Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson: A Review

Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I had heard so many people talking about how good this book was, and I thought it would be perfect to read in October. It’s a double murder mystery with many twists and turns.
Stevie loves a good murder mystery. It’s an obsession, really. And when she has an opportunity her junior year to attend a ritzy school with free tuition that also had an unsolved murder, she took it. But when there is a death on campus, her detective skills have to work overtime, to the detriment of her relationships and schoolwork.
The plot is pretty fast-paced. Most of the chapters include both the present day story and snippets from the original murder mystery from the 1930s.
Stevie’s character transformation was really well done. She arrives at the school with anxiety and a loner mindset but slowly learns to trust, have that trust broken, and trust again. The ending revealed a surprise that might test that trust yet again. I’m looking forward to learning more in the next book.
There is profanity in the book. It shows up in the later chapters so it took me by surprise. As far as sexual content, there is a makeout scene, kissing, and some discussion of sex but no graphic sex scenes. And the violence in the book is not graphic at all. The deaths are not discussed at length, though they do describe the position the body is present day is found in.
Overall, I thought it was a good mystery, not too scary and perfect for this month. The book ends in a major cliffhanger, so I’m definitely anticipating the next book in January!


Reading People by Anne Bogel: A Review

719ol8wcd8lReading People: How Seeing the World through the Lens of Personality Changes Everything by Anne Bogel

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am a big personality assessment nerd, so when I found out that one of my favorite podcasters wrote about book about personality assessments, I had to read it. Anne Bogel takes us through her own journey of eight different personality classifications. It was really interesting because I hadn’t heard of some of these tests (which I will definitely remedy in the near future).
She doesn’t just talk about her own outcome with each of the assessments but also gives a brief overview of the other types in each assessment. She also gives suggestions, whether the free tests you find online will give you an accurate assessment or if you will need to go on a more professional route. She also suggests books that can be helpful for a more in-depth look into your particular type.
I really enjoyed the book, overall. It was like sitting down over coffee with a friend, discussing personalities. It’s not by any means an exhaustive look into personality, but it is a fun jumping off point for several different ways you can look into yourself. Also, I really liked what she said about why we should look into these different perspectives of personality. “When I understand myself, I can get out of my own way.”

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas: A Review


The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was a very popular book last year, which came out as a movie in October, so I thought it was appropriate to read it now.
The book is so good. It’s pretty fast-paced, and I felt totally immersed in this world throughout the entire story. The content of the book is pretty heavy, dealing with racism, grief, and injustice, but it’s really appropriate for today’s culture.
The story is about a girl named Starr who witnesses her friend get shot by a police officer. She and her friend are black and the officer was white. In her everyday life, Starr straddles two worlds – one in the poor black neighborhood where she lives and the other in a predominantly white private school where most of her friends and life are. When this shooting happens, her worlds start to come apart and she has to find out who she really is.
The character transformation is honest and beautiful. I don’t really want to go into any spoilers but she really is stretched through the whole story and by the end finds out what it means to be her authentic self. There are also some minor characters who go through transformations as well – facing their own prejudices and realities.
There is profanity in the book. In fact, Starr’s younger brother has a thing going with their dad that when he cusses, the brother gets a dollar. The brother gets a lot of money in this book.
There is also sexual content as well. While there are no real sex scenes, there is talk about it and heavy makeout scenes. I did find that the sexual content was approached well and handled responsibly.
There is also violence in this book. Of course, there is the shooting, but there are also riots, fighting, and other violence that happens throughout the book. I felt that it was also appropriate considering the story.
Overall, this is a great book, perfect for this generation. I felt like it was written well and gave a lot of really good perspective. Highly recommend!

October Favorites

Each month seems to be going by so quickly!  On to my September favorites!

Book of the Month


I really enjoyed reading this book, even though it was shorter than books I normally read!  It was a delightful collection of essays about reading.  They were so relatable!  I wrote a full review here.



Sam seems to be entering the teething phase, so when we have reading time, most of the books end up in his mouth.  On a curious whim, I searched for chew-proof books, and this came up.  So, I bought one, and I love it!  They are five bucks and really are rip and chew proof.  You can check them out here.

Beauty and Fashion


When I was pregnant, my skin would get super dry, but I wanted a moisturizer that would be safe for me and the baby (and with my anxiety, this was almost an obsessive search).  This is what was recommended, and I’ve continued using it all year.  It isn’t greasy and makes my skin feel great.  If I don’t put it on, especially on drier days, I can feel my skin dry out and tighten.  As we approach winter, this is definitely a good buy.  You can check it out here.



There haven’t been a lot of shows that I’ve wanted to watch lately.  Even some of the shows that are coming back that I’ve enjoyed in the past.  Having a baby is one good measuring stick for priorities and interests (although it’s not the only one, it’s been a good one for me).  So, when I look forward to each episode of Manifest every week, it says something.

The premise is that a plane disappears for five years but the passengers didn’t age.  In fact, from their experience, it was just a simple flight.  So there is the grief of losing five years, people on the ground moving on, and all that.  And then on top of that, there is a supernatural element as the people on the plane start developing these insight powers, like knowing something is going to happen or where certain things are hidden.  Plus, a lot of the premise is based on Romans 8:28, which is a neat little fact.  Really enjoying it so far.

What are some favorites you have been enjoying this month?

All disclaimers have now moved to my About Me page.

Fields of Glory by Gilbert Morris: A Review

The Fields of Glory
by Gilbert Morris

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’m trying to finish this series by the end of the year. I read the first few books when I was a teenager and I held a bit of nostalgia for the series. Up to this point, I don’t really feel like the series has held up over time, but it’s still a good series. It’s Christian historical fiction set during the rise of Protestantism in England. In this particular book, it’s set during the reign of King Charles II, after the death of Oliver Cromwell. This was a point in history when the Royalists (who lost the Civil War to the Parliamentarians) return to England and come into power.
As far as the fictional family, the Wakefields, the author seems to be moving away from the steady father to son legacy that is found in the first three books. In the last book, the Morgan family (distant relative from Wales) made their first appearance, and they take up a good amount of the plot in this book. In addition to that, we are introduced to Jenny Clairmont, another person from Wales and follow her story which intertwines with the Wakefields and Morgans. Also, Morris includes whole chapters on the actual historical figure John Bunyan.
The author seemed to really be a fan of John Bunyan. He even includes some excerpts of Bunyan’s writing in his own story (although to be fair, he also includes some poetry and Shakespearean excerpts as well). This book, however, focused a lot on Bunyan, and with the addition of Jenny’s story and the Morgans, the Wakefields took a bit of a backseat.
The writing, like in the previous books, was flowery and a bit convoluted. We had to hear about everything they ate or wore, what every person looked like and whether they were attractive or not. I found myself skimming those parts, really just wanting to get on with the story. I understand he was building the world, but I just wasn’t interested in every beef broth they ate.
Still, the plot was interesting. Following the independent preachers as they were thrown in jail and then how they overcame was really interesting. I don’t know how much fiction was added to it, but it will give me new perspective when I read a Pilgrim’s Progress again.
Overall, it’s okay. I do enjoy the history, but the writing is only so-so. Nostalgically, it’s been a good ride so far.

City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab: A Review

City of Ghosts
by Victoria Schwab

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is my third book written by Victoria Schwab that I’ve read (which I’m trying to slowly remedy) and I absolutely loved it. It made me want to visit Edinburgh, Scotland. It’s the first middle-grade novel that I have read in a long time, but since I have enjoyed everything she has written so far, I was happy to add this to my read list.
The story is about a girl, Cass, who had a near-death experience and now sees ghosts, namely her best friend Jacob who is a ghost. And her parents also happen to be writers of the paranormal (though they do not see ghosts). So, when they get an opportunity to travel to Scotland for a documentary, they do. And her adventure begins.
The plot moves along quite fast, and it is a very easy read (I read it in less than 24 hours which is big since I have a baby). And there are questions that aren’t answered in this book that I hope will be answered in later books. I’m looking forward to the next one.
There is no profanity in the book. And there are no sexually explicit scenes, in fact, there really isn’t any romance at all which I found refreshing and appropriate for the target audience. There is violence, namely ways that people die. Cass is able to enter the veil and see ghosts playing out their deaths over and over again on a loop. It’s not explicit, but it definitely was sad.
If you want a good mystery wrapped up in a beautifully descriptive city, with a little spooky thrown in, then I would highly recommend this book.

I’d Rather Be Reading by Anne Bogel: A Review

I’d Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life
by Anne Bogel

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The very definition of an absolute delight, Bogel’s short collection of essays on reading will call you to the big, comfy reading chair with a cup of tea in hand.
I have been a listener of her podcast for quite a while now. She is kind, welcoming, and completely relatable to me as a reader. This book is just an extension of that. She writes about her love of books, trips to the library and the bookstore, and confessions that kept me chuckling with a knowing “Amen.”
It was quite meta to read a book about reading. Still, I loved following her through her journey into reading. I now want to live right next door to a library (very envious of this fact!). And somehow have the inclination to, again, reorganize my bookshelves.
If you love to read, or even if you used to love to read and have lost that feeling somewhere along the way, I would highly recommend diving into this book. It will motivate you to read more and read often.

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