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ClairesReads
Good Material | Dolly Alderton
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Dolly Alderton really gets into the heads of her millennial characters and her portrayal of romantic disasters and the weaknesses of adult friendships in busy lives is apt to say the least. It was refreshing to read a novel about a man undone by his feelings, the likes of which I‘ve not read since High Fidelity. A really compelling story that‘s honest about flaws which will be recognisable to us all.

35 likes2 stack adds
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ClairesReads
The Space Between | Lauren Keenan
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Mehso-so

A very person-centred exploration of a challenging time in History. The New Zealand Wars sit very much in the background, a tension which underpins the experiences of the central characters. in many ways this makes this novel accessible, and appealing to a wider audience than it might otherwise. It‘s a novel that is very located in place, and Keenan does a good job of centring her story and bringing Taranaki alive. A bit history-lite for me.

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ClairesReads
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Mehso-so

A compelling premise, the alternate history undertones and noir storytelling vibes attracted my attention to this book. While this is ultimately an interesting story that unpacks some complex ideas about history, nations, and the ways that we exert social control over people, I felt like the intersection of three styles of storytelling and construction impacted the pacing and kept me a bit at arms length which was a shame.

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ClairesReads
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It‘s just been a treat reading more about astrophysics and the universe with my small mate. He heard a lot more words about the universe, and I learned things too. This books is enthusiastically and authoritatively voiced, pitched perfectly at a young readership, and oozes joy at the wonder of space. It‘s beautifully illustrated, and the bite size stories are perfect for budding scientists.

BarbaraBB Look at him 🥰🥰 1w
erzascarletbookgasm Aww the smile! 🥰 1w
See All 7 Comments
batsy Awww the cutest smile ❤️ 1w
Tamra Happy Face! 😄 7d
Ruthiella Adorable! 🥰 6d
staci.reads What a doll 😍 6d
35 likes7 comments
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ClairesReads
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Actually, a lot of bad things happen in this novel. I found this one of the most genuine and sensitively told stories of mental health struggles that I have read in some time. Very close to being pitch perfect in its depiction of an unstoppable spiral, and the complexities of the ways that mental health struggles touch relationships. The ending was a bit too ‘magical thinking‘ for me, but this is an excellent novel that‘s well worth your time.

Suet624 Great review. 2w
35 likes1 stack add1 comment
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ClairesReads
Wrong Place, Wrong Time | Gillian McAllister
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Why have I been snoozing on this for so long? This was the crime novel I needed in my life right now- the perfect refreshing palate cleanser. While you have to have the ability to suspend a bit of disbelief to buy into the time loop concept that underpins this story, I found this original approach to storytelling about a crime both refreshing and compelling. It‘s a complex, twisty story that unravels why rather than who. Highly recommended.

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ClairesReads
Iron Flame | Rebecca Yarros
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It‘s dragon smut nonsense which will do the job if that‘s what you‘re looking for.

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ClairesReads
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Sid and I loved this book about our hero Steve Irwin. Wonderfully accessible for the youth, informative about wildlife and Steve‘s life, and celebratory about his work. Sid‘s pretty gutted about the ending (chapter 9 is a bit intense). A very lucky community library find which will be a firm fave in Sid‘s library for years to come.

Ruthiella Aw Sid. ❤️ What a cutie patootie! 4w
TheBookHippie So sweet! 4w
charl08 🥰 Great to start them young! 4w
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BarbaraBB ❤️❤️ 4w
batsy 🥰 4w
Centique Awwww! Sid you are just gorgeous! Enjoy reading with your Mum 😍 3w
ClairesReads @charl08 it‘s my main mission every day 😄 2w
40 likes8 comments
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ClairesReads
Gangster's Paradise | Jared Savage
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Another very interesting look at organised drug crime in New Zealand. Best read with a bit of distance from Savage‘s first book on this subject because ultimately I‘m not sure there‘s quite enough material here to fill a whole second book. Still a very interesting read.

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ClairesReads
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Pearse has developed a complex lead detective in Elin Warner who has just enough of a back story to be interesting but not so much that it prevents the books in this series from really being read episodically. This mystery is complicated, lots of twists and turns, a good handful of red herrings, and isn‘t too obvious too soon. It‘s told in short chapters, full of action, and with a really atmospheric setting.

batsy I had trouble with her first, The Sanatorium, but this sounds much better! 1mo
ClairesReads @batsy I quite liked the first one- but this was markedly better for me! 4w
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ClairesReads
Summer Sisters | Judy Blume
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It turns out Judy Blume is as much a reliable author for adults as she is for children and adolescents. This is not a complicated novel but somehow it still gets just how complicated female friendships and families can be. Reading this felt like visiting an old friend in a nostalgic summer location.

TheBookHippie I‘ve always felt Caitlin would reappear someday… I read this when it came out and again later on. I may need to read it again. 🤣🙃😅 1mo
43 likes3 stack adds1 comment
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ClairesReads
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Mehso-so

I've landed somewhere in the middle on this one. There is a lot I really like about it- and after reading the acknowledgements at the end I really felt like I had a better appreciation for what McBride was aiming to say. I think the second half does a better job of realising that intent as well as being more coherent storytelling. It took me until halfway to really get into it, and get into what felt like a story being told. A flawed read for me.

Suet624 It was a low pick for me but I felt the same way. 1mo
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ClairesReads
Kick the Latch | Kathryn Scanlan
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Kick the Latch is a tight wee novella, told in vignettes about a horse trainer. It‘s easily the best book I‘ve read this year. Super tight, clean prose, excellent as both a character portrait and a story about the horse racing industry, excellent for readers that aren‘t interested in horses as much as those who are. Loved it.

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ClairesReads
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Bailedbailed

DNF at 37%. I gave it 2 hours, the audio narration was annoying me, the narrative felt chaotic, and I didn‘t care about any of the characters or what was happening with them. 2024 is the year of not spending time on books that aren‘t working for me. ✌🏻

DocBrown Good for you! Two hours sounds like you gave it a fair shake. 1mo
bookaholic1 I hear you there!!! 1mo
29 likes2 comments
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ClairesReads
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Jo Spain is so reliable for a twisty domestic mystery. The one was a bit more fast paced than some of her others and had more changes in direction. I didn‘t really connect with any of the characters but nevertheless it was a propulsive narrative. Entertaining, easy reading.

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ClairesReads
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This second outing for Alice Veja and Max Caplan is a solid read. Luna seems to have settled into her central characters a bit as they are slightly less larger than life in this novel. It‘s an intriguing, slightly more complex mystery which comments more directly on social and political ills. A solid read which I found a smidge slower than the first in the series.

Ruthiella 😻😻😻 1mo
Matilda I love the pairing in this series. And she has a new standalone coming out this year. 1mo
ClairesReads @Matilda I‘m looking forward to both finishing this series and reading her new book 1mo
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ClairesReads
Big Swiss: A Novel | Jen Beagin
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Big Swiss is a read for fans of Mosfegh or Melissa Broder, without being exactly the same as their vibes. It‘s quirky without being irritating, chaotic without being unruly or impenetrable, it‘s insightful in its examination of the human experience of chasing the feeling of being at home in your life and your body without being didactic. It‘s fun and funny. It won‘t be for everyone, but if it‘s for you, you‘ll love it.

Mirazzles I really enjoyed this one! The audiobook was great! 1mo
ClairesReads @Mirazzles isn‘t it fun? 1mo
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ClairesReads
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Look team, is it more of the same? Absolutely. But if we‘re honest, the same is good, that‘s what we‘re all here for so no worries hey?

batsy Yep 😆 2mo
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ClairesReads
Enter Ghost | Isabella Hammad
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This is an expertly crafted novel which is, in a way, about the Israel-Palestine, specifically its impact on Palestinian identities. I thought it was really clever that Hammad set her protagonist‘s, Sonia‘s struggle to interpret the conflict, her Palestinian identity, and the way her family has been fractured by it, against the backdrop of the struggle she has to interpret Hamlet in Arabic.

TrishB Great review 👍🏻 I thought this was brilliantly done. 2mo
ClairesReads @TrishB just read your review too and I wholeheartedly agree. Very clever, very interesting. 2mo
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ClairesReads
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A very interesting insight into the geopolitics of North Korea- specifically the development of the Kim Dynasty culminating in the leadership of Kim Jong University. North Korean geopolitics is a high interest topic for me and this was an absorbing, detailed, well-reasoned read.

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ClairesReads
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The hype is real- this novel is a really immersive and emotive reading experience. Zevin has managed to craft a novel which is about gaming, but is still engaging for a reader who is not a gamer. I found this novel engaging on an ideas level, as well as being invested in the friendships and trials of its characters. For me, it was shy of being pitch perfect as the proliferation of traumas throughout required me to suspend a bit of disbelief.

MrsMalaprop Great review 👍 2mo
SamAnne Oh, this will be one of my best reads of 2024! Like you, not into gaming. But this novel spoke to me in so many ways. 2mo
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ClairesReads
The Housemaid | Freida McFadden
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Booktok doesn‘t always lie. This was the compelling, undemanding domestic thriller I needed. Fast-paced and no regrets.

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ClairesReads
A Court of Mist and Fury | Sarah J. Maas
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Everyone said the second one is better (more plot, more sexy, more drama) and they were right. It‘s not going to win a literary prize but it was entertaining.

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ClairesReads
The Secret: A Jack Reacher Novel | Lee Child, Andrew Child
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A blast from the past with old school army Reacher was just what I needed. This is definitely the best of the co-written Reacher novels so far. Plenty of all the things we love about Reacher, nothing to complain about.

BkClubCare I haven‘t read it but we watch the show!! Reacher is a H U G E guy. I love Neagley. 1mo
35 likes1 comment
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ClairesReads
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Mehso-so

Enjoyable, breezy, rich people problems read. I was interested in the story but in the end I didn‘t feel like it really went anywhere. The commentary about privilege and excess at the end was pretty heavy handed and didn‘t really feel built out of the narrative.

Megabooks Yeah this was kinda a dud. 🤷🏻‍♀️ 2mo
ClairesReads @Megabooks agree- potential but a bit baggy 2mo
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ClairesReads
The Likeness: A Novel | Tana French
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The best crime novel I‘ve read this year. The Likeness gives The Secret History vibes mixed with excellent, Irish procedural crime storytelling. Although the premise is a bit wild, once you suspend this disbelief you‘re in for a richly characterised, complexly plotted, well-paced, gritty novel. I loved and luxuriated in every minute of reading this. Can‘t wait to read the rest of the series.

batsy Ooh, that's an enticing review. I've had Tana French tbr for ever so long and maybe 2024 is the year I finally start with the series or one of the standalones! 2mo
ClairesReads @batsy definitely recommend this series as a great starting point. I absolutely loved this. 2mo
kbuggle All of this, yes! 2mo
ClairesReads @kbuggle it‘s great isn‘t it? 2mo
kbuggle @ClairesReads yes! So good- it was such a great kick off to my 2014 reading 2mo
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ClairesReads
The Christmas Guest | Peter Swanson
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Jessica Knoll recommended this on Instagram and she‘s not wrong- it‘s a great read. An atmospheric, well-paced Christmas novella. I often find novellas tricky- like short stories that are too long, or novels that aren‘t long enough, but this was just the right length. A great, quick read for a festive week.

Centique Merry Christmas Claire! I hope youve had a good day and you have some holiday time to read some good books 🎄🎅📚 2mo
ClairesReads @Centique thank you and Merry Xmas to you too. Hope you‘re enjoying this summer spell for good reading time x 2mo
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ClairesReads
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Mehso-so

I wanted more MLM scandal and real info than I got from this. What we actually get here is more of a chatty, autobiographical story about the author‘s experience in a MLM. It‘s a bit unstructured, not critically reflective enough, and didn‘t dish enough real dirt to really engage me. An okay read if you know what you‘re going in for I imagine.

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ClairesReads
O Caledonia | Elspeth Barker
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A very under-appreciated novel which I am so glad came to my attention. O Caledonia is an excellent work of characterisation. Although it begins with a murder, it‘s not a mystery, rather a precisely constructed portrait of its central character, Janet- a young girl who is misunderstood and who struggles to fit in with her family and peer group. Janet is so complexly drawn, and the prose is thoughtful and measured. An excellent character study.

TheKidUpstairs Loved this one! I discovered it earlier this year because Maggie O'Farrell wrote an intro, and I figured any book she recommends deserves a read. You're right, it's such a wonderfully constructed character study, of a fascinatingly singular girl. 3mo
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ClairesReads
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It‘s a different kind of crime story that isn‘t about who did it, or why they did it, but how people respond when a crime happens in their midst. Although told from the clearly flawed perspective of this child, this novel examines the psyches of adults just as well. A compelling story about our flaws, the complexity of belonging to a community, and response to threat.

Ruthiella I read another book from her which I really enjoyed 3mo
Tamra @Ruthiella both sound good! 3mo
ClairesReads @Ruthiella oh good to hear- thank you for the recommendation 🙏🏻 3mo
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ClairesReads
Yellowface | R F Kuang
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Mehso-so

I wanted to like this more than I did. It is a pretty compelling read about the theft of a manuscript. But I felt the construction of the narrative ended up being a bit cyclical without advancing further. For me, it read like Kuang focused in thematic ideas over prose construction which was a detriment to my reading experience. The discussion of the issues in the publishing industry were interesting but were delivered a bit too didactically.

Tamra I didn‘t get into this one. Oh well! So many books. 😅 3mo
batsy I agree, this didn't fully deliver for me either. I thought it was a very safe ending for what was advertised as a bold take on racism in publishing. 3mo
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ClairesReads
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A niche read, but if this is your niche it‘s very informative and reassuring.

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ClairesReads
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I‘m late to the party here, and maybe it‘s a case of right book right time, but this is one of the best books I‘ve read in ages. I don‘t normally go for ‘quirky protagonist‘ stories, but something about this one just works. Sure it‘s a bit obvious about its commentary on social norms especially around women and work, and maybe some plot points are a bit obvious, but it‘s a story told with a lot of heart, that really captured me. Loved it.

DebinHawaii It made my “best of” list this year. I really enjoyed it too! 3mo
ClairesReads @DebinHawaii glad to hear you loved it too. Any other great recs from your best of list? 3mo
DebinHawaii @ClairesReads Project Hail Mary (the audiobook) was a delight. I really enjoyed The Bandit Queens & Weyward too. 3mo
rubyslippersreads I‘m enjoying the book much more than the TV series. 2mo
ClairesReads @rubyslippersreads I haven‘t watched the series but I am avoiding it because I liked the book so much I expect it won‘t measure up 2mo
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ClairesReads
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Pickpick

Exactly what I imagined it would be- not super well-written or particularly original but weirdly compelling. Will probably read more.

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ClairesReads
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Just as much wholesome fun as the first in the series. A lot to love, and just what I needed in my ears on a tough day.

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ClairesReads
The It Girl | Ruth Ware
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Ruth Ware never lets me down. She writes varied but always compelling, well-paced crime novels and this is no exception. This novel has dual timelines, secrets, red herrings, and murder all woven together convincingly. I couldn‘t ask for much more than this at the moment.

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ClairesReads
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Mehso-so

The YA easy reading vibe I needed, although this villain origin story didn‘t quite land for me. There are lots of elements that made the original Hunger Games trilogy great here. This prequel is a bit looser on the edit to its detriment. Ultimately I think I needed someone to root for to really immerse myself in this story. Readable but not great.

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ClairesReads
The Firm | John Grisham
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Vintage Grisham which had all the things I absolutely love about his book. Could only have been improved with a slightly more robust edit. I‘m ready for the sequel now.

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ClairesReads
Woman in Me | Britney Spears
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Very interesting to hear Britney voice her story herself. It‘s a pretty sad one, and I admire the hopefulness with which it is told. No literary masterpiece, but beautifully read by Michelle Williams. It‘s been a great year for the celebrity memoir.

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ClairesReads
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An absolutely compelling domestic murder mystery. Well-paced, a bit twisty, but not too complicated. It kept me sane and entertained over a very long night. No complaints.

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ClairesReads
Suttree | Cormac McCarthy
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“But there are no absolutes in human misery and things can always get worse” about sums up Suttree. I realise this doesn‘t make it sound like a good book, but it is. There‘s not enough words, nor can I use them well enough to explain how masterful McCarthy‘s prose is. As always a challenge and pleasure to read his work.

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ClairesReads
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An interesting commentary on the development of the Glossier brand and the vision of its elusive founder Emily Weiss. Perhaps a little like expose than the blurb makes it seem, I still found this an interesting story about brand development and women in leadership.

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ClairesReads
The River We Remember: A Novel | William Kent Krueger
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Mehso-so

A good mystery but a bit too sentimental and sedate in the telling for me. In this particular moment of my life I needed something with a bit more pace and grit.

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ClairesReads
Woman, Eating | Claire Kohda
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There‘s a lot going on in this sparsely written, vibes-over-plot modern vampire story. Kohda is using the vampire trope in a very modern way to explore big ideas like the desire to feel like we are really living, isolation and belonging, the threat and challenges of young womanhood, imposter syndrome, race, and the complexities of our modern relationship with food and hunger. A very interesting and clever novel.

batsy Look forward to this. Love the photo! 4mo
ClairesReads @batsy thank you! I hope you enjoy it as well 😊 4mo
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ClairesReads
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A very interesting narrative that centres on the last slave ship to arrive in America, but which tells the story of much more than that. Africatown is a story about a place, and it‘s people. A sweeping narrative that considers the history of slavery, the development and subjugation of a community, exploring historical issues like slavery and Jim Crow, as well as modern ones like historical preservation and environmental racism.

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ClairesReads
Rings On Water | Madeleine Eskedahl
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A super fun, well-paced NZ crime novel. This had everything I wanted from small-town NZ crime, including a super familiar setting which absolutely tickled me. There‘s loads going on, lots of twists and turns, and a healthy dose of action. A great read for a busy week or a relaxing weekend. I think I liked this one even more than the first in the series.

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ClairesReads
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A very strong debut novel, which is an interesting take on a crime story. Lien is expert in her ability to capture place, 1990s Cabramatta comes vividly to life in this novel. It is a thoughtful, emotive, affecting story of inherited trauma, xenophobia, and the complexity of crafting identity in a refugee community. An excellent read, which although measured in pace managed to create tension where needed to drive the reading experience.

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ClairesReads
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Panpan

This was absolutely ridiculous and also terrible. Way too much going on and most of it took way too long to play out. I was equal parts bored, and disbelieving, but not amused. A shame.

Centique I do love a good pan review - we all have had that feeling havent we? Onto better books now! 5mo
ClairesReads @Centique hahaha me too- always so cathartic to write! Definitely onto better reads now 4mo
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ClairesReads
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The Bee Sting is a big, sprawling family epic. It‘s very much Franzen-esque and I know this comparison has been made in so many other reviews but it‘s because it is so apt. It‘s a novel about how you can‘t escape from the past, but that you must reckon with it. Murray develops complex characters, and weaves past and present trauma and turmoil together expertly, in a story that for me, never felt overcooked even though it was long.

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ClairesReads
The Villa: A Novel | Rachel Hawkins
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My favourite of Rachel Hawkins' books that I have read so far. The Villa does everything you want it to without demanding too much from you as a reader. There are multiple timelines, and a mystery from the past, a complicated and competitive friendship, characters writing books about mysteries in a book about a mystery, and a glam location. A fantastic, compelling, easy read.