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Book Review: Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner

Book Review: Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner


Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

We all have our insecurities, reasons we sell ourselves short and chicken out on following our dreams. Reasons we don’t think we deserve those dreams. And we’re all wrong. We all, every single one of us, deserve those dreams. And we need to respect ourselves enough to get out of our own way and to at least try. The worst that can happen is that we fail, right? And how is that worse than never trying at all?

Big Summer is a breezy, very current murder mystery. The perspective character, Daphne, is a plus-sized Instagram influencer who is about to be part of the biggest wedding to ever hit social media. But when someone winds up dead, Daphne finds herself trying to track down the murderer instead.

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Book Review: My Dark Vanessa, by Kate Elizabeth Russell

Book Review: My Dark Vanessa, by Kate Elizabeth Russell


My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

I was so disturbed by this book. My Dark Vanessa is incredibly thought-provoking and raises a ton of great questions. I’m glad that I read it. And I’ll never read it again. (Side note: Everything being explored in this review is pretty much referenced in the book’s synopsis, so I don’t think I’m spoiling anything. But if you want to go into this book truly blind, you might want to skip this review.)

“To be groomed is to be loved and handled like a precious, delicate thing.”

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Book Review: Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata

Book Review: Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata


Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I can’t remember the last time I read a book from cover to cover in a single sitting. I found Convenience Store Woman such a compelling mix of heartbreaking and enraging and delightful. Keiko Furukura is a woman in her late thirties who is completely fulfilled by her part-time job as a convenience store worker. However, everyone in her life is deeply concerned by the fact that she has no relationship to speak of, much less a marriage, and no real career. Keiko isn’t quite normal and, though she tries her best to mimic those she believes she should emulate, it never seems to be enough.

“You eliminate the parts of your life that others find strange–maybe that’s what everyone means when they say they want to ‘cure” me.”

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Book Review: An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

Book Review: An American Marriage by Tayari Jones


An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’m going to be honest: I never intended to read this book. I have a terrible case of reverse snobbery that causes me to inwardly sniff in distain at any book presented by Oprah or Reese Witherspoon or any other celebrity as exceptionally worth reading. However, since I’m aware of this tendency within myself, I’m making an effort to not write something off just because it has an Oprah’s Book Club sticker on the front, though I’ll never be a reader that decides to pick up a book based on the same sticker. I’m very glad I made myself look past its popularity and pick it up, because An American Marriage gutted me. The characters it portrays are stunningly, viscerally real. And the situation in which they find themselves is heartbreakingly, infuriatingly believable.

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Book Review: Ninth House (Alex Stern, #1)

Book Review: Ninth House (Alex Stern, #1)


Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

First off, can I just say that Bardugo hit it out of the park with her first adult novel?

I have a weakness for school stories. And if the school happens to be magical in some way, so much the better. But very rarely have I come across a book that involves a school imbued with magic where only a select few students are aware of the supernatural element. I’ve read books were there were secretly vampires or werewolves on campus, not not sanctioned magical societies that had to fly under the collegiate radar. The fact that said magical society were on the campus of a real university, Yale, made things even more interesting. These slight variations made for a fresh take on a favorite trope.

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Book Review: Under Currents by Nora Roberts

Book Review: Under Currents by Nora Roberts


Under Currents by Nora Roberts
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m sure most everyone who follows my reviews has noticed this by now, but I really love Nora Roberts. I don’t tend to read all that much in the contemporary or romance genres, but she’s my exception. I’ve been reading my way through her back catalogue since I was fifteen or so, and for the past ten years have been reading her new releases as soon as I can get my hands on them. Now, she’s one of the few authors who is an insta-buy for me. While Under Currents didn’t blow me away, it was another strong offering that demonstrated to me once again that Nora seems incapable of producing a dud. She’s just awesome.

“The couldn’t take who we are away from us. We’re who we are despite them.”

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Book Review: A Man Called Ove

Book Review: A Man Called Ove

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
My rating: 6 of 5 stars

I remember when A Man Called Ove first took the book world by storm as a book in translation that everyone should read. Judging from the cover and synopsis, it didn’t at all seem like it would interest me. I’m not normally a lover of contemporary slice-of-life fiction. Give me dragons and magical libraries and quests to save the world from imminent doom any day of the week. As with everything, there have been notable exceptions, but A Man Called Ove didn’t strike me as a contender for that role. I can’t believe how wrong I was. This is a book that I loved so fervently that I honestly don’t have much to say about it. My words won’t be able to do it justice.

“Men are what they are because of what they do. Not what they say.”

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Big Little Lies

Big Little Lies

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m going to be honest; this isn’t a book I really intended on reading. Contemporary and chick lit aren’t genres that I visit very often, unless they’re written by Nora Roberts. The only reason I decided to pick this up is because I want to watch the HBO series, and I have this thing about not watching a show or movie until I read the material that inspired it. Whatever my reason for giving it a try, I’m very glad I did. I would have been missing out. Big Little Lies is fun and insanely addictive, perfect for reality television junkies or anyone who loves watching train wrecks and happily ever afters in equal measure.

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A Ladder to the Sky

A Ladder to the Sky

A Ladder to the Sky by John Boyne
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

A brutally dark and realistically gripping book about stories, writing, publishing, and ambition.

I wouldn’t have stumbled upon this book if it weren’t for my Goodreads friend—Manju—who recommended it to me saying: “I know this is farthest from what you usually read but do give this a try. You won’t regret it. :)” And word by word she’s right. I haven’t heard of the name John Boyne until a month ago, I’m not a reader of contemporary or literary fiction; I usually end up putting them in my DNF pile or rating them lower than 3 stars but this book was an exception, it was simply brilliant and it worked really well for me. The next two paragraphs isn’t a spoiler from the book but an unfortunate event that happened to me years ago. In my opinion, this will give you a general idea of the kind of story you’re getting in this book.

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