The Fate of Mercy Alban by Wendy Webb

Synopsis: When her mother dies, a woman from a privileged family uncovers a family secret that threatens them all. Review: I had high hopes for The Fate of Mercy Alban, thinking it would be like a Kate Morton book only with ghosts. But I had to stop reading about three-quarters of the way through. I was already frustrated by the flatness of the characters and the plotting. I gave up when I was presented with an unpublished manuscript by a man who was supposed to…

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Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart by JD Greear

Synopsis: Subtitled: How To Know You Are Really Saved. Review: Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart is written for evangelical Christians who wonder if “praying the sinner’s prayer” is enough for salvation. Greear offers a cogently written exegesis of the Reformed view of justification by grace through faith in Christ to deepen the believer’s theological understanding of the “once and for all” nature of salvation. My favorite example is this–if you want to know whether you sat down in a chair, you don’t look back…

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Salt Sugar Fat by Michael Moss

Synopsis: Subtitled: “How the Food Giants Hooked Us.” Review: Salt Sugar Fat explores the processed food industry in such well-researched detail that anyone who reads it will no longer be able to view grocery store food as actual food. My family has been moving closer to a diet composed of real foods for quite some time now, but still have some dependence on packaged foods (especially cereal). While I don’t think I’ll ever achieve 100% homemade status, we are slowly but surely eliminating processed food…

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The Brain in Your Kitchen by David DiSalvo

Synopsis: Subtitled: A Collection of Essays on How What We Buy, Eat, and Experience Affects Our Brains. Review: I read the essays in The Brain in Your Kitchen with interest, but have to admit I was disappointed that they weren’t expanded up on. It was just a collection of reprints–not that I had ever read them before, but I felt a little cheated. The essays were thought-provoking but the execution of the book itself felt more like an amuse bouche than a meal. Share on…

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The Shining by Stephen King

Synopsis: Dysfunctional family gets collective ass kicked by haunted hotel. Review: I think The Shining is probably my favorite Stephen King book–and that includes the Dark Tower books. And I’m always tickled at how different it is from the Kubrick movie–and how I can love them both as complete works without needed them to resemble one another. My husband decided he’d give King a try, having never read any of his books, and asked me which one. I didn’t hesitate before recommending this one to…

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Vow: A Memoir of Marriage and Infidelity by Wendy Plump

Synopsis: A journalist details the multiple affairs that ended her marriage. Review: The story told in Vow is a train wreck. Wendy Plump and her husband pretty much destroyed their marriage with infidelity on both sides, ending finally when her husband had a baby with another woman. For all her candor, I never felt like Plump got to the heart of why she did what she did, or responded the way she did, or how she feels about the endeavor of marriage in general. I…

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Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

Synopsis: Seraphina is mistress of music at the royal court, but when dragon/human relations become strained, she fears that someone will discover her secret–that she is half dragon herself. Review: Seraphina was an absolutely delicious read. Fabulous world, great political intrigue, and a winning love story all centered around a fierce, strong, vulnerable, complicated protagonist. I am only sad that this is just Rachel Hartman‘s debut because I want to read more! Share on Facebook

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The Pretty One by Lucinda Rosenfeld

Synopsis: Three sisters approaching middle age find themselves caught in the roles they were assigned as children, and now the family tension is threatening to explode. Review: I loved the caustic, witty tone of Lucinda Rosenfeld’s I’m So Happy For You, and The Pretty One didn’t disappoint. Olympia is the titular pretty one, but she won’t tell anyone in her family that she used a sperm donor to conceive her 3 year old daughter Lola. Imperia (Perri) seemingly has the perfect life, but her obsession…

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A Cold and Lonely Place by Sara J. Henry

Synopsis: When her roommate’s sort of boyfriend’s body is discovered frozen in a lake, a journalist struggles to separate personal from professional while pursuing the truth behind what might have been murder. Review: A Cold and Lonely Place is steeped in character and setting, much like the novels of my beloved Tana French. I only wish the mystery itself had been stronger and richer. I never really connected with Troy, the main character, perhaps because I haven’t read the previous book. Share on Facebook

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