Everything I Read in October 2021

Everything I Read in October 2021

Hello, November! This past month’s reading started STRONG, with Goodnight Beautiful. If you love a twisty thriller as much as I do, I think you will love this! I thought the twists were really creative and thoughtful – and different from other thrillers I’ve read. More on that below. I read two other thrillers (one I loved, the other I didn’t), and then of course there was also Ghostsour Bad on Paper November book club pick. So even though I only read four books this month, I would highly recommend three out of the four.

As always, I really love your recs!!! In the comments, tell me what you’re reading / send any and all recommendations – I love getting them. I’m especially interested in reading thrillers by authors of color.


Every month I update it with everything I read – it includes every book I’ve read in the past seven years. The best part is that you can filter + search by genre. Now you can also filter by GRADE to find exactly what you’re looking for or just peruse my top picks. If you’re feeling like you need even more book recs, check out last month’s list

Everything I Read in October 2021

Goodnight Beautiful by Aimee Molloy | Everything I Read in October 2021Goodnight Beautiful by Aimee Molloy

I LOVED THIS! You know that my favorite genre is twisty thrillers (or Gone Girl rip-offs, as Becca lovingly calls them). I read so many of these sort of books though that the twists have stopped hitting me as hard. Or, I guess them. This one had SO many good twists and was different from any other thriller I’ve read.

Sam Statler and Annie Potter are newlyweds in love! They’ve left New York City to move to a small town upstate. Sam’s mother is in a home for her dementia, and Sam’s opened his own therapy practice (where he tends to a mostly needy, mostly female clientele). The only thing: there’s a vent in the ceiling and every word of his conversations can be heard upstairs. What’s wrong with a little eavesdropping? One day, a French girl in a mini cooper shows up. And from there, everything begins to unravel. Sam disappears, horrible money issues come to light, and Annie begins to wonder if she every really knew her husband at all. The first couple chapters of this felt a little sleepy, but then it gets GOOD. I highly recommend this one if you love a good twist as much as I do. Order on Bookshop.org or Amazon.

  • Overall Score: A

Little Secrets, by Jennifer HillierLittle Secrets, by Jennifer Hillier

I was convinced that the universe did not want me to read this book. The first copy I ordered was lost in the mail and the second came but was misprinted… the first half of the book was upside down/printed backwards. It had come highly recommended by @things.i.bought.and.liked (and I reallllly wanted a thriller), so I read it anyway. Let’s just say that I am very glad I persevered… this was SO good. There is a trigger warning for suicide.

Marin and her husband Derek were madly in love, but fifteen months ago their little boy was abducted in plain site, kidnapped by someone dressed up as Santa. Marin was with him at the time and blames herself. Meanwhile, in present day, the PI she hired to help her find her son has discovered something else: her husband is cheating on her with a 24 year old (McKenzie Li). Marin becomes unhinged. She couldn’t save her son but she can save her marriage. And she will do *anything* to get McKenzie out of the picture. When Mary Kubica (another fav) blurbed this she said “You don’t just read this book; you inhale it.” She was right!!!! I’d just add that you exhale very deeply at the end. Whew. A wild ride! Order on Bookshop.org or Amazon.

  • Overall Score: A

Not a Happy Family by Shari Lapena Not a Happy Family by Shari Lapena

This was… not good. It bummed me out as I really enjoyed The Couple Next Door, a few years ago. I found it really predictable and I guessed who the murderer was pretty early on. A wealthy couple is found murdered just after Easter, and an investigation begins. At first the police believe it to be a robbery, but they quickly change their tune, believing it to be someone close to the family… or maybe a member of the family. As time goes on we learn that this family was indeed… not a happy family. The father was abusive and vindictive toward the kids, the mom complacent.

All three adult children become suspects, and no one trusts a soul. Who could have done it? Who was capable of murder? Or was it actually an outside job. The book takes us through the investigation. Parts were really interesting (and it could be that I read too many of these types of books) but I just found it to be super predictable, a bit of a slog at times, and I guessed the ending really early on. I would skip this one if I were you! Order on Bookshop.org or Amazon.

  • Overall Score: C

Ghosts, by Dolly Alderton | Everything I Read in October 2021Ghosts, by Dolly Alderton

I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from this book as the reviews have been so mixed! But I will tell you that while it is British, it is much less “British chick lit” than I thought it would be (a positive – that is not really my genre, the writing style can get so rambly; I prefer a more direct style of writing). And I really liked the writing. I liked the plot too.

Nina Dean is a successful cookbook author, owns her own flat, and is living a pretty great life with great friends (including her long time ex and his girlfriend Lucy). When she meets Max on a dating app, sparks fly and things move quickly . They date for four months, when out of the blue… Max ghosts her. Nina is devastated (and at the same time dealing with her father’s Alzheimer’s, Lucy’s annoying hen do (bachelorette), and issues with her friends. I thought this was really well written, relatable and poignant (it’s probably the most realistic look at modern dating I’ve read in awhile), and also very funny at times too. This one is our November Bad on Paper book club pick and I’m excited to talk about it (and ghosting) in greater detail. Order on Bookshop.org or Amazon.

  • Overall Score: B+

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  1. Hilary:

    I love your book reviews as I have similar book tastes! I just finished Rock, Paper, Scissors and it was excellent; unlike other domestic thrillers that I’ve read.

    11.3.21 Reply
  2. Ashley:

    Omg, yes! It was you who recommended Goodnight Beautiful! I’ve been trying to figure it out since I finished it last week and was waiting for this post. What a wild ride of a book.

    11.3.21 Reply
  3. Laura Cantrell:

    I was hoping to read your review on Midnight in the Garden of Good & Evil! I’m reading it right now and just visited the Mercer House! You always have the best recs! I plan to pick up Ghosts for book club.

    11.3.21 Reply
  4. Carrie:

    These look so good! Have you read The Need?? Came out a few years ago, but it’s a domestic thriller and I’m still thinking about it.

    11.3.21 Reply
  5. Molly:

    Little Secrets was SO so good – honestly one of the better thrillers I’ve read in years!! Thank you so much for the recommendation (saw it first on Tibal’s stories but was convinced when you read it even with the wonky binding)

    11.3.21 Reply
  6. Elizabeth:

    I also really liked Goodnight, Beautiful! Project Hail Mary and We Are Not Like them were my October favorites. Currently reading Crying in H Mart and loving it.

    11.3.21 Reply
  7. ms:

    I’m reading The Night Watchman thanks to one of your recent guest’s suggestions on Bad On Paper. I can’t remember which guest it was, but she loved it and I’m enjoying it too.

    11.3.21 Reply
  8. CD:

    Currently reading There Are Places In the World Where Rules Are Less Important Than Kindness. It’s a bunch of short pieces by Carlo Rovelli. His book The Order of Time – on time, physics and philosophy – is one of my favorite books. Also just started Ariadne.

    I recently read The Last Thing He Told Me and enjoyed it. I think you may have already read that one, though?

    Have you read the 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle? It’s wonderful!

    I also highly recommend Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir.

    11.3.21 Reply
  9. Lynn:

    I have a few not yet read that you recommended but I’ll get there I do have my favorites from years ago that I just know you would love . Look up the first one called “ The Passion” about a werewolf modern society living amongst us and there’s a much awaited sequel. I’ll try to look up the Author. It was just amazing I think. It’s older but definitely worth it to read with it’s draw dropping and so believably terrifying and forbidden love interest too! I’ll try to find the Author for you. Donna Boyd Maybe? That name stand out somehow .

    11.3.21 Reply
  10. Jenny:

    I finally read the Thousandth Floor trilogy (and could listen to the BOP ep! I always make myself catch up on the books if I haven’t read them). Omg, the final book was so good. I really hope they turn the series into a TV show or something!

    11.3.21 Reply
  11. Katie:

    I just read The Mother Next Door by Tara Laskowski. A good Halloween themed thriller. Gave me Big Little Lies vibes.

    11.3.21 Reply
  12. Katie:

    I’ve been reading The Love Songs of W.E.B Dubois, it’s absolutely incredible! It’s a beast of a book but written in a really straight forward and storytelling kind of way, it’s not as “deep” as it sounds, but has so many great messages and characters.

    11.4.21 Reply
  13. I was waiting to hear what you thought of Little Secrets!! So delightfully fucked up.

    11.4.21 Reply
  14. Caitlin:

    Was hoping you read Christmas in peach tree bluff. Loved that series!

    11.4.21 Reply
    • I do too but am not sure if I’m going to read that one… I generally really don’t like Christmas-y books (maybe I’d like a Christmas thriller/murder mystery but find most to be too schmaltzy for me! I am sure it will be great, Kristy is a brilliant writer.

      11.5.21 Reply
      • Caitlin:

        Understood. You should read Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier. I liked Little Secrets better, but thought Jar Of Hearts was a better thriller if that’s your jam.

        11.7.21 Reply
  15. Katherine:

    I just read A Children’s Bible by Lydia Millet, which wasn’t exactly a murdery thriller but light post-apocalypse which I don’t normally go for but I LOVED. I stayed up reading it way past my bedtime. It flew after chapter 3. I just started “We Are Not Like Them” by Christine Pride and Jo Piazza which I think should totally be a BOP pick because it deals with friendship, race, and would be such a great discussion!

    11.8.21 Reply