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The Light Between Oceans

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Amazing writing, gripping story and characters. Its a touching story of love, and family, and life on a remote island and at the same time its this gripping drama just full of heart wrenching tragedy and everyone just being SO MISERABLE, but not in an annoying way. Its more complicated and true to life than that; its about consequences to the choices we make, its about how when you absolutely love someone you put them entirely before yourself. Amazing, enthralling right to the end. A wonderful read.
Perdida

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Writing is good, the plot moves along, but the characters SUCK!!!! They are so annoying and horrible, its almost impossible to sympathize with any of them. And its so back and forth! Are the cops SMART or are they DUMB? Does Amy have her finger on EVERY SINGLE DETAIL EVER or NOT!?!? So frustrating. I give her credit for the quality of the writing itself, but the content was so dissappointing!!!!
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry: A Novel

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Absolutely wonderful book about the complexity of long-term relationships, and how the past bears on us and the choices we make and effects those relationships. The man here, Harold, is a boring and complacent retiree, at home with his wife, when he gets a mysterious letter from a woman from his past--she is dying. He goes out for a walk, and after an unusual encounter with a girl in a gas station, begins to walk to see his dying friend. This choice throws his whole life, and that of his long-suffering wife, into a turmoil that will either serve to destroy them or make them better. Wonderful characters, with soul searching on both sides, as Harold and his wife visit the past events which have shaped each of them for better or worse, and they try to make sense of it all. Fantastic, poignant, and thought-provoking.
The Fun Parts: Stories

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I devoured this book, I had to stay up and finish it because I just could not put it down. Each story captured my attention, and had me feeling all these...*feelings*. You know its good writing when the author can have you laughing out loud one moment and then furrowing your brow in the seriousness of the turn of events. Just absolutely rich, gooey, intoxicating writing. Yum.
Love Water Memory

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This is a fabulous book about identity, how we interpret our past, and the changing nature of love. In it "Jane Doe" finds herself knee deep in San Francisco Bay, with no idea who he is or how she ended up there. After the media takes hold, it turns out "Jane" is Lucie Walker of Seattle, who disappeared ten days ago and has had her fiancee, Grady, frantic. As Lucie tries to piece together who she is, and why she lost her memory, she discovers that the person she is now is different from the one she was not two weeks ago. She likes different things, dresses differently, and has a different attitude--especially about the people in her life. It's overwhelming, and Lucie struggles, all the while terrified that some new discovery she makes about her life will send her over the edge once again. There were moments when I was convinced the story was going to get all schmaltzy, and then Shortridge would get SERIOUS, and you'd be sucked right back in. This is a great thought-provoking book, and I enjoyed it immensely. [I listened to this on audio--a good production.]
Sad Desk Salad: A Novel

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Eh. Not that exciting urban chick lit.
A Land More Kind Than Home: A Novel

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This book was utterly devastating. Gripping from the very first, and all the way through, with complex and fascinating characters and storyline. Heart wrenching story of a small town family and the church that will ultimately destroy them in one way or another. Suspensful enough to have me on the edge of my seat, one of the best domestic dramas that I've read since Swamplandia!
Beautiful Ruins: A Novel

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Mostly gorgeous, evocative writing -- lots of metastories, stories within the story, which for the most part work really well. They are used to fill in the gaps, elaborate on the backstories, but near the end it got a little heavy. The last chapter had SO much going on, where it was wrapping up most everything, it was somewhat heavy handed but at the same time I was satisfied by it.
Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore: A Novel

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Pretty cool story about a man who finds himself working in a bookstore that is really a front for a secret society trying to figure out immortality through books and writing. Interesting characters, and a really different kind of story and premise, which is refreshing. I had some problems with the main character, and the way his inner and outer voices were done, which I found at times confusing as to whether he was saying something or thinking it. It really came out like most everyone is telepathic and responds to his thoughts verbally, which was weird. Also the perfect storm of Jannon's friends and companions' strengths was too good to be true and kind of cheesy. All the book and printing stuff was super cool, though, as was the idea of the intersection between print media and computers/technology was very cool. Plus as someone who works with historical materials the Accession Table was HILARIOUS AND AWESOME all at once. Pretty good all around.
A Constellation of Vital Phenomena: A Novel

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A beautifully written, gut-wrenching book about life before during and after the
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