Book Review (Round 18)

Gosh can y’all believe we are on Round 18 of book reviews?! That is a ton of books!! If you missed my other book reviews, you can go back and read them here. There are usually one or two MUST-READS from every book review that I write. Since it’s been so long since my last book review, there are quite a few books on this list (and quite a few must-reads). Without further ado…

1. Home Before Dark, by Riley Sager

This is definitely this month’s MUST-READ novel, and the best book I’ve read in quite some time! It’s pretty spooky, so it would be a great read for October. We read this one in our book club last month and the overwhelming consensus was that everyone else loved it, too! The novel is written from the perspective of Maggie Holt, who decides to return to and renovate her childhood home: a spooky old mansion in the Vermont woods, known as Baneberry Hall. The house also happens to be the same one that her family fled when she was only five years old, due to a series of hauntings that her family experienced while living there. Is the house truly haunted? Maggie is on a mission to find out. This one only took me a few days to read… but beware if you choose to read at night, and definitely leave all of the lights in your house on!

2. The Girl from Widow Hills, by Megan Miranda

I reallyyyy enjoyed this new thriller from Megan Miranda – she’s become one of my favorite authors over the years, and her novels never seem to disappoint. If you’re looking for a mental escape from everything going on in the world, then this book is it: the pacing is quick, the story well-formed, and the suspense taut. It’s also a great vacation read if you’re headed out of town sometime soon! Here’s a short summary: Arden Maynor was six years old when she was swept away in a flood and rescued after three days, a story that captivated the nation. Now she is 26-year old Olivia Meyer – renamed and reinvented – a girl who has worked hard to bury her past, including isolating herself from others and moving to a remote town where nobody knows who she is. The problem is, her former life seems to be following her. And then she stumbles upon a dead body outside of her front door one night…

3. Kiss an Angel, by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

This lighthearted romance novel is a great break from the typical page-turning thrillers on this list… but it’s still a page-turner! I absolutely loved Kiss an Angel, and you will too if you enjoy distractions in the form of juicy romance novels. In this tale, the protagonist Daisy Devreaux somehow finds herself in an arranged marriage to a man who seems to despise her. And even worse than that, her new husband works for a traveling circus, and now she does, too. I know the premise of the book sounds a little weird (a romance in the middle of a traveling circus? really? haha), but I promise it is worth a read and you will absolutely fall in love with Daisy and Alex and their story! Its a beautiful love story with a strong cast of characters, each playing a vital role to make this story a worthwhile read.

4. The End of Her, by Shari Lapena

I normally LOVE Shari Lapena novels, but this one fell a little flat for me! I don’t think this is a true thriller, but more of a “relationship thriller,” if you know what I’m talking about. The story starts with what seems like a normal relationship, but quickly becomes a tangled web of lies and backstabbing (literally and figuratively). In this case, Stephanie and Patrick are recently married with newborn twins… a little sleep-deprived, maybe, but seemingly happy with everything they’ve ever wanted. Then a woman arrives from Patrick’s past and makes a shocking accusation: that he killed his first wife. As you can imagine, everything goes downhill from there! This was a quick and interesting read, but my problem with the novel is that the ending didn’t feel totally convincing – while there was a shocking “twist,” it just didn’t make sense based on everything we had learned about the characters. I will read Lapena’s next novel, but this was my least favorite from her so far.

5. Sister Dear, by Hannah Mary McKinnon

I spent the first three quarters of this book questioning why it was marketed as a thriller, and the last quarter reading as fast as I could to get to the ending (the “thriller” part had kicked in by then, ha!). Overall, I really enjoyed this book and the escape from reality while I read it, but it wasn’t the best book I’ve ever read (I would give it 2.5 stars out of 5). When Eleanor Hardwicke’s beloved father dies, her world is further shattered by a gut-wrenching secret: the man she’s grieving isn’t really her dad. Eleanor is shocked to learn that her biological father is still out there, living blissfully with the family he chose. With her personal life spiraling, a desperate Eleanor seeks him out, leading her to uncover another branch on her family tree: a seemingly perfect and infuriatingly enviable half sister… whom she plans to become friends with before launching a plan of revenge. This novel was pretty twisty and still worth the read, even though it wasn’t my favorite ever!

6. Stranger in the Woods, by Anni Taylor

This book has one of the wildest twists/endings I’ve EVER read… I never in a million years could have guessed this crazy ending! I thoroughly enjoyed this fast-paced thriller, although there were a few flaws with the writing (too many characters being one of them!). However, I formed a deep connection with the protagonist, Isla Wilson, and it was able to carry me through the novel. The story is set in rural Scotland, and the image of mist swirling over vast moors really sets the tone for this novel. Isla is an Australian photographer who receives the opportunity of a lifetime to travel to Scotland to work on a portfolio for a local architect and his family. She doesn’t realize at the time, but she is walking into drama, grief, danger and turmoil after the fairly recent abduction and death of their young daughter. Isla senses that everyone around her is keeping secrets, and soon realizes that she may be in danger herself. We read this for my book club and about half of the readers hated it… and the other half loved it. I’ll let you decide!

If you’ve read any must-read novels lately, especially ones that are good to ready during sPoOoOoOkY season, please let us all know in the comments!

Leave a Comment


  1. I forget if you’ve read “The Guest List,” but I just did and it’s so good! It’s about a wedding on a remote Irish island that results in a murder and it’s written from the perspectives of a handful of different people involved in the wedding.

  2. Thank you for the book recommendations! I wish I knew how to make time for reading in my schedule like you do, but I’m working on it! It’s definitely something I want to be better at.

    Loooove these photos, too, by the way!


  3. Jill

    I love your book recs so much! I just raced through “Lock Every Door” by Riley Sager, right after reading
    “Home Before Dark”. I’m waiting for “When No One is Watching” to be available at my library, and I recently finished a much lighter non-spooky read (and very clever and so enjoyable!) “Red, White, and Royal Blue”, which I highly recommend.

  4. Mary

    The best thriller I’ve read this year was “The Silent Patient” by Alex Michaelides. It had a great twist ending. I love your cozy reading-by-the-fire photos.

  5. Peggy D

    If you liked Kiss an Angel, you have to read the rest of Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ fabulous books. Nobody’s Baby But Mine is so good, and Heaven, Texas, is my favorite! Definitely not thrillers, but great characters and fun stories.

  6. If you have not read “They Wish They Were Us,” I highly recommend it! It is about teens that go to a prep school on Long Island and a murder mystery! So good, and a very enticing read! I finished in days because I couldn’t put it down!

  7. I absolutely love your book reviews! My favorite posts!! I love anything Riley Sager and Megan Miranda!

  8. Rebecca R

    Definitely check out the Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James!! Super creepy and I loved it! Can’t wait to check out your recommendations☺️

  9. Always love your book reviews! If you haven’t read “Someone We Know” by Shari Lapena then add it to your list. It’s one of the best books I’ve read lately!

  10. Freaking love your book review posts! Will be adding some of these to my must-read list 🙂
    Xx Janine

  11. Kerry

    Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. I first listened to it on Audible, and I loved it so much, I bought the hard copy! One of the best books I’ve read in a long time-10/10!

    Such cute pictures and thank you for the book recommendations! Love seeing other people that have a passion for reading and books.

  12. I’m reading Ruth Ware’s One by One and am really enjoying it. It takes place as a ski chalet in France and gives me all the chilly winter vibes that I’m craving right now… It’s been downright swampy here in DC. Anyway, so far so good.. I recommend 🙂


  13. These all sound great.. I haven’t read any of them. Will be adding a few to my TBR

  14. Jamie

    Hi Caitlin! I was wondering if you would consider incorporating books by more diverse authors in your book club? Maybe for November? It seems like they are all overwhelmingly white women. It might be nice to read from other voices!

  15. Katie Lester

    Do you have a goodreads account? I always love your picks!!