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Tag: contemporary fiction

Book Review: Anxious People by Fredrik Backman

Book Review: Anxious People by Fredrik Backman


Anxious People by Fredrik Backman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was very much on the fence about picking up this book. I loved A Man Called Ove and Beartown, but I wasn’t sure I cared to read about a hostage drama. I’m so glad I took the plunge, because Anxious People was incredible. Brilliantly written. It doesn’t quite have the charm of A Man Called Ove or the emotional weight of Beartown, but it’s a pretty great marriage of both. The prose managed to be both amusing and deeply philosophical in the same sentence, which I found incredibly impressive.

“They say that a person’s personality is the sum of their experiences. But that isn’t true, at least not entirely, because if our past was all that defined us, we’d never be able to put up with ourselves. We need to be allowed to convince ourselves that we’re more than the mistakes we made yesterday. That we are all of our next choices, too, all of our tomorrows.”

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Book Review: Beyond the Point by Claire Gibson

Book Review: Beyond the Point by Claire Gibson


Beyond the Point by Claire Gibson
My rating: 6 of 5 stars

I’m not sure I can even express how wildly Beyond the Point surpassed my expectations, but I’m sure going to try. I’ve always had a lot of respect for our military, and for the people who sacrifice their time, dreams, bodies, and lives in its service. I also have a lot of empathy for the family of those who serve, as I can’t even begin to imagine how terrifying it must be to watch someone you love with your entire being fly into a war zone, and how insanely stressful it must be to wait and hope for their return. But this book has increased all of those feelings for me. Witnessing military life from the inside, from the perspectives of three girls as they graduate high school, attend West Point, and embark on their careers thereafter, made for a moving and eye-opening experience.

“Some wounds are invisible. It doesn’t mean they’re not real.”

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Book Review: The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

Book Review: The Midnight Library by Matt Haig


The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“Between life and death there is a library, and within that library, the shelves go on forever. Every book provides a chance to try another life you could have lived. To see how things would be if you had made other choices… Would you have done anything different, if you had the chance to undo your regrets?”

This is the premise of The Midnight Library, Matt Haig’s newest novel. I’ve never read anything by Haig before this book, but I can guarantee that this oversight will be addressed. Because The Midnight Library was wonderful. There’s incredible philosophical depth packed into relatively few pages. And for a book that begins with a suicide attempt, it ended up being surprisingly positive and uplifting. Not only is it a thoughtful novel, it inspired deep contemplation within the reader, but in a way that is comfortingly gentle for the times in which we’re living.

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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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