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AmyLarge

AmyLarge

Joined January 2017

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A Pinch of Magic by Michelle Harrison
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The Perfect Girl by Gilly Macmillan
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AmyLarge
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Pickpick

I've loved JoJo Moyes for a long time, and 'The Giver of Stars' is her best work yet! Set in the Great Depression in Kentucky, we follow a group of women who break the norms. These horse riding librarians are feisty and endearing. Songbird Izzy, tom-boy Beth, independent Marge, intelligent Sophia, and strong minded Alice. Beautiful language that bring the landscape, the adventures and the women to life with the genius of a master storyteller.

45 likes3 stack adds
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AmyLarge
Rewrite the Stars | Emma Heatherington
Panpan

As much as I appreciated the 'Sliding Doors' nature of the story, with someone desperate to know what if they had made a different choice in their life, the main character really put me off. Very self absorbed and ultimately quite whiney, sadly. She needed a good shake and a reality check. And the guy!!! The rockstar she could have dated. The guy was an egocentric buffoon!!! Not my cup of tea, I'm afraid. I like my heroines with a more gumption.

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AmyLarge
The Warehouse | Rob Hart
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Pickpick

The mantra of the market dictates pervades every part of this novel. We want cheap products delivered quickly. What are we prepared to sacrifice to get what we want? In the Cloud, we see the brutal work environment, the Draconian ratings system and how those in charge are prepared to take some very 'grey area' decisions in order to give the consumer exactly what they want. And how people fight against it. A scary possible future....

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AmyLarge
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Pickpick

What could happen to our world with rising tides and depleting rain fall? We follow two characters as they deal with crises affecting water in their own times - how to protect a valuable ecological resource when others only see profit, and how to fight for survival when water has become the only resource that matters. Poignant and emotive, these stories intertwine like streams to form a thunderous deluge of a novel, rich in detail and emotion.

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AmyLarge
Surprise Me | Sophie Kinsella
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Pickpick

With life expectancy increasing, the idea of being married to someone FOREVER can seem.... Daunting.... So Sylvie and Dan start coming up with surprises for each other to keep things interesting. The biggest surprise though, is something that has been affecting their marriage from almost the very beginning.... Not what I was expecting, but a very pleasing, light read. But once you know the twist, I don't think you could enjoy a re-read as much...

44 likes1 stack add
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AmyLarge
The Grace Year | Kim Liggett
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Pickpick

Completely engrossing, this tale taps into the emotional rollercoaster of female adolescence, but framed within a society where women are subservient wives or of no use to society. And what happens when one girl chooses to question all she thinks she knows and open her eyes to the real value she has in the world. Brave, bold and viscerally told. A wonderful story of survival of body and spirit, when all the world seems pitted against you.

36 likes1 stack add
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AmyLarge
The Librarian | Salley Vickers
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Panpan

I found this book... Frustrating. It just seemed to highlight the nasty, petty nature of pretty much every character in the village. Even worse, a lot of the misfortunes of the children we meet seem to stem directly from their introduction to the children's library, and spunky librarian, Sylvia. Was relieved to finally get to the end of this one....

Crazeedi Librarians should NEVER be dissed!!! 1mo
63 likes1 comment
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AmyLarge
Pickpick

Totally delicious, life affirming romance that just shows that life is what you dare to reach out and make a grab for. Full of charming characters, bumbling romantic escapades, one feisty care home resident and enough recipe descriptions to leave you famished!
Loved the story and the central female characters, but was even more enamoured when I read the section from the author about the origins of fictional Cecily.
Wonderful, heart warming stuff.

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AmyLarge
Pickpick

The concept of driverless or automated vehicles does not seem so far away.... So 'Passengers' is a deeply concerning look at what happens when political grandstanding starts to take the place of the common good.... With a group of self driving cars held hostage, how do we decide who is worth saving and who to let die? Suspenseful, well crafted and, scarily, not too far from the realms of possibility... Great stuff!

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AmyLarge
Pickpick

The author uses her own family history for this tale. The eponymous Stella is not the first to carry her name, with a sister who died during infancy. From rocky beginnings the Fortuna family face poverty, war, migration, and a host of author traumas along the way. Some of the content makes for very uncomfortable reading, but the story is told with detail and respect for a very complex and interesting past.

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AmyLarge
The Flatshare | Beth O'Leary
Pickpick

A very modern love story that you just won't want to put down. Grab a post it and start writing love notes! Tiffy and Leon live in the same flat, but not at the same time.... And what results is a glorious meshing of two LOVELY people! With a cast of quirky and loveable characters, a few bad guys to mentally throw things at and a whole lot of heart. I loved this book. Certainly agree with crochet as a wellness technique too!

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AmyLarge
The Dollmaker | NINA. ALLAN
Mehso-so

This is the very heart of this story. As Andrew and Bramber learn about each other, so do we. Andrew decides that Bramber needs rescuing from her confinement and sets off to find her. Interwoven with this journey are dark folk tales - stories of dwarves, dolls and desire.
This felt disjointed and the addition of the colourful Chaplin stories only seemed to highlight the drabness of the main narrative. Not a favourite, I'm sad to say...

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AmyLarge
Vox | Christina Dalcher
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100 words a day.... And if you go over, your handy little tracker gives you a nasty little reminder to stay quiet. This is the world that Jean finds herself in. No passport, no money, no rights, no voice.... Just a mother, wife and subservient women. But when her specialist medical skills are needed, she begins to see just how far people would go for their belief or for freedom. Ending felt a little too neat, but an amazing and gripping story.

Smarkies I saw this book in the bookshop the other day and wondered if I should pick it up. Your review prompts me to do so the next time I see it. 😁 2mo
Leniverse I don't understand how you can fulfill your role as a mother with only 100 words per day! Your babies would not learn to speak and young children would run rampant! Somehow I can't see the father stepping in to do early age child care in this setting. 2mo
64 likes1 stack add2 comments
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AmyLarge
The Rosie Result | Graeme Simsion
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We've followed Don through romance, marriage, career, friendship and now we follow him into the wilds of parenthood. I loved the first two installments of 'Rosie', and was so thrilled at getting the chance to see how this amazing, original and charming set of characters continued to love their lives. As Don himself would say, World's Best Trilogy.

Fantastic new characters and dilemmas! And an amazing bar concept that NEEDS to be true...

38 likes1 stack add
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AmyLarge
Pickpick

Part Swiss family Robinson, part Von trapp, part whodunnit.... This is a tale all about the outsider. The daughter who will never been viewed with equal value to her brother. The young man who finds it difficult to embrace a religion his brother preaches. The wanderer who is searching for home, at all costs. Slow going in the beginning, but full of rich detail and a satisfying conclusion.

35 likes1 stack add
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AmyLarge
Freefall: A Novel | Jessica Barry
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Allison and her mother have not spoken in a year. And now Allison has been in a plane crash, assumed dead. What follows is a tale told from both Allison and her mother's perspective as we learn about the strength of these two women - to survive, to believe, to love, to search for truth - and the lengths that they would go to for family. Tense, moving, and vividly brought to life.

41 likes1 stack add
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AmyLarge
Enchantée | Gita Trelease
Pickpick

Enchantee really lives up to its name, with a beautiful depiction of courtly life in the time of Marie Antoinette. Camille can work magic, and she needs it. Orphaned, with a sick sister to support and a wastrel brother, she uses her wits and magical skills to keep her family together. With intrigue round every corner and where a face is but a courtly mask, she has to learn who to trust and who to fear. Wonderful, with fabulous attention to detail.

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AmyLarge
Panpan

What happens when you take three generations of women, criminal dealings, a football star, a handsome stranger and send them on a road trip / escape mission to the seaside? This...
Whilst it sounds thrilling, I felt that the characters were repetitive and, at times completely unlovable. Jade and Bonnie's constant bewailing starts to grate after a while. It just took too long to reach the conclusion, and the romance for Georgie seemed superficial.

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AmyLarge
Romeo & Juliet | William Shakespeare
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A friend of mine posted this, and I thought... Too good not to share really! Thoughts??

LazyDays Wow! 5mo
gibblr Who are the six? Why am I having a brain fart?? 5mo
jessinikkip @gibblr --- Mercutio, Tybalt, Lady Montague, Paris, Romeo and Juliet. 5mo
BookwormAHN Shakespearean teenagers 🤦🏼‍♀️ 5mo
48 likes4 comments
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AmyLarge
The Book of Love | FIONNUALA. KEARNEY
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We follow Erin and Dom as they start their new family, watch as it crumbles and they attempt to rebuild. While the novel covers death, illness, fertility and gambling, it is surprisingly upbeat, with beautiful twists and loveable characters. The Book of Love is where two people write down what they find hard to say and work through problems. As Erin and Dom grow, the Book of Love becomes a beautiful representation of the hurdles they've overcome.

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AmyLarge
When You Read This | Mary Adkins
Panpan

When Iris dies, she leaves behind her a hypochondriac sister, a boss with a gambling problem, a mother who raised her in hotels and a blog all about her fight with cancer. What follows is a story told through blog posts, emails and text messages. I found the narrative clipper and jumpy because of it. I also found the characters to be cartoonish with very little to redeem them. And Carl, the assistant who filled her role, was infuriating!

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AmyLarge
The Power | Naomi Alderman
Pickpick

Some books stick in your brain. It feels wrong somehow to say that I enjoyed a book that deals with so much darkness at the very core of people. It is a really interesting premise, well told and with complex characters. The only major sticking point I had was the final chapter with Roxy.... I do not understand how she could forgive all that had happened before. Not for the squeamish as it gets a bit graphic, but a really thought provoking read.

CarolynM Great review. 5mo
36 likes1 comment
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AmyLarge
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Pickpick

I am not a natural runner. Too chubby, self conscious, and unfit with bad knees. So I approached this book more for the 'anyone can run, just get up and try' viewpoint. What I found was a fascinating look at how exercise, particularly running, taps into basic instincts and can help us to find balance when feeling distinctly wobbly. Informal, irreverent and self deprecating, it is packed full of testimonials and resources to dip into when you need.

Nebklvr I would do better if i didn‘t use all of my air muttering. 5mo
LauraBeth You‘re amazing! The beauty of running is that it‘s inclusive - everyone can do it - it doesn‘t matter how much you weigh. P.S. I lost 110 lbs from running and started running when I was 250 lbs. 😀 5mo
MellieAntoinette Great job! You can do it! This is inspiring to get myself back to the gym! 5mo
IndyHannaJones You go girl 3mo
52 likes2 stack adds4 comments
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AmyLarge
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Pickpick

Death and SPLINTERS!!!! I don't tend to read gothic novels but this one sounded intriguing.... A bit slow to get started but keep going with it. Creepy in the extreme, with a 3 stranded story (present, recent past and distant past) to keep you guessing.

I will never want to go near stage scenery / mannequins / any kind of freestanding wooden figure again.... they might just be watching....

DEATH AND SPLINTERS!!!!!!

IndyHannaJones This was a good one! 3mo
47 likes2 stack adds1 comment
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AmyLarge
Billionaire Boy | David Walliams
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Pickpick

At the end of last year, we visited my sister in London, and popped into her local independent children's bookshop. My other half was soon absorbed, and was quite sad to leave 'Billionaire Boy' behind. So I got him a copy for Christmas. Which I have now also read.

Nice, light-hearted read with plenty of comedy (and gross school dinner humour) with the central message of money can't buy you love or friends. Good for kids, big and small!

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AmyLarge
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Mehso-so

So, I've read Cecelia Ahern before. Generally, I like her style. Usually an easy read with likeable characters and lots of emotion. The Book of Tomorrow checks all of these boxes - family tragedy, several.... central character trying to connect with family.... lush surroundings.... a mystery to uncover....

It's alright, but not as well crafted as some of her others.

Have now passed on to my friend for her holiday read. Share the book love!

56 likes2 stack adds
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AmyLarge
The Binding | Bridget Collins
Pickpick

The idea of binding your memories into a book - a moment of joy, pain, or unbearable trauma - is a fascinating one. The Binding shows you the types of people who choose to be bound, and those who are trusted to do the binding. At the heart this is a love story and a beautiful one, showing how an encounter with a person can completely change us.
Masterfully crafted, deeply unsettling, and intensely moving. An absolute treasure.

IndyHannaJones Plus, that cover ain't too shabby 3mo
40 likes1 comment
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AmyLarge
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I love getting books for Christmas! This one came from my lovely fiancée. Quirky, with strong central characters who have some fantastic development, it will certainly keep you guessing.... Unfortunately for me, I did guess the plot twist before the end, and once you've got that it loses a little of the sparkle. But an interesting and we'll crafted read.

I've now give it to my fiancée to read.... Share the book love!

Itchyfeetreader I gifted this a few times this year / last year! 6mo
AmyLarge @Itchyfeetreader , and have they all enjoyed it too? What other books have you gifted? Anything else you would recommend? 6mo
49 likes2 comments
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AmyLarge
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Pickpick

So, I paced myself and read the lot, ending with Frost and Starlight right around Christmas. Lovely!

I really enjoyed these - aimed at YA, but definitely for the older ones. Lots of drama, suspense and romance. Excellent characters, but reading them all in a row did highlight the sometimes repetitive phrasing... So maybe break them up a bit....

Looking forward to the next one coming out next year.

Aims42 Beautiful picture! I love this filter 7mo
55 likes1 comment
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AmyLarge
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INCONCEIVABLE!!! I have no pre-reads awaiting my attention! 100% reviewer status....

LA_Mead Whoa! That‘s awesome! 7mo
DarcysMom Wow! I am in awe. 7mo
readinginthedark Nice! Mine is way below 50%. 😅🙈 7mo
57 likes4 comments
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AmyLarge
Needlemouse | Jane O'Connor
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Pickpick

It is a bold writer that creates a character like Sylvia... Prickly, defensive, obsessive and harsh, she goes to some uncomfortably extreme lengths for the love of her 'Prof'. When she goes too far and her whole world changes, we see her unfurl and learn about her past as a prickly Needlemouse (Hedgehog) who needs to come out of hibernation and live life. Masterful storytelling. So curl yourself up in a ball, hibernate under a blanket and enjoy!

SomedayAlmost I love complex characters! Onto the tbr list this goes... 7mo
BethM Cute!! 7mo
44 likes3 stack adds2 comments
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AmyLarge
The Familiars | Stacey Halls
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Pickpick

In a time where women were seen as property and where female wisdom was viewed with suspicion, we meet Fleetwood. Pregnant after several miscarriages, and fearing for her life, she seeks the help of Alice, but is she all she seems? The Pendle witches will surely hang... When life is in the balance, whose do you fight for? A triumphant tale based on real events that will make you proud of the strength and tenacity of women. Truly magical.

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AmyLarge
Professor Chandra Follows His Bliss | Rajeev Balasubramanyam
Mehso-so

Missing out on the Nobel prize pushes the revered Professor Chandra to reassess his life. Divorced, a son who seeks to outshine him, an estranged daughter and a youngest child who just wants Meaning. Whilst I did not love the characters, I appreciated their complexities and efforts to live more harmonious lives. Look beyond the spiritual jargon and economic hyperbole that gets thrown around like ammunition and find a quiet sense of contemplation.

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AmyLarge
Panpan

Meet Gloria. Pensioner, Mother, Widow, living in a house groaning with her inability to get rid of things. After intervention from Social Services, we follow Gloria, unfettered by 'stuff' and forging new relationships with the people she loves.
A great premise, dialogue is child like and the plot is too far fetched. I wanted to like the characters so much, but I felt more love for the passengers on the holiday coach trip than I did for Gloria...

19 likes1 stack add
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AmyLarge
The Dreamers: A Novel | Karen Thompson Walker
Mehso-so

A mysterious illness striking down the population. One by one they fall into the deepest of sleeps. Fathers, Mothers, Children, Friends. Even those sent to help. A glimpse into what happens when the enemy is unseen, everyone could be a carrier and how relationships break down or break new ground under strain. It left me with a lot of unresolved questions as to the nature of the virus and what the dreamers actually did dream about...

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AmyLarge
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Pickpick

As part of a new fitness plan, I'm now on 'no screen time 45 minutes before bed'. So back to physical books it is!!

A really light hearted read about finally understanding what you would give up for love. And what kind of love you want in life. Full of fabulously quirky characters, a proper berk of a 'hero' to loathe, and a nice guy just waiting to be the romantic lead. Sparky, funny, colourful and cosy. A snuggly duvet of a book.

BookBabe I‘m tempted to try the same “no screen time” rule. I got a Kindle Oasis a couple years ago in hope it would help, since it isn‘t backlit, but the light still seems pretty blue to me. Might have to give this a shot! The book sounds interesting too. 6mo
33 likes3 stack adds1 comment
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AmyLarge
Pickpick

Annie's life went completely sideways when she damaged her hand in a funfair incident that should have ended her life - but she was saved by Eddie, the maintenance man. Guilt has haunted her ever since. When Annie dies, we get glimpse into the people who introduce her to heaven. We explore this idea of heaven, so beautifully presented in 'The 5 people you meet in Heaven' but somehow it does not deliver the emotional sucker-punch I hoped for.

20 likes1 stack add
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AmyLarge
Pickpick

In the beginning, the sheer number of characters introduced in this book can get you into a tangle. But slowly, like fine filigree, you start to notice the sparkling links and connections between them all and ultimately to our central spirit, Birdie. Part whodunnit, part love story, part war tale, and at its heart, a story of home. I loved how Birchwood Manor was so many things to so many people, and it became a character in its own right.

BookwormM Great review 👍👍 9mo
20 likes1 comment
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AmyLarge
Pickpick

One narrator and a cat called Cabbage. And the Devil... When the narrator is diagnosed with terminal cancer and limited time, the Devil (in the Narrator's guise but with questionable fashion choices) appears with a seductive offer - remove something from the world, and get an extra day of life.
It explores the themes of love, loss, things we give up and things we purposefully cast aside. A fascinating book with the most splendid feline I've read.

BookwormM Sounds intriguing 9mo
15 likes2 stack adds1 comment
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AmyLarge
Joyful | Ingrid Fetell Lee
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Don't let the coloured polka dots on the cover fool you. This book is not an easy read, but it is a well researched and thorough one. And one that, ultimately, brought me a lot of joy. I can see this is as a book I would gladly buy and dip into frequently just to give me a nudge to top up my joy every now and then, and new ways to go about it. Really interesting, and will open your eyes to a things that you never really appreciated before.

Joyfulmimi Agreed!!! 8mo
14 likes1 comment
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AmyLarge
The Lucky Dress | Aimee Brown
Mehso-so

In many ways, all the ingredients of a perfect romance are here. But somehow.... You find yourself rooting for Emi and the bartender! With characters that are not entirely likeable, and too much melodramatic flouncing and screeching from the supporting cast (many of whom seem insanely shallow), I found myself feeling like I'd had an intense sugar hit rather than something satisfying... Not bad, but not amazing.

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AmyLarge
Pickpick

I loved the switching of view of this book - like hopping around the branches of a wonderful and quirky family tree, peaking in to the nests and feeling the knots of the lives of this family. A wonderful story based in, ultimately, understanding our weaknesses as people and not accepting the limitations put on us by others. Imaginative and moving, all the characters support and compliment each other beautifully. And a perfect ending.

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AmyLarge
Pickpick

Once in a while you pick up a book that you can't bear to put down. I INHALED this! It broke my heart in tiny increments to watch Laurie and her love-at-first-sight Bus Boy, Jack, circle each other like to planets on a wonky orbit. With a cast of bright supporting characters (Sarah is the best friend everyone wishes they had) and wonderful attention to detail (love Laurie finding her wedding dress), this book can't but help lift your spirits.

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AmyLarge
Pickpick

People working to return lost letters to their destinations is the premise, and William is a fantastic letter investigator. His relationship with wife, Clare, hard hitting lawyer, is told with love, from awkward beginnings to unhappy present. The sense of magic and exploration, both of their current relationships and the people they want to be, leaps off the page. Will mysterious letter writer Winter will be William's cure or an intangible curse.

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AmyLarge
Truth Sister | Phil Gilvin
Mehso-so

We don't need men anymore. Breeding in the old way is seen as repugnant. Cloning will keep us pure. Clara was raised and educated to believe just that. Until she finds out that she isn't actually a Clone, herself.... Whilst the premise is an excellent one, the novel is long periods of intense peril with very little to shore it up in between. You feel like you've been indoctrinated by the Academy - little emotional connection.

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AmyLarge
Eve of Man: Eve of Man Trilogy | Giovanna Fletcher, Tom Fletcher
Pickpick

It is very clear that the authors have take great pains with their character and story development. It is a truly terrifying world we are faced with - where Eve is the first female born in several generations and the fate of humanity depends on her ability to breed. How far would a person go to control that? And how far will Eve go to challenge that control?
Wonderful book, and strongly recommended. Can't wait for the next one!

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AmyLarge
Panpan

The idea of this retelling is, on the surface, wonderful. You hope to understand his history, motivations, emotions and growth. Whilst this is covered to some extent, the relationship between the Beast and his captive lady is stilted and awkward, like teenagers on a first date... It touches on quite dark themes such as suicide and abuse, but there is a lack of a maturity. I was not expecting singing tableware, but I was expecting a lot more depth.

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AmyLarge
Pickpick

Masha is drowning in order to feel close to her son, who drowned many years before. But with the help of a truly fabulous array of friends, Masha starts to swim back to life.
I loved the characters in this book. They are so varied and vivid that encountering them is like finding a new favourite in a tin of Quality Street - you will want to savour them and come back for more.
Emotionally weighty but you come away with a sense of joy and hope.

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AmyLarge
The Lido | Libby Page
Pickpick

As refreshing as a jump in the pool, the characters in The Lido sparkle with life, love, loss and humour. The glimpses into Rosemary's past show her from independent teen to wise and wiley widow, a counterpoint to panic stricken Kate, who wants to feel worthwhile and to actually LIVE life. The two come together to fight to save the local Lido - complete with rubber ducks, wetsuits, and a fantastic sense of community. Fantastic read!

Bette It's getting such good reviews, so it's good to hear from another Litsy reader. Thanks! 12mo
12 likes1 stack add1 comment
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AmyLarge
Two Steps Forward | Graeme Simsion, Anne Buist
Pickpick

An Englishman with a point to prove, an American with a past she needs to face. And a walk of epic proportions. This book is rather remarkable in terms of having so many strengths - you can appreciate the physical challenges faced, you can focus on the emotional journeys of the main characters, you can fall in love with the towns and villages they pass through and you can take the troupe of colourful pilgrims they meet along the way to your heart.