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shaynarae

shaynarae

Joined December 2017

A girl and her books 📚 And often some cats. And now a dog too.
review
shaynarae
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Pickpick

Sweet, poetic novella about a post-war vet who spends a summer in a rural English village restoring a recently-discovered medieval mural. The reading experience felt like a lazy summer day, flecked with humor.

26 likes1 stack add
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shaynarae
Things in Jars | Jess Kidd
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Pickpick

Enjoyable mystery about a lost child and the edge of humanity. Loved the reader on audio.

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shaynarae
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Pickpick

I was totally hooked on this series, but I‘m looking forward to a break from characters who “whirled,” “surveyed,” and “considered” constantly. Maas‘ writing could‘ve been less repetitive, but once again, the world building was ultimately what was so impressive.

22 likes1 stack add
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shaynarae
A Court of Mist and Fury | Sarah J. Maas
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Pickpick

I got sucked into the ACOTAR world and immediately started this book after finishing the first one. I now see what the big deal is about the Night Court. Not wanting to give anything away, I fell pretty hard for this book, liking it much better than the first.

ShelleyBooksie Glad you liked it. Love this series sooo much! 10mo
25 likes1 comment
review
shaynarae
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Pickpick

Whoops, accidentally got sucked into ACOTAR. I decided to this to see what all the fuss was about. Despite not caring for the reader of the audiobook and Feyre being a prime example of the type of character I find very obnoxious, filled with so much angsty and hormonal turmoil, I‘m very into this world. Upon finishing, I immediately checked out the sequel.

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shaynarae
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Pickpick

I‘ve been meaning to read more romances, and Alyssa Cole has been at the top of my list for awhile. Inspired by Bridgerton, I finally got that kickstarted. An easy, perfectly formulated romance, this book did not disappoint.

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shaynarae
Catherine House: A Novel | Elisabeth Thomas
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Pickpick

I think I loved listening to Inés del Castillo read this book more than the story itself, but overall it was an enjoyable experience. It gave me Kazuo Ishiguro vibes and reminded me of Bunny by Mona Awad. If that‘s your jam, give this book a try.

18 likes1 stack add
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shaynarae
Summer | Ali Smith
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Pickpick

Finally finished Ali Smith‘s seasonal quartet. Summer was a beautiful novel, eliciting drifty and languishing feelings of the season in story that was very post-modern in construction, but enjoyable nonetheless.

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shaynarae
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Pickpick

I‘ve come to accept that I‘m a reluctant reader of mysteries. I keep trying them and they rarely end up high on the satisfaction scale for me. But THIS was a mystery I could get behind! Creepy and classic, this story combined a historical feel with the supernatural that kept my interest from beginning to end. I liked this one more than Evelyn Hardcastle. Highly recommend!

31 likes2 stack adds
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shaynarae
A Promised Land | Barack Obama
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Pickpick

I cried my way through this book. Being able to reflect on Obama‘s political experience through his first term of the presidency alongside current events of today is both enlightening and heartbreaking in its clarity. I‘m not one for political histories, but Obama is a brilliant person and beautiful writer, and I highly recommend this one!

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shaynarae
Clap When You Land | Elizabeth Acevedo
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Pickpick

I needed some encouragement to give this book a try, despite the rave reviews, because I largely avoid YA. But this was lovely and moving. The poetic nature of it gave the story so much more weight. I did see the “twist” coming, but that didn‘t detract from the story at all. It was a great listen on audio.

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shaynarae
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Mehso-so

My first Agatha Christie, and while it was quite the twist, I had a hard time staying engaged. The racism of the 1930s stuck out, but at least seemed concentrated early in the book. I would read Agatha Christie again, but am not racing to make it a priority.
Maybe mysteries just aren‘t my thing.

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shaynarae
Early Riser | Jasper Fforde
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Pickpick

I really enjoyed this and will be recommending it! A great winter read, especially if you‘re into a bit of sci-fi and exploring the question of agency. In an alternative version of the world as we know it, winter is so extreme and dangerous that most people spend it in a pharmaceutically-induced hibernation. Enter zombies, mythical creatures, and what happens when the line between dreams and reality blurs, and you get Early Riser!

BookishMarginalia I enjoyed this one too 👍🏼 12mo
22 likes1 comment
blurb
shaynarae
Hamnet | Maggie O'Farrell
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The end of this year has been a slow roll. More knitting, less reading. Have I met any of my 2020 book goals? Other than reading 100 books, no. But what a shitshow this time has been, so who cares? Not me.
Litsy monthly stats
1 🎧 audio
0 🖥 ebooks
2 📚physical books
Fiction: 2
Nonfiction/essays/memoirs: 1
BIPOC authors: 0
Female authors: 1
From my shelf: 2
#monthlywrapup #decemberstats

TrishB A sensible approach! 13mo
26 likes1 comment
review
shaynarae
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Pickpick

Despite scholarly issues and not the greatest writing, I was pleasantly surprised by not how bored I was by this book. Having an MA in art history and a career in museums, this story is a familiar one to me, and WWII books are very much not my jam. So I did go into it with pretty low expectations, making it an easy bar to raise.

MsMelissa I started this one a couple of years back, but thought the writing very weak and put it down. I want to get back to it though, since the subject matter is so interesting. 13mo
shaynarae @Book_Fiend_Melissa I‘ve been told that the Rape of Europa (tagged here) is a far superior book on the topic. I hope that one works out better for you! 13mo
26 likes2 comments
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shaynarae
Worst Noel: Hellish Holiday Tales | Collected Authors of the Worst Noel
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Panpan

On their own, each short story isn‘t bad (definitely not great either). But as a collection, it‘s very boring and repetitive. Every story is about a bad family Christmas or a transition from celebrating Christmas to Hanukkah. “Hellish” is not at all an appropriate description. This collection was really a missed opportunity. I was hoping for stories about the darker supernatural side of Christmas folklore. But I didn‘t get what I wanted here.

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shaynarae
Hamnet | Maggie O'Farrell
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Pickpick

Absolutely adored this book! It‘s beautiful and evocative, transported me straight out of 2020 and into 16th century England. I loved the treatment of Shakespeare without the weight of genius as we know him today, but as a member of a family. His wife as the protagonist was incredibly compelling. A delicious book!

TrishB Great review 👍🏻 13mo
38 likes3 stack adds1 comment
blurb
shaynarae
Winter Counts: A Novel | David Heska Wanbli Weiden
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Anxiety was crazy high in November, so I only got through 4 books.
I haven‘t been able to focus on reading in weeks, so I shifted to audiobooks while keeping my hands busy making Christmas gifts.

3 🎧 audio
0 🖥 ebooks
1 📚physical books
Fiction: 4
Nonfiction/essays/memoirs: 0
BIPOC authors: 2
Female authors: 2
From my shelf: 0
#monthlywrapup #novemberstats

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shaynarae
Winter Counts: A Novel | David Heska Wanbli Weiden
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Pickpick

I have a hard time really getting into thrillers, especially those centered around drug busts, like this one. But, taking place on a Native American reservation, I learned a lot from this book, which I can‘t say about most thrillers.

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shaynarae
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Pickpick

Leftover October reading. Really well done, would like more of this story retelling from marginalized people who should be centered at the story, plz

21 likes1 stack add
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shaynarae
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Pickpick

It‘s knitmas season, ya‘ll! Which means I‘m spending most of my free time making gifts and listening to audiobooks. I was inspired to revisit this favorite childhood book of mine, and it was a joy. Seemed much shorter now than it did when I was a kid, but I loved the fairy tale quality of the narrative. I think I may revisit the rest of the series too.

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shaynarae
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Panpan

Unpopular opinion: while I like the concept of this book, it was far too long-winded. Schwab relied so heavily on metaphors that the constant repetition of them, included very strong ones (“leaned toward him like a flower to the sun”) drove me nuts. The title should be “Like Smoke” or “Palimpsest” for as often as those words were used in this novel. I just couldn‘t get past the writing to thoroughly enjoy the story.

atla I enjoyed this novel, but there was about 200 pages in the middle where I kept thinking, “Gah, will she just GET ON with it!” So yeah - I feel you. 1y
shaynarae @atla Yes! If the book was about half as long, I think it would‘ve been so much stronger. 1y
magicalshelves Totally agree. The overuse of metaphors and slow pace drove me crazy. I also agree this book could have been 200 pages shorter. 1y
Heideschrampf Thank you! I was afraid either i or everyone else had lost all common sense! 1y
26 likes4 comments
blurb
shaynarae
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9 books this month, tagged book was my favorite. I‘ve been doing more crafting (lots more audiobooks), so it‘s no surprise that the books I have finished were short. I‘ve gotten myself into a library spiral and have been slacking on my goal of making my way through books on my own shelf.
5 🎧 audio
1 🖥 ebooks
3 📚physical books
Fiction: 8
Nonfiction/essays/memoirs: 1
BIPOC authors: 2
Female authors: 6
From my shelf: 0
#monthlywrapup #octoberstats

review
shaynarae
Bunny: A Novel | Mona Awad
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Mehso-so

This book was just... a lot. It felt too extra, overly verbose. There was too much dwelling, for my taste, and I found it tiresome.

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shaynarae
The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek | Kim Michele Richardson
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Pickpick

I had some reservations about this book until I got to the author‘s note at the end and found that it historical fiction, rather than magical realism. This novel tells the story of a WPA packhorse librarian in Kentucky in the 1930s with blue skin. The love story was a bit dull and predictable, but I definitely learned something from the book. A million times better than the Giver of Stars.

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shaynarae
Widow Basquiat: A Love Story | Jennifer Clement
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Pickpick

An impressive pick for my museum book club! I absolutely loved the vignette-style approach to telling the story of Suzanne, Basquiat‘s muse and lover. Clement‘s prose is poetic and superbly evocative and vivid with so few words. Just gorgeous.

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shaynarae
The Bluest Eye | Toni Morrison
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Pickpick

I meant to pick this up for Banned Books Week, but I‘m never on time with my banned books. And I had a hard time getting into this one. Race relations in America is never easy, but it has to be faced. I had a hard time not comparing it to Beloved, which I liked a lot more. But Toni Morrison does not disappoint. #dogsoflitsy

ShelleyBooksie Cute doggy 1y
shaynarae @ShelleyBooksie Thanks! 🐶 1y
28 likes2 comments
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shaynarae
When the English Fall | David Williams
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Pickpick

I want to like apocalyptic books, but they all seem to follow the same formula and rarely have a satisfying ending. This book, however, gets points for an original and interesting point of view. What happens when our American capitalist society and technology fails and the Amish hold resources for thriving? Can they remain peaceful as they‘re invaded?

Prairiegirl_reading I‘ve had this on my tbr for years! Dystopia isn‘t something I think I can handle right now though! 1y
shaynarae @Prairiegirl_reading Fair! This one did feel a bit too close to home 1y
24 likes2 stack adds2 comments
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shaynarae
Piranesi | Susanna Clarke
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A really fun novel where you‘re led through a world by a narrator who is an excellent tour guide while not understanding who he is or how/why he‘s there. The book started out reminding me of the Starless Sea, but is definitely not the same.

19 likes1 stack add
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shaynarae
The Devil All the Time | Donald Ray Pollock
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Panpan

What even was this? This book seemed to revolve around gratuitous male violence for the sake of violence and shock value. It was so extra that it overshadowed any sort underlying point that the author intended to make, assuming there was one at all. I‘m admittedly curious to see how this novel has been adapted into a movie, but also so turned off that I have no desire to reengage with the story.

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shaynarae
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Pickpick

Sequel to the Lost Queen, a fictional retelling of the historical legend of Merlin, I absolutely loved this book! It completely took me out of 2020 USA, and oh man did I desperately need that. Magic, battles, 6th century Scotland, YES PLEASE!

Follow.my.read I just ordered book one! Sounded like a fun trilogy! 1y
shaynarae @Follow.my.read You are in for such a treat!! I don‘t typically re-read books, but these are definitely ones I‘d pick up again 1y
18 likes1 stack add2 comments
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shaynarae
Beartown: A Novel | Fredrik Backman
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Pickpick

You guys, I was skeptical this book could possibly be as good as you all said. I‘m not into hockey, and the other two Fredrick Backman books I read were pretty run-of-the-mill for me. I did not expect this punch from him. While I‘m not into hockey, I do know what it‘s like to be in an all-consuming sports club and how people deal with abuse allegations from within the team. This book hit home and was an absolute stunner. Pick 100%

blurb
shaynarae
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9 books this month, including some stellar ones that I was super jazzed to read! Felt like I started coming out of my 3 month reading slump
4 🎧 audio
2 🖥 ebooks
3 📚physical books
Fiction: 6
Nonfiction/essays/memoirs: 3
BIPOC authors: 6
Female authors: 7
From my shelf: 0
#monthlywrapup #septemberstats

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shaynarae
Pizza Girl: A Novel | Jean Kyoung Frazier
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Mehso-so

This book was fine, hard to follow on the heels of Severance (also took place in 2011 with a female protagonist). It‘s short, so it was a quick read, but I wasn‘t invested in any of it. I did appreciate the snapshot of characters who were struggling and their attempts to appear better than they were. But not quite compelling enough to make this a pick.

21 likes2 stack adds
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shaynarae
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Pickpick

What a beautifully executed and powerful novel! It certainly wasn‘t my story, but it spoke to straight to my heart. As Roxane Gay said in her Goodreads review: “Not a word or idea out of place.” An entirely different book than Homegoing, but equally worth reading.

29 likes2 stack adds
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shaynarae
Follow Me To Ground | Sue Rainsford
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Pickpick

Deeply creepy and unsettling. It‘s easy to judge the character of another human, but this book challenged such judgment of a supernatural healer as things with her lover go awry. This is one of those books where the reader is given just enough details to put together the picture themselves, which I love, but others do not. That made it slightly challenging in audio, but I would read this again in print.

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shaynarae
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Pickpick

A post-apocalyptic story about an epidemic spread globally was exactly what I knew I was getting into, but felt a but a little too unnervingly close to reality. Only slightly zombie-esque, this was one of the smartest post-apocalyptic stories I‘ve read. It‘s about nostalgia and repetitive comforts, challenging the reader to discern the difference in life vs a zombie-ish existence.

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shaynarae
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Pickpick

A very well done and incredibly informative book on the development of early child education television in the late 60s/early 70s that have been beloved for generations. Without focusing solely on Mr. Rogers Neighborhood or Sesame Street or Jim Henson, it takes into account a multitude of successful programs and how they came to be. This book was a delight to listen to and reminded me how grateful I am to have grown up with these programs.

22 likes1 stack add
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shaynarae
Luster: A Novel | Raven Leilani
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Pickpick

What Roxane Gay said in her Goodreads review of this book: “I‘m really glad my twenties are over.” But what a great debut novel. Very uncomfortable, stressful, and honest view of a young black woman struggling to make her life in New York and find herself as an artist. She meets an older man with a family whose wife has agreed to an open marriage and finds herself moving in with them.

review
shaynarae
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Panpan

I suppose if you‘d like a cursory insight into the lives of 8 male painters of the modern era and how their charged relationships with their fellow art peers of the time shaped them, this may be of interest to you. But I didn‘t care for it. It felt very flat, lacking a compelling thesis, and the organization didn‘t have a flow. It read like 4 separate essays, even though there was a lot there to dig into on a deeper level but Smee didn‘t go there.

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shaynarae
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Pickpick

I‘ve been struggling with focusing on reading lately, but for as short and infrequent as my reading sessions were, this book remained memorable and was never hard to get into it. Well done story of identical twin sisters in a small, black community, which they leave at 16 and their paths diverge. One returns, and the other passes for white. I loved and believed in all of the characters and their stories. Definitely worth a read. #catsoflitsy

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shaynarae
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Pickpick

A beautifully written and heartbreaking memoir of grief, poverty, race, and the loss of black men‘s lives close to Ward. An important and moving book for everyone to read.

blurb
shaynarae
The Mirror and the Light | Hilary Mantel
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How do people with dogs get so much reading done? I‘m adjusting to dog life, but my reading has noticeably declined as the dog has taken more of my attention. 8 books this month:

3 🎧 audio
2 🖥 ebooks
3 📚physical books
Fiction: 6
Nonfiction/essays/memoirs: 2
BIPOC authors: 2
Female authors: 5
From my shelf: 1
#monthlywrapup #auguststats

review
shaynarae
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Pickpick

This book! We can start by saying how important it is to finally have a novel about Asian immigrants during the gold rush. Zhang has a talent for giving just as much information as necessary to develop a full story and characters, to explore identity from a multitude of angles without doing any of them a disservice, and still manages to write a novel less than 300 pages. Beautifully minimal and moving.

22 likes1 stack add
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shaynarae
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Mehso-so

I don‘t want to hate on anyone‘s memoir, but this didn‘t do it for me. The last 2 hours of the audiobook were romantically compelling, but the rest of the book was not my scene. “Summer camp for adults” sounds like a nightmare. I‘m perfectly fine having left my party days behind me, which is what most of the story centered on rather than deeper exploration of the characters‘ relationships. I did like that it read like a novel, though.

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shaynarae
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Pickpick

Definitely my favorite book of Karen Russell‘s I‘ve read, and far superior to her other short story collection Vampires in the Lemon Grove. I loved the magical realism and her use of the mythical and supernatural to explore our human relationship to our world and each other.

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shaynarae
The Only Good Indians | Stephen Graham Jones
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Pickpick

Pretty cool horror novel. I haven‘t read one quite like this, although several stories were noted in the acknowledgements as influences that were new to me. It felt pretty distracted while reading most of it, but it was such a neat horror novel that I‘m still giving it a pick. #dogsoflitsy

ShelleyBooksie ♡♡♡♡♡ dog 1y
29 likes2 comments
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shaynarae
Harrow the Ninth | Tamsyn Muir
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Pickpick

Loved! I had no idea what was going on (theories, but no confirmation any were right) for more than half of the book, but the desire to find out drove me to read every minute I could. I wish I had reread Gideon before this, but made it through fine with only a general recollection of what happened in the first book. Harrow isn‘t Gideon, but a great novel in its own right if you can handle lots of blood, bone, gore, and snark. #catsoflitsy

wanderinglynn Someone looks like it‘s time for their attention. 😂❤️🐱 So fluffy and pretty! 1y
shaynarae @wanderinglynn Oh yes, she was making it very clear it was time for pets, not for books or sleep. 😸 1y
29 likes2 comments
review
shaynarae
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Mehso-so

I was pretty underwhelmed by this book after all the hype I had heard about it. Although I really appreciated the inclusion of sexual and gender queerness, nothing actually happened in the book and everything felt forced and fake. The narrator was great for the audiobook though.

Kaylamburson I just finished this and agree. A bit of a pointless story. 1y
21 likes1 comment
review
shaynarae
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Pickpick

My first physical library book since March, and oh how I missed it! (Though it did take me some time to come to terms with the shared handling despite scientific data and precautions.) The book itself was quite good, although the writing was a bit stilted. As a whale lover, it was so interesting to read about contemporary whaling by an indigenous people. It‘s more about the intersection tradition and modernity than anything else. Worth a read!

wanderinglynn What a cute pupper! ❤️🐶 1y
Anna40 Yes! I've borrowed a bunch of books too and it is wonderful to have the library back 1y
shaynarae @Anna40 📚💕 1y
27 likes4 comments