I am trying to catch up on my book reviews since I haven’t posted one since August! This week, I will share my September and October reads since both months were slim for finishing books. Each picture is linked to Amazon and will open in a new window. Amazon links are affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you purchase through the link.

Closer than Blood by Gregg Olsen


Closer than Blood is book two in the Waterman and Stark series. I would classify it as a psychological or serial killer thriller. The main theme is the dichotomy between good and evil, past and present.

Detective Stark is planning her class reunion which brings back painful memories of the past and an investigation into her classmates, twins, seemingly opposite in every way. Is one of them a black widow? 

Despite knowing the general plot points, I wanted to keep reading to find out where it would end up. Olsen writes great, multifaceted characters. 

My only complaint is the same one I had for book one in the series – the story jumps around from different perspectives with little to no warning, usually within the same chapter. After the first book, it was a little easier for me to follow but it was still jarring a few times.

I would recommend Closer than Blood if you like the genre. It is definitely not for everyone and can be a bit graphic.

The Last Anniversary by Laine Moriarty


I would call The Last Anniversary contemporary fiction. The main themes are family drama and a past mystery.

Sophie inherits a house from her ex’s aunt on a small, family-owned island. The island is home to the Munro Baby Mystery, which Sophie has been obsessed with. Everyone has secrets on the island. And for Sophie sometimes finding yourself means finding out those secrets and creating a life different from what you imagined but still full of love. 

This is the first book by Laine Moriarty I have read, despite watching Big Little Lies I have yet to read the book. I found myself enjoying the story and will read more from her in the future. The pacing was a bit slow but the descriptions of the island made me want to move there (even though it’s a fictional place). I think it would be fun to commute by boat.

I think Margie was the best character in the book. She wasn’t the main character but her arc was by far the best. I can’t find a way to discuss my second favorite character without giving away too much!

I would recommend this book to people that like found family stories and maybe cozy mysteries. It’s not really a cozy mystery but it’s also not gory or scary like horror or thrillers might be. 

Psycho by Robert Bloch


Have you ever read a book that has chilled you even though you know the story? For me, that was Psycho. Robert Block does such a great job presenting the story, you get lost in it. Forgetting you’ve seen every movie and tv show inspired by the novel.

It’s a slow burn. You know what the ending is but you keep reading, on the edge of your seat, hoping it will be different. But it’s not. You know the story, a man lives with his mother while running a roadside motel. A young woman disappears. Did she skip town or did something happen to her?

I would definitely recommend this if you like the Hitchcock movie or if you like a thriller that isn’t in your face. It’s subtle but the terror is there in the pages.

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson


This is very similar to Psycho in that it is a slow, unraveling of a character. It also makes you question what is real.

Several people with psychic abilities are invited to Hill House by a doctor who wishes to study strange events reported at the house. Slowly the house starts to show its secrets. Or does it?

I did enjoy this book but it did get slow in parts, and not a good slow. I haven’t watched the movie or show so I cannot compare. The book is creepy and I would recommend it to those that like to question if things really happened as presented. It’s definitely a haunted house mystery but no real gore. There is mentions of some violence. 

Categories: Books


Jenna Volden has a degree in business and has spent the last 10 plus years working for others. She believes it is time to start her own photography and writing business. She enjoys running, coffee and helping others achieve their goals. Gluten-free foods are a lifestyle, not a choice, for her due to celiac disease. She is currently based in Phoenix, Arizona.