Thursday, February 3, 2022

#gretchensbooks2022 - January

I decided to change up how I share my books this year. While I love to share what I’m reading, and I know quite a few people use me for recommendations, my time is precious and posting onto three separate platforms is something I just don’t want to spend the time doing anymore. That being said, I am still going to post monthly to my blog, and of course will share the link on Facebook/Instagram each month as well. This will keep me from spamming my Facebook feed with books (because I rarely post as I read - no time! And always ending up posting in bulk). But can still get recommendations out to y’all! 

My goal for this year is 120 books. Last year I finished the year with 145 books, so I know 120 is very doable. I think this year my reading focus is less on how many books I read, and more on WHAT I read. I started receiving books from Goodreads back in 2017, but didn't read them when I got them. That led to a rapidly growing pile of books at home. Last year my goal was to get through that pile so I could read more of the books I was very excited about. I got rid of some, and read others, but this year my pile sitting at home is full of books I've been looking forward to reading! So will I read more than 120 books? Likely, but they're going to be books I'm excited about, not feeling obligated to read because some author/publisher sent them to me in hopes for a review (though I will still have some of those - just books that I WANT to read and review!)


Book #1 of 2022: How To Save A Life: The Inside Story of Grey’s Anatomy by Lynette Rice (3/5⭐️)

πŸ“š GENRE: Pop Culture Non-Fiction 

πŸ—“ PUBLISHED: 21 September 2021

More than fifteen years after its premiere, Grey’s Anatomy remains one of the most beloved dramas on television and ABC's most important property. It typically wins its time slot and has ranked in the Top 20 most-watched shows in primetime for most of its seventeen-season run. It currently averages more than eight million viewers each week.

Beyond that, it’s been a cultural touchstone. It introduced the unique voice and vision of Shonda Rhimes; it made Ellen Pompeo, Sandra Oh and T.R. Knight household names; and injected words and phrases into the cultural lexicon, such as “McDreamy,” "seriously," and “you’re my person.” And the behind-the-scenes drama has always been just as juicy as what was happening in front of the camera, from the controversial departure of Isaiah Washington to Katherine Heigl’s fall from grace and Patrick Dempsey's shocking death episode. The show continued to hemorrhage key players, but the beloved hospital series never skipped a beat.

Lynette Rice's How to Save A Life takes a totally unauthorized deep dive into the show’s humble start, while offering exclusive intel on the behind-the-scenes culture, the most heartbreaking departures and the more polarizing plotlines. This exhaustively enthusiastic book is one that no Grey’s Anatomy fan should be without.

Like Friends, Grey’s is my comfort food of TV shows. I don’t watch very much television, but I do use it for background noise while I do everything else. I know Grey’s so well that I don’t have to pay attention to what is happening to know what is happening (if that makes sense). 

Since being an extra in a couple TV shows in Nashville, I watch television with a totally different mindset now. I’m frequently thinking about the work that goes into making the production and what is happening behind the scenes, so I was very excited to see this book being published. I was ready to learn more about this show that had infiltrated my life.

Y’all, reading this book was a WHOLE PROCESS. Like, it took a full day because I needed to do extra research.

About 12 pages in I went to Netflix and scrolled back to Season 1, Episode 1 so I could play it while I read. I wanted to go back and compare the cast on screen to what they were saying in the book.

I googled SO much while reading this: Ellen Pompeo L’OrΓ©al, Katherine Heigl modeling, Chandra Wilson Broadway, How tall is Chandra Wilson?, How tall is Sara Ramirez?…

The book was basically just a novel of quotes mashed together with thematic organization which was kind of disappointing. The same quotes can probably all be found online (in fact some I did find online during my multiple Googles searches) and I was hoping this would have more of an inside scoop. There were definitely things being held back by the actors and production staff - I can’t blame them, but it was disappointing. Also it was missing input from some of my favorites (Sara Ramirez & Caterina Scorsone).

That aside, it was fairly well put together thematically. For the most part it flowed really well, but every now and then a quote would get thrown in that just didn’t fit. It felt like the ‘author’ (really more of an editor) wanted a certain actor/writer/etc to share their input but their input was so vague and quick that it felt out of place, reminding me of an unwanted guest piping in their thoughts on a conversation they’ve been evesdropping on. This is all under the assumption that the quotes used were used in context, but since the book was an oral history, that’s hard to say. 

Overall I enjoyed the book, but not as much as I was hoping to, mainly because it wasn’t what I thought it would be. Perhaps once the series ends for good we’ll get the real stuff?? Time will tell!!


Book #2 of 2021: We Were Never Here by Andrea Bartz (3/5⭐️)

πŸ“šGENRE: Thriller

πŸ—“PUBLISHED: 3 August 2021

Emily is having the time of her life—she’s in the mountains of Chile with her best friend, Kristen, on their annual reunion trip, and the women are feeling closer than ever. But on the last night of the trip, Emily enters their hotel suite to find blood and broken glass on the floor. Kristen says the cute backpacker she brought back to their room attacked her, and she had no choice but to kill him in self-defense. Even more shocking: The scene is horrifyingly similar to last year’s trip, when another backpacker wound up dead. Emily can’t believe it’s happened again—can lightning really strike twice?

Back home in Wisconsin, Emily struggles to bury her trauma, diving headfirst into a new relationship and throwing herself into work. But when Kristen shows up for a surprise visit, Emily is forced to confront their violent past. The more Kristen tries to keep Emily close, the more Emily questions her motives. As Emily feels the walls closing in on their cover-ups, she must reckon with the truth about her closest friend. Can Emily outrun the secrets she shares with Kristen, or will they destroy her relationship, her freedom—even her life?

This started out as a pretty slow burn, but the drama picked up speed over time. 

There was one jaw dropping moment, but otherwise the events were pretty predictable. There were a couple twists that would have been made the book a little better I thought. 

Also, the last paragraph was odd- I’m curious as to what the reaction was that the author was going for. Without giving anything away, I think I know, but the rest of the story was lacking in hints to support it. It came close, but missed the mark. If I’m wrong, then the last paragraph was even weirder than I thought.

The set up was promising, but the execution needed some work to be a truly great thriller. Overall a decent thriller, but not wild enough for my preferences.

Book #3-5 of 2021: Flock, Exodus, The Finish Line (The Ravenhood Series) by Kate Stewart ⭐️⭐️⭐️πŸ’«

πŸ“šGENRE: Contemporary Fiction/Romance

πŸ—“PUBLISHED: 27 July 2020, 4 August 2020, 27 January 2021

πŸ’­FAVORITE QUOTE: “It means I belong to myself, Cecelia, at all times. And I choose carefully who to spend my now with. I’m selfish with my time and sometimes, about the things I want.”

I kept getting an ad for Kindle Unlimited - 3 months for 99¢. I’d been waiting for a good deal to resubscribe, so I figured this was my sign. I keep a list on Amazon of Kindle Unlimited books in my TBR just for moment like this!

This series was recommended by one of my favorite bookstagramers @lalalifebookclub. She recommended the After series a few years ago while I indulged in with no shame (okay a little shame. It was awful.  But also so, so good). Her recommendation was to go in blind without knowing what the books were about, which is exactly what I did. There is no description posted here for this series because honestly, there is really no description to be found anywhere!

Flock (Book 1) started out by making me literally LOL, and then it got STEAMY. This is not my normal genre of choice, but WHEW! I devoured this in a day and after letting myself read the first chapter of book 2 just before midnight, I had to force myself to go to sleep.

Some of my favor humor from this book:

“Clearly cider gives me a drunken British pirate accent…” 

“…to his lace-free army boots, the tongue in them falling limp, much like mine.”

“Happy people can’t pick up pennies with their ass cheeks.”

“He doesn’t weigh much, but his bark indicates he’s got an incredible self-image.”

Exodus (Book 2) started out strong, but then lost me for a little bit. I’m not opposed to sex scenes, but it just had too many that were no longer adding to the storyline. Also it had too much of Cecelia blabbering about her feelings - some was fine, but it was excessive. A lot happened in this book. A lot. I kept wondering “how has all this stuff happened and I’m only a third/half/etc way through?”

The Finish Line (Book 3) was not supposed to exist. The author had written an epilogue for book 2, which became an extended epilogue, which turned into the final book in a trilogy. I liked that the booked jumped around between past and present so you can see more of the origin of one of the main characters and how things are turning out, but it got to the point that it was almost too scattered for me. It was good, but also I had a hard time focusing on it. I think it could have been condensed which would have given a better storyline without losing me. Or just leave it at two books!


Book #6 of 2021: That Night by Chevy Stevens (3.5/5

πŸ“šGENRE: Thriller

πŸ—“PUBLISHED: 17 June 2014

As a teenager, Toni Murphy had a life full of typical adolescent complications: a boyfriend she adored, a younger sister she couldn't relate to, a strained relationship with her parents, and classmates who seemed hell-bent on making her life miserable. Things weren't easy, but Toni could never have predicted how horrific they would become until her younger sister was brutally murdered one summer night. 

Toni and her boyfriend, Ryan, were convicted of the murder and sent to prison.

Now thirty-four, Toni, is out on parole and back in her hometown, struggling to adjust to a new life on the outside. Prison changed her, hardened her, and she's doing everything in her power to avoid violating her parole and going back. This means having absolutely no contact with Ryan, avoiding fellow parolees looking to pick fights, and steering clear of trouble in all its forms. But nothing is making that easy—not Ryan, who is convinced he can figure out the truth; not her mother, who doubts Toni's innocence; and certainly not the group of women who made Toni's life hell in high school and may have darker secrets than anyone realizes. No matter how hard she tries, ignoring her old life to start a new one is impossible. Before Toni can truly move on, she must risk everything to find out what really happened that night. But in That Night by Chevy Stevens, the truth might be the most terrifying thing of all.

I think I have an unofficial goal to read all the Chevy Stevens books this year. I listened to this on audio, and though I didn’t love it as much as Dark Roads, it was still pretty good!

I liked that the story jumped between past and present. I also liked that unlike your typical mystery, with this story you unofficially knew who did it, you just didn’t know the how or the why.

It was a little slow in the beginning, but the storyline kept me interested. I didn’t find the main character particularly likeable, but I also didn’t particularly dislike her, she was just kinda meh. 


Book #7 of 2021: Brief, Horrible Moments: A Collection of One Sentence Horror Stories by Marko Pandza (3.5/5⭐️)

πŸ“šGENRE: Horror

πŸ—“PUBLISHED: 14 January 2017

Chill your bones with two hundred and forty two horror stories, one sentence at a time. 

Monsters, demons, creatures and oddities. Murder, death and the dead. Family, friends, love and relationships. Food and eating. Fear, dread, and the unknown. Crime and punishment. The human body. 

Lock the doors, turn up the lights, and take a deep breath. A series of brief, horrible moments await.

This book was so bizarre, and everything I hoped it would be. 

It held straight up, real life fears:

“I joyfully dove headfirst into the lake, my scream unheard by those above water when I discovered what remained of that missing boy.”

And seriously creepy one-liners:

“Nothing could tear us apart; she’d sewn too many parts of us together.”

All the way to kinda sad stories:

“My mom tucked me in, kissed my forehead and told me she loved me, which was when I knew something had taken her place.”

You definitely have to pause after each one to visualize it and get the full effect- they may be one-sentence stories, but you can’t rush through them. A lot started out totally normal, then left me saying, “oh sh*t.”

The horror story I most related to was “The smiling clown looked into my eyes, clutched my broken, twisted body and whispered: “I’m going to make you a balloon animal.”

This had been on my TBR for awhile, and over winter break I went through my whole TBR to find what was on Kindle Unlimited - this was one.


Book #8 of 2021: Normally This Would Be Cause For Concern: Tales of Calamity and Unrelenting Awkwardness by Danielle Fishel (4/5⭐️)

πŸ“šGENRE: Memoir

πŸ—“PUBLISHED: 9 September 2014

Best known for playing Topanga Lawrence on Boy Meets World, Danielle Fishel was the quintessential girl-next-door for seven years as she joined 10 million viewers in their living rooms every Friday from 1993 to 2000. The real Danielle is just as entertaining and down-to-earth as the character she portrayed on her hit show. But life even for a successful actress can be messy, from disastrous auditions to dating mishaps and awkward red carpet moments. 

Normally, This Would Be Cause for Concern is a fun romp through Danielle’s own imperfections. It’s a book for anyone who, like Danielle, has ever tripped and fallen down a flight of stairs in a room full of people, had a romantic moment with a significant other ruined by gas, or taken a Halloween photo without realizing there was a huge chunk of strawberry in their teeth. Here is the real, imperfect Danielle, who knows that a good sense of humor and a positive attitude makes life so much more enjoyable. Even when you’ve just face-planted in front of Ben Affleck.

This book has been on my TBR list for years, but I’ve never come across it at a book store and it was rare that it was actually available on Amazon. Finally, it was so I pulled the trigger and ordered it. 

I really enjoyed Fishel’s memoir. It read very much like your average human’s life who didn’t play a character on a hit 90s sitcom and was so relatable. I liked how she shared fun tidbits from the rest of her life, but I kind of wish it had more about her time on BMW and even GMW. I’d love to know more about her time on set and what it was like behind the scenes of production.


Book #9 of 2022: The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling (4/5⭐️)

πŸ“šGENRE: Fantasy

πŸ—“PUBLISHED: 4 December 2008

The Tales of Beedle the Bard, a wizarding classic, first came to Muggle readers' attention in the book known as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Now, thanks to Hermione Granger's new translation from the ancient runes, we present this stunning edition with an introduction, notes, and illustrations by J.K. Rowling, and extensive commentary by Albus Dumbledore.Never before have Muggles been privy to these richly imaginative tales: "The Wizard and the Hopping Pot," "The Fountain of Fair Fortune," "The Warlock's Hairy Heart," "Babbitty Rabbitty and Her Cackling Stump," and of course "The Tale of the Three Brothers." But not only are they the equal of fairy tales we know and love, reading them gives new insight into the wizarding world.

This was a fun addition to the HP series! The short read was just over 100 pages and contained 5 short stories that are basically fairy tales for the Wizarding world, the last one being the famous “The Tale of the Three Brothers.” It also had notes about the history of each story from Albus Dumbledore himself. Much like it’s fun to see where modern fairy tales comes from, I liked that the history behind these tales was included too. 

The more I think about it, the more baffled and amazed I am about the work that had to go into the creation of Harry Potter and everything that accompanies it. It’s obviously all fictional (with some things grounded in reality or mythology) which makes so much to keep up with!


Book #10 of 2022: Heat Wave (Nikki Heat #1) by Richard Castle (3.5/5⭐️)

πŸ“š GENRE: Crime Thriller

πŸ—“ PUBLISHED: 29 September 2009

The New York Times bestseller, HEAT WAVE, is a tie-in to the ABC primetime show, CASTLE, that premiered in March 2009. The main character of the show, Richard Castle, is a bestselling mystery writer. HEAT WAVE is his newest book: Mystery sensation Richard Castle, blockbuster author of the wildly best-selling Derrick Storm novels, introduces his newest character, NYPD Homicide Detective Nikki Heat. Tough, sexy, professional, Nikki Heat carries a passion for justice as she leads one of New York City's top homicide squads. She's hit with an unexpected challenge when the commissioner assigns superstar magazine journalist Jameson Rook to ride along with her to research an article on New York's Finest. Pulitzer Prize-winning Rook is as much a handful as he is handsome. His wise-cracking and meddling aren't her only problems. As she works to unravel the secrets of the murdered real estate tycoon, she must also confront the spark between them.

I just finished re-watching the Castle series on Hulu and it made me really want to read both the Nikki Heat and Derrick Storm book series. At first it was really hard to get into this book. I didn’t care for the narrator, and it was hard to separate the book characters from the TV show characters in my head. Listening to this was like reading fanfic based off of the TV show (even though the books and show all came out during the same time). Eventually I got past all of that, and it was fun to see how they took what happened in the TV series and wrote the Nikki Heat books as an accompaniment. After the first audio, I still don’t care for the performer. I may try one more on audio and then if I still don’t like him, switch to physical copies.


Book #11 of 2022: The Night She Disappeared by Lisa Jewell (4/5⭐️)

πŸ“šGENRE: Thriller

πŸ—“PUBLISHED: September 7, 2021

On a beautiful summer night in a charming English suburb, a young woman and her boyfriend disappear after partying at the massive country estate of a new college friend.

One year later, a writer moves into a cottage on the edge of the woods that border the same estate. Known locally as the Dark Place, the dense forest is the writer’s favorite area for long walks and it’s on one such walk that she stumbles upon a mysterious note that simply reads, “DIG HERE.”

Could this be a clue towards what has happened to the missing young couple? And what exactly is buried in this haunted ground?

The thing I like most about Lisa Jewell is how she can take three separate stories and wind them all up together to make sense. This novel was no different. Told from multiple perspectives during three different time periods, this story was very compelling. I was intrigued by the mystery and enjoyed the suspense that the alternating time line provided.


Book #12 of 2022: Cleopatra, A Life by Stacy Schiff (4/5⭐️)

πŸ“šGENRE: Biography

πŸ—“PUBLISHED: 1 November 2010

Her palace shimmered with onyx, garnets, and gold, but was richer still in political and sexual intrigue. Above all else, Cleopatra was a shrewd strategist and an ingenious negotiator. 

Though her life spanned fewer than forty years, it reshaped the contours of the ancient world. She was married twice, each time to a brother. She waged a brutal civil war against the first when both were teenagers. She poisoned the second. Ultimately she dispensed with an ambitious sister as well; incest and assassination were family specialties. Cleopatra appears to have had sex with only two men. They happen, however, to have been Julius Caesar and Mark Antony, among the most prominent Romans of the day. Both were married to other women. Cleopatra had a child with Caesar and -- after his murder -- three more with his protΓ©gΓ©. Already she was the wealthiest ruler in the Mediterranean; the relationship with Antony confirmed her status as the most influential woman of the age. The two would together attempt to forge a new empire, in an alliance that spelled their ends. Cleopatra has lodged herself in our imaginations ever since. 

Famous long before she was notorious, Cleopatra has gone down in history for all the wrong reasons. Shakespeare and Shaw put words in her mouth. Michelangelo, Tiepolo, and Elizabeth Taylor put a face to her name. Along the way, Cleopatra's supple personality and the drama of her circumstances have been lost. In a masterly return to the classical sources, Stacy Schiff here boldly separates fact from fiction to rescue the magnetic queen whose death ushered in a new world order. Rich in detail, epic in scope, Schiff 's is a luminous, deeply original reconstruction of a dazzling life.

Of. Talk about a complicated family tree. Trying to follow the genealogy of Cleopatra’s family was pretty much impossible. Honestly trying to follow the whole book in one go was pretty much impossible. It was well written, but had SO MUCH information. I enjoyed the audio, but I would definitely have to re-read it at least two more times to even begin to absorb all that took place in Cleopatra’s life.


Book #13 of 2022: Survivor’s Guilt by Robyn Gigl (4/5⭐️)

πŸ“šGENRE: Thriller

πŸ—“PUBLISHED: 25 January 2022

At first, the death of millionaire businessman Charles Parsons seems like a straightforward suicide. There’s no sign of forced entry or struggle in his lavish New Jersey mansion—just a single gunshot wound from his own weapon. But days later, a different story emerges. Computer techs pick up a voice recording that incriminates Parsons’ adoptive daughter, Ann, who duly confesses and pleads guilty.
Erin McCabe has little interest in reviewing such a slam-dunk case—even after she has a mysterious meeting with one of the investigating detectives, who reveals that Ann, like Erin, is a trans woman. Yet despite their misgivings, Erin and her law partner, Duane Swisher, ultimately can’t ignore the pieces that don’t fit.
As their investigation deepens, Erin and Swish convince Ann to withdraw her guilty plea. But Ann clearly knows more than she’s willing to share, even if it means a life sentence. Who is she protecting, and why?
Fighting against time and a prosecutor hell-bent on notching another conviction, the two work tirelessly—Erin inside the courtroom, Swish in the field—to clear Ann’s name. But despite Parsons’ former associates’ determination to keep his—and their own—illegal activities buried, a horrifying truth emerges—a web of human exploitation, unchecked greed, and murder. Soon, a quest to see justice served becomes a desperate struggle to survive . . .

I was sent an ARC of this book, and though it’s probably not one that would have come across my radar otherwise, I’m glad it did!

The second book in the Erin McCabe series, this thriller hopped back and forth between the perspectives of the good guys and the bad guys with a few others thrown in as well. I liked that you were getting both sides of the story at the same time, but were still left in suspense as to what was happening. The author provided enough detail that reading. The first book in the series wasn’t necessary, but I would like to go back and read it after the fact!


Book #14 of 2022: The Perfect Marriage by Jeneva Rose (5/5🌟)

πŸ“šGENRE: Thriller

πŸ—“PUBLISHED: 13 July 2020

Sarah Morgan is a successful and powerful defense attorney in Washington D.C. As a named partner at her firm, life is going exactly how she planned. The same cannot be said for her husband, Adam. He’s a struggling writer who has had little success in his career and he tires of his and Sarah’s relationship as she is constantly working. 

Out in the secluded woods, at the couple’s lake house, Adam engages in a passionate affair with Kelly Summers. But one morning everything changes. Kelly is found brutally stabbed to death and now, Sarah must take on her hardest case yet, defending her own husband, a man accused of murdering his mistress. 

The Perfect Marriage is a juicy, twisty, and utterly addictive thriller that will keep you turning pages. You won’t see the ending coming . . . guaranteed!

Yes yes yes yes yes. I LOVED this one. I don’t know that it was really any more special than any other thriller, but I was absolutely CAPTIVATED the whole time. I hated having to turn it off and couldn’t wait to get in the car after school to keep listening to it. Usually I like to listen to music on my drive home from work, but not while reading this book. I think I finished it in like 2 days! It is a bit of a slow burn, and while it does have some twists, they’re nothing to crazy (which I usually prefer!) 

Available on Kindle Unlimited!


Book #15 of 2022: La Hermanita de Las NiΓ±eras: La Bruja de Karen by Ann M. Martin

 (English Version)

πŸ“šGENRE: Children’s Fiction

πŸ—“PUBLISHED: 1 September 2020

Karen Brewer lives next door to Mrs. Porter, who wears long robes and has wild gray hair. Mrs. Porter has a black cat named Midnight and always seems to be working in her garden. Karen isn't supposed to spy on her neighbor, but she's determined to prove that Mrs. Porter is a witch named Morbidda Destiny!Mrs. Porter is getting ready to have a special meeting at her house, and Karen is sure the meeting is for witches. Are they going to cast a spell on Karen? Or will she be brave enough to send them away -- once and for all?

Karen Brewer vive al lado de la Sra. Porter, quien usa vestidos largos y tiene el cabello gris y salvaje. La Sra. Porter tiene un gato negro llamado Medianoche y siempre estΓ‘ trabajando en su jardΓ­n. Karen no deberΓ­a espiar a la vecina, ¡pero estΓ‘ decidida a probar que la Sra. Porter es una bruja llamada MΓ³rbida Destino!

One of my goals for this year is to read one middle grade level book each month that is in Spanish. I worked on Duolingo the past couple years, but I got bored with it. I want to keep my Spanish fresh, so I figured reading would help! 

I loved this series as a kid (so knowing what happens probably helps in translation) and I enjoyed it re-reading in Spanish! I am not rating the Spanish books since it’s not necessarily reading for enjoyment (even though it is in enjoyable!) but rather for language practice.


Book #16 of 2022: A Time to Kill by John Grisham (5/5🌟)

πŸ“šGENRE: Legal Thriller


The life of a ten-year-old black girl is shattered by two drunken and remorseless white men. The mostly white town of Clanton in Ford County, Mississippi, reacts with shock and horror at the inhuman crime—until the girl’s father acquires an assault rifle and takes justice into his own hands.

For ten days, as burning crosses and the crack of sniper fire spread through the streets of Clanton, the nation sits spellbound as defense attorney Jake Brigance struggles to save his client’s life—and then his own. 

John Grisham has been one of my favorite authors since I was in middle school. I’ve bought his books for at least the last six years as soon as they were published, and read them just as quickly. I hadn’t started keeping track of my books on Goodreads until 2014, so to this day I’m not sure which of John Grisham’s books I’ve read prior to that and which I just bought and put on my bookshelf and never got around to actually reading. Because of that, I decided this year I was going to (re)read one John Grisham book each month. 

Deciding which to read first was hard, so I decided to just start at the beginning with A Time To Kill which was written before I was even born! The book is set in the 1980s in Mississippi and is based on a true court case. I do remember reading this book and thinking it felt very historical….until I moved to Tennessee and found out they still have KKK organizations around here! Y’all my mind was blown. My naive little self thought people were better than that in this day and age. NOPE.

Anyway the story is painful but so well-written. I borrowed the DVD from the library after reading it and I love Matthew McConaughey as Jake Brigance. Of course the movie doesn’t do justice to the book. I wish more than anything that Netflix or someone would do a whole series on the Jake Brigance novels- Clanton is my favorite location in his books (of which there are three set there thus far). 


Book #17 of 2022: False Witness by Karin Slaughter (4/5⭐️)

πŸ“šGENRE: Thriller

πŸ—“PUBLISHED: 20 July 2021


Leigh Collier has worked hard to build what looks like a normal life. She’s an up-and-coming defense attorney at a prestigious law firm in Atlanta, would do anything for her sixteen-year-old daughter Maddy, and is managing to successfully co-parent through a pandemic after an amicable separation from her husband Walter.


But Leigh’s ordinary life masks a childhood no one should have to endure … a childhood tarnished by secrets, broken by betrayal, and ultimately destroyed by a brutal act of violence.


On a Sunday night at her daughter’s school play, she gets a call from one of the firm's partners who wants Leigh to come on board to defend a wealthy man accused of multiple counts of rape. Though wary of the case, it becomes apparent she doesn't have much choice if she wants to keep her job. They're scheduled to go to trial in one week. When she meets the accused face-to-face, she realizes that it’s no coincidence that he’s specifically asked for her to represent him. She knows him. And he knows her. More to the point, he may know what happened over twenty years ago, and why Leigh has spent two decades avoiding her past.  


Suddenly she has a lot more to lose than this case. The only person who can help is her younger, estranged sister Callie—the last person Leigh would ever want to drag into this after all they’ve been through. But with the life-shattering truth in danger of being revealed, she has no choice...

Slaughter has become an author I’ve read a lot of in the last few years. Her thrillers are always engaging and this one was no different. There were lots of minor twists throughout the story, but nothing crazy. I liked the incorporation of reality in this book. The characters were living in a Covid world much like Slaughter’s reality as she was writing the novel. I felt like the main character was very likeable. I was worried about how it would end, and was rooting for her throughout the novel. This was definitely less gory than her other thrillers, but more heartbreaking.


*This post may contain affiliate links, which means when you purchase something through that link, you're helping support this blog (and my reading addiction!) at no additional cost to you!*

(Summaries are from Amazon, but all reviews are my own!)

Reading Challenge: 17/120 books read in 2022

You can find previous book reviews here!