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The Rachel Incident

🌟🌟🌟🌟1/2 A stylistic love-child of sorts, Joanna Trollope meets Marian Keyes, rich with vulnerable, mildly self-informed people, seeking a way forward in lives that feel filled with hardships. That aren’t necessarily so. If one could just shift perspective, ever so slightly. The story is written in the voice of Rachel…

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Really good, actually

🌟🌟🌟🌟 β€œThis was it, forever! Maybe!” Equal parts hilarious and heart-breaking, a memoir-like fictional rendering raising the question: Just how far is one Millennial willing to go towards (or away from) a newly adjusted life, uncoupled? Maggie, our first person POV narrator, is 28 yrs old, - a smartly sarcastic…

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Carolina Moonset

🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 A book awash with yearning, love, and the simple sweetness of family, - held afloat by ties as deep as time, now tested by the ravages of dementia. For Joey Green, our first person POV narrator, a trip back to Beaufort, South Carolina, to visit his parental home, is…

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Sins of the Daughter

πŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸβž• As heartbreaking as it gets, this story, from the first page to the absolutely riveting ending, completely captivated this reader, - so much so that my lump in the throat test (a sure fire predictor of my very favorite reads) echoed feelings left both stirred and shaken. A slowly…

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At the end of the world, turn left

🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 A heart-rending look at love (for others and mostly, for self) and survival, and the not-always-lucid path we may take in service of both. As this character-based narrative slowly reveals (gracefully and with pitch-perfect pacing), plagued with insecurities, unable to shed uniquely devastating pasts, emerging into the light comes…

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So Long Chester Wheeler

🌟🌟🌟🌟 Lewis Madigan is, or rather, was, a twenty-four year old software developer. Now Lewis, unemployed and desperate, has the dubious task of caring for Chester Wheeler, his terminally-ill and decidedly unpleasant next-door-neighbor. Chester is homophobic, mean-spirited and totally dependent on external care - a situation made all the more…

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Earth’s the right place for love

πŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸβž• With a main protagonist calling to mind apple pie and sunshine, (still at that difficult stage, but at his essence, a gentle optimist, so clearly packaged up with love), a plot oozing with the bittersweet essence of interminably-awkward high-school ardor, and a backdrop of equal parts excruciating and heart-melting…

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The Many Daughters of Afong Moy

πŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸβž• One of my absolute favorites this year, this book is an absolute treasure - a reading experience to be cherished, and in all likelihood, revisited. A great big book, - not in volume, but in absolute capacity to charm and engage, this book held this reader captive from the…

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Mad Honey

πŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸ’« Part murder-mystery, all character-based slow reveal, this story oozes sweetness and danger in a delectable unwind, a gradual pooling of cloying tension, fear, and poignant urgency as we are forced to question - what do we really know, after all, about those we cannot help but love? Set in…

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Forgive or Forget

🌟🌟🌟🌟 A quick and interesting read, this story has the feel of a longish short-story - a fable of sorts - telling the tale of a complicated family, steeped in love, sacrifice, loss and ultimately redemption, but of a form as unexpected as it is long and exceptionally overdue. Told…

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