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Mdion1993

Mdion1993

Joined January 2021

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review
Mdion1993
Daisy Darker | Alice Feeney
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Panpan

Daisy Darker and her family reunite to celebrate her Nana‘s 80th birthday, but events take a dark turn when people are murdered one by one.

Clue ✨ Agatha Christie ✨ Dysfunctional

NOTES: Thrillers are not my thing, but I‘ll keep searching for one that will finally surprise me.

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Mdion1993
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Mehso-so

After his recent release from a juvenile facility, Emmett‘s plans to take his eight year old brother, Billy, to California are derailed when two stowaways steal his studebaker and flee to New York.

Odyssey ✨ Debts ✨ Multilayered

NOTES: This book is long! The overall build up felt dull, but the last 100 pages took me for a loop in a good way. The ending felt jarring and left me thinking. I‘m just not sure it‘s worth the 600 page commitment.

TheSpineView I agree. Too verbose. 1w
6 likes1 comment
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Mdion1993
Book Lovers | Emily Henry
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Mehso-so

Workaholic Nora thinks she‘s escaping the fast paced New York bustle by going on a three week getaway with her younger sister, but instead she runs into her surly work rival and unexpected romance.

Steamy ✨ Banter ✨ Familiar

NOTES: A typical Emily Henry novel - Almost identical to Beach Read, but way better than People We Meet on Vacation. I‘m giving it a so-so review because I think her books follow a similar format that‘s easy to predict.

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Mdion1993
The Secret History | Donna Tartt
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A transfer student joins an exclusive Classics program at Hampden College and finds himself lured in by the dark influences of his colleagues.

Academia ✨ Paranoia ✨ Haunting

NOTES: TSH reminds me of books I read in high school and college, and is meant to be dissected well after the book is finished. Obvious inspiration is driven from The Great Gatsby and Greek tragedies as characters serve as the causes of their own destructive trajectories.

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Mdion1993
Darling Girl | Liz Michalski
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Holly Darling, a descendant of the famous Darling family, suspects Peter Pan is behind her daughter‘s mysterious disappearance.

Motherhood ✨ Sinister ✨ Retelling

NOTES: I found the plot to be slow moving and boring, and felt robbed of a satisfying showdown at the end of the story. I also get incredibly frustrated with stories in which the character creates additional problems just because they refuse to ask for help or call the police.

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Mdion1993
Carrie Soto Is Back | Taylor Jenkins Reid
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One of the most abrasive players in women‘s tennis comes out of retirement to defend her world record.

Athletic ✨ Inspiring ✨ Comeback

NOTES: While “Carrie Soto is Back” felt predictable and cliche at times, I couldn‘t help but get sucked into the intensity of the matches. This book inspired me to get back into shape.

8 likes1 stack add
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Mdion1993
The Shimmering State: A Novel | Meredith Westgate
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Mehso-so

Two recovering addicts who have overdosed on the new, experimental drug, Memoroxin, sift through their corrupted memories at a rehab facility only to find that they may know each other from a time they can no longer remember.

Thoughts: The writing in this book, especially the author‘s description of Los Angeles, is beautiful. However, the book itself feels too long and disjointed to appreciate.

Memory ✨ Addiction ✨ Jumbled

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Mdion1993
Scythe | Neal Shusterman
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Mehso-so

In a dystopian future where mankind has conquered death, Citra Terranova and Rowan Damisch are chosen to be apprentices to a Scythe charged with gleaning people in order to keep the size of the world population under control.

Mortality ✨ Virtue ✨ Action Packed

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Mdion1993
Remarkably Bright Creatures | Shelby Van Pelt
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An unlikely friendship between an octopus, a seventy year old janitor, and her wayward replacement reveals hidden truths about both of their families.

Familial ✨ Aquatic✨ Adrift

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Mdion1993
Us Against You | Fredrik Backman
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A hockey town rebuilds it‘s team in the fallout of a rape scandal.

Consequences ✨ Rivalry ✨ Grief

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Mdion1993
One Of Us Is Lying | Karen McManus
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Four high school students are accused of murder when one of their classmates dies under suspicious circumstances. The Breakfast Club meets Riverdale.

Juvenile ✨ Gossip ✨ Cliche

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Mdion1993
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Pickpick

Childhood friends with a complicated relationship reconnect and decide to make a video game.

Millennial ✨ Gamer ✨ Emotional

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Mdion1993
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Pickpick

A collection of essays and reflections on American life in the 1960s.

Counter Culture ✨ Nostalgic ✨ California

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Mdion1993
Sea of Tranquility: A Novel | Emily St. John Mandel
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Multiple timelines converge when seemingly unconnected characters experience the same time anomaly. An unofficial sequel (or prequel?) to the Glass Hotel.

Speculative ✨ Time Travel ✨ Interwoven

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Mdion1993
Book of Night | Holly Black
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Mehso-so

Charlie Hall, a retired thief, is pulled back into an underground world of shadows and magic after an important book goes missing.

Secretive ✨ Cat and Mouse ✨ Heist

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Mdion1993
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Mehso-so

A personal account from author Joan Didion following the year after her husband‘s sudden death.

Grief ✨ Stream of Consciousness ✨ Retrospective

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Mdion1993
Cloud Cuckoo Land | Anthony Doerr
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An epic novel that follows the preservation of a manuscript over three different points in time - 15th century Constantinople on the brink of war, a present day Idaho town, and a future space expedition on a ship called the Argos.

Expansive ✨ Survival ✨ Rediscovery

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Mdion1993
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Pickpick

A novel that centers on Deaf teenagers and their headmistress as they navigate school, hormones, and civil liberty.

Rebellious ✨ Educational ✨ Bridging

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Mdion1993
Mary Magdalene Revealed | Meggan Watterson
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Panpan

Maggan Watterson oscillates between sermon, personal experience, and reflection as she assesses the Catholic church‘s treatment of women, specifically Mary Magdalene, throughout history.

Introspective ✨ New Wave ✨ Religious

Note: The content of this book is more religious than historical. While it does provide insight on the church‘s treatment of women, it does so under the assumption that Christ is real. Not hateful, just not what I believe.

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Mdion1993
Man's Search for Meaning | Viktor E Frankl
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Viktor E. Frankl discusses his time in Nazi concentration camps and how we can maintain spiritual survival in spite of our environments.

Logos ✨ Spiritual ✨Existential

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Mdion1993
The Maid | Nita Prose
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A lonely and socially awkward maid stumbles upon the dead body of the Regency Grand Hotel‘s wealthiest guest. For fans of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine.

Whodunit✨ Deceptive ✨ Heartwarming

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Mdion1993
Beartown: A Novel | Fredrik Backman
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After an incident at a high school party, a hockey town is forced to confront the culture they‘ve created and the values they‘ve passed down.

Community✨ Allegiance ✨ Slow Burn

CarolynM ❤️ 5mo
10 likes1 comment
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Mdion1993
Fiona and Jane | Jean Chen Ho
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Short stories about two Taiwanese-American friends experiencing the highs and lows of growing up, growing apart, and finding each other again.

Narrative ✨ Growing Pains ✨ Reflective

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Mdion1993
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Mehso-so

Jack Tamerlaine returns home to help his childhood rival speak to the spirits and uncover what is causing the disappearance of young girls on the island.

World Building ✨ Elemental ✨ Legacy

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Mdion1993
Velvet Was the Night | Silvia Moreno-Garcia
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Maite and Elvis are put on a dangerous collision course after they begin investigating the disappearance of Maite‘s neighbor - a young, radical named Leonora.

Noir ✨ Subversive ✨ Shadowy

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Mdion1993
The Last Cuentista | Donna Barba Higuera
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Mehso-so

A thirteen year old girl named Petra leaves a dying Earth with her family in the hopes of colonizing a new planet. But when Petra wakes from hyperspace, her family is missing and she is the only traveler who remembers Earth‘s past. Dystopian ✨ Sentimental ✨ Galactic

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Mdion1993
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Linus Baker, a caseworker for the Department in Charge of Magical Youth, travels to an orphanage on a distant island to determine if it is the safest place for six magical children. An adult book for fans of Roald Dahl. Whimsical ✨ Light Hearted ✨ Warm

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Mdion1993
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Mehso-so

Qian Julie Wang recounts her parents‘ decision to move to Mei Guo (America, literally translated to “Beautiful Country”), and the trauma of growing up “illegal.”
Penetrating ✨ Human ✨ Truthful Quick note: I‘ll be changing my approach to reviews going forward. The ultimate goal is to offer insight, without affecting personal opinion or revealing too much of the story.

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Mdion1993
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One of the best books I‘ve read in years! Incredibly well written, sincere, and complex, WBATE is a story about Walk, a small town cop, and a young girl named Duchess, who find their lives undeniably changed upon the release of Walk‘s childhood friend, Vincent King, from jail. I savored every moment reading this, and I‘ll be recommending this book for a long time.

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Mdion1993
Verity | Colleen Hoover
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Mehso-so

A solid book…until the end. Lowen, a struggling writer, is hired to complete the remaining books in a series written by the famous Verity Crawford. Verity has been in an accident, so Lowen moves into her home to sort through years of notes. However, she quickly learns Verity is not who she seems. This book is creepy, captivating, and disturbing, but when it finally came time for the big reveal/twist, I kept thinking “Really? This?”

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Mdion1993
The People We Keep | Allison Larkin
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A surprisingly emotional story about a drifting teenager who leaves behind her hometown in the hope of finding somewhere to belong. After a nasty fight with her father, April steals her neighbor‘s car and drives to Ithaca, New York, a small college town that ends up being just one of many stops on her journey. This is a story about found family, and the pain of forging our own path.

7 likes1 stack add
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Mdion1993
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Mehso-so

Book Three of A Court of Thorns and Roses series. With the threat of Hybern closer than ever, Feyre faces war and shifting alliances. Like it‘s predecessor, ACOWAR meanders and could be 200 pages shorter. But where ACOMAF offsets the length of 700 pages with exciting romance and new characters, this book chooses action, battles, and strategy. I just happen to prefer the romance part.

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Mdion1993
The Family | Naomi Krupitsky
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Mehso-so

A beautifully written story that chronicles the lives of two friends, from childhood to motherhood to an event that will change their lives forever. Antonia and Sofia are part of The Colicchio Crime Family, living a contradictory life - one full of loyalty to The Family even as they fight against its constraints. A mob story is nothing new, but Krupitsky taps into an emotional earnestness with her prose that is, at times, haunting.

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Mdion1993
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Told from the perspective of an AI robot purchased by a “lifted” child as a companion, Klara and the Sun is a story about what it means to be human even as we desire to evolve. Klara uses her gift of observation to offer thoughtful and innocent commentary on her human, family, and friends, only to wonder if there‘s something innate within them that she‘ll never understand.

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Mdion1993
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Mehso-so

A hard truth I had to overcome when reading this book is that it wasn‘t written for me. This book is about feminism, but it is also a critique on white, cis, capitalist, and individualized feminism where the only issue to discuss is sexism - where basic human needs like food, jobs, and education are assumed rather than fought for. But is feminism truly feminism if it does not consider the needs of all women? Beck asks us to reconsider.

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Mdion1993
We Are the Brennans | Tracey Lange
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Mehso-so

An Irish family must face their past when their wayward daughter comes back home. Told from multiple perspectives (sometimes too many), We Are the Brennans brings the theme of family front and center. The Brennans are in no way perfect, and may even be worse off at the end of the story, but there is something that continues to draw them together even after they‘ve been ripped apart by trauma. Is it something altruistic or is it in their blood?

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Mdion1993
A Court of Mist and Fury | Perfection Learning Corporation
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Mehso-so

Book 2 of a Court of Thorn and Roses! More adventure, more characters, more romance, and a better fleshed out story. Feyre feels less Bella Swan (thank god!), but there are still moments that make me cringe (please stops using the word “mate”). Still, I devoured this book like a new guilty pleasure.

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Mdion1993
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Panpan

Two ex cons set out to avenge their gay sons‘ murders, only to find a predictable conspiracy. Overcome with grief and regret, the fathers seek to find forgiveness even while doing the unforgivable. Razorblade Tears was hyped up as one of the best books of 2021, so I was disappointed that it wasn‘t more insightful. The plot felt muddled by cliche writing, trying to do and preach too much, without giving us a satisfying story to pair with.

Minervasbutler Pretty much my view too. 7mo
3 likes1 comment
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Mdion1993
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Mehso-so

This book isn‘t The Jungle 2.0, but it does offer fascinating insight into the evolution of grocery stores, reflecting on their urgent attempts to understand consumer psychology and what it means for society. From sourcing, manufacturing, marketing, transportation, and retail, Lorr considers every facet of the grocery store, sometimes sharing glimmers of hope (try Slawsa!), but oftentimes calling out uncomfortable truths we may try to ignore.

7 likes2 stack adds
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Mdion1993
The Glass Hotel | Emily St. John Mandel
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St John Mandel writes interweaving stories about characters that seemingly have no connection but are brought together in random ways. Likewise, TGH is a story about consequences and how our actions inevitably connect us forever. There‘s a lot to unpack from TGH - decisions that haunt you, the act of haunting itself... And while TGH seems to have no clear plot in the beginning, this story escalates and ends in a way that leaves you with chills.

12 likes1 stack add
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Mdion1993
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Rooney manages to once again capture the aimlessness of everyday life and heartbreak, this time making the argument that both are worth celebrating. Beautiful World, Where Are You? seems to have no plot, but that might be the point. Set during the present day, this is a story about four friends navigating love, depression, and musing over what makes life worth living.

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Mdion1993
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Mehso-so

Starting a series at the beginning of a new year is a great way to find reading motivation! ACOTAR is the story of Feyre, a huntress who accidentally kills a fairy and is dragged to a magical land as punishment. There, we are introduced to the world of Prythian. But despite the mystery and adventure, my concern is that Feyre feels more Bella Swan than Katniss Everdeen, and I hope there‘s more character development over the course of the series.

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Mdion1993
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Panpan

This collection of short stories was…disappointing. At her best, King knows how to capture themes of longing and human connection so well (Writers & Lovers, Euphoria), and I see hints of the same themes in FTIW too. But perhaps the short story format just wasn‘t the best move. I couldn‘t help but think, “What‘s the point?” when reading each narration, and none of the stories had a connecting thread. Or perhaps the theme was just too broad.

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Mdion1993
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Mehso-so

A love story about finding the right people at the wrong time. ADID spans 10 years, following Laurie and Jack as they weave in and out of each other‘s lives - through friendship, tragedy, and second chances. Surprisingly, I found their love story to be the least interesting part of the novel, never quite sold on their star crossed chemistry. But I did admire their character growth, finding hints of Sally Rooney as the two navigated their 20s.

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Mdion1993
Gilead | Marilynne Robinson
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Gilead chronicles the thoughts of the fictional Reverend John Ames through letters to his son. Now at the end of his life and hoping to leave behind something meaningful, Ames reflects on the clashing ideals bestowed in him by his father, grandfather, and his wiley namesake, the prodigal son John Ames Boughton. This is a story that considers religion and atheism, war and peace, principle and forgiveness, and creates a town where all bear witness.

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Mdion1993
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Full disclosure, my review for this book is 100% biased. Like the author, I grew up in The Valley, went to Catholic school, and even to UCSB for college. And while I‘m sure there are moments of exaggeration, Bleidner‘s voice transported me back to my own high school days, proving that even in Calabasas, a.k.a Suburban La La Land, all the money and celebrity in the world can‘t save you from the lonely and earnest passage of teenage angst.

5 likes1 stack add
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Mdion1993
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Pickpick

A thoughtful book that examines a woman‘s choice to become a mother by introducing the reader to nine different versions of Rose Napolitano - versions that said yes, versions that said no, and versions that were never sure. This is a book made for book clubs, calling readers to discuss what it means to be a woman, and how society‘s changing expectations can challenge relationships while making others stronger.

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Mdion1993
Malibu Rising | Taylor Jenkins Reid
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Mehso-so

True to Taylor Jenkins Reid form, this is a book about old Hollywood, glitz and glam, and hidden secrets. The famous Riva siblings throw a Malibu party that no one will forget. Set over the course of 24 hours, each of the four siblings must come to terms with the generational trauma they seek to suppress, while facing an emotional catharsis that will set their futures into motion.

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Mdion1993
Dial a for Aunties | Jesse Q. Sutanto
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Panpan

A wedding photographer finds herself in over her head after her aunties try to help her cover up an accidental murder. I‘m not against books with whimsical premises, but books where one character can‘t seem to make a single logical decision are too much for me. Less choosy readers will probably say “Where‘s the fun in that?”, and the aunties are perfect…but the twists and fairy tale romance had me rolling my eyes. This one wasn‘t for me.

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Mdion1993
The Maidens: A Novel | Alex Michaelides
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TM was nowhere near as good as The Silent Patient, and in fact, seemed to turn into a shameless plug for that book (Theo and Anna sighting!), rather than try to deliver a satisfying and unpredictable ending. Anyone who understands the formula of a thriller can see the twist from a mile away. And HOW can the main character, a therapist, conclude she is a qualified detective who can name suspects and gain access to active crime scenes?!