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MelKelsey

MelKelsey

Joined June 2019

Lover of fiction books, puzzles, and Kindergarten
review
MelKelsey
Once There Were Wolves | Charlotte McConaghy
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Book 135

I listened to this well-written story with themes of wildness and ferocity of humankind and animals. the protagonist's career is to reintroduce wolves in the wild. She also must help her sister heal from an abusive relationship and come to terms with the abuses she has endured. There is a lackluster element of fantasy that fell short of the author's intent but did add complexity to the character and uniqueness to the story. 4 stars

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MelKelsey
Life of Pi | Yann Martel
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Book 134

Reread for book club November 2021. I had forgotten the ending. My review would be similar to what I wrote in 2008, though I wouldn't say it's hard to understand. It's quite technical, but that makes Pi's voice and humor more unique and interesting.

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MelKelsey
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Book 133

I listened to Someone Else's Love Story by Joshilyn Jackson, a book about a young mother who is held hostage during a gas station robbery. This experience motivates her to accept her past and unravel her feelings. It was an engaging, easy listen. 3.5 stars

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MelKelsey
Five Total Strangers | Natalie D. Richards
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Book 137

I read Five Total Strangers because it was the Big Library Read. Five strangers that meet at the airport, rent a car to get home for Christmas. The road conditions are terrible and things start disappearing. The characters aren't compelling. The story could have been more suspenseful; I almost DNF. The bad guy was a surprise but the book isn't recommendable. 2.5 stars

Eggs I bailed on this one… 1d
27 likes1 comment
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MelKelsey
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Book 128

I listened to The Dearly Beloved by Cara Wall. A character-driven, slow-unwinding story of two couples that are mirror images of each other. Beginning with their individual love stories, it moves into their shared career as pastors; it loses focus when it evolves into their children. It's worth the read, though, and I'm curious about other books by the author.

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MelKelsey
Infinite Country: A Novel | Patricia Engel
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Book 129

I listened to Infinite Country by Patricia Engel, a story about a family separated by an ocean because of deportation. It's a quick and slightly confusing read. 3.5 stars

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MelKelsey
One by One | Ruth Ware
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Book 131

I listened to One by One by Ruth Ware; the setup is a familiar one-a group of people snowed-in to a ski chalet begin disappearing and dying. It was fast-paced and thrilling. Nothing memorable long-term, and the reveal wasn't surprising (maybe wasn't supposed to be? ) but an enjoyable escape while it lasted.

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MelKelsey
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Book 132

I've seen the play adaptation, so the story wasn't unexpected but was thoroughly enjoyable. The imperfect perspective of the protagonist is sweet and charming and seeing his difficulties navigating the world broadened my compassion for and understanding of autism. The ending isn't completely satisfying and leaves some questions unanswered, probably due to Christopher's perspective. But a highly- recommended, five-star read.

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MelKelsey
Only Child | Rhiannon Navin
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Mehso-so

Book 127

Told from an on-the-mark perspective of a six-year-old, Only Child is the story of a school shooting. The novel starts out as a page-turner, loses focus in the middle, and improves in the end. It could have been better. ⭐⭐⭐

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MelKelsey
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Book 126
I listened to Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune. It's a fun, lighthearted but familiar-feeling story about the time between death and what comes after. A fantasy with a love story. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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MelKelsey
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Mehso-so

Book 125

I was excited to read this fictionalized-version of what may have happened to Agatha Christie when she went missing for 11 days. It ended up being disappointing. Too contrived. ⭐⭐⭐

Blueberry That's disappointing. It is the December selection for my f2f bookclub. 3w
24 likes1 comment
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MelKelsey
Betty: A novel | Tiffany McDaniel
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Book 124

I listened to Betty by Tiffany McDaniel. This book is a fictionalized-version of the author's life growing up in the 1960s with a Cherokee father and an Appalachian mother. I'm not a sensitive reader, but I had to take some breaks from the explicitly-written, depressing stories
Betty is a beautiful writer and all her family members are rich and compelling/abhorrent characters. The voice acting was notable. Well-done! A must-read author.

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MelKelsey
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I read Code Girls by Liza Mundy for a book club. Mundy bites off a lot to write the history of the women (ahem, mostly the white women) code breakers during WWII. Considering the massiveness of the project, it's well-done and has some characters that the reader comes to care about. Nonfiction really isn't my jam, but I recommend it for those who like the genre. ⭐⭐⭐.5

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MelKelsey
Homegoing: A novel | Yaa Gyasi
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3.5

Book 120

I listened to Homecoming, a story about slavery and the slave trade. It's well-written and educational. I recommend reading it rather than listening to it.

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MelKelsey
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Mehso-so

Book 121
The Story of Beautiful Girl is a story of a girl institutionalized by her family because she has an intellectual disability and a man institutionalized because he can't communicate (he's deaf, doesn't know sign language, and is illiterate). A romantic and familial love story told from the perspective of three characters. It's slow, and I almost gave up. ⭐⭐⭐

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MelKelsey
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Book 122

I listened to A Grown-up Kind of Pretty--a mystery unfolds when baby bones are found in the yard of a Southern mother, daughter, and granddaughter. Written in 2012, I was shocked and bothered by the author's use of the r word, multiple times. ⭐⭐

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MelKelsey
The Long Walk | Stephen King
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Book 117

I listened to The Long Walk by Stephen King, a dystopian story about an annual walk during which, if you stop walking, you get shot. The entire thrilling novel takes place during the walk. Characters could be better developed and the ending could be more satisfying. 3.5 ⭐s

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MelKelsey
Never Have I Ever: A Novel | Joshilyn Jackson
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Book 116

I listened to Never Have I Ever, a blackmail mystery story. There is nothing notable about the writing, but it was compulsively readable! I lost sleep to keep reading. 4.5 ⭐s

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MelKelsey
Blue Ticket | Sophie Mackintosh
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Book 115

Blue Ticket is a dystopian novel in which girls receive a ticket when they reach puberty; a white ticket means motherhood and a blue ticket means career. A quick easy-read about how feelings of fulfillment are only possible with freedom of choice. I am definitely interested in reading The Water Cure, by the same author.

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MelKelsey
Hollywood Park: A Memoir | Mikel Jollett
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Mehso-so

Book 114
I listened to Hollywood Park, read by the author. Jollett writes about his difficult childhood, including adjusting to the world outside of the Synanon cult. It feels mismarketed as the cult isn't the central focus of the memoir.
⭐⭐⭐

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MelKelsey
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Book 113

She Would Be King is a mythical story about the creation of Liberia. It's well-written with three, unequally-strong, characters. It started out compelling, but when I returned to reading after taking several days off (ggrrrr...work!!), it was hard to get back into. 3.5 🌟 s

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MelKelsey
Overstory | Richard Powers
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Mehso-so

Book 112

I listened to The Overstory, a book about trees, by Richard Powers. It's a novel with potential; it has heart, interwoven storylines, and compelling characters. It's too long, though. I don't know if I would have been able to sludge through actually reading it. ⭐⭐⭐

JLaurenceCohen Very funny to describe a Pulitzer winner as a novel "with potential," though there are certainly too many characters 2mo
32 likes1 comment
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MelKelsey
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Book 111

WWII historical fiction, with magical elements, about hiding and surviving in the forest from Nazis. An original novel, The Forest of Vanishing Stars is compellingly readable. Unfortunately it loses focus near the end when the protagonist leaves the forest. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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MelKelsey
1922 | Stephen King
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Book 106

I listened to 1922, a novella that's Wilfred James's confession to murdering his wife. Dark, twisted, and short, it was a great listen. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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MelKelsey
Great Circle | Maggie Shipstead
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Book 110

Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead is a story of a pilot who disappears during a North-South navigation around the world. It's lengthy but well-done and worth the listen. I will look into more by the author. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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MelKelsey
The Mountains Sing | Nguyen Phan Que Mai
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Book 109

The Mountains Sing is the well-written story of the Tran family, displaced from their home and separated during the Viet Nam War, as they reunite. It's an educational, heartfelt Vietnamese perspective rich with quality characters. I will read more by the author. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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MelKelsey
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Book 108

I love Anne Tyler's characters! They are so everyday realistic and very dimensional. I was transported into Mortimer's everyday, overly organized life. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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MelKelsey
Smallest Part | Amy Harmon
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Book 107
I was eager to read The Smallest Part by Amy Harmon; the cover art intrigued me. It was an obvious disappointment from the beginning, and I probably shouldn't have read it. The characters were flat, and the writing was subpar. ⭐⭐

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MelKelsey
The Other Woman | Sandie Jones
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Mehso-so

Book 105

I listened to The Other Woman thinking it was a thriller. It's more of a story about love with an abrupt twist at the end. An easy listen but unmentionable. ⭐⭐⭐

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MelKelsey
The Scent Keeper | Erica Bauermeister
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Book 104 I listened to The Scent Keeper, a story of a girl who lives on a remote island with her dad and a machine that makes scents. It quickly becomes more approachable than it sounds. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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MelKelsey
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Mehso-so

Book 102 I was disappointed by The Girl Who Stopped Swimming, which I listened to immediately after Mother May I (by the same author). Touted as a ghost mystery, the resolution was unrelated to the setup, making everything a red herring. ⭐⭐⭐

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MelKelsey
Things You Save in a Fire | Katherine Center
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Book 103

I listened to Things You Save in a Fire. It's an easy rom-com. Nothing of literary merit but fun. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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MelKelsey
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Mehso-so

Book 101

The Secret Keeper of Jaipur is a continuation of Lakshmi's story from The Henna Artist. Chapters jump from the perspective of three characters. It isn't compelling or overly engaging. ⭐⭐⭐

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MelKelsey
Mother May I: A Novel | Joshilyn Jackson
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Book 100

I listened to Mother May I, narrated by the author. It's a complex thriller about a mother who's newborn is kidnapped. Well-writtea and unpredictable. This is my second novel by Jackson and won't be my last. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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MelKelsey
The Last Bookshop in London | Madeline Martin
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Book 99

The Last Bookshop in London is great as an audiobook. It's a WWII novel with a love story. The protagonist works in a bookstore and uses her love for reading to buoy up her community during attacks.
3.5 stars

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MelKelsey
Moonlight in Odessa: A Novel | Janet Skeslien Charles
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Book 98

Rarely have I felt so immersed in a novel, though it's not easy to pinpoint why. The writing, while good, isn't remarkable. Daria, the protagonist from Odessa, Ukraine, isn't especially dimensional (nor is she remotely flat, either). The story itself sucked me in, and I could see, hear, and feel Odessa as if I were Daria. I love Charles' books and only wish to have more to read!

Five stars

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MelKelsey
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Book 96
The Girls in the Stilt House is a novel about two girls trying to escape the harsh, dangerous-for-girls' conditions in the Mississippi swamps in the 1920s. Organized so that each character's story is told separately prior to their shared story, contributed to it only becoming compelling half-way through. The characters could have been more likable, especially Matilda. I won't jump on Mustian's next novel. 3.5 stars

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MelKelsey
A Good Marriage | Kimberly McCreight
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Book 97

I listened to A Good Marriage, a thriller/mystery/family drama, about a lawyer, struggling in her marriage to an alcoholic, who's called on as by a law school friend to defend him from the charge of murdering his wife. It's layered, complex, and not predictable. A good listen, though not lastingly memorable. 3.5 stars

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MelKelsey
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Mehso-so

Book 95
The first sentence drew me in and set my expectations high. This comedic murder-for-hire story wasn't quite what it claimed to be. It was fun and easy to read, though. ⭐⭐⭐

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MelKelsey
Hour of the Witch | Chris Bohjalian
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Book 94
Hour of the Witch is a novel set in the 1600s about a woman who tries to get a divorce from her abusive husband and ends up facing trial as a witch. It was easy to read and engaging. The characters didn't stand out. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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MelKelsey
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Book 93

I listened to When No One is Watching. It's touted a thriller but isn't remotely thriller before the second half. It's about a New York neighborhood going through gentrification. The characters aren't believable or likable. ⭐⭐

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MelKelsey
Project Hail Mary | Andy Weir
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Book 91

Hail Mary is another well-researched, science-focused, high-adventure novel set in space. It was a little slow to get started, but, similar toThe Martian, had a continual cycle of problems for the protagonist to solve. The ending was surprising and sweet. 3.5 stars

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MelKelsey
The Dry | Jane Harper
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Mehso-so

Book 92

I listened to The Dry. It's a detective story about two cold murder cases. It is not my favorite Jane Harper novel; the setting was less integral to the plot than I'd hoped. It wasn't exceedingly engaging, and the characters weren't compelling. Maybe it would have been better to read than listen to. ⭐⭐⭐

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MelKelsey
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Book 90

I listened to Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro. The story is told from the sweet, limited perspective of Klara, a childlike artificial intelligence. The basic tenants of this futuristic world are unknown to the reader, making the twists unpredictable. I liked it more than Never Let Me Go, by the same author. If this were my first book by Ishiguro, I would be eager to read more. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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MelKelsey
Bridge of Clay | Markus Zusak
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Mehso-so

Book 89 Wow! Bridge of Clay is overly complex. It starts out very compelling, but is purposefully confusing and requires a lot of effort to make it through. The writing is really good-sometimes incredibly beautiful. My least favorite Zusak novel so far.

3 ⭐s

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MelKelsey
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Book 88
The House in the Cerulean Sea is such a fun, sweet book! Linus, the protagonist, is a rule-oriented, routine-driven government employee on assignment to observe the orphans and caretakers on an island by the sea. The characters are fantastical but so unique with strong, original voices. It is light-hearted and beautiful! Read it!

4.5 stars

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MelKelsey
The Dating Plan | Sara Desai
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Book 87

I listened to The Dating Plan by Sara Desai. It's a rom-com about childhood family friends that have a "meet-cute" as adults. Though they pretend to be engaged, it's not a super engaging story. When looking for a beach read, I don't plan to return to this author.

⭐⭐

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MelKelsey
Women Talking: A Novel | Miriam Toews
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Book 86 Women Talking is a historical fiction novel about women in a Mennonite community in Brazil that were drugged and raped at night by men in their community but were told they were being punished by demons for their sins. I was so drawn in! The title is apropos; the novel is the women trying to decide what to do. It's funny and philosophical but dry. The author is an ex-Mennonite, and I am very interested to read her memoir.

3.5 stars

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MelKelsey
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Book 85
A book about feminisim and finding your voice and place in the world. A well-written novel with compelling characters with interesting lives. Written in third person omniscient pov with Greer as the protagonist, the reader has access into the lives of too many unequally-developed characters. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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MelKelsey
The Book of Two Ways | Jodi Picoult
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Book 84

I listened to The Book of Two Ways.The protagonist, an Egyptology grad student, abruptly leaves her program to raise her younger brother and instead becomes a death doula, helping the dying and their caretakers prepare for death. The research about Egypt is fascinating, and the theme of death preparation was unique and refreshing. That being said, it should have ended a lot sooner! ⭐⭐⭐⭐