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JillR

JillR

Joined March 2017

review
JillR
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Pickpick

Oh no, am I headed for a book slump? Reading this I liked the writing, appreciated the story, yet remained on the surface, not that interested, skim reading parts, although loving the cover. With this one, I‘m not sure whether it‘s me or the book 🤷‍♀️. After deliberating I‘m giving it a light pick, as I suspect it‘s me!

Cathythoughts I‘m sure it‘s not a slump 🤞🏻😘 2h
26 likes1 comment
review
JillR
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Pickpick

Love the title, love the cover, love the premise. Elements of this I really liked, but something was holding me back. I think sadly it suffered from being read straight after my last read which I loved and couldn‘t stop thinking about, yet at the same time it‘s a lovely, bittersweet story of love, yearning and the passage of time.

squirrelbrain I really liked this, which surprised me as it‘s not my usual fare. 1w
JillR @squirrelbrain I remember you liking this one. I didn‘t not like it, but at the same time didn‘t feel very engaged with it, and I can‘t put my finger on why, beyond it being a book hangover situation! 1w
33 likes2 comments
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JillR
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Pickpick

In the most part I loved this. Such a sad, messy, heartbreaking story of a family unravelling, and why. Told from 4 different perspectives in turn, you don‘t always get the full story, the closure you want, but I loved the twists and turns on the previous perspectives. Both very easy to read, yet one where you need to keep your wits about you! The final 100 pages or so where the pace really ramps up were brilliant and I really loved the ending.

34 likes1 stack add
review
JillR
When He Was Wicked | Julia Quinn
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Mehso-so

Investing fully in Bridgerton fever and bridging (ha!) the gap between the new season with this…(Confession, my enthusiasm for the books is waning. Book five was dreadful, and I had issues with some of this one too. Maybe time to leave it to the TV show, which does it so much better?)

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JillR
Bellies: A Novel | Nicola Dinan
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Pickpick

If you feel like the current spate of romance novels give you all the cheesy eye-rolls, my prescription…this book. It really is quite lovely and is as much about the love of friends as romantic love, the friends who hold you close and keep you safe.

squirrelbrain Good to know! I‘ve picked this up a lot in shops but never actually bought it. 2w
JillR @squirrelbrain I wasn‘t sure it was for me, but overall found it very sweet, and very sad 2w
32 likes1 stack add2 comments
review
JillR
The Covenant of Water | Abraham Verghese
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Pickpick

Just a few pages in that magic book-chemistry was there and I was instantly absorbed into this epic family saga centred around the family estate of Parambil in Kerala, India. The story spans 1900 - 1977, across three generations, many of whom suffer the mysterious “Condition” which makes them avoid water, at risk of drowning. There are so many threads and strands here, such a sad but beautiful story, I loved it.

Cathythoughts Lovely review. I loved it too ❤️ 4w
squirrelbrain I loved this too! ❤️ 4w
TrishB Me three!! 4w
Tamra 💚💚 4w
JillR @cathythoughts @trishb @squirrelbrain I love that you all loved this too x 4w
44 likes1 stack add5 comments
review
JillR
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Pickpick

The first half felt like I was in the bar on Tatooine in Star Wars, with the crazy music and different species, and that was NOT the book I wanted to read! I stuck with it and ultimately became quite fond of the characters of the Wayfarer tunnelling ship as they made their way through space. It was actually quite a gentle, sensitive read, once I got past the beginning. That said it felt quite simplistic, perhaps YA, and overall I didn‘t love it

monalyisha Same! And I love her Monk & Robot books. 1mo
JillR @monalyisha I haven‘t read any of her other books, and not sure whether I will after this one. Interestingly the rest of my book group loved it. 1mo
38 likes2 comments
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JillR
Yellowface | R F Kuang
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Pickpick

So good, I loved every bit of this despite the toe-curling, car-crash in slow motion. You will love to hate June and her petulant indignation at what befalls her. The author wrote June so well, and forces discomfort in the reader. Funny, gossipy, snarky and very knowing; great fun yet dealing with serious and very current issues including cultural appropriation, own voices and who gets to tell a story.

43 likes1 stack add
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JillR
Fourth Wing | Rebecca Yarros
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Pickpick

LOVED it. By the time Violet‘s dragon bonded her, I was IN. Dragons, magic, numerous gruesome deaths, a bit of daft “sizzling” tension, great fun. I‘m all for the easy reads right now.

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JillR
Weyward: A Novel | Emilia Hart
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Pickpick

A great read that I gulped down in two days (in the garden in the sunshine, what a treat). Three stories about three women across three very different times, with the thread of witchcraft running through each. I enjoyed each story, more so as the connections slowly emerged. I don‘t always enjoy the back and forth style of a dual/multiple timeline, but here it worked perfectly 🐦‍⬛

LeeRHarry This was a great read 😊 (edited) 1mo
42 likes1 comment
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JillR
The Other Half | Charlotte Vassell
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Mehso-so

Oh I‘m really not sure about this one. A murder mystery amongst the wealthy elite of London, with a working class detective tasked to solve it. The blurb says it‘s a satire, but…I found it a little obvious, and more caricature than satire. And the daft character names drove me insane. I did finish it, and I did get drawn into the story, but overall there were too many loose ends and it‘s one I won‘t remember.

BarbaraBB I bought this one too and I can‘t remember why. Haven‘t read it yet but will temper my expectations 1mo
squirrelbrain I had an ARC of this and, like you, didn‘t love it. I think the second book in the series has just come out, and I won‘t be rushing to read it. 1mo
JillR @squirrelbrain I think I‘ll give it a miss! 1mo
29 likes3 comments
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JillR
Fifteen Wild Decembers | Karen Powell
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Pickpick

This is a fictional take on the three Brontë sisters‘ upbringing in Haworth, told from Emily‘s perspective. This really does have the bleakness of her novel; the illnesses that plagued the family, their inability to hold down suitable work. At times this was quite hard to read; I didn‘t particularly like Emily, nor Charlotte, yet it left me incredibly moved and by the ending I was almost distraught 👇

JillR I‘ve not read or enjoyed a lot of classics, but I did love both Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre, so am wondering now whether to try Anne too? 2mo
Tamra I‘m looking forward to this one - even more after your review. 2mo
29 likes2 comments
review
JillR
Verity | Colleen Hoover
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Pickpick

I said I wasn‘t doing this, yet here I am. As always, late to the popularity party 😆. And do you know what, I enjoyed it. Book snobbery aside (there was eye rolling, of course) it‘s a page turner, very quick and easy reading, with a nicely creepy dark side. Yes it‘s daft, but you‘re not going into it looking for a Booker finalist. It was just what I wanted to read right now. I might even go for another, who‘d have thought.

Suet624 I‘m always late too. 2mo
Tamra Sometimes you just want candy. ☺️ 2mo
33 likes2 comments
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JillR
In Memoriam | Alice Winn
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Pickpick

Gaunt and Elwood meet at boarding school. Gaunt taciturn, a boxer. Elwood beautiful, a poet. They adore each other but will not say it. Then the First World War happens and their lives split and collide. Did I need another book about WWI? I did not. Do I like First World War poetry? I do not. Did I love this book anyway? I did indeed. The most beautiful story of hidden love, friendship, privilege and class.

TrishB I loved it too ♥️ 2mo
BarbaraBB I want to read it! 2mo
Amor4Libros Stacking, this sounds so good! 2mo
See All 8 Comments
squirrelbrain I loved this one! ❤️ 2mo
JillR @squirrelbrain @trishb it‘s so good isn‘t it? I wasn‘t sure if I needed another WWI story, turns out I did! 2mo
Deblovestoread One of my favorites from last year. 2mo
emmasm08 It‘s a great read . 2mo
Cathythoughts I have it on the shelf .. must get to it soon ♥️ 2mo
39 likes2 stack adds8 comments
review
JillR
Homecoming | Kate Morton
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Pickpick

A sinister murder mystery in the Adelaide hills in 1959 combines with modern day Jess dashing back to Sydney from London to be with her ailing grandmother, whilst slowly trying to unravel the decades old mystery. As much about family, homesickness and belonging as the mystery at its heart; perfect, compulsive easy reading. I‘d steered away from this author for a while as I tired of her dual-timeline style, but very much enjoyed coming back.

30 likes3 stack adds
blurb
JillR
Books Are Magic | Brooklyn, NY (Bookstore)
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An explanation to the backdrop of my last post; we just got back from New York! New York Littens, we fell hard for your city ❤️. It was a jam-packed trip - the first visit for our two teenagers - but I managed a *little* book shopping. I was disappointed with Barnes and Noble, but the lovely Books are Magic in Brooklyn made up for that; I spent a wonderful hour or two browsing and buying, so absorbed I missed the earthquake!

squirrelbrain Ooh so jealous! It‘s aaages since I‘ve been to New York and I miss it. (And its bookshops!) 2mo
JillR @squirrelbrain we were last there 22 years ago and loved taking the kids back. Such a great trip (despite near biblical rain, earthquakes etc 😬) 2mo
squirrelbrain I can‘t believe you missed the earthquake! 🤪 2mo
See All 6 Comments
JillR @squirrelbrain we got all the emergency alerts on our phones but didn‘t feel a thing! 2mo
BethM This picture looks magical! 2mo
Kitta Glad you had a good time! I live in Brooklyn but have never been to Books are Magic (I‘ll go soon!!). There‘s a really great feminist bookshop near me called 2mo
38 likes6 comments
review
JillR
Romantic Comedy | Curtis Sittenfeld
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Pickpick

A perfect holiday book; sharp, snappy, instantly absorbing yet easy to dip in and out of. This had all the elements I might have disliked in a romance; it‘s super cheesy, somewhat unbelievable, eye-rolling dialogue at times. Yet at the same time it just worked and I loved all those things too. I love Curtis Sittenfeld and kind of think she‘s a smarter, more knowing Anne Tyler. Her writing has that simplicity, yet she gets right to the crux of it.

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JillR
The Makioka Sisters | Jun'ichiro Tanizaki
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Mehso-so

Written in the 1940s about the lives of the 4 well to-do Makioka sisters this had all the elements of translated Japanese fiction I enjoy; the gentle style, the formality with which people address each other, the need for rules, politeness and order. And yet, this was just so incredibly slow. Even the drama unfolds painfully slowly. At first I settled into the pace, but around 300 pages in I was getting impatient and it was a struggle to finish.

BarbaraBB This is why I have kept off reading it while I love all the ingredients you mention too! 3mo
JillR @BarbaraBB I deliberated between a pick and so-so as I did finish it (all 600 pages) and there were lots of elements I liked. It was just too long for the very slow pace for me. I‘m glad I read it, just could have done with 200 pages less of it 😆 3mo
34 likes2 comments
review
JillR
Cutting for Stone: A Novel | Abraham Verghese
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Pickpick

Marion is born a conjoined twin in Addis Ababa. Family life gets off to a very rough start and from there we follow his life, to adulthood and onwards to New York. The joy of this book is the family love and complexities, against the background of troubled Ethiopia, its own complexities, and its medical world. In summary, I loved this when I first read it 10 years ago, and I then loved it again. Be warned, it will break your heart.

Kitta Loved this 3mo
TrishB A great read 👍🏻 3mo
47 likes2 comments
review
JillR
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Pickpick

Wealthy New Yorkers faffing around and complaining? Yes please! I kind of enjoyed this at surface level; it‘s easy reading, it‘s knowing of its characters privilege, although at the same time it was mildly…disappointing? It didn‘t really go anywhere, the snarkiness wasn‘t snarky enough, the dramas not dramatic enough and it didn‘t hit the heights of Fleishman is in Trouble/Succession as I‘d hoped. A pick, but a low-ish one…

squirrelbrain I agree - this was very over-hyped when it came out and I found it OK ish but no more than that. 3mo
batsy I added it to my TBR early on during the hype but seen many reviews say the same about it being just OK. I'll read Fleishman instead (then watch the show!) 3mo
39 likes2 comments
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JillR
Patsy | Nicole Dennis-Benn
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Pickpick

Patsy is desperate to leave Jamaica. Leaving her daughter behind, she heads to New York. It isn‘t the utopia she hopes and she enters an undocumented life barely scraping by doing menial work. As the story progresses you learn more of Patsy‘s motivations and demons. The story explores race, sex, class, gender, immigration and the life of an undocumented migrant in a hostile country. A great, thoughtful and thought-provoking read 👇

JillR I should say however I found this incredibly hard to get into, more or less for the first 200 pages, and very mainly bailed before something clicked. It also took most of the book to not actively dislike Patsy. 4mo
39 likes1 comment
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JillR
The Outcast | Sadie Jones
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Pickpick

This is beautiful historical fiction; Lewis loses his beloved mother at 10 years old, not long after he had to get to know his father who had been away fighting in WWII for four years, during which time it was just him and Lizzie. As I‘ve said before a mother/son story is going to get me every time! This then takes a turn towards the dark, then gets darker, and you hate it yet can‘t look away at the same time. As good as I remembered 👇

JillR I‘m a big fan of Sadie Jones and often compare her to Maggie O‘Farrell and Kate Atkinson. I‘ve gone right back to the beginning with a reread of her debut here. 4mo
33 likes1 comment
review
JillR
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Pickpick

A quiet story, the sort that makes me a bit fidgety at the start, but still it drew me in and was really quite lovely. Ruth is reeling from IVF and the possible end of her marriage. Pen is coming of age against the painful backdrop of first love, learning how to manage her autism as she emerges into adulthood. I loved how their stories spanned only one day and gently crossed yet never got tangled.

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JillR
Brooklyn | Colm Toibin
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Pickpick

A lovely little book. The story itself I‘ve more or less read before - a quiet Irish girl sent to make a living in America, leaving the life she‘s known behind - but it was told in a gentle and sparing way that I really liked. Loved the conflicted ending, and now looking forward to the upcoming sequel (although maybe that ending should be left as is).

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JillR
Exiles | Jane Harper
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Pickpick

I love Jane Harper, and this book is her third with character Aaron Falk. A mysterious disappearance of a new mother is unsettling the small town where Falk is visiting friends and slowly, slowly he gets drawn in. This was veeeery slow, yet when I stopped being impatient I quite liked that; the fact the story slowly plays out over only a few days. And guess what? It got me. I did not guess the mystery/ending which I am VERY pleased about.

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JillR
The Trio | Johanna Hedman
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Pickpick

We follow Hugo, August and Thora during their studies in Stockholm. It‘s a love story, a friendship story, yet there‘s a distance throughout, which could be because this is translated from Swedish. An intense story with no real plot, slow and at times frustrating, but I also liked it. Imagine the relationships in Conversations with Friends crossed with Elena Ferrante‘s writing maybe? It also left me hanging, and I kind of liked that too.

sarahbarnes I‘d agree with that mashup! I liked this one, too. 4mo
BarbaraBB Having this one my shelves as well! 4mo
41 likes1 stack add2 comments
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JillR
Wrong Place, Wrong Time | Gillian McAllister
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Pickpick

Went in thinking standard psychological thriller. I got a time travel adventure/mystery/thriller that really did keep even eye-rolling old me guessing, baffled and puzzling. I then also got the most heart-achingly tender portrayal of mothering a teenage boy who is emerging into adulthood, revisiting the guilt and good bits of the growing up years. As I‘ve said before, a mother/teenage son narrative is going to get me every time right now 👇

JillR However, I got peeved that I guessed a major plot twist less than halfway through (makes me feel clever, but make it harder!) 5mo
squirrelbrain Great review - I have this on my TBR shelf to read. 5mo
JillR @squirrelbrain I found it a good palate cleanser. Although, unusually for me, I found the first few chapters so very tense I nearly stopped and put it to one side. Which is a good thing, for a book to get you like that, but took me by surprise. Interested to know how you find it when you get to it. 5mo
39 likes3 comments
review
JillR
The Bell Jar | Sylvia Plath
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Pickpick

Mixed feelings about this one. I much preferred it to some of the contemporary/millennial books on similar topics. It felt both of its time and also very much not; there were times the writing put me in mind of Ottessa Moshfegh. Yet I didn‘t love it. There remains the obsessive self-centredness of the main character that I disliked here and have done in other books and I struggled with the second half. Still, I‘m glad I read it.

ShyBookOwl I agree about MC. I struggled with it at times, but I also couldn't bring myself to bail because it had such poignant moments. But it's not one I'll re-read 5mo
JillR @ShyBookOwl same, as it was short it wasn‘t too difficult a read from that perspective. Whether I‘d have finished it if it was much longer, I‘m not sure 5mo
41 likes1 stack add2 comments
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JillR
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Pickpick

This was a great palate cleanser. A police-procedural, and book two in the DCI Ryan series, this kept me reading and guessing all the way. Loved the Northumberland setting. I‘ll confess to being a little confused with the way the ending turned out and disappointed that one major plot development wasn‘t wrapped up. I guess in that respect the trick to get me reading the next one worked! 👇

JillR Poor Sycamore Gap and it‘s now-felled tree. We had one of our best family walks along an 8-mile stretch of Hadrian‘s Wall to Housesteads Fort via Sycamore Gap a few years ago. There are probably better police-procedural books in the genre but I do love that this series is set in an area we‘ve spent some great holidays in. 5mo
36 likes1 comment
review
JillR
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Pickpick

We meet Theo on a normal day, just before his life falls apart. Onwards through his life in New York, Vegas, New York again, then Europe. The writing is so compelling, the car-crash of Theo‘s life so heartbreaking and awful, everything about it I loved. One of those books where this character is constantly inside your head and for the duration of the book you‘re living his life with him. I read this years ago and loved it even more on rereading.

squirrelbrain I never (well, very rarely) re-read books but I can see how this would benefit from a second reading. 5mo
Suet624 Your review made me want to read it again. 😊 5mo
JillR @squirrelbrain I‘m exactly the same, but someone bought me this copy recently not realising I‘d read it already (I‘d passed my previous copy on some years before), so that prompted the reread really, and very glad I did ❤️ 5mo
JillR @Suet624 I say do it! 5mo
49 likes1 stack add4 comments
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JillR
Mother's Boy | Patrick Gale
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Pickpick

Patrick Gale excels in beautifully understated writing with such kindness and gentleness. My heart broke for Charles through his unpopularity at school and awkwardness in life, whilst still being able to dislike his at times acerbic sharpness and intellectual superiority as he tries to find himself. My heart broke again for his mother as he pushes her away then yearns for her when sent to war. Despite some brutal elements this was a lovely read.

JillR @TrishB @squirrelbrain I had a read through some Litsy reviews once I‘d finished this and saw you‘d both enjoyed it too :) 5mo
squirrelbrain It was fabulous and unexpectedly so. 5mo
TrishB I love his books. This is my fave though 5mo
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MrsMalaprop Me too @TrishB 🙌 5mo
TrishB @MrsMalaprop it‘s stayed with me a long time! 5mo
JillR @trishb @MrsMalaprop I would say I‘ve read that one but the blurb rings no bells and my Goodreads list says not, so either it was before I started using Goodreads, or I haven‘t read it! Either way given I don‘t remember, that‘s a good reason to get it I think… 5mo
JillR @squirrelbrain thoroughly enjoyed it from start to finish 5mo
42 likes2 stack adds7 comments
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JillR
The Halfways | Nilopar Uddin
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Pickpick

We follow the Islam family from their restaurant in Wales as a tragedy slowly unveils a secret. This is a story about family and grief, and also the push and pull of different cultures, of modernity and traditions, of who is family and who isn‘t. It wasn‘t perfect, the changing use of given names and nicknames/family names confused me at times, and there were some narrative inconsistencies that were jarring, but those aside overall a great read.

34 likes1 stack add
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JillR
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Pickpick

I‘ve finished the reading year with this, only because I promised my 16-year old I‘d read it before the end of the year and he wouldn‘t let it go. Just made it! This is his favourite book series of all time, and it is really very good. Recommend if you enjoy dystopian fiction/fantasy/sci-fi, this book is a spin-off of the trilogy itself in which other authors give their take on the backstories of various scythes. Interestingly well done.

Avanders I‘ve only read the first so far, and I know some people didn‘t love the love story in the first (I have no idea what happens with it as the series progresses), but it was one of my favorites at the time time - I loved the slow burn ☺️ 6mo
JillR @avanders I really loved the trilogy, thought it was really well done. Gleanings didn‘t work quite so well for me but only because it‘s short story format which is never my favourite, and it‘s been quite a while since I read the trilogy so some details were lost on me due to my dreadful memory! 6mo
Avanders @JillR ah, good to know! If/when I get to that point, it will help to manage expectations. 😁 6mo
31 likes3 comments
blurb
JillR
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#best of 2023 Lots of “just ok” reads this year - and the first time I‘ve struggled for ten to put on this list - but despite that these are the ten books which stood out a mile and are the ones I couldn‘t put down, couldn‘t stop thinking about, still think about. The type of books I crave and keep reading to find. The Maggie O‘Farrell was absolutely stunning. Demon Copperhead, Amy & Lan and The Romantic very, very nearly made it into the list!

TrishB Good choices- a couple on your list I still need to get to. 6mo
thewallflower0707 My reading year wasn‘t that great either 🫣 6mo
27 likes2 comments
review
JillR
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Pickpick

Well, what a lovely little surprise. I went into this a bit resistant. Felt it might be a bit twee. But it was actually sweet and lovely, a perfect read for the end of one year and the start of the next 💙

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JillR
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Mehso-so

Edward is a leading scientist in the eugenics movement and believes many should be sterilised to stop them breeding. When his young daughter is diagnosed with epilepsy he immediately blames his wife‘s “bad genes.” This could have been an incredibly interesting fictionalised take of this time but I didn‘t feel it was quite well handled enough to really explore the nuances and take it out of being routine family-saga historical fiction 👇

JillR It was also interminably long, I feel like I‘ve been reading it for about 3-years. The final third/ending very slightly redeemed it, although at the same time was predictable. 6mo
TrishB Won‘t be running to find this! 6mo
JillR @trishb no, I wouldn‘t recommend it! Disappointing as the premise was interesting… 6mo
27 likes3 comments
blurb
JillR
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Another one that hadn‘t been tempting me to pick it up (can you tell I‘m having an end of year clear out?!) As it turns out this was an amusing and also sad coming of age story; as Debbie tries to find her place at Trinity College Dublin, commuting from her family dairy farm, and figuring out who she is. It gently explores mental health issues experienced by her and her mam. Will watch out for more by this author.

TrishB Glad you enjoyed 👍🏻 6mo
34 likes1 stack add1 comment
review
JillR
A Tidy Ending | Joanna Cannon
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Mehso-so

I nearly didn‘t see if this had a tidy ending or not, as I wasn‘t really enjoying it. It felt overly long which was a problem as I really did not enjoy being inside main character Linda‘s head, and we get no other perspectives! I guessed one twist then the other came very quickly at the end, then it was over (leaving me unclear as to quite what had just happened). I‘m not sure this kind of cosy/quirky/darkly funny crime caper is for me.

squirrelbrain That‘s a shame. I haven‘t read it, but loved this one. 6mo
JillR @squirrelbrain I haven‘t read that one. I was so disappointed with this one as I thought I‘d enjoy it 🤷‍♀️ 6mo
29 likes2 comments
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JillR
Antarctica | Claire Keegan
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Pickpick

“‘You and your books,‘ they say, shaking their heads, squeezing the good out of the teabags.” My first book by this author, and her first book; a collection of short stories. I‘m now desperate to read her novels, the writing was perfection. I don‘t normally enjoy short stories but these were perfect to dip into. That said I get invested, then they end, and it always leaves me feeling a little muddled.

squirrelbrain Oh you‘ll enjoy her novels, although most are novellas anyway. I got this not long ago on Kindle but haven‘t read it yet. 6mo
rachelk Claire Keegan is my favorite ‘new to me‘ author this year. 6mo
35 likes3 stack adds2 comments
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JillR
All Change | Elizabeth Jane Howard
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Pickpick

“The fifth and final volume”. And with that, this epic series has finished. I‘ve adored each of these books and the sprawling, privileged, sad, funny and messy family they introduced me to. I‘m so sad it‘s ended. I‘ve been saving this last one up all year, then when I finally started it I read it too fast in big greedy gulps. Very tempted to go right back to the beginning and start again.

LeeRHarry I really enjoyed this series too. 😊 6mo
andrew61 Great series I plan to read this one next year and will be sad to leave the family behind. 6mo
TrishB I‘m going to give this series another go as I just couldn‘t get into the first one. But so many seem to love it. 6mo
See All 7 Comments
JillR @trishb please do try again, I‘ve loved them so much! There‘s lots of characters to keep track of, but a handy recap and list at the start of each book. I feel a bit bereft now I‘ve finished… 6mo
JillR @andrew61 I really didn‘t want it to end. Unusually for me, I‘m thinking how great it would be if a younger writer took up the mantle and continued the series, would love to see them beyond 1958! 6mo
MaureenMc Such a fantastic series! 6mo
DimeryRene I love the lighting in this photo!! 6mo
37 likes7 comments
review
JillR
Housekeeping: A Novel | Marilynne Robinson
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Mehso-so

I‘ve been intrigued by this author for a while but something was stopping me. I should have listened to the stop sign 😆. I‘ve read the reviews, I kind of get the idea; the loneliness, transience and potential beauty of it. For me though, I didn‘t understand it one bit! I read a review that said “this is literature so high you‘ll get a crick in your neck…” which made me both laugh and rub my sore neck. I‘ll leave it at that…

TrishB Great review! 6mo
JillR Thank you! Goodness, this one was hard going! I only finished because it was a book group read. Turns out we all felt the same… 6mo
Deblovestoread I‘m in the same camp as you. I have read a couple of her others which are better than Housekeeping. This one is excellent in my opinion 6mo
JillR @Deblovestoread I‘m not sure I can face another one 😆. But you never know, so thank you for the recommendation! 6mo
39 likes4 comments
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JillR
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Pickpick

So, here we go with a cheesy Christmas romance. Setting myself up for my usual romance-disappointment perhaps? Actually, no! Yes, I did some eye rolling. Yes, there was a part of the storyline I just couldn‘t buy into. But - and maybe it‘s the Christmas spirit, or maybe I‘ve not got a heart of stone after all - it got me in the end, I embraced it for what it was, I loved it and I cried FOUR times. Excellent (DO NOT READ ON THE TRAM THO😆😭)

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JillR
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Pickpick

You know this isn‘t going to be an easy read from the start. But it is also sweet, funny, snarky, and really quite lovely. There‘s a lot more about life in this little book than you‘d perhaps expect. There‘s also the privileged-New-Yorker-self-absorption which should be annoying yet I always fall for. But, your heart will break; proceed with caution if you need to be gentle with yourself regarding grief. And do not read on the train 😳

BarbaraBB A beautiful book 💔 7mo
squirrelbrain I loved this one. 💔 7mo
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JillR
Our Missing Hearts | Celeste Ng
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Pickpick

I do love some dystopian fiction, and this was v good. Sweet and lyrical; I really enjoyed the writing. The portrayal of a near future in the US feels timely and prescient, with a frightening risk of it being a reality. I loved the librarians quietly and steadfastly searching, and I fell for sweet Bird and his own search for his mother.

TrishB Great review 👍🏻 I loved this one too. 7mo
JillR @trishb it was a nice surprise too, as I think I was in the minority who didn‘t love Little Fires 7mo
42 likes2 comments
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JillR
No Honour | AWAIS. KHAN
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Pickpick

This was such a sad story of Abida, who faces an honour killing because she falls pregnant before marriage. She is able to escape but then faces untold dangers in Lahore. The relationship between Abida and her father was touching and tender, and the story an important one to be heard. However, I did find some of the writing a little melodramatic and some elements of the final third implausible, but I‘m perhaps being nit picky as per.

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JillR
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Pickpick

Going back for a reread of Maggie O‘Farrells‘s fourth book and feeling like she really started hitting her stride with this one. It‘s such a sad, yet at times sweet, story of Esme, perceived as a “difficult” child and placed in an asylum at 16. Her great-niece Iris is only told about her 60 years later, and slowly Esme‘s awful story is revealed. A beautifully told story👇

JillR I loved Mary Lennox in The Secret Garden and it made me inordinately sad to read a review that felt this may be the author‘s take on what may have happened to Mary had she not found that garden and some happiness… 7mo
TrishB Lovely review ♥️ 7mo
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JillR
Mexican Gothic | Silvia Moreno-Garcia
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Mehso-so

Another creepy, weird read - can you tell I tried to do some spooky Halloween reading but am a bit behind? The title sums up the feel of this, which I enjoyed. The creaky old house in the Mexican mountains, the rain, the mist, the odd family who barely speak. But when it took a turn to the weird - the dreams, the fungus, the mushrooms - I just wasn‘t feeling it and nearly gave up. A satisfying ending but I‘m not sure this genre is for me.

TrishB I bailed on this one so well done for finishing! 7mo
squirrelbrain I finished this one (as I nearly always do! 🙄) but didn‘t really like it. 7mo
JillR @trishb @squirrelbrain I very nearly bailed halfway through but was having a stressful work week and thought my mood would spoil anything new I started, so I may as well plod on with this one 😆. I didn‘t hate it, but was fairly unimpressed overall… 7mo
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WaterVixxen Since it was an audio book, I didn‘t bail - but thought about it. Fell asleep at one point and didn‘t feel like I missed anything 7mo
JillR @watervixxen the fact you could sleep through some and not miss anything 😆 7mo
WaterVixxen @JillR I know! LOL 😂 7mo
37 likes6 comments
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JillR
Our Wives Under the Sea | Julia Armfield
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Pickpick

“Romantic horror” I‘ve seen this described as. Told from the alternating perspectives of Leah, a marine biologist trapped in the depths on a submarine mission gone wrong, and her wife Miri who recounts the aftermath. Weird. Very readable despite the weirdness, yet also baffling and unnerving. Still gathering my thoughts but secretly I think what I really wanted but didn‘t know it was an under-the-sea submarine drama a la The Meg 😳

Tamra My audio hold just came in for this one. 😃 7mo
32 likes1 comment
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JillR
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Pickpick

We follow Cristabel, Flossie and Digby‘s upbringing on a dilapidated country estate, where the care their self-absorbed parents should have provided is often replaced by their bohemian friends. WWII intervenes but their paths continue to cross and intertwine as the three find their way as adults in a world at war. At times this didn‘t feel like anything new, but there‘s a darkness and quirkiness I enjoyed, so overall a very good read 👇

JillR This has comparisons with the Cazalet Chronicles with a darker bohemian side, a bit of Kate Atkinson, and a smidgeon of Great Circle. A great comfort read. 8mo
LeeRHarry Your mention of the Cazalet Chronicles has me intrigued. 8mo
TrishB Have this on my kindle 👍🏻 great review. 8mo
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squirrelbrain I got this as an ARC and never read it. Your review makes me think it will be worth reading, but maybe not to rush to it! ☺️ 8mo
JillR @squirrelbrain it‘s definitely worth a read and I *think* you‘ll like it. If my review sounded at all negative I think it‘s only because I‘m partway through Cazalet Chronicles (which I love) and this isn‘t quite those books. Yet but for that I think I‘d have given this 5 ⭐️ 8mo
JillR Thanks @trishb 😊 8mo
JillR @LeeRHarry Cazalet Chronicles have been my go-to comfort read series, I love them. Just book 5 to go and I‘m saving it as I‘m not ready for them to end! 8mo
41 likes7 comments
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JillR
Prep: A Novel | Curtis Sittenfeld
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Pickpick

After a slow start I couldn‘t put this down. Main character Lee is so self-absorbed and most of the time she‘s just plain awful, yet at the same time the entire awful awkwardness of those teenage years comes rushing back, it‘s so perfectly described here. I was constantly nodding or wincing at the author‘s understanding of Lee, and of being a teenager. “I always worried someone would notice me, and then when no one did, I felt lonely”. Loved it.

BarbaraBB Beautiful photo 🥰. I still need to read this one 8mo
squirrelbrain I loved this too but read it years ago. It‘s one I keep thinking about re-reading, even though I never re-read! 8mo
JillR @squirrelbrain I rarely reread either (too many books!) although I‘m slowly trying to reread Maggie O‘Farrell‘s backlist, and have a couple of other books I know I loved but barely remember so think justify the time too! 8mo
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