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TheReadingRaccoon

TheReadingRaccoon

Joined March 2021

Whatever I can get my paws on
review
TheReadingRaccoon
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Pickpick

I highly recommend this novel to readers of all ages who like exciting survival stories with touches of science fiction and a dystopian setting.

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TheReadingRaccoon
In Every Generation | Kendare Blake
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Pickpick

In Every Generation by Kendare Blake is a young adult contemporary fantasy novel and continuation of the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. A catastrophe at a Slayer meeting has forced a new one to rise and despite her pedigree she is not prepared to save the world. This was a fun and nostalgic read for Buffy fans old and new. I‘m curious to hear the backstory of the missing Slayers and what will happen next for Frankie and the gang.

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TheReadingRaccoon
No Land to Light On | Yara Zgheib
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Pickpick

This is a beautifully written novel about finding love and keeping it against the odds. But it also shows the reader how the refugee and immigrant experience is fraught with both achievements and losses and that in order to move forward they also leave so much behind.

I highly recommend this beautiful modern love story.
4 stars

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TheReadingRaccoon
Calypso | David Sedaris
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TheReadingRaccoon
Calypso | David Sedaris
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Pickpick

Hilarious essays by David Sedaris about his visits to his beach house with his family, traveling the world with his book tours and the fox that used to visit him (named Carol). It also includes darker moments like his sister Tiffany‘s estrangement and death and his mother‘s alcoholism.

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TheReadingRaccoon
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Mehso-so

The Kingdom of Back is beautifully written historical fantasy fiction that revolves around the Mozart siblings and their childhood composing and performing music around Europe.
This book had all the beats of a historical novel with pieces of magic and fairy tales but it was missing a little oomph and the juicy bits that keep me reading. I wanted to love it but I think it would have made a better novella or short story.

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TheReadingRaccoon
Secret Santa | Andrew Shaffer
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Pickpick

Fun holiday themed horror-comedy about a powerful entity and an 80‘s woman trying to succeed in New York publishing. Lots of irreverent humor and thrills.

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TheReadingRaccoon
Incantation | Alice Hoffman
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Pickpick

Beautifully written but tragic story of a family keeping their faith secret during the Spanish Inquisition and a young girl betrayed by someone she loved. There are so many thought provoking quotes in this that I need to highlight in my kindle.

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TheReadingRaccoon
The Lives of Saints | Leigh Bardugo
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Pickpick

Full of beautiful illustrations and short stories about the sometimes brief but always dramatic lives of the Saints that make up the Grisha verse.

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TheReadingRaccoon
In a Holidaze | Christina Lauren
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Pickpick

Fun and thoughtful holiday romance about do-overs. Not my personal favorite kind of couple (friends to lovers) but a lot of cute moments.
3.5 stars

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TheReadingRaccoon
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Pickpick

I loved this beautifully written and illustrated backstory to Cardan‘s history. It contains the missing pieces from the rest of the series plus more Cardan and Jude cuteness. Like the rest of the series it has Holly Black‘s wit and creativity.

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TheReadingRaccoon
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Pickpick

I was lucky enough to have Mr Spanjaard speak to my junior high in the mid 1980‘s. This is a stunning memoir of a boy living in Amsterdam during the German invasion and then forced into a work camp. Written after his liberation while living as a teenager in a military school it has the spare language you‘d expect from someone so young with little bits of humor. It also contains photos and illustrations.

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TheReadingRaccoon
True Crime Story | Joseph Knox
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Pickpick

This was tense novel that really keeps the reader wondering what is real and what is fiction. By inserting himself into the story Joseph Knox broke down the wall between writer and reader that made this book stand out in a category crowded with pretty-girl-in-jeopardy stories. I recommend this one to readers that love both true (and untrue) crime books. Fans of full cast narration should definitely check out the excellent audiobook version 4 stars

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TheReadingRaccoon
The Song of Achilles | Madeline Miller
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Pickpick

Moving novel about the relationship between Achilles and Patroclus first as boys, then lovers and later soldiers in the epic battle against Troy, 4 stars

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TheReadingRaccoon
Hawthorne School | Sylvie Perry
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Mehso-so

Although fairly entertaining I found most of the plot wildly unrealistic and better fitting a TV movie.
This was a just okay and slightly silly contemporary suspense thriller
3 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️

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TheReadingRaccoon
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Pickpick

Like her previous novels A History of Wild Places has Shea Ernshaw‘s skill with creating a mood and giving unsettling vibes.
Overall, this was a atmospheric and suspenseful read about manipulation, found family and discovering your true place in life. 4 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

8 likes1 stack add
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TheReadingRaccoon
Wish You Were Here | Jodi Picoult
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Pickpick

Wish You Were Here is a timely novel about one woman‘s shift in priorities after the world changed in the face of Covid-19. Although entertaining for a large audience this novel presented some serious philosophical ideas about our perceptions of the world and how there is still so much more we don‘t know beyond what we can see. I really enjoyed Wish You Were Here and I will be thinking about it for a long time.

4 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

7 likes1 stack add
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TheReadingRaccoon
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Mehso-so

Overall, I liked the concept but the actual book fell a little flat for me. I never connected with Julie or Sam as characters and only in the last pages was I actually moved by anything emotionally.

3 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️

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TheReadingRaccoon
All of Us Villains | Amanda Foody, Christine Lynn Herman
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Pickpick

All of Us Villains is a new twist on tournament type young adult books. By incorporating curses and spells and a cast of morally grey characters Foody and Herman created a brand new story for YA audiences. All of Us Villains kept me riveted all the way to the end and thanks to the cliffhanger ending I look forward to reading more books in this series.
4 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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TheReadingRaccoon
Ten | Gretchen McNeil
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Pickpick

This was a fast paced and easy mystery thriller based loosely on And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie. Although I had an idea of the motive behind all the murders it wasn‘t clear who was doing it and that kept me interested.
3.75 stars

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TheReadingRaccoon
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Pickpick

I found The Donut Trap to be a relatable and fun read that mixed the best of contemporary romance with rom-coms and coming of age. Jas isn‘t some helpless ingenue that needed to be fixed but instead a young woman stuck in a role and not sure how to get out of it. Alex is busy building his career and had his own parental struggles but is still trying to carve out time for Jas too. Children of immigrant parents will see themselves in both characters

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TheReadingRaccoon
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Pickpick

This is a dark and twisted story that packs a lot of punch for being under 130 pages. Cassandra Khaw uses vivid descriptions and can truly turn a phrase and there is also a youthful energy to her writing and characters she creates. The story also had unexpected turns as she took what the reader was expecting and purposely pivoted. I recommend this one for horror lovers looking for a fresh haunted house story
4 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

6 likes1 stack add
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TheReadingRaccoon
Oh William!: A Novel | Elizabeth Strout
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Pickpick

Oh, William by Elizabeth Strout does not seem like much of a page turner on paper. But, the recollections of the main character (Lucy) and her observations of the people in her life keep the reader interested and I flew through the story. I recommend this one to literary fiction lovers and I look forward to reading more from this series.

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TheReadingRaccoon
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Pickpick

This is a dark and twisted tale of small towns, privilege and what happens when a girl‘s dreams are cut short. I loved the “not everything is what it seems” aspect and the detective‘s contribution to the overall plot. I recommend this one to reader‘s that enjoy both gritty suspense thrillers and detective novels.

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TheReadingRaccoon
Jar of Hearts | Jennifer Hillier
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Despite some of its flaws this was very entertaining and fast-paced thriller. It wasn‘t always the most enjoyable listen because the storyline was so dark and it was hard to root for anyone but the narrator (January LaVoy) did an excellent job.

3.5 stars

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TheReadingRaccoon
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Pickpick

This book is a twisty and fascinating read. Despite the slow start I really enjoyed the last 1/3 of the book and couldn‘t wait to see what was going to happen next. 4 stars

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TheReadingRaccoon
Odd Numbers | JJ Marsh
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Mehso-so

I did the audio of Odd Numbers which was well narrated by the dual voices of Jess Nesling and Paul Panting. The story kept my interest and I enjoyed reading about European locales and the complicated friendships and romances of the six players. The last part of the book and felt a little rushed and it lacked it little oomph for me. Overall this was a solid mystery suspense.

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TheReadingRaccoon
The Orphan Witch | Paige Crutcher
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Panpan

I really wanted the book about the witch who has the ability to destroy people with her gaze, can‘t connect with anyone and desperately needs a cure. Unfortunately, I got a Mary Sue Chosen One witch who spends a lot of time in witchy family interpersonal drama and portals into parallel worlds. I didn‘t enjoy the setting, the characters or the romance.

KristiAhlers Yeah I bailed on this one. Didn‘t even bother posting about it. Thought maybe I just wasn‘t in the mood for it but yeah. I went back later and just no. 3mo
TheReadingRaccoon @Katbooklover I had to finish it because it was an ARC but it was rough. Too bad because the cover and cover and concept were great. I wish the author stuck with the storyline about her deadly gaze. 3mo
KristiAhlers @TheReadingRaccoon I agree. That would‘ve made for a way more interesting and different read for sure. 3mo
2 likes3 comments
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TheReadingRaccoon
The Violent Season | Sara Walters
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Pickpick

This is not a fun thriller or a feel good book and it explores darker and unsettling issues around murder, suicide, sexual assault, revenge porn and drug/alcohol abuse. That being said, the tension never lets up and I found it hard to put down.
4.5 stars

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TheReadingRaccoon
No Words: A Novel | Meg Cabot
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Mehso-so

This was a silly, forgettable book and could hit readers in just the right feels if they love warm breezes, authors as main characters and book conventions as backdrops but it lacked depth of emotion for me.

3 stars

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TheReadingRaccoon
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Pickpick

I loved Eight Perfect Hours and highly recommend it to romance readers and women‘s fiction lovers. It has a beautiful love story with a lot of food for thought about caring for your parents, being a good friend, pursuing your dreams and finding the love of your life.
5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Book_tangled I so do want to!read this one! 4mo
TheReadingRaccoon @Book_tangled definitely read it! Perfect for winter ❄️ 3mo
3 likes2 comments
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TheReadingRaccoon
The Santa Suit: A Novella | Mary Kay Andrews
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Mehso-so

This was an oddly paced and short book. There are a lot of threads that are resolved quickly and easily and the romance was completely rushed. I found the entire plot too fluffy and low stakes for my taste. Some of the conversations felt a little stilted and the interactions between practical strangers unrealistic. This might be an enjoyable relaxing holiday novel for some readers but I didn‘t connect to the main character or plot 3 stars

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TheReadingRaccoon
My Heart Is a Chainsaw | Stephen Graham Jones
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I highly recommend this original but often bloody and scary novel for people who enjoy horror novels and a smart and snarky young heroines. 4 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

6 likes1 stack add
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TheReadingRaccoon
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Mehso-so

I will state right off the bat that some books aren‘t written with me in mind and that‘s okay. The struggle with reviewing these is that it‘s hard to judge the quality of the writing or how engaging the plot is when you are just completely the wrong audience. This is novel is heavily themed in the trials and tribulations of Evangelical Christian teens and was missing that darker humor and gritty plot that I usually go for.
3 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️

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TheReadingRaccoon
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Mehso-so

I thought this book started strong and then started to go off the rails around 75% through. The police investigation seemed unprofessional and illogical. The possible voices of the dead coming through her didn‘t lead anywhere and just muddled up the story. I didn‘t enjoy the last few chapters and conclusion. This one showed a lot of promise in the beginning but I just didn‘t appreciate where the plot went or the main character‘s choices 3 stars

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TheReadingRaccoon
Certain Dark Things: A Novel | Silvia Moreno-Garcia
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Pickpick

Certain Dark Things is a completely fresh take on vampire lore that manages to be a love story without the sickly sweet typical beats. Atl is strong but is very honest about her limitations and Domingo is the hopeless romantic that won‘t give up even when it‘s looking grim. This book is dark, gritty and violent without being over the top or salacious.
I highly recommend it for urban fantasy fans!
4 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

SamAnne Can‘t wait to start this one in October. 4mo
TheReadingRaccoon @SamAnne enjoy! 🧛🏻‍♂️ 4mo
5 likes2 comments
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TheReadingRaccoon
Lies Like Wildfire | Jennifer Lynn Alvarez
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Pickpick

This is a tense and well written mystery and suspense novel for readers that want a young adult book with characters no longer in high school. The details and research about wildfires and their devastating potential is well done and paints an accurate portrayal. Each of the characters are well fleshed out and realistic even if I did not find them very likable.
I recommend this one for upper YA mystery fans
4 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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TheReadingRaccoon
Velvet Was the Night | Silvia Moreno-Garcia
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Pickpick

Velvet Was The Night is a historical noir pulp fiction style novel about two people in 1970‘s Mexico City who are stuck in the middle of a clash between free thinking students and the government tactics to quell communism and voices of dissent. It has has great pacing, atmosphere and Silvia Moreno-Garcia‘s signature sly humor. I highly recommend this smart and stylish noir novel! 4.5 stars (rounded up to 5) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

SamAnne It‘s waiting at the library for me and I can‘t wait. 5mo
TheReadingRaccoon @SamAnne I hope you enjoy it too! 5mo
8 likes2 comments
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TheReadingRaccoon
The Family Plot: A Novel | Megan Collins
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The Family Plot is a murder mystery novel about a family who spent most of their lives studying different American murders from their isolated island mansion. They reunite to bury their father and their own darkest secrets will be brought to light. This is a dark and tragic family story drenched in the history of some of America‘s most famous murders. I recommend it to people that enjoy mysteries with complicated family dynamics 4 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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TheReadingRaccoon
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Pickpick

Eyes of the Forest is a YA contemporary suspense novel about a teenage fan that turns her knowledge about a fantasy author‘s books into an opportunity to save his life.
Overall, this was a enjoyable read about fandoms, becoming a hero and the creative process. It‘s not particularly dark or disturbing so I think it will be an appropriate suspenseful read for all ages and preferences 3.5 stars

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TheReadingRaccoon
That Weekend | Kara Thomas
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This was a big hit with the book club! I highly recommend That Weekend for young adult readers that like a solid mystery with a few twists and turns 4 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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TheReadingRaccoon
Small Favors | Erin A. Craig
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Small Favors is a young adult historical fantasy about a tiny isolated town that finds their citizens in the grip of a series of attacks from monstrous creatures on supply runs, mysterious newcomers, resentments against each other, bad luck and increasing violence. Ellerie Downing is a teenage girl trying to hold her family together town gone mad. It has the right amount of suspense, action, world-building and characterization 4 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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TheReadingRaccoon
Vintage: A Ghost Story | Steve Berman
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Pickpick

I highly recommend Vintage to someone looking for a spooky paranormal tale with a bit of teenage angst and drama. Vesely is not your typical teenage hero but is relatable to anyone that struggled finding their way.
4 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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TheReadingRaccoon
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Mehso-so

Up All Night is an anthology of 13 different YA stories that occur from dusk to dawn. I like anthologies to find new authors but feel the stories are too short to pull me in. Overall my favorites were by: Karen M McManus, Maureen Goo, Kayla Whaley and Tiffany D Jackson. Although I only had four stands outs I think there is enough diversity in plots and characters for every reader to have a few favorite stories from the collection.

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TheReadingRaccoon
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Mehso-so

This is an extremely slow-burn bloodless murder mystery. Although Megan Miranda did a great job of building tension I found it hard for the plot to completely keep my attention as the characters were all so bland and boring. Even the crime(s) lacked the gritty and dark vibe I prefer to escape in. I‘d recommend this one for readers that want to enjoy a more low-key thriller or mystery suspense but without any gore or disturbing scenes. 3.5 stars

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TheReadingRaccoon
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Pickpick

Although, there were some chunks of the story relating to the paranormal that I found not well explained and chaotic I enjoyed the pacing, characters and overall plot. I recommend this one to young adult readers that want to read something chilling and creepy with some food for thought about being young, gay and Black and trying to find your voice.

4 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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TheReadingRaccoon
Heartbreak for Hire | Sonia Hartl
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Mehso-so

Overall, this is a mildly amusing sexy romp. Some of the manufactured angst around the main character‘s (Berkeley) job and her mother plus the coincidences around the love interest (Mark) and his own career felt a little convenient and took away from my enjoyment. I also enjoy a sweeter love story with more “closed door” type love scenes than this portrayed.

3 stars

2 likes1 stack add
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TheReadingRaccoon
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Pickpick

What‘s Done in Darkness is an adult contemporary mystery thriller about a series of missing girls and a former kidnap victim called in to help. I highly recommend this suspense thriller for readers that enjoy whodunnits, fresh starts and strong female main characters (and rescue animals too). 5 stars ⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

4 likes1 stack add
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TheReadingRaccoon
All Together Now | Matthew Norman
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Matthew Norman tackles the difficult topics of cancer, heartbreak, marriage issues and career setbacks with both humor and a realistic touch. Although most of us do not have a billionaire friend Norman somehow makes the relationships and struggles within this group of four friends relatable. I highly recommend this novel for readers looking for a beach read with laughs and a lot of heart.

4 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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TheReadingRaccoon
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Pickpick

The Invasion is the conclusion of The Call duology and a YA fantasy horror dystopian about a group of teens stuck in Ireland while the walls between fairy and our world fall. It is equally dark to The Call with scenes of violence and body horror. You can‘t help but cheer for Anto and Nessa as they fight for their love, freedom and the land they love. I found the ending to be an amazing conclusion to the entire story.