October 2019 Book Reviews

Good Me Bad Me by Ali Land. So…..one of my beta readers/critique partners suggested my current work in progress might be a psycho thriller. While I considered this suggestion, I decided to read a couple, with the idea it might help me make my decision on the matter. This book started off in a pretty disturbing way. The story is told from the point of view of the fifteen year old daughter of a serial murderess…the woman kills young children and also abuses her daughter. The story starts just after Milly has decided to turn her mother in. Tense, gruesome and emotional. This book is definitely not for the weak of heart. I don’t know how to rate it because it was well written and captivating, but could cause nightmares! Read it if you like this kind of book. Rate: 3.8, with caution.

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler. This is the second time I have read this book. I enjoyed it the first time, but it isn’t likely I would have read it again EXCEPT it was one of the books I brought with me on an extended trip and I was about 100 pages in before I realized I had read it before. It was so engaging I read it again. It really is best if you know NOTHING about this story when you start. Don’t read any blurbs on-line, don’t read the book cover, nothing. So much better that way. And that is all I’m going to tell you. Rate: 4.3

Hurricane Season by Lauren K. Denton. So….these past few weeks I have been talking a lot to folks about “genre” writing. I really can’t come to a straight answer in my head where the line is between literary fiction and genre..at one extreme genre is very prescribed and one person actually explained “readers expect certain things in certain genres and you have to have them.” A publisher said “Oh yes, you have to specify your genre to get considered for publication.” Anyway, I think this book is pretty classic genre writing, by which I mean there really weren’t any surprises. (Spoiler alert) The biggest surprise for me was that the hurricane wasn’t the apex or even a crisis…which from the title I totally expected. So this is classic family problems, love problems, pregnancy problems, mothering problems. From the reviews it looks like folks liked her earlier book, The Hideaway, much better. Rate: 2.8

The Stories She Tells by LK Chapman. Well….as I was reading I had to look this one up. Chapman is self published, with a fair number of novels. At the time I was lamenting over my own work-in-progress because it was flat. I couldn’t put my finger on why and I was struggling with my self-esteem as a writer. I have to say the same for this book. In theory, she has a great idea for a story. A college pregnancy, some mental illness, tracking down old loves while sustaining new loves….There are too many coincidences, the same things happen too many times (leading to a bit of boredom while reading, I found my self saying “So, get on with it.”) Anyway, I can’t say that I recommend this one. I finished it, but only because I had something for a fellow writer. Rate: 2.0

Key for my personal rating system:

5.0 – A book I will never forget, will quote, will tell everyone I know they MUST read it.

4.0 – An excellent book, but doesn’t quite make the best books of all time list.

3.0 – A recommendation, good read, decently written

2.0 – Some redeeming qualities, I finished it, but I’m not likely to seek out more by the author

1.0 – Don’t waste your time.