Readers Recommend: Seabiscuit and The Woman in the Window

Woman in the window


Welcome to Readers Recommend, my monthly feature where “regular readers” (i.e. readers who do not have their own book blogs) share their book recommendations! 

One of the most surprising things I learned in this year’s reader survey was that over 70% of you do not have your own book blogs. This means you are not book bloggers, but “regular readers”! That’s a large chunk of Sarah’s Book Shelves readers with fantastic book recommendations floating around in their heads and no place to share them. I’m thrilled to be able to mine all this brainpower for some great books! Prepare for your TBR to explode…

If you’d like to be featured in an upcoming “Readers Recommend” post, leave a note in the comments section or email me at

I’ve got a special guest this month…y’all remember this Instagram post from a month or so ago? Featuring a 9th grader who is working on starting her own book blog? Well, the book blog is in progress, but in the meantime, Elizabeth is sharing some of her book recommendations with all of you!


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This email from a 9th grade blog reader made my week! First, I had no idea I had blog readers as young as 9th grade. Second, she’s reading some hefty books and is showing such initiative in starting her own blog.⠀ _⠀ ⠀ I’m not sure I can tell you exactly what I was doing in 9th grade, but I do know it wasn’t anything as ambitious as starting my own blog. Putting yourself out there on the Internet for anyone to judge is a scary thing and I don’t think I would’ve had the confidence to take that emotional risk in 9th grade. Kudos to her for going for it!⠀ _⠀ ⠀ You’re going to be seeing more of my 9th grade friend…she’s going to be my November “Readers Recommend” guest and you can be sure I’ll be sharing her blog all over the place once it’s up and running!⠀ _⠀ ⠀ What were you doing in 9th grade? Starting your own blog?! 😉⠀ *⠀ *⠀ *⠀ *⠀ *⠀ #bookstagram #bookstagrammer #bookgram #amreading #bookworms #instabooks #instabook #booktalk #booklovers #booklover #bibliophile #biblio #bookaddict #bookaddiction #badassbookbabes

A post shared by Sarah’s Book Shelves (@sarahsbookshelves) on

Get to Know Elizabeth

  • Home: I live in New York City, and have for all 13 years of my life! It’s truly is a magical place, with hundreds of experiences that are too easily taken for granted.
  • “Career”: I am currently a Freshman in high school, so it’ll be a few years before I can consider anything a career!
  • Hobbies: My hobbies include reading (especially mystery and fantasy) and writing poetry. I am also a member of my school’s debate team and newspaper.
  • Favorite TV Show: My current favorite TV show is the BBC Sherlock series. I am a huge fan of Sir. Arthur Conan Doyle’s books, and in my eyes, the modern twist really brings it all to life.

Elizabeth Recommends…

An Old Love

SeabiscuitSeabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand
Nonfiction – Sports (Released June 30, 1999)
401 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon











Seabiscuit is a masterfully told true story of an American racehorse in the midst of the Great Depression. Although I’m far from an avid history reader, Seabiscuit really transports you back to the time period, painting an intriguing protagonist and an underdog you can root for. Although it’s a long read, it is definitely worth it!

My Take:
I love a good underdog sports story…even about sports I don’t follow or know much about…so, it’s no surprise that I loved Seabiscuit as well! I read it way before I started this blog, so I don’t have a review to share, but I do remember loving Red Pollard, the jockey!

A New Love

Woman in the WindowThe Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn
Fiction – Mystery / Thriller (Released January 2, 2018)
446 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon 











I heard about this book from a friend and decided to seek it out at The Strand (a used bookstore in the East Village). The definition of a psychological thriller, it’s a true masterpiece. Told in the first person, the reader learns more about the protagonist’s agoraphobia and backstory as the plot progresses, and the tension intensifies. Even though it was only released earlier this year it is already scheduled to come out as a movie starring Amy Adams in October of 2019!

My Take:
I passed on this one earlier this year because I was burned out on psychological thrillers and the premise seemed a bit too similar to The Girl on the Train (my spoiler discussion), but I’ve been hearing all year from trusted recommendation sources that I might actually like it. Speaking of The Girl on the Train

A “Didn’t Love”

Into the WaterInto the Water by Paula Hawkins
Fiction – Mystery / Thriller (Released May 2, 2017)
386 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon











I decided to give Into to Water a try after enjoying another Paula Hawkins book, The Girl on the Train. The concept of the death of a woman in the suicide spot that she was obsessed with is immensely intriguing with the fascination of the abomination and all. Generally, the plot was interesting and I am always one for books that go through multiple perspectives. The major reason that I didn’t enjoy this book as I didn’t find any of the characters genuinely likable, and with that, it was hard to root for any of them to achieve their goals.  

My Take:
So…I was about to say I totally agreed with Elizabeth, but then I realized that wouldn’t be quite accurate because I DNF’d this book at something like 5%. It happened so quickly, I don’t even think I added to my DNF list…I considered it more of a “sample.” Regardless, I think the general consensus is in agreement with Elizabeth…I remember hearing from lots of my trusted recommendation sources that Into the Water suffered terribly from the dreaded sophomore slump.

What do you think of Elizabeth’s recommendations (or her “Didn’t Love”)?

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  1. Susan wrote:

    I agree with her did not love. I tried to read the book and I dnf’d it early on. I read a ton of mystery/thriller type books and I didn’t end up loving “The Women In The Window” either. The book was well written it just didn’t resonate with me.

    Good luck Elizabeth on your new blog adventure!

    Posted 11.8.18 Reply
  2. Elizabeth sounds like one smart cookie! I loved The Woman in the Window and quit on Into the Water so our book taste is similar. I’ll have to give Seabiscuit a try.

    Posted 11.8.18 Reply
  3. Totally with her on Into the Water, should’ve gone your route of skipping it all together! I love her comments on the books though, and will definitely keep an eye our for her blog!

    Posted 11.8.18 Reply
  4. Heather wrote:

    The Woman in the Window is still on my list and I hadn’t heard great things about Into the Water either so I’ve been passing. And I saw Seabiscuit in theaters before I knew it was a book and felt like I didn’t need to read it. But I’ve heard it’s great from so many. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on these books!

    Posted 11.8.18 Reply
  5. Wendy wrote:

    100% agree with Elizabeth on all her selections!

    Posted 11.8.18 Reply
  6. Carmen wrote:

    Hope Elizabeth embarks on the blogging adventure soon. 🙂 I thought her preferences would be more YA but it doesn’t seem to be the case.

    I have Seabiscuit on my Kindle; I’ll be reading it someday. I had a murder- mystery/suspense/thrillers phase a few years back, but I think I’m over it now; they have become too twisty and too shocking for their own good. Some of the killers in that genre are seriously demented and I get shaken by that.

    Posted 11.8.18 Reply
  7. Wow! Elizabeth is a real go-getter. I’m impressed.

    She’s so right about Seabiscuit. I did NOT want to read a book about a horse and resisted for a long time. When I finally read it, I was shocked at just how great a book about a horse could be. I’ll split with her on The Woman in the Window (not a favorite of mine) and after not loving The Girl on the Train, I wasn’t even willing to try Into the Water.

    Good luck, Elizabeth!

    Posted 11.9.18 Reply
  8. Phoebe wrote:

    I also enjoyed The Woman in the Window and was a bit disappointed by Into the Water. I haven’t read Seabiscuit, but based on Elizabeth’s other picks I think I should give it a shot!

    Posted 11.9.18 Reply
  9. Jan wrote:

    Elizabeth, I’m very impressed!

    I totally agree with your choices. Seabiscuit is a favorite of mine. I read it when it first released and I can still remember where I was and what I was doing as I read it. Terrific choice!

    I’m a bit burned out on psychological thrillers but I loved The Woman in the Window. It had a Hitchcock vibe and I loved that the protagonist watched his old movies. But what I really appreciated was that the mystery made sense. The clues were all there, we just didn’t know their significance until the end.

    Into The Water was a freebie when I signed up for BOTM (maybe they were trying to get rid of them?). I’ve read so many bad reviews that it remains unread.

    Posted 11.13.18 Reply
  10. Sherie Lundmark wrote:

    I struggled getting started with Woman in the Window, but really liked the book by the end. I still have Into the Water on my TBR pile. I loved Girl on the Train so I’m hoping to like it.

    Posted 11.13.18 Reply

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