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Book Review: Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty

Book Review: Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty


Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Nine Perfect Strangers was not a book I intended to pick up. The idea of a novel this long set at a health resort sounded tedious to me. But after seeing the trailer for the Hulu series, I found myself intrigued. I enjoyed another of Moriarty’s books, Big Little Lies, and it was also a story whose premise did nothing for me, so I decided to give Nine Perfect Strangers a try. I’m glad I did, because it ended up being one of the best non-fantasy novels I’ve read all year. I was honestly incredibly surprised by how much I ended up enjoying this book.

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Book Review: Olympus, Texas by Stacey Swann

Book Review: Olympus, Texas by Stacey Swann

Olympus, Texas by Stacey Swann
My rating: 6 of 5 stars

The premise and cover of Olympus, Texas immediately grabbed my attention, but I wasn’t expecting anything earth-shattering. I figured I was in for an interesting story that would hopefully keep me engaged but which I would most likely forget about soon after. I was incredibly mistaken. It’s closing in on mid-June, and I can unequivocally say this is the best book I’ve read so far this year. And I started off the year with The Labyrinth of the Spirits, which blew my mind. I can’t believe I found this book even more impactful. Not only was the story excellent and the characters impeccably crafted, this book was a masterclass on the psychology of fictional beings who have been around for millennia without being this thoroughly exposed and explained. I feel like an entire college class could be taught on the Greek pantheon using Olympus, Texas as a textbook. It’s incredible, and it changed the way I think about stories I’ve known for decades.

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Book Review: We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker

Book Review: We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker


We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher, Macmillan Audio, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

We Begin at the End has been on my radar since my co-blogger Emma read it and loved it last year. Petrik and TS decided to pick it up as well, even though it’s not something within their usual genre wheelhouses. Again, they loved it. But they warned me that it was heartbreaking and, since I had been going through a particularly rough patch in my life, I held off until I felt like I was emotionally strong enough to handle it. I’m so glad I did, because I can say without a single qualm that it will be only my list of favorite books read in 2021, but the heart-wrenching emotion of it would have kept it from the same list last year. It really pays to wait until the right moment to read this type of book, and I’m glad I had friends to caution me in that regard.

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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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