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ClairesReads

ClairesReads

Joined May 2016

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The Night She Fell by Eileen Merriman
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Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
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ClairesReads
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Mehso-so

I found the chapters in this novel all to be separately interesting stories but they didn‘t really hang together as a coherent whole for me and by the end it felt a bit like we were running over similar ground and the pacing was a little uneven. A vision that has potential but for this reader was not fully realised.

ChaoticMissAdventures I felt the same. I spent so much energy trying to figure out why the book was organized the way it was, it just didn't land for me. 3d
27 likes1 comment
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ClairesReads
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Mehso-so

I found the chapters in this novel all to be separately interesting stories but they didn‘t really hang together as a coherent whole for me and by the end it felt a bit like we were running over similar ground and the pacing was a little uneven. A vision that has potential but for this reader was not fully realised.

10 likes1 stack add
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ClairesReads
Tom Lake: A Novel | Ann Patchett
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Pickpick

Tom Lake is a bit of a slow burn to start with but it warms up so much, and really is a warm-hearted novel. Patchett writes beautifully about families, and this novel expertly blends the dynamics of a family with a story about growing up and being on the cusp of adulthood. As always, a story told with insight into decisions made, paths chosen and rejected, and how our lives are shaped piece by piece over time.

rubyslippersreads I‘m currently reading this for my IRL book club and really enjoying it. 1w
AmyG Loved this. 1w
ClairesReads @rubyslippersreads I‘m glad to hear it- it‘s a great read 3d
34 likes3 stack adds3 comments
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ClairesReads
Piglet | Lottie Hazell
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Pickpick

A compelling, readable story about class, ambition, desire, appearances, and blowing up your own life. For most of the novel I wasn‘t sure whether the obscurity of the key plot point was going to work, but in the end it did for me. This isn‘t a novel about what specifically happened, but rather how complicated and wrought it is to cross class boundaries, and to create a life that perhaps looks like what you desire, rather than feels like it.

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ClairesReads
A Shining | Jon Fosse
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Mehso-so

An odd little novella/short story that was a bit more Christian spiritual musings than Beckett-esque rumination on the universe for this reader. Obscure and indirect in a way that didn‘t bother me- a worthwhile read, if not an entirely convincing or moving one for me.

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ClairesReads
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Pickpick

Perhaps more like 3.5. Definitely not the strongest Grisham novel, in that lots of the action takes place off stage, and there‘s lots of narration of travel and movement, rather than of the mechanisms of the plot itself. Still relatively compelling but I could have been more invested in the details.

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ClairesReads
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Pickpick

I have waited an age for a new Perkins novel, and goodness that patience has been rewarded. Perkins is as ever, pitch perfect in this story about MONEY- desire for it, the accumulation of it, the spending of it, the way it smooths the world for you when you have it, and the crushing weight of the potential, ever imminent loss of it. It‘s a novel that very clearly reminds us that money, indeed wealth, is the real source of power in New Zealand.

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ClairesReads
The Country of Others | Lela Slimani
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Mehso-so

At an intellectual level it was really interesting to read a novel about the tensions of colonisation in a context more distant from my own. I know much less about French colonisation, particularly in places like Morocco, than I do other contexts. However, something about this novel kept me at a distance, so while I found the ideas interesting I never really felt like I was in the narrative, or connected to the characters.

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ClairesReads
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Pickpick

The Thursday Murder Club books are much more wholesome than my taste normally abides and yet, I really do love them. This fourth instalment is perhaps not the strongest in terms of its central case (its number 3 for me). However the layers added to the characterisation in this novel are pitch perfect, nuanced, and written sensitively and yet with piercing insight. To balance humour with this more moving content is a skill. Loved it.

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ClairesReads
American Mermaid: A Novel | Julia Langbein
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Mehso-so

Great concept- messy, execution. Wanted so much more than I got here, which is disappointing although I shouldn‘t have been surprised based on reviews I‘d read in advance.

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ClairesReads
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Mehso-so

My rating reflects the fact that my pea-brain struggled to penetrate this narrative, rather than the quality of the book itself. I could see while reading that this is clever writing. I normally love a fever-dream-like story like this. But at the moment I found this, coupled with a complex cast of characters a bit difficult to keep track of. Lots to appreciate if you have the mental bandwidth (which I presently do not).

batsy Appreciate your review. it's on my list but it feels like something I should save for when my brain is firing on all cylinders (incredibly rare, these days 😂) 1mo
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ClairesReads
American Mermaid: A Novel | Julia Langbein
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Not loving this book, am loving this quote, perhaps because I‘m nostalgic for the classroom

26 likes1 stack add
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ClairesReads
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Pickpick

We‘ll team, it‘s Freida McFadden so you know you‘re getting a popcorn thriller with many twists. I‘d only read the Housemaid books before this and I was worried I wouldn‘t love the rest of her books, but this was great. An excellent, fast-paced mystery that made me want to sacrifice sleep to finish it. A good balance of twists and clues, this is the kind of easy reading I love and need right now.

35 likes1 stack add
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ClairesReads
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Pickpick

The gang‘s all here for another heartwarming murder mystery. Can‘t get enough of these books and this was my favourite in the series so far. Not my usual cup of tea but for some reason these just really work. Rolling straight into the next one.

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ClairesReads
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Pickpick

I‘m so late to this party that the universe really does not need my hot take on this crowd favourite. I went in expecting it to like not love it, and was pleasantly surprised. It‘s a really compelling story about a life that appears simple and privileged on the surface, but is much more complex than this below the surface. Its structure is a compelling framework for this very character driven narrative. I found it a pretty immersive read

TheIntrovertedDodoBird Great review! Stacked! 1mo
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ClairesReads
Dice | Claire Baylis
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A very confronting read that, through the framework of the legal process of trial by jury, has a lot to say about prevailing attitudes to sexual crimes. Using the perspectives of each of the jurors to unpack the case was a clever way to examine the challenges and flaws of legal process, and peers into the prejudices that impact our thinking about crime. Baylis reveals many more social prejudices, making this novel a broader social commentary.

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ClairesReads
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Pickpick

The title of this book is right, we really do need to talk about Norman. An excellent, brief biography of New Zealand‘s forgotten Prime Minister Norman Kirk. Not a perfect leader but one of few who truly led for the people, and at the core of his purpose the betterment of the lives of people around him. Visionary in his goals for the country and understanding of our place in a changing world. I am ushering in a new deep-dive obsession.

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ClairesReads
Good Material | Dolly Alderton
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Dolly Alderton really gets into the heads of her millennial characters and her portrayal of romantic disasters and the weaknesses of adult friendships in busy lives is apt to say the least. It was refreshing to read a novel about a man undone by his feelings, the likes of which I‘ve not read since High Fidelity. A really compelling story that‘s honest about flaws which will be recognisable to us all.

39 likes3 stack adds
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ClairesReads
The Space Between | Lauren Keenan
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Mehso-so

A very person-centred exploration of a challenging time in History. The New Zealand Wars sit very much in the background, a tension which underpins the experiences of the central characters. in many ways this makes this novel accessible, and appealing to a wider audience than it might otherwise. It‘s a novel that is very located in place, and Keenan does a good job of centring her story and bringing Taranaki alive. A bit history-lite for me.

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ClairesReads
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Mehso-so

A compelling premise, the alternate history undertones and noir storytelling vibes attracted my attention to this book. While this is ultimately an interesting story that unpacks some complex ideas about history, nations, and the ways that we exert social control over people, I felt like the intersection of three styles of storytelling and construction impacted the pacing and kept me a bit at arms length which was a shame.

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ClairesReads
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Pickpick

It‘s just been a treat reading more about astrophysics and the universe with my small mate. He heard a lot more words about the universe, and I learned things too. This books is enthusiastically and authoritatively voiced, pitched perfectly at a young readership, and oozes joy at the wonder of space. It‘s beautifully illustrated, and the bite size stories are perfect for budding scientists.

BarbaraBB Look at him 🥰🥰 2mo
erzascarletbookgasm Aww the smile! 🥰 2mo
See All 9 Comments
batsy Awww the cutest smile ❤️ 2mo
Tamra Happy Face! 😄 2mo
Ruthiella Adorable! 🥰 2mo
staci.reads What a doll 😍 2mo
Centique Oh my goodness what a cute smile! 1mo
ClairesReads @Centique aw thanks he‘s a real cheese 1mo
36 likes9 comments
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ClairesReads
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Pickpick

Actually, a lot of bad things happen in this novel. I found this one of the most genuine and sensitively told stories of mental health struggles that I have read in some time. Very close to being pitch perfect in its depiction of an unstoppable spiral, and the complexities of the ways that mental health struggles touch relationships. The ending was a bit too ‘magical thinking‘ for me, but this is an excellent novel that‘s well worth your time.

Suet624 Great review. 2mo
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ClairesReads
Wrong Place, Wrong Time | Gillian McAllister
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Pickpick

Why have I been snoozing on this for so long? This was the crime novel I needed in my life right now- the perfect refreshing palate cleanser. While you have to have the ability to suspend a bit of disbelief to buy into the time loop concept that underpins this story, I found this original approach to storytelling about a crime both refreshing and compelling. It‘s a complex, twisty story that unravels why rather than who. Highly recommended.

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ClairesReads
Iron Flame | Rebecca Yarros
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Pickpick

It‘s dragon smut nonsense which will do the job if that‘s what you‘re looking for.

30 likes1 stack add
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ClairesReads
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Pickpick

Sid and I loved this book about our hero Steve Irwin. Wonderfully accessible for the youth, informative about wildlife and Steve‘s life, and celebratory about his work. Sid‘s pretty gutted about the ending (chapter 9 is a bit intense). A very lucky community library find which will be a firm fave in Sid‘s library for years to come.

Ruthiella Aw Sid. ❤️ What a cutie patootie! 2mo
TheBookHippie So sweet! 2mo
charl08 🥰 Great to start them young! 2mo
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BarbaraBB ❤️❤️ 2mo
batsy 🥰 2mo
Centique Awwww! Sid you are just gorgeous! Enjoy reading with your Mum 😍 2mo
ClairesReads @charl08 it‘s my main mission every day 😄 2mo
40 likes8 comments
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ClairesReads
Gangster's Paradise | Jared Savage
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Pickpick

Another very interesting look at organised drug crime in New Zealand. Best read with a bit of distance from Savage‘s first book on this subject because ultimately I‘m not sure there‘s quite enough material here to fill a whole second book. Still a very interesting read.

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ClairesReads
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Pickpick

Pearse has developed a complex lead detective in Elin Warner who has just enough of a back story to be interesting but not so much that it prevents the books in this series from really being read episodically. This mystery is complicated, lots of twists and turns, a good handful of red herrings, and isn‘t too obvious too soon. It‘s told in short chapters, full of action, and with a really atmospheric setting.

batsy I had trouble with her first, The Sanatorium, but this sounds much better! 3mo
ClairesReads @batsy I quite liked the first one- but this was markedly better for me! 2mo
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ClairesReads
Summer Sisters | Judy Blume
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Pickpick

It turns out Judy Blume is as much a reliable author for adults as she is for children and adolescents. This is not a complicated novel but somehow it still gets just how complicated female friendships and families can be. Reading this felt like visiting an old friend in a nostalgic summer location.

TheBookHippie I‘ve always felt Caitlin would reappear someday… I read this when it came out and again later on. I may need to read it again. 🤣🙃😅 3mo
43 likes3 stack adds1 comment
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ClairesReads
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Mehso-so

I've landed somewhere in the middle on this one. There is a lot I really like about it- and after reading the acknowledgements at the end I really felt like I had a better appreciation for what McBride was aiming to say. I think the second half does a better job of realising that intent as well as being more coherent storytelling. It took me until halfway to really get into it, and get into what felt like a story being told. A flawed read for me.

Suet624 It was a low pick for me but I felt the same way. 3mo
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ClairesReads
Kick the Latch | Kathryn Scanlan
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Pickpick

Kick the Latch is a tight wee novella, told in vignettes about a horse trainer. It‘s easily the best book I‘ve read this year. Super tight, clean prose, excellent as both a character portrait and a story about the horse racing industry, excellent for readers that aren‘t interested in horses as much as those who are. Loved it.

30 likes1 stack add
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ClairesReads
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Bailedbailed

DNF at 37%. I gave it 2 hours, the audio narration was annoying me, the narrative felt chaotic, and I didn‘t care about any of the characters or what was happening with them. 2024 is the year of not spending time on books that aren‘t working for me. ✌🏻

DocBrown Good for you! Two hours sounds like you gave it a fair shake. 3mo
bookaholic1 I hear you there!!! 3mo
29 likes2 comments
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ClairesReads
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Pickpick

Jo Spain is so reliable for a twisty domestic mystery. The one was a bit more fast paced than some of her others and had more changes in direction. I didn‘t really connect with any of the characters but nevertheless it was a propulsive narrative. Entertaining, easy reading.

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ClairesReads
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Pickpick

This second outing for Alice Veja and Max Caplan is a solid read. Luna seems to have settled into her central characters a bit as they are slightly less larger than life in this novel. It‘s an intriguing, slightly more complex mystery which comments more directly on social and political ills. A solid read which I found a smidge slower than the first in the series.

Ruthiella 😻😻😻 3mo
Matilda I love the pairing in this series. And she has a new standalone coming out this year. 3mo
ClairesReads @Matilda I‘m looking forward to both finishing this series and reading her new book 3mo
47 likes3 comments
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ClairesReads
Big Swiss: A Novel | Jen Beagin
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Pickpick

Big Swiss is a read for fans of Mosfegh or Melissa Broder, without being exactly the same as their vibes. It‘s quirky without being irritating, chaotic without being unruly or impenetrable, it‘s insightful in its examination of the human experience of chasing the feeling of being at home in your life and your body without being didactic. It‘s fun and funny. It won‘t be for everyone, but if it‘s for you, you‘ll love it.

Mirazzles I really enjoyed this one! The audiobook was great! 3mo
ClairesReads @Mirazzles isn‘t it fun? 3mo
39 likes1 stack add2 comments
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ClairesReads
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Pickpick

Look team, is it more of the same? Absolutely. But if we‘re honest, the same is good, that‘s what we‘re all here for so no worries hey?

batsy Yep 😆 3mo
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ClairesReads
Enter Ghost | Isabella Hammad
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Pickpick

This is an expertly crafted novel which is, in a way, about the Israel-Palestine, specifically its impact on Palestinian identities. I thought it was really clever that Hammad set her protagonist‘s, Sonia‘s struggle to interpret the conflict, her Palestinian identity, and the way her family has been fractured by it, against the backdrop of the struggle she has to interpret Hamlet in Arabic.

TrishB Great review 👍🏻 I thought this was brilliantly done. 3mo
ClairesReads @TrishB just read your review too and I wholeheartedly agree. Very clever, very interesting. 3mo
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ClairesReads
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Pickpick

A very interesting insight into the geopolitics of North Korea- specifically the development of the Kim Dynasty culminating in the leadership of Kim Jong University. North Korean geopolitics is a high interest topic for me and this was an absorbing, detailed, well-reasoned read.

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ClairesReads
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Pickpick

The hype is real- this novel is a really immersive and emotive reading experience. Zevin has managed to craft a novel which is about gaming, but is still engaging for a reader who is not a gamer. I found this novel engaging on an ideas level, as well as being invested in the friendships and trials of its characters. For me, it was shy of being pitch perfect as the proliferation of traumas throughout required me to suspend a bit of disbelief.

MrsMalaprop Great review 👍 3mo
SamAnne Oh, this will be one of my best reads of 2024! Like you, not into gaming. But this novel spoke to me in so many ways. 3mo
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ClairesReads
The Housemaid | Freida McFadden
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Pickpick

Booktok doesn‘t always lie. This was the compelling, undemanding domestic thriller I needed. Fast-paced and no regrets.

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ClairesReads
A Court of Mist and Fury | Sarah J. Maas
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Pickpick

Everyone said the second one is better (more plot, more sexy, more drama) and they were right. It‘s not going to win a literary prize but it was entertaining.

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ClairesReads
The Secret: A Jack Reacher Novel | Lee Child, Andrew Child
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Pickpick

A blast from the past with old school army Reacher was just what I needed. This is definitely the best of the co-written Reacher novels so far. Plenty of all the things we love about Reacher, nothing to complain about.

BkClubCare I haven‘t read it but we watch the show!! Reacher is a H U G E guy. I love Neagley. 3mo
35 likes1 comment
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ClairesReads
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Mehso-so

Enjoyable, breezy, rich people problems read. I was interested in the story but in the end I didn‘t feel like it really went anywhere. The commentary about privilege and excess at the end was pretty heavy handed and didn‘t really feel built out of the narrative.

Megabooks Yeah this was kinda a dud. 🤷🏻‍♀️ 4mo
ClairesReads @Megabooks agree- potential but a bit baggy 4mo
33 likes2 comments
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ClairesReads
The Likeness: A Novel | Tana French
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Pickpick

The best crime novel I‘ve read this year. The Likeness gives The Secret History vibes mixed with excellent, Irish procedural crime storytelling. Although the premise is a bit wild, once you suspend this disbelief you‘re in for a richly characterised, complexly plotted, well-paced, gritty novel. I loved and luxuriated in every minute of reading this. Can‘t wait to read the rest of the series.

batsy Ooh, that's an enticing review. I've had Tana French tbr for ever so long and maybe 2024 is the year I finally start with the series or one of the standalones! 4mo
ClairesReads @batsy definitely recommend this series as a great starting point. I absolutely loved this. 4mo
kbuggle All of this, yes! 3mo
ClairesReads @kbuggle it‘s great isn‘t it? 3mo
kbuggle @ClairesReads yes! So good- it was such a great kick off to my 2014 reading 3mo
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ClairesReads
The Christmas Guest | Peter Swanson
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Pickpick

Jessica Knoll recommended this on Instagram and she‘s not wrong- it‘s a great read. An atmospheric, well-paced Christmas novella. I often find novellas tricky- like short stories that are too long, or novels that aren‘t long enough, but this was just the right length. A great, quick read for a festive week.

Centique Merry Christmas Claire! I hope youve had a good day and you have some holiday time to read some good books 🎄🎅📚 4mo
ClairesReads @Centique thank you and Merry Xmas to you too. Hope you‘re enjoying this summer spell for good reading time x 4mo
29 likes2 comments
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ClairesReads
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Mehso-so

I wanted more MLM scandal and real info than I got from this. What we actually get here is more of a chatty, autobiographical story about the author‘s experience in a MLM. It‘s a bit unstructured, not critically reflective enough, and didn‘t dish enough real dirt to really engage me. An okay read if you know what you‘re going in for I imagine.

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ClairesReads
O Caledonia | Elspeth Barker
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Pickpick

A very under-appreciated novel which I am so glad came to my attention. O Caledonia is an excellent work of characterisation. Although it begins with a murder, it‘s not a mystery, rather a precisely constructed portrait of its central character, Janet- a young girl who is misunderstood and who struggles to fit in with her family and peer group. Janet is so complexly drawn, and the prose is thoughtful and measured. An excellent character study.

TheKidUpstairs Loved this one! I discovered it earlier this year because Maggie O'Farrell wrote an intro, and I figured any book she recommends deserves a read. You're right, it's such a wonderfully constructed character study, of a fascinatingly singular girl. 4mo
37 likes1 comment
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ClairesReads
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Pickpick

It‘s a different kind of crime story that isn‘t about who did it, or why they did it, but how people respond when a crime happens in their midst. Although told from the clearly flawed perspective of this child, this novel examines the psyches of adults just as well. A compelling story about our flaws, the complexity of belonging to a community, and response to threat.

Ruthiella I read another book from her which I really enjoyed 4mo
Tamra @Ruthiella both sound good! 4mo
ClairesReads @Ruthiella oh good to hear- thank you for the recommendation 🙏🏻 4mo
26 likes5 stack adds3 comments
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ClairesReads
Yellowface | R F Kuang
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Mehso-so

I wanted to like this more than I did. It is a pretty compelling read about the theft of a manuscript. But I felt the construction of the narrative ended up being a bit cyclical without advancing further. For me, it read like Kuang focused in thematic ideas over prose construction which was a detriment to my reading experience. The discussion of the issues in the publishing industry were interesting but were delivered a bit too didactically.

Tamra I didn‘t get into this one. Oh well! So many books. 😅 4mo
batsy I agree, this didn't fully deliver for me either. I thought it was a very safe ending for what was advertised as a bold take on racism in publishing. 4mo
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ClairesReads
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Pickpick

A niche read, but if this is your niche it‘s very informative and reassuring.

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ClairesReads
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Pickpick

I‘m late to the party here, and maybe it‘s a case of right book right time, but this is one of the best books I‘ve read in ages. I don‘t normally go for ‘quirky protagonist‘ stories, but something about this one just works. Sure it‘s a bit obvious about its commentary on social norms especially around women and work, and maybe some plot points are a bit obvious, but it‘s a story told with a lot of heart, that really captured me. Loved it.

DebinHawaii It made my “best of” list this year. I really enjoyed it too! 4mo
ClairesReads @DebinHawaii glad to hear you loved it too. Any other great recs from your best of list? 4mo
DebinHawaii @ClairesReads Project Hail Mary (the audiobook) was a delight. I really enjoyed The Bandit Queens & Weyward too. 4mo
rubyslippersreads I‘m enjoying the book much more than the TV series. 4mo
ClairesReads @rubyslippersreads I haven‘t watched the series but I am avoiding it because I liked the book so much I expect it won‘t measure up 4mo
42 likes5 comments