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UnabridgedPod

UnabridgedPod

Joined June 2017

Teachers Take on Books
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UnabridgedPod
A Certain Appeal | Vanessa King
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Vanessa King‘s A Certain Appeal, a retelling of Pride and Prejudice set in the world of New York burlesque shows, met all of my expectations. Liz Bennet (called Bennet by her friends) is stage kitten at Meryton, a burlesque venue where she works with her best friends, including Jane (here, instead of her sister, he‘s her best friend and roommate and a singer in the burlesque). ⬇

UnabridgedPod The performers find out that Meryton is up for sale and have high hopes that one of their own can buy it . . . with the help of a kind man named Charles. But some people are more skeptical than supportive, including Charles‘s best friend Will Darcy.

Just the premise demonstrates the creativity with which King takes the building blocks of Austen‘s novel and shifts them—just a bit—to our contemporary world and this setting, , in particular. ⬇
2mo
UnabridgedPod She ramps up the steam and the chemistry between Bennet and Darcy and modifies the subplot with Wickham to suit the modern situation, too.

I wasn‘t sure how I‘d feel about the burlesque element, but I absolutely loved it. This is a strong, feminist novel. Every moment of the burlesque is a celebration of individual women, of their joy in their bodies, and of their power over their own sexiness. ⬇
2mo
UnabridgedPod There‘s tons of banter, too, which I also enjoyed, and then King deepens that element, showing how banter can be both inviting and standoffish.

Bennet herself is clever and confident, but she‘s also still recovering from a betrayal related to her work as a designer. She sees, in the changes at Meryton, a chance to recapture her passion for her career, but she‘s also fragile in a way that‘s masked by her onstage presence and her quick wittedness. ⬇
2mo
UnabridgedPod Will Darcy is completely fabulous, and I loved the secondary characters so much (the relationship between Jane and Charles is just dreamy). Fans of Pride and Prejudice will love this, but I‘d also recommend it to anyone who just loves a good, super-steamy romance. 2mo
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The Love Hypothesis | Ali Hazelwood
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I could not have loved Ali Hazelwood's The Love Hypothesis more. Could this one make the fake dating trope win out over enemies to lovers? Not quite, but wow, was it close.

Olive Smith is trying to convince her best friend Anh that she can pursue Olive's ex-boyfriend (sort of) Jeremy, so she . . . kisses Adam Carlsen randomly in a hallway in front of Anh. She totally ambushes him. ⬇

UnabridgedPod She does explain (poorly and awkwardly), and Adam offers to fake date to help Olive (and Anh) because he also benefits.

As a professor at their University, he has a better chance of getting grant money if they think he'll stick around, and dating a grad student will make it seem like he's going to stick around. ⬇
3mo
UnabridgedPod It's a silly premise, but Hazelwood sells it, and then she follows up with some fantastic secondary characters, some great real talk about academia, and a super-steamy relationship. Olive is a fabulous character, an excellent main character whose dedication to her friends is so sweet. And I absolutely loved Adam, who is one of my favorite male main characters in recent memory. ⬇ 3mo
UnabridgedPod This one has been SO hyped on bookstagram, and this is one of those cases where you definitely should believe the hype! 3mo
39 likes3 comments
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UnabridgedPod
Sweethand | N. G. Peltier
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I chose to listen to N. G. Peltier's Sweethand on a whim (thanks to #partner @librofm) since I don't usually love listening to romance on audio. This one, though? I loved it. Set in Trinidad and Tobago, the book's main characters are Cherisse and Keiran who have been in the same friend group since they were young and have hated each other for just as long. ⬇

UnabridgedPod When Cherisse's sister and Keiran's best friend choose them as their maid of honor and best man, the two are thrown together to plan their joint bachelor-bachelorette party. Filled with dread, Cherisse and Keiran decide to call a truce to make things work for the wedding. Of course, you know how this one will end!

Cherisse is a pastry chef (Sweethand is the name of her business), and Keiran is a music producer, ⬇
4mo
UnabridgedPod and Keiran is a music producer, and Peltier does a beautiful job in weaving their professions through the book. There's a rich backstory here, along with some fabulous secondary characters in their friend group. Since this is the first book in a series called Island Bites, I have high hopes that those friends will show up again! This book is super steamy and totally met my high expectations for the enemies-to-lovers trope. 4mo
37 likes2 comments
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UnabridgedPod
Aftershocks: A Memoir | Nadia Owusu
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I seldom regret choosing to listen to an audiobook, particularly when it's as good as the audio of Nadia Osuwu's Aftershocks—narrated by the author—is. My regrets came, however, because this story is so powerful and so beautiful that I wanted to savor the writing in the way I only can in print. ⬇

UnabridgedPod I read this memoir with @readwithtoni on IG because she had been singing its praises. Toni first listened and then read in print, and I think that may (eventually) be my journey, too.

I don't have a detailed review for this one. I'll just urge you to read it, in what ever format you want, and then be ready to want to read it again immediately.
4mo
38 likes1 comment
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UnabridgedPod
When Sparks Fly | Helena Hunting
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hanks to #partner @netgalley and @stmartinspress for the digital ARC of Helena Hunting's When Sparks Fly in exchange for an honest review. The book will be out on September 21!

When Sparks Fly is a friends-to-lovers, open door romance about Avery Spark and Declan McCormick who have been friends since the first day of college and roommates for years. ⬇

UnabridgedPod In college, their casual friendship was strengthened when Declan stood by Avery‘s side after an ugly breakup. Avery had been dating their mutual friend Sam, but when Declan found out that Sam was cheating, he told Avery and chose their friendship. Now in their upper 20s, Avery and Declan are anchors for each other. ⬇ 4mo
UnabridgedPod When Avery is in a car accident for which Declan blames himself, things change. Avery‘s injuries are serious, and Declan, eager to make up for his mistake, vows that he‘ll be the one to take cover of her as she recovers. This is a new side to their relationship, and each becomes aware of feelings that they‘ve never allowed to grow. ⬇ 4mo
UnabridgedPod Overall, this romance worked for me. I like the friends-to-lovers trope, and Hunting‘s creation of believable back stories for both characters shows why each is hesitant to completely trust someone else. There were parts of the novel that felt repetitive, and the dialogue was sometimes too heavy—it felt more like speeches than actual conversation— ⬇ 4mo
UnabridgedPod but I like the tenderness of this couple and the way that they put in the time and effort to work through their relationship difficulties.

Hunting is a reliable author for me, and while I slightly prefer her rom coms, I‘d recommend When Sparks Fly to romance fans.
4mo
27 likes4 comments
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UnabridgedPod
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Thanks to #partner @netgalley and @atriabooks for the digital ARC of Zoraida Córdova's The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina in exchange for an honest review. The book is now available for purchase!⠀

This beautiful novel begins with a letter. Orquídea Montoya is dying, so she calls her relatives to her home in Four Rivers to claim their inheritance. She‘s lost touch with most of them, driven them away with her secret keeping and stubbornness. ⬇

UnabridgedPod Still, each has been marked in some way by their relationship.

Orquídea‘s home is fueled by magic, a magic she brought with her when she moved to Four Rivers from Ecuador decades ago. And then she never left. When her family—and especially her grandchildren Marimar, Rey, and Tatinelly—arrive, they find that Orquídea is becoming a tree, transforming as she sits, helpless in the center of her home.

Head over to unabridgedpod.com for my full review
4mo
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UnabridgedPod
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I first read Linda Holmes's Evvie Drake Starts Over back in 2019 and just loved it, so I was excited when my IRL Book Club picked this one as our September read. This time, I listened, and I loved it all over again!

I'm a fan of Linda Holmes on the Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast, so it was no surprise that the same wit, sensitivity, and common sense that characterize her analyses of pop culture also appear in Evvie Drake. ⬇

UnabridgedPod The book opens as Evvie is preparing to leave her husband, the man she's been with since high school. She's packed up and ready to step into the car when she gets a call: he's been in a car accident and has died.

Evvie hadn't told *anyone*—not even her best friend, Andy, who she tells everything—that she was leaving, so now, a year later, she's stuck being treated like a grieving widow when really she's anything but. She's stuck. ⬇
4mo
UnabridgedPod Her life begins to change when Dean Tenney walks through her door, courtesy of Andy, with whom he grew up. Dean is seeking an escape from his life in New York City, where he's plagued by the media. He's been a star pitcher for the New York Yankees for year until suddenly, he comes down with a bad case of the yips and can no longer pitch. Nothing happened. Nothing's wrong. He just can't pitch. ⬇ (edited) 4mo
UnabridgedPod Watching these two kind, thoughtful people as they work through recovery separately and together is just a joy. I love the book in both formats (Julia Whelan, as always, does a great job narrating the audiobook), and could hardly stop reading either time. 4mo
BkClubCare Ty for this fabulous recommendation. I will add to my tbl (to be listened) 😊 4mo
UnabridgedPod @BkClubCare I hope you enjoy it!! 4mo
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UnabridgedPod
Dune | Frank Herbert
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Frank Herbert's Dune is a book that's been out there in the world, a book that I probably should read (I do love sci fi and fantasy) but somehow just never did. And then . . .

When I asked my students about their favorite books, a surprising number (surprising to me, anyway) said Dune. And the phenomenal trailer came out for the adaptation. So, I knew I needed to read it. ⬇

UnabridgedPod I listened to this one on audio (it's around 20 hours long), and I highly recommend that format. The production quality is amazing, and there's a full cast and sound effects and just some great, great storytelling. The book itself is tough to explain—there's some complicated world building going on—but though I was a little concerned about how well I'd follow it on audio, that format worked really well for me. ⬇ 4mo
UnabridgedPod The book has adventure and romance, a fabulous history that's woven throughout the book, and compelling characters (it goes through several points of view). It takes on gender roles, colonization, climate change, and the corruption of power, and yet, it never slows down.

I absolutely loved Dune, will definitely watch the adaptation, and hope to read the rest of the series . . . at some point.
4mo
BookwormAHN I loved the audio version of Dune. I agree it was fantastic and I can't wait for the movie 🧡 4mo
UnabridgedPod @BookwormAHN I have high hopes!! 4mo
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Billy Summers | Stephen King
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For no particular reason, it's been two years since I've read a book by Stephen King. (That one was Sleeping Beauties, which he wrote with his son Owen King.) It's been lovely to dive back into some of his storytelling.

I finished Billy Summers as I was beginning his book On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, which I'm using with my juniors this year. While I'll review that one later, I found these books to be perfect complements. ⬇

UnabridgedPod One of the things I love about On Writing is King's sincere devotion to the craft, they way that writing brings him joy and—in a very real way—saves him at some difficult times in his life.

Billy Summers is a novel about an assassin who is an avid reader but who has never felt he has the agency to tell his own story. When he has to act like he's an author as his cover for his newest job, he finally has the push he's needed. ⬇
5mo
UnabridgedPod And writing ends up being more than a cover for him. It's also a way to process the trauma of his childhood, the decisions he's made since then, and the type of person he has become.

If you've read King before, you know this, but I'll just advise you to check out the trigger warnings. He doesn't shy away from some truly horrible things that happen to both good (and bad) people (and really, ⬇
5mo
UnabridgedPod those categories are shown to mean very little in the book). But there's a compassion that runs through the book and a beautiful appreciation for the power of reading and writing, for the beauty of story even in the midst of ugliness.

I loved Billy Summers.
5mo
TiredLibrarian @UnabridgedPod I'm waiting my turn (impatiently) for a library copy!
5mo
UnabridgedPod @TiredLibrarian I hope it comes in soon!! My wait wasn‘t as long as I expected. 5mo
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UnabridgedPod
In the Heights: Finding Home | Lin-Manuel Miranda, Jeremy McCarter, Quiara Alegría Hudes
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In the Heights was the first movie I saw in the theater after everything closed down in 2020. It was a perfect choice, with its amazing musical numbers so vibrant on the big screen.

As with Hamilton, In the Heights has more layers than I could take in on one viewing, and of course, there's an interesting backstory. ⬇

UnabridgedPod So, I was thrilled when I found out that there would be a companion book for the new movie (as there was for Hamilton). I loved reading about the origins of the musical, about its journey to the stage, and about the changes that Lin-Manuel Miranda and Quiara Alegría Hudes made for the screen adaptation. Jeremy McCarter does a great job delving into the fascinating story behind the musical. 5mo
LiteraryinLawrence Both the movie and this book are fabulous!! 5mo
UnabridgedPod Agreed 💯!! 5mo
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UnabridgedPod
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I loved—absolutely loved!—Riley Sager's Survive the Night. The setup is pretty simple: Charlie is a college student whose best friend was murdered by a serial killer, the Campus Killer. Charlie is (understandably) traumatized, and she's decided that she needs to go back home and (most likely) to drop out of school. She can't take the memories. She's sad to leave her boyfriend, Robbie, but she can't stay in that room with those memories any more.⬇️

UnabridgedPod She puts an ad on the ride board at her school, which is almost immediately picked up by Josh, who says he can take her home on his way to his own destination. ⠀

So much about this book worked for me:⠀
✅ the limitation of the setting (mostly in a Grand Am over the course of one night), ⬇️
6mo
UnabridgedPod ✅ the introduction of Charlie's coping mechanism—she escapes into movies and, occasionally, feels as if she's IN a movie, breaking from reality for the duration of a scene,⠀
✅ the weaving in of the backstory (about Charlie and about her roommate's murder).
6mo
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After I Do: A Novel | Taylor Jenkins Reid
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Taylor Jenkins Reid has become one of those authors I trust to tell a good story. After absolutely devouring Daisy Jones and the Six and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, I've been diving into her backlist, and I (again!) devoured After I Do. What a read.

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UnabridgedPod
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This week on the Unabridged Podcast, our Book Club episode focuses on Laura Taylor Namey's A Cuban Girl's Guide to Tea and Tomorrow. (This is also our Buddy Read pick for June. Let me know if you'd like to join the Instagram chat!) I absolutely, 100% loved this book.

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UnabridgedPod
Looking for Alaska | Green, John
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On this week's episode of the Unabridged Podcast, we're chatting about the pilot of the television adaptation of Looking for Alaska (available on Hulu!). We are big fans of John Green's work, and this pilot does a great job of capturing what we love about the book. We also share what we're each currently reading in our Bookish Check-in and talk exercise in our Give Me One.⠀

What are some of your favorite television adaptations of books you love?

Mavey Shadow And Bone and Locke And Key! 8mo
UnabridgedPod @Mavey I agree! I loved both of those. ❤️ 8mo
Mavey @UnabridgedPod 🤗💗 8mo
24 likes3 comments
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UnabridgedPod
Libertie: A Novel | Kaitlyn Greenidge
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I jumped on the chance to read an early copy of Kaitlyn Greenidge‘s Libertie. I read her first book, We Love You, Charlie Freeman, for the 2016 Tournament of Books, and I thought it was a phenomenal work with a core of historical fiction: it‘s thoughtful and thought-provoking, with an edge of the truly strange.⠀

Libertie has some of those same roots. The title character and protagonist, Libertie Sampson, was born free, ⬇️

UnabridgedPod in a Black community just outside Brooklyn at the beginning of the Civil War. She lives with her mother, a doctor, and has known since early childhood that her mother dreamed that Libertie would one day also be a doctor.⠀

Read the rest of my review at unabridgedpod.com!
10mo
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UnabridgedPod
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In the most recent episode of the Unabridged Podcast, we discuss To All the Boys: Always and Forever, the Netflix adaptation of Jenny Han's Always and Forever, Lara Jean. We begin with our Bookish Check-in and were THRILLED to be joined by Shay, one of our Unabridged Ambassadors, who shared a book she was reading.⠀

We enjoyed digging into the high and low points of the adaptation (spoiler alert: we're all fans!) ⬇️

UnabridgedPod and were thrilled to bookend our earlier discussion of the first book and adaptation.

Have you watched this adaptation? If so, what did you think? If not, what's a recent adaptation that you enjoyed?
10mo
25 likes1 comment
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UnabridgedPod
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In today's episode of the Unabridged Podcast, you can get to know the hosts! Yes, Ashley, Sara, and I dived in to answer some listener questions (and some from our fantastic Unabridged Ambassador community). We answer questions both bookish and not: some about the podcast . . . and a few that made us sweat. (Sometimes, vulnerability is hard. 😂 ) ⬇️

UnabridgedPod We'll share more soon (we had so many great questions that this is part 1 of 2!), so let us know: what questions do you have for Unabridged? 10mo
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UnabridgedPod
The Prophets | Robert Jones, Jr.
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Buddy reads are always amazing, but the buddy read for Robert Jones, Jr.'s The Prophets reached another level. This book is brilliant and layered and gorgeous and, at times, a hard read (both because of its content but also because it's difficult). I did a blend of reading the ebook and listening to the audiobook; the latter can sometimes interfere with the depth of my comprehension, ⬇️

UnabridgedPod but here the narrator, Karen Chilton, is so phenomenal that I am so glad to have listened to more than half of the book.

The Prophets focuses on a plantation known as Empty. As you might guess from that detail, naming here is incredibly significant: many names of the enslaved people are drawn from the Bible, but there are also names drawn from their ancestors that hold great meaning for the people. ⬇️
11mo
UnabridgedPod The book centers on Isaiah and Samuel, two young enslaved men who love each other and whose sexual commitment to each other defies the will and the agenda of the plantation's owners, who see them as valuable property who should contribute to their wealth as breeders Isaiah and Samuel's story winds through the narration of a multitude of other characters: enslaved women who have been forced to bear the master's children; ⬇️ 11mo
UnabridgedPod enslaved men who are willing to embrace a corrupt vision of religion to hold on to what they think is theirs; the owners whose malice and selfishness have rotted any speck of kindness they might have had; their son whose self-identified "nobility" leads to a horrible offense that he reads as beneficence. ⬇️ 11mo
UnabridgedPod The Prophets is a book that is powerful and heartbreaking and hopeful, one in which love can't be enough and yet, somehow, is—it's just not the type of enough I wanted it to be. This is a book that I will re-read, knowing that it will still hold rewards I haven't yet found. 11mo
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When Dimple Met Rishi | Sandhya Menon
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Film and TV adaptations make my heart so happy, so I was so excited to chat with Ashley and Sara on the most recent episode of the Unabridged Podcast. Mismatched, the adaptation of the Sandhya Menon's When Dimple Met Rishi (a fantastic YA novel!) is a six-episode Netflix series that definitely changes some things. The setting shifts from the U.S. to India, and the show definitely makes some other pretty big changes, which we discuss.

MallenNC I didn‘t realize this was based on the book. I will have to watch and then listen to your podcast. 11mo
UnabridgedPod @MallenNC Thanks in advance for listening! (We only talk about the pilot on the episode.) 11mo
MallenNC @UnabridgedPod Good to know! I will listen sooner that way. 11mo
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UnabridgedPod
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As I'm sure has become apparent, I appreciate a good retelling, particularly of a novel that I really love. (Hence my excitement that this week's episode of @unabridgedpod focuses on a retelling of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice!) Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre is one of my favorite Victorian novels. I think that Jane is an absolutely brilliant, complex character—particularly for the time! So, I'm always up for a retelling. ⬇️

UnabridgedPod I think that Rachel Hawkins's The Wife Upstairs is just a great retelling: it offers a clever use of the source material but doesn't feel obligated to repeat every plot point (something that can kill a retelling).⠀

I feel as if this one has been allll over bookstagram, so I'll just mention a few things that worked for me: ⬇️
11mo
UnabridgedPod 🚪I thought the alternation of the narrative point of view worked really well in peeling back layers of the story.⠀
🚪Jane herself is fabulous: complicated and cynical and justifiably bitter at her history. When she meets Eddie and immediately starts thinking about how she can use him to change her life . . . well, that seemed about right to me.
11mo
UnabridgedPod ?I'd never thought about the mysterious-first-wife similarities between Jane Eyre and Rebecca until this book, but Hawkins definitely captures the dark Gothic vibes of both books well, showing us *exactly* why wife two might feel resentful of wife one.⠀
?The "glamorous" society women who live in Eddie's neighborhood are a great replacement for the horrors of the Victorian society in Jane Eyre. ⬇️
11mo
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UnabridgedPod I can't say much more without spoilers, but some of the twists and turns of the second half of the book made me laugh with admiration. This is a witty, thoroughly modern retelling. (This one is also perfect for the #unabridgedpodreadingchallenge category "retelling of a classic.")⠀

➡️ Do you like retellings of classics?
11mo
MallenNC I love retellings! I especially like ones like this that nod toward the original more than redo the same story. I just read this one also and I felt the echo of Rebecca in it. 11mo
UnabridgedPod @MallenNC I agree! I also recently read Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors—it‘s closer to the original but also makes some really interesting changes (not as many as this one, though!). 11mo
MallenNC @UnabridgedPod I‘ve read that one too. It was closer to the original but I liked the way it was updated. I liked Unmarriageable too. It‘s another one that‘s faithful to the story but in a different setting. 11mo
Cathythoughts Nice pic 11mo
UnabridgedPod @MallenNC Yes! I liked that one, as well! 11mo
UnabridgedPod @MallenNC Thank you!! ❤️ 11mo
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UnabridgedPod
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In today's episode of the Unabridged Podcast, Ashley, Sara, and I chat about our Book Club pick for February, Sonali Dev's Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors. I love this retelling of Pride and Prejudice SO much, and we had a great conversation about the strengths of this book.⠀

If you're interested in chatting about this one, we're having an IG chat on Monday, February 15—let me know if you 'd like to join!

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UnabridgedPod
Legendborn | Tracy Deonn
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"Everything has two histories. Especially in the South" (230).⠀

It has been a while since I read a book like this one that so perfectly bridges a brilliant fantasy world with immediate, super-resonant social issues. Tracy Deonn's Legendborn is a masterpiece.

BrittanyReads Masterpiece is a great word for this book! 👏 11mo
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Concrete Rose | Angie Thomas
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I pre-ordered Angie Thomas's Concrete Rose the day it was announced. I am a huge fan of her debut novel The Hate U Give, which I've read multiple times (and which we've covered on @unabridgedpod), and Big Mav is one of my favorite characters. So, when I learned that Thomas was writing a prequel about Maverick when he was a teenager, I was so, so excited. And this one lived up to my expectations. ⬇️

UnabridgedPod Here, Thomas gives us a Maverick who is struggling to help his mom pay the bills while his father is in prison. He joined the gang, the King Lords, to which his father belonged for protection, since the rival gangs in the area would want vengeance on his dad through Maverick. He has a girlfriend he loves, Lisa, but he's just found out that a one-night stand when he and Lisa had broken up resulted in a baby. ⬇️ 12mo
UnabridgedPod At first, they thought the baby belonged to Ayesha's boyfriend, King, who is also Mav's best friend. So, things are complicated. Maverick takes in the baby, who he names Seven, and tries to juggle his friends, the gang, a job, his mom, and being a father, and he feels as if he's not doing well with any of it.⠀

What I loved about this novel is that I could see the beginnings of Big Mav from The Hate U Give: ⬇️
12mo
UnabridgedPod though he has his struggles, he also has a great sense of responsibility and of caring. He wants to be a good dad and to let Seven know that he loves him and will take care of him. He makes mistakes—so many mistakes—but he also takes responsibility for them and tries to do better.⠀

Thomas does such a brilliant job at building Mav's voice and of letting the readers see the beginnings of a beloved character. I just absolutely loved this.
12mo
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UnabridgedPod
Cemetery Boys | Aiden Thomas
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Aiden Thomas's Cemetery Boys was my first five-star read of the year. Wow. I had read some great reviews but had NO idea how much I would love this book.⠀

Yadriel's family is part of a Latinx community of brujas and brujos who destiny is drive by gender: brujas have one role to play and brujos another. Yadriel, a trans boy, yearns to join the line of brujos but faces misunderstandings and a lack of acceptance from those in charge. ⬇️

UnabridgedPod Yadriel and his cousin and best friend Maritza conspire to perform the ritual that will allow Yadriel to step into his role: he hopes that once his family sees that he was blessed as a brujo by the goddess of death, they'll accept the truth about who he is. After the secret ceremony, in an attempt to help the brujos with their investigation of a mysterious disappearance, Yadriel accidentally summons the spirit of Julian Diaz, ⬇️ 12mo
UnabridgedPod a troublemaker at his school.

Now, he and Maritza have to help Julian accept his death so they can free his spirit; they're still trying to help with the investigation; and they have to continue to keep Yadriel's secret until the best time to reveal what happened.⠀⬇️
12mo
UnabridgedPod These characters are so vivid, and Thomas provides a sense that this magical world really could exist alongside our own. He beautifully describes the traditions of Yadriel's family, and he shows the love Yadriel has for his dad, his brother, and his deceased mother (the only one who truly understood him. I felt powerfully the way he yearns for this family's acceptance and, beyond that, their approval. ⬇️ 12mo
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UnabridgedPod This is one of those books that's tough to describe because its magic goes beyond a list of characters or a description of what happens. The things that make it beautiful lie in the storytelling and the vivid sense of Yadriel's character. 12mo
Hooked_on_books I loved this one. The audio is also really well done. 12mo
UnabridgedPod @Hooked_on_books That‘s great to know! 12mo
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Gold Fame Citrus: A Novel | Claire Vaye Watkins
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Claire Vaye Watkins's Gold Fame Citrus has been waiting for me on my Kindle for a long time, and wow--what a read. I now teach at a school with an environmental focus, and this one raised some fascinating questions.

Protagonist Luz, in her early 20s, was born into a California already preparing for a society-ending drought. The poster child for environmental awareness and drought-prevention measures, ⬇️

UnabridgedPod Luz has long known the dangers that society's poor choices can bring about. Now she—along with a small group of hangers on, called Mojavs—lives in a California that has been devastated simultaneously by drought and by the threat of a huge dune, a new oceanic landmass that moves through the West, destroying towns and entire ecosystems. ⠀

Luz and Ray, her boyfriend, move through abandoned houses, seeking survival and small remnants of happiness.⬇️
12mo
UnabridgedPod But nothing seems to last, and contentment is impossible to maintain. Then, Luz and Ray find Ig, a toddler who seems to be alone. When they take the girl, concerned for her safety, their lives change forever, and they have to make choices for someone else.⠀

The remainder of the book focuses on the societies that establish themselves ⬇️
12mo
UnabridgedPod in the absence of the old world and the people who draw others to them, made charismatic by the answers they offer. This is a gorgeous, spare, and truly frightening novel of a world that seems not too far away. (This would make a great adult pairing with Neal and Jarred Shusterman's YA novel Dry.) 12mo
20 likes3 comments
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Shuggie Bain | Douglas Stuart
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Douglas Stuart's Shuggie Bain is worthy of every award and every bit of praise it has received. I can't believe it's a debut novel!

I read the first half of this one in print and the second half on audio, which worked really well: reading in print first allowed me to understand Shuggie's world of 1980s Scotland, and then to just lose myself in it.⠀


Shuggie Bain is—as the best books are—more about the characters than the plot. ⬇️

UnabridgedPod Shuggie himself is at the center of a web of relationships, and the other characters are as vivid and real as he is. His mother Agnes, in particular, made me angry and sad, evoking my frustration at her poor decisions and my empathy because they so often came from hope of a better, more satisfying life. We watch her as, again and again, she exerts herself to make a change, ⬇️ 12mo
UnabridgedPod and then we see her batted back down, knocked into her old life by maliciousness or carelessness. She's a heartbreaking character, and at times I despised her, but I also, as a reader, came to understand her.⠀

Shuggie himself often seems so fragile, and the things that make him unusual from the beginning seem to make him a target. ⬇️
12mo
UnabridgedPod But I think he has a core of strength that's built on compassion and love and on an inability to be anyone other than who he is, despite those who encourage him to change or try to bully him into it.⠀

I love this book so much, though it broke my heart more than once.
12mo
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Date Me, Bryson Keller | Kevin van Whye
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Kevin van Whye's Date Me, Bryson Keller was absolutely the right book at the right time. (I feel like that I've been saying that a lot lately, which feels fortunate!) I read this one with the #totallyteenbuddyread, and it was a one-sitting read for me. I found it to be compelling and so, so sweet.⠀

Here's the premise: Bryson Keller is one of the most popular students at Fairvale Academy, but he's never dated much. ⬇️

UnabridgedPod He accepts a challenge: he'll accept an invitation each week from someone different and will date that person for a week. As long as he's asked every week and follows through with the week of dating, he wins. But if there's a week that doesn't work out, he loses.⠀

Main character Kai Sheridan is one of the few students of color at his private school, he's super shy, and he is keeping secret the fact that he's gay. ⬇️
13mo
UnabridgedPod So, he surprises himself one week when he ends up being the one who asks Bryson to date him for a week.⠀

I liked Kai so much, and his little sister—who is super smart, spunky, and accepting—is one of my favorite characters. During our buddy read discussion, we acknowledged that this isn't a perfect novel, but I unreservedly loved it. ⬇️
13mo
UnabridgedPod So, as long as you can accept some characters who are maybe a little too kind or too perfect, I think you'll enjoy this one, too. 13mo
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The Far Field | Madhuri Vijay
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I read Madhuri Vijay's The Far Field as part of two challenges (#20backlistin2020 and #backlistgotbackedup), and it's another book that I wished I had picked up earlier.⠀

➡️ What books have you had on your shelf for a long time? Do you think you'll try to read them in 2021?⠀

The main character is Shalini, a woman in her early 20s who is grieving the death of her mother, ⬇️

UnabridgedPod a complicated figure who in many ways dominated Shalini's sense of the world and of herself. Now, without her anchor, Shalini is floating through her life in Bangalore, going through the motions at a job she doesn't care about, seeking numbness through parties and alcohol. As she seeks to find some meaning in her mother's death, she decides to find Bashir Ahmed, ⬇️ 13mo
UnabridgedPod a door-to-door salesman who became a mainstay of her and her mother's life when Shalini was a child. She's convinced that by finding Bashir again, she can understand who her mother was . . . and, by extension, who she is and could be.⠀

Shalini travels first to Kishtwar and then to Bashir's small village, and she cuts off all contact with her father and anyone from her past. ⬇️
13mo
UnabridgedPod She is forced to confront her own privilege and ignorance as she learns about the long conflict between Muslims and Hindus that rules the daily lives of the people she meets, and the story of her own coming of age and of her mother appears in flashbacks throughout the narration. (There were also some intriguing overlaps here with Veera Hiranandani's The Night Diary, a middle-grade book I read back in October, ⬇️ 13mo
UnabridgedPod which deals with some of the early days of the conflict between the Muslim and Hindu citizens of India.)

This is a book that is rich both in writing and in story, and the narrative is challenging because of the questions it asks and the answers it offers. It is also an absolutely wonderful reading experience, and one that offered a perspective that was new to me.
13mo
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Nancy Jooyoun Kim's The Last Story of Mina Lee is a compelling novel told from two alternating perspectives and timelines. In 2014, after not having seen her mother for months, Margot Lee stops to visit her mother Mina and finds her dead on the floor of her apartment. She then devotes herself to discovering what happened to Mina and to what her life had been like in its last days. ⬇️

UnabridgedPod Then, in 1987, we follow Mina upon her arrival in the United States from Korea. Mina grew up orphaned after the Korean War and, after a tragedy in Korea, she has fled to the United States alone.

Jooyoun Kim addresses a number of issues beautifully: she takes on gender roles, both the hope of and the problems with the idea of the American dream, racism and discrimination, generational conflict (particularly with the children of immigrants). ⬇️
13mo
UnabridgedPod This isn't a flawless book for me: there are sections that were a little sluggish, there are moments of commentary about life in the United States that are brilliantly stated but not quite integrated into the story, and I didn't love the way Mina's storyline resolved. Overall, though, I enjoyed the reading experience and will pick up Jooyoung Kim's next book. 13mo
BarbaraBB Great review, thanks! 13mo
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Freespirit A great review❤️ 13mo
UnabridgedPod @BarbaraBB Thank you! ❤️ 13mo
UnabridgedPod @Freespirit Thank you! ❤️ 13mo
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The Break | Katherena Vermette
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Katherena Vermette's The Break, which was the focus of the most recent @readwithtoni buddy read, is a brilliant novel set in Winnipeg and centered on a tragedy at the heart of a Métis family.⠀

The novel begins with a family tree, and that was definitely a sign of things to come. The narration alternates between ten characters—mostly women—whose connections aren't immediately clear. ⬇️

UnabridgedPod As the book unfolds, Vermette reveals gradually the subtle threads that tie each character to the next. We see characters whose vulnerability shifts to strength when they're needed, characters who conceal important truths, and others who share their truths as a matter of course.

By focusing on these individuals, Vermette also reveals systemic problems, including the community's complicated treatment of those with Métis heritage, ⬇️
14mo
UnabridgedPod which means they have both Indigenous and European ancestry. The Break reveals a horrible trend of violence against women, the ways that some women fall victim to and perpetuate sexual violence and that other women stand strong against it. This is a novel of great nuance, with no easy heroes or villains: ⬇️ 14mo
UnabridgedPod Vermette's ability to realize fully so many characters in such a short book is a marvel, and I had a difficult time putting this one down for our mid-book discussion.⠀

Head over to unabridgedpod.com for the rest of my review!
14mo
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melissajayne Sounds like an interesting book; will probably tackle it in the new year. 14mo
Cathythoughts This is such a good book ❤️ 14mo
UnabridgedPod @melissajayne It‘s definitely worth reading!! 14mo
UnabridgedPod @Cathythoughts I agree! I‘m looking forward to the follow up. 14mo
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Wow. Alyssa Cole's When No One Is Watching is such a ride. I've been a fan of Cole's romance novels for years, so when I saw she was moving in to thriller territory, I pre-ordered immediately. This book did not disappoint. It's filled with suspense, with twists and turns, AND with important social issues.

Alternating between the perspectives of Sydney, a Black woman living in her mother's Brooklyn brownstone, ⬇️

UnabridgedPod and Theo, a white man who's new to the neighborhood, the novel builds the mystery of what's happening as long-time neighborhood residents begin leaving and new, white homeowners start coming in. We know from the beginning that *something* is going on, ⬇️ 14mo
UnabridgedPod but Cole layers her protagonists' knowledge and discoveries until the readers think we might know what's happening AND what will happen, only to yank the narrative rug out from under that certainty again and again. I thoroughly loved it. And that ending--well, DM me if you've read this and would like to chat!⠀

➡️ Are you more excited or nervous when a beloved author moves into new genre territory?
14mo
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As the non-cooking adult in my household, I don't read many food books, so this item on the Read Harder Challenge gave me pause: "Read a food book about a cuisine you‘ve never tried before." Book Riot does a great job offering recommendations for each of its challenge categories, so I took their suggestion and picked up Edward Lee's Buttermilk Graffiti: A Chef's Journey to Discover America's New Melting-Pot Cuisine and . . . LOVED IT.

kyraleseberg this has been on my Kindle forever and I have no idea why I haven't made time for it yet! 14mo
UnabridgedPod @kyraleseberg I felt as if its structure—the series of essays—made it a pretty fast read. Just loved it! 14mo
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"If you have but one friend, make sure you choose her well" (263).⠀

My dear friend Paula gave me The Elegance of the Hedgehog years ago, and I'm regretful that it took me so long to read it. Muriel Barbery's gorgeous novel, translated from the French by Alison Anderson, focuses on two characters. Renée is an older woman, the concierge of a luxurious apartment building filled with people who dismiss her as if she's invisible. ⬇️

UnabridgedPod And Renée cultivates that reaction, hiding her brilliance behind short statements that play into their stereotypes.⠀

Barbery shares the story of Paloma, a twelve-year-old resident in the building, through her journals, which seek to find meaning in a life she's already given up on. Paloma despairs of her family, with their pursuit of interests she finds meaningless, and of the other residents of the building, ⬇️
1y
UnabridgedPod who she sees as similarly worthless. She therefore decides that, when she is thirteen, she is going to commit suicide and burn down the apartment.⠀

Renée and Paloma's stories alternate, and though they don't really know each other, the reader can see their similarities, the ways that each has basically given up on the world. And yet, there's hope in the way each continues to seek meaning day by day, ⬇️
1y
UnabridgedPod and I found myself yearning for the moment they would connect. the moment I was sure was coming.⠀

There's something of A Man Called Ove here, something perhaps also of The Catcher in the Rye, and yet this is a wholly original novel. I absolutely loved watching the growth of Renée and of Paloma, seeing each strive to find others who could be friends.
1y
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ErickaS_Flyleafunfurled I tried this one years ago and gave up (early on), but I think I want to try again! 1y
UnabridgedPod @ErickaS_Flyleafunfurled I can see that it won‘t be to everyone‘s taste (what is?!), but I hope you try again. 😀 1y
ErickaS_Flyleafunfurled After your review, I picked this up to try again and I‘m LOVING it. I‘m halfway done already. I wonder why I didn‘t like it thw first time? So glad I didn‘t miss out on this! Thank you! 13mo
UnabridgedPod @ErickaS_Flyleafunfurled I‘m so glad!! Your comment just made my day. I always think it‘s interesting how much of a difference my state of mind and mood can make, so maybe that was it? Anyway, I‘m so glad you‘re enjoying it! 13mo
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This week, on the Unabridged Podcast, we're sharing our picks for Cozy Reads. After our Bookish Check-ins, we chat about what the phrase "Cozy Reads" means, and then we share some other cozy comforts in our Give Me One segment.⠀

What are some of your favorite cozy reads?

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One True Loves | Taylor Jenkins Reid
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This book came JUST when I needed it. Taylor Jenkins Reid is such a fabulous storyteller, and while One True Loves isn't my favorite of hers (that would be either Daisy Jones and the Six or The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, depending on the day), it definitely makes me want to read her entire backlist.

The story reminded me of Castaway (and she does reference the film in the novel): Emma Blair is engaged to Sam when she receives incredible news:

UnabridgedPod her husband, Jesse, who has been missing for two years (ever since his plane disappeared over the ocean) is alive. Then, Reid takes us back, to Emma's relationships in high school with both Sam and Jesse, and works her way forward. I felt every moment of this decision, and I so appreciated the nuance of this story. Emma has an impossible decision in front of her, ⬇️ 1y
UnabridgedPod and that's obvious because Reid has done such a great job convincing us as readers of the strength of her relationships with both Jesse and Sam. Nobody here has done anything wrong, but someone is--inevitably--going to be hurt.⠀

Are you a TJR fan? What are your favorites? If not, who's one of your favorite authors?
1y
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A Mercy | Toni Morrison
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Toni Morrison's slim novel A Mercy made its way on to my TBR stack because of the @tournamentofbooks #superrooster contest in October. A Mercy won the ToB in 2009 . . . AND just won the "Super Rooster," the contest between the 16 winners of the Tournament. I love Morrison's work, so it was no surprise that this book features brilliant writing and a story that requires some work to piece together. ⬇️

UnabridgedPod The novel, set in 1680s Maryland, focuses on five characters: Jacob Vaark, an Anglo-Dutch trader who is distinctly NOT interested in owning slaves; his wife, who is basically a mail-order bride; Lina, a Native woman who is his servant; Florens, a young enslaved girl who he accepts as payment for a debt; and Sorrow, a mysterious girl found in the ocean who also becomes his servant. What ensues is primarily the perspectives of these women ⬇️ 1y
UnabridgedPod (we hear occasionally from Jacob) whose stories emphasize the roles of gender and racism in the amount of agency they have over their own lives. ⠀

As always, I appreciate so many of the ToB judgments. In her essay, judge Myriam Gurba wrote, "Although Toni Morrison‘s A Mercy is historical fiction, the novel couldn‘t be timelier. An aestheticized facsimile of 17th-century New England, the book reminds us that dystopia isn‘t new to these shores. ⬇️
1y
UnabridgedPod Apocalypses can take a long time, generations in fact, and often, their origins are hard to pinpoint, especially when one lives among people whose patriotism hinges on forgetting. When false propaganda colonizes history books, fiction can return some scraps of truth to us. Literature can provoke our unforgetting and such a provocation is a kindness that A Mercy bestows." ⬇️ 1y
UnabridgedPod A Mercy isn't an easy book--nothing by Toni Morrison is--but wow, is it ever brilliant. And it could NOT feel more timely this week.⠀

What books are you appreciating right now?
1y
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They Wish They Were Us | Jessica Goodman
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I read Jessica Goodman's They Wish They Were Us with #totallyteenbuddyread. This is a fast-moving YA novel of suspense with some great intrigue. ⠀

The novel's protagonist is Jill, a scholarship kid at an exclusive prep school, who has made it to the pinnacle of the student body's high society, The Players. Each year, this group of seniors chooses a small selection of freshmen to invite into their extravagant world of parties and drugs, ⬇️

UnabridgedPod with the benefit of keys to all the tests and favors from alumni. The freshmen just have to survive some extreme hazing first. Jill is now a senior and riding high with the chance at Player-assisted admission to the school of her dreams. But she can't forget the tragedy from her freshman year: the murder of her best friend by her boyfriend (both Players). ⬇️ 1y
UnabridgedPod With its focus on extreme wealth and privilege, central mystery, and smart teenagers, They Wish They Were Us gave some Veronica Mars vibes, and I appreciated Goodman's ability to depict this world vividly. It had an interesting focus on sibling relationships, the college admissions system, and gender roles (though I'd love to have seen more development of this last topic). ⬇️ 1y
UnabridgedPod I figured out the mystery fairly early, but I do think many teenagers would find the story to be engaging. For me, though, I felt as if I've read many stories similar to this one before.⠀

Do you like books that take on wealth and privilege? What are some of your favorite YA mysteries?
1y
erzascarletbookgasm I think the only ones I‘ve read are One Of Us Is Lying and Two Can Keep A Secret. 1y
UnabridgedPod @erzascarletbookgasm I enjoyed One of Us Is Lying, but I haven‘t read the sequel yet! 1y
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"[She] worried about the world, but to care for other people felt something like resistance. Maybe this was all they had" (101).⠀

Rumaan Alam's Leave the World Behind, for me, lived up to the hype. I've seen this one all over bookstagram, and it recently made the National Book Award shortlist. Both accomplishments—the popularity and the critical praise—make sense to me, as the novel is the perfect balance between a thriller and literary fiction.

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Burn Baby Burn | Meg Medina
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Meg Medina's Burn Baby Burn, which I listened to on audio thanks to AudioBookSync, is a fantastic YA historical novel centered on seventeen-year-old Nora Lopez who lives in New York in 1977 when the Son of Sam was terrorizing the city.⠀

Nora lives with her brother Hector and her mother; her father, who is remarried and has a young son, isn't part of her life. Nora is ready to be done with school, ⬇️

UnabridgedPod and though her guidance counselor is encouraging her to enroll in college, Nora just isn't sure. She loves her shop classes and excels at construction and design; she also loves hanging out with her best friend (the daughter of a fire fighter), dancing disco, and working at a local grocery store where she meets a sweet, handsome guy.⠀

The threat of a serial killer looms, but for Nora, the more pressing danger lies in her own home. ⬇️
1y
UnabridgedPod Facing abuse and reckless outbursts, Nora years to feel safe again. She's too afraid and embarrassed to share the truth of her life, even when the violence starts bleeding outside of her small family.⠀

This book has so much going for it: a great consideration of women's roles and opportunities that came along with the feminist movement; plenty of action and thrills with the Son of Sam stories; ⬇️
1y
UnabridgedPod fun references to disco and 70s glamour; and a vivid protagonist. The written voice here is so strong, and it's only accentuated by narrator Marisol Ramirez. This is my first book by Meg Medina, but I'll definitely be picking up more. 1y
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Blood & Honey | Shelby Mahurin
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Shelby Mahurin's Serpent and Dove was such an unexpected delight that I eagerly put the sequel, Blood and Honey, on hold at the library as soon as it was released. Blood and Honey continues the story of beleaguered witch Lou and her huntsman love Reid, with dark magic, a great cast of secondary characters, and some compelling allusions to classic stories from literature about witches. ⬇️

UnabridgedPod While this was a fast, compelling read, for me it quite live up to Serpent and Dove. Will I read the third book? Absolutely. I think this one may have fallen victim to the "middle book" problems that often plague the second work in a trilogy. Mahurin included plenty of surprises in this one, along with some great, steamy moments, but it's definitely setting up a powerhouse finale. I can't wait to see how she wraps up this story. 1y
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Dear Justyce | Nic Stone
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I've shared my love for Nic Stone's Dear Martin all over the internet—I think it is such a powerful foundation for conversations with teenagers about police violence, racism, and justice. I'm sure it will be no surprise, then, that I was INCREDIBLY excited to see Nic Stone's announcement of a sequel, Dear Justyce. (No worries! This will be a spoiler-free review of book two.)⠀

Check out my full review at unabridgedpod.com!

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Instant Karma | Marissa Meyer
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Thanks to NetGalley the digital ARC of Marissa Meyer‘s Instant Karma in exchange for an honest review. The book will be published on Tuesday, November 3!⠀

Check out my review at jenlovesbooks.com!!

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In a Holidaze | Christina Lauren
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Thanks to NetGalley and Gallery Books for the digital ARC of Christina Lauren‘s In a Holidaze in exchange for an honest review.

Christina Lauren‘s In a Holidaze is a perfect holiday rom com with a fun, engaging premise. Maelyn Jones is relishing her holiday tradition of vacationing with her family and friends in a cabin in Utah—⬇️

UnabridgedPod every year, she joins her now-divorced parents, her younger brother, and her parents‘ college friends and their families to celebrate the season. Maelyn loves everything about this annual gathering, especially the faithfully-followed traditions and time with her long-time crush, Andrew.

This Christmas, however, Maelyn has made a mistake: in a drunken moment, she made out with Andrew‘s younger brother Theo. ⬇️
1y
UnabridgedPod Now, Theo won‘t talk to her, Andrew thinks they‘re together, and Maelyn finds out that Andrew and Theo‘s parents are selling the cabin, meaning the end to the traditions she holds so dear. She‘s bemoaning her life situation on the way home with her family when they hit a deer, and . . .⠀

She wakes up, back at the cabin, on Christmas Eve again. ⠀

Yes, it‘s like Groundhog Day! Maelyn has the chance to live her Christmas vacation over again, ⬇️
1y
UnabridgedPod searching desperately to get things right, to save her holiday traditions, and to figure out how to win Andrew.⠀

I‘m a sucker for this trope—who hasn‘t wished for a do over at some point?!—and for the balance of comedy and serious soul searching from this fabulous writing duo. I‘m a big fan of Christina Lauren‘s books, and I felt as if this was a real return to form, hearkening back to some of my Christina Lauren favorites. ⬇️
1y
UnabridgedPod If you‘re looking for a holiday romance with a lot of heart, this is the perfect book to add to your Christmas reading list! 1y
25 likes4 comments
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Mistletoe and Mr. Right | Sarah Morgenthaler
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Thanks to #partner @NetGalley and @sourcebookscasa for the digital ARC of Sarah Morgenthaler‘s Mistletoe and Mr. Right in exchange for an honest review. The book will be published tomorrow, October 6!⠀

Sarah Morgenthaler‘s Mistletoe and Mr. Right is her second rom com set in Moose Springs, Alaska, a small town with a fancy resort, plenty of quirky locals, and some personality-filled moose. Book one told the story of Graham, ⬇️

UnabridgedPod the grumpy owner of The Tourist Trap, and Zoey, the sweet tourist who dreamed of visiting Alaska one day. In book two, Morgenthaler shares the story of Zoey‘s glamorous friend Lana who has been buying up property in the town in an effort to save it. Unfortunately, the locals don‘t see it that way . . .⠀

One of those locals is Rick, owner of the pool hall and divorce who has never quite gotten over his wife leaving him. ⬇️
1y
UnabridgedPod He lives with her nephew Diego, a super-grumpy cat, and a sweet hedgehog. And he has a crush on Lana, who he knows is WAY out of his league.⠀

Morgenthaler has a perfect touch for this type of rom com: she‘s nailed both the humor and the sweetness of this new relationship between two people who seem mismatched but are, at heart, both just really lonely. I appreciate her nuanced portrayal of Lana, ⬇️
1y
UnabridgedPod who is definitely controlled in part by her money and obligation to the family business but is in no way a victim—she‘s not looking for an escape, and her parents aren‘t abusive, but she does need something more than business.⠀

Rick, though shy, is still confident, and his affection for his friends and family and pets and neighbor . . . well, his loyalty is remarkable and was something I loved in the book. ⬇️
1y
UnabridgedPod In just two books, Morgenthaler has made quite a mark for rom-com readers, and I can‘t wait to get my hands on her next book! If you haven‘t visited Moose Springs, Alaska, yet, now is the time to start! 1y
20 likes4 comments
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Horrorstor | Grady Hendrix
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Amy is one of the sales person at Orsk, an Ikea-knockoff store specializing in Scandinavian-esque furniture and selling "living experiences" in a highly stylized warehouse. She's desperate to escape the Cuyahoga store, where she's under the oppressive eye of super-manager Basil, but first, she has to prove herself. After a long day at the store, Amy agrees to stay late in the store with Basil and her sweet co-worker ⬇️

UnabridgedPod in order to catch a vandal who's been leaving foul messes around the store at night. They couldn't have imagined what they would find. Grady Hendrix's Horrorstör is a fun horror story that takes full advantage of the obsession with pseudo-homes and the idea that American workers are zombies. (In that way, it was quite reminiscient of Ling Ma's Severance.) Each section begins with a page from an Orsk catalog, ⬇️ 1y
UnabridgedPod and the magazine spreads evolve along with the story as Amy begins to realize that the horrors are far worse than a dead-end job.⠀

This was a perfect read for October: a fast, fun, creepy ride with some nice surprises.
1y
TuesdayReviews I‘ve read a couple of Grady‘s books and loved them. I should pick up this one. 1y
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UnabridgedPod @TuesdayReviews This was my first! What are some of your favorites? 1y
TuesdayReviews @UnabridgedPod I read We Sold Our Souls, a horror novel with a heavy metal theme, and Paperbacks From Hell, a riotous nonfiction about the explosion of cheap paperback horror novels in the 70s and 80s. 1y
PandaPanda I just finished this last night myself!! I have to admit I was more scared that I thought I would be! 1y
UnabridgedPod @TuesdayReviews Thanks for the recs! 1y
UnabridgedPod @PandaPanda It definitely had some creepy moments! 1y
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Imagine Me | Tahereh Mafi
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"Don't you understand? . . . This is it. This is the end. This is the defining moment we've all been fighting for. The end of an era. The end of a revolution" (302).⠀

? As always, I find it really difficult to review any book in a series but the first. So, this is going to be SUPER vague. But, if you are leery of spoilers, maybe stop reading here!⠀

**********⠀

I devoured Tahereh Mafi's Imagine Me, the conclusion of her Shatter Me series. ⬇️

UnabridgedPod Mafi is an amazing writer who creates a compelling plot without losing a bit of her craft.

Mafi tells this story, book 6, through two perspectives: Juliette and Kenji. Juliette is (for me) the protagonist of the series, though Mafi has shared her story through a variety of points of view, a feature that I appreciate. I was a little disappointed in this book, though, that Juliette didn't have more agency. ⬇️
1y
UnabridgedPod She has changed and grown through six books--embracing her own powers and strength--and yet, in this one, though there were certainly intrinsic struggles, and I know those are in some ways the pinnacle of the obstacles she needed to conquer, I felt as if she was largely passive. ⠀

I will say, that frustration didn't hurt my enjoyment of the book while reading because Mafi is a master, and I've come to love these characters so much. ⬇️
1y
UnabridgedPod (Kenji's voice is SO strong, and I appreciate his humor and self confidence and friendship for Juliette.) I do just wish that Juliette had more of a chance to be strong throughout this big finale. 1y
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Thanks to NetGalley for the digital ARC of Julie C. Dao‘s Broken Wish in exchange for an honest review. The book will be published on Tuesday, October 6, 2020.⠀

Julie C. Dao‘s Broken Wish is the first in a series of four YA novels spanning generations of a cursed family. (The authors are heavy hitters: Dhonielle Clayton, L. L. McKinney, and Jennifer Cervantes will round out the series.)⠀

Check out my review at unabridgedpod.com!

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Thanks to partner Libro.fm for the ALC of Lacy Crawford's Notes on a Silencing.⠀

This book. Wow. Read by the author, the audiobook of Notes on a Silencing is a powerful, vulnerable, heart-breaking account of Lacy Crawford's sexual assault by two classmates. At fifteen, Lacy is a student at an exclusive board school when she's raped. The inevitable trauma is exacerbated by the fact that Lacy, held back by her own innocence and her fear, ⬇️

UnabridgedPod does not tell anyone for a long time despite certain tragic consequences. When she finally does share her story, seeking some form of justice, the school goes to great lengths to silence her and to protect not the victim but its own reputation.⠀

I listened to this book on the edge of my seat, hating what happened to Crawford and yet marveling at her bravery in sharing her story. ⬇️
1y
UnabridgedPod (This would have been a powerful pairing on Unabridged for our book club pick this month, Chanel Miller's Know My Name.) Crawford is a brilliant writer, able to convey with such honesty and reflection the significance of this horrible event in her life.

How often do you listen to audiobooks? OR Think of a recent book you read--what other book would you pair with it?
1y
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Thanks to Partner NetGalley for the digital ARC of V. E. Schwab‘s The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue in exchange for an honest review. The book will be published on Tuesday, October 6, 2020.⠀

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is the first book I‘ve read by V. E. Schwab . . . I‘ll definitely be reading more. What a brilliant, compelling, gorgeous novel. Check out my review at unabridgedpod.com!

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"They burned down the market on the day Vivek Oji died" (1).⠀

That is the first sentence, and the entirety of the first chapter, of Akwake Emezi's The Death of Vivek Oji. This book, which I read with @readwithtoni as part of a buddy read, stunned me. At only 245 pages, it's a fast, compelling read, but there is so much depth, so much heartbreak and love, resentment and hatred, grace and forgiveness, ⬇️

UnabridgedPod within this small book that I don't know how I'm going to begin to explain why I loved it so much.

This is my second of Emezi's books, after Pet, and I'm definitely going to be reading more of their work. The writing here is beautifully spare and so, so deep. Vivek Oji is at times a tragic and misunderstood figure but ultimately, I think, a triumphant and hopeful protagonist. ⬇️
1y
UnabridgedPod Set in Nigeria, the story weaves between a multitude of perspectives: Vivek Oji; Vivek's cousin Osita; Vivek's parents Kavita (an Indian immigrant) and Chika; Osita's parents Mary and Ekene. Ekene and Chika's mother Ahunna, who dies on the day of Vivek's birth, is a central figure through the book, as Vivek and Ahunna are paired in the minds of their family. ⬇️ 1y
UnabridgedPod Emezi conveys the close-knit community that still contains great diversity: those who oppress anyone different and those who support people's need to figure out who they are and establish their own identity. We see the conflict between the traditional and the modern, the desperation for sons, the dismissal of daughters, the simultaneous desire for and scorn of women. ⬇️ 1y
UnabridgedPod This is a book that contains ugliness, but also people who learn to understand their world differently.

I realize that I haven't really described the plot, which is compelling, and which weaves between past and present seamlessly. It's a difficult storyline to summarize, but it is nonetheless a compelling one, and I only put this book down so that I didn't read ahead in our chat.
1y
UnabridgedPod I can't think of a book I've read recently that I would recommend more highly. 1y
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