-old son, Adam and is divorced. She has always had a complicated relationship with her mother, Marika. Marika was a survivor of the Nazi occupation of Holland who also abandoned her family when Lorna was seven and her older brother was twelve. After Adam was born she got a postcard from Marika thirty years after she left. Lorna has tried for two decades to have some sort of relationship with Marika, which has only resulted in her mother spending Thanksgiving day with them.

Adam has abruptly returned from college and is going through some secret turmoil of his own. He is withdrawn, refers to himself as "A" for anti-matter, and is rejecting first person pronouns and names. Lorna has never told Adam about being abandoned by Marika and Adam has not shared what happened to him.

When a neighbor of Marika contacts Lorna to tell her that Marika has hurt her ankle and needs help, Lorna and Adam travel up to her cabin in Vermont. Lorna sees it as an opportunity to tell Adam about her past and perhaps get him to share what happened to him. She also hopes it will help her relationship with her mother.

The Blue Window is a compelling, captivating exploration of closely held secrets in a family and how they can take over your whole life. Berne skillfully scrutinizes how closely held secrets that are not confronted or openly explored can result in stress, resentment, and anger. All three individuals here are troubled and hiding something. The tension builds with the three of them being together and not trying to openly express their obvious issues. When Lorna finally confronts Marika, it opens up a flood of resentment.

The narrative is told through the point-of-view of Lorna, Adam, and Marika. The characters are portrayed as realistic individuals, and there is some real insight into their characters. There will still be questions left in your mind afterward, though. Certainly, there was more information that needed to be shared and so many things that were left unsaid or unexplained.

This is an excellent, well-written novel. I especially enjoyed Berne's descriptions and use of language. Life can be messy and complicated, but so many plot points were left unanswered. Even as some deep insight into their individual thoughts and psyche was shared, I was left wanting more closure at the end. It is still a highly recommended novel, especially for those who enjoy literary fiction.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Scribner/Marysue Rucci Books via NetGalley.

Blaze Me a Sun

Blaze Me a Sun by Christoffer Carlsson
Translator: Rachel Willson-Broyles
1/3/23; 448 pages

Blaze Me a Sun by Christoffer Carlsson is a very highly recommended Scandinavian crime noir/police procedural set in and around Halland, Sweden.

In 2019 Moth, a writer, returns to his hometown of Tofta where he plans to renovate the family home and write a novel about a series of murders from thirty years earlier and the police officer, Sven Jörgensson, haunted by them. He befriends former police officer Evy Carlén who was Sven's partner and assisted on the case. Moth also talks to Vidar Jörgensson, son of Sven, who went on to become a police officer too. Within the present day events, the story Moth is writing of what happened in 1986 is told.

On the same night in February, 1986, that the prime minister Olof Palme of Sweden is murdered, the Halland police receive a call from a man who has attacked his first victim and says he is going to do it again. Police officer Sven Jörgensson rushes to the scene and finds 20-year-old Stina Franzén in a car. He tries to save her but she subsequently dies from her wounds. Two more women are victims of the perpetrator dubbed the Tiarp Man. This unsolved serial killer case extracts a terrible price from Sven and he retires, dying in 1991.

The writing is absolutely excellent in this intelligent, engrossing crime novel written by Christoffer Carlsson and translated by Rachel Willson-Broyles. The plot unfolds slowly while follows a complicated trail of clues, information, secrets, and surprises across decades. This is not a procedural that follows any standard, expected pattern for a crime novel. It is a thoughtful, detailed oriented novel which follows a crime investigation, as well as the psychological scars and painful legacy left by the unsolved case of Tiarp Man across the community for decades. It also covers the emotional damage and trauma that can be a part of a family's legacy.

Narrative threads are told from the point-of-view of Moth, Sven, and Vidar. All of the characters are portrayed as realistic, empathetic, complicated individuals who are struggling in various ways to live their lives and deal with the knowledge they have or think they have as they pursue the various answers they seek. Life can be perplexing and messy, and Carlsson explores this admirably while developing his characters. 

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Hogarth via NetGalley.

Saturday, December 24, 2022

The Stay-at-Home Mother

The Stay-at-Home Mother by Nicole Trope
1/3/23; 246 pages

The Stay-at-Home Mother by Nicole Trope is a highly recommended psychological thriller set in Sydney, Australia.

Terry, Andrea and three-year-old Jack move into a run down house in an expensive neighborhood. Andrea is very pregnant and not pleased with this turn of events. They lost their home due to Terry's gambling problems, so moving into this house, a fixer-upper, is thanks to Andrea's father who knew the person buying it was willing to rent it for awhile to them. Andrea is less than thrilled, but she feels she is stuck in her current situation and that Terry is going to try.

At the beginning Andrea is a bit distrustful when the neighbor across the street, Gabby, reaches out to her in friendship, but soon she is becoming a part of Andrea's life. Gabby is busy with her teenage son, Flynn, but is always available for tea and snacks with Andrea and Jack. She even pulled out some old dinosaurs Flynn used to play with for Jack. Gabby has offered to babysit anytime Andrea needs help. What young, exhausted, pregnant mother doesn't need this kind of support, especially when Andrea is suspicious that Terry is gambling again.

The writing is very good and the plot is fast moving, entertaining, twisty, and surprising. Some of the twists are easily guessed and others are truly surprising. There are several strange, odd occurrences going on and so suspicions and tension will rise while reading. You will be on alert for something to happen, and things do happen, which only results in raising the tension some more. The opening of the narrative will definitely grab your attention and keep you glued to the pages for answers.

The narrative alternates between the point-of-view of Andrea and Gabby. Both women are complex, interesting characters, and both of them are hiding secrets from each other. Andrea is keeping her husband's addiction and how it has ravaged their family's security, financially and physically a secret. Gabby's addiction to social media where she posts about her son was an interesting character trait, but the more engaging trait is that it becomes clear quite that she is a very unreliable and unbalanced narrator.

You may have to suspend disbelief a time or two, but The Stay-at-Home Mother is a great psychological thriller that most readers will enjoy start to finish.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Bookouture via NetGalley.

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Tendrils of the Past

Tendrils of the Past by Anthea Fraser
1/3/23; 192 pages
Severn House

Tendrils of the Past by Anthea Fraser is a recommended domestic drama.

The bodies of Sarah and Charles Drummond are discovered while their two daughters, Abby and Mia, are asleep upstairs. It appears that Charles killed Sarah before taking his own life. Cicely Fairfax, the girl's grandmother, whom they go to live with after their parents demise, makes sure the incident is never discussed. She tells the girls their parents died in a car accident. When Mia falls at work and hits her head, she has flashbacks from the night her parents died. Abby and Mia begin to share their memories, and talk to Cicely and their uncle, while attempting to uncover the truth of what really happened.

The narrative alternates between the point-of-view of Sarah fifteen years ago and the present day. The girls are still close to their former nanny, Nina, who has some insight into their past. Once the girls begin to talk about their memories, they begin to realize that the answer the police came up with may not be the truth.

The writing is good in this domestic drama that moves along at a fast pace due to the limited page count. The characters are portrayed in a realistic manner and as individuals in both time periods. There aren't any great surprises, thrills or suspense in the novel, but the clues are there to solve the crime, which makes for an acceptable mystery. Following the clues, events of the past, and the memories of Abby and Mia makes for an entertaining mystery and a good way to pass an evening.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Severn House via NetGalley.

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

You Should Have Told Me

You Should Have Told Me by Leah Konen
1/3/23; 400 pages
Penguin Random House

You Should Have Told Me by Leah Konen is a highly recommended novel of domestic suspense.

Janie and her partner Max have a newborn daughter, Freya. Janie is struggling with the responsibilities of having a newborn, including the constant nursing, lack of sleep, doubts about herself, and postpartum depression. Max has tried to support her and help with Freya, but one night, when he promised to take care of Freya and let Janie get some sleep, Max disappears. Janie wakes up to Freya screaming (crying) and can't find Max anywhere. Janie takes care of Freya's needs and then looks around the house for Max.

When she calls family and friends later no one has heard from him, but they don't seem too concerned. A mutual friend, Liana comes over to help Janie with Freya. However, when Janie learns from the police that a woman was murdered at a neighborhood bar and that Max was last seen there, she is determined to find out what happened. Janie begins to look into what happened that night.

The novel is set over several days and the chapters are opened with the time. This was an effective way to keep track of the time, which new mothers studiously have to do, and help increase the tension as the time Max is gone increases. I wouldn't say the novel is a thriller; it is more domestic suspense. Janie is concerned about Max's disappearance and is sure he is innocent of any nefarious activities. Max's family and friends feel the same way and are sure Max will be back soon. Janie's best friend is less sure.

The depiction of a new mother with a baby is realistic. Talking about nursing Freya, changing her, comforting her, is continuously mentioned in detail in the novel which some readers will understand and others will find annoying. You will need to suspend disbelief about some of Janie's actions and the idea that postpartum Janie could uncover information that the police wouldn't have already discovered. Max is really an unknown character without a lot of development as his appearance is so brief in the beginning of the novel.

The ending was more interesting and moved faster than the rest of the novel. I guessed most of what would happen but there were a few surprises. 3.5 rounded up.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Penguin via NetGalley.

Saturday, December 17, 2022


Sam by Allegra Goodman
1/3/23; 336 pages
Dial Press, Random House

Sam by Allegra Goodman is a recommended coming-of-age story narrated by the protagonist from ages 7 to 19 years-old.

Sam is an active seven-year-old girl who lives with her mother, Courtney, and half-brother, Noah, in Beverley, Massachusetts. Courtney does her best but she has to work hard trying to make ends meet and doesn't have a lot of extra time or energy. Sam adores her father, Mitchell, but he can be an unreliable part of her life. What he does do right is introducing Sam to climbing, a sport she enjoys. Climbing is something she enjoys and continues doing as she grows up even as she struggles to fit in with others.

The novel is narrated by Sam in the third person present tense. At the beginning the sentences are very simple and child-like to resemble a seven year-old and then become increasingly more complex as Sam grows up. As a reader, this strategy wasn't entirely successful for me, especially at the opening of the novel. Later sections of the novel where she deals with what is a serious, actionable situation, her limited point-of-view is too narrow and restrictive. 

Sam's love of climbing and her striving to excel at the sport does show her focus and determination to attain her goals despite her insecurities in other areas. All of the sections concerning climbing are descriptive and insightful. The narrative also competently describes her complicated life in a dysfunctional family. Her father struggles with addiction, something which she doesn't understand when young. Her mother has poor judgment in men; this doesn't just include Mitchell as Noah's father, Jack, is abusive. 3.5 rounded down.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Random House/Dial Press via NetGalley