Ove, the main character in A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman, is a grumpy old man who sees the world in black and white and has no problem telling people exactly what he thinks when they don’t follow the rules. Neighbors are put out by Ove and his bad attitude, but they refuse to leave him alone. It is through these repeated disturbances from a host of colorful characters that we learn the truth behind Ove’s personality. It’s not anger, but sadness that shaped his personality.
Olivia’s husband, David, committed suicide. Olivia is trying to put her life back together while being somewhat of an outsider in the town where David and his parents have long been a dominant family.
Olivia has to figure out how to process the death, and the abuse that came before it, to do the right thing for herself and her infant daughter.
Sue Klebold writes about these issues in A Mother’s Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy. In case you don’t recognize the name, Sue is the mother of Dylan Klebold. Dylan and his friend, Eric Harris, killed 12 students and a teacher and wounded 24 others before killing themselves on April 20, 1999 at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo. Columbine was the first mass school shooting and remain the worst on record.
Sue writes candidly about her grief, what she thinks about her son’s crimes and what she now knows she missed.
When an accident forces Lou to return home and live with her family, she is back where she was before she met Will.
Then Will’s daughter appears and changes everything Lou thought she knew about love and family.
Jenny Kramer, a high school student, is brutally raped outside a local house party. While in the emergency room, her parents consent for Jenny to be given a new drug to medically erase her memory of the rape. The problem is that, while Jenny forgets the details of the attack, she is left with the emotions that result from it. Basically, Jenny feels anger and uncontrollable sorrow, but she doesn’t remember anything about why, which makes her rape even more emotionally traumatic for her.
Jenny’s father, Tom, is obsessed with finding out who attacked his daughter and didn’t really agree with giving her the drug to start with. Her mother, Charlotte, just wants everyone to forget all about the terrible night and move on.
When Jenny can’t regulate her emotions, her parents take her to a therapist who thinks the best way to help her recovery is for her to remember what happened that night. As he helps Jenny uncover her memories, he realizes he has a vested interest in keeping her memories hidden.
All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood is amazing and terribly sad. You want the main characters to be together, but you’re also not certain theirs it isn’t an abusive and inappropriate relationship. Either way, the book gives the reader a lot to consider.
All the Ugly and Wonderful Things is the story of Wavy, a little girl wise beyond her years. Wavy is the daughter of a meth dealer and a mentally ill woman. As essentially the adult in the household, Wavy is responsible for herself and her 8-year-old brother, Donal. That is, until Kellen, an ex-con who works for her father, takes a special interest in helping her.
Kellen takes care of Wavy throughout her youth, but, when she becomes a teenager, their relationship develops into more. When Wavy’s aunt finds out about the relationship, she does everything in her power to make sure the couple isn’t together, tearing Wavy apart yet again in the process.
George’s parents try to rescue him from the mess, while he keeps looking increasingly guilty. It soon is discovered that George just isn’t a nice man.
Three teenage brothers also become part of the mystery after it’s discovered that the Clares moved into their childhood farm, which has a dark past of its own.
Josie Buhrman is a woman who has spent the last 10 years trying to escape her past. Josie ran away to New York where her live-in boyfriend, Caleb, doesn’t even know her real name, let alone her history. But Josie can’t hide any longer.
An investigative reporter named Poppy Parnell has launched a podcast about the murder of Josie’s father 13 years ago. Since the murder, Josie’s mother ran away to join a cult and her twin sister, Lanie, married Josie’s high school sweetheart. More importantly, there’s a man on death row for their father’s murder and the reporter is using the podcast to prove his innocence.
Sandy and Ben Tremont have just finished eating dinner in their secluded, state-of-the-art cabin when two escaped convicts walk into their kitchen. As Ben tries to fight the men, Sandy’s goal is keeping them unaware of the couple’s 15-year-old daughter, Ivy, who pouted in her room instead of joining them for dinner. But Ben is badly injured in the fight and Sandy can’t keep Ivy a secret for long, despite the other secrets we learn she has kept from her family.
I was uncomfortable with some of the language and examples in Kate Harding’s book, Asking for It. But, you know what? Rape is an uncomfortable, harsh topic, so is the treatment of rape survivors and the perpetuation of rape culture.
After being a journalist and researching journalism and trauma, I’ve reported about and read a ton about sexual assault. Harding’s book is the best assessment of rape culture I’ve ever read.
Don’t think there’s such a thing as rape culture? Don’t think you’d ever perpetuate it? Read Asking for It.
When Christine starts keeping a journal to remind herself of what she learned the day before, she starts to understand that the pieces of her life her husband, Ben, is providing for her don’t fit together.
The more contradictions she discovers, the more she wants to uncover what really happened to her and to understand why Ben isn’t telling her the truth.
Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris has a creepy, unique plot line that keeps the reader wondering what will happen next. You’ll also wonder who has a mind that create this stuff.
Vargas traces the roots of her alcoholism back to her anxiety-riddled youth, anxiety that never went away, even while she was reporting the national news.
It’s difficult to believe that Vargas is able to do her uber public job so well with the emotional illness. It’s even more difficult to believe that she was able to hide her second illness, alcoholism, for so long.
Vargas seems candid and honest with her story. But, the reader can’t help but wonder, even as she bares her soul, if she’ll fall off of the wagon again. It’s a sad look at how addiction can happen to anyone and how well it sometimes can be hidden.
Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget is Sarah Hepola’s candid memoir about her struggle with alcoholism. What first seems like an independent, strong woman becomes recognizable as someone with a sad illness when you read about all of the blank spots in Hepola’s memory. Her addiction resulted in dangerous choices and embarrassing behavior, and that’s just what she can remember or was told. Then Hepola writes honestly about trying repeatedly to force herself to give up drinking, even though she really never wanted to.
As she settles into a new life in a rural town with the help of her doctor, she renames herself “Water” and begins to try to remember her old life.
Interestingly, the person with all of the answers is a lot closer than Water thinks.
Jan. 21. It’s the day that Charlene Grant is certain she will die. It’s the day each of her childhood friends was killed, and she knows she next.
But Charlene has been planning. She learned to box and shoot. She’s in amazing physical condition. Her goal is to at least harm her killer or get some DNA to help the police find the killer once she’s murdered. That’s where Det. D.D. Warren comes in.
Charlene recruits Boston’s top homicide detective in the weeks before Jan. 21 to help investigate her murder, even though it hasn’t happened yet. Can the detective save Charlene before her time runs out?
Roig-Debellis is a hero who protected the lives of 15 children, only to be treated like she was unfit to be in the classroom by school administrators who weren’t even in the building that day.
Despite everything bad that happened to her, including being told she couldn’t see her students because she refused to back down on demands for greater safety precautions in the temporary school, Roig-Debellis chose to take the tragedy and turn it into something positive and hopeful. Now she uses her charity, Classes 4 Classes, to teach and model servant leadership to children.
Roig-Debellis is one of the great teachers in the world.
Det. Erika Foster has divers searching for a drug stash, but with it they find a child’s skeleton. The remains are identified as belonging to Jessica Collins. The 7-year-old went missing 26 years ago while walking down the suburban street in her neighborhood to a friend’s birthday party.
To solve the case, Det. Foster has to piece together old evidence, including that from the original detective, who became an alcoholic after failing to solve the case. In the process she learns more about the family’s secrets and those within her own department.
We already have everything we need for the career of our dreams, we just have to learn how to develop our relationships, skills, character, and hustle in the ideal way. This ideal way is all about creating your Career Savings Account, so you always have options waiting and never feel stuck.
Allie Callahan is a single mother with a history of mental illness who lives with her son, Sammy, and her adoptive mother, who also happens to be a foster mother. The little family seems to be getting along just fine until late one night when social services agents arrive with Zoe and Carrie, 12-year-old twins whose parents were killed in a double murder.
Allie and her foster mother soon discover that whoever murdered the girls’ parents is still out there and seems to know where the girls are. They have to figure out how to keep themselves and the girls safe until the police catch the killer.
Quinn Collins isn’t sure what to do when her roommate, Ester Vaughan, doesn’t come home. So she does what most women in her position probably would do… she searches Ester’s room for clues as to where she may have gone. In the process she discovers that Ester seems to have planned to live another life, even changing her name. In the end, it’s not at all what she expected.
The book, by Tammara Webber, is the first in the Contours of the Heart series. It begins with Jacqueline, a college student, leaving a party and being attacked by her ex-boyfriend’s fraternity brother. That’s how she meets Lucas, the rebellious barista she’s never noticed in her economics class. He saves her from her attacker. Of course, we want Jacqueline and Lucas to get together right from the beginning. I mean, he saved her from the most terrifying thing most of us can imagine. But, in the end, we learn that they really have the ability to save each other.
When his grandmother dies, Edgar is left with his mother, Lucy, who hardly seems fit to raise her son. Then Edgar meets a man who seems to understand him more than anyone ever has.
As Lucy searches for her kidnapped son, Edgar learns how to deal with the ghosts that have always been in his head.
Evelyn, After by Victoria Helen Stone is the story of Evelyn Tester, a suburban housewife who is married to a prestigious, wealthy psychiatrist and spends her days volunteering at her teenage son’s school. Evelyn gets a call one night to come help her husband who has been in an accident. But, when she arrives, her husband’s mistress is with him.
The book is about Evelyn trying to come to terms with her husband’s affair, the accident that killed a young woman and the kind of man her husband really is.
Samantha McAllister is a popular high school junior working overtime to keep up the careful facade she created. What no one but family (and her therapist) knows about Samantha is that she has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Her disorder causes repetitive, obsessive behaviors, but also abnormal amounts of worry, much of which is unfounded.
One of Samantha’s realistic worries is that her life-long group of popular girlfriends would ostracize her if they found out about her illness. So, Samantha obsesses about keeping them from learning the truth. But, when Sam meets Caroline, she discovers that maybe she’s better off without the popular girls and that she can find real friends elsewhere. For the first time in her life, Sam begins to feel normal and connected with her new friends in Poets Corner. But Sam learns that her new best friend is anything but normal.
Richard is a famous concert pianist who is diagnosed with ALS. In less than a year, Richard finds himself unable to play the piano or do many of the other day-to-day tasks it takes to care for himself. Richard knows he won’t be able to live on his own much longer, but his fame and ego meant he burned most of the people in his life at one time or another.
When Richard’s ex-wife Karina finds out about his illness, she must determined what (if any) responsibility she has to help him. And, together, they have to figure out how to minimize the stress his illness might put on his already damaged relationship with their college-aged daughter.
Everybody Writes is the writing book for this decade. The premise of Ann Handley’s book is simple—we may not all be journalists or authors, but we’re all writers. Why? Because, from social media updates to email messages, we’re all writing every day.
Ann then provides writing rules on everything from basic grammar to writing headlines for marketing content.
Everybody Writes is a must-read for everyone who writes… which, if you’ve been paying attention, you know is everyone.
Sometimes you don’t choose love, it chooses you. That’s what happened to Emma Montague when she left her wealthy British life for an equally posh one in New York only to tire and flee to a waterfront town in Westport, Connecticut. It’s there that she falls in love with her landlord, Dominic, who is everything that Emma never thought would interest her.
Fatal by John Lescroart is the story of 44-year-old Kate. Kate and her husband, Ron, are happily married and seem to be living a blessed life, until Kate cheats on Ron with Peter, a friend of a friend she meets at a dinner party.
Kate is ready to move on with her life after the indiscretion, but Peter has other ideas. There are some things that he just might not be able to let go.
Insert a terror attack and several other murders and you’ve got a ton of plot twists to keep you reading.
It’s been seven years since her kidnapping, but Flora still hasn’t adjusted to “normal” life. Instead, she’s become a vigilante of sorts. She seems obsessed with finding other missing girls.
When Flora goes missing for the second time, Detective D.D. Warren knows she must find her quickly. The detective is almost certain that her obsession with finding kidnapped girls is what got Flora kidnapped again and will result in her murder if she isn’t found quickly.
Simon Connolly doesn’t know what to think about his son, Jake. He responds in a frenzied panic when he learns that shots were fired at the high school his son and daughter attend. When he arrives at the school, he finds out that his daughter is safe, but teens are dead and Jake is the only living suspect.
Finding Jake by Bryan Reardon tells the story of the Connolly family (through the eyes of Simon Connolly) as they try to locate Jake before the police do and struggle with their beliefs of his guilt or innocence.
I have never laughed as hard at a book as I did Furiously Happy. I wasn’t even finished with the introduction and I was laughing so hard that I was crying.
The only time I stopped laughing was when Jenny Lawson took a moment to give readers a glimpse of her struggle with depression, anxiety and personality disorder. Those moments were so honest that I couldn’t help but love them too.
All in all, Lawson’s book is a funny look at a serious topic, which is an approach we probably all need more.
Sarah teaches the reader ways to get it together like how to spend less, ways to manage anxiety, how to conquer your fear of failure, and, perhaps most importantly for people like me, how to avoid avoidance.
I loved the fun, insightful self-help book. I was able to take and utilize advice from the book immediately, and I am likely to reread this one.
Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow is about Charlie Davis, a 17-year-old girl who started cutting and other reckless behaviors after her father died. When Charlie is released from an institution, she is once again homeless and must figure out how to create a life for herself without falling back into the dark place where she was before.
Rachel Hollis is the writer behind The Chic Site and the owner of her own media company. Rachel’s book focuses on lies she once believed that left her feeling like she wasn’t good enough or doing anything well. The book is a honest look at the lies we tell ourselves that belittle and destroy us.
Give teenagers were attacked while hanging out in Gitchie Manitou State Park, but the book really is about the lone surviving woman and her attempt of moving on with her life after being labeled the “Gitchie Girl.”
The authors wrote the book through interviews with her after years of silence about the crimes that shaped the rest of her life.
Defense lawyer Jack Swyteck is defending a death-row client. It just so happens that his client was charged and convicted of Sashi’s murder. Jack is almost positive that Dylan Kyle raped Sashi, but he’s not convinced that his client murdered her or that she was murdered at all. Her mother certainly doesn’t believe so.
Jack has to figure out the truth about what happened to Sashi before his client is put to death.
The 34-year-old writer became the “bead lady,” taking jewelry making materials to the shelter once a week to share with the women who lived there. Her hope was to met a kindred spirit while gathered around the table making bracelets and earrings.
She met Sam, a 19-year-old unbelievably smart junkie. And she knew immediately that Sam was the girl she was meant to save.
But saving Sam proved a lot more difficult than Erlbaum expected, especially since Sam really didn’t want to be saved.
Maggie Sparkes, a rich philanthropist, comes to New York City to pack up what’s left of her best friend’s belongings after the woman committed suicide.
But Maggie isn’t convinced that Celine killed herself.
The more she discovers in her apartment and through her friends, the more convinced Maggie becomes that Celine was murdered and her lover was involved. Unfortunately, Maggie also finds herself attracted to Celines former lover.
The London native decides to push herself through her anxiety by switching apartments with her cousin from Boston. She thinks the temporary change might be just what both of them need to reset.
Unfortunately, Corbin’s neighbor is murdered right after Kate arrives and she finds herself entwined in a mystery, wondering if history is repeating itself.
In Her Final Breath, Tracy has returned to the police force after her sister’s killer’s trial. And, of course, she immediately is put on the case of a serial killer. Not only is “the Cowboy” killing women, but he seems to have a special interest in Tracy, who needs to figure out who he is an arrest him before she becomes his next victim.
In Hour of Need (the first book in the series), Maj. Grant Barrett learns that his brother and sister-in-law have been murdered, so he returns home from the war to care for his orphaned niece and nephew. Grant soon realizes that whoever killed his family didn’t do so randomly and now the murderer is a threat to the children. Grant has to solve his brother and sister-in-law’s murder before the killer takes someone else from him.
Dale Carnegie actually should have titled this book “Using the Manners Your Momma Taught You.” I read it every fall with public relations students, and I get something from it every time. Carnegie’s advice is simple: Smile, be a good listener and remember people’s names. It’s also a great reminder about how to treat others through the busyness of life and business.
Ella Longfield overhears two young men flirting with two teenage girls on a train. Her maternal instincts kick in and she almost intervenes, telling the girls to stay away from the boys. In the end, she decides to mind her own business and says nothing. The next day, she sees on the news that one of the girls is missing.
A year later, Anna Ballard still is missing and Ella is riddled with guilt about what she should have or could have done to save the girl. As the anniversary of Anna’s disappearance gets closer, what really happened that night begins to become apparent.
Jenna Gray walks away from her life and moves into a cottage as an unknown woman. But, even in her new life, Jenna can’t escape the memories of a young boy being hit by a car and the responsibility she feels for his death.
My husband and I listened to this book on a road trip. He rolled his eyes at me when it first started, but he soon was laughing along as Jen realizes she middle aged and attempts to fulfill her bucket list.
Jen is just funny. Every time I read her writing, I want to write a book of my own. Then I remember that I’m not funny.
Zoe Walker is a creature of habit. Just like most of us, she takes the same route to and from work every day. She uses the same trains, stands in the same place on the platform, etc. It’s all part of that mindless routine we’re all subject to performing.
One night on the way home, Zoe sees a classified ad with a photo of herself in the local newspaper. The ad provides a phone number and the web address FindTheOne.com.
Zoe is spooked enough that she begins paying attention to the ads, even though she’s not certain the grainy photo is her. Soon she discovers that the women featured in these ads are all victims of violent crimes, and she may be next.
In the Clearing is about the suspicious death of a Native American high school girl 40 years ago. Tracy is asked by a friend whose detective father just died to solve the one case he was never able to let go. Of course, she does.
Lisa Genova writes about Joe O’Brien, a 44-year-old Boston police officer and father of four. Joe is diagnosed with Huntington’s, a neurodegenerative disease with no treatment or cure. What’s worse is that each of his children has a 50 percent chance of also having the disease.
The book is the story of the O’Brien family and how they each learn to cope with Joe’s worsening health and the possibility of their own disease.
Amber Bryant and Tyler Hicks have been best friends since they were teenagers. They’re so close that they’ve always been just like family. Tyler even was Amber’s lifeline when she nearly died from an eating disorder.
But Tyler always has secretly loved Amber and hoped they would end up together.
Amber comes home to live for the summer after college graduation, then she plans to move with her fiance. While she’s home, she starts spending more time with Tyler. Then, one alcohol fueled night, Tyler does something that destroys their friendship forever.
IT’S ALWAYS THE HUSBAND
Three super different college roommates—Kate, Aubrey and Jenny—vow in college that they will always be there for each other. It’s the typical college promise, which they make without even always liking each other.
Fast forward 20 years and one of them is dead. The other two try to figure out what happened to their friend, while trying to protect themselves and their small-town lives in the process. The more they learn, the more they question if they were ever really friends at all.
Ethan, 19, has a developmental disability that results in him acting like a toddler. His Dad, John Nichols, sets off with him to drive across multiple states to his older sister’s wedding. During the trip, John has to find ways to cope with all of the challenges that are Ethan. He also has to figure out how to reconnect with his two older daughters and his ex-wife.
The family falls apart after the wreck until Julia decides to take the girls on a cross-country drive to pull them back together. During the trip, they learn what they all mean to each other and how to cope with an accident they all regret.
Iris is the stereotypical beautiful, popular teen. She’s the daughter Joe and Hanna don’t have to worry about.
Dawn is plain, awkward and frequently teased at school. She’s the daughter that gives the couple constant worry.
The couple is happy when Dawn seems to be settling in at college, and they hope she’s finally found a place where she fits in. They are less-than-impressed when Dawn brings her boyfriend, Rud, home for her sister’s wedding. There is just something off about the first man in their daughter’s life, although they try not to focus the possibility that it’s because they can’t figure out why someone so handsome would be with Dawn.
After a Thanksgiving dispute among the four, Hanna and Joe are attacked in their home. Joe is killed and Hanna is beaten severely, causing a head injury and memory loss. Rud is convicted of the crime and, while Dawn initially is thought to be involved, she is not indicted by a grand jury.
When Rud is given an appeal, Dawn returns home to live with her mother, who desperately tries to remember what happened that night so she can keep Rud in jail and exonerate her daughter for good.
The book is about Flynn, a teenage boy whose girlfriend, January, is missing. As January’s boyfriend, Flynn is the prime suspect. But, as Flynn begins to learn more he didn’t know about his girlfriend, he realizes that there was a lot he didn’t know about January. In the process, he becomes more honest about himself too.
The Cleveland suburb of Shaker Heights is a bit Stepford like. Everything is planned and uniform, just like Elena Richardson’s life.
Elena grew up in Shaker Heights, always planning to marry and nice man and raise a good family there. It’s exactly what she’s done, and it’s a lifestyle she intends to protect.
When Mia Warren, a single mother and artist, shows up in town with her daughter, Pearl, life in Shaker Heights becomes a little less perfect. Even the Richardsons aren’t immune to the drama that Mia and Pearl bring to town.
In Love Your Life, Not Theirs, Rachel Cruze, who is Dave Ramsey’s daughter, explains in practical terms how to best use your money and create habits that help you live a life that satisfies you instead of constantly comparing your life to others’.
Sarah Quinlan’s husband, Jack, is haunted by the death of his mother when he was a teenager. Sarah and Jack return to Penny Gate, Iowa, when another accident happens at the family’s ranch. It isn’t long before Sarah begins to wonder if the murder and the “accident” have anything in common and why all of the women in Jack’s life seem targeted. Is her husband capable of murder? Does she really know him at all?
The Department of Justice investigated 350 sexual assaults reported to the Missoula police between January 2008 and May 2012. Krakauer’s book told the story of some of these women and the men accused of raping them. It also explained how police and university officials rarely handled these reports properly, especially where members of the college’s beloved football team were concerned.
It seemed important to Krakauer for readers to understand why rape happens so frequently on college campuses (the statistic I’ve heard is one-in-five women are raped during their four years at university) and why these assaults rarely are reported. He also wanted to make clear the distinction between stranger and acquaintance rape, with rape by someone familiar to the victim being much more frequent and less likely to be reported.
Krakauer’s book sheds light on a horrifying problem in our nation’s education system that we must find a solution for. Otherwise, we’re not just educating our students, we’re creating an environment where they’re becoming victims at an alarming rate.
No. 7 Ocean Drive is a beautiful beachfront mansion in the Hamptons with terrible secrets. The home, which is rumored to be cursed, was the scene of a series of murders that never were solved.
Det. Jenna Murphy knows, when she begins investigating a double murder in the abandoned house, that there’s more to the house’s haunting history than most people care to admit. She doesn’t believe in curses, so she intends to find out what exactly is happening at Murder House and who is responsible.
It look Gemma Dowler 15 years to tell the story of serial killer Levi Bellfield kidnapping, raping and murdering her 13-year-old sister on March 21, 2002 as she was walking home from school.
Milly’s body was found months after her disappearance, but it took years for the police to have any real suspects.
Gemma tells the story of her family’s grief and survival during the most difficult period of their lives. She discusses the perceived failings of the police, including focusing almost solely on her father as a suspect, withholding critical information to her sister’s case and outing family secrets while protecting Milly’s murderer. And Gemma writes candidly about media coverage of her sister’s kidnapping and murder, including the falsehoods and the damage it all did to the family.
Tracy Crosswhite is tough. Being a detective doesn’t phase her because she’s already been through the most difficult experience she’ll ever have.
Edmund House, a convicted rapist, later was jailed for Sara’s murder. Sara’s body was never found, and the evidence used to convict House never sounded quite right to Tracy. She left her hometown filled with bad memories and became a detective, hoping to give other families the closure hers never got.
When Sara’s remains are discovered, Tracy is more convinced than ever that something isn’t right about the case against House. She fears the wrong man is in prison and her sister’s killer is running free.
As she searches for the truth, Tracy discovers that the heartache she experienced losing Sara was just the beginning.
Lindy Simpson, 15, was raped one evening in 1989 while riding her bike home to her Baton Rouge neighborhood. The story of how things changed (and sometimes how they did not) after Lindy’s rape is told through the eyes of the boy who lives across the street and who loves her. He also was a suspect in the student athlete’s rape.
Lindsey Nash took her daughter and ran away from her abusive husband. The same night, her husband, Andrew, was driving under the influence, causing a wreck that killed a woman. He’s been in prison for 11 years
The book begins with Andrew’s release, followed by his steps to form a relationship with his daughter and a series of frightening “coincidences” that Lindsey is certain he is responsible for. When Charlie is released from an institution, she is once again homeless and must figure out how to create a life for herself without falling back into the dark place where she was before.
Cady Martino knows something isn’t right. Her 16-year-old sister, Savannah, didn’t meet her after school like they planned. Then Cady has a sort of vision and sees her twin dying. The girl’s body was found shortly after in an abandoned house. The police rule Savannah’s murder a random attack.
Years later, Cady still communicates with her deceased sister through dreams and is more determined than ever to find out who killed her. The problem is that there sometimes are things you don’t want to know about people you care about.
Noah Sadler and Abdi Mahad are best friends, but, when Noah is found floating unconscious in Bristol’s Feeder Canal, Abdi becomes temporarily mute and won’t provide Noah’s family with information about what happened.
Abdi’s silence makes what first looks like an accident seem potentially sinister. Soon the public creates a story of a Somali refugee boy killing his British best friend.
It’s up to the police to determine what actually happened to Noah that night and end the cultural friction in the community.
William Zinsser’s class writing book is THE book on the craft of non-fiction writing. If you haven’t read it, you must.
Kristen Hadeed made a ton of mistakes while she was building her cleaning company, Student Maid.
Kristen started the company almost by accident 10 years ago while she was still a college student. She had no idea how to manage a company or the people in it
Kristen now is a sought-after business speaker, but it really does seem that she learned almost everything the hard way and she’s willing to share her mistakes to help others.
The book’s foundation is to live a meaningful life with real connections instead of trying to do everything and be everything to everyone.
The story is told through Niequist’s own life experience of realizing that it was time to stop pushing herself so hard and focus on what was really important.
Claire and Lydia’s teenaged sister, Julia, disappeared more than 20 years ago. The two women haven’t spoken since. Claire is the beautiful trophy wife of a millionaire. Lydia is a single mother and former drug addict who dates an ex-con.
A secret brings the women back together after Claire’s husband is killed, but they never imagine it will led them to their sister’s murderer.
Jennifer Ertman and Elizabeth Pena just happened to walk through the wrong place at the wrong time. The girls were headed home from a friend’s house and took a secluded shortcut so they would make it home on time for curfew. What happened instead is they ran into a gang of six killers.
Jon Acuff explains how to harness your dream and start achieving it while still having the security of a full-time job.
Redemption Road by John Hart has a host of unlikely, intertwined characters including a little boy who wants revenge for his mother’s murder, crooked cops (actual and perceived), a rogue detective who you want to win, a senile attorney who is brighter than everyone else, and a preacher with more problems than the whole lot of them.
Estelle Paradise wakes up in a hospital severely injured and missing and ear. As she comes to, Estelle remembers that her infant daughter, Mia, is missing. But she doesn’t remember anything aside from finding Mia’s crib empty and Mia and her things (diapers, clothes, bottles, etc.) gone. Of course, Estelle, who suffered from postpartum depression that she tried unsuccessfully to hide, is the police’s primary suspect. Witnesses come forward who have seen her acting strangely toward the colicky Mia. To clear her name and find her daughter, Estelle must recover her memory, but she’s not certain she wants to because the truth may be more than she can handle.
But we all know looks can be deceiving.
Ted actually has terrible rages, and Grace is afraid to make a wrong move in her own home.
When Grace hires a new assistant to help her cope with Ted, she finds herself questioning her marriage, her reputation and her sanity. The question becomes how much the new assistant, Beth, has to do with Grace’s problems.
In Seconds to Live, Mac Barrett returns to Scarlett Falls when he learns that his father is dying. The night his father dies, he crashes his Jeep to keep from hitting a naked woman lying in the road. But, when Mac comes to, the woman is gone. He gives the woman’s description to Det. Stella Dane only to discover that the woman he saw fits the description of a missing woman. Mac and Stella work together to solve the mystery and catch the woman’s kidnapper.
Ruth Jefferson is an experienced labor and delivery nurse. She is making her rounds and stops to check on a baby, only to be told later by a supervisor that the baby’s parents, who are white supremacists, do not want her touching their little boy.
Ruth is shocked, angered and hurt by the mandate to stay away from the infant, but moves on doing her job.
The next day, the baby goes into cardiac distress while Ruth is the only one in the nursery. Ruth hesitates, but helps the baby. When he dies, Ruth is charged with his death.
Rachel Cruze gets her Dad, Dave Ramsey’s help in explaining to parents how to teach their kids responsibility with money. We are implementing some of these changes at our house. While it will be difficult for our kids to adjust to initially, the authors explain that the worst thing parents can do for their children’s financial futures is to act like an ATM every time they need money. This book is a must read for any parent. I wish I had read it earlier.
Author Jack Olsen recounts the 1980s arrest and conviction of Fred Coe, a serial rapist in Spokane, Wash.
Coe is a psychopath from a well-to-do family who raped an unknown number of women (He was convicted for raping three women, but the number is thought to be more than 30.). His social status, unusual beliefs and heinous crimes make the book interesting.
That’s what happened to Gina Royal, a housewife with two children, who goes on the run, disguising her identity and that of her children to protect them from people who think she knew about her husband’s crimes and protected him.
When the trio ends up at Stillhouse Lake, Gina (now Gwen) begins to finally feel at home and like they might be able to stay for awhile. But then a dead woman is pulled from the lake and threatening letters begin arriving from her ex-husband, who is in jail for his crimes.
Toni Murphy was not a perfect teenager. She drank, did drugs, had a rebel boyfriend, and lied to her parents, further straining an already difficult relationship. Despite Toni’s flaws, she wasn’t a murderer.
When Toni’s younger sister is brutally murdered, she and her boyfriend, Ryan, are convicted of the crime and sent to prison.
Once they’re out on parole, Toni and Ryan (who aren’t allowed to be in contact) end up back in the small town of their youth, trying to clear their names.
You don’t need to wake up at 5 a.m. to apply the productivity concepts in The 5 a.m. Miracle. It’s about the high-achieving, motivational concepts, not the time. The book will teach you how to work your morning with an intentional routine and provides seven steps to use to accomplishing amazing levels of productivity.
In The 5 Second Rule, Mel Robbins teaches readers to treat their ideas like a shuttle launch and 5… 4… 3… 2… 1… just do it. Without this tool, we will talk ourselves out of doing things we don’t feel confident doing or that we don’t want to do.
I’ve used the five second rule to accomplish numerous household chores, run errands I didn’t want to run, write when I didn’t feel like writing, and make phone calls, which I hate. I even used the five second rule to complete an important task that’s been on my to do list for a full semester.
Not only am I using the five second rule daily, I also am learning a ton from Mel’s daily video bonuses that come with the book.
And, the more I learn from her teachings, the more I realize that I really like Mel. I love that her story starts from the bottom (failing marriage, alcoholism, job loss, etc.) and she built her way to the top.
The 5 Second Rule gives the reader practical advice you can use to change your life immediately.
The Art of Social Media by Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick gives you more than 100 practical tips and tricks for using the most popular social media platforms expertly. The guidance includes teaching the reader how to set up your profile appropriately on each medium, attract more followers and post great content.
The book is a great read for anyone who feels uncertain about the basics of social media, or who just wants amazing tips and tricks from people who know.
In the book, Wilkerson tells about her transition from a teacher to a business owner. She helps you answer questions about why you want to work for yourself, what type of business you should have, and how to set goals and be successful.
Wilkerson’s advice is easy to understand and apply. Plus, her personality is just relatable, making the book fun to read.
Cass wasn’t sure if she should pull off of a deserted road in the middle of a rainstorm to help a stranded motorist. She pulled over and waited for the driver to flash the headlights for help. When that didn’t happen, she assumed the driver already had called someone and headed home. The next morning she finds out that the driver was murdered and she knew the woman.
As Cass struggles with her secret guilt, she starts forgetting things. She can’t remember where she left her car, if she took her pills, who she invited to dinner, or how to work the coffee maker. Cass is afraid something is seriously wrong with her. Even more so, she’s terrified by the silent calls she’s suddenly receiving at certain times of day and she’s certain the murderer is watching her. Cass’s husband thinks she’s losing her mind, but is she?
A man who known to his captives as “the Gardener” kidnaps women and tattoos their backs with the wings of the butterflies he names them after. When the “garden” is discovered by police, two FBI agents interview “Maya” to determine how the women got to the garden, what happened to them there and how they managed to get free.
The story is told through Maya’s interviews with the agents, going back and forth between the interview room and her time in the garden.
As Kate tries to figure out the baby’s identity, she discovers that it could be a baby stolen from a maternity ward decades earlier.
The reporter ends up discovering one woman who desperately hopes the baby is hers and one who doesn’t.
The Corpse Had a Familiar Face is former crime reporter Buchanan’s story of covering more than 5,000 deaths for The Miami Herald.
Buchanan was one of the first female crime reporters in the late ’70s. She won a Pulitzer Prize in 1986 and left reporting full-time in 1988 to become a novelist.
Who on earth goes next door to a dinner party and leaves there infant baby asleep in the crib at home? Well, apparently Anne and Marco Conti do. And, of course, when they arrive back home, their baby is missing. Suspicion focuses on them, but then winds its way through their motley crew of family and friends. The most important thing is that someone find baby Cora before it’s too late.
Olivia Randall, a cut-throat criminal defense lawyer in New York City, is called to defend her former fiance, Jack Harris. Jack has been arrested for a triple homicide, including a victim connected with his wife’s murder years before.
Olivia is convinced that Jack is innocent, but she can’t figure out who would frame him. Olivia feels like she owes Jack for her past actions against him, but, the deeper she digs, the less certain she is that Jack isn’t capable of the crime he’s been accused of.
After spending more than two years in a mental institution, Cassie O’Malley emancipates herself and leaves the home. Her mother, who put her in the institution against her will, paid for her to attend college, which is where she goes when she leaves. But Cassie doesn’t understand how to function in the “outside” world and struggles with friendships and her relationship with her mother. The book explores how Cassie came to be in the institution and her efforts to discover what really caused her problems.
A modern-day horror story about the house at One Folgate Street, the eccentric architect who built the home and the women who must give up all of their possessions and agree to constant monitoring by the house in order to live there.
It’s a normal evening at the Quinn house until two armed men appear in the family’s kitchen on a mission against the father, a controversial local defense attorney. They murdered the mother and forced the two girls into the woods. Charlie ran. Samantha was shot and buried alive. Both were changed forever.
The next time Samantha got the chance, she ran. She’s nursing her disabilities and wounds while living a wealthy, successful life, despite her past.
The next time Charlie got a chance to run, she stayed. She still lives in Pikeville and is a lawyer sharing an office with her father.
Now, 28 years later, tragedy strikes the town again, bringing the sisters back together to deal with the present while coping with the past.
The I-5 Killer by the late Ann Rule, my favorite true crime author, is about Randall Woodfield, a handsome star athlete and award-winning student turned serial killer. Woodfield even practices with the Green Bay Packers for a short time.
Woodfield killed at least 44 women in the mid-’70s through early ’80s along the I-5 highway through California and Washington before he was caught and convicted. It is my understanding that he later was linked to even more cold cases after he was in prison. He also sued Ann for writing this book.
Woodfield still is serving his prison sentence. He will never be released.
Anthony Peardew became the keeper of lost things after he lost his fiancee’s most prized possession on the day she died. Having tied her death to his irresponsibility, Anthony begins collecting and labeling things he finds that other people have lost. He does this for 40 years until his death, when he leaves his strange collection to his assistant, Laura.
Laura’s job is to take care of Anthony’s home and to reunite as many of the lost things with their owners.
Lex is struggling with the suicide of her teenage brother, Tyler, who she thought she knew so well. As she tries to fit her life back together, she wrestles with her lack of understanding of his motives and what to do about the secret she’s kept about the last text message Tyler ever sent her.
Joe Talbert is just trying to get an A in English. He is supposed to interview a stranger and write the person’s biography. He goes to a nearby nursing home to find a subject and meets Carl Iverson.
Carl is convicted of raping and murdering a teenage girl who lived next to him. He spent 30 years in prison before being medically paroled to the nursing home with terminal cancer.
As Joe learns more about Carl, he realizes that he’s found more than just an interesting topic for an English paper. He believes Carl was wrongfully accused and the girl’s murderer is still out there. But how can Joe prove Carl’s innocence before the man dies?
The book begins with what’s basically every spouse’s worst nightmare—the death of the partner. Iris actually learns from a news report that her husband of seven years, Will, was on a Seattle-bound plane that crashed into a field, killing all of the passengers on board.
Iris tries to cope with the loss of her husband while uncovering more and more lies, and wondering if he was living some kind of double life. In the end, what she finds out is more disturbing than what she could have imagined.
Motivation is not a thing, and you certainly shouldn’t wait for it to appear so you can accomplish your goals.
Instead, motivation is the thrill of success when you’re actually accomplishing things. It’s the outcome, not the catalyst.
So, instead of waiting for motivation to appear or not working when it doesn’t, it’s more important to set goals and realistic steps to meeting those goals, then force yourself to do the work.
The beautiful, young teacher and mother disappeared from the couple’s home, leaving their 4-year-old daughter as the single witness to whatever happened. Her body hasn’t been found, but her husband also isn’t acting like he’s overly concerned about finding her.
Det. Sgt. D.D. Warren investigates the disappearance and the host of characters who may be responsible.
Three girls unite a school of women after the rape of a fellow classmate.
The girls start a group, the Nowhere Girls, as a movement against the misogynist culture at their high school, which they soon discover is negatively impacting every girl in the school.
The Nowhere Girls are no one and everyone at the same time. United, they use their power to transform the lives of the victims around them and the boys who victimize them.
In the book, Keller encourages readers to find the ONE thing that, by doing it, everything else becomes easier or unnecessary. The goal is to help readers focus in on tasks that truly move them toward their goals and eliminate everything else.
Of course, first you have to identify your ONE thing, which sent me into a bit of a tailspin, but Keller offers advice for doing that too.
I encourage everyone who never feels like they’re getting enough done or doing what’s important to them… anyone who doesn’t feel as successful as they could/should be to read The One Thing.
Maddy never told anyone what happened that night, but the truth, including who the boys were (they wore masks from the play) begins to come out through an English class assignment to write a collaborative novel.
There’s no such thing as a perfect husband, buck Tess really thought she’d found one. Jim Beckett swept her off her feet. He was a handsome police officer who doted on her. She was thrilled when he asked her to marry him and took her away from her unhappy, abusive home life.
Two years later Tess helped put Jim behind bars for murdering 10 women. Jim vowed to make Tess pay for turning him in.
Tess attempts to keep herself and her daughter safe from her killer husband after he escapes from prison. To do so, she enlists the services of an ex-marine who has a lot of problems of his own.
Chris Bailey spent a year performing personal productivity experiments and interviews with productivity experts to determine what truly makes a person productive. The book documents that year.
It was interesting to read about what Bailey found successful and what he didn’t.
Bailey’s writing style also makes it seem as if he’s talking to the reader about what he learned through his experiments.
The Spiral Notebook explores why America keeps producing mass killers in their 20s.
The book uses the July 20, 2012 shootings at the movie theater in Aurora, Colo., as a sort of case study to reflect on mass killings by young people. It also includes interviews by individuals in the age group about why they think people in their peer age group choose to kill.
Manson isn’t necessarily telling us not to care about anything, despite the book’s title. His message to the reader is to care about the right things and quit thinking that everything has to be or will be perfect.
Instead, Manson says we should embrace our imperfections and figure out what really matters in life. After all, life isn’t about everything being perfect, it’s about how we respond when it isn’t.
It’s better to be white, wealthy and guilty than it is to be black, poor and innocent.
Anthony Ray Hinton was poor, black and without appropriate legal representation when he was convicted of two murders he didn’t commit. For the next three decades he was trapped in solitary confinement on death row, watching as fellow prisoners were taken past him to the execution room.
Eventually his case was taken up by lawyer Bryan Stevenson, who managed to have him exonerated, though it took 15 years. During those 15 years, Hinton started a death row book club and helped the men there see that someone cared about them.
A woman’s body is discovered in a crab pot in Puget Sound. Detective Tracy Crosswhite must determine not just who the woman’s killer is, but who the woman is as well. And, of course, Crosswhite’s life story continues to develop along the way.
Eden’s world changes after she wakes up in the middle of the night being held down in her own bed by her brother’s life-long best friend. After he rapes her, the teen (who used to be like another brother to Eden) convinces her that no one will believe her if she tells. And that becomes her truth.
Eden keeps the horrible secret for years as it undoes her and damages every relationship she has. But there comes a time when Eden has to decide if some painful truths have to be told to protect others, even if it tears her apart.
Amber Smith’s book starts with a terrible crime and betrayal that shapes the rest of Eden’s life as we see it.
How much did she know? That is the question everyone is asking about Jean Taylor. Jean’s husband died last week, but not before being accused of a terrible crime. Now that he’s dead, will Jean feel able to tell the truth. Does she know what happened to a missing little girl?
Lo Blacklock is a writer for a travel magazine chosen for an assignment on a weeklong, exclusive luxury cruise. Lo, who appears to drink too much and is basically a flake, is having the best time an insecure writer can have when she sees a woman being thrown overboard. When she reports the crime, everyone onboard treats her like she was drunk and is crazy, so she sets out to solve the mystery on her own.
Anna Fox is a recluse in her New York City home.
Because she doesn’t go outside, Anna spends her days drinking too much, watching old movies and spying on her neighbors. It’s the spying that eventually gets her in trouble. Anna sees something she shouldn’t in the house across the street, and it sends her carefully protected life into a tailspin.
When Laurel begins dating a man she met in a cafe, she is struck by how much his youngest daughter, Poppy, reminds her of Ellie. Poppy even looks like Ellie.
Now Laurel must come to terms with the loss of her beloved daughter and form stronger bonds with her family, some of whom she didn’t even know existed.
When Erin Black was a toddler she survived for three days alongside the dead body of her murdered mother. The case was never solved. Now Erin is a teenager living with her mom’s best friend when she happens upon the body of her biology teacher. Could the teacher’s death be related to her mother’s? What others don’t know is that the teacher was trying to help Erin find out the truth about her past.
James Renner was 11 when Amy Mihaljevic went missing. Seeing posters for the missing girl in his neighborhood sparked his life-long obsession with true crime, leading to a career as an investigative journalist and Post-traumatic Stress Disorder.
In 2011, James began researching the disappearance of Maura Murray, a UMass student who went missing after wrecking her car in rural New Hampshire in 2004. His investigation leads to intriguing information about what may have happened to Maura, while exposing problems in his own life.
I read True Crime Addict in a single day. That probably says something about me and how I related to the author. Also, it’s just an interesting story.
Jerry becomes even more confused when he discovers evidence that some of his stories are real. Is he a murderer? He confesses to being one, but those around him are uncertain about what he’s done versus what he’s just imagining.
Russell was a relatable character, even if it was obvious to the reader that his wife was about to up and go for money and a posh lifestyle, leaving him to raise their 6-year-old daughter.
Oliver Ryan seems like a pretty good catch. He’s a handsome best-selling author. It seems like his wife, Alice, adores him, but then he tries to kill her. The people who know Oliver best can’t seem to figure out why he would try to kill the woman he seemed to adore. But the people who think they know Oliver best don’t know him at all.
Have you ever wanted something so badly that you thought you might just take it? That’s exactly how Lucy Wakefield feels in What Was Mine. The problem is that Lucy acts on her desire to take the thing she really wants. The even bigger problem is that the “thing” is a baby.
Lucy, who tried unsuccessfully to have a baby of her own, takes a baby girl from a shopping cart. She raises the girl for more than two decades before the girl, Mia, discovers that she was stolen. Mia must then decide who her mother really is and what type of relationship, if any, she wants to have with the woman who gave birth to her and the woman who raised her.
Kate Weston doesn’t remember much about the party at high school star basketball player John Doone’s house. She remembers taking shots with Stacey Stallard. She remembers her lifelong friend and another star basketball player, Ben Cody, driving her home. That’s about it.
Kate has a terrible hangover when she wakes up the next morning, but it’s nothing compared to the headaches, heartaches and stomach aches she’s soon to experience.
A photo begins circulating online of Stacey passed out over another basketball player’s shoulder. Then Stacey claims that four of the basketball players raped her.
It may not even be fair to say the town is divided since everyone sides with the men. They’re good boys from good families. They couldn’t possibly have done what Stacey claims.
But when Kate uncovers a video of the night that most people thought had been deleted, she finds out the truth about what happened and who all was involved. Then she has to struggle with what to do with the information.
The body of a newborn baby found in the woods near a university campus seems like the beginning of a book full of mystery, and it was. But, in Where They Found Her, Kimberly McCreight took too long to develop that mystery, leaving the reader bogged down and pushing through the text until about mid-book.
Molly Sanderson, a reporter for the local newspaper, is charged with covering the mystery of the baby’s death, which, as you would imagine, is the talk of the college town of Ridgedale. Molly, whose husband is a professor at the college, usually covers entertainment for the newspaper and is pretty far out of her element in covering crime. Molly also is dealing with her own personal issues, having moved to Ridgedale after the death of her own baby and the depression that followed.
The police chief, the creepy university security officer, the professor, the reporter, the dean of students, a society wife, a crazy friend, a local has been, a poor girl, a blessed girl, a traumatized youth, a questionable teen, a suspicious newspaper editor, and a foreign maid are just some of the characters in this book. Perhaps that’s the problem. The reader gets so bogged down in everyone and their backstories that it’s difficult to sludge through to the action. But, when those stories all start to come together, the book is a page-turner. The question is whether you can make it that far.