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GirlWellRead

GirlWellRead

Joined September 2017

Published book reviewer, blogger of books & book lifestyle products, wine drinker and polka dot wearer. I‘d love to review your book next! Follow me on Instagram and Twitter (@girlwellread), Pintrest, Litsy, Goodreads, LibraryThing, BookLikes, and ReadFeed (GirlWellRead).
review
GirlWellRead
Christmas Shopaholic | Sophie Kinsella
Pickpick

I love how Kinsella capitalizes on the chaos of Christmas. We all have our traditions and there are certainly times where I question some of the things I bring upon myself in the spirit of Christmas. It's totally worth it, right?

Becky tugs on my heartstrings—she is endearing, fun, and hilarious (even when she's trying to be serious).

This book is sparkly, festive, and simply delightful. A must holiday read.

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GirlWellRead
The Family Upstairs | Lisa Jewell
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The characters are highly highly developed and rich in detail. Told through multiple perspectives, this compelling and twisty narrative is executed masterfully. Jewell has a knack for creating suspense that is both compelling and sublimely atmospheric.

Disturbing at times, gripping, and often quirky, The Family Upstairs is one of my favourite books this year.

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GirlWellRead
Mehso-so

This book is a portrait of an immigrant family and an exploration of cultural constraints. There is an overarching theme of loss as well as the high cost of keeping secrets. My only issue was with the pacing—I did find it slow and the narrative kept stalling because of too many flashbacks. That being said, this is an incredibly thoughtful and beautifully written book. If you do enjoy more of a literary type thriller, than this is for you.

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GirlWellRead
Olive, Again | Elizabeth Strout
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Strout is a gift. Revisiting Crosby, Maine, she once again draws on the small-town characters and their connections to Olive. Her works speak to the reader with her signature style of subtle nuances juxtaposed against the not-so-subtle, Olive. This book is a character study that is a feast for the reader.

Admittedly I didn't enjoy this book as much as Olive Kitteridge, but it was lovely to revisit the brutally honest, yet empathetic, Olive.

CarolynM I'm looking forward to this one 3w
GirlWellRead @CarolynM It was really good :) 3w
4 likes2 comments
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GirlWellRead
Not Her Daughter | Rea Frey
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Frey explores what exactly does it mean to be a mother. Do you have to give birth to a child to be a mother, and just because you have a child, does it actually make you a mother? Besides the theme of motherhood, love and sacrifice are also topics whose undercurrents are felt throughout the story. There is such depth to this subject matter, and this book is a perfect book club choice because of it.

What a solid debut! Absolutely stunning!

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GirlWellRead
The Other Mrs. | Mary Kubica
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One woman's struggles, another's obsession, and a little girl named Mouse collide in this hypnotic and complex narrative. Told from multiple perspectives, The Other Mrs. has strong pacing and incredibly complex characters. This story is hypnotic and well-sculpted and I was hooked from the first page.

Kubica is a master at this genre and this is my favourite book of hers to date.

4 likes1 stack add
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GirlWellRead
Pickpick

This novel broke my heart and I mean that in the best way possible. Francis tackles some heavy and difficult topics, but deftly handles the responsibility that comes with writing about suicide and depression writing with care, compassion and authenticity. With Francis' signature wit, Break in Case of Emergency is a vulnerable story about a non-traditional father and daughter relationship and a young girl reconciling with herself. Highly recommend!

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GirlWellRead
Mehso-so

For the most part I enjoyed the book, but it was a little long and at times overly dramatic—most of the story focuses on Van Cleve trying to destroy the project and the women involved. I felt that Moyes was trying to lighten the drama with romance and it didn't work. What did however, were the parts that focused on the women and of the travelling library. This coupled with her beautiful descriptions of the landscape really made the book.

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GirlWellRead
Woman on the Edge | Samantha M. Bailey
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In this explosive novel, one of the women is struggling with her grief and the desire to become a mother, the other is struggling with becoming a mother and the overwhelming desire to protect her child. The character descension and strong pacing ratchet up the tension. It is cleverly delivered in short, suspenseful chapters. With the speed of a train, this incredible debut comes careening down the tracks. It is exhilarating, tense, and consuming.

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GirlWellRead
The Poison Garden | A. J. Banner
Mehso-so

I enjoyed After Nightfall and was excited to read this one. Unfortunately, the main character's paranoia overwhelmed the plot and the story is never fully fleshed out. The pacing was too rushed—Banner needed to make the story more robust and to be perfectly honest, credible. A lot of what was going on was either not believable, or too coincidental. The reader isn't going to buy in, especially in a genre that has such stellar offerings.

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GirlWellRead
Pickpick

This novel is both a character study as well as a layered and plot-driven narrative. Through complex characters and strong pacing, this book has it all—secrets, lies, murder, revenge, betrayal, obsession. Frey explores some pretty complex relationships: between mothers and their children, between friends, between siblings, and between men and women. The writing is taut and twisty, and that ending...whoa!

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GirlWellRead
Pickpick

I'm not going to lie, at first I was disappointed when I discovered that the whole book was made up of lists, I mean...who wants to read lists? Well, when they are written by Matthew Dicks you do. We learn about what it is like to be flawed and human through this unique book. This narrative style could have easily failed, but instead, readers will be utterly enchanted by the raw beauty of this novel. It was moving, funny, and incredibly real.

Nute Interesting! I‘m stacking! 6d
3 likes1 stack add1 comment
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GirlWellRead
The Queen of Hearts | Kimmery Martin
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Martin's debut is a medical drama that's a study in the complexities of relationships. She explores the sometimes delicate and obligatory aspect of a long-term relationship, especially those that are forged by women. Sometimes these relationships are tolerated, not unlike marriages, not only because of the time put in, but because of the shared secrets. A solid debut. If you are a fan of Grey's Anatomy, I highly encourage you to pick up this book.

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GirlWellRead
Dear Haiti, Love Alaine | Maika Moulite, Maritza Moulite
Mehso-so

I loved the premise of this book as well as the epistolary style of narrative. The Moulite sisters use letters, emails, diary entries, postcards, and articles to tell Alaine's story. There were parts that came across as particularly unorganized and subsequently they lose the plot in places. There are also too many tertiary characters and secondary characters that disappear (Alaine's father, her friend) and an unnecessary sort-of romance.

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GirlWellRead
Mehso-so

This is a slow burn with a lot of characters and ultimately readers may find themselves disconnected. Written in short chapters, the story doesn't gain traction until about two thirds of the way through.

What is most moving is that this book is about the profoundness of kindness, and for standing up for what you believe in—for the good and for what's right. This is a timely message as the world needs more empathy, love, and goodness right now.

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GirlWellRead
Permanent Record | Mary H. K. Choi
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Choi‘s characterization is the perfect combination of complex and endearing. Pablo is an interesting, layered, and dynamic character with an affinity for creating unique pairings of junk food. With Lee, we get a glimpse of celebrity—how the public obsesses over them, the relentless machine of the paparazzi, and how image is everything no matter how fake. And in this artificial world, Pab and Lee's relationship is real and actually quite beautiful.

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GirlWellRead
Daisy Jones & The Six | Taylor Jenkins Reid
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This is written as an oral history, which is one of the ways that non-fiction stories are told. Jenkins Reid brilliantly uses this format to frame her narrative in a time where there was no social media to record events. Each character's name precedes their part—everyone is chiming in to tell their account of the events and sometimes their stories contradict.

This story was utterly mesmerizing and totally lived up to all the hype!

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GirlWellRead
Royal Holiday | Jasmine Guillory
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This book is a bit of a detour in this genre because it features characters that are more mature with age. The couple are navigating some unchartered territory—both have been single for years. This was refreshing and important to have this demographic represented. And can we just talk about the cameo from the Queen? Amazing!

Twinkling lights, festive food, a holiday romance and the royals—what more could you ask for in a book? Simply delightful!

3 likes1 stack add
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GirlWellRead
The Nanny | Gilly Macmillan
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Gilly is quickly becoming one of my go-to authors. When I read the synopsis for this dark and twisty Mary Poppins, I was smitten! Macmillan is an accomplished and methodical writer. This book is equally as polished as her other four novels, but more of a psychological thriller/character study versus a classic thriller type story.

A slow burn, The Nanny is a a tale of secrets, lies, betrayal, and revenge. I highly recommend this book.

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GirlWellRead
Pickpick

Kim's writing and originality is what kept me going. While I didn't love it, I genuinely liked it and do feel compelled to point out again what an extraordinary author she is. The mystery aspect was both captivating and thrilling. But it was the characters themselves that were the negative, perhaps that was the point. Even with the unlikeability factor, the actual character study is something to be acknowledged, especially in a debut.

12 likes1 stack add
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GirlWellRead
The Escape Room | Megan Goldin
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Goldin's debut is a stomach-dropping ride. Alternating between past and present, the cast of characters are completely ruthless and will stop at nothing to succeed. They are fuelled by the rush that comes with making high-profile deals and will do anything that the company asks of them. Despite the unlikeable characters, or in spite of them, this story is totally compelling.

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GirlWellRead
Pickpick

What is remarkable, besides the writing, is that it totally makes you start to question some of the decisions you have made in your own life, and that there are always several possibilities in every scenario. Both endings are outstanding and overall, this book is so damn clever! This ambitious narrative style could have easily gotten away from Fenton & Steinke, but it figuratively knocked my socks off.

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GirlWellRead
The Reckless Oath We Made | Bryn Greenwood
Mehso-so

While this book didn't immediately suck me in, I did push through it in order to be able to objectively review it. After giving it much thought, I just don't think the book was for me and was mildly disappointed. Perhaps Greenwood should have abandoned the whole romance aspect, as well as Gentry's reenactments, and focused more on the mystery. She is clearly a talented writer, and for that reason, I will read All the Ugly and Wonderful Things.

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GirlWellRead
This Little Light | Lori Lansens
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The plot is taut, tense, and timely. With the issues of reproductive rights, immigration, religion, and sexuality, I couldn't help but think of The Handmaid's Tale and how although this story is set in the future, the topics are relevant today. What Lansens achieves in this work is nothing short of extraordinary. And that ending...whoa! I can't give anything away, but it was a sucker punch right to the gut.

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GirlWellRead
Pickpick

This was sharp, original and savvy. What Henry accomplishes in her debut is nothing short of amazing. I loved what appears to be the juxtaposition of the ruthless and competitive world of investment banking against the rejuvenating and peaceful realm of yoga when in fact, it turns out to be just as cutthroat. Henry will surprise and delight her readers. This is a smart and cheeky read with complex and interesting characters. A summer must read!

4 likes1 stack add
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GirlWellRead
The Love Solution | Ashley Croft
Panpan

The 'love bug' premise was cute and had potential, but it was too far fetched. I struggled with the lack of depth that the love interests had, they were flat characters that could be interchangeable. I had high-hopes for this story, but it was lacking chemistry (no pun intended). Ultimately I struggled with the plot—the conflict that is the driver of the narrative is incredibly frustrating, as is Sarah. Why would she want to be with such a tosser?

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GirlWellRead
Chicken Girl | Heather Smith
Panpan

I was completely overwhelmed & not in a good way. Poppy is not a character that readers will warm up to easily. There are parts of her personality that were completely cringeworthy, she's also selfish & judgemental. While this is a coming-of-age story & part of her trajectory, there are just too many obstacles to make this plausible. I can't help but feel that Smith was trying to check all the boxes & the reader is left trying to unpack it all.

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GirlWellRead
The Golden Hour: A Novel | Beatriz Williams
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From the opening chapter, Beatriz Williams captivates her reader. This sweeping novel is beautifully written with an element of mystery and intrigue. She effortlessly weaves together dual plot lines each richly crafted with meticulous details. Williams is one of those authors whose writing completely transcends with her elegant and awe-inspiring prose.

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GirlWellRead
Someone We Know | Shari Lapena
Mehso-so

Every time I read one of Lapena's books, I come away feeling that the execution was not strong enough to support what's expected of this genre. There seems to be a lot of repetition in that it's more of the same thing. The plot isn't very liner and you end up being led in circles.

Yes, this time the characters were more fleshed out. They all had distinctive voices and it turns out, something to hide. But there was far too much repetition.

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GirlWellRead
A Stranger on the Beach | Michele Campbell
Pickpick

There were a few plot holes that I ultimately struggled with, but I'll partially overlook given Campbell's strong writing and ability to deftly create suspense and tension. She pens some strong characters and used the unreliable narrator as the perfect mechanism to execute her effusive plot. There wasn't the startling revelation that I was hoping for in that I did figure it out, but again, her writing was intricate and compulsive.

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GirlWellRead
Pickpick

The mystery of what happened 17 years ago is the driver and really turns this into a page-turner. I was pleasantly surprised at how good this book is. To be perfectly honest, the cover and title didn't really grab me and I think they actually detract from what is a really great book. Please do yourself a favour and give this one a go, you won't be disappointed. Fader really packs a punch—there's a lot to unpack and discuss.

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GirlWellRead
Mrs. Everything | Jennifer Weiner
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Told in dual narratives, Weiner explores the complexities of female relationships, the difficulties woman face, as well as the expectations placed on women. She tackles some heavy issues: sexuality, racism, abortion, religion, etc.
Jennifer, I applaud you for telling stories that resonate. This novel is not only timely, but incredibly moving and poignant. Appropriately titled Mrs. Everything, this book is a bit of everything for every woman.

9 likes1 stack add
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GirlWellRead
Mehso-so

I loved that this was an epistolary novel. The letters were the perfect vehicle to deliver the story. Where the plot stalled was with the ending, especially given the extensive build up. This was a bit of a disappointment given that the narrative was a slow burn—with the pages and pages of the day-to-day childcare and feeding which got a bit mundane after a while—and the reader was not fully rewarded for their patience.

Nute Nice review! I have a like-dislike relationship with her books. I think of her as a developing novelist still. I‘m patiently awaiting her arrival! 6d
6 likes1 comment
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GirlWellRead
The Hiding Place | C. J. Tudor
Panpan

I assume this is a homage to Stephen King, otherwise, her plot twist was too familiar to anyone that has read Pet Cemetery. There were parts that were clever and then there were times where the narrative rambled and completely went off the rails. I assumed this was in the thriller/mystery/suspense genre but it was more supernatural/horror. If you like horror, and you are a fan of Stephen King, than this book will totally be your bag.

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GirlWellRead
Stone Cold Heart | Caz Frear
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Frear is meticulous with her execution and is exceptionally gifted with character development and plotting. Even in the passages of Cat's inner dialogue there are so many subtle nuances that add layers to the storyline and ratchet up the tension. Frear's ear for dialogue is exceptional—Cat and Luigi have such witty banter and I love DI Kate Steele. But the best part, Frear has left her readers with a cliffhanger. I can't wait for the next book!

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GirlWellRead
Mehso-so

Krause's debut is not without issues. Not only did it take a while to get into the story, but I struggled with both characters. I love quirky characters, but Valencia was exhausting. Surprisingly this book was a bit dark and depressing, I was expecting more of a feel-good story rather than a character study. But please don't let this review sway you away from reading it, Krause's writing is quite good, I just don't think the book was for me.

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GirlWellRead
The Wives: A Novel | Tarryn Fisher
Pickpick

The narrative lives in the head of the main character and she is incredibly unreliable—I mean there are unreliable narrators, and then there are the kind that Fisher writes. Tarryn is a detailed and meticulous storyteller which is why some of the clichés surprised me. All-in-all another banger from Tarryn Fisher. She's pretty incredible. You should also check her on social media—I love “Tuesdays with Tarryn,“ her support of women, and good deeds.

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GirlWellRead
Little Lovely Things: A Novel | Maureen Joyce Connolly
Mehso-so

This contemporary offering is told from multiple POVs that was stalled by the nonsensical secret language of the Irish Travelling Gypsies (kidnappers). Not only was this hard to understand, but it completely detracted from the narrative. Claire's perspective was where she excelled—the writing was heartbreaking and fervent. The story lost momentum with Moira's (abductor) POV and unfortunately, by extension Andrea/Colleen's (the eldest daughter).

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GirlWellRead
Mehso-so

The difference between 3 and 4 stars was due to a gaping plot hole. Why didn't Claire investigate Byron before marrying him? A simple search would have uncovered that he was a suspect in his wife's death—the husband is always a suspect. Are we to credit this to her naiveté because she's young?

Although the ending comes to a screeching halt, it is incredibly explosive and makes suffering with yet another unreliable female lead worth it.

4 likes1 stack add
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GirlWellRead
Dear Wife | Kimberly Belle
Pickpick

Another domestic thriller with a missing wife...yes, this has been played out several times before, but Belle‘s take is fresh, whip-smart and expertly executed. Of course there are clues along the way, but I promise that there are several whiplash inducing twists that will completely blindside you. This is an exceptionally executed thriller taut with suspense. Without giving anything away, you will be delighted that the ending is a total surprise.

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GirlWellRead
The Wedding Party | Jasmine Guillory
Pickpick

Guillory's 3rd installment is an updated version of the classic opposites attract story. Her take is cheeky, wickedly smart and hot. Although the timelines and characters overlap, you don't need to read her other books before this one. Maddie & Theo take turns with this narrative with help from some new characters and some that are familiar.

Jasmine's writing is so effortless and endearing—she pens engaging and interesting characters.

Liatrek Great review! I can‘t wait t read this one😊 5mo
5 likes1 stack add1 comment
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GirlWellRead
The Floating Feldmans | Elyssa Friedland
Mehso-so

The ship was an interesting vehicle for the story because it forced the characters to not only be in the same vicinity as one another, but it pushed some of the family dynamics front and centre creating some interesting situations. The exposition was painfully long and I expected more confrontations and satire. She did redeem herself with the ending, readers will be satisfied as they disembark. This book really brings out the fun in dysfunctional.

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GirlWellRead
The First Mistake | Sandie Jones
Pickpick

This was a quick and satisfying read with just enough wicked, just enough suspense and the perfect amount of twists. Told from multiple points of view, Jones' writing is unflinching and astute. Her characters are carefully crafted and believable. She tells a mesmerizing story and I couldn't put it down. Jones was fresh and exciting. That Hitchcockian ending will have readers second guessing what they just read. Brilliant!

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GirlWellRead
Pickpick

Harms's writing is relatable, endearing and witty. She is particularly effective in capturing the struggles and challenges of a mother—from mother's guilt to constantly worrying. Women regularly sacrifice themselves for their children and oftentimes it's at the expense of their own happiness. This can be detrimental to their relationships with their partners and their friends.

Are you in need of a momspringa? Than this book is for you!

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GirlWellRead
Pickpick

Masha lives a life of self-imposed emotional isolation. Her grief and guilt over her son's death have become her dark companions, an addiction of sorts. Gradually Masha surfaces both literally in the pool, and figuratively from her grief. It is then that her swimming becomes a joy rather than a punishment.

Thank you, Ruth Hogan, for this book. It is an incredibly moving story of grief, and of the resilience and beauty of the human spirit.

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GirlWellRead
Bunny: A Novel | Mona Awad
Mehso-so

Awad is an incredible writer and she pens a gripping tale that seizes you, albeit almost to the point of claustrophobia. Bunny is an original take on girl cliques/the classic outsider-desperate-to-fit-in story. It is hypnotic and mesmerizing, yet sinister and dark. As much as Awad's writing is clever and unique, it's so manic that it's exhausting and I don't think I fully understood what I was reading (at times this book was completely bonkers).

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GirlWellRead
Pickpick

We meet some extraordinary characters that take us on an astonishing journey of love and loss, while demonstrating incredible courage and resilience. Paramount is a mother's love for her daughter and the lengths a mother will go to protect her child. All of this is sprinkled with Hoffman's signature magical realism. She educates and elevates her readers. Hoffman's writing transcends. It is elegant and haunting, and quite simply, stunning.

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GirlWellRead
The Arrangement | Robyn Harding
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The plot is layered and emotionally charged with characters that are believable and real. Harding has a gift of not only of being engaging, but to deliver a powerful, taut page-turner. The writing is smart and complex, while not being trite or contrived. I was fully vested in the story, especially with such an interesting and fresh premise—I wanted to learn more about the sugar baby/sugar daddy dynamic. This book is sexy, smart, and seductive!

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GirlWellRead
Pickpick

Jaswal's writing is powerful, yet thoughtful, and of course, charming. What amazes me how she can shine a spotlight on issues that Indian women face, but is so graceful and engaging, striking the perfect tone. Another gem!

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GirlWellRead
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Panpan

This one didn't do anything for me. The writing was not good-there were little/no conjunctions or connecting words, instead there were short, choppy staccato sentences and after a while, this is exhausting to read. The characters lacked depth and the story was completely underwhelming. The writers struggled with pace, and plot as a whole. Just when things seemed to get moving, there would be an abrupt shift in focus to tertiary characters.