Review: The Same Bright Stars

The Same Bright Stars
The Same Bright Stars by Ethan Joella
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am officially an Ethan Joella fan. I will read anything he writes at this point because he simply doesn’t disappoint. His writing makes me think of Anne Tyler with real characters in small towns living beautiful, ordinary lives.

People whom you can’t help but connect to and grow to love. People whom you root for and who end up feeling like family. People you remember long after the story is finished.

Jack is no exception. He stays with the reader long long after the book is over. So do all the other characters from the diner.

Joella’s books make me feel less alone in the world. They are the best of what fiction can do which is give you a whole world to get lost in, remind you of the beauty of community and of the extraordinary in our ordinary lives. I love every moment I get to spend with his books. I hope there are many, many more to come.

with gratitude to netgalley and Scribner for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

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Review: Anita de Monte Laughs Last

Anita de Monte Laughs Last
Anita de Monte Laughs Last by Xóchitl González
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I loved her previous novel and I loved this one, too. I didn’t know about the true story behind this novel. I thought it was really well covered even if the male POV was a bit over the top. It was strong, impactful and well-written.

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Review: The Stranger

The Stranger
The Stranger by Kiersten Modglin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3.5 stars. Twisty. You know something is wrong. You’re not sure what it is. You keep changing your mind. Until the end 🙂

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Review: Funny Story

Funny Story
Funny Story by Emily Henry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Emily Henry knows how to deliver stories that are fun and characters that stay with you. I always look forward to her stories and she never disappoints. She didn’t this time either 🙂

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Review: Christa Comes Out of Her Shell

Christa Comes Out of Her Shell
Christa Comes Out of Her Shell by Abbi Waxman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I loved this book on audio. Others said it was too cute or too romancy. I didn’t care. I love Waxman’s writing and this one was no exception. Fun, light, and sweet.

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Review: Like Mother, Like Daughter

Like Mother, Like Daughter
Like Mother, Like Daughter by Kimberly McCreight
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Once I started this book, I could not stop reading it. I didn’t even care if I could guess some of the twists. The pacing, the mix of storylines, and the momentum of the novel got my attention and would not release it until I was finished.

Do not pick this up if you have other things you need to get done, you are unlikely to finish any other tasks before the end of the story.

with gratitude to netgalley and Knopf for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

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Review: Somehow: Thoughts on Love

Somehow: Thoughts on Love
Somehow: Thoughts on Love by Anne Lamott
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Lamott truly never disappoints. She’s kind, generous, true and makes you feel less alone in the world by not only existing alongside all of us but sharing her stories so we can feel a deeper sense of belonging.

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Review: Waking Up to Your Self: A Guide to Living Your Truth

Waking Up to Your Self: A Guide to Living Your Truth
Waking Up to Your Self: A Guide to Living Your Truth by Patrick Marando
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a great book to keep by your bedside and read again and again as you need. It is a guide to connecting with yourself and being who you are. I am a big proponent of inside-out living and this book has strong guidance on how to do that. How to feel your feelings and ensure you can move through them.

The author groups categories of emotions and helps guide you on how to move through them and is always gentle, encouraging and kind. I will refer to my copy again and again.

with gratitude to netgalley and Collective Ink Limited for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

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Review: Long Island

Long Island
Long Island by Colm Tóibín
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What an extraordinary writer Colm Tóibín is.

A few years ago, I read The Magician and that was my first novel by him. Even though I had heard of Brooklyn, I have never read it so when I saw this sequel I wasn’t sure if it would stand alone but I decided to request it anyway.

I am so glad I did.

This is such a quiet novel. I loved Eilis as the main character. In fact, I loved all the characters and I loved how real this book felt to me. All that repressed sorrow. All the repressed dreams. Loneliness and desire and loss.

The story of a mother torn between her own principles and support of her children and going after her own happiness. The story of a mother trying to save her future. The story of widows learning to make do. The story of a family trying to find a way out of a tough situation. So much said and so much not said.

I loved reading this story and now I am going to have to go back and read every single book this author has written.

with gratitude to netgalley and Scribner for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

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Review: Bear

Bear
Bear by Julia Phillips
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ok, wow.

I have to give this book a 5-star read because it’s unlike anything I’ve read. I love when I discover books that have such unusual premises that even after having read thousands of books, I can still be really surprised.

On the surface, Bear is the story of two siblings who live on a Pacific Northwest island, taking care of their ill mom and working at dead-end underpaying jobs to pay the medical bills. But underneath, there’s so so much more going on. Sam has been waiting for the day that she and Elena can stop having to take care of their mother, sell their house and move off the island, as Elena promised years ago.

And then a bear shows up at their house. And the two sisters have wildly different reactions to the bear. We only see everything from Sam’s perspective and her alarm grows and grows, causing a greater wedge between her and her sister and she feels it’s imperative that she resolve the situation before all their dreams go up in smoke.

And, of course, of course things are not as they might seem to Sam. And, of course, of course things don’t go as planned.

This is a powerful novel unlike any other. I loved it.

with gratitude to netgalley and Random House for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review

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Review: In the Hour of Crows

In the Hour of Crows
In the Hour of Crows by Dana Elmendorf
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In the Hour of Crows is the story of Weatherly whose grieving her cousin’s death while other events unfold to make her question whether the death was a murder instead of an accident. At its core this book is about unfolding what happened to her cousin but at its heart this is a book about families, grief, love, betrayal, lies, and the unrelenting journey for truth and justice.

If gothic and the magical realism are your preferred genres, you will really enjoy the setting and tone of this book. Weatherly herself can heal people who are dying, her cousin could see the future and her good friend Rook shape-shifts into a crow and accompanies the dying. I enjoyed all these elements of the supernatural and especially loved Rook as a character.

with gratitude to netgalley and Harlequin Trade Publishing for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review

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Review: Listen for the Lie

Listen for the Lie
Listen for the Lie by Amy Tintera
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

when stuck i just read mysteries because i know they will be fast paced and give me something to read. this one was no exception. fast paced, interesting and something to read while I feel stuck.

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