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The Last Romantics
The Last Romantics: A Novel | Tara Conklin
178 posts | 94 read | 6 reading | 172 to read
The New York Times bestselling author of The House Girl explores the lives of four siblings in this ambitious and absorbing novel in the vein of Commonwealth and The Interestings. The greatest works of poetry, what makes each of us a poet, are the stories we tell about ourselves. We create them out of family and blood and friends and love and hate and what weve read and watched and witnessed. Longing and regret, illness, broken bones, broken hearts, achievements, money won and lost, palm readings and visions. We tell these stories until we believe them. When the renowned poet Fiona Skinner is asked about the inspiration behind her iconic work, The Love Poem, she tells her audience a story about her family and a betrayal that reverberates through time. It begins in a big yellow house with a funeral, an iron poker, and a brief variation forever known as the Pause: a free and feral summer in a middle-class Connecticut town. Caught between the predictable life they once led and an uncertain future that stretches before them, the Skinner siblingsfierce Renee, sensitive Caroline, golden boy Joe and watchful Fionaemerge from the Pause staunchly loyal and deeply connected. Two decades later, the siblings find themselves once again confronted with a family crisis that tests the strength of these bonds and forces them to question the life choices theyve made and ask what, exactly, they will do for love. A sweeping yet intimate epic about one American family, The Last Romantics is an unforgettable exploration of the ties that bind us together, the responsibilities we embrace and the duties we resent, and how we can loseand sometimes rescuethe ones we love. A novel that pierces the heart and lingers in the mind, it is also a beautiful meditation on the power of storieshow they navigate us through difficult times, help us understand the past, and point the way toward our future.
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review
Margot0817
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Mehso-so

Overall, this book has a steady rhythm to it-too steady I think. I enjoyed reading about a family's journey with grief over many years from an outside POV but I wish the good and bad was more deeply contrasted. I was decently happy with it, nothing life changing but decently satisfied with it until the last few chapters. To be blunt, I thought they were a joke. She should have wrapped up a long time ago but instead stretched it with filler.

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Margot0817
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My husband and I have two book shelves. One (not pictured) is solely devoted to Bibles and theology while this one is dedicated to everything else. 😜 Only the best books ever (in my opinion) and the TBR are allowed here. The rest are donated to HBP 😊📖

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Margot0817
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Well, guess I'll read later...😂

brit91 Awwww😻😻😻 1w
13 likes1 comment
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Margot0817
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Just a girl reading to one of her many cats 📖😻💕

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Margot0817
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Okay guys, what's next? 🤔

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Sharpeipup
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Afternoon snack and book.

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Sharpeipup
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1. Tagged plus 5-6 more
2. After I Do
3. The gifted school
#weekendreads @rachelsbrittain

26 likes1 stack add
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Mynameisacolour
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Starting the last #lmpbc pick for round 6 tonight!! Loving this cover 🤩
@suvata @Kaila-ann @Hooked_on_books

48 likes1 stack add
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Lauram
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suvata
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Pickpick

Read for Litsy Markup Postal Book Club (#LMPBC) Round 6 - Group B.

This book is a very intense family drama. I liked it quite a bit. A small part of this book takes place in the year 2079. It hints at a dystopian future that I really would have liked to learn more about. Although I was eager to learn more, this book really wasn‘t about the future so, I can‘t blame the author for that – just my curiosity.

Hooked_on_books I wanted more of the future, too! I‘m also glad she changed the personality of the characters. In the extra chapter, I thought the oldest sister was awful. She‘s much better in the finished book. 2mo
suvata @Hooked_on_books I totally agree with you. 2mo
68 likes1 stack add2 comments
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Megokline
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Mehso-so
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suvata
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Hooked_on_books 👏🏼👍🏼 2mo
55 likes1 stack add1 comment
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KRancourt
Pickpick

Loved the relationships between the characters, especially the way everyone deals with trauma and grief differently.

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catebutler
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The last couple of weeks have been a bit trying. So, this weekend there will be rest, reading, a little baking & plenty of downtime. I need it, & hopefully, I‘ll be able to recharge & start next week & month w/ a fresh perspective.

This evening, I‘m starting my final read for August. I received a beautiful review copy from @WilliamMorrowBooks It‘s also on MMD Summer Reading Guide, which I‘ve been making my way through this summer.

QuietlyLaura I hope you have a restful and lovely weekend! 🌹☺️ 2mo
catebutler @QuietlyLaura Thank you, Laura! I hope you do too! 🌾 2mo
Tamra Ditto! 2mo
54 likes4 comments
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Hooked_on_books
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Pickpick

A family saga following a single generation from childhood to each of their deaths, The Last Romantics details how the lives of each sibling are altered by tragedy. There were some small details I didn‘t like, but overall I really enjoyed this book. It was a slower read, demanding to be put down for a time after certain segments to allow for digestion.

It‘s headed to Florida tomorrow.

#LMPBC #groupB

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suvata
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I can‘t believe I read the entire #MMD Modern Mrs. Darcy Summer Reading Guide. I left off The Last Romantics because my bookclub is reading it in September. Yay me!

kspenmoll Congratulations! What an achievement! And some great books! 3mo
suvata @kspenmoll They were all very good books. Every one of them got 3, 4, or 5 stars from me. (edited) 3mo
kspenmoll @suvata I own 4 but have not read them yet!!! 3mo
See All 12 Comments
suvata @kspenmoll Well I hope you enjoy them when you finally get to them. 3mo
Hooked_on_books Wow, nice job! 3mo
suvata @Hooked_on_books Thank you 😊 3mo
thea-block If you had to pick your top three, which would they be? 3mo
Crazeedi Great job! Congrats!!🎉🎉 3mo
MaureenMc 🙌 3mo
Jillylovesbooks That‘s a great accomplishment! 3mo
suvata @thea-block Unmarriageable, Gravity is the Thing, and The Gown. 3mo
thea-block @suvata That‘s awesome! I‘ll have to take a look at those :) 3mo
66 likes1 stack add12 comments
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Cinfhen
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TrishB Not even available on kindle here! How weird. 3mo
Mdargusch I‘ll be anxious to see how you like this one. Our #darguschmarkupbookclub was divided on this one. 🤔 3mo
Cinfhen I didn‘t see your reviews @Mdargusch need to scroll through and check them out 3mo
Cinfhen ThTs super annoying @TrishB 3mo
85 likes4 comments
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Hooked_on_books
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My round 2 book for #LMPBC has arrived! Thanks, @Kaila-ann ! @suvata , I‘ll be dropping Miracle Creek in the mail to you tomorrow. #groupB

Kaila-ann Yay! 3mo
50 likes1 comment
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Kaila-ann
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The Last Romantics is on its way to Hawaii as part of the #lmpbc. Hope you enjoy it!!

Hooked_on_books Hooray! I‘ll keep my eyes peeled for it and post when it arrives. 🎉📚📬 4mo
Kaila-ann @Hooked_on_books 👆🏻👆🏻👆🏻 4mo
Hooked_on_books @Kaila-ann 👍🏼 4mo
25 likes4 comments
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AJBowers
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Mehso-so

This one was just so so for me.
The story is told over several decades, but my connection to the characters was just not there. I felt like nothing was spurring me on to continue save for the hope that it would somehow get more interesting since this was a huge book club pick. 🤷🏻‍♀️

emilyhaldi Agreed!! The character behaviors were not realistic to me and I felt no connection to them. (edited) 4mo
AJBowers @emilyhaldi absolutely! They felt very flat to me. 4mo
80 likes1 stack add2 comments
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AJBowers
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Ready to get book drunk! #24in48

SaturnDoo Good luck 🍀happy reading 💜 4mo
cassiopia I loved this book! 4mo
74 likes2 stack adds2 comments
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Bookish.SAM
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Pickpick

This reminded me a little of The Immortalists.

The beginning of this story really hit home since my brother and I lost our father around the ages the Skinner kids lost theirs. We were very lucky, and forever grateful, that our mother managed this in an exceptionally different manner than Noni.

#weekendreads

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Kaila-ann
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Pickpick

I don‘t want to say too much since this is my pick for #round6 of #lmpbc for #groupb. This was between a pick and so-so for me. If you‘re into family sagas then this will probably be more of a pick for you. Some of the dysfunctional family dynamics and the way the children chose to cope hit a little close to home for me. Despite that, the writing was beautiful and I chose to give it a pick. It will be off to Hawaii very soon.

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HazeltheDog
Mehso-so

A well written family saga about four children who raise themselves during their mother's depression and how this effects their adult relationships amongst themselves and others.

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Kaila-ann
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Starting my book today. Just wanted to let you all know that my notes, highlights, sticky notes will be pink 💖. #lmpbc #groupb

Hooked_on_books Sounds good! I‘m going with Miracle Creek for my book. Ink color TBD. 😬 4mo
Kaila-ann @Hooked_on_books yay! I just happened to have all 3 things in pink so I‘m rolling with it 😉 4mo
15 likes2 comments
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Abby2
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Pickpick

I was totally drawn into Fiona‘s family and life. The writing was artistry and the story sweet and sad and deeply moving.

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marleed
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Pickpick

The Skinner family saga is so beautifully written that I just sunk down into and let it carry me to 2079 wrapped in the certainty that love wins. ...On another note I have some weird gravitational pull to blue/green covers and/or stories where very old women of impressive mental capacity have scrumptious stories to tell!

jillrhudy It was great! 4mo
marleed @jillrhudy I wasn‘t sure if I was in the mood to settle into a family saga, but I was intrigued from beginning to end. 4mo
62 likes2 stack adds2 comments
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Prairiegirl_reading
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Mehso-so

I just didn‘t connect with this one. So many things that started out seeming like something that lead to nothing. A lot that just wasn‘t fleshed out and I don‘t know why since the audio was over twelve hours long. I think the author took on too much and threw it all at the wall but none of it stuck.
That‘s a lot of cliches in one quick review. 😕

cathipink I have this on audio and have been feeling meh about it - seeing your review makes me think I should just move on. Sorry you didn't enjoy it. 4mo
Prairiegirl_reading @cathipink to be honest I love audiobooks when the narrator is animated, can do great voices. This isn‘t one of those. I don‘t want to say she was monotone but maybe bland is a better description. 4mo
cathipink I would agree with that. I am taking a break from a narrator because she narrated a book I really, really disliked, and it's coloring my view of other books. 4mo
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cathipink Who are some of your fave narrators, or some fave audiobooks? 4mo
Prairiegirl_reading Off the top of my head I like Kate Mulgrew and Neil Gaiman a lot. I loved The Hearts Invisible Furies and Donna Tartt narrated True Grit which was absolutely fabulous. Also I really enjoy Bahni Turpin. 4mo
Prairiegirl_reading @cathipink what are some of your faves? 4mo
cathipink !!!! I love Donna Tartt. I'll have to check that out, thank you 🙂 I liked Furies a lot as well. I listen to a lot of memoir and it's generally hard to beat someone reading their own work. Listening to I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings right now and loving hearing Maya read it. Liked Normal People a lot (another great Irish accent), Hunger, and The Cutting Season (not read by the author but perfect for the story). Thanks for the recs 🙂🙂 4mo
cathipink I've also listened to a couple of fave childhood books recently that were perfect treats - Matilda read by Kate Winslet and From the Mixed up Files of Mrs Basil E Frankweiler read by Jill Clayburgh. So delightful. 4mo
Prairiegirl_reading @cathipink I should get I know why the caged bird sings on audio. Maya Angelou is so wonderful. And the mixed up files was a childhood favourite of mine too! ❤️ I‘m going to try to get from Libby. 😄 4mo
24 likes9 comments
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Jillylovesbooks
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Mehso-so

This book covers the lives and complicated relationships of the Skinner family. The best part was the era known as “The Pause” when the siblings were young and they had to band together during their mother‘s grief to survive. I wish the book had ended there. I hated them as adults as well as the dystopian future framing device which didn‘t fit the tone of the rest of the book. The title also seemed to be at best ironic.

Crazeedi Welcome to litsy!!🧚‍♀️🧚‍♀️🎉🎉 4mo
Jillylovesbooks Thank you @Crazeedi! I‘m enjoying it so far! 4mo
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jillrhudy
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Pickpick

Conklin‘s writing is nearly flawless and she carried me right along in rapt fascination despite some perspective changes and time jumps. Love the whole sibling dynamic theme. These four reminded me a good deal of the Brontes but I still don‘t get the title. Also it meandered some toward the end before the author pulled it all together very nicely and I cried a bit. Just the right touch of dystopia. #siblings #family #addiction #strongwomen

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Kaila-ann
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I may have gone a bit crazy buying books while I was on vacation last month - this is just a very small portion of what I bought. 8/55 if I remember correctly 🤔😳🤣🤷🏻‍♀️. #bookhaul #noshame #okmaybealittle #bookbuyingban

wanderinglynn Great haul! 🙌🏻 5mo
Kaila-ann @wanderinglynn thanks! 😊 5mo
36 likes2 comments
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Pamwurtzler
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Pickpick

I had no idea what this book was going to be about when I started it. It‘s a wonderful family saga of love and loss and relationships. So good!

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Lauren.Archer
Pickpick

I just adore summer reading. I feel like I get my best reading in, and this book certainly does not disappoint. This book is 100% in my wheelhouse. There is nothing more that gets me is a great family drama, and this has the elements and all the feels for this story centered around four siblings. So glad I got to read this one. Might be my favorite read of the year so far.

70 likes1 stack add
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Lauren.Archer
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Next read off the #MMDSummerReadingGuide. For the most past she knocks her picks out of the park.

ginnywriteswords This is the best book I‘ve read all year. 5mo
94 likes2 stack adds1 comment
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Meredith3
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I think this is my second to last book in our traveling book club? Maybe the last? Someone help. @AnnieD included some cute items I‘m super excited about, but I did hear this book sucked- so we shall see. I‘ve already picked my book for our next traveling book club, and these hoes just ain‘t ready for it!

Reviewsbylola Hmmmm so apparently @annied can have legible handwriting when she chooses to. 😆 And I didn‘t think this book sucked!! 5mo
Reviewsbylola IS JURASSIC PARK YOUR NEXT PICK?! 5mo
Mdargusch Can‘t wait to see what you think! 5mo
See All 10 Comments
Meredith3 @Reviewsbylola @Mdargusch isn‘t this @emilyhaldi ‘s pick? I‘m fairly certain @AnnieD hated it. 5mo
Reviewsbylola It‘s my pick bitch. 5mo
Reviewsbylola 😏😏😏 5mo
emilyhaldi I HATED this one 😜 5mo
Reviewsbylola 🖕🏻🖕🏻 @emilyhaldi 5mo
Meredith3 @emilyhaldi see! I knew someone hated it 😹😹😹 @Reviewsbylola 🖤 5mo
62 likes10 comments
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BittersweetBooks
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It is about real love, true love. Imperfect, wretched, weak love. No fairy tales, no poetry. It is about the negotiations we undertake with ourselves in the name of love. Every day we struggle to decide what to give away and what to keep, but every day we make that calculation and we live with the results 💚

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UnabridgedPod
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MAY WRAP-UP! - May was kind of a random reading month. It was a little stressful, and I was consequently all over the place. I did notice an increase in my romance reading (perhaps because romances are like comfort food for me?). My favorite books this month were The Last Romantics; The Impossible Knife of Memory; Just Mercy; Red, White, and Royal Blue; Shout; and Friday Black.

Cinfhen Fabulous month!!! So many good reads 5mo
StillLookingForCarmenSanDiego Wow! 💖📚💖 5mo
BookaholicNatty Wowwzers!!!!! How do you read so many books? Are you a fast reader? Great stack for May!! 5mo
UnabridgedPod @BookaholicNatty Yep. And a big old introvert. ❤️ 5mo
18 likes5 comments
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Lesley1
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Mehso-so

This novel follows the lives of four siblings, Renee, Caroline, Joe and Fiona. When they were very young their mother stopped being their mother for 3 years and this time period became known as “the Pause”. The story follows them from that time on and we see the ups and downs in their lives. And that‘s about it. I‘m not much of a straight fiction reader so this isn‘t my genre normally but I thought I would give it a try and it was fine. 3/5 stars.

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Anna4031
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The library holds from the Modern Mrs. Darcy‘s summer reading list are beginning to trickle in!

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ginnywriteswords
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“ I was a precocious and prolific reader, often stealing Renee‘s books or ones from the cardboard boxes we had yet to unpack, generally preferring to exist within my own made-up world rather than the real one that surrounded me.”

Geeklet Welcome to Litsy! 6mo
Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks Welcome to Litsy!! 6mo
See All 6 Comments
CoffeeNBooks Welcome to Litsy! 📚 6mo
Eggs Welcome to Litsy 🤗🌺 5mo
4 likes6 comments
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Ashley_Nicoletto
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There are multiple things on Anne Bogel‘s summer reading guide that I‘ve already read and loved and others that are sitting on my shelves currently waiting to be picked up.

I‘ve decided I‘m going to make an attempt at reading everything on the list this summer. Wish me luck. 🤣

#summerreadingguide

Notafraidofwords I love jean kwok. I‘ve read all her work. 6mo
Ashley_Nicoletto @Notafraidofwords I‘m highly anticipating that one. I‘ve heard such good things so far. I‘ll have to check out some of her backlist. 6mo
alanacristin Only a few of these are on my radar. I'll have to look into them all 😍 6mo
See All 9 Comments
Ashley_Nicoletto @alanacristin I was delighted to realize I already owned quite a few or had them on my library hold list. You‘ll have to let us know if you read and enjoy any! 6mo
alanacristin @Ashley_Nicoletto i have Daisy Jones on hold but it's still a several week wait, not sure it'll count as a summer read 😂 We'll see what i get to first. Thanks for sharing! 6mo
Graciouswarriorprincess I printed this out but not quite as ambitious as you! I have already read three books out of the thirty but really need to finish my other challenges for this year. But it is a great list and resource! 6mo
Notafraidofwords Start with A girl in Translation. 6mo
Ashley_Nicoletto @Notafraidofwords Thanks for the red! 6mo
8little_paws That's awesome! Looks like a great list. 6mo
62 likes9 comments
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Hazel0303
Mehso-so

I thought this was well written, but ultimately disappointing.

To read my full review - https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2614658818

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UnabridgedPod
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Pickpick

Tara Conklin's The Last Romantics begins with poetry and with love. It details the love between four siblings--Fiona (the poet at the beginning of the novel), Renee, Caroline, and Joe. Fiona is giving a poetry reading when a young woman from the audience asks her about Luna who lies at the center of one of Fiona's poems. To tell the story, Fiona returns to her childhood, immediately after the death of her father. (continued in comments)

UnabridgedPod Fiona's mother can‘t care for the kids, so she retreats to her room during a 3-year period the family calls The Pause. As they raise each other, defining their personalities against their sibling, Joe moves to the front of the sisters' concern. A story that covers the 100+ years of Fiona's life and the ebbing and flowing connections among her family, The Last Romantics is beautiful in its consideration of love and regret and hope. 6mo
11 likes1 comment
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BritanyA
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Pickpick

⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2: Good family drama, four siblings reminded me a bit of the Immortalists. Good, not great.

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BriannaT
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Mehso-so

There were some beautiful words and parts in this novel, but I didn‘t enjoy it overall as much as I thought it would. Maybe it‘s because I‘m young and can‘t relate to many of the character‘s struggles (sudden loss, addiction, motherhood, serious love) or maybe I was hoping for more action. Either way, not really for me.

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shellleigh33
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Pickpick

Been a busy day while audio-booking. Finished up both the above books (both great reads 👍🏻) today and all of my boys got fancied up today. Gizmo got a haircut, while his two legged bothers headed off to prom (their last one 😭). Now to settle down and start my #LMPBC @Kayla.Adriena so I can get it headed out to @Skeebies05

AmyG Prom. How lovely. ❤️ 7mo
Ericalambbrown They all look fantastic! 😍 7mo
Skeebies05 Everyone looks great! 7mo
See All 10 Comments
TrishB Great pics 👍🏻 7mo
CarolynM Lovely prom photos😍 7mo
Crazeedi Such lovely photos! So proud, right? ❤ 7mo
mcipher Awww!! Prom!! So cute - I love all these pics. 😊 7mo
Crazeedi So @Skeebies05 your book will come to me?? 6mo
shellleigh33 That is right @Crazeedi and @Skeebies05 I had to work last two day. I will have your at post office first thing in the morning headed to you 😊 6mo
39 likes10 comments
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BookNAround
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Pickpick

A novel about a damaged family and sibling relationships told by the youngest child long after she has become a celebrated poet. Full review at https://booknaround.blogspot.com/2019/02/review-last-romantics-by-tara-conklin.h...

63 likes3 stack adds
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sophierayton
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Pickpick

I've heard such great reviews about this book but it didn't really land for me. Don't get me wrong, it's good, it's well written and a good story, engaging characters etc, but didn't live up to the hype for me.

gradcat That happens to me often...even with great writing (which I am forever grateful for), you don‘t always feel the story, alas. 7mo
39 likes1 comment
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Econo
Mehso-so

Liked when they were children the most. The middle felt too drawn out and predictable.