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MelKelsey

MelKelsey

Joined June 2019

Lover of fiction books, puzzles, and teaching Kindergarten
review
MelKelsey
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Pickpick

I listened to this memoir-esque book of the writer and director of Milk. A tribute to his mother, Black writes about his childhood with an abusive father figure, his mom's lifelong perserverence with polio, his coming out and acceptance of himself as a gay man with a Mormon upbringing, and growing into his career in film. Black's cadence is at times reminiscent of a general authority's, I would caution listening to the audio-version.

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MelKelsey
Mehso-so

Missoula is the study of one college-town's reporting and prosecution (or lack thereof) of rape cases at both the university- and state- level. Illuminating and frustrating, this book is also incredibly dry; it focuses on two specific cases and often reads like a courtroom transcript. An important, unenjoyable read.

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MelKelsey
Song of Achilles | Madeline Miller
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Pickpick

reserved this book at the library because of the reviews. When I brought it home and realized it was a story based on Greek mythology, I was so disappointed that I almost didn't read it. I'm so glad I did, though! It's incredibly well-written, and the story is extremely good. The only parts I didn't love were the fight scenes.

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MelKelsey
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Pickpick

I listened to this book about a woman who defected from North Korea. It's not a story that's been told often. It's important and interesting, but it could have been better written and more engaging.

violabrain This book is amazing! 2w
12 likes1 comment
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MelKelsey
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Pickpick

listened to this nonfiction book, written by a man who started an Alabaman law firm to help those wrongfully convicted to death row, mainly people that are black and minors. It's an appallingly heartbreaking and important read, but not well-written; it describes an overwhelming number of disproportionate cases. It's confusing and lacks a coherent theme. I'm excited about the movie, which I assume will be focused on one particular case.

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MelKelsey
The Nanny | Gilly Macmillan
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Mehso-so

Unlikable characters and somewhat predictable twists, this is the story of a girl who's nanny goes missing and reappears 30 years later, just as the supposed body is discovered. Meh.

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MelKelsey
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Pickpick

A quick, sweet YA novel about a girl who's growing up in Oregon travelling to New York City to learn about her roots and help her dad make peace with his father. It's a predictable, enjoyable, and partially autobiographical book that would be great to read as a family.

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MelKelsey
Becoming | Michelle Obama
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Pickpick

I listened to this book read by the author, which is definitely the way to read it. Obama posits that we shouldn't ask kids what they want to be when they grow up because it sets the expectation that we reach a point in life where we've "become" rather than the truth that we are constantly "becoming". I really enjoyed the author's voice. The end, mostly about politics and life in the White House, was harder to relate to and feel invested in.

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MelKelsey
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Mehso-so

Not my style; I like thrillers and mysteries, but I'm not keen on magical elements. I didn't enjoy reading it, and it didn't keep my focus.

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MelKelsey
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Panpan

I listened to this one by See, whom I've previously loved. However, I did not like it at all. The voice acting was a big deterrent, but the characters weren't likable, and the story wasn't interesting. I can't recommend this one.

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MelKelsey
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Pickpick

The Thing About Jellyfish, take two, and much better! Less sea creature facts and more story. It wasn't entirely endearing, but it was heartfelt, simple, and enjoyable.

blurb
MelKelsey
Untitled | Unknown
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Thanks for tagging me, @CBee!

❤Salt Lake City, Utah
🧡39, and, yes, i'm starting to freak out at how fast life is going!
💛my library card, and occasional fines! 😉 I really like something my sister-in-law said, that she stores all her books at the library!
💚celebrated my 14th wedding anniversary this weekend!
💙she, her
💜my name; I have a first name for a last name

Tag me, if any of you want to play along! I love this app/ platform!!

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MelKelsey
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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Mehso-so

This fiction novel based on an actual juvenile detention center in Florida during the 1960's. Especially in the beginning, it read more like nonfiction. It picked up, but I could only half pay attention. My favorite part was all the references to Tallahassee (my home of six years)!

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MelKelsey
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Pickpick

I opened it directly after Whisper Network and was disappointed to be reading another legal thriller. However, I quickly became invested, at least through the first half. The story slowly unwinds, and becomes a little less engaging in the second half. It would be an interesting read for an autism advocate or lifelong caretaker. It could kindle a discussion about the morality of truth telling and the #metoo movement. 3.5⭐

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MelKelsey
Pieces of Her | Karin Slaughter
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Pickpick

I listened to this thriller about a woman who, during a mass shooting, learns that her mother isn't the run-of- the-mill mom she thought she was. Multiple attackers, unknown enemies, and escaping across the country to peel back the story of her life. The story started out strong, got confusing fast, cleared up eventually, and dragged on (the epilogue is over an hour long, on 1.25 speed!). 3.5 stars

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MelKelsey
Whisper Network: A Novel | Chandler Baker
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Mehso-so

I wanted to like it more than I did. It was difficult to read it for any extended amount of time. A fictional "me, too" law office story. The disparities between women and men in the work force are aggravating, but the book was simple and pretty predictable.

JHSiess Agreed. I'm a civil rts attorney & have litigated 100's of cases so it was disappointing on a few levels. Stereotypical, predictable, & the narration was horrid (I listened on Audible). 1mo
23 likes1 comment
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MelKelsey
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Mehso-so

I listened to this thriller about a woman who joins a research study to earn some extra money and gets involved in the researcher's marriage. It was engaging and not entirely obvious. the characters were not likable, and the ending wasn't satisfying. There was a lot of book for a little story.

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MelKelsey
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Mehso-so

I listened to this short autobiographical novel about a Jewish boy that was saved by Schindler during WWII. It was good but not gripping. The author wrote what happened, but a lot of the story takes place before and after WWII.

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MelKelsey
The Testaments: A Novel | Margaret Atwood
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MelKelsey
The Testaments: A Novel | Margaret Atwood
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MelKelsey
The Testaments: A Novel | Margaret Atwood
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MelKelsey
The Testaments: A Novel | Margaret Atwood
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Pickpick

This book is not like the first one or the show. It's the story of how Gilead comes to an end. Most of the characters are different. Atwood's writing is not visually descriptive. I'd read the first novel before the show, so it's hard to compare the two. Her writing is intelligent, and, occassionally, sardonic. The characters could be more dimensional.The story could be more gripping. It relies on the reader already being invested.

12 likes1 stack add
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MelKelsey
Her One Mistake | Heidi Perks
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Pickpick

I listened to this mystery. It was easy to get invested into the story of a little girl disappearing from a public play place. The family's backstory was interesting, and I felt genuinely surprised by who did it. After that was revealed, however, there was 20% of the book left of it playing out and wrapping up, which was too long and draggy.

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MelKelsey
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Mehso-so

I listened to this book and expected to love it, but I never felt invested. It may be my own fault. I don't know, but I found it very meh.

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MelKelsey
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violabrain I loved this book! 2mo
12 likes1 comment
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MelKelsey
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Pickpick

Another favorite! The characters are well-developed and dynamic. The story is beautiful and filled with so much culture, history, and info about tea. The ending was perfect. I love the title, but I find it to be misleading, as the book is really about the mother of the tea girl. Unfortunately, the daughter's chapters lacked depth and development, as they were almost entirely told through odd writings such as medical reports, assignments, etc.

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MelKelsey
The Good Neighbor | A. J. Banner
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Panpan

A basic whodunnit novel. It was fast reading and mildly entertaining, but overall not noteworthy.

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MelKelsey
City of Girls | Elizabeth Gilbert
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Pickpick

I was impressed with the book, at least the first 3/4. Having found Eat, Pray, Love to be overhyped, I was pleased by Gilbert's fiction.Vivian moves into her aunt's theater before WWII. She becomes the costume designer and enjoys NY life. After a famous couple is displaced from their home in England, this small theater becomes the home of a new show.The plot changes when the show ends and the book continues, making me feel mislead and frustrated.

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MelKelsey
Boy Swallows Universe | Trent Dalton
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Pickpick

I highly recommend to those who love words and writing. The writing is smart, poetic, and playful. The story is dark without feeling dark. It's ultimately a coming-of-age story of a boy growing up in trauma. The story is told in the form of writing to a criminal. There's a magical element of knowing the future, but knowing it out of context. It's really not about the story as much as it's about the writing, which is worth a second read.

BookwormM I loved this book 3mo
19 likes1 stack add1 comment
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MelKelsey
Brown Girl Dreaming | Jacqueline Woodson
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Mehso-so

A super short listen, read by the author, about her experiences growing up in the 60's. I don't know if it was the voice acting or the writing style of free verse, but I felt the novel was dry. It was telling without feeling. I know this isn't the opinion of most. I ought to give it another chance and maybe read it rather than listen to it.

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MelKelsey
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Pickpick

Started out strong; the stories are hilarious and the tone and overall voice is really enjoyable. The author is the voice actor, which adds to the appeal and overall quality. About midway, however, the humor becomes redundant and the voice grows grating. I couldn't help but make the mental comparison of this book to the asinine, abrasive youtube videos my son's watch. Once that idea was there, I found the book harder to enjoy.

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MelKelsey
The Flatshare | Beth O'Leary
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Pickpick

A fun listen about two people that share an apartment but have such different schedules that they literally never see each other. They fall in love over a bunch of post-it notes messages. I enjoyed the side story of the brother in prison. Of course, the first time the roommates meet is cliched, but it is a rom-com. The female voice acting really elevated the enjoyment of the novel for me.

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MelKelsey
Kinship of Secrets | Eugenia Kim
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Pickpick

Well-written fictional version of the author's family's story. I didn't like the third person pov from multiple perspectives because the transitions were nonexistent and it lacked clarity. Another good book by Kim but I liked The Calligrapher's Daughter better!

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MelKelsey
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Pickpick

Well-written, a complex story of family relationships and hardships. I enjoyed listening to this a lot more than In the Midst of Winter. Thanks for the recommendation, Diana Janopaul!

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MelKelsey
Time After Time: A Novel | Lisa Grunwald
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"But patience, real patience, meant more than simply waiting. Patience meant you had to honor the moments before things happened the same way you honored the moments when they did." P. 84

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MelKelsey
Time After Time: A Novel | Lisa Grunwald
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Pickpick

A love story that works outside the normal constraints of time and death. I really enjoyed the writing and the story, especially because it reminded me of one of my favorites, The Time Traveler's Wife.
Unfortunately, the storyline doesn't maintain its momentum. The ending is not a crowd pleaser. All that being said, it was well-written and had unique alterations to typical storylines. I will look into the author's other books.

Nute Wonderful review! 3mo
19 likes1 comment
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MelKelsey
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Mehso-so

The coming of age story of a girl grappling with living the life she wants to live versus the life her parents want her to live, all while coming to terms with her sister's death and posthumously learning her sister wasn't who she thought she was. A good listen but nothing amazing.

16 likes1 stack add
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MelKelsey
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Mehso-so

Read this book as a family and wanted to love it, but it was lacking. The protaganist is annoying and not dynamic.The chapters of the main character talking to her dead best friend were weird. The story is building up to this big event and resolution that suddenly is switched in the end.The best part of the book is all of the facts about jellyfish! It didn't surprise me to read that the author originally wrote this as a nonfiction piece.

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MelKelsey
Mrs. Everything | Jennifer Weiner
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Mehso-so

A story of two sisters growing up with very different, difficult struggles. The first half is the growing up years, highlighting the crises that damage the relationships, and is quite sexual. The second half is their adult lives and the reparation of relationships. The last quarter reads like a very long epilogue. As a reader invested in the characters, I understand the author wanting to wrap up every loose end, but it was too much.

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MelKelsey
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Mehso-so

An engaging listen about a baby that goes missing from his crib while the moms from a mom's group are having a night out. Similar conflict to The Couple Next Door, better-written but murky. Fast- paced, the sporadic switch in pov was confusing. The ending was a bit unclear, as well. I had to google a summary to learn what happened, and, in the process, discovered I wasn't alone.

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MelKelsey
Good Riddance | Elinor Lipman
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Mehso-so

I listened to this novel about all that ensues after a woman recycles her deceased mother's yearbook to have the neighbor pick it out of the trash. It was enjoyable enough to pay half-hearted attention to. It seemed like it the story line was a little jumpy and all over the place. It was okay.

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MelKelsey
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Bailedbailed

I only read 11 pages before deciding I would prefer reading something more my style. The protagonist's voice felt forced and unnatural, slightly pretentious, like the author is trying to make the character fit a an exact mold. I didn't give it enough chance, though, for my opinion to be taken critically.

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MelKelsey
Behold the Dreamers | Imbolo Mbue
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Pickpick

An excellent book! The voice acting on the audio version is SUPERB!! The story is of a family from Africa trying to make it in New York during the economic crisis of 2008. It's well-written with dynamic characters; the author illuminates the struggles of not only illegal "aliens" but also legal immigrants and native-born-Americans. Unfortunately it begins to drag at the end, but a worthwhile read!

Cathythoughts Nice review 👍🏻. I read this one & loved it from start to finish 4mo
19 likes1 comment
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MelKelsey
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Panpan

A novel about a woman who gets a terminal medical diagnosis. I am rating it 2.5 because I can't recommend it, but i'm not completely advising against it. Here's the truth: You'll predict everything that will happen. The book is slow to get going, and the transitions to the flashbacks are awkward. Ultimately, it's a rom-com, and there's some fun in that.

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MelKelsey
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Panpan

A true crime book about solving the murder of a Swedish, multimillionaire, farmer, land owner, and pipe company owner. The story is D.R.Y.! It begins by revealing the motive and the suspects, so reading the book is to learn how the case is solved. Many chapters are needless. Only true crime lovers should attempt The Dark Heart.

8 likes1 stack add
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MelKelsey
The Cactus | Sarah Haywood
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Pickpick

This book was fun to read. I love the character of Susan; she's logical to a fault and lacks social skills and common sense. Throughout the book she is simultaneously experiencing an unexpected pregnancy and fighting her brother in court over their mother's will. In the end, the book becomes a love story, but that felt sort of abrupt.The obvious comparable book is Elinor Oliphant is Completely Fine and The Cactus doesn't hold a candle to that.

Crazeedi Sounds like a great book! 4mo
17 likes1 stack add1 comment
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MelKelsey
Puddin' | Julie Murphy
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Mehso-so

I listened to this one because I had listened to Dumplin'. It felt like the author loved the characters and wanted to continue and expound on their stories. I never had been invested enough, and this book was more disappointing than the first.

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MelKelsey
Seriously I'm Kidding | Ellen DeGeneres
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Panpan

This audiobook is super short; I started and finished it today as I set up my classroom. I love Ellen DeGeneres, but this book was disappointing. It's a bunch of random thoughts, not all funny. I was hoping for more, but at least Ellen does the voice acting.

12 likes1 stack add
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MelKelsey
The Immortalists | Chloe Benjamin
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Pickpick

I listened to this book. It begins with four children, siblings, finding out the date of their deaths from a fortune teller. The remainder of the novel elucidates one by one the life, and death, of each. Their reaction and subsequent choices determine their deaths and their lives. The book is well-written, but the depth of the characters was disproportionate and the additional stories of side characters seemed too much.

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MelKelsey
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Pickpick

A fast, engaging novel about two sisters with a complicated relationship, one murders while the other cleans up the mess. The writing and characters aren't deep, but they are intriguing. The book is hard to put down.