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review
thea-block
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Pickpick

What a sweet, intentional, and honest book about the lives of two atypical teens. If you liked Eleanor & Park or Helen Hoang‘s books, this is a great read with those same feelings and concepts.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

review
thea-block
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Pickpick

I loved the original “Daddy Long-Legs” book and the Broadway play (go look it up if you enjoyed these stories!) and this made it into a contemporary story including some hard knocks for the characters and redemptive inner changes. Probably my favorite Reay book in this Reay book kick I‘m on! 🤪

⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

review
thea-block
The Bront Plot | Katherine Reay
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Pickpick

After my first Reay book, in October, I thought I should pick up more of her backlist. This was a very interesting read, especially because the “heroine” of the book made some very questionable choices making her interesting to root for. There‘s some really deep stuff in here, challenging whether fate is set and if our worldviews can adapt. Loved the many literary references - this would be a great flight book to the classics!

⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

review
thea-block
Lovely War | Julie Berry
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Pickpick

A unique combination of historical fiction, mythology, and a compelling method of storytelling, this “YA” book captured my imagination and provided a new lens through which to see the time of the Great War. Glad I picked it up on recommendation from #modernmrsdarcy!

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

review
thea-block
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Pickpick

This book was different than expected but so welcome! A meandering story of heartache, redemption, and the family you create. The Australian landscape and lifestyle are characters themselves, as are the sense of loss and glimpses of hope.

Pick this one up if you have a chance!
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

(A few unexpectedly weird plot points featured, which I‘ve found in many Australian things I‘ve watched/read... anyone else found that to be the case?)

review
thea-block
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Pickpick

I love everything Amor Towles does, and this was no exception. This short story gives us a picture of a world just a few years ahead of ours, with a plausible picture of where our automized, personalized, and meddling choices may land us. It‘s subtle, but it‘s powerful. Many notes of early stages of Brave New World.

I especially appreciated the note about how predictive research can be used in ways that hurt our humanity.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

review
thea-block
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Pickpick

This was my first book of Reay‘s and though I enjoyed it, I wasn‘t blown away (though many say this isn‘t her typical book). I liked the book references, the varied pictures of the stages of women‘s lives/inner thoughts/challenges, and the character growths and truths. But the satisfying endings weren‘t my favorite, and the perspective jumps were jarring at times.

Enjoyable read - I‘ll read more of her backlist soon!

⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

review
thea-block
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Pickpick

What a beautiful, clever, and fulfilling story! I loved the many different pictures of loss, the processing of grief, and the new chances and opportunities. Though these can be heavy subjects, the story was still light, with hope and humor, but not undignified. This was my favorite type of contemporary read - good relational dynamics and growth (with the bonus of a fascinating premise and humor on the side). Will add to my favorites!

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

review
thea-block
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Pickpick

Like Downton Abbey in book form! Not as much drama, but the same focus on a wide variety of class/experience and a picture of the 1910s ethos, culture, and pressures.

I‘m not sold on the pacing of the story, the many POVs, and the foray into a year+ of the war. I enjoyed the cultural mindset, the relationships, and many characters. I wish there was more Beatrice!

Certainly one of my favorite reads in a while.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

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thea-block
Pumpkinheads | Rainbow Rowell
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“Friends don‘t let friends live small lives.”

This sentiment perfectly describes this short and sweet beauty of a graphic novel. Friends emboldening one another thru their friendship. Loved the perfect fall feel, the illustrations, and a cute storyline. I almost never read graphic novels so it‘s a good challenge for me to slow down reading the words and pay more attention to the nuances of the pictures.

⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

review
thea-block
Love at First Like | Hannah Orenstein
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Pickpick

As a story, as a romance, as a piece of literature, this was “eh.” As an ethnographic and sociological picture of what it‘s like to be an urban millennial woman, this was fantastic. Honestly, this describes the pressures, assumptions, dreams, habits, mindset, and lifestyle of this subculture so well. It was clear but also subtle, and I would suggest to anyone who wants to know more about this subculture.

For that reason, ⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

11 likes1 stack add
review
thea-block
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Pickpick

Bittersweet (possible) end to the series! I‘ve listened to most of these in audio format, so as I read this one I kept hearing Flavia, Dogger, and Mrs. Mullet‘s voices in my head 🙃

A bit of a convoluted mystery, but beautiful interactions between Flavia and those whom she loves. She‘s growing up!

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

emz711 Waaahhh? I don't think it will be. Will it be the end? 2mo
thea-block I know, right? Supposedly Bradley is taking a break, as he was originally contracted for a 10 book series, and he‘s 80 years old! But he hasn‘t necessarily said one way or another that he‘s done with Flavia... we will see! 2mo
5 likes2 comments
review
thea-block
Bringing Down the Duke | Evie Dunmore
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Pickpick

Found this on my library‘s “lucky day” shelf! It read like a historical chick-flick with some nice progressive themes :) Looking forward to more in this series because it was an enjoyable read. Though, there was definitely more the author could have done with the depth of the emotions, changes, and characters‘ stories; there was the potential for even more depth that would have made this a unique book among its kind.

⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

review
thea-block
The Firebird | Susanna Kearsley
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Pickpick

I think this is my favorite Kearsley! It includes her strengths of meticulous history, fascinating but realistic magical realism, and engaging stories in both past and present. And it‘s also based in multiple countries and with the characters at multiple ages which almost makes it feel like multiple stories in one. Definitely one of the most purely enjoyable stories I‘ve read this year!

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

review
thea-block
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Pickpick

I‘d never heard of this book or this author, yet, I so enjoyed this read! Magical realism, but in a way that felt so natural. Some great storylines about self discovery, wholeness and brokenness, and friends who become family. I‘m going to look for more by this author!

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

kelli7990 I just finished listening to this book last night. I enjoyed it. 4w
thea-block @kelli7990 Yeah, I was surprised by it! Have you read other things that are similar? Have any suggestions? 4w
kelli7990 I haven‘t read anything else like this book. 4w
9 likes3 comments
review
thea-block
Spring House | Mary Ellen Taylor
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Pickpick

Enjoyed this lighter multiple-timeline story that had just enough questions to keep me reading! There could have been a deeper look into some of the storylines and a longer ending (it felt rushed) for a more complex book. But overall an interesting history and an engaging enough contemporary story to keep me reading!

⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

review
thea-block
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Pickpick

This book is part suspense, part romance, part historical fiction, but it does none of them really well. It was an entertaining read; yet, the history was spotty, the romance bland, and the suspense a little forced. A unique concept, and the different storylines were very creative, but the writing was just okay. Clever title though!

⭐️⭐️⭐️

review
thea-block
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Pickpick

It took me a while to get into this, which was surprising as a retelling of Pride & Prejudice set in modern day Pakistan. At first I found it too exact a copy of P&P, and then the themes seemed repeated incessantly. Eventually it picked up, but it was never fully redeemed for me. The author really focused on the females relationships, and the love stories seemed like afterthoughts. I wish there was more “showing” and less “telling.”

⭐️⭐️⭐️

review
thea-block
The Summer Wives: A Novel | Beatriz Williams
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Pickpick

My first Beatriz Williams book! And I have to say, she‘s a good writer and has well developed storylines. Her historical accuracy is interesting and it doesn‘t dominate the storyline. This book reminds me of The Boston Girl, Susanna Kearsley, Sarah Addison Allen, Maeve Binchey, and Kate Morton.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

review
thea-block
At the Water's Edge | Sara Gruen
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Pickpick

I wasn‘t sure what I would get with this one... Magical realism? Historical fiction? Dark history? It ended up being just up my alley - historical fiction for the purpose of character development, authentic characters, but not too gritty that it‘s hard to read. And just a tiny bit of maybe fantasy 🙃 Overall I really enjoyed this one and would read again!

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Also, I love Scotland. I visited for 2mos when I was young and fell in love 💛

review
thea-block
The Bride Test | Helen Hoang
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Pickpick

I have to say I enjoyed The Kiss Quotient more. Hoang does a good job writing about things that are usually more taboo (escorts, mail-order brides, etc) and includes an important and authentic angle on spectrum disorders. Yet, the storylines are just not always filled out, so this one gets just 3 stars.

⭐️⭐️⭐️

review
thea-block
Named of the Dragon | Susanna Kearsley
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Pickpick

Love Kearsley books! This is no exception. In some ways requires a little more extension of disbelief, but the Merlin/King Arthur connection is just fun. Honestly, the story without it could have been a little more fleshed out and have been complete by itself (as seems to be the case with her early books), but overall, it was a fun read.

⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

review
thea-block
Shanghai Girls | Lisa See
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Pickpick

I almost abandoned this one in the beginning because some of the tough things the sisters go through are so explicit. But I stuck with it and I‘m glad I did. I enjoyed the portrayal of the two sisters, the fascinating, courageous, and sad details of their immigration, and the historical perspective. I wish the meta narrative and perspective change would have been more fleshed out earlier on. Overall, a good book.

⭐️⭐️⭐️ 1/2

review
thea-block
Garden Spells | Sarah Addison Allen
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Pickpick

Love Sarah Addison Allen books for easy, fulfilling reads! This is my favorite so far - magical realism, family secrets, and some character growth. Also enjoyed the southern, small-town setting that distinctly makes these books Addison Allen‘s.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

review
thea-block
The Unhoneymooners | Christina Lauren
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Pickpick

Often Christina Lauren‘s books knock-it-out-of-the-park for me, but this one didn‘t really do it. Interesting concept, and they played on the “hate each other because of a misunderstanding but actually are very similar” trope. And they did some different things with storyline and supporting characters. But ultimate, the growth points felt a little forced and underdeveloped. Still a recommend, but as a real light read.

⭐️⭐️⭐️

review
thea-block
The Proposal | Jasmine Guillory
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Mehso-so

As with her previous book, The Wedding Date, there was just something missing in this story for me. The concept, characters, and general storyline were fine, but nothing spectacular, and it feels like there is something missing in the progression of the relationships. Still an enjoyable light read but not really a recommend.

⭐️⭐️⭐️

8 likes1 stack add
review
thea-block
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Pickpick

Many have raved about this new series with Auntie Poldi, and I can understand why. There‘s lots to love in the spunky, older, eccentric Aunt character. She represents a missing area of heroic middle- to late- aged female characters in fiction. But I just did not love this series. The writing, though wry, did not capture me, and neither did the story. A good book, but I don‘t think I‘ll continue with the series.

⭐️⭐️⭐️

review
thea-block
Esperanza Rising | Pam Munoz Ryan
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Pickpick

This is one of those books I‘ve recognized my whole life, but have never actually considered to read! Finally picked it up to read while nursing. It is well-written, well-themed, and appropriate for these times. Though based at the beginning of the Great Depression, and middle-grade appropriate, the themes of the immigrant experience still ring true. I‘m thankful to be reminded of these experiences. And I‘m glad I finally read this one!

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

review
thea-block
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Pickpick

This one surprised me! My first recommendation from a certain blogger. She was right; this is a heartwarming, honest, complicated, and relatable story about teenage-hood, relationships, and the realities of life. It‘s really beautiful.

The book mentions The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, but honestly it‘s the best comparison. If you liked it, or like honest and clever looks at teenage years, you‘ll like this.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

7 likes1 stack add
review
thea-block
Victoria and Abdul | Shrabani Basu
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Mehso-so

As much as I love this story and the author‘s focus on including as much source information as possible, I found the book was lacking in storytelling. Even a non-fiction historical account must engage the reader, if not with a narrative, then with questions which challenge the reader to draw their own conclusions or seek more answers. This account was too dry, too repetitive, and poorly organized.

⭐️⭐️1/2

review
thea-block
Masterpiece | Elise Broach
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Pickpick

Cute, imaginative tale about an unlikely friendship between a lonely boy and the beetle who lives in his house. Reminded me of the Borrowers and Stuart Little. Loved the art heist angle to the story!

⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

review
thea-block
How to Walk Away | Katherine Center
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Pickpick

What a beautiful surprise! This books is like a full movie drama with well developed characters, funny moments, and serious implications and challenges. It deals with disability and trauma in an authentic way, while still providing some excitement from family drama and romance. For fans of Christina Lauren, Sarah Jio, etc.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

review
thea-block
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Pickpick

Enjoyed many aspects of this - Christie‘s first Poirot novel. It is an enjoyable romp through the 1920s mystery, with many extraneous clues and red herrings, a clueless “Watson” character, and the classic family drama.

⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

17 likes1 stack add
review
thea-block
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Pickpick

This was a gentle story of two elderly people who find comfort in one another in a unique way. It is a quiet, simple, and impactful story about companionship, regret, image, parenting, life choices, and family - that which we have and that which we make.

I look forward to reading more of Haruf‘s work, as this was my first. Any recommendations?

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

Blaire I highly recommend 4mo
thea-block Thank you for the recommendation @Blaire ! 4mo
15 likes2 comments
review
thea-block
The Splendour Falls | Susanna Kearsley
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Pickpick

Another Kearsley book, as these are my easy comfort reads, and reading 10 minutes at a time while nursing requires easy book‘s to get into 😄🤱🏻👶🏼

This one was more like a current day mystery based on a historical past, similar to A Season of Storms. I enjoyed the relationships the character made, though I felt like her growth was forced and not fully worked through. Enjoyable story and memorable characters.

⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

11 likes1 stack add
review
thea-block
Exit West | Mohsin Hamid
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Pickpick

Lots of hype surrounding this one, but I found it good enough but not exactly to my taste. The writing style took some getting used to, and though there was some beautiful and thought provoking content, I didn‘t connect that well with the story. I did very much appreciate the migrant perspective and the alternate vision of what our world could look like, and already does look like for some.

Worth the read but not one of my favorites.
⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

review
thea-block
The War that Saved My Life | Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
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Pickpick

Wow! This was one of those young adult/children‘s books that is so well written it could be an adult‘s book. It deals with tough subjects like disability, generational abuse, war, adoption, and poverty in nuanced ways. Well-written and hopeful, yet, I wouldn‘t recommend to a child without someone to help them make sense of the tough stuff. So glad I picked this one up on #modernmrsdarcy ‘s recommendation.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

review
thea-block
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Pickpick

I had no idea what to expect going into this book, but I‘d seen many good reviews. This was a story of a small town in WV during the 1930s, but ultimately it was about what defines history and truth. It was clever and nuanced, humorous and serious. It dealt with control, family, identity, truth, perception, and loyalty. “Ferocity and devotion.” Not a perfect story but a human one.

Similar read: And the Ladies of the Club

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

9 likes1 stack add
review
thea-block
Season of Storms | Susanna Kearsley
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Pickpick

I was surprised I hadn‘t read this Kearsley book when I saw it available as an ebook from my library. Read it while pumping - kept me occupied :)

A little different than Kearsley‘s other books in that the historical part of the story was less prominent - more of a backdrop. I really enjoyed the growth of the main character, the Italian setting, and the positive familial relationships, but the love interest was a bit weak.

⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

review
thea-block
No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency | Alexander McCall Smith
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Pickpick

Finally read this modern classic. Found it similar to the Isabel Dalhousie series in the middle-aged female perspective, the slower pace, similar multiple small story arcs, and the unique vocations of the characters. McCall Smith certainly has a type!

I enjoyed the book generally but nothing felt really special to me, except for Precious‘s strength, forthrightness, and her cleverness.

⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

review
thea-block
Lion in the Valley | Elizabeth Peters
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Pickpick

I continue to love this series, even though the stories are generally the same. This one had some new twists with a reoccurring character and an older Ramses. Still excited for the next one!

⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

review
thea-block
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Pickpick

One of my favorite books I‘ve read recently. I enjoyed the descriptions of the culture, the people, the character‘s experience of others and his own development. The quiet lives of those described in this book make it a peaceful and purposeful story which was perfect for this time for me. Character-driven picture of one young Chinese man‘s expirience of the beginning of WWII in Japan.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

review
thea-block
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Pickpick

I wanted a nice, light piece of historical fiction, and this one fit the bill. Two timelines but both were in the past (1920s and 1970s). Enjoyed the art/art history storylines, but didn‘t love the characters or the author‘s portrayals of them. The story felt a little simplistic, like it was trying to be more but just wasn‘t complex enough to make it.

Worth the read for the entertainment and the art world.
⭐️⭐️⭐️

review
thea-block
Unknown Ajax | Georgette Heyer
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Pickpick

Love me some Georgette Heyer! This wasn‘t my favorite of hers but I did really enjoy the cousins getting to know one another and finding an equilibrium. Also, Hugo and Anthea‘s relationship was sweet, if not well developed.

As always, clever writing and interesting characters.
⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

8 likes1 stack add
review
thea-block
Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way | Susan McCutcheon, Peter Rosegg, Erick Ingraham
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Pickpick

After having preterm labor last week and feeling totally unprepared, I whipped out this classic on natural childbirth, a book my mom used for all of her births. Thankful for the wisdom about knowing your body and working with the pain and changes. I feel much more prepared now! Hoping I have a few more weeks to let this baby belly grow! ☺️

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (Great wisdom if you read with a grain of salt, especially in regard to tone and publishing date)

Bookwormjillk Good luck! 6mo
Prairiegirl_reading Good luck! I hope everything goes well! 6mo
BooknerdsLife Hope everything goes well for you & best of luck 🙌🏼💖 6mo
10 likes3 comments
review
thea-block
Once Upon a River | Diane Setterfield
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Pickpick

Seems like everyone has been reading this over the past year. Since The Thirteenth Tale was a favorite, thought I‘d take a chance. The story was certainly magical realism, a fable-like perspective of deluded relationships, twisty, with multiple perspectives weaving together. An interesting read and one that has great atmosphere.

Not one of my most favorite reads of the year but I‘m glad I read it. ⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

10 likes1 stack add
review
thea-block
The Charming Quirks of Others | Alexander McCall Smith
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Pickpick

I enjoyed this installment more than the past few - though it easily could have been called “The Monsterous Assumptions of Isalbel Dalhousie,” instead of its current title! One thing that bothers me is Isabel‘s lack of development throughout the series; sure, there are many philosophical wonderings and changes in her life, but Isabel lacks psychological change.

Still enjoying the series though!

⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

review
thea-block
The Peach Keeper: A Novel | Sarah Addison Allen
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Pickpick

This one has been on my TBR shelves for a long time! Glad to have finally read some Sarah Addison Allen! Reminds me of Susanna Kearsley, who I really enjoy, because of the magical realism, the multiple timelines, and the tones of the stories. I‘ll definitely pick up another book by this author for something easy to read and enjoyable!

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

blurb
thea-block
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Doing some research for a presentation on healthy marriages & parenting! (Also personal research... my husband‘s and my first baby due this July!🤰🏻)

Lots of shared quotes and facts, but different perspectives - memoir, self help, theory.

-The All-Or-Nothing Marriage by Finkel ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2
-And Baby Makes Three by Gottman ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
-Babyproofing Your Marriage by Cockrell ⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2
-How To Not Hate Your Husband After You Have Kids by Dunn ⭐️⭐️⭐️

5 likes1 stack add
review
thea-block
Transcription | Kate Atkinson
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Pickpick

Didn‘t know what to expect with this one... I would say it‘s a combo of a typical wartime novel about a woman‘s experience, a popular spy thriller, and an interesting twist. The main character got on my nerves for much of the novel because she seemed so content to let life happen to her. The end seems to buck that characterization, but it didn‘t necessarily carry throughout the book.

Worth the read, through not my favorite.
⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2