Monday Reading Update: What I’ve been reading and listening to lately

Hi All! I’ve fallen a little behind in my postings on the blog lately due to the busyness of life along with a personal loss that left me feeling like I needed to read more to keep my mind occupied which led to less time for blog writing etc. I’m hoping to get back into the swing of things because I need to tell you about some of the awesome reads I’ve come across lately. Of course, there’s some duds (for me) in the list as well. I hope you’ve been able to find reading time in the busyness of the holiday season, I’d love to hear what you’ve been reading and loving lately. I’ve been busy filling up my Book Buddy App  with all of the books I want to read, along with the advanced copies I need to read, and can I just say this app is the best $5 I’ve spent in a long time! In case you missed me talking about this app, you can find it here . Well, let me get to it…




The Nowhere Man  is the second book in the Orphan X series by Greg Hurwitz and of the 3 I’ve now read, my least favorite. While I absolutely love this series, especially the main character Evan Smoak (AKA Orphan X), this book started off super strong and then hit a major lull in the middle to the almost end when it finally picked up again. Still, it’s a cut above most thrillers and Evan is a character I love rooting for as he’s very similar to Jason Bourne. Next up is Hellbent  , the third book in the Orphan X series and a step above both Orphan X as well as The Nowhere Man. I loved this one! Hurwitz really upped his game and Evan’s story with this third novel and I can’t wait to get to the upcoming fourth book in the series, Out of the Dark (Jan 29 by Minotaur Books). If you like thrillers, you should really give this series a try but make sure to read them in order!

I don’t have much to say about Bluebird Bluebird honestly. This mystery was on my tbr for so long, so I’m glad I read it but there was a significant lack of connection for me with all the characters.  The mystery of who killed a black man and white woman who were seemingly not connected and why is what drove me to keep on reading but by about 60% I didn’t really care anymore. The resolution felt underwhelming to me but I did enjoy the last paragraph and the little twist the author threw in the last scene. In Cold Blood  was part of my NonFiction November reading (also on my tbr for years) and it was much better than I expected. I wondered how Capote would tell a story when we already knew who did it but not only was it chilling, it was structured in a way that read like a suspense novel.

My Sister The Serial Killer  was a “looks good on paper” read for me. It pushed all my must read buttons with a snappy title and intriguing cover; however, once I really got into the story, I found both sisters annoying, the dark humor sub par, and the ending disappointing. A positive: super short chapters and length (240 pages). Overall, a big miss for me though. On to the book that has slipped into my world and most likely shot to the very top of my favorite reads for this year…I Am Pilgrim I’m working on a full review but let me say that this book was brilliant. This thriller does it all…a sweeping, globe trotting plot, flawless characterization, and enough mini cliffhangers to keep me up hours past when I should’ve been asleep. Just one more chapter became my mantra until 2:00am!  I can’t believe I haven’t read this sooner, especially since I love Homeland. P.S I listened to quite a bit of this on audio and it was fantastic.


I’ll Be There For You  brought back so many college memories and was just plain fun to listen to. I loved hearing about how each of the cast got their big breaks on the show as well as how the show would hold up today from a cultural standpoint. I thoroughly enjoyed this one. This Will Only Hurt a Little  had it’s strong points, the biggest one being Busy Philipps narrates it herself and she was really funny in parts. I’ll admit I fast forwarded through a lot of her childhood…I was bored…but devoured all the behind the scenes details of auditions and not so nice directors and actors. Overall, this is worth a listen.


Although I’m still thinking about I Am Pilgrim, I’m going to pick up one of these next….


Any thoughts on which one I should choose? 


What have you been reading & loving lately? 




Published by

27 thoughts on “Monday Reading Update: What I’ve been reading and listening to lately

  1. Sorry to hear you’ve had a bit of a rough patch, Renee, but at least you’ve had some great reading. Wasn’t In Cold Blood brilliant? I may need to read it again someday. (Though my last reread didn’t work out, so I’m a little off on them right now.) You have me very curious about I Am Pilgrim with your very high praise. I’ll definitely take a closer look.

    I loved the childhood parts of Busy Philipps memoir. Her mom was so funny! Give The Line That Held Us a try. It may be dark for you right now, but I loved the story and his writing is superb.


    1. Thanks Susie and yes, i didn’t expect to like and appreciate In Cold Blood as much as I did. What great writing about truly evil people. Capote made the family as well as the killers feel so real which was all the harder to read. I did like Busy Philipps mom, I forgot to write about that…she did the best impression of her mom on the audio. I think I will try The Line That Held us First since I’m on limited time from the library!


  2. I’m so glad to see the BookBuddy app is working so well for you, I love mine, it’s so much better than Goodreads for book management!


    1. I completely agree Janel and I’m so glad you shared it on your blog, I wouldn’t have come across it! I feel like my tbr is SO much more organized versus scattered across different places


  3. Thanks for the reviews Renee and sorry for your personal loss. I read My Sister the Serial Killer after seeing it recommended on a few of the book blogs I read. I’m with you, it was far from my favorite book, the only thing I liked about it was that it was short so it didn’t take up too much of my time. Right now I’m reading One Day in December, total fluff, but very enjoyable and it had me captivated for the whole day yesterday.


    1. Thanks SueAnne and you’re welcome! So true about the length of My Sister, if it was longer I might’ve given up sooner. I LOVED One Day in December!! I read it on a saturday afternoon and couldn’t put it down. I’m so happy you’re enjoying it as well.


  4. Sorry to hear you didn’t care for Bluebird, Bluebird as I’ve enjoyed all of AttIca Locke’s books so far. I know exactly what you mean about I Am Pilgrim – a complete adrenaline rush.


    1. I really thought I’d enjoy it more Cathy, I usually really like books that have been up for an Edgar…this one might’ve even won? I think I expected more but it was an average read overall. I Am Pilgrim💜 Wow, just wow on that one. I don’t think I can wait until June of 2020 for the next book!


  5. I’m sorry about your loss Renee. Books are a great way to transport you to another world during those tough times. I am thrilled to see you become more active and look forward to your future reviews!


  6. I’m reading I am Pilgrim soon thanks to you ❤ Oh and I have Bluebird Bluebird so I'll read it too, although my expectations are not high based on what you said (but I liked what you said about the last paragraph) 😀


  7. Seems like you have had some few hit and misses, Renee. My Sister The Serial Killer and Bluebird are on my TBR but I am now not so keen on reading them. I’ll be there for you sounds like a good read. I used to like Friends and watched all seasons plus reruns. My feelings about the show only changed recently when I found out about some of the race issues that went on with the cast/casting. I still have great memories of the show so I will read this one. Glad you enjoyed it.

    Have a wonderful week/weekend. Happy reading.


    1. I’m really curious to hear your thoughts on both My Sister and Bluebird Diana, especially since I know you read many thrillers…I’m wondering if you’ll like either or both. I’m not sure I’ve heard about the race issues with the Friends cast but If you watched the show I do think you’ll like this book or audiobook. Hope you have a good weekend as well!


  8. I really can’t wait to read I’ll Be There For You! I’m hoping for that same nostalgia. And another friend read I Am Pilgrim recently, and I didn’t know about the Homeland similarity. I have got to read it- well, actually maybe listen to it. Great to know about the audio! Wonderful reviews, Renee!


    1. Thanks Jennifer! I would say that for me, reading I Am Pilgrim felt like watching Homeland if that makes sense. Although the main character in Pilgrim, Scott, would be Carrie if she was a balanced, calmer person haha. I’d love to chat with you if you decide to read it!


  9. Renee, I read I Am Pilgrim when it was first released and I remember exactly where I was when I read it (on the beach in FL) and I remember staying up till 2 AM to finish it….I literally could not put it down. I had a book hangover for weeks, nothing else could compare. I’m so glad you enjoyed it too!

    So sorry you’ve had a personal loss and totally understand the need to step away from online activity.

    I’ll be checking out the BookBuddy app, thanks. My Sister The Serial Killer has been getting lots of buzz in readerly circle and I always like alternate views. I’m on the wait list for it at the library.

    Have you read My Favorite Half-Night Stand? I thought it was a fun (and funny) rom-com perfect for fans of You’ve Got Mail. It was just what I needed during a super busy time as we pack and purge for a big out of state move and helping out with new twin granddaughters. Oh, and holidays!


    1. I Am Pilgrim has snuck into my top reads for this year no doubt, I can’t believe I hadn’t read that sooner, it was right up my alley. I’ll be really curious to hear your thoughts on My Sister The Serial Killer. I haven’t read My Favorite Half Night Stand but those authors don’t seem to be for me, I read their last 2 books and didn’t like either so I’m hesitant about any more from them. Good luck with your move…which state are you moving to??


  10. Renee, we are moving to the Cleveland Ohio area (where kids and grandkids live) but renting in Indiana for 6 months until my husband retires. Then we’ll divide our time between OH and FL. That’s the plan anyway 🙂

    This was my first book my the authors of MFHNS so I have nothing to compare it to.

    I’m happy to see a blog post about I Am Pilgrim and hope it attracts more readers. I also wish he’d hurry with a sequel 🙂


    1. I’m in Ohio! The Columbus area. That’s exciting you’ll be near your kids and grandkids. And splitting time in Florida sounds awesome. I checked on the sequel to I Am Pilgrim and it’s June 2020:( That’s way too long!


      1. Oh my gosh, coming from southern IN I travel through Columbus all the time. I’ll be driving through the area tomorrow! We’ll have to have a meet-up 😊

        By 2020 I’ll need to re-read I Am Pilgrim, lol


  11. I was so disappointed to be declined for Out of the Dark after reading and enjoying all the others, I will have to wait until it is published and get it from the library. I do have hoopla so will check on I’ll be there for you, I loved Friends. Have a wonderful December Renee.


    1. Thanks Carla, hope you have a good December as well. What a bummer about Out of The Dark, you might be able to get on your library wait list now, I’m usually able to get on a couple of months in advance at mine.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s