Show Us Your Books: Serial Killers to Middle Grade Fiction

Posted July 14, 2020 by shooting in Book Review / 32 Comments

Time for Show Us Your Books with Jana and Steph! I love this link-up because I’m always learning about new books or figuring out which books sound like they should be added to my ever-growing wish list!

(p.s. all purchase links are affiliate links – I get a small percent if you buy a book, at no extra cost to you! Plus, with Bookshop, you are supporting independent bookstores!)

Home Before Dark by Riley Sager

I chose this as one of my Book of the Month choices. I’ve wanted to read Riley’s books since his first one came out, so yeah, I’m a bit behind. However, Home Before Dark was still a nice gateway to Riley’s novels. The book is a bit of a back and forth in time, but the present is told by Maggie Holt and the past is excerpts from her father’s book, supposedly based on the true story of them living in a haunted house when Maggie was young. Maggie doesn’t remember much, so she think it’s all a hoax until she goes back to the house…and very strange, unsettling things begin to happen! I loved getting both Maggie’s perspective, and parts of the book, because it really upped the tension and kept me wondering!

Want to sign up for Book of the Month? Feel free to use my affiliate link! You can get your first book for only $9.99 using the book NEW5!

 Light It Up by Kekla Magoon

This is such a timely book for the current climate in America, with police brutality and the deaths of black people by the police. Unfortunately, none of this is new, so it’s a timely book all the time. However, with all of the protests and demands for reform in the spring/summer of 2020, I would definitely recommend reading Light It Up. It touches on a lot of very important topics and issues and I think it does a great job showing how these crimes affect everybody involved. Light it Up is a companion to How it Went Down, which I have not read, but I think it’s fine to read them out of order. Regardless, I still want to read How it Went Down!

Out Now: Queer We Go Again! edited by Saundra Mitchell (copy from Netgalley; all opinions are my own)

I love that Out Now is an anthology of LGBT+ stories, because these are always needed. They touch on a lot of different identities too from being lesbian to being non-binary (or as one story calls it, ‘not cisgender’). Unfortunately, I didn’t find myself loving a ton of the stories throughout. There are a lot of different styles and genres, so that could be it, but it’s always a bummer when you don’t enjoy one of the stories included. However, there were some that I definitely loved, so I’d still recommend giving this one a browse!

Some of the stories I enjoyed:

“What Happens in the Closet” by Caleb Roehrig

“Star-Crossed in DC” by Jessica Verdi

“Lumber Me Mine” by CB Lee

“Victory Lap” by Julian Winters

Just Like That by Cole McCade (copy from Netgalley; all opinions are my own)

I enjoyed this one overall. Summer is a former student of Fox Iseya, but now he’s back with the goal to take over Iseya’s position when he retires at the end of the year. This is a May-December, slow-burn m/m romance, but it also touches a lot on grief, anxiety/panic attacks, and figuring out who you want to be (no matter the age). I really appreciated how the author wove all these themes together – it never felt like too much. I genuinely cared for the characters and I wanted them to not only be together, but just be okay. Finally, I LOVED that there are tons of trigger warnings in the beginning of the book!!

Killers Keep Secrets: The Golden State Killer’s Other Life by James Huddle (copy from Netgalley; all opinions are my own)

I’ve been fascinated by the Golden State Killer for a few years now, so it was definitely interesting to read about this man from the point of view of his brother-in-law. We all want to think we’d know if someone so close to us was such a horrible person…but would we? They often hide it well.

This book was a short, quick read – and it actually could have been shorter as the author seems to have run out of things to talk about in the end (instead, he starts to go over various myths about serial killers and some other notorious serial killers that were active around the same time as GSK). I find all of this interesting, so it didn’t bother me too much, but I’m sure others would want more of Huddle’s POV on his brother-in-law – and I admit, that would have been nice – but I think the idea was for Huddle to kind of break down what he knew about his brother-in-law (especially in relation to his victims) and that was done well!

The Killer You Know by S.R. Masters

What if one of your teenage friends told you they would become a serial killer…and then 16 years later, you think it might be true?

This was such an intriguing mystery! I will admit that it eventually became a bit obvious as to the WHO, but I still wanted to know WHY and how everything was going to go down. It was an interesting character study as well – being able to see each member of the group when they were 16 and then 16 years later. I’d definitely read more by Masters.

Girl, Unframed by Deb Caletti (copy for review; all opinion are my own)

Sydney Reilly is going back home for the summer — to a beautiful mansion where her movie star mother and new boyfriend live. This all sounds fantastic but Sydney has a bad feeling, and as she should, as this summer will change her life forever. I really enjoyed Girl, Unframed. Sydney is telling the story after the fact so she alludes to some bad things going down later in the summer. I enjoyed this because it kept me turning the pages and wondering what could possibly happen, my guesses changing as Sydney details her summer. In the end, it’s a pretty explosive ending that I didn’t guess (and even if you do, I think there are some twists that still make it intriguing).

Normal by Graeme Cameron (personal copy – read for the Read the Alphabet Challenge)

The Read the Alphabet Challenge has been a great motivator for me to finally read books I actually own, and Normal is one of those (July’s letters are M and N, FYI). Unfortunately, it wasn’t nearly as enjoyable as I thought it would be. It’s a book about a serial killer who actually narrates the story. There were some suspenseful, intriguing moments, and a couple surprises too! However, I felt like it often dragged or filled up the book with moments I really didn’t care about. I almost DNFed a few times, but I am glad I finished it!

Maternity Leave by Julie Halpern (personal copy – read for the Read the Alphabet Challenge

Again, the Read the Alphabet Challenge is all about books that start with the letters M and N this month (you can still sign up; I recommend it!) I’ve read one YA by Halpern in the past and really enjoyed it, so it was fun to see her take on adult novels with Maternity Leave. No, I do not have kids, and no, I am not pregnant. However, I kind of have a fascination with books about pregnancy and kids – so it was intriguing for me to read about a woman who has just had her first child and isn’t entirely sure how to handle things while on maternity leave. I think a lot of moms would be able to relate to this – it definitely dives into the good and bad of being a parent, and being home with your kid for any length of time, and just all the emotions that come with post-pregnancy. I will warn you that there is a part in the book where they put an animal to sleep, and I couldn’t stop crying, so you know, that was great to come across (sarcasm). Overall, I enjoyed this one!

Now it’s time for book reviews I’ve already posted on the blog–

On the Come Up by Angie Thomas – my full review 

Con Quest! by Sam Maggs – my full review

Thieves of Weirdwood by Christian McKay Heidicker – my full review 

 The Amelia Six by Kristin L. Gray – my full review

Before You Go-

Have you read any of these books already? Have I inspired you to check any of them out? I’d love to know in the comments!!! And don’t forget to enter the books you read for my Summer Reading Challenge – prizes for Kids, Teens, and Adults so get the family involved too!

32 responses to “Show Us Your Books: Serial Killers to Middle Grade Fiction

  1. verushka

    I love the potential in Girl Unframed — it’s one that’s on my TBR too — espeically the twists!

  2. Great roundup, Lauren! Just added a bunch of these to my goodreads list. Thank you so much for sharing! Light It Up in particular sounds like a book that should be read right now but also excited to check out Maternity Leave.

  3. I enjoy Riley Sager quite a bit and am looking forward to reading Home Before Dark as I have both a love/hate relationship with horror stories and haunted houses! 🙂 The Killer You Know has a very interesting premise and I’m adding it to my TB, along with Girl, Unframed.

  4. I am also not a mom and have an interest in books about motherhood. Thanks for the warning about the pet in Maternity Leave. That would have been a super upsetting surprise!

  5. Jen

    I have been out of town this week, but had to make sure to check out this post. Awesome! Thank you for sharing these with us 🙂

    • shooting

      That’s so true – I think you would definitely be able to relate to many aspects of the book!

Leave a Reply

(Enter your URL then click here to include a link to one of your blog posts.)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.