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Tag: contemporary fiction

Book Review: Sea Wife by Amity Gaige

Book Review: Sea Wife by Amity Gaige


Sea Wife by Amity Gaige
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

“Where does a mistake begin?”

This is the opening line of Amity Gaige’s newest novel, Sea Wife. We know from the very beginning that something terrible has happened. We just don’t know the specifics of what or how. The story is told largely from two perspectives: Juliet in the present and her husband, Michael, in the past through the captain’s log he kept during their sailing year. There are a few different mysteries woven through the plot, but I felt that the story largely centers around what makes a marriage, and what ends one. Sea Wife is a deep, beautifully written novel with enough pace to the plot to maintain investment while also discussing timeless topics in fresh ways.

“Tears or sweat—so many stories end in salt water.”

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Book Review: The Mothers by Brit Bennett

Book Review: The Mothers by Brit Bennett


The Mothers by Brit Bennett
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

“The weight of what has been lost is always heavier than what remains.”

The Mothers is a powerful, moving picture of a how a secret can wreak havoc on a person, a family, a church, a community. An action that seems to only effect one person never does. Instead, even the smallest decisions can have far-reaching consequences, small ripples that grow into tidal waves.

“After a secret’s been told, everyone becomes a prophet.”

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Book Review: Beach Read by Emily Henry

Book Review: Beach Read by Emily Henry


Beach Read by Emily Henry
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Beach Read is basically a Hallmark movie but better. Way better. If I were asked to describe the book in one word, that word would be: AWWW. It was sweet and heartfelt and incredibly funny, with enough drama and depth to keep itself from becoming overly saccharine. The romance was made even better by the fact that it was between two writers.

“And that was the moment I realized: when the world felt dark and scary, love could whisk you off to go dancing; laughter could take some of the pain away; beauty could punch holes in your fear. I decided then that my life would be full of all three.”

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Book Review: Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

Book Review: Bel Canto by Ann Patchett


Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Bel Canto is a beautiful novel. I’ve never read Ann Patchett before, but I quickly became infatuated with her storytelling over the course of this novel. To be completely honest, this was a 5 star read until the last ten pages. I shouldn’t have been so blindsided by the climactic events. The story does, after all, revolve around opera. But I was indeed blindsided. I feel slightly scarred. It was still a great book, and one that I might even read again someday, but the list of people to whom I would recommend it shrunk significantly in those last pages.

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Book Review: Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson

Book Review: Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson


Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Nothing to See Here is one of the funniest books I’ve read in a long time. The tone is just hilarious. Lillian, the perspective character, is absolutely bonkers and I adore her. She’s tough and kooky and always afraid that she’s going to mess things up, and I just want to be her friend more than anything. This book is short and breezy without being shallow, and it completely transported me into this beyond weird circumstance in the midst of normalcy.

“I wasn’t destined for greatness; I knew this. But I was figuring out how to steal it from someone stupid enough to relax their grip on it.”

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Book Review: Dear Edward, by Ann Napolitano

Book Review: Dear Edward, by Ann Napolitano


Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

I loved this book. The story ended up being so much more hopeful than I expected. Edward’s journey from normalcy to survival to learning to live again is incredibly encouraging to anyone who has ever undergone trauma. Because no matter what we’ve faced in our lives, next to none of us have ever undergone a tragedy quite like the one Edward endures.

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Book Review: One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Book Review: One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid


One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

One True Loves wrecked me in the very best way. I loved Daisy Jones and The Six, but I wasn’t sure if any other books from Taylor Jenkins Reid would click with me, since I picked up the aforementioned book solely because it was about musicians. I am so very happy that I was wrong. There’s just something about the way Reid writes that entrances me. I don’t know what drew me to this particular book, because that cover looks like it houses a light, fluffy romance, which is exactly the opposite of what I’m currently craving in my reading life. While there is a lot of sweetness, there was nothing light and fluffy about this story, and I’m so very glad I read it.

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Book Review: The Secret History by Donna Tartt

Book Review: The Secret History by Donna Tartt


The Secret History by Donna Tartt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Secret History is one of those books that I’ve been meaning to read forever. According to my Kindle account, I purchased a copy more than five years ago; somehow, I just never got around to reading it. It’s one of those books that sounds so perfect for me that I’m afraid to read it for fear of it failing to meet the irrationally high expectations I have for it. When my co-blogger Emma informed me that it was one of her favorite books ever, I decided to take the plunge. I’m so glad I did. Far from failing to meet my absurd expectations, The Secret History blew them out of the water and is now happily ensconced on my favorites shelf.

“Beauty is terror. Whatever we call beautiful, we quiver before it. And what could be more terrifying and beautiful, to souls like the Greeks or our own, than to lose control completely?”

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Book Review: A Ladder to the Sky, by John Boyne

Book Review: A Ladder to the Sky, by John Boyne


A Ladder to the Sky by John Boyne
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“And you’ve heard the old proverb about ambition, haven’t you?”
He shook his head.
“That it’s like setting a ladder to the sky. A pointless waste of energy.”

I have to say, I’d never have picked up this book had it not been so highly recommended by both Petrik and his girlfriend, Katherine. Not because the subject matter wasn’t of interested, but because I had honestly never heard of it. I’m not sure how, but A Ladder to the Sky completely missed my radar when it was released in 2018. I had heard of two other of the author’s work, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas and The Heart’s Invisible Furies, and while they sound great, the premise of this particular book is far more intriguing to me personally. As someone who loves every single aspect of books, from how they’re made to who wrote them to those who sell them and the stories they actually hold, any novel that involves bookselling or authorship or any other profession or hobby linked to books is always going to draw me in. Not every such book delivers, in my opinion, but this one sure does. A Ladder to the Sky was compulsively readable from page one, even though it took me a bit longer to actually gel with the story it was telling.

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Book Review: Beartown (Beartown, #1) by Fredrik Backman

Book Review: Beartown (Beartown, #1) by Fredrik Backman


Beartown by Fredrik Backman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“Hate can be a deeply stimulating emotion. The world becomes easier to understand and much less terrifying if you divide everything and everyone into friends and enemies, we and they, good and evil. The easiest way to unite a group isn’t through love, because love is hard, It makes demands. Hate is simple. So the first thing that happens in a conflict is that we choose a side, because that’s easier than trying to hold two thoughts in our heads at the same time. The second thing that happens is that we seek out facts that confirm what we want to believe – comforting facts, ones that permit life to go on as normal. The third is that we dehumanize our enemy.”

I would’ve never picked up this book had I not enjoyed another book of Backman’s so much. But Beartown couldn’t have been more different from A Man Called Ove; honestly, I wouldn’t have even guessed they were by the same author. That being said, they were both masterfully done. A Man Called Ove made my heart swollen and tender in the best way. Beartown shattered my heart and sharpened the fragments into deadly shrapnel that threatened to rip into those I love. It absolutely wrecked me. And not at all in a healthy, cathartic way. No, I wasn’t myself the entire time I was reading this. I was barely suppressed rage.

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