I typically enjoy non-fiction with an occasonal mix of young adult (YA), fantasy, and a classic here or there. I'm big into true crime and the history and current affairs of our nation's federal agents, particularly the development of the psycology departments.
”When a doctor does go wrong he is the first of criminals,” Sherlock Holmes observed during one of his most baffling investigations. “He has nerve and he has knowledge.” In the span of fifteen years, Dr. Thomas Neill Cream murdered as many as ten people in the United States, Britain, and Canada, a death toll with almost no precedent. Poison was his weapon of choice. Largely forgotten today, this villain was as brazen as the notorious Jack the Ripper.
Structured around the doctor’s London murder trial in 1892, when he was finally brought to justice, The Case of the Murderous Dr. Cream exposes the blind trust given to medical practitioners, as well as the flawed detection methods, bungled investigations, corrupt officials, and stifling morality of Victorian society that allowed Dr. Cream to prey on vulnerable and desperate women, many of whom had turned to him for medical help.
I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara
If you're a true-crime obsessive, you've got to check this off your list. Michelle McNamara is the true-crime journalist that started the popular website TrueCrimeDiary.com, and coined the name "The Golden State Killer". McNamara spent years pouring over police reports, interviewed victims and detectives, and spent night after night scouring the web for hidden clues into the dark past of the GSK. Truly chilling details paired with McNamara's beautful writing and deep passion make this book one you can't put down.
Six of Crows Series by Leigh Bardugo
A daring con, a group of misfit bandits, superhuman abilities; all threatened by a msyterious, and dangerous new drug. Nothing is what it seems, and when all the forces are working against you, you'll need the best criminal mastermind and his talented rag-tag crew for the slightest chance of success. you have to read it! You'll be hooked from page one!
One by one the richest people per capita in the 1920's start to be killed off, the Osage Nation in Oklahoma. More than any local department could handle and the death cases rises (including many people who tried to uncover the truth), the newly created FBI become involved. With an undercover team, the FBI begin to unravel one of the most horrfying conspiricies in American history. A fascinating historical piece leading you to an understanding and justifiable building of the mistrust many first-nations feel with a unique look into Hoover's FBI.
Dare to be vulnarable! Something many of us struggle with. Being vulnarable is about having courage. It's something everyone should read! Very poigant, encouraging, and insightful. "It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could hae done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; Who at the best knows in the end triumph of high achievment, and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly." - Theadore Roosevelt
Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS by Joby Warrick
A Pultizer Prize winnng book, Black Flags gives an unsually objective look into the rise of ISIS's power in the middle east. Warrick gives in-depth, easy to follow understanding of the history to, then, present-day operations. If you're into history, this book is amazingly detailed and offers edge-of-your-seat specifics into what was one of the most dangerous extremist threats.
Savage Inequalities by Jonathan Kozol
Jump into a journalistic approach of the inner workings of school district "gerrymandering" of the 80's and 90's and its tragic effects on the poor areas of cities thoughout the United States.
The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child's Developing Mind by Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson
This book gives you absolute spot-on and easy to understand analogies into the why and hows of a mind, then pairs it with expert strategies as to just how to navigate the inner workings. Why does your kid throw temper tantrums? Why the repeating? WHYYYY do they fight, and whine, and argue? This book will help any parent, whether new or veteran, to understand just where their child is coming from and how to help them navigate those wild inner workings.
Red Queen Series by Victoria Aveyard
Classic good vs. evil, rich vs. poor, dystopian novels. If you like a good redemption story, this is it! A land ruled by the blessed and powerful "silver bloods" a "red blooded" girl suddenly finds herself capable of the powers that have blessed the mighty silver bloods. Suddenly finding herself caught up in a spy ring to overthrow the corrupt silver bloods our red blooded heroine finds herself believing not all the silver bloods are as bad as they seem....or are they!? Dun, dun, dunnnn
Mostly young adult fiction with the occasional adult fantasy or sci-fi. I love adventure, crime capers, and anything with brilliant plot twists, gorgeous world-building, snarky characters, or cool magic systems. I also have a soft spot for several of the classics.
The Queen's Thief Series by Megan Whalen Turner
Because of his great skill at thievery, Gen lands in the King's prison. After months of isolation, kept sane only by his sharp intelligence, Gen is released by the King's Scholar, the Magus, who believes he knows the site of an ancient treasure. The Magus needs the best thief in the land to help him steal it, and that thief is Gen. But Gen is also a survivor and a trickster--and he has ideas of his own.
The series starts with The Thief. Read on for more cleverness, thievery, and political intrigue. Then reread them all because they're amazing and there are always new details and twists to uncover.
The Magnolia Sword: A Ballad of Mulan by Sherry Thomas
All her life, Mulan has trained for one purpose: to win the duel that every generation in her family must fight. If she prevails, she can reunite a pair of priceless heirloom swords separated decades earlier, and avenge her father, who was paralyzed in his own duel. Then a messenger from the Emperor arrives, demanding that all families send one soldier to fight the Rouran invaders in the north. Mulan's father cannot go. Her brother is just a child. So she ties up her hair, takes up her sword, and joins the army as a man.
The Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells
"As a heartless killing machine, I was a complete failure." In a corporate-dominated spacefaring future, planetary missions must be approved and supplied by the Company. Exploratory teams are accompanied by Company-supplied security androids, for their own safety. But in a society where contracts are awarded to the lowest bidder, safety isn't a primary concern. On a distant planet, a team of scientists are conducting surface tests, shadowed by their Company-supplied 'droid — a self-aware SecUnit that has hacked its own governor module, and refers to itself (though never out loud) as "Murderbot." Scornful of humans, all it really wants is to be left alone long enough to figure out who it is. But when a neighboring mission goes dark, it's up to the scientists and their Murderbot to get to the truth. Start the series with All Systems Red.
The Truly Devious Series by Maureen Johnson
Ellingham Academy is a famous private school in Vermont. It was founded by Albert Ellingham, an early twentieth century tycoon, who wanted to make a wonderful place full of riddles, twisting pathways, and gardens. "A place," he said, "where learning is a game." In 1936, shortly after the school opened, Ellingham's wife and daughter, Iris and Alice, were kidnapped. The only real clue was a mocking riddle listing methods of murder, signed with the frightening pseudonym "Truly, Devious." It became one of the great crimes of American history. Something like that could never happen again, of course. . .
Years later, true-crime aficionado Stevie Bell is set to begin her first year at Ellingham Academy, and she has an ambitious plan: She will solve this cold case. That is, she will solve the case when she gets a grip on her demanding new school life and her housemates: the inventor, the novelist, the actor, the artist, and the jokester. But something strange is happening. Truly Devious makes a surprise return, and death revisits Ellingham Academy. The past has crawled out of its grave. Someone has gotten away with murder.
The Queen's Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner
YA Adventure/Historical Fantasy. A clever young thief lands himself in prison after bragging that he can steal anything. When he is recruited by the king's advisor, he finds himself on an adventure to steal a legendary artifact. Travel through a world inspired by ancient Greek and Byzantine world, and enjoy snarky characters, intricate plotting, and a rich mythology. Start the series with The Thief.
The Six of Crows duology by Leigh Bardugo
YA Fantasy/Crime Caper. A criminal mastermind, a knife-wielding spy, a sharpshooter with a gambling problem, a demolitions expert with a privelidged past, a soldier with the power to stop your heart, and an escaped prisoner on a quest for revenge team up for an impossible heist with the score of a lifetime. Enjoy gorgeous world-building, complex characters, and brilliant scheming.
The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
High Fantasy/Adventure. Kvothe is a legendary magician, bard, and folk hero, but he's hiding from the world and posing as an innkeeper. When a chronicler of tales finds his way to Kvothe's inn, he reluctantly agrees to tell the true story of his life, from his childhood as a traveling trouper, to his days fighting for survival on the streets, to his studies of magic and wisdom at the University. This book is packed with gorgeous descriptions, detailed world-building, and an intricately crafted magic system that almost seems plausible.
The Martian by Andy Weir
Science Fiction/Survival. When a space mission goes terribly wrong, astronaut Mark Watney is stranded alone on Mars. His crew thinks he's dead and evacuated without him, he has no way to communicate with Earth, and it's only a matter of time before he runs out of supplies. With only his engineering skills, botany know-how, determination, and tireless sense of humor, Mark has to fight against everything Mars can throw at him in the hopes of somehow making it home. This book has brilliantly accurate and believable science, unending humor, and leaves you constantly wondering what will happen next. If you loved the movie, the book is even better!
The Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells
Science Fiction/Adventure. In a spacefaring society dominated by the Company, all exploratory missions are required to use Company-supplied security androids. But when one SecUnit secretly hacks it's own system, it suddenly has the free will to do whatever it wants... which is usually watching its favorite TV shows and avoiding awkward social interactions. When the scientific mission it's contracted on goes wrong, it's up to the SecUnit (or Murderbot as it secretly calls itself) to figure out what's going on and what it really wants out of life. This series packs lots of action, humor, and very relatable social awkwardness into quick novellas and is great for anyone who likes The Martian. Start the series with All Systems Red.
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
YA Historical Fiction. A young British spy, "Verity," is captured when her plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France during WWII. As she writes out her confession, we learn about Maddie, a pilot and Verity's best friend, and how they became friends through their roles in the war effort. The details are fictionalized, but it has an authentic feel and gives an interesting look at British women's lives during the war. It's a beautifully written, intricately plotted, and heartbreakingly sad story of danger, survival, and, above all, friendship.
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Classic/Gothic Romance. Jane Eyre was orphaned at a young age, was cast out of her cruel aunt's home, and spent almost half her life at a bording school for girls, but when she finishes her schooling, she finally has a chance to decide her own future. She is hired as governess to the young ward of the brooding Mr. Rochester, but she may find more than she bargained for behind the walls of Thornfield Hall. This book mixes elements of Victorian era romance, coming of age stories, and gothic horror, and through it all, Jane remains fiercely independent and steadfast in her beliefs.
Anything with a touch of humor - I don't do tearjerkers! I read fiction in all genres, and if I'm going to read non-fiction cover to cover, it has to tell a good story. Browsing through craft and house design books fuels my daydreams.
The Bernie & Chet mystery series, by Spencer Quinn.
Bernie Little, a decorated veteran, runs the Little Detective Agency with his partner Chet, who would have aced his K-9 final exam if not for a wretched cat. With Bernie's brains and Chet's nose, they are unstoppable! Chet's joyful narration and his love for Bernie (always the smartest guy in the room) will draw you in. Start with Dog On It.
Good Omens, by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman - An angel and a demon team up to prevent the imminent Apocalypse, but the end of the world gets muddled when the Anti-Christ is swapped with another baby at birth. Irreverent, complex, and hilarious!
The Secret History of the Pink Carnation, by Lauren Willig - Sometimes the best man for a job is a woman, as Amy Balcourt demonstrates when she assumes the identity of The Pink Carnation to serve as a British spy and prevent Napoleon from invading. This fun read is full of wit, intrigue, and romance.
The Rosie Project, by Graeme Simsion - Don Tillman is a scientist who lives a structured, orderly life. When he decides to marry, he creates a questionnaire to help him find a woman who meets his exacting criteria. How could this plan possibly go wrong?
Endurance, by Alfred Lansing - In 1914, Sir Ernest Shackleton led an expedition of twenty-eight men to traverse Antarctica. They were trapped there when ice crushed their ship. This account of their survival is compiled from logs and journals kept by the explorers, all of whom were rescued a year and a half later.
The Endurance, by Caroline Alexander - After reading Endurance, you must see these photographs! That's right - not only did everyone survive, but Frank Hurley, the expedition's photographer, kept his camera and glass negatives safe throughout their ordeal.
The Beekeeper's Apprentice, by Laurie R. King - Sherlock Homes has retired and, to all appearances, is enjoying a solitary life as a beekeeper... until he meets a girl who is his intellectual equal. Does he need - or even want - a partner at this point in his life?
The Martian, by Andy Weir - The movie is one of my favorites and the book is even better! Mark Watney, botanist/astronaut, is stranded alone on Mars with little hope of rescue. Mars will come to fear his botany powers!
Chronicles of St.Mary's series, by Jodi Taylor, in which historians investigate historical events in contemporary time. Start with Just One Damned Thing After Another, and whatever you do, DON'T CALL IT TIME TRAVEL!
I love escaping to other worlds through works of fantasy: tales of magic, daring, and unlikely heroes. Bonus points if there are dragons!
Crooked Kingdom, by Leigh Bardugo
When you can’t beat the odds, change the game. Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn't think they'd survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they're right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and badly weakened, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz's cunning and test the team's fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city's dark and twisting streets―a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of the Grisha world.
Crooked Kingdom is Book 2 of the Six of Crows Duology
The Hero and the Crown, by Robin McKinlay - Aerin could not remember a time when she had not known the story; she had grown up knowing it. It was the story of her mother, the witchwoman from the north who enspelled the king into marrying her to get an heir that would rule Damar; and it was told that she turned her face to the wall and died of despair when she found she had borne a daughter instead of a son. But there was more of the story yet to be told; Aerin’s destiny was greater than she could have dreamed—for she would become the true hero who would wield the power of the Blue Sword…
Uprooted, by Naomi Novik - Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life. Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood. The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows—everyone knows—that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia, all the things Agnieszka isn’t, and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her. But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose.
East, by Edith Pattou - A young woman journeys to a distant castle on the back of a great white bear who is the victim of a cruel enchantment. Each night, she is confronted with a mystery. In solving that mystery, she finds love, discovers her purpose, and realizes her travels have only just begun. East is a retelling of the Norweigian fairy tale "East of the Sun and West of the Moon.”
I love to read true crime stories. I enjoy learning about the killers and what drove them to commit such horrific crimes against other human beings! I just have so many questions on this subject, like: Are killers made OR are they born this way????
When I am not reading true crime, I read adult humorous fiction. I love those LOL moments, with everyone around me trying to figure out what I'm laughing at!
I also like to read young adult fiction, especially the coming-of-age books where the characters are trying to figure out life and who they are in this crazy world – I mean, aren’t we all?!
You Know I’m No Good, by Jessie Ann Foley - Mia is officially a troubled teen - she gets bad grades, drinks too much, and has probably gone too far with too many guys. After Mia punches her stepmom and gives her a black eye, she is sent to a therapeutic school for girls, where she finally confronts her past and begins to imagine a future for herself.
Sorry For Your Loss, by Jessie Ann Foley (Downloadable Audiobook through Libby) - As the youngest of eight, painfully average Pup Flanagan is used to flying under the radar. He is barely passing his classes. He lets his longtime crush walk all over him. And he is in no hurry to decide on a college path. The only person who ever made him think he could be more was his older brother Patrick, the family’s golden child. Then Patrick died suddenly, leaving Pup with a family who will not talk about it and acquaintances who just keep saying “Sorry for your loss.”
But when Pup excels at a photography assignment he thought he would bomb, things start to come into focus. His dream girl shows her true colors. An unexpected friend exposes Pup to a whole new world, right under his nose. And the photograph that was supposed to show Pup a way out of his grief ultimately reveals someone else who is still stuck in their own. Someone with a secret regret Pup never could have imagined.
Ted Bundy: Conversations with a Killer, by Stephen G Michaud - Drawn from more than 150 hours of exclusive tape-recorded interviews with Bundy, this collection provides shocking insights into the killer's 11th-hour confessions before his death in a Florida electric chair. A unique, horrifying self-portrait of one of the most savage sex killers in history.
When Life Gives You Lululemons, by Lauren Weisberger - Welcome to Greenwich, CT, where the lawns and the women are perfectly manicured, the Tito's and sodas are extra strong, and everyone has something to say about the infamous new neighbor. Let us be clear: Emily Charlton, Miranda Priestly's ex-assistant, does not do the suburbs. She is working in Hollywood as an image consultant to the stars, but recently, Emily's lost a few clients. She is hopeless with social media. The new guard is nipping at her heels. She needs a big opportunity, and she needs it now. Karolina Hartwell is as A-list as they come. She is the former face of L'Oreal. A mega-supermodel recognized the world over. And now, the gorgeous wife of the newly elected senator from New York, Graham, who also has his eye on the presidency. It is all very Kennedy-esque, right down to the public philandering and Karolina's arrest for a DUI--with a Suburban full of other people's children. Miriam is the link between them. Until recently she was a partner at one of Manhattan's most prestigious law firms. But when Miriam moves to Greenwich and takes time off to spend with her children, she never could have predicted that being stay-at-home mom in an uber-wealthy town could have more pitfalls than a stressful legal career. Emily, Karolina, and Miriam make an unlikely trio, but they desperately need each other. Together, they will navigate the social landmines of life in America's favorite suburb on steroids, revealing the truths--and the lies--that simmer just below the glittering surface.
A Man Called Ove: A Novel, by Fredrik Backman - Meet Ove. He is a curmudgeon--the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him "the bitter neighbor from hell." But must Ove be bitter just because he does not walk around with a smile plastered to his face all the time? Behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So, when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove's mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents' association to their very foundations. A feel-good story in the spirit of "The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry "and "Major Pettigrew's Last Stand," Fredrik Backman's novel about the angry old man next door is a thoughtful and charming exploration of the profound impact one life has on countless others.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky (also a movie) - This is the story of what it is like to grow up in high school. More intimate than a diary, Charlie's letters are singular and unique, hilarious, and devastating. We may not know where he lives. We may not know to whom he is writing. All we know is the world he shares. Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it puts him on a strange course through uncharted territory. The world of first dates and mixed tapes, family dramas and new friends. The world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that the perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite.
I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter, by Erika L. Sánchez (also an audiobook on CD) - Perfect Mexican daughters do not go away to college. And they do not move out of their parents’ house after high school graduation. Perfect Mexican daughters never abandon their family. But Julia is not your perfect Mexican daughter. That was Olga’s role. When a tragic accident on the busiest street in Chicago leaves Olga dead and Julia left behind to reassemble the shattered pieces of her family, no one seems to acknowledge that Julia is broken, too. Instead, her mother seems to channel her grief into pointing out every possible way Julia has failed. Before too long, Julia discovers that Olga might not have been as perfect as everyone thought. With the help of her best friend Lorena, and her first kiss, first love, first everything boyfriend Connor, Julia is determined to find out. Was Olga really what she seemed? Or was there more to her sister’s story? And either way, how can Julia even attempt to live up to a seemingly impossible ideal?
Gabi, A Girl in Pieces, by Isabel Quintero (also available in Spanish and as an audiobook on CD) - Sixteen-year-old Gabi Hernandez chronicles her senior year in high school as she copes with her friend Cindy's pregnancy, her friend Sebastian's coming out, her father's meth habit, her own cravings for food and cute boys, and especially the poetry that helps forge her identity.