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JillR

JillR

Joined March 2017

review
JillR
The Sentence | Louise Erdrich
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Louise Erdrich is a new-to-me author, and at first I wasn‘t sure her writing was for me; it made me feel fidgety and I couldn‘t settle to it. But I stuck with it and am so glad I did. Extremely current, the story spans prisons, Covid and lockdown, George Floyd and Trump, Native Americans and protests…and also ghosts. At heart though this is Tookie‘s story, and the story of a bookshop and its books. The characters were so good, and a great story.

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JillR
Marking Time | Elizabeth Jane Howard
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Volume two of the Cazalet Chronicles doesn‘t disappoint. The focus this time is the Cazalet grandchildren as they navigate WWII and the change in family dynamics that comes with it. I loved that the child‘s-eye view gave us only snippets of what was going on with the adults we met in volume one. The writing is just so relaxing; comfortingly old-fashioned, yet not dated. Perfect comfort reading.

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JillR
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My family were quite perturbed seeing this one lying around! I‘ve had a disjointed couple of weeks reading due to the distraction of a new job; this one fit the bill perfectly. Easy to pick up, amusingly snarky and with a nice little twist.

29 likes1 stack add
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JillR
People Person | Candice Carty-Williams
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Mehso-so

You know those stories where someone makes a bad decision, then everything that follows just gets worse and worse, with more bad (and sometimes here, implausible) decisions? I just can‘t cope with those stories. I never get the reason for the escalating bad decisions and the control freak in me is just wanting to sort it all out. I was hoping for a family saga with this one, but instead just got stressed!

Cathythoughts Oh dear not good. Great review 👍🏻 2w
JillR @cathythoughts I was really quite disappointed with this one. It was a book club read and we all felt the same… 2w
TrishB That‘s a bit disappointing ☹️ 2w
JillR @trishb I know, I didn‘t know whether it was just me, but everyone in our book club felt the same (always a relief when you‘re worried you‘ll be the only one saying you didn‘t like a book!) 2w
33 likes4 comments
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JillR
Great Circle | Maggie Shipstead
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I spend my reading life searching for books like this one. Books that completely consume me and I can‘t put down. Marian Graves is our main character; an aspiring aviator in the 1930s, who has a complicated and troubled background. Her story is interspersed with that of film star Hadley who is to play Marian in the biopic of her life. That little summary doesn‘t do the epic scope or intensity of the story and characters justice; I loved it!

Cathythoughts Great review 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 3w
TrishB Great review 👍🏻 I loved it too. 3w
Freespirit It looks great!! 3w
40 likes2 stack adds3 comments
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JillR
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And now for a complete change! Well it is the Jubilee after all. I thought I knew what I was getting with this, a fictional take on the story of Marion Crawford, Governess to the Queen and Princess Margaret, but was surprised to find unexpected feminism, suffrage, poverty and an aspiring Communist in the first few chapters! Nothing groundbreaking here but overall quite an interesting read.

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JillR
Malibu Rising | Taylor Jenkins Reid
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Just what I needed; a gossipy page turner/family saga, which in parts was unexpectedly sad. The writing was a bit melodramatic at times , and for me it didn‘t live up to Daisy Jones & The Six which I loved, but I‘m being picky, this is a great holiday read.

LeeRHarry This is still my favourite book this year - a case of right book at the right time 😊 1mo
JillR @leerharry I didn‘t completely fall in love with this one, but it was the easy read I was looking for. I do love a “right book/right time” match! 1mo
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JillR
My Lover's Lover | Maggie O'Farrell
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I‘ve read every novel Maggie O‘Farrell has written, and credit her with getting me started as an adult reader, but I read her early ones such a long time ago I don‘t remember them. So, I‘m doing a reread - this one first! What‘s interesting is I didn‘t love this one now - I found the story a bit odd and the writing overdone - but remember loving it all those years ago in 2003. (2003! There‘s smoking in pubs, and landlines!)

Cathythoughts A long time ago 😃… smoking in pubs was awful! Interesting how you found the reread. 1mo
JillR @Cathythoughts I know, and cinemas too, you can‘t imagine it now! 1mo
Tamra 😅 I‘m often afraid to reread for this reason. But, it‘s a gift to grow as a reader. I remember the public smoking too! Ugh, so gross now to think about. 1mo
39 likes3 comments
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JillR
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I enjoyed the story of Klara, an Artificial Friend, as she finds a home with Josie and helps her navigate illness and growing up. We hear only Klara‘s perspective and she‘s the perfect unreliable narrator. I liked that we don‘t really know the full story of what is going on in the world - whether this is an alternate reality or a more dystopian future - but just see snippets as Klara sees things.

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JillR
Fault Lines | Emily Itami
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A novel about motherhood, marriage and loss of identity set against a Tokyo background, with a sweet but forbidden love story slowly developing. I really enjoyed this; for its sharp (and very truthful) insights and melancholy sadness as well as being quite funny too. I‘m loving Japanese and Korean fiction right now.

charl08 Adding this to the wishlist. I have also been reading Japanese and Korean lit recently. 1mo
JillR @charl08 me too, and I‘ve loved everything I‘ve read so far, any recommendations? I particularly liked Kim Jiyoung and Convenience Store Woman 1mo
charl08 Do you read graphic novels? This one was a hard read, but beautiful artwork. 1mo
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charl08 I liked the way this novel was told from the perspective of an older woman, who had many prejudices but also compassion. 1mo
charl08 I'm not sure how easy this one is to get hold of - Korean dystopia. 1mo
JillR @charl08 thank you! I‘ll check those out. I don‘t tend to read graphic novels, although my kids love them :) 1mo
charl08 @JillR this GN is about the awful experiences of so called "comfort women" during WW2, so I should probably add a health warning re the subject matter. 1mo
38 likes1 stack add7 comments
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JillR
Remote Sympathy | Catherine Chidgey
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A sobering yet not sensational or judgemental story of those in and around Buchenwald “model camp”, how they bought into what they were being told from those in charge, and from propaganda. Told from the perspectives of Greta and Dietrich, an officer at the camp, and Dr Weber who is of distant Jewish descent, this is extremely well done historical fiction that still, unfortunately, felt timely today.

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JillR
Sorrow and Bliss | Meg Mason
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There‘s been so much fuss about this one that I nearly did that annoying thing I do of avoiding it completely only later to realise I missed out. Anyway, I read it. I went in sceptical; came out in love. Near perfection in the writing and the portrayal of such beautiful relationships against the background of mental illness. And I cried on the tram through the whole Peregrine section.

squirrelbrain Great review, as ever, Jill. This was my favourite from the longlist, so it‘s still my pick to win the #womensprize. 2mo
BarbaraBB This sounds so good. Thanks for putting this on my radar! 2mo
Cathythoughts Great review 👍🏻♥️ I loved this book too. 2mo
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JillR @squirrelbrain thank you 😊. I‘ve been loving your Womens Prize reviews as I‘m slowly lagging behind 😆. I loved this so much I‘m hopeful it could win, although I‘ve only read The Island of Missing Trees from the shortlist so far so can‘t compare with the others yet! 2mo
JillR @barbarabb I loved it, hope you do too 😊 2mo
JillR @cathythoughts thank you 😊 2mo
squirrelbrain The Sentence is a close second for me Jill, but this made my favourites of 2021 as well. 2mo
EvieBee Nice review! I do the same thing. In this case, I only read it because I hadn‘t heard too much about it lol! And of course, ended up as one of my 2021 faves. (edited) 2mo
JillR @eviebee I‘ve realised I do it a lot, then annoy myself when I miss out on a good one as a result 😆 2mo
JillR @squirrelbrain I‘m going to try and get that one from the library, have never read Louise Erdich for some reason 2mo
47 likes2 stack adds10 comments
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JillR
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Winnie moves to Saigon to teach. She feels an invisible outsider and then she disappears. Winnie‘s story is told in a fragmented timeline interspersed with the stories of numerous others which slowly come together. There is lots of vomit and, erm, hair. There are snakes, ghosts and mysterious smoke. It can be unsettling and unpleasant, and at times it veers into horror. Overall it wasn‘t for me, but was very clever 👇

JillR The author cites David Mitchell as an influence, and at times there was a touch of Stephen King. I also read a review that compared the smoke to elements of TV show Lost. So if you love those things, you may well love this! 2mo
squirrelbrain My thoughts too Jill - not for me, but very good! A bit too clever for me…. I didn‘t know what was going on a lot of the time! 😁 2mo
JillR Me too @squirrelbrain, no idea at times, wished I‘d taken notes! This read was for our book club and most of the others really enjoyed it. I must admit I thought this might make the Womens Prize shortlist even though I didn‘t love it 2mo
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TrishB @JillR @squirrelbrain I couldn‘t finish it! 2mo
squirrelbrain Yes, I put it on ‘my‘ shortlist too, even though it was much further down the list in terms of my favourites. You know me @TrishB - I *have* to finish a book, it‘s very rare that I bail! 🤣 2mo
JillR @trishb @squirrelbrain I‘ll be honest, if this wasn‘t a book club read (that I suggested!) I might have bailed, but actually overall I‘m glad I didn‘t. One of those books I feel I should get a little prize for finishing 😆 2mo
JillR @trishb on an entirely different note I‘m meeting my book club for the very first time IRL in Liverpool today - am I right that‘s where you are? Any hidden gem bookshops we should know about?! 😊 2mo
TrishB News From Nowhere on Bold Street 😁 there is also a big Oxfam on Bold Street with a good selection of books! Enjoy. 2mo
JillR @trishb fab, thank you! 📚 2mo
JillR Loved News from Nowhere @trishb and got a Maggie O‘Farrell in Oxfam to add to my slowly growing collection of her back catalogue, thanks for the tips! 2mo
TrishB Oh cool 👍🏻 glad it was a good day. 2mo
39 likes11 comments
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JillR
Lean Fall Stand | Jon McGregor
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This starts out as a dramatic Antarctic disaster then very quickly we‘re back home with Doc. He‘s had a stroke and is struggling to communicate. We hear from his wife, Anna, of the unexpected taking over of care responsibilities. The fact Doc came back, but also didn‘t. There is such a sense of frustration and claustrophobia. I think I‘ll read anything Jon McGregor writes; the prose here was just hypnotic

squirrelbrain Sounds wonderful; I‘ve loved all his previous books too, so stacked. 2mo
TrishB Oh I have this on the pile- you may have pushed it up a bit! 2mo
BarbaraBB What @TrishB says! And my absolute favorite McGregor still is 2mo
JillR @trishb @squirrelbrain @BarbaraBB enjoy! I haven‘t read that one, I‘ll keep an eye out for it… 2mo
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JillR
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A sweet sad love story set amongst war ravaged Cyprus, which is in part narrated by a fig tree (this is not as weird as it sounds!) I enjoyed it yet for some reason it didn‘t quite capture my heart, not even that beautiful fig 👇

JillR Many elements of this to me felt like mix between a Victoria Hislop book and Richard Powers‘ The Overstory (which I absolutely loved) and I think that influenced my overall view… 2mo
squirrelbrain Definitely felt a bit Hislop-y to me too! 2mo
Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks Beautiful cover 💙💛 2mo
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JillR @squirrelbrain I‘m glad you think that too. Having read it, as much as I enjoyed it, I‘m a little surprised it made the shortlist… 2mo
JillR @Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks I always fall for a good cover! 2mo
44 likes6 comments
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JillR
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Panpan

Nope. Not for me this one. The characters were all despicable and parts of the plot made me very uncomfortable. Moving on!

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JillR
My Monticello: Fiction | Jocelyn Nicole Johnson
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This semi-dystopian fiction takes place during just a few days in which a group of neighbours find themselves seeking shelter in the former home of Thomas Jefferson after a rampage by white supremacists. This group of people are fighting for their lives and futures whilst the main character also struggles with seeking refuge in the place where her ancestors were kept as slaves. Short, sharp and compelling 👇

JillR I thought this had vibes of Leave the World Behind and Station 11, yet still being completely of itself. (edited) 2mo
Cinfhen Great review ♥️#stacked 2mo
JillR Thanks @cinfhen! 2mo
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Megabooks I picked this up after @Hooked_on_books ‘s review and am really looking forward to it. Excellent review! 2mo
JillR Thanks @megabooks - I‘m not sure where I heard about this one, but it‘s a good one! 2mo
TrishB This sounds fab 👍🏻 2mo
Hooked_on_books Yes, this one is great! Love your review! 2mo
squirrelbrain I picked this up in a bookshop yesterday but it‘s very slim, so thought it might be a #borrownotbuy. (Or wait until the paperback comes out). 2mo
JillR @squirrelbrain yes, it‘s very slim, under 200 pages. I don‘t usually buy hardback but got this on a super-good offer just after Christmas 2mo
TrishB @squirrelbrain currently Qd.99 on Amazon for hardback. 2mo
squirrelbrain Oh, bad @TrishB ! *trots off to Amazon* 2mo
TrishB @squirrelbrain 😂😂 I looked out of curiosity….. 2mo
squirrelbrain I *may* have ordered it! @TrishB Did you?! 2mo
TrishB @squirrelbrain of course 😁😁 2mo
37 likes2 stack adds15 comments
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JillR
Exciting Times | Naoise Dolan
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I didn‘t find this very exciting, but I really don‘t think I was the target audience. I struggled with the main character‘s intense introspection and self-analysis and yet her failure to do anything about what she disliked about her life. It was wry and amusing at times though and it slowly grew on me. Younger me may have read and appreciated this completely differently I suspect.

squirrelbrain I was put off this one by the Sally Rooney comparisons so haven‘t bothered yet…. 2mo
JillR I loved Normal People, and disliked Conversations with Friends. There were some similarities here with CoF… 2mo
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JillR
Whereabouts | Jhumpa Lahiri
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A spare, simple novella. An unnamed woman in an unnamed Italian city talks of fragments of her daily life chapter by chapter; her local cafe, her office, an encounter with a potential lover, her loneliness yet desire for solitude. We never learn much about her but she does tentatively dip into her childhood. Nothing like the other books I‘ve read by this author (I loved The Namesake in particular), this was both sad and strangely soothing.

squirrelbrain Great review. I loved this one but haven‘t read any others by the author. 3mo
JillR @squirrelbrain Thank you ☺️. I really loved The Namesake, in fact I think it was one of my favourite reads of last year. Completely different to this one. I‘ve also read and enjoyed The Lowland 3mo
squirrelbrain I‘ll stack both of those and hope to get to them ‘some‘ day! Thanks Jill! 3mo
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JillR
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The blurb made this sound like too light a take on a difficult subject, however whilst it was extremely readable - I raced through it in two days - it is a beautifully written story of Bess, in long term foster care, who finds herself pregnant and not knowing where to turn. It made me incredibly sad and at times angry, but Bess offers an important and ultimately hopeful voice, taking control perhaps for the first time in her life.

TrishB I see I already have stacked 👍🏻 sounds good. 3mo
JillR @trishb I enjoyed it. The blurb made it sounds a bit light (in a bad way), but I thought it was well done. Slowly trying to work through the Women‘s Prize longlist! 3mo
TrishB I have just brought a hardback copy for Qe! Bargain. I didn‘t intend to work my way through the list but seem to be doing ? 3mo
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JillR @trishb bargain! I liked the sound of quite a few, and had read a couple already, so set myself a little bookish challenge (like my list isn‘t long enough already 😬) 3mo
squirrelbrain You keep getting these bargain hardbacks @TrishB ! 3mo
squirrelbrain I too enjoyed this one Jill, although I don‘t think it will make my shortlist. I‘ve only got one more to read on the longlist…. 3mo
TrishB @squirrelbrain I always scroll through though the alternative sellers and get lucky sometimes 😁 3mo
JillR @squirrelbrain that‘s impressive reading! I‘ve managed two so far haha. What‘s been your favourite? 3mo
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JillR
The Little House | Kyoko Nakajima
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One I‘m still puzzling over! Taki is maid to the Hirai family in Tokyo in the lead up to WW2 and looks back on her life with them in their little house with the red tiled roof. I‘ve been enjoying some Japanese fiction in translation and loved the premise of this but initially found it falling oddly flat. Yet then in the final third things start to be explained and almost another story emerges, leaving me feeling quite emotional.

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JillR
Open Water | Caleb Azumah Nelson
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Music and film weave their way through this story which is told in the second person and without naming the main characters. Initially I felt somewhat distanced from what I was reading, yet was then pulled into this intimate and at times devastating story of a love, and of life as a young Black man in London. Our unnamed protagonist is desperate to be seen, yet terrified also. This is short, difficult but overwhelmingly a beautifully intense read

TrishB Great review 👍🏻 I really struggled with the second person telling for this one. 3mo
charl08 Loved this one. Must get my own copy to check out some of the art he mentions. 3mo
JillR @trishb I did at first, I was glad it was short otherwise I think it‘d have been more of a struggle. One I‘m glad I read though x 3mo
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JillR
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Vera and Nadezhda face a battle of wills against their elderly father‘s young new wife Valentina. What follows is a story that is in turns darkly funny, a little bit crazy, terribly sad, and then also hopeful. The history of Ukraine and issues of immigration and memory weave through what is at heart a family story (confession: I skipped the excerpts about the tractors).

TrishB I enjoyed this one 👍🏻 3mo
JillR @trishb I did but our book group really didn‘t! 3mo
TrishB Always the way! 3mo
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JillR
A Town Called Solace | Mary Lawson
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I do love stories like this; a small cast of characters in a small town, all with a dramatic event hovering over them, their lives intertwining. It‘s a quiet story despite the drama in the background and I think I‘d had a good book cry by page 11. This put me in mind of Anne Tyler, and I do love Anne Tyler. Also, the cover 💙

CarolynM Looking forward to this one. 3mo
TrishB I loved this one too ❤️ 3mo
JillR @trishb I‘ve loved both of hers that I‘ve read (this and Crow Lake) 3mo
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JillR
The Light Years | Elizabeth Jane Howard
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The first book in the Cazalet Chronicles introduces us to a huge cast of characters, but the beautifully written vignettes of each one means you feel you know them in no time. Perfect comfort reading with four more books awaiting me 📚

Cinfhen Sound like my type of book! #stacked 3mo
JillR @cinfhen a friend recommended this series and I enjoyed this first one, nice and easy! 3mo
Cinfhen I‘m excited to give it a try 😄thanks for posting & sharing ♥️ 3mo
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TrishB I started this one this week! It‘s in hibernation at the moment as I wasn‘t feeling it because I was having a really bad week. I do intend to go back to it though. Timing! 3mo
LeeRHarry I read this series last year and loved it - hope you continue to enjoy it 😊 3mo
emmaturi I have this on my shelves, I will get to it eventually, but it does sound really interesting. 3mo
JillR @trishb I admit I felt I was dipping in and out at first and it seemed to take me ages to read unusually, but I think that was a combination of work distractions and a huge character list to figure out! Like you say, it can all be in the timing sometimes. Hope you‘re ok and next week is a better one x 3mo
JillR @LeeRHarry that‘s good to hear! A friend recommended the series and I was very lucky that my hints were noted and my husband bought me the set! 3mo
JillR @emmaturi I do love an epic family saga I have to say! 3mo
TrishB Thanks 😘 work is very distracting isn‘t it! 3mo
BookNAround I loved this series. 3mo
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JillR
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An unexpectedly good book to follow Unsettled Ground; we know from the outset that Roderick Macrae has murdered a neighbour. What happened and why is then told by way of statements from neighbours, his own memoir and coverage of his trial. A novel dressed up as true crime, this is a sad story - again of rural poverty and the powers and whims of landowners, albeit this time in the 1860s. Who is telling the truth? Is Roddy insane? I enjoyed this.

Cathythoughts Great review! I enjoyed this one 3mo
Cathythoughts I‘m looking forward to Unsettled Ground too 3mo
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JillR
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This was a very intense read. One I didn‘t always look forward to reading but was gripped by once I picked it up. A story of love, friendship and motherhood amidst the trans community; it made me uncomfortable at times, but feeling uncomfortable reading about something that is not your own experience is no bad thing.

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JillR
Unsettled Ground | Claire Fuller
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What a book. It starts off with some drama but quietly done, and I thought I knew where this was going, but then the blows kept on coming. I was completely riveted and couldn‘t put it down, my heart in my mouth, raging with anger, and maybe some ugly crying. A snapshot of rural life that is far from the bucolic idyll but more a battle against lack of regular work, poverty, prejudice, cruelty and the whims of landowners. Sad, yet quietly uplifting

TrishB Great review 👍🏻 4mo
JillR Thanks @trishb, have you read this one? 4mo
TrishB No, but you‘ve made me curious! I‘ve read her others so I don‘t know how this one has passed me by. 4mo
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emmaturi This was one of my favourites from last year. 4mo
JillR @trishb I read Bitter Orange and wasn‘t overwhelmed by it, this was much better I thought x 4mo
JillR @emmaturi it‘s high up on my list for this year too. Reminded me a bit of Elmet by Fiona Mozley which I loved, have you read it? 4mo
Tamra I thought the title well suited to the story! 🙂 4mo
JillR @tamra definitely! 4mo
emmaturi No I haven't read Elmet, but I heard of it. @JillR 4mo
41 likes9 comments
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JillR
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Mehso-so

I had high hopes for this one, but I‘m not sure what I just read! The narrator, having left a stressful job, works her way through five “easy” jobs, each becoming more odd as we go along. I enjoyed the prose and style of writing as I have done with other translated Japanese fiction and there were parts I really liked, but overall this was a slow read for me and although the ending was quite satisfying it came too late to completely win me over.

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JillR
Grown Ups | Marian Keyes
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I‘m determined to read more lighter books this year, and to try authors I‘ve never got around to, starting with Marian Keyes. First thoughts: great writing and good fun, yet tackling quite big, serious issues. Yet, this was a great big book, and I didn‘t quite love it. Still pondering over why…

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JillR
The First Woman | Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi
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Mixed feelings about this one; the coming of age story of Kirabo, which begins with her desperate longing to find her mother, and dips back into the lives of her grandparents. I found parts entirely gripping, then parts which struggled to keep my attention and I‘m not entirely sure why. I did however love the exploration of feminism in a patriarchal society and the strong women who fill the story.

TrishB Great review as always 👍🏻 4mo
JillR Ah thank you @trishb 😊 4mo
Cathythoughts Great review 👍❤️ 4mo
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JillR
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Utterly daft with eye rolling will-they-won‘t-they storyline. Loved it. Not sorry.

rockpools 😂😂 4mo
JillR @rockpools I‘m so loving this series, don‘t tell anyone 😉😆 4mo
rockpools @JillR No-one will ever know! 🤫 It sounds fun. 4mo
Cathythoughts So glad your enjoying! I keep me to give the telly version a try ... 4mo
JillR @cathythoughts I actually watched the TV show first, it‘s all good fun! 4mo
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JillR
Love After Love: A Novel | Ingrid Persaud
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Oh this is a heartbreaker. The story of Solo, his mother and their lodger; this covers so much yet with a lightness of touch that then leaves you reeling from the blows. The story takes in domestic abuse, homophobia, illegal immigration as well as families, motherhood, friendship and belonging, and somehow also manages to be funny as well as very touching. Did some crying.

TrishB This sounds good - stacked 👍🏻 4mo
Cathythoughts Great review! Yes, I agree @TrishB stacked for me too 👍 4mo
squirrelbrain I cried too at this one Jill, I think ‘that‘ part was so unexpected…. 4mo
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JillR @trishb @cathythoughts hope you enjoy! 4mo
JillR @squirrelbrain it certainly was! In fact I did a double take and had to reread that part to be sure I‘d read what I thought I had! 4mo
TrishB @JillR @squirrelbrain now I‘m really intrigued! 4mo
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JillR
Still Life | Sarah Winman
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Another one that got me! I didn‘t like this at first because, well, it isn‘t Tin Man. But then I started to like it, and then I started to love it, and then it had me hook, line and sinker. What a stunner. I‘m still carrying these characters around with me. A slow, meandering, heart warming story. Perfect.

squirrelbrain Perfect review! This is exactly how I felt about it too…. Took me while to get into but then it was one of my favourite books ever! ❤️🦜 5mo
Cathythoughts Lovely review! I must stack this one ❤️ 5mo
JillR @squirrelbrain it wasn‘t at all what I was expecting, but I had very high expectations so am so glad it lived up to them once I settled into it! 5mo
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JillR @Cathythoughts it‘s a lovely gentle read, hope you get to it x 5mo
TrishB I loved this ❤️ Winman is such a brilliant author. 5mo
emmaturi I really loved this one, and the images of Florence made me so want to go. And now I will go in May! 5mo
JillR @trishb she is, this was so different from her two other books it took me a good while to get into it, but so glad I stuck with it! 5mo
JillR @emmaturi how lovely, I hope you have an amazing time! 5mo
BarbaraBB I‘m glad you loved it. For me it didn‘t live up to Tin Man. And I love your picture 😍 5mo
JillR @barbarabb I think I might have loved Tin Man a little bit more. Such different books though, I should re read Tin Man as it‘s a while since I read it. I think I hit lucky with a burst of winter sunshine when I took the pic! 5mo
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JillR
Writers & Lovers | Lily King
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Oh my, this one really got me. It‘s about writers and lovers, of course, and also loss and grief and friendship, and then all the messy life stuff. I might have done some sobbing. It‘s quite funny too. In the best of ways it left me wrung out yet smiling.

Cathythoughts Nice review 👍 I have this on the shelf , looking forward to it. 5mo
rockpools I do like your photos! 5mo
squirrelbrain Great review Jill- I loved this one too! 5mo
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JillR @rockpools thank you! 5mo
JillR @squirrelbrain thank you 😊 Really enjoyed this one 5mo
JillR @cathythoughts it‘s a good one, and love the cover 5mo
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review
JillR
The Enchanted: A Novel | Rene Denfeld
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I started this wondering why I chose it and where I‘d heard about it. A prisoner tells us about his life on death row without telling us much at all. We also follow “the lady”, a death penalty investigator trying to overturn death sentences and reprieve these men. Told with a haunting, mystical quality this story had echoes of The Green Mile by Stephen King yet at the same time is uniquely of itself. Quietly and strangely good.

TrishB Great review 👍🏻 I have this too- I think it was on here a lot, probably why we brought it! 5mo
JillR @trishb ah maybe this is where I saw it (it usually is tbh!) As I started it I was initially finding it a bit odd and I was like “where on earth did I hear about this book?!” 5mo
Cathythoughts Great review👍 I loved the film Green Mile, and I like that this book is uniquely of itself .. well put 👏 (edited) 5mo
Jas16 Loved this book. 5mo
JillR @cathythoughts I was quite proud of that description 😆. Hope you‘re well x 5mo
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JillR
Girl A | Abigail Dean
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This put me in mind of a fictionalised take on Tara West‘s Educated. A family spirals downwards, and then beyond, when the father becomes more and more obsessed with religion and control. This is brutal and intense but completely compulsive reading; another I couldn‘t put down.

Cathythoughts I gave Educated a pick at the time .... but now I‘d give it a bare so-so. Is Girl A a better book ? (edited) 5mo
JillR @cathythoughts I enjoyed this, as far as you can enjoy a book about something quite awful (child abuse/neglect). It goes further than Educated in that respect. I was a bit underwhelmed by the writing at first but it pulled me in! 5mo
Cathythoughts Ok! Thanks. I‘ll try a sample on kindle 😃 5mo
TrishB I really enjoyed this one too 👍🏻 5mo
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JillR
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In parts a case of “it‘s not you, it‘s me” with this one; I‘ve read a lot around this time in history and I think I wanted something fresher and more modern.
That said it is an engagingly told story of Cecily Neville and the power and political struggles she engages in, as well as her husband. In the final third you are completely absorbed by her as she rises up; furious, proud and determined to protect her children at all costs.

TrishB I‘m intrigued! Love this historical period too. 5mo
JillR @trishb this to me felt very Philippa Gregory which is not a complaint but I feel I‘ve exhausted that style, and for some reason I was expecting something different from this, perhaps because I‘d seen it reviewed by people and stocked in shops where perhaps I‘d not expect to see Philippa Gregory, does that make sense? Really interesting woman though and sent me off on various internet searches for more! 5mo
TrishB Thanks 👍🏻 she is a really interesting woman. I don‘t like PG books though so I‘ll probably give it a miss, but at least I know! 5mo
JillR @trishb I‘ve enjoyed them in the past but haven‘t actively sought any out more recently if you know what I mean. I have read reviews raving about this book and the writing but tbh I couldn‘t see it went beyond PG… 5mo
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JillR
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Amanda and Clay rent an AirBnB in remote farmland as they can‘t quite afford the beach. Then the owners return; is it true something terrible has happened in New York? Or is it a scam? We watch the following days unfold with tantalising teasers, undertones of racism and privilege, and a sense of dread, unease and claustrophobia. This is unusual, clever, entirely absorbing and feels extremely timely.

TrishB Great pic 👍🏻 this one has been on my kindle a while. 5mo
JillR @trishb I‘d avoided it for a bit as I wasn‘t sure from the reviews whether I‘d like it, but it‘s a really good, quick read! Did I see you‘ve got/had Covid? If so hope you‘re feeling better x 5mo
TrishB Thank you 😁 just getting over the tiredness! 5mo
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Cathythoughts I really enjoyed this book too 👍❤️ 5mo
Cathythoughts @TrishB I‘ve been wondering about you too. So glad your nearly better ❤️ (edited) 5mo
TrishB @Cathythoughts thank you Cathy ❤️ 5mo
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JillR
The Paper Palace: A Novel | Miranda Cowley Heller
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So good! This story culminates in an impossible love triangle. Before that, it slowly drifts back and forth through Eleanor‘s life; her childhood, her parents, the places. The timeline is disjointed but it works. It shocks and slowly, slowly pulls you in. Gripping, dark and clever, and sometimes very uncomfortable to read, ultimately I loved this story of love, friendship, guilt and families. And the ending!

Cathythoughts Great review and lovely picture. You make me want to read this one 👍stacked 6mo
TrishB Stacked too 👍🏻 (edited) 6mo
JillR @trishb @cathythoughts it‘s a good one! Although I did read some negative reviews as there are themes of abuse throughout which isn‘t that clear from the blurb, just in case that‘s a no go for you xx 6mo
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JillR
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I absolutely loved this; the sequel to Bodies of Light. Ally is now a doctor, breaking boundaries by tentatively starting to practise in Truro Asylum and also finding her footing as a wife. Heartbreaking and beautifully written; with themes of feminism, suffrage, sanity and Victorian poverty, these two books are the best historical fiction I‘ve read in a long time; feeling modern and very relevant. Beautiful.

Cathythoughts Ahh very good , I loved Bodies of Light ❤️ I must stack this one 6mo
JillR @cathythoughts it starts off where Bodies of Light finished and was just as good 😊 6mo
Texreader Excellent review. I‘ll have to check out book 1. 6mo
JillR @texreader it‘s really good! 6mo
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JillR
The Overstory | Richard Powers
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• Best Reads of 2021 • These are my best ten reads of the year; the books that have captured, calmed and captivated me and that I couldn‘t put down. Happy New Year Littens, and thank you for the reading inspiration!

Mitch Great stack. You had a great year. Bodies of Light is my favourite Sarah Moss book. 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼 6mo
TrishB That‘s a great stack 👍🏻 6mo
JillR @mitch thank you. Bodies of Light was a surprise favourite, and I‘m currently reading and loving the sequel Signs for Lost Children… 6mo
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Mitch @JillR I‘ve read all but 2 on your stack and loved them all - so hastily adding the missing 2 to my TBR! 6mo
JillR Thanks @trishb, did that thing where I didn‘t think I‘d read anything really amazing this year then was surprised when I looked back! 6mo
JillR @mitch now intrigued as to what those 2 are! 6mo
JillR @mitch they are both great, I particularly loved The Other Bennet Sister, and Mary Lawson is a new-to-me-author who I can‘t wait to read more of! 6mo
rockpools How fantastic! I‘m going to have to investigate Mary Lawson. And seeing Sarah Moss on so many lists makes me want to catch up with her backlist (I adored Bodies of Light. Ally 💔). 6mo
Cathythoughts Shuggie ❤️ and Bodies of Light ❤️ and Hamnet ❤️ (edited) 6mo
JillR @rockpools my heart is breaking again for Ally in the sequel Songs for Lost Children which I‘m reading right now 💔 6mo
JillR @cathythoughts all so good! 6mo
rockpools @JillR I still haven‘t worked up to reading May‘s story - is it the Tidal Zone? Maybe this year. 6mo
JillR @rockpools it‘s Night Waking; I did read it quite a while ago, but it was before I‘d read Bodies of Light and I didn‘t get the May link, so am planning to reread it at some point! 6mo
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JillR
Earthly Possessions | Anne Tyler
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Another sweet, gentle and funny Anne Tyler to finish off the reading year 💫

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JillR
The Toll | Neal Shusterman
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The 14 year old is very pleased with me for finally finishing his favourite ever trilogy. A pleasing conclusion to the Arc of a Scythe series; this is great dystopian fiction and perfectly readable as a young adult, or not so young adult 😆 #raisingreaders

LeahBergen I bought this series for my father-in-law for Christmas. 😆 6mo
HollyBolly I loved these!! 6mo
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JillR
The Reservoir Tapes | Jon McGregor
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A little companion read to Reservoir 13, one of my best reads of last year. This tells more snippets of the stories of the people living in the village from which Becky Shaw went missing; with her disappearance weaving through each story. Beautifully written.

BarbaraBB Ooh exciting! 6mo
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JillR
Lullaby | Lela Slimani
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This book starts with its finale so you know from the start the awful truth of what‘s going to happen. Then it winds back to how the nanny immerses herself in the family‘s lives and the parents‘ delight at handing their children over to such a capable person who reorganises their life. We then start to see snippets of what the nanny might be. This is a short, intense read and I‘m still unsure whether it left too much uncertain and unanswered.

Cathythoughts I really enjoyed this book 6mo
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JillR
Trio | William Boyd
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Wanted to love this one, didn‘t quite love it. Not entirely sure why because it‘s well written with intriguing characters. It just felt there was something lurking that never quite happened, that I was missing something. Great cover gets 5 ⭐️ though!

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JillR
Bodies of Light | Sarah Moss
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Set in Victorian Manchester, Ally is the elder daughter of a mother who is zealous in her campaign for social reform and the improvement of life for poor women, to the extent that Ally endures a childhood of hardship and little love. Ally forges a path towards becoming one of the first women doctors, at great cost. The writing was almost perfection and I loved the exploration of social reform, feminism, female “hysteria” and suffrage.

Cathythoughts I really enjoyed this too! What a great picture 💫 7mo
JillR Thank you @cathythoughts - I‘ve just seen there‘s a second book too… 7mo
andrew61 I loved the books and if you read 'Night waking' ally's sister is a character which is worth reading. The final book is equally brilliant. 7mo
JillR @andrew61 I have read Night Waking but it was quite some time ago and I didn‘t realise the link with May until I‘d finished this one. Am now trying to track down a copy of the sequel, glad to hear it‘s good! 7mo
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JillR
Bitter Orange | Claire Fuller
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Overall I enjoyed this story of a creepy, sinister abandoned country house and it‘s three temporary residents, there to catalogue it‘s contents and architecture. Throughout there were secrets and mysteries just lurking as our three main characters become obsessed with other. It‘s intense and claustrophobic, although some elements didn‘t quite work for me and it didn‘t really all pull together as I wanted. A really atmospheric read though

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JillR
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Seven teenagers attend Spirit-in-the-Woods, a creative summer camp. Friendships are formed. Then they grow up and we read 466 pages of minute detail about their adult selves. This. Felt. Long. But, now I‘ve finished it, in that weird way good books sometimes do without you realising, I‘m living a bit in their lives now. It‘s like they‘re my friends and I want to know where they‘ve suddenly gone to and what they‘re doing! And the ending…

Megabooks Exactly! 7mo
JillR @megabooks I really struggled with my thoughts and review of this one (about halfway through I was like, please end)! 7mo
39 likes2 comments