I’ve been a slacker lately on my book reviews. But I’m still going strong on the whole book-a-week theme. Audible is my favorite cheating tool because it lets me “read” books while I do things like yard work or dog walking. Anyway, these are short reviews because no one wants to read eight long ones. Here goes:

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The Dry
This story sounded like an exciting mystery novel. It’s set in remote Australia and about a girl who died and those accused of her death. It was more a coming-of-age story than a mystery though, and it was ultimately pretty depressing. It’s well written, it moves fast, and the descriptions of the place are fantastic, but I don’t like books that bum me out.

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Braving the Wilderness
Everyone seems to love Brene Brown. For some reason though, she just doesn’t resonate with me. I’d had several people suggest this book. It’s about the need to be vulnerable and courageous—especially during this era of polarization. So, in that way, every person in America should probably read it. But I still don’t really get the people who call her their spirit animal.

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Sycamore
I wanted to like this more because it’s by a local author and the story sounded cool. It’s set in a tiny dessert town in Arizona, where a newcomer out for a walk stumbles on bones that may be a girl who disappeared 18 years before. I loved the way the author wove the time periods together and captured emotions like grief and loneliness. Unfortunately, I just don’t like books about grief and loneliness.

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The Girl With Seven Names
Finally! A book I loved. I want everyone I know to read this book so we can all talk about it. It’s an autobiography by a woman who grew up in North Korea and now lives in the United States. Every single page is fascinating. I couldn’t put it down. I seriously read it in a day and a half. Then I watched her TED Talk. Then I spent another day just reading articles about North Korea online. Read this book.

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Thanks, Obama: My Hopey, Changes White House Years
Another great one! I’ve already written a little bit about this book. I listened to this one on Audible and the author is the reader. (Best kind of Audible book.) It’s an upbeat and interesting book. No major revelations here, just amusing stories that made me laugh out loud, and an up-close look inside the Obama White House, which I picture as exactly like The West Wing—something Litt references multiple times throughout the book.

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The Destroyers
I picked this one because it was named Esquire‘s Best Book of the Year in 2017. Now, I want to read everything ever written by this author. I really loved this one. It took place on a tiny Greek island and was full of intrigue, interesting characters, and exciting plot twists. For some reason this author gets compared to Franzen. The only similarity I see is that this is a super long book. Franzen puts me to sleep. This kept me up past my bedtime.

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The Woman in the Window
I’d noticed this book on bestseller lists, but was a little bored with the genre so I hadn’t read it. Then, I stumbled across its author’s Instagram. He went to school in Charlotte! So, I read it. And I get the hype. It’s a fun book that takes place in New York and echoes old movies like Rear Window. It’s full of surprise twists and has an unlikely heroine and an even more unlikely villain. This is going to be a great movie eventually.

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Red Sparrow
Speaking of books made into movies, I’m assuming it’s the recent Jennifer Lawrence movie based on this book that moved it to the top of the charts. The movie was kind of a flop though. And, honestly, I thought the book was too. It’s about a Russian woman trained to use seduction as a spy who then becomes a double agent for the US. Even though that storyline sounds fun, the story itself felt pretty tired and predictable to me.

Ok, jumping into more books soon. Any suggestions?

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