My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George

This was such a fun book to read. It was cute and creative, but it was also imaginative and thoughtful. Sam runs away with the support of his family and creates his own home in the woods. The way he connected with the animals made me smile, and his choice for a home was pure genius. This is the perfect book for both young and old alike.



Lost Child by D.S. Butler

There isn’t much that I didn’t enjoy with this book. Butler does a nice job of pacing, character development, and backstory. She kept me guessing, and it was nice to not be able to predict the ending. This was one of my favorite reads of 2017, and I look forward to more of her books.

*** Mini spoiler in the last sentence below regarding the child in the book***



If you normally stay away from books about children, this one is safe to read.


Beautifully Cruel by M. William Phelps

If you like predictable, boring, and repetitive books, then this is the one for you. I don’t want to sound mean, but this was honestly one of the worst books I’ve ever read. He repeats so much information, and most of that information is obvious facts that I could have figured out as the story went along. It drags on for an eternity and has almost no twists or turns. You know what they say: you can’t appreciate the good in life without the bad.



Weycombe by G.M. Malliet

There are many things that I enjoyed about this book. I liked the sarcastic tone of the main voice and the twists throughout. The setting was interesting, but it left me feeling like I should have known more about Weycombe, and what I did know was too predictable. With that being said, it did keep my interest, and I kept wondering what would happen next. I was not a fan of the ending as it felt too rushed and like she took the easy way out.



The Tenth Circle, by Jodi Picoult

This book was difficult to read at times as the dialogue left so much to be desired. While the book was interesting, the writing was below average. I’ll give Picoult credit since she kept me interested and provided enough twists throughout to make it worth reading. Still, the characters, particularly the daughter, were hard to believe. I rounded up to three stars, but I wish she wrote more compelling dialogue and didn’t make so many of their thoughts so obvious.



Blonde, by Joyce Carol Oates

I should preface that I am an Oates fan, and I enjoy her descriptive style of writing. This book was enjoyable and flew by despite being an incredibly long novel. The despair and the longing in the character of Marilyn Monroe is sad yet captivating. My only issue with the novel is that Monroe comes off as a victim all the time with seemingly no responsibility for her own actions; it’s always someone else’s fault that she made a poor choice. I give it four stars and recommend it, particularly if you like novels where the main character is hopelessly flawed.



War Dances, by Sherman Alexie

I should preface that I am both a Sherman Alexie fan, and I also don’t read a lot of short stories. With that being said, this was both entertaining and thought-provoking. Alexie did a wonderful job with the stories and by offering life lessons in the process. If you like short stories, you’ll enjoy this collection. If you enjoy Sherman Alexie, you will find this to fit his normal style of writing as well, and I give it 5 stars.



My Sister’s Bones, by Nuala Ellwood

I enjoyed this book, but I felt like it came up short in a few areas. It seemed as if Ellwood tried to make it a psychological thriller as well as a novel on the effects of PTSD. I’m not saying that can’t be done, but I don’t think either were fully accomplished. The ending actually held a nice twist, so it wasn’t exactly expected. I gave it 3.5 stars and rounded up to 4.



Calling My Name, by Liara Tamani

This was simply a beautiful book full of cute, funny, and embarrassing life experiences. I decided to jump out of my comfort zone and read something that expanded my horizons. Tamani delicately paints her pages with the English language and explores everything from family to first loves. I’m not a huge fan of the short chapters, but that’s fairly petty of me. Overall, I gave it four stars because I would have liked to read more of this book, and I felt like it wrapped up too quickly.


The Girl On The Train, by Paula Hawkins

After reading “Into The Water,” this was a breath of fresh air. I’m always nervous when a book is hyped so much, but Hawkins delivered just the right amount of suspense and character development. I won’t nitpick the aspects I didn’t enjoy, but I rounded up from 4.5 stars. See kept my attention the entire time, and she kept me guessing as to who the true “bad guy” was. I wish the ending had played out differently, but here I am complaining again.