Tag Archives: Family Dynamics

Dr. Sleep by Stephen King

Synopsis: Danny Torrance from The Shining is now a grown man, an alcoholic that the demons inside him are no match for the demons driving the highways of America, looking for psychic kids so that they can torture them and steal their essence, and a young girl with whom he has a mysterious connection is their next target. Review: Of course I always read a Stephen King novel the minute it comes out, but I harbored trepidation about Dr. Sleep. In the afterword, King astutely…

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Early Decision: Based on a True Frenzy by Lucy Crawford

Synopsis: A directionless young woman experiences a crisis of faith while tutoring wealthy high school students on their college application essays. Review: Sometimes when I’ve read books created around a specialized vocation, I get bored with the tedium of work. Too much minutia about the day to day operations gets me down. I felt that Early Decision was appropriately balanced, but still dragged a bit for me in the execution of the plot. I never really connected with Anne, the beleagured protagonist, mostly because I…

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Bodies of Water by T. Greenwood

Synopsis: When aging Billie receives a phone call from Johnny, once her next door neighbor’s little boy, now a grown man with problems of his own, she is forced to recall the love of her life and how it ended in tragedy. Review: Before I even discuss the actual story, I really really need you to know that Bodies of Water is so crazy good that three things happened to me: I had to stop and catch my breath three quarters of the way through…

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Maxed Out by Katrina Alcorn

Synopsis: Subtitled: American Moms on the Brink. Review: Where on earth to begin with my praise for Maxed Out? Katrina Alcorn‘s memoir/cultural analysis is an honest, well-researched, and absolutely necessary addition to the conversation about women in the workplace. The political is personal, and she astutely uses her own story of corporate burnout and panic attacks to highlight the ways in which corporate culture and expectations are at odds with what is best for families with children. Alcorn puts her arguments into a larger context,…

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Save Yourself by Kelly Braffet

Synopsis: When Patrick called the cops on his drunk-driving dad after a hit and run, he turned into one of the most hated people in the area, but he’s not prepared for the force of nature that is Layla, a wayward preacher’s daughter involved with a dangerous goth crowd, or the feelings he develops for his brother’s girlfriend, and either one could explode at any moment. Review: Save Yourself was a meaty thriller with fabulous characters and heart-clutching emotional suspense. The best thing about the…

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Not Without My Sister: The True Story of Three Girls Violated and Betrayed by Those They Trusted by Kristina Jones, Celeste Jones and Juliana Buhring

Synopsis: The story of three sisters who were born and raised in the Children of God cult and how they escaped. Review: Not Without My Sister was rough reading, not just because the subject matter was so grim but because it was kind of sloppily written. The three sisters’ stories were all written with the same voice (probably that of a ghost writer) and I just couldn’t tell them apart enough to become invested in the drama of their escape. Share on Facebook

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The Shuddering by Ania Ahlborn

Synopsis: Snowbound in a remote cottage filled with memories, a sister, her brother, her best friendm her ex, and her ex’s new girlfriend realize that something out there wants to eat them. Review: Ania Ahlborn’s The Neighbors was more quirky than horrific, but The Shuddering is straight-up terrifying and I loved every nail-biting moment. I did enjoy trying to guess who would be left for the endgame, given that there was a really great love triangle at play, and the monsters were genuinely frightening. Loved…

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Me on the Floor, Bleeding by Jenny Jagerfeld

Synopsis: After inadvertently slicing off the top of her thumb in sculpture class, Maja wants her mother to comfort her–but her mother is nowhere to be found. Review: Me on the Floor, Bleeding was a surprisingly funny coming of age story that took a lot of unexpected turns. It was a fun, easy read with a likable protagonist who kept me interested in her story. Great voice. Share on Facebook

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Walk Me Home by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Synopsis: Two sisters set out to walk from New Mexico to northern California in the hopes that their mother’s ex-boyfriend will take them in, but the theft of some eggs while traveling through a Native American reservation threatens to bring their whole scheme crashing down around their ears. Review: Walk Me Home had me hooked from the very first pages. Carly and her little sister Jen have such a realistic, touching relationship that I couldn’t help but become immediately invested in their journey. As the…

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Beyond Belief by Jenna Miscavige Hill

Synopsis: Subtitled: “My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape.” Review: Beyond Belief is one of the best ex-cult memoirs I have ever read. Not only does it go into great detail about the inner workings of Sea Org, the religious order of Scientology, but it’s extremely well written. I was on the edge of my seat wondering when Jenna Miscavige Hill (niece to Scientiology scion David Miscavige) would come to her sense and realize that she had been systematically abused physically, emotionally, and…

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