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ErraticElle

ErraticElle

Joined September 2016

“She read books as one would breathe air, to fill up and live.“ - Annie Dillard (http://linktr.ee/ErraticProjectJunkie)
review
ErraticElle
Goblin Market | Diane Zahler
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A fairytale style retelling of Rossetti's The Goblin Market in spectacular fashion. The atmosphere was wonderful & the darkness was on point. The exploration of the original story was well-done, though I would have loved more. It is a middle grade novel, so there is some hold back on the creep factor. The characters are well-developed & the focus on sisterhood is really well done. Intriguing & fun, this is a very quick & enjoyable read.

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ErraticElle
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Mehso-so

A middle grade fantasy heavily influenced by Harry Potter. In fact, it can read as female led fan fiction. The plot is fun & fast moving, but not as well-developed as I would have liked. There is a lot left unexplained & quite a few coincidence happenings in the plot. The basis is interesting & it will likely be a good read for younger middle graders. Not a bad read by any means, just not enough creative exploration & thoroughness to hook me.

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ErraticElle
This Vicious Grace | Emily Thiede
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An interesting fantasy read with mythological & religious influence. High stakes narrative with a strong female protagonist & flavors of Black Sun & In a Garden Burning Gold. The world building can be a little info dumpy, resulting in diluted atmospheric content, but the plot is interesting & tense. Lovers of the grump/sunshine trope will enjoy the character banter between Alessa & Dante. An enjoyable debut.

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ErraticElle
Key to My Heart | Lia Louis
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A lovely P.S. I Love You flavored contemporary romance examining the personal nature of grief. Gently written with a naturally developing plot following heartbreak, friendship, & love. Heartwarming story that isn't full of fluff & contains a protagonist who feels unapologetically real. There are moments of levity in the banter, but the narrative is more seriously centered & things move at a slow burn. An enjoyable, contemplative read.

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ErraticElle
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A fantastic follow up to Anatomy: A Love Story (thank goodness, because the ending was a total killer of a cliffhanger). I'm in love with Dana Schwartz's world & could this continue as an infinite series at this point. Gorgeous cover & a great blend of historical fiction with a touch of sci-fi. Gripping & entertaining. The historical content was lovely, both imaginative & intriguing. Great story, wonderful characters, & atmospheric writing. Loved.

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ErraticElle
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Lauren Graham is always entertaining. This short collection of anecdotes is just as much fun as her other essay collections and I enjoyed my quick read. It's always best to listen to her books as I just love how her personality comes shining through so well in her narration. I'm not typically one who loves random little stories about random celebrity lives, but I'll always make an exception for her.

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ErraticElle
Upgrade: A Novel | Blake Crouch
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A quick moving sci-fi thriller with a highly scientific plot. Reads like a blockbuster movie with a lot of action & fairly high stakes. Because of scientific detail, there are pieces where the information was well above my understanding, but the scientific basis feels solid. There is a lot of thought-provoking material including climate change, human impact, & the basic foundations of humanity. This kept my attention & was a lot of fun to read.

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ErraticElle
A Closed and Common Orbit | Becky Chambers
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Becky Chambers is just amazing. I love her writing. Her books create a kind of calming effect, comfortable & cozy. The scenes are rich with detail & nearly tangible, yet everything she puts to the page flows effortlessly. The discussion of identity in this book is so well done & her inclusion is perfect. The information was delivered in an intriguing & wonderful, yet gentle way. Her characters not only feel real, I get beyond attached to them.

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ErraticElle
When Women Were Dragons | Kelly Barnhill
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Fantastical & emotional. Beautifully written allegory that celebrates acceptance of self in a highly feminist telling. The writing is gorgeous & lyrical with amazing interpersonal relationships between female characters. The plot is occasionally a little repetitive & slow-paced, but it feels as if it is simply like a way to “circle back“ & reinforce ideas as the story progresses. Barnhill's intentions felt wholesome & welcoming. A lovely read.

16 likes1 stack add
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ErraticElle
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A cute Shakespearean inspired YA contemporary with a neurodivergent female protagonist. There is some hyperbole in the plot that creates some over-the-top drama, but it leads to a quirky & entertaining read. The characters are well-written & the story arc moves well, with a good slow burn teen romance. There may be a few missteps in how Bea is encouraged to grow & change (by both her parents & friends), but the result is a good coming-of-age tale.

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ErraticElle
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Mehso-so

The concept is good & the twist fantastic, but the journey caused me some issues. I enjoyed Hamdy's writing. He weaves a good story & includes some great introspection. But the nature of the book requires a lot of information to be held back. Unfortunately, this leads to a slow-paced plot & is occasionally confusing. The end made it worth the read & was quite clever, but the mix of genre & the way things come about will not be for every reader.

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ErraticElle
I'm Glad My Mom Died | Jennette McCurdy
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Two things sold me on reading this: the hype & the cover. I barely knew who Jennette McCurdy was prior to reading this book, but the things I heard piqued my curiosity. The relationship between Jennette & her mother is shocking. Told in short vignettes, the writing is visceral, candid, & blunt. The journey McCurdy went on to reclaim her life & work through her decades of trauma is nothing short of shocking. The hype is warranted. Read this book.

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ErraticElle
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My feelings for this book are confusing. My insides have been completely ravaged. It's a slow, almost monotonously paced narrative that works in a visceral & inexplicable way. The realism is on point. It's absolutely a good read. It's a slow burn with a literary flavor & won't be for everyone, but there are some fantastic moments of brilliance. It's a completely different kind of read & I've definitely been affected by it in a meaningful way.

Rissreads Great review! 4w
32 likes1 stack add1 comment
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ErraticElle
Begin Again | Emma Lord
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This cozy college-set YA contempoary is fun & entertaining. A quick read, some strong predictability, but still good. Andie is a decent protagonist, a little quirky & occasionally overly cutesy, but I liked her all the same. However, everything surrounding her relationship with Connor fell flat. I've had a better relationship with my toaster. Still...despite it's flaws, I enjoyed the storyline. Also, Milo is perfection. We could all use a Milo.

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ErraticElle
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Gorgeous writing full of beautiful descriptions & historical atmosphere. The plot moves languidly, but still gripped me so that I didn't want to put it down. Lucrezia's fate was looming & my heart just ached. You know from the beginning more or less what the ending will be & that spurs on a mild anxiety during the read. Something about that just feels right & delicious, despite the atrocity. Maggie O'Farrell is a queen of historical fiction.

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ErraticElle
The Merciless Ones | Namina Forna
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An action packed plot with a world that continues to impress. The writing remains gorgeous & the construction is clever, resulting in an intricately built story full of complicated political & social culture. Though relevant to the plot, there were moments where the inclusivity felt a little heavy-handed. The pacing was occasionally slow, but revived to an explosive & tense pace for the last third. Overall, a great 2nd installment.

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ErraticElle
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I love this series so incredibly much. Seanan McGuire does portal fantasy right. Her characters are wonderful, her stories both heartbreaking & uplifing. The narrative is beautifully written & atmospheric. There is some gut-wrenching & potentially triggering content at the introduction of the story, but it is gracefully handled. The plot is full of wonder & magic, but also contains her trademark nature of allegory & life lessons. Perfection.

TieDyeDude I love this series! 1mo
13 likes1 comment
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ErraticElle
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Hilariously irreverent writing style and a fast-paced plot that is full of action. The protagonist is the absolute best and I love her. The story is complex, but easy to follow and has a great mix of genres to it. A little bit mystery, a little bit sci-fi, a little bit thriller. There's a little something for everyone here. Fantastic intrigue and a whole lot of fun.

8 likes1 stack add
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ErraticElle
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I love this series so much. I really hope that there will be more. The characters are so cute and there is such great exploration into the world and human nature. I love the gentle inclusivity and how well current cultural topics are woven into the plot for evaluation. Such a great content of moral lessons and such an inspirational story. Beautiful writing and just the absolute best construction. Incredibly cozy and heartwarming.

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ErraticElle
City of Orange | David Yoon
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Mehso-so

A good premise & excellent twist, but not the execution I was looking for. A good psychological exploration that had a lot of potential but not enough movement in the plot, thus making it feel like the story went on for too long. There is a lot of rambling & frequent flashbacks that made things feel overly disjointed. This makes sense given the confusion the protagonist experiences, but joined with the slow pace it made things a slog.

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ErraticElle
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Rather than the intense, suspenseful premise of it's predecessor, this novel is a good introspective study of this wealthy family & their skewed value system. I found it quite intriguing & enjoyed the character work, though it doesn't pack the same punch. The characters are all unlikable, which is a testament to Lockhart's writing. The vibe is haunting & sad, but also just made me shake my head at the entitlement & ridiculousness of these people.

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ErraticElle
Our Crooked Hearts | Melissa Albert
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Mehso-so

A dual perspective, dual timeline witchy read whose construction worked against it. I loved the basis for the story & the historical timeline, but there just wasn't enough of it. The more modern storyline was underwhelming. The pacing can be a little slow, so that also caused me some issues. Definitely dark & the comparison to The Craft is accurate, as the female witchiness is well done. The writing is solid & atmospheric, I was just underwhelmed.

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ErraticElle
What Moves the Dead | T. Kingfisher
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A short reimagining of Edgar Allen Poe's The Fall of the House of Usher with some seriously creepy vibes & an atmosphere that really sells the story. I wish there would have been more exploration of the plot, but this retelling was still quite vibrant. The representation is really well handled and I think the Gothic style comes through brilliantly. High creepy/gross out factor, so be forewarned, but I'm just a big fan of T. Kingfisher all around.

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ErraticElle
Fevered Star | Rebecca Roanhorse
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An interesting story with gorgeous description & rich characters, but the plot doesn't move very much. Roanhorse is great at creating a world & there is so much that is unique about this series. The world-building is incredibly complex & the political tension is deftly woven. I'm hoping for a bit more of a moving and shaking conclusion to the trilogy, but Fevered Star did draw me back into this fabulous world & reminded me how much I loved it.

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ErraticElle
Number One Fan | Meg Elison
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Meg Elison is an amazing writer & she channels her inner Stephen King for this fantastic nail-biter of a horror read. A Misery homage with modern flare, this novel twisted my stomach. Elison's protagonist is strong & clever with a hardcore fighting spirit. Her antagonist is pure evil. Excellent twists, dark & horrifyingly realistic detail, & a heavily atmospheric plot that left me feeling deliciously claustrophobic. Gripping & entertaining.

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ErraticElle
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A super fun, cozy historical mystery with great banter & a fiesty, fun female protagonist. Sherlock Holmes flavor & Agatha Christie charm mixed with botany. Set in the 1920s London, this novel is wonderfully atmospheric. The plot starts off quite strong & has some wonderful description, plus a lot of plant-based knowledge. It does have a bit of a slow pace in the middle, but it's worth pushing through. A fun read, plus a gorgeous cover.

12 likes3 stack adds
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ErraticElle
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Funny, tongue-in-cheek, middle grade. The voice really comes through & I can definitely see why this has been a popular series. Greg is a great character & has the appropriate naivety of a middle schooler, so it was fun to read his (mis)adventures. As an adult, it's easy to see he isn't always the best at making smart decisions, though Kinney's witty writing may not always be picked up on by younger readers. Still, a great middle grade read.

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ErraticElle
Charmed | Jen Calonita
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Mehso-so

A cute follow-up sequel, but a bit more predictable than the initial installment. The characters are fun & whimsical & there is a more exploration into the world, but the development is not as meticulous as in Flunked. The friend group is fun & the teacher characters are interesting, I just wish there would have been a bit of a faster pace, higher stakes, & a more complex story line. Still, I had a good time reading & will continue the series.

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ErraticElle
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A middle grade fantasy debut that is a perfect adventure for readers who enjoyed Narnia, Artemis Fowl, Percy Jackson, & Keeper of the Lost Cities. With fun & charming writing & deserving of much more hype, there is such amazing creativity to this fast-paced, atmospheric story. The characters in the story are well-balanced & unique. Adorable children, some quirky adults, seriously devious bad guys, & a great helping of magic. Highly recommend.

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ErraticElle
Little Eve | Catriona Ward
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*Chef's kiss* creepy cult novel. Gothic castle on an isolated island only accessible during low tide. Weirdo little town that just lets obvious craziness ensue. It was so good & sketchy. I was totally entranced by the atmosphere & there were plenty of cringeworthy moments. The psychological games played with the plot were fantastically done. A super disturbing read like a train wreck you can't look away from. Dark & weird. Just like I like 'em.

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ErraticElle
On the Banks of Plum Creek | Laura Ingalls Wilder
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A good continuation of the series. Familiar characters started showing up, which made it even more nostalgic & enjoyable for me. A lot of foreshadowing & a lot of harrowing situations that had me a bit on edge. The maturity level definitely increases as things get a bit harder & more serious for the family. They continue to be a lot heartier than I think I could have been in these circumstances. Ma deserves a medal for all she put up with.

11 likes1 stack add
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ErraticElle
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Totally blown away. I liked this a lot more than I expected. Super fast-paced & intriguing with great characters & a fun storyline. Hilarious banter. Highly entertaining. A perfect middle grade read for adventure seekers who love whimsical fantasy. A well-crafted story that is fun from start to finish. Super excited to see where the series goes. This was one of those books that I wish was about twice as long because I couldn't get enough.

Karisimo I also liked this one better than I expected! 3mo
14 likes1 stack add1 comment
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ErraticElle
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Incredibly clever & fun middle grade fantasy adventure that needs more hype. The world-building was interesting & I loved the atmosphere. Very entertaining. A good, strong female protagonist & good character interactions. A solid ending with great handling of more mature & difficult topics/situations. Some great lessons about personal strength & importance of verifying information. Strong character development & a good example for young readers.

9 likes1 stack add
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ErraticElle
Peter Pan | J M Barrie
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Though the story is fun & I did enjoy reading it, this book is definitely a product of its time. The misogyny & race content did not age well & does detract from the story. Information about Barrie's life & the story behind the book is touching, heart-breaking & gives the book a bit more of an endearing quality. A good fairytale despite its downfalls. Worth the read for me, but not at the top of my list for a current middle grade recommendation.

13 likes1 stack add
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ErraticElle
Pax, Journey Home | Sara Pennypacker
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Cute sequel to the original with a good mixture of life lessons. Great discussions on ecology & the responsibility humans have to care for nature as well as a wonderful focus on dealing with grief. There is a lot packed into this little book but it is so heart-warming and wonderful after going through it. It can be a bit of a tear-jerker in places and definitely could be a hard hitter for those with soft hearts. Adorable and really well-written.

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ErraticElle
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This wasn't my favorite read in the series, but seems to open a lot of doors (pun intended) for future installments. The story did feel a bit rushed & vague & I wanted to understand more. Regardless, the plot was still very intriguing & the characters were highly interesting. Highly creative as always. While this wasn't a 5-star, it was still an excellent & fast read for me & I truly enjoyed it. I can't wait to pick up the next in the series.

11 likes1 stack add
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ErraticElle
The War Librarian | Addison Armstrong
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Has the feel of a Kate Quinn novel (high praise).Told in dual timeline w/ 2 protagonists & spot on organization. The writing is well-structured & captures historic feel wonderfully. I enjoyed that the female protagonists were told from an introspective POV & felt genuine. Fantastic discussion of misogyny that elicited a high emotional response from me. I appreciated the author's note at the end of the novel as well. Absolutely worth the read.

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ErraticElle
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A slightly different approach than similar reads that I found interesting, but ultimately just an okay read. Reads more like literary than historical fiction with a slow, evenly keeled plot. The writing was at times beautiful, but there wasn't a lot to hook me. I was unfamiliar with Talitha Getty, but I was prompted to do some light research on her, so clearly some was interest generated. Good intention, good source material, moderate execution.

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ErraticElle
Stay Awake: A Novel | Megan Goldin
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Such a creative thriller. Based on Liv losing her recent memory every time she falls asleep, the psychological aspects of this book were unnerving. The plot is written in an interesting dual timeline that, though a little disorienting, really added to the tension. As things slowly unfold, it can get a little repetitious to have Liv fall asleep, wake, & basically start over again & again. Despite some minor flaws, a really fun & well-moving read.

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ErraticElle
Carrie Soto Is Back | Taylor Jenkins Reid
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I am not typically a fan of sports based fiction, so I was a apprehensive. But then something happened & I was hooked hard. The character growth is masterfully handled & organic. The detail & consistency in the sport information was on point. I was absolutely riveted. I devoured this book in less than 24 hours & freaking felt it in my gut. A great story, a fantastic protagonist, & charismatic writing that has me on the edge of a full swoon.

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ErraticElle
Blood Sugar | Sascha Rothchild
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Dark & super intriguing. I love writers who can make a bad character feel good. Ruby is definitely not the best person, but remains likable. While her actions are undeniably beyond sane, the way she is presented nearly makes the reader feel that her choices are justified. It's an odd juxtaposition. Unsettling & yet at the same time so gripping. A really good mystery thriller debut. It created so many conflicting feelings & I loved it for that.

11 likes2 stack adds
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ErraticElle
Queenie | Candice Carty-Williams
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Mehso-so

A lot of cringe with nearly every character a train wreck. Solid writing & dynamic characters, but ultimately didn't feel balanced. Some good cultural relevance that was overwhelmed by an unsympathetic protagonist. For me, Queenie didn't garner much sympathy because a lot of the damaging situations were ones she placed herself in by making incredibly poor choices. I did appreciate the discussions on mental health, therapy & self esteem.

14 likes1 stack add
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ErraticElle
The Book Eaters | Sunyi Dean
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Creative, modern twist on vampires blending gothic & contemporary. A medieval feel meshed with present technology in an odd, but well-crafted juxtaposition. Dark, twisted, & gripping. Highly misogynistic plot that created some stomach-turning content & great social commentary. The book element wasn't explored as thoroughly as hoped, but was a creative setup. The magical world did not disappoint. A strong & intriguing debut.

13 likes3 stack adds
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ErraticElle
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Mehso-so

Absolutely better than Survive the Night, but still meh. The plot is a slow burn with some good twists. It had high potential & good bones, but the writing is not his finest. There is a lot of tell vs. show, which stunted the tension & made the characters a bit flat. The ending felt like a bit of a cop out & didn't fit with the trajectory of the plot. High potential, lackluster execution.

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ErraticElle
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Fantastic read from popular narrator Julia Whelan (highly recommend the audio). The writing is witty & quippy. Her characters are fun & the banter was magnificent. The plot is somewhat predictable, but still totally lovable. Such a fun romp. A light rom-com, but has heavier elements layered in for a few more serious subplots that still go well explored. A fantastic read & a great amount of fun. This will be in my favorites for the year.

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ErraticElle
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A complex, whirlwind sci-fi with a masterfully-written mystery built in. There is a lot going on & things just get more convoluted as the story moves on, but it was awesome. This isn't a book you can laze your way through. There is a lot of cerebral action at play. Excellent, diverse characters & fantastic attitude. The sass & sarcasm were top notch & had me laughing a lot. One of the most unique books I have ever read & just a really great time.

12 likes1 stack add
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ErraticElle
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An interesting, creative mix of historical fiction & magical realism. Brilliant, atmospheric writing with unique, dynamic characters. Multiple POVs & time jumping that is well done, but could be problematic for some. Emotional & full of generational sadness & historical misogyny. The multiple stories are woven together very deftly resulting in a beautiful, epic story that is both entertaining & contemplative. A great thought piece & lovely novel.

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ErraticElle
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Sweeping, slow burn historical fiction with a grumpy-sunshine romance. Beautifully written & highly atmospheric. Emotionally hard-hitting & swung the full pendulum from heart-warming to completely heartbreaking. The characters are well-written & mostly realistic. However, there were some moments where the miscommunication trope felt too heavy-handed & not necessarily believable. A solid historical romance with an incredible emotional appeal.

10 likes1 stack add
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ErraticElle
Wild and Wicked Things | Francesca May
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A slow burn sapphic fantasy with spooky, witchy flavor. A heavy Gatsby-ish feel to the atmosphere & the locale & a plot semi-reminiscent of Practical Magic, though definitely darker. The pacing is slow & I struggled with getting immersed in the story, but there was some decent suspense. The characters are not necessarily likable, so this may be a reader turn off. The world & magic system were was both intriguing & original. A good, creative debut.

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ErraticElle
Just Like Home | Sarah Gailey
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Creepy, fantastic Gothic horror with haunting, gloomy, disturbing atmosphere. Eerie, nail-biting setting. The character relations are super messed up & give off an immediate disjointed vibe. Though I really enjoyed the setup, this is definitely a slow burn. But hang on to your hats, because the last chunk is a crazy whirlwind. Worth the time to work through the initial slow pace. Not perfection, but a dang good time.

14 likes2 stack adds