Summer 2022 was the most wild and busy season with work, traveling, and everything in between, and I completely forgot to share anything here for the entire summer! I’m using September as a fall “new year” – really just a time to restart and find a fresh mindset and new routines. So let’s catch up on book reviews!
THE SANATORIUM BY SARAH PEARSE – 2 STARS
Several years ago I made it a goal to read all of the Hello Sunshine Book Club picks. They’re often fun new releases, and even though a few haven’t been my favorite choices, I mostly enjoy them! I didn’t, however, enjoy The Sanatorium. I expected a twisty psychological thriller, but it was just so completely unrealistic and outlandish that I didn’t enjoy it. Multiple murders take place in a newly renovated hotel that used be a sanatorium. Not my favorite.
ORDINARY GRACE BY WILLIAM KENT KRUEGER – 5 STARS
A coming of age story set in Minnesota in the 1960s, Ordinary Grace is a beautiful story told from the perspective of 13-year old Frank Drum during the tragic summer that changed his life. When Frank comes face to face with the reality of death (multiple times) over the course of a summer, he is forced to come to terms with the harsh reality that is life and understand God’s grace and humanity. I really loved this one.
THE CLUB BY ELLERY LLOYD – 4 STARS
I read this one for the Presley Paige Book Club in June. I am a HUGE fan of a twisty thriller, especially when told from multiple perspectives and time periods. It keeps me guessing until the end. This is the story of The Club, an exclusive members-only club for celebrities with locations across the world. The Club is hosting a grand opening weekend for their most exclusive location yet on a private, secluded island, but not everyone is going to make it out alive. If you’re a fan of Lucy Foley’s books, you will enjoy this book!
CALL YOUR DAUGHTER HOME BY DEB SPERA – 5 STARS
I randomly picked up this audiobook while traveling out of town for a bachelorette party, and it did not disappoint. I rarely cry while listening to audiobooks, but this one had me in tears. There are lots of content warnings, so please do your research before picking it up. This book follows three different women in the same South Carolina town in the years before the Great Depression. Three very different life situations all somehow weave themselves together in the most haunting and beautiful way.
THE LOST VILLAGE BY CAMILLA STEN – 3 STARS
Fall is the perfect time to pick up this creepy book that gives Blair Witch Project vibes 1000%. A documentary crew travels to a small village to film for a new docu-series where decades ago the entire town disappeared without a trace, leaving only a newborn baby behind. But what really happened?
FAMILY BY KAREN KINGSBURY – 5 STARS
This next installment in the Baxter series has us following more closely to the Katy Hart and Dayne Matthews storyline while also staying with the Baxter Family. If you’re new to these books, start at the beginning with the Redemption Series!
THE HOUSE IN THE CERULEAN SEA BY T.J. KLUNE – 5 STARS
WHAT A MAGICAL BOOK. I have seen so many people talk about this little gem, but knew absolutely nothing about it, and I was enchanted. The House in the Cerulean Sea is the story of Linus, a very quiet, single man who works for the Department in Charge of Magical Youth. When Extremely Upper Management charges him with a highly classified assignment, he takes the opportunity. Enter the house in the Cerulean Sea, also known as the Marsyas Island Orphanage, where six magical and seemingly dangerous children live under the supervision of caretaker Arthur. You will absolutely fall in love with Linus and Arther, with the picturesque setting of the story, and with these strange and endearing children. I laughed out loud and cried – there is so much meaning in these pages!
MEAN BABY BY SELMA BLAIR – 3 STARS
To be honest, I’m not sure why I randomly picked up this book, as I have never been just a huge Selma Blair fan other than of course seeing her in Legally Blonde. But I was interested in hearing more about her growing up and early years in Hollywood as I have seen her so much in headlines recently due to her health issues. Selma Blair is such an interesting woman with an interesting story.
FOREVER BY KAREN KINGSBURY – 5 STARS
On to the next one! I love the Baxters.
RUN ROSE RUN BY DOLLY PARTON & JAMES PATTERSON – 4 STARS
Okay this was a fun one! I picked it up because of the Redheads Podcast (any toasters out there?). James Patterson and Dolly Parton was the collaboration that we didn’t know we needed! Run Rose Run is the story of AnnieLee Keys as she arrives in Nashville with a secretive past, ready to bust onto the Nashville music scene. She’s quickly introduced to Ruthanna, the queen of country (think you could guess who her character is based on?). But AnnieLee’s past soon catches up with her and leaves us with an exciting thriller set in the country music world. There’s also a soundtrack (although I admittedly did not listen).
CULTISH BY AMANDA MONTELL – 4 STARS
If there is a book, documentary, tv show, movie, podcast, etc about a cult, I will be consuming it, and this book was no different. I am so interested in the psychology and history of cults – give me all of the Jonestown and Manson Family facts. This book dove into the psychology of cult mentality covering topics ranging from infamous cult leaders to things like cult fitness and group mentality. Some of it was a little bit dry, but overall I really loved this deep dive into cults and cult-adjacent content.