Book Review: Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel ★★★★★

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“But these thoughts broke apart in his head and were replaced by strange fragments: This is my soul and the world unwinding, this is my heart in the still winter air. Finally whispering the same two words over and over: “Keep walking. Keep walking. Keep walking.””

Oh my god. This book. It was so amazing. I was expecting to like this book, but I had no idea it would be so moving and powerful. It is beautiful. 5 brilliant stars.

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Book Review: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah ★★★

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“She was crying for it all at last–for the pain and loss and fear and anger, for the war and what it had done to her and to all of them, for the knowledge of evil she could never shake, for the horror of where she’d been and what she’d done to survive.”

Hmm I liked this book. I liked it, but it certainly wasn’t the best thing I have ever read and it didn’t really meet my expectations – expectations that were heightened because of all of the hype surrounding it. Overall, I would give the book 3 stars.

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Book Review: The Grownup by Gillian Flynn ★★★

“I’m a self-didact. (Not a dirty word, look it up.) I read constantly. I think. But I lack formal education. So I’m left with the feeling that I’m smarter than everyone around me but that if I ever got around really smart people—people who went to universities and drank wine and spoke Latin—that they’d be bored as hell by me. It’s a lonely way to go through life.”

This was an okay little novella. I picked it up on a whim and I really enjoyed the beginning, but the end fell kind of flat for me.

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Book Review: Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan ★★

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“That’s what I want for my kids. I want them to love their family, but to feel a deeper sense of pride in who they are as individuals, not in how much money they have, what their last name is, or how many generations they go back to whatever dynasty. I’m sorry, but I’ve had enough. I’ve had enough of being around all these crazy rich Asians, all these people whose lives revolve around making money, spending money, flaunting money, comparing money, hiding money, controlling others with money, and ruining their lives over money.”

I really went into this with an open mind. I was excited to read it and I wanted something different from what I normally read, a light, fun, contemporary about a culture I am not overly familiar with. I gave it my best effort, but I just didn’t care for it 🤷‍♀️. Glad I only spent a dollar on it!

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Book Review: The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova ★★

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“I was filled with angst in college, that I struggled with the question of my future, the meaning of my life – spoiled sheltered rich girl collides with great books and is devastated by her own banality.”

What a disappointment! I read Kostova’s other novel, The Historian, ages ago and I really enjoyed it. I found a beautiful hardcover copy of The Swan Thieves at Goodwill for $3. I was still riding my “art-thriller” high thanks to The Goldfinch. Everything was lined up perfectly for me to LOVE this book!!

But did I? Sadly, no. No I did not.

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Book Review: Black Leopard Red Wolf by Marlon James ★★★★

“We don’t own truth. Truth is truth and nothing you can do about it even if you hide it, or kill it, or even tell it. It was truth before you open your mouth and say, That there is a true thing.”

I am not one to usually give trigger warnings, because honestly I just forget to and generally mention it in my review anyway, but for this book:

Trigger warnings: LITERALLY ALL OF THEM. Yes, even that one. And that one! Oh you thought that would never be allowed in a book?? Well it’s in here!

Sooo I’m gonna be honest with you guys. I really liked this book. A lot! But, I would definitely hesitate before recommending it to anyone I know in real life 😅. It is SO DARK. I am having such a hard time rating it, too. The story and the writing and the characterization – all phenomenal. But some of the subject matter is wildly violent and disturbing…..Yeahhhh, I’m still gonna go 4.5 stars, I think. It was really good, okay! Don’t @ me!

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Book Review: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt ★★★★

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Only here’s what I really, really want someone to explain to me. What if one happens to be possessed of a heart that can’t be trusted–? What if the heart, for its own unfathomable reasons, leads one willfully and in a cloud of unspeakable radiance away from health, domesticity, civic responsibility and strong social connections and all the blandly-held common virtues and instead straight toward a beautiful flare of ruin, self-immolation, disaster?…If your deepest self is singing and coaxing you straight toward the bonfire, is it better to turn away? Stop your ears with wax? Ignore all the perverse glory your heart is screaming at you? Set yourself on the course that will lead you dutifully towards the norm, reasonable hours and regular medical check-ups, stable relationships and steady career advancement the New York Times and brunch on Sunday, all with the promise of being somehow a better person? Or…is it better to throw yourself head first and laughing into the holy rage calling your name?”

I finished it! I feel so accomplished. Wow wow wow, this book was a masterpiece! So good. 4.5 read for sure, with just a few very minor hangups.

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Book Review: Survivor by Chuck Palahniuk ★★★★★

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“Did perpetual happiness in the Garden of Eden maybe get so boring that eating the apple was justified?”

Funny, biting, harsh, satirical, absurd, poignant, real, nonsensical, dark, humorous, genius! This is what I love from Chuck. This is the Chuck that I look for when I want a slice of razor-edged, existential pie for breakfast. He soothes that ragged, sometimes consuming dread that most people feel from time to time. He just slaps on a balm of laughter and violence, and tells you to buck up and, honestly, it totally works. I love his books and Survivor is one of my new favorites for sure.

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Book Review: Rough Animals by Rae DelBianco ★★★

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“The only way to influence another’s fate is by destroying them. It’s the only thing that can be done permanently and by an action within your control. To try to protect someone is to try to intervene in the actions of the world against them but that’s something you can’t face alone or entirely because if fate has bullets for them you can only take one.” 

This was a really interesting book! I was excited to read it ever since I started following Rae on Instagram. She seems like such a cool lady, with her beautiful horse and cow rustling and reading Faulkner in woods. Her debut novel was very much what I was hoping it would be and, despite some flaws, turned out to be a solid 3.5 star read! I would warn you, though, that this novel is extremely violent, not just to people (cause who cares about them?), but also to animals, so keep that in mind before picking it up.

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Book Review: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern ★★★★

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“You think, as you walk away from Le Cirque des Rêves and into the creeping dawn, that you felt more awake within the confines of the circus.
You are no longer quite certain which side of the fence is the dream.”

Oooo guys. I loved this book! It was honestly gorgeous in every way. I know, I know. I’m pretty late to the game here, but I gotta be straight with ya; I did not expect this book to be so good! It has been sitting on my shelf for years and I just never got around to reading it. I kept putting it off do to my rather lackluster attitude toward circus books (I blame Water for Elephants for that 👎). But, I quickly discovered that the circus here is more of a magic show, complete with real magicians and illusionists. Did you ever see the movies The Prestige or The Illusionist? It’s more like that, which is so much cooler!! I cannot stress enough that, if like me, you foolishly neglected to read this book, you need to do so right now!

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