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JillR

JillR

Joined March 2017

review
JillR
True Crime Story | Joseph Knox
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I hated it, I loved it, I didn‘t get it, I couldn‘t put it down. Not at all what I was expecting; this scared me to death and made me do some eye rolling at the same time. Everyone was awful, most of them quite probably lying, and it was increasingly compelling. It certainly shakes up the psychological thriller genre (and me, yes I did check under the bed before I turned the light out…)

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JillR
Kindred | Octavia Butler
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I‘ll admit, when we picked this for our book club read this month I wasn‘t sure. 1970s Sci-Fi; I‘m not sure that‘s my thing. How wrong I was. I loved it. Such accessible, modern writing. Such an incredibly powerful story about slavery, power, race and so much more.

TrishB I had the same feeling- but a great read. 4d
Cathythoughts Great review 👍🏻 You make me want to read it! 4d
Cathythoughts Stacked 4d
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JillR @trishb definitely 3d
JillR @cathythoughts the subject matter is not easy, but it‘s very easy to read 3d
Cathythoughts Sounds like a good Bookclub choice 👍🏻 3d
JillR @cathythoughts yes it was a good one to discuss :) 3d
41 likes1 stack add7 comments
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JillR
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A maternity ward in the midst of a pandemic, overwhelmed staff and the fear of a nation. 2020? No, this is historical fiction based on the Spanish flu of 1918. I really enjoyed it; a short beautifully written book set over just 3 days entirely within the “maternity fever” ward; it perfectly captures the fear and claustrophobia of the situation, with a touch of Republicanism and suffrage, and a truly heartbreaking/heartwarming story.

emmaturi Such a great book, still remember lots about it even though read it a few years ago. 1w
JillR @emmaturi I‘ve found Emma Donoghue books a bit hit and miss for me, but really liked this one. Nice to read a short book sometimes too! (edited) 1w
44 likes1 stack add2 comments
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JillR
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What a lovely, gentle, sad and funny book. I made the mistake of finishing it on the train, there were tears. We meet Daniel as a young boy, anxious and stressed by his transient life with his young mother Eve. They fall into friendship with new neighbours and they have hopes for the future, then suddenly it‘s over again, they‘re moving on. We meet Daniel again then at 40 and, well, no spoilers so I‘ll leave it there, but please read this!

JillR @squirrelbrain I picked this up on your recommendation, loved it as you can see, thank you! 2w
squirrelbrain Oh, I‘m so glad you loved it! Bad move to read it on the train though…😬 2w
JillR @squirrelbrain getting to emotional parts of books often seems to coincide with me being on public transport 🤦‍♀️ 2w
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AnneCecilie This book caught me by surprise and I totally loved it 1w
BarbaraBB A lovely and intriguing review 🤍 1w
JillR @AnneCecilie me too 😊 1w
JillR @BarbaraBB it really was a lovely book 1w
37 likes1 stack add7 comments
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JillR
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Continuing the daft will-they-won‘t-they theme of the previous two books. Still completely loved it. Still not sorry.

Cathythoughts It‘s great you‘re loving it ! ♥️ 2w
JillR @cathythoughts These are becoming my guilty secret comfort reading books. Although not a guilty secret really, never guilty about books! 2w
40 likes2 comments
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JillR
Breasts and Eggs | Mieko Kawakami
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Translated Japanese fiction exploring what it is to be a woman, a mother, a parent; touching on career crises, financial stalemate and being overlooked in the workplace due to age? Yes please! I didn‘t always “get” some elements of this, but I‘m loving exploring contemporary Japanese women-authored fiction. I love the pared-back writing style. I also have lots of love for this cover.

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JillR
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Mehso-so

This was easy reading and in general I quite liked the main characters‘ differing perspectives and the view offered of life in Afghanistan. That said I didn‘t particularly like the lightness of the writing, and never fully understood the presence of the British/American characters. I wanted more from Yazmina and Halajan and the very real hardships they faced, and maybe a little less of the sweetness. Not a particularly memorable read overall.

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JillR
The Most Fun We Ever Had | Claire Lombardo
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I loved this; an epic family saga, the ups and downs of family life, the bond between four sisters living in the shadow of their parents‘ seemingly perfect relationship. I was constantly changing my perspective on each character‘s motivations as the story switched through time. The writing was perfection; my only complaint is this was perhaps a little too long and there‘s only so many times I can read about how much those parents love each other.

TrishB I loved this too and had the same complaints!! 1mo
Cathythoughts I really enjoyed this one , and yes to you and @TrishB a bit tooo long. Definitely a pick though. 1mo
JillR @trishb @cathythoughts I do love a long book, but just didn‘t feel this one needed to be… 1mo
41 likes3 comments
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JillR
Book Lovers | Emily Henry
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Mehso-so

I‘m so disappointed I didn‘t love this. As with other romance books I‘ve read I just couldn‘t do the overblown writing and metaphors (“like a concrete slab that‘s just been snapped in half, only to realise my insides never quite set”) and the unrealistic motivations of the main character. I spent much of it eye rolling rather than swooning and guessed the plot early on. Not for me, yet I feel disappointed in myself that I couldn‘t just enjoy it!

Caroline2 I‘m the same with rom-coms lately. They‘re so predictable, I just can‘t get interested?! 🤷‍♀️ 1mo
JillR @caroline2 I agree, and I so often find the writing style irritating too. Shall skip the genre for now I think! 1mo
41 likes2 comments
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JillR
The Farm: A Novel | Joanne Ramos
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The Farm, where surrogates live in luxury whilst they bear the babies of the wealthy for a healthy bonus. Or do they? This was immediately gripping and gets darker and darker. You think it could be some dystopian future, but I suspect it‘s very much not. Scary and timely.

TrishB I enjoyed this one 👍🏻 2mo
Caroline2 Me too. 👍 2mo
39 likes2 comments
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JillR
Winchelsea | Alex Preston
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“Murder, treason and illicit embraces…chases, battles and perilous high-seas skulduggery…international espionage, a whisper of witchcraft, and a cast of orphans, rogues and redcoats.” I admit the chases, battles and skulduggery lost me at times but at it‘s heart this was Goody‘s story, and what a heartbreaking yet hopeful story it is “…recognising that I felt most comfortable neither as woman nor man, but in the space between.”

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JillR
Magpie | Elizabeth Day
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Psychological dramas are not my favourite genre and I was feeling smug that 100 or so pages in I‘d figured this one out. Or had I? Turns out I hadn‘t at all. The writing was great, and I like that it got me!

Cathythoughts Nice review. I do love a psychological drama , and the writing is good you say .. stacked 👍🏻 2mo
JillR @cathythoughts I was pleasantly surprised by this one 2mo
Cathythoughts Just got it , 99p on kindle 🎉 2mo
JillR @cathythoughts 👍 let me know what you think… 2mo
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JillR
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Through 1939, 1960 and 1991 we follow Aoife, Rosaleen and Kate from Ireland to London and back again. This is all of their stories but predominantly is the sad but moving story of Rosaleen‘s pregnancy at nineteen, and the Convent which was her only way out yet the source of so much pain. The writing was initially a little confusing due to shifting timelines, but overall this is a beautiful story of mothers, daughters and secrets.

Cathythoughts Sounds sad and lovely ❤️ 2mo
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JillR
The Bread the Devil Knead | Lisa Allen-Agostini
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A really moving and compelling story of Alethea, who is subject to domestic abuse and sees no way out. Despite the difficult subject matter I found this this a warm and uplifting story and loved the writing.
And there we have it, I‘ve read the Women‘s Prize shortlist and am feeling quite pleased with myself! What a brilliant range of books.

Cathythoughts Great review Jill 👍🏻♥️ 2mo
JillR Thanks @cathythoughts 😊 2mo
TrishB Well done 👍🏻 2mo
JillR @trishb nothing like setting myself a challenge I haven‘t really got time for 😆 2mo
BarbaraBB Impressive! Well done 👍🏽 2mo
39 likes5 comments
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JillR
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Oh I loved this. The awkward, uncertain love stories, the complicated parents, the love and friendship between Alice and Eileen. The distant third person writing style. I wasn‘t quite so sure about the existential angst of Alice and Eileen‘s back and forth email exchanges, but they fitted perfectly into the whole. The person who dislikes TV adaptations is now eagerly waiting to see if the BBC are going to treat us to this one.

sprainedbrain Great review. ❤️ 3mo
JillR Thank you @squirrelbrain 😊 2mo
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JillR
Songs in Ursa Major | Emma Brodie
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Sunny weekend reading bliss. A folk music festival in 1969, the start of a music career for Janie Q and The Breakers under the shining star of established musician Jesse Reid, this is fiction loosely based on Joni Mitchell. Think Daisy Jones & The Six/A Star is Born/Greatest Hits. Loved it. Might have cried.

emmaturi I have read it recently too and loved it! 3mo
squirrelbrain I‘ve got this on Kindle and plan to read it for a #pop22 prompt - glad to hear it‘s so good! 3mo
JillR @squirrelbrain a great quick easy read. Just what I needed after struggling a bit with my last few books! 3mo
JillR @emmaturi a love a good easy read like this one 3mo
38 likes2 stack adds4 comments
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JillR
The Braid | Laetitia Colombani
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A snapshot of the lives of three women; one Indian, one Sicilian and one Canadian. Their lives are entirely different, they never meet, yet a connection slowly emerges. A short, sweet story.

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JillR
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I‘ve got mixed feelings. Whilst I liked and sympathised with the main characters, to me their story was one of a spiral into grief and mental ill health and for much of it I struggled to understand the talking inanimate objects and just felt frustrated I wasn‘t getting it. The last 100 pages turned it around and left me feeling surprisingly teary and nostalgic for a book I just finished and hadn‘t really enjoyed! The great weirdness of reading!

squirrelbrain Great review Jill! Kind of how I felt too…it was my least favourite from the #womensprize shortlist (and of course it won!) but it almost redeemed itself at the end. 3mo
JillR @squirrelbrain thank you 😊. I didn‘t fancy this one from first seeing it, but when it won I felt I owed it a read! My least favourite from the shortlist so far too. I‘ve just got The Bread the Devil Knead left from the list to read now, what did you think of it? 3mo
JillR @squirrelbrain *the shortlist, I don‘t think I‘ll make it through the longlist! 3mo
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squirrelbrain I loved The Bread! I had Sorrow and Bliss at the top of my list, but Bread came a close second and, actually, has stayed with me for longer. 3mo
JillR @squirrelbrain I‘m out book shopping tomorrow so it‘s going on the list! Great Circle is top for me so far, followed by Sorrow & Bliss 3mo
Kristin_Reads Just finished this and I got teary, too! 1mo
JillR @kristin_reads how did you find the book generally? 1mo
37 likes7 comments
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JillR
The Sentence | Louise Erdrich
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Louise Erdrich is a new-to-me author, and at first I wasn‘t sure her writing was for me; it made me feel fidgety and I couldn‘t settle to it. But I stuck with it and am so glad I did. Extremely current, the story spans prisons, Covid and lockdown, George Floyd and Trump, Native Americans and protests…and also ghosts. At heart though this is Tookie‘s story, and the story of a bookshop and its books. The characters were so good, and a great story.

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JillR
Marking Time | Elizabeth Jane Howard
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Volume two of the Cazalet Chronicles doesn‘t disappoint. The focus this time is the Cazalet grandchildren as they navigate WWII and the change in family dynamics that comes with it. I loved that the child‘s-eye view gave us only snippets of what was going on with the adults we met in volume one. The writing is just so relaxing; comfortingly old-fashioned, yet not dated. Perfect comfort reading.

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JillR
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My family were quite perturbed seeing this one lying around! I‘ve had a disjointed couple of weeks reading due to the distraction of a new job; this one fit the bill perfectly. Easy to pick up, amusingly snarky and with a nice little twist.

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JillR
People Person | Candice Carty-Williams
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Mehso-so

You know those stories where someone makes a bad decision, then everything that follows just gets worse and worse, with more bad (and sometimes here, implausible) decisions? I just can‘t cope with those stories. I never get the reason for the escalating bad decisions and the control freak in me is just wanting to sort it all out. I was hoping for a family saga with this one, but instead just got stressed!

Cathythoughts Oh dear not good. Great review 👍🏻 4mo
JillR @cathythoughts I was really quite disappointed with this one. It was a book club read and we all felt the same… 4mo
TrishB That‘s a bit disappointing ☹️ 4mo
JillR @trishb I know, I didn‘t know whether it was just me, but everyone in our book club felt the same (always a relief when you‘re worried you‘ll be the only one saying you didn‘t like a book!) 4mo
34 likes4 comments
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JillR
Great Circle | Maggie Shipstead
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I spend my reading life searching for books like this one. Books that completely consume me and I can‘t put down. Marian Graves is our main character; an aspiring aviator in the 1930s, who has a complicated and troubled background. Her story is interspersed with that of film star Hadley who is to play Marian in the biopic of her life. That little summary doesn‘t do the epic scope or intensity of the story and characters justice; I loved it!

Cathythoughts Great review 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 4mo
TrishB Great review 👍🏻 I loved it too. 4mo
Freespirit It looks great!! 4mo
42 likes2 stack adds3 comments
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JillR
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And now for a complete change! Well it is the Jubilee after all. I thought I knew what I was getting with this, a fictional take on the story of Marion Crawford, Governess to the Queen and Princess Margaret, but was surprised to find unexpected feminism, suffrage, poverty and an aspiring Communist in the first few chapters! Nothing groundbreaking here but overall quite an interesting read.

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JillR
Malibu Rising | Taylor Jenkins Reid
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Just what I needed; a gossipy page turner/family saga, which in parts was unexpectedly sad. The writing was a bit melodramatic at times , and for me it didn‘t live up to Daisy Jones & The Six which I loved, but I‘m being picky, this is a great holiday read.

LeeRHarry This is still my favourite book this year - a case of right book at the right time 😊 4mo
JillR @leerharry I didn‘t completely fall in love with this one, but it was the easy read I was looking for. I do love a “right book/right time” match! 4mo
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JillR
My Lover's Lover | Maggie O'Farrell
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I‘ve read every novel Maggie O‘Farrell has written, and credit her with getting me started as an adult reader, but I read her early ones such a long time ago I don‘t remember them. So, I‘m doing a reread - this one first! What‘s interesting is I didn‘t love this one now - I found the story a bit odd and the writing overdone - but remember loving it all those years ago in 2003. (2003! There‘s smoking in pubs, and landlines!)

Cathythoughts A long time ago 😃… smoking in pubs was awful! Interesting how you found the reread. 4mo
JillR @Cathythoughts I know, and cinemas too, you can‘t imagine it now! 4mo
Tamra 😅 I‘m often afraid to reread for this reason. But, it‘s a gift to grow as a reader. I remember the public smoking too! Ugh, so gross now to think about. 4mo
40 likes3 comments
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JillR
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I enjoyed the story of Klara, an Artificial Friend, as she finds a home with Josie and helps her navigate illness and growing up. We hear only Klara‘s perspective and she‘s the perfect unreliable narrator. I liked that we don‘t really know the full story of what is going on in the world - whether this is an alternate reality or a more dystopian future - but just see snippets as Klara sees things.

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JillR
Fault Lines | Emily Itami
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A novel about motherhood, marriage and loss of identity set against a Tokyo background, with a sweet but forbidden love story slowly developing. I really enjoyed this; for its sharp (and very truthful) insights and melancholy sadness as well as being quite funny too. I‘m loving Japanese and Korean fiction right now.

charl08 Adding this to the wishlist. I have also been reading Japanese and Korean lit recently. 5mo
JillR @charl08 me too, and I‘ve loved everything I‘ve read so far, any recommendations? I particularly liked Kim Jiyoung and Convenience Store Woman 5mo
charl08 Do you read graphic novels? This one was a hard read, but beautiful artwork. 5mo
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charl08 I liked the way this novel was told from the perspective of an older woman, who had many prejudices but also compassion. 5mo
charl08 I'm not sure how easy this one is to get hold of - Korean dystopia. 5mo
JillR @charl08 thank you! I‘ll check those out. I don‘t tend to read graphic novels, although my kids love them :) 5mo
charl08 @JillR this GN is about the awful experiences of so called "comfort women" during WW2, so I should probably add a health warning re the subject matter. 5mo
39 likes7 comments
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JillR
Remote Sympathy | Catherine Chidgey
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A sobering yet not sensational or judgemental story of those in and around Buchenwald “model camp”, how they bought into what they were being told from those in charge, and from propaganda. Told from the perspectives of Greta and Dietrich, an officer at the camp, and Dr Weber who is of distant Jewish descent, this is extremely well done historical fiction that still, unfortunately, felt timely today.

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JillR
Sorrow and Bliss | Meg Mason
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There‘s been so much fuss about this one that I nearly did that annoying thing I do of avoiding it completely only later to realise I missed out. Anyway, I read it. I went in sceptical; came out in love. Near perfection in the writing and the portrayal of such beautiful relationships against the background of mental illness. And I cried on the tram through the whole Peregrine section.

squirrelbrain Great review, as ever, Jill. This was my favourite from the longlist, so it‘s still my pick to win the #womensprize. 5mo
BarbaraBB This sounds so good. Thanks for putting this on my radar! 5mo
Cathythoughts Great review 👍🏻♥️ I loved this book too. 5mo
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JillR @squirrelbrain thank you 😊. I‘ve been loving your Womens Prize reviews as I‘m slowly lagging behind 😆. I loved this so much I‘m hopeful it could win, although I‘ve only read The Island of Missing Trees from the shortlist so far so can‘t compare with the others yet! 5mo
JillR @barbarabb I loved it, hope you do too 😊 5mo
JillR @cathythoughts thank you 😊 5mo
squirrelbrain The Sentence is a close second for me Jill, but this made my favourites of 2021 as well. 5mo
EvieBee Nice review! I do the same thing. In this case, I only read it because I hadn‘t heard too much about it lol! And of course, ended up as one of my 2021 faves. (edited) 5mo
JillR @eviebee I‘ve realised I do it a lot, then annoy myself when I miss out on a good one as a result 😆 5mo
JillR @squirrelbrain I‘m going to try and get that one from the library, have never read Louise Erdich for some reason 5mo
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JillR
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Winnie moves to Saigon to teach. She feels an invisible outsider and then she disappears. Winnie‘s story is told in a fragmented timeline interspersed with the stories of numerous others which slowly come together. There is lots of vomit and, erm, hair. There are snakes, ghosts and mysterious smoke. It can be unsettling and unpleasant, and at times it veers into horror. Overall it wasn‘t for me, but was very clever 👇

JillR The author cites David Mitchell as an influence, and at times there was a touch of Stephen King. I also read a review that compared the smoke to elements of TV show Lost. So if you love those things, you may well love this! 5mo
squirrelbrain My thoughts too Jill - not for me, but very good! A bit too clever for me…. I didn‘t know what was going on a lot of the time! 😁 5mo
JillR Me too @squirrelbrain, no idea at times, wished I‘d taken notes! This read was for our book club and most of the others really enjoyed it. I must admit I thought this might make the Womens Prize shortlist even though I didn‘t love it 5mo
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TrishB @JillR @squirrelbrain I couldn‘t finish it! 5mo
squirrelbrain Yes, I put it on ‘my‘ shortlist too, even though it was much further down the list in terms of my favourites. You know me @TrishB - I *have* to finish a book, it‘s very rare that I bail! 🤣 5mo
JillR @trishb @squirrelbrain I‘ll be honest, if this wasn‘t a book club read (that I suggested!) I might have bailed, but actually overall I‘m glad I didn‘t. One of those books I feel I should get a little prize for finishing 😆 5mo
JillR @trishb on an entirely different note I‘m meeting my book club for the very first time IRL in Liverpool today - am I right that‘s where you are? Any hidden gem bookshops we should know about?! 😊 5mo
TrishB News From Nowhere on Bold Street 😁 there is also a big Oxfam on Bold Street with a good selection of books! Enjoy. 5mo
JillR @trishb fab, thank you! 📚 5mo
JillR Loved News from Nowhere @trishb and got a Maggie O‘Farrell in Oxfam to add to my slowly growing collection of her back catalogue, thanks for the tips! 5mo
TrishB Oh cool 👍🏻 glad it was a good day. 5mo
39 likes11 comments
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JillR
Lean Fall Stand | Jon McGregor
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This starts out as a dramatic Antarctic disaster then very quickly we‘re back home with Doc. He‘s had a stroke and is struggling to communicate. We hear from his wife, Anna, of the unexpected taking over of care responsibilities. The fact Doc came back, but also didn‘t. There is such a sense of frustration and claustrophobia. I think I‘ll read anything Jon McGregor writes; the prose here was just hypnotic

squirrelbrain Sounds wonderful; I‘ve loved all his previous books too, so stacked. 5mo
TrishB Oh I have this on the pile- you may have pushed it up a bit! 5mo
BarbaraBB What @TrishB says! And my absolute favorite McGregor still is 5mo
JillR @trishb @squirrelbrain @BarbaraBB enjoy! I haven‘t read that one, I‘ll keep an eye out for it… 5mo
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JillR
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A sweet sad love story set amongst war ravaged Cyprus, which is in part narrated by a fig tree (this is not as weird as it sounds!) I enjoyed it yet for some reason it didn‘t quite capture my heart, not even that beautiful fig 👇

JillR Many elements of this to me felt like mix between a Victoria Hislop book and Richard Powers‘ The Overstory (which I absolutely loved) and I think that influenced my overall view… 5mo
squirrelbrain Definitely felt a bit Hislop-y to me too! 5mo
Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks Beautiful cover 💙💛 5mo
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JillR @squirrelbrain I‘m glad you think that too. Having read it, as much as I enjoyed it, I‘m a little surprised it made the shortlist… 5mo
JillR @Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks I always fall for a good cover! 5mo
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JillR
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Panpan

Nope. Not for me this one. The characters were all despicable and parts of the plot made me very uncomfortable. Moving on!

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JillR
My Monticello: Fiction | Jocelyn Nicole Johnson
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This semi-dystopian fiction takes place during just a few days in which a group of neighbours find themselves seeking shelter in the former home of Thomas Jefferson after a rampage by white supremacists. This group of people are fighting for their lives and futures whilst the main character also struggles with seeking refuge in the place where her ancestors were kept as slaves. Short, sharp and compelling 👇

JillR I thought this had vibes of Leave the World Behind and Station 11, yet still being completely of itself. (edited) 6mo
Cinfhen Great review ♥️#stacked 6mo
JillR Thanks @cinfhen! 6mo
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Megabooks I picked this up after @Hooked_on_books ‘s review and am really looking forward to it. Excellent review! 6mo
JillR Thanks @megabooks - I‘m not sure where I heard about this one, but it‘s a good one! 6mo
TrishB This sounds fab 👍🏻 6mo
Hooked_on_books Yes, this one is great! Love your review! 6mo
squirrelbrain I picked this up in a bookshop yesterday but it‘s very slim, so thought it might be a #borrownotbuy. (Or wait until the paperback comes out). 6mo
JillR @squirrelbrain yes, it‘s very slim, under 200 pages. I don‘t usually buy hardback but got this on a super-good offer just after Christmas 6mo
TrishB @squirrelbrain currently Qd.99 on Amazon for hardback. 6mo
squirrelbrain Oh, bad @TrishB ! *trots off to Amazon* 6mo
TrishB @squirrelbrain 😂😂 I looked out of curiosity….. 6mo
squirrelbrain I *may* have ordered it! @TrishB Did you?! 6mo
TrishB @squirrelbrain of course 😁😁 6mo
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JillR
Exciting Times | Naoise Dolan
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Mehso-so

I didn‘t find this very exciting, but I really don‘t think I was the target audience. I struggled with the main character‘s intense introspection and self-analysis and yet her failure to do anything about what she disliked about her life. It was wry and amusing at times though and it slowly grew on me. Younger me may have read and appreciated this completely differently I suspect.

squirrelbrain I was put off this one by the Sally Rooney comparisons so haven‘t bothered yet…. 6mo
JillR I loved Normal People, and disliked Conversations with Friends. There were some similarities here with CoF… 6mo
mija333 @jillR totally agree that this is identically bad as it ends with us 2w
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JillR
Whereabouts | Jhumpa Lahiri
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A spare, simple novella. An unnamed woman in an unnamed Italian city talks of fragments of her daily life chapter by chapter; her local cafe, her office, an encounter with a potential lover, her loneliness yet desire for solitude. We never learn much about her but she does tentatively dip into her childhood. Nothing like the other books I‘ve read by this author (I loved The Namesake in particular), this was both sad and strangely soothing.

squirrelbrain Great review. I loved this one but haven‘t read any others by the author. 6mo
JillR @squirrelbrain Thank you ☺️. I really loved The Namesake, in fact I think it was one of my favourite reads of last year. Completely different to this one. I‘ve also read and enjoyed The Lowland 6mo
squirrelbrain I‘ll stack both of those and hope to get to them ‘some‘ day! Thanks Jill! 6mo
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JillR
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The blurb made this sound like too light a take on a difficult subject, however whilst it was extremely readable - I raced through it in two days - it is a beautifully written story of Bess, in long term foster care, who finds herself pregnant and not knowing where to turn. It made me incredibly sad and at times angry, but Bess offers an important and ultimately hopeful voice, taking control perhaps for the first time in her life.

TrishB I see I already have stacked 👍🏻 sounds good. 6mo
JillR @trishb I enjoyed it. The blurb made it sounds a bit light (in a bad way), but I thought it was well done. Slowly trying to work through the Women‘s Prize longlist! 6mo
TrishB I have just brought a hardback copy for Qe! Bargain. I didn‘t intend to work my way through the list but seem to be doing ? 6mo
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JillR @trishb bargain! I liked the sound of quite a few, and had read a couple already, so set myself a little bookish challenge (like my list isn‘t long enough already 😬) 6mo
squirrelbrain You keep getting these bargain hardbacks @TrishB ! 6mo
squirrelbrain I too enjoyed this one Jill, although I don‘t think it will make my shortlist. I‘ve only got one more to read on the longlist…. 6mo
TrishB @squirrelbrain I always scroll through though the alternative sellers and get lucky sometimes 😁 6mo
JillR @squirrelbrain that‘s impressive reading! I‘ve managed two so far haha. What‘s been your favourite? 6mo
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JillR
The Little House | Kyoko Nakajima
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Pickpick

One I‘m still puzzling over! Taki is maid to the Hirai family in Tokyo in the lead up to WW2 and looks back on her life with them in their little house with the red tiled roof. I‘ve been enjoying some Japanese fiction in translation and loved the premise of this but initially found it falling oddly flat. Yet then in the final third things start to be explained and almost another story emerges, leaving me feeling quite emotional.

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JillR
Open Water | Caleb Azumah Nelson
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Music and film weave their way through this story which is told in the second person and without naming the main characters. Initially I felt somewhat distanced from what I was reading, yet was then pulled into this intimate and at times devastating story of a love, and of life as a young Black man in London. Our unnamed protagonist is desperate to be seen, yet terrified also. This is short, difficult but overwhelmingly a beautifully intense read

TrishB Great review 👍🏻 I really struggled with the second person telling for this one. 6mo
charl08 Loved this one. Must get my own copy to check out some of the art he mentions. 6mo
JillR @trishb I did at first, I was glad it was short otherwise I think it‘d have been more of a struggle. One I‘m glad I read though x 6mo
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JillR
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Pickpick

Vera and Nadezhda face a battle of wills against their elderly father‘s young new wife Valentina. What follows is a story that is in turns darkly funny, a little bit crazy, terribly sad, and then also hopeful. The history of Ukraine and issues of immigration and memory weave through what is at heart a family story (confession: I skipped the excerpts about the tractors).

TrishB I enjoyed this one 👍🏻 6mo
JillR @trishb I did but our book group really didn‘t! 6mo
TrishB Always the way! 6mo
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JillR
A Town Called Solace | Mary Lawson
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I do love stories like this; a small cast of characters in a small town, all with a dramatic event hovering over them, their lives intertwining. It‘s a quiet story despite the drama in the background and I think I‘d had a good book cry by page 11. This put me in mind of Anne Tyler, and I do love Anne Tyler. Also, the cover 💙

CarolynM Looking forward to this one. 6mo
TrishB I loved this one too ❤️ 6mo
JillR @trishb I‘ve loved both of hers that I‘ve read (this and Crow Lake) 6mo
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JillR
The Light Years | Elizabeth Jane Howard
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The first book in the Cazalet Chronicles introduces us to a huge cast of characters, but the beautifully written vignettes of each one means you feel you know them in no time. Perfect comfort reading with four more books awaiting me 📚

Cinfhen Sound like my type of book! #stacked 6mo
JillR @cinfhen a friend recommended this series and I enjoyed this first one, nice and easy! 6mo
Cinfhen I‘m excited to give it a try 😄thanks for posting & sharing ♥️ 6mo
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TrishB I started this one this week! It‘s in hibernation at the moment as I wasn‘t feeling it because I was having a really bad week. I do intend to go back to it though. Timing! 6mo
LeeRHarry I read this series last year and loved it - hope you continue to enjoy it 😊 6mo
emmaturi I have this on my shelves, I will get to it eventually, but it does sound really interesting. 6mo
JillR @trishb I admit I felt I was dipping in and out at first and it seemed to take me ages to read unusually, but I think that was a combination of work distractions and a huge character list to figure out! Like you say, it can all be in the timing sometimes. Hope you‘re ok and next week is a better one x 6mo
JillR @LeeRHarry that‘s good to hear! A friend recommended the series and I was very lucky that my hints were noted and my husband bought me the set! 6mo
JillR @emmaturi I do love an epic family saga I have to say! 6mo
TrishB Thanks 😘 work is very distracting isn‘t it! 6mo
BookNAround I loved this series. 6mo
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JillR
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An unexpectedly good book to follow Unsettled Ground; we know from the outset that Roderick Macrae has murdered a neighbour. What happened and why is then told by way of statements from neighbours, his own memoir and coverage of his trial. A novel dressed up as true crime, this is a sad story - again of rural poverty and the powers and whims of landowners, albeit this time in the 1860s. Who is telling the truth? Is Roddy insane? I enjoyed this.

Cathythoughts Great review! I enjoyed this one 7mo
Cathythoughts I‘m looking forward to Unsettled Ground too 7mo
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JillR
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Pickpick

This was a very intense read. One I didn‘t always look forward to reading but was gripped by once I picked it up. A story of love, friendship and motherhood amidst the trans community; it made me uncomfortable at times, but feeling uncomfortable reading about something that is not your own experience is no bad thing.

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JillR
Unsettled Ground | Claire Fuller
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What a book. It starts off with some drama but quietly done, and I thought I knew where this was going, but then the blows kept on coming. I was completely riveted and couldn‘t put it down, my heart in my mouth, raging with anger, and maybe some ugly crying. A snapshot of rural life that is far from the bucolic idyll but more a battle against lack of regular work, poverty, prejudice, cruelty and the whims of landowners. Sad, yet quietly uplifting

TrishB Great review 👍🏻 7mo
JillR Thanks @trishb, have you read this one? 7mo
TrishB No, but you‘ve made me curious! I‘ve read her others so I don‘t know how this one has passed me by. 7mo
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emmaturi This was one of my favourites from last year. 7mo
JillR @trishb I read Bitter Orange and wasn‘t overwhelmed by it, this was much better I thought x 7mo
JillR @emmaturi it‘s high up on my list for this year too. Reminded me a bit of Elmet by Fiona Mozley which I loved, have you read it? 7mo
Tamra I thought the title well suited to the story! 🙂 7mo
JillR @tamra definitely! 7mo
emmaturi No I haven't read Elmet, but I heard of it. @JillR 7mo
41 likes9 comments
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JillR
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Mehso-so

I had high hopes for this one, but I‘m not sure what I just read! The narrator, having left a stressful job, works her way through five “easy” jobs, each becoming more odd as we go along. I enjoyed the prose and style of writing as I have done with other translated Japanese fiction and there were parts I really liked, but overall this was a slow read for me and although the ending was quite satisfying it came too late to completely win me over.

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JillR
Grown Ups | Marian Keyes
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I‘m determined to read more lighter books this year, and to try authors I‘ve never got around to, starting with Marian Keyes. First thoughts: great writing and good fun, yet tackling quite big, serious issues. Yet, this was a great big book, and I didn‘t quite love it. Still pondering over why…

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JillR
The First Woman | Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi
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Mixed feelings about this one; the coming of age story of Kirabo, which begins with her desperate longing to find her mother, and dips back into the lives of her grandparents. I found parts entirely gripping, then parts which struggled to keep my attention and I‘m not entirely sure why. I did however love the exploration of feminism in a patriarchal society and the strong women who fill the story.

TrishB Great review as always 👍🏻 7mo
JillR Ah thank you @trishb 😊 7mo
Cathythoughts Great review 👍❤️ 7mo
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JillR
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Utterly daft with eye rolling will-they-won‘t-they storyline. Loved it. Not sorry.

rockpools 😂😂 8mo
JillR @rockpools I‘m so loving this series, don‘t tell anyone 😉😆 8mo
rockpools @JillR No-one will ever know! 🤫 It sounds fun. 8mo
Cathythoughts So glad your enjoying! I keep me to give the telly version a try ... 8mo
JillR @cathythoughts I actually watched the TV show first, it‘s all good fun! 8mo
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