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read in 2018

57 books.

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An American Marriage

by: Tayari Jones
Ave. Rating: 3.95
Pages: 308
Year Published: 2018
Date Read: 05/08/2018
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The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes

by: Diane Chamberlain
Ave. Rating: 4.11
Pages: 522
Year Published: 2006
Date Read: 05/20/2018
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The Rosie Project (Don Tillman, #1)

by: Graeme Simsion
Ave. Rating: 4.01
Pages: 295
Year Published: 2013
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"From the very beginning, I was completely endeared to the narrator. I rooted for him so much the whole book - I loved the way he thought through things and undertook personal growth so methodically. My heart broke for him, wanted to hug him and encourage him at so many points along the way.

Although this book won't change my life, the experience of it was so incredibly heart-warming and fun that it's an easy 5-stars. It's also lead to some interesting discussions on Asperger's and what it means to be "in love" - which have been very edifying!"
- katelynn
05/01/2018
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Before We Were Yours

by: Lisa Wingate
Ave. Rating: 4.37
Pages: 342
Year Published: 2017
Date Read: 07/31/2018
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Stillhouse Lake (Stillhouse Lake, #1)

by: Rachel Caine
Ave. Rating: 4.11
Pages: 301
Year Published: 2017
Date Read: 09/06/2018
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We Have Always Lived in the Castle

by: Shirley Jackson
Ave. Rating: 3.98
Pages: 146
Year Published: 2006 (1962)
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"I chose to read this because of when it was published, its classification as a "gothic classic" and the cover. I love to read stuff out of the norm for me and this certainly fit the bill.

Despite the gothic-style cover, the writing was absolutely lovely. The narrator is so interesting and imaginative! I was endeared to her. I loved all of the beautiful descriptions of their home and their daily life and relationships. In a lot of ways, their life was idyllic.

Of course, everything is tinged with a certain darkness, a mystery and tragedy. It left me upset and frustrated in the end, which is why I dropped it down to 4 stars. I don't mind tragedy and darkness if something good can come of it - some greater meaning. It just seemed gratuitous.

I flew through this book and would love the chance to discuss it in a book club setting. Really, really great!"
- katelynn
01/27/2018
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When You Reach Me

by: Rebecca Stead
Ave. Rating: 4.06
Pages: 210
Year Published: 2009
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"Another fantastic middle grade book! This would be a great companion read for A Wrinkle in Time since it is discussed at length and creates a sort of theme/framework for the story. (minor clues that might lead to a spoiler ahead) I adore science fiction like this, where the story is 98% realistic with just that slight hint of something special. It's subtle and so fun. The book also explores different middle-school relationships: family, friends, crushes. I found the dialog and thoughts of the narrator to be real and relatable. I love the way middle grade books can explore so well feelings of confusion and vulnerability that don't always leave us after those pre-teen years are over.

This is a super quick, super enjoyable read that I recommend whole-heartedly to everyone!"
- katelynn
03/25/2018
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Greenglass House (Greenglass House, #1)

by: Kate Milford
Ave. Rating: 4.02
Pages: 376
Year Published: 2014
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"This book was so much fun! I absolutely love the imagination and adventure that characterizes a good middle-grade book. This one swept me away. The main character was fantastic: sweet and brave and considerate and clever, but also uncertain and flawed. Although there were some predictable twists, most of the mysteries were entirely unique and so fun. The setting was really atmospheric and different. Overall, the book was a great mix of adventure and sentiment and reflection."
- katelynn
02/08/2018
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The Great Alone

by: Kristin Hannah
Ave. Rating: 4.35
Pages: 440
Year Published: 2018
Date Read: 10/01/2018
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The Clockmaker's Daughter

by: Kate Morton
Ave. Rating: 3.73
Pages: 485
Year Published: 2018
Date Read: 11/29/2018
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All the Light We Cannot See

by: Anthony Doerr
Ave. Rating: 4.32
Pages: 531
Year Published: 2014
Date Read: 09/03/2018
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The Witch of Blackbird Pond

by: Elizabeth George Speare
Ave. Rating: 3.98
Pages: 256
Year Published: 1978 (1958)
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"This book is exactly what I love in historical fiction. I wish I had read it in middle school - I would have adored it!"
- katelynn
02/21/2018
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Me Talk Pretty One Day

by: David Sedaris
Ave. Rating: 3.99
Pages: 272
Year Published: 2001 (2000)
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"This was a very funny, thoughtful collection of essays that was absolutely perfect for the audio format. I laughed out loud a lot - very embarrassing. It felt like I was listening to a really long podcast rather than a book."
- katelynn
03/28/2018
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A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty

by: Joshilyn Jackson
Ave. Rating: 3.93
Pages: 322
Year Published: 2012 (2010)
Date Read: 12/04/2018
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My Mrs. Brown

by: William Norwich
Ave. Rating: 3.81
Pages: 288
Year Published: 2016
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"Sad and sweet, bordering a bit on the sickly sweet. But overall a heart-warming read that had a lot to say about fashion and culture and growing older. "
- katelynn
11/25/2018
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Prototype: What Happens When You Discover You're More Like Jesus Than You Think?

by: Jonathan Martin
Ave. Rating: 4.09
Pages: 235
Year Published: 2013
Date Read: 03/10/2018
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A Curious Beginning (Veronica Speedwell, #1)

by: Deanna Raybourn
Ave. Rating: 3.95
Pages: 339
Year Published: 2016 (2015)
Date Read: 11/29/2018
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Till We Have Faces

by: C.S. Lewis
Ave. Rating: 4.14
Pages: 313
Year Published: 2006 (1956)
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"I loved this up to the end. I think I'm probably missing some of the greater points/themes/symbolism. I had to read a synopsis and I still don't totally get it. Just wish I had a lit class or a good book club to discuss this with. Again my inability to see the forest for the trees is hindering my enjoyment of good books. "
- katelynn
03/19/2018
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Love Walked In (Love Walked In, #1)

by: Marisa de los Santos
Ave. Rating: 3.72
Pages: 307
Year Published: 2006 (2005)
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"I'd put this on the low end of 4 stars - maybe even 3.75 stars. I loved Clare and everything from her child-like perspective. Her love of books and her thoughtful way of viewing life. I found Cornelia incredibly annoying though. She had some good moments, but overall the sappiness was too much. Blegh.

There was definitely good writing in there, and I'm still excited to continue in the series to get to the last book which is highly recommended."
- katelynn
06/04/2018
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To All the Boys I've Loved Before (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #1)

by: Jenny Han
Ave. Rating: 4.11
Pages: 355
Year Published: 2014
Date Read: 09/12/2018
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And Then There Were None

by: Agatha Christie
Ave. Rating: 4.26
Pages: 264
Year Published: 2004 (1939)
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"I don't know why, but I had this book really built up in my mind, and it was somewhat of a let-down after that. What I enjoyed: it had much more atmosphere than most Christie novels. The action happened throughout the novel instead of just at the beginning. I was really freaked out throughout (which is a good thing). Certain elements of the story (that involved the deaths of children in the past - not a spoiler, I promise) I had to separate from emotionally. For obvious reasons. That took me out of the story somewhat.

Also, I was able to guess the ending based on some fairly clear clues. I was high-fiving myself over that one! Although it was rather disappointing to not be surprised.

"
- katelynn
04/27/2018
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This Is How It Always Is

by: Laurie Frankel
Ave. Rating: 4.25
Pages: 338
Year Published: 2018 (2017)
Date Read: 06/25/2018
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The Lost Husband

by: Katherine Center
Ave. Rating: 3.86
Pages: 304
Year Published: 2013
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"I would initially categorize this book as a guilty pleasure, but (1) I don't believe in guilty pleasures with books. Don't feel guilty! You like what you like! And (2) it was actually pretty decent. It had a lot of depth - told from the perspective of a widow with young children (a position my mom was in when she was 30 years old). I feel like the emotions and process she went through was pretty authentic. And with most chic lit, it was very entertaining and a breeze to get through.

It gets a three from me because of this breakdown in my ratings:
5 - Love it, will probably read it again and recommend to others.
4 - Enjoyed it a lot, probably won't read it again but will recommend it to some people.
3 - Finished it, sometimes enjoyed it. Wouldn't recommend to most.
2 - I never have twos because if I think a book is going to be a two, I don't finish it.

I was very entertained this book but probably wouldn't recommend it unless you already love chic lit. I used to read it a lot as a teenager but now it's just too much cringing."
- katelynn
01/01/1970
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Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)

by: Mindy Kaling
Ave. Rating: 3.85
Pages: 222
Year Published: 2011
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"As I do in all of my interactions with Mindy's work, I find her completely charming, relatable and hilarious. Best friend material all the way. This book was a fun, breezy read - great for audio!"
- katelynn
11/15/2018
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A Dance with Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire, #5)

by: George R.R. Martin
Ave. Rating: 4.31
Pages: 1125
Year Published: 2011
Date Read: 01/24/2018
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Finding God in the Waves: How I Lost My Faith and Found It Again Through Science

by: Mike McHargue
Ave. Rating: 4.28
Pages: 224
Year Published: 2016
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"I cannot believe how quickly I read this book, especially considering my usual pace with non-fiction. It was incredibly engaging and beautifully written. The author was honest and humble, presenting his story and his resulting conclusions about faith and science clearly and compellingly.

I think I would have to read the book again a few times to fully grasp everything presented. It's probably controversial to even read a book like this, but I feel edified. I don't know if I agree with where he landed, but I believe he is genuine and that he truly respects the traditions he came from. He's presented a lot to chew on! Also side-note: I think the title is a bit misleading about what to expect from his journey back to faith. It gave me a vision of a Louie-Giglio-type conversion... that is not what happened. Just a heads up!"
- katelynn
03/07/2018
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The Red Tent

by: Anita Diamant
Ave. Rating: 4.18
Pages: 324
Year Published: 1997
Date Read: 03/10/2018
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Big Little Lies

by: Liane Moriarty
Ave. Rating: 4.28
Pages: 458
Year Published: 2014
Date Read: 09/19/2018
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She Reads Truth: Holding Tight to Permanent in a World That's Passing Away

by: Raechel Myers
Ave. Rating: 4.33
Pages: 200
Year Published: 2016
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"I love these ladies and their hearts for Jesus! It was so edifying to listen to their testimonies and see the way truth has forever changed (is forever changing) their journeys. I felt convicted and saw so much of my own story in theirs. I think the truths in this book will be ones I will continue to chew on for years to come."
- katelynn
08/20/2018
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Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda (Simonverse, #1)

by: Becky Albertalli
Ave. Rating: 4.24
Pages: 303
Year Published: 2015
Date Read: 05/22/2018
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The Almost Sisters

by: Joshilyn Jackson
Ave. Rating: 3.96
Pages: 357
Year Published: 2017
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"I did not connect with protagonist for a while into the book, so it took me some time to get into it. But once I did I could not be stopped! There is a central conflict/mystery in the book and towards the end I found myself thinking, "These characters and the stories of their relationships growing and changing are so good, I don't really care if the mystery gets resolved." 👏 The romantic scenes had 0% cheese and 100% sweetness, it was the best. I loved watching the protagonist grow in her feelings of motherhood and her vision / calling for her own life. It was inspiring!

The idea of a Second South was a very helpful illustration. It's one I'll have to chew on for a while."
- katelynn
06/05/2018
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Beneath a Scarlet Sky

by: Mark T. Sullivan
Ave. Rating: 4.39
Pages: 526
Year Published: 2017
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"I waffled a lot on the rating for this one, so I'll break it down here.

In terms of this man's story, Pino Lella, definitely 5 stars. It is unbelievable what he experienced. Completely fascinating! I especially loved hearing the followup about what happened to everyone after the ending. I even liked that you are left with questions, some unknown details that make it feel more like real life. I liked reading about Milan and the specific struggles and tragedies they endured during the war.

HOWEVER.

The writing itself was just not good. I feel like I need to apologize for having/expressing this opinion, especially about a WWII story, but I won't. Honestly, I almost stopped reading it. The story picked up enough in the end to justify me finishing it, but I would not recommend it to friends. It's painful to read bad writing."
- katelynn
01/01/1970
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Howl’s Moving Castle (Howl’s Moving Castle, #1)

by: Diana Wynne Jones
Ave. Rating: 4.25
Pages: 329
Year Published: 2001 (1986)
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"A standing ovation for this one!! It was charming, funny and overall just great fun. I almost marked it down a star because I felt a bit lost in the weeds at times but I think it was simply a difficulty of listening to audio rather than reading. Now the question is will I break my personal ban of anime to watch the Disney version of this? Hmmmm"
- katelynn
03/24/2018
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The Bookshop on the Corner (Scottish Bookshop, #1)

by: Jenny Colgan
Ave. Rating: 3.84
Pages: 336
Year Published: 2016
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"If reading a book is like consuming a meal then this book is purely dessert. I loved it - so feel-good and relatable as an avid reader, a great setting and interesting characters. The romance brought the ending down a little for me, but like dessert I think I had just had too much by that point. Too much sweet."
- katelynn
12/09/2018
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Echo

by: Pam Muñoz Ryan
Ave. Rating: 4.35
Pages: 592
Year Published: 2015
Date Read: 11/10/2018
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Us Against You (Beartown, #2)

by: Fredrik Backman
Ave. Rating: 4.34
Pages: 448
Year Published: 2018 (2017)
Date Read: 07/10/2018
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Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living

by: Shauna Niequist
Ave. Rating: 3.82
Pages: 240
Year Published: 2016
Date Read: 03/03/2018
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The Bear and the Nightingale (The Winternight Trilogy, #1)

by: Katherine Arden
Ave. Rating: 4.08
Pages: 319
Year Published: 2017
Date Read: 05/05/2018
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Beartown (Beartown, #1)

by: Fredrik Backman
Ave. Rating: 4.26
Pages: 418
Year Published: 2017 (2016)
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"I find it hard to express my feelings about this book. My heart! This novel engrossed me - engaged all of my emotions, my senses, my imagination. It made me think about myself and our world - about the ordinary people I see every day - differently.

I've heard Backman described as the Dickens of our time. I absolutely get it after reading this book. What I loved the most was also the most Dickens-esque element of the book: the vast array of richly developed characters. There are so many! And none of them are minor. Backman uses his time so well giving you a brief, but vital glimpse into each character's life, what shapes their perspective. He weaves them all together so beautifully - no one is a stock character! Everyone is part of the rich tapestry that makes up this small town.

Beartown is a character in itself, which I love! This town could be any sports-obsessed, economically depressed town in any part of the world. I am not a sports person, but I could absolutely get in the mindset of the people and this thing that unites them.

A lot of the content was very difficult to read, and the results were upsetting. I finished the book feeling a deep sense of injustice and anger, but also hope. The sacrifice, love and commitment that so many people in the community displayed paint a picture of a different, better world than the one we live in today."
- katelynn
05/30/2018
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Calypso

by: David Sedaris
Ave. Rating: 4.08
Pages: 273
Year Published: 2018
Date Read: 08/03/2018
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A Constellation of Vital Phenomena

by: Anthony Marra
Ave. Rating: 4.07
Pages: 402
Year Published: 2013
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"This book is a work of art, truly. A work of art that completely wrecked me multiple times. It's both a beautiful and heart-breaking read. From beginning to end the writing is poetic and thoughtful.

The way the author tells the stories (there are so many stories) is like he's painting a painting starting in the middle and moving outward in a spiral until the picture makes sense. Left to right in the painting is past to future. I've rarely seen the use of third person omniscient POV used so skillfully and effectively.

It goes in the same category of books for me as The Kite Runner. Will I recommend it? Absolutely, emphatically. Will I read it again? I don't think I can handle it a second time."
- katelynn
02/19/2018
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What I Saw and How I Lied

by: Judy Blundell
Ave. Rating: 3.52
Pages: 284
Year Published: 2008
Date Read: 12/31/2018
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Gay Girl, Good God: The Story of Who I Was and Who God Has Always Been

by: Jackie Hill Perry
Ave. Rating: 4.3
Pages: 193
Year Published: 2018
Date Read: 09/25/2018
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Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms

by: Katherine Rundell
Ave. Rating: 3.99
Pages: 256
Year Published: 2014 (2011)
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"I absolutely loved this little heroine! The descriptions of her life in Africa were so beautiful; I feel like they describe so much of what I'd love to give my children in their childhood.

When she arrived in London, the book started to drag - I just wondered when it would all start to turn up for her again. It certainly ended well though."
- katelynn
06/11/2018
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The Light Princess

by: George MacDonald
Ave. Rating: 4.02
Pages: 0
Year Published: 2004 (1864)
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Father Melancholy's Daughter

by: Gail Godwin
Ave. Rating: 3.97
Pages: 416
Year Published: 2002 (1991)
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"If this book hadn’t been so hard to finish, it would have easily been a 5 Star for me. The writing is so rich and beautiful - heavy with symbolism and religious reflections. The story of this girl coming into herself as an adult, free from but also enriched by the circumstances of her past, is really lovely to watch. There really wasn’t a lot of plot - it’s mostly character development. That’s not usually my cup of tea but I feel edified by reading this - not only as a lover of literature but also as a thoughtful religious person."
- katelynn
04/22/2018
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The Shape of Mercy

by: Susan Meissner
Ave. Rating: 3.95
Pages: 307
Year Published: 2008
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"Another book about the Salem witch trials - that's two since January! This one was very thoughtful and a little more wrenching than the YA one I read earlier this year. The author really put you in the mindset of the Puritan girl. The modern story was interesting, but I had trouble relating to the main character's struggles. There was some kitschy-ness but overall, I had fun listening to it."
- katelynn
04/07/2018
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The Haunting of Hill House

by: Shirley Jackson
Ave. Rating: 3.83
Pages: 182
Year Published: 2006 (1959)
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"I really loved parts of this, but in the end I found it unsatisfying. I didn't need it to be sewn up neatly, but I was hoping for something more. Something to point to a reason or some kind of explanation.

The writing was great though - characters, dialogue and sense of place. It kept me chilled."
- katelynn
10/08/2018
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The History of Love

by: Nicole Krauss
Ave. Rating: 3.91
Pages: 255
Year Published: 2006 (2005)
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"I wanted to like this.
But the unusual narrative structure was so off-putting, it made me on edge.
It felt pretentious. I was distracted.

I think this is a book that could definitely benefit from multiple reads. I really think I missed a lot, so it seems unfair to give a review, but eh. Here we are.

I do think the ending was really, really sweet. But it wasn't enough to redeem the rest of the book for me."
- katelynn
11/09/2018
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The Kitchen House

by: Kathleen Grissom
Ave. Rating: 4.18
Pages: 369
Year Published: 2010
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"This was one of those stories that made it difficult for me to live my life - I wanted to abandon all my responsibilities and just keep reading! I read it walking and brushing my teeth and cooking... Oh boy. It was hard to read - often tragic and disturbing. But the relationships were beautiful and the character development was so rewarding."
- katelynn
03/19/2018
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An Absolutely Remarkable Thing (The Carls, #1)

by: Hank Green
Ave. Rating: 4.03
Pages: 343
Year Published: 2018
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"Read on a recommendation from my husband, I came in to the book expecting some variation of the YA sci-fi, futuristic trope. Which I have had enough of. I was pleasantly surprised.

The protagonist was a terrible person (not unusual for YA), but in a way that was relatable and understandable. The story arc was interesting, although it was told from a high-level. Often the narrator gave summaries of what happened over several weeks and months - as if it were a memoir. There was not a lot of character development besides the narrator, but the novel had a lot to do. (1) Develop a complicated sci-fi mystery, (2) grow the narrator through some crazy circumstances and huge character flaws, and (3) expound on some huge, important cultural issues.

The novel dealt with a lot of big issues including handling fame and more importantly (in my opinion) the way that we relate to people with different opinions than us. Hank had so many insightful things to say about the media, political pundits, and how we should form opinions and support them in healthy ways. He described the political world we live in accurately - a world I often find completely hopeless. But he brought it back around and pointed a way forward - maybe an idealistic vision, but it was still inspiring (and not partisan)."
- katelynn
10/13/2018
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Eleanor & Park

by: Rainbow Rowell
Ave. Rating: 4.01
Pages: 328
Year Published: 2013 (2012)
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"I absolutely loved about the first half of this book.
The vulnerability and insecurity of the characters was relatable - really brought me back to early High School. The slow unfurling of first love was so sweet and fun to watch. The writing was really excellent!

Once things started to get hot and heavy, it kind of lost me a bit. I felt like it cheapened things. But the ending was good. "
- katelynn
12/15/2018
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The Girl Who Wrote in Silk

by: Kelli Estes
Ave. Rating: 4.08
Pages: 391
Year Published: 2015
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"This was a moving story throughout. I was especially affected by the mother / son stuff at the end - so many tears. There was some cringe moments - mostly in the modern portion (the romance, the way she talked about money). I have very little grace for modern stories - they have to be perfect for me to not roll my eyes all the time.

I wish I had read this book instead of listening to the audio - it might have been a 5 star for me. I think I lost some of the emotion gravity through audio. Regardless, it was a great story."
- katelynn
03/05/2018
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Tell Me More: Stories about the 12 Hardest Things I'm Learning to Say

by: Kelly Corrigan
Ave. Rating: 4.18
Pages: 240
Year Published: 2018
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"This was recommended to me by so many people, but it took Book Club for me to actually dive in (blame it on my non-fiction hangups). I have never so quickly related to a narrator, especially of a book of essays, than I do to Kelly Corrigan. We have some things in common, but in other ways we are polar opposite personalities. What makes me relate to her is her vulnerable, raw style of writing that holds nothing back. I think this could draw in any reader.

Tell Me More had more quotes that I wrote down than any book I've read in a long, long time. There's so much to chew on and discuss in these pages! About parenting, marriage, friendships, family, death, and growth. I think I will be learning from these essays for a long time to come."
- katelynn
10/20/2018
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The Chilbury Ladies' Choir

by: Jennifer Ryan
Ave. Rating: 3.95
Pages: 371
Year Published: 2017
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"This was a sweet, light story that reads super fast. It feels strange to classify a WWII story as “light” but it felt that way (maybe in comparison to some other novels read recently).

I didn’t love the epistolary/journal style - it seemed awkward and unrealistic. And the “twists” were rather obvious and unsurprising.

I enjoyed the read though. I didn’t want to put it down. The characters were charming with good development. "
- katelynn
02/03/2018
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Convenience Store Woman

by: Sayaka Murata
Ave. Rating: 3.72
Pages: 163
Year Published: 2018 (2016)
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"I found this story both sad and not sad at the same time. It was a confusing feeling! My heart broke for this girl, but in a way that is only from the outside - she does not have her own heartbreak. "
- katelynn
12/06/2018
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A Quiet Life in the Country (Lady Hardcastle Mysteries, #1)

by: T.E. Kinsey
Ave. Rating: 3.9
Pages: 278
Year Published: 2016 (2014)
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"What fun! This was a light-hearted mystery with a great cast of characters. The two protagonists were so charming and interesting, and their relationship is so funny. Their attitude towards social/gender norms of the day (and other people's reactions to these attitudes) were modern to the point of being anachronistic. But I didn't mind - it made them more relatable. I'll allow it!"
- katelynn
08/12/2018