Welcome to Friday Reads. Each Friday, I’ll review any books I’ve completed that week, as well as share what I’m reading right now. And by “Each Friday,” I mean “some Fridays.”


The Second Mrs. HockadaySusan Rivers – 4* (Jan 6)

My first fiction read this year and the first read for a new book club.

I believe I placed this on my TBR based on some “best of” list. The story sounded promising – a young Civil War bride is left to manage her new husband’s farm while he’s away fighting for over two years. When he comes back, there’s a huge scandal over her actions while he was away.

Parts of the book delivered quite well. I didn’t expect the amount of violence or sex (nor did I expect them to be in the same scenes). It’s not that there was TOO much – it was all pivotal to the storyline – just that I didn’t expect it based on the historical fiction genre.

I found the relationships and characters to be generally well-developed, though there was some initial confusion about the branches of the family tree. There was also confusion about the chapter names in the last third of the book, but once I realized what was going on, it made perfect sense.

Not a bad read to kick off the year.


The Sadness of Beautiful Things – Simon Van Booy (19%)

I picked up this book recently because the title caught my eye when perusing the new independent bookstore in town. I’ve also set a goal of 10 short story/essay collections for this year. The first two stories are really lovely and live up to the title.


Help for the Haunted – John Searles

This book is a recommendation from someone… I should keep better track of that. It’s been described as a “light mystery” about a family who helps souls cross into the next world upon death.