The icing on the cake of this fantastic book is the acknowledgments section at the end. In this portion of the book, LaValle recounts how his story came to be. Like me, he buys books about local histories during his trips. While visiting the University of Montana in Missoula, he picked up a copy of Dr. Sarah Carter’s work Montana Women Homesteaders: A Field of One’s OwnDiscovering that there had been lone women homesteaders, free of husbands who were not necessarily white, blew his mind. His subsequent obsession with learning more inspired the fictional tale of the Lone Women homesteaders in his book. We love a story inspired by actual history…especially one that is little known! 

Technically, this is a horror story. And before you ask, yes, there is some gore. But tell me why I found myself tearing up at the end. Feeling feelings ranging from rage to hope. Sadness to joy. Fear to awe.  This is honestly one of the most subtly brilliant books I’ve read. And darn this man for writing an empathetic tale about the female experience. This was just a good book. Read it!

I wasn’t sure I’d like it when I started this one. It’s told from the perspective of a seven-year-old girl named Elsa. As you can imagine, she’s an advanced child for her age, which isn’t helping her connect socially with her peers at school. Her best friend is her kooky grandmother, who tells her vivid fairytales in a secret language that they only share. Unfortunately for Elsa, her grandmother dies at the beginning of this story. Through a series of apology letters, Elsa’s grandmother reveals the truth behind the fictional stories and introduces Elsa to a new reality. Have the tissues ready for this one. 

This was a pleasant surprise. I picked it up because I’ve been gravitating toward horror a lot lately. I can get really lost in a good horror book- I find them highly entertaining. This book was a bit more complex than the “good old-fashioned ghost story” I was expecting. I’d describe this as a fable about addiction and grief told through a thrilling ghost story. It was unexpected, and I couldn’t predict many of the twists and turns throughout the book, which was nice. I did find all the characters unlikeable, but that ends up playing into the plot. So, stick with it until the end to find out why! 

I’ve been interested in John Dillinger for as long as I can remember. The hit movie Public Enemies, starring Johnny Depp, gave his lore a resurgence in popular culture around 2009 when it was released. He was again in the news in 2019 when his niece and nephew planned to exhume his body, citing evidence that they may have killed the wrong man in Chicago back in 1934. 

I recognize that Dillinger’s actions were wrong, but he was charismatic! While the movie takes some artistic liberties with his love life and lore, the book confirms that Dillinger was well-loved and admired throughout his “career” in crime. 

If you are interested in true crime, bank robbery, or the likes of “Bonnie & Clyde”, “Machine Gun Kelly”, or “Baby Face Nelson” then you’ll love this read! 

Recently, a few people recommended Barbara Kingsolver's books to me. I’ve never read her, but I figured it was time- the universe sometimes decides where my reading will go next! After reviewing a few of her book descriptions, I decided on her book Animal Dreams over some of her more popular titles, such as The Poisonwood Bible and Demon Copperhead. I was drawn to this title because I love a “woman finally finds herself” story, and the Goodreads reviews supported this notion. 

Upon completion, I think this story was good. Kingsolver uses flashbacks, dreams, legends, and the characters’ current narratives to build something beautiful. Her description of the natural beauty of Arizona made me want to catch a flight there soon. 

I will be reading more books by this author. I’ll probably pick up another title by Kingsolver to get lost in on a beautiful Florida beach day. 

This is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand women’s health better. I certainly wish I had a copy of this book starting around age 12 to carry with me through life. You could read this cover to cover or use it like a reference book. It’s full of helpful health (not “wellness”) tips and great recipe ideas!