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shaynarae

shaynarae

Joined December 2017

A girl and her books 📚 And often some cats
review
shaynarae
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Pickpick

A charming and delightful story of mystery, familial struggles & tension, LGBT romance, and magic. It went along at a good clip, and is clearly part of a longer series. I‘m not sure if I‘ll read the next book because I‘m not so driven by the intrigue, but I had a lot of fun with the characters and their world.

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shaynarae
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Pickpick

I enjoyed listening to this on audio (Julia Whelan is such a wonderful narrator!), but I don‘t think this is a book that will stick with me. Moshfegh took on quite a project when writing this book essentially about sleeping for a year and made it work. The reasons why and the narrator‘s response to her wakeful moments were the driving forces of this book, even if it felt more like a chug than anything really powerful.

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shaynarae
The Monster of Elendhaven | Jennifer Giesbrecht
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Pickpick

This novella was so much fun to read. Especially after the slog through the sea of wordiness that is Brandon Sanderson, picking up a book that is cutting, evocative, and gripping while being 10x shorter than the last book I read was so refreshing. If you can handle some cold, dark, creepiness, and violence, grab this little bugger this month.

review
shaynarae
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Pickpick

It took me a minute to get into this one, but once I did, it was an absolute delight! McKay creates a beautiful world where witches and magic swirl around science & technology and the suffragette movement in late 19th century New York. I didn‘t find this book to be particular plot-driven, and what plot there was didn‘t wrap up so well for me. But the characters and atmosphere were so delicious, that‘s where the book shines.

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shaynarae
Oathbringer | Brandon Sanderson
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Pickpick

I‘m FINALLY FREE! Brandon Sanderson is a master of the slow roll. I was bored for the first 600 pages (50%) of this tome, but then it got exciting. The man sucks at writing most of a story, but is excellent at writing the ending. This means, by the time I finish it, I‘m excited and have largely forgotten how annoyed I am by the writing style and length. Seriously, I could‘ve read at least 4 books in the time it took me to read this one.

blurb
shaynarae
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Due to trudging through another unnecessarily long Brandon f‘ing Sanderson book and a new, longer commute, I got through 7 books this month, mostly on audio.
6 🎧 audio
0 🖥 ebooks
1 📚physical books
Fiction: 5
Nonfiction/essays/memoirs: 2
From my shelf: 0
#monthlywrapup #septemberstats

review
shaynarae
Over the Top | Jonathan Van Ness
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Pickpick

I have a rule that I will never give a memoir anything other than 👍 because someone‘s life story isn‘t mine to judge. I admire JVN so much that I couldn‘t wait to pick up his book. It is definitely a celebrity memoir, so the quality was not really to my taste. However, the honesty and message of embracing the self was great. His discussion of being HIV positive was so incredible, and a refreshing update from my 1990s education.

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shaynarae
The Need | Helen Phillips
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Pickpick

Described as “mom horror,” this book is a story with supernatural elements about a mother‘s paranoia about an intruder in her house and protecting her children while her partner is away. As a childless adult, I found this book powerful and engaging. It was hard to put down!

Cpg I‘m just starting on this one....and why do I want to say “The Weed” when I see the cover??? 😮😬😎 3w
29 likes1 stack add1 comment
review
shaynarae
The Friend | Sigrid Nunez
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Pickpick

I put off this book because everyone was like 🤔 when it won the National Book Award, and I don‘t like books about dogs because that often means they‘re sad or boring. But, you guys, this book is BEAUTIFUL!! It‘s an exploration of heartache and pain, primarily through the experience of a close friend‘s suicide. Trigger warnings, for sure, but it‘s so wonderfully done. For those who need to know about the dog, check the spoiler comment.

shaynarae Spoiler for those who need to know: the dog does not die. 4w
25 likes1 comment
review
shaynarae
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Pickpick

I wish I had listened to you Littens earlier, because you were so right - this book is SO GOOD!! I loved every second of it! It was wonderful on audio, read by the author. It was such a great perspective (I wanna be Sam Irby‘s friend) written in such a funny, honest way.

wanderinglynn I want to be her friend too! 👍🏻👍🏻 1mo
Megabooks I love her Instagram @bitchesgottaeat ! 1mo
shaynarae @wanderinglynn 👯 @Megabooks Ahhh, thank you!!!! 1mo
24 likes3 comments
review
shaynarae
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Pickpick

So charming!! A wonderful book for book people. I loved it on audio too. Highly recommend if you want a sweet, funny, heartfelt story with characters who also love books and reading.

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shaynarae
The River | Peter Heller
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Mehso-so

I...didn‘t get it? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ I loved listening to it on audio, but I guess I was anticipating the story being something it wasn‘t. While there is a crime and mystery, this is not a thriller. FYI.

review
shaynarae
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Mehso-so

Such a good premise! The idea of a non-western retelling Frankenstein in modern Baghdad that wove together contemporary politics and technology with a supernatural twist was so cool, but I can‘t say it kept my attention. I think it was me, not the book or the narrator (Edoardo Ballerini is always a good one!). So don‘t let me discourage you from picking up this book. I‘d love to hear others‘ reviews!

Redwritinghood Read it awhile ago. Remember thinking it needed more scenes with the monster. 1mo
19 likes1 comment
blurb
shaynarae
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Managed 10 books this month
3 🎧 audio
2 🖥 ebooks
5 📚physical books
Fiction: 8
Nonfiction/essays/memoirs: 2
From my shelf: 1
#monthlywrapup #auguststats

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shaynarae
Hollow Kingdom | Kira Jane Buxton
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Pickpick

I thought all zombie books were essentially the same until I read this one. I can‘t say I was engrossed in the writing, but it is such a unique, pertinent story told in such an imaginative and humorous way that I couldn‘t not enjoy the book. And maybe I cried at the end? Maybe...

Ruthiella I‘m on hold for this at my library! 😀 2mo
shaynarae @Ruthiella As you should be! 😄 You‘re in for a treat! 2mo
34 likes3 stack adds2 comments
review
shaynarae
Euphoria | Lily King
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Pickpick

This is a story (based on a true one, apparently) of 3 anthropologists, Nell Stone, her husband Fen, and joined by Andrew Bankson, working in the field in Australia in 1933. I didn‘t feel like the plot had a lot of meaty drive to, and even the love story fell a bit flat for me. But Nell‘s character is so intriguing and her perspective of love is beautiful. It‘s a quick read/listen, and I‘m glad I picked it up.

review
shaynarae
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Pickpick

I wasn‘t planning on reading this one because i heard such split reviews: 20somethings loved it, 20+somethings found it annoying. Being in the latter camp (and even older at heart), I stayed away from this until a friend highly recommended it. Turns out, I‘m still close enough to my 20s that I really enjoyed it! It reminded me of one of my close friendships and I felt very connected to the story.

review
shaynarae
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Pickpick

I wasn‘t sure I wanted to read this book because I had heard so many mixed reviews. What I now know is that the book is immaculately written (except I hate it when characters‘ stutters are written as “I-“ 90% of the time; does anyone know anybody who does that in real life?), but the story is hard to stomach. It‘s totally worth it though; a beautiful, heart-breaking book.

30 likes1 stack add
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shaynarae
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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Pickpick

so good that I read this book in one sitting! Very different from the Underground Railroad, but Whitehad‘s mastery of the art, both beautiful and tragic, comes through just the same. I held this book to my heart when I finished it. The story is all too relevant. Pick it up!

21 likes1 stack add
review
shaynarae
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Pickpick

I laughed, I cried, I loved. Wonderful essays from a multitude of celebrity and activist non-white Americans about their family‘s history of immigration and the intersection between American and non-American culture. Stop whatever you‘re doing and pick up this book!

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shaynarae
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Pickpick

I checked this book out thinking I would just read the chapters pertaining to the ocean because I wanted to learn more about reading waves. 🏄🏼‍♀️ But after reading the introduction and Gooley‘s compelling case for reading the whole book, I gave it all a go. While I didn‘t get what I hoped for out of the wave chapters (more for sailors than surfers), I learned a lot about other bodies of water I hadn‘t previously found very interesting.

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shaynarae
The Buried Giant: A novel | Kazuo Ishiguro
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Mehso-so

I finished this about a week ago and am still chewing on it. I think it‘s intentionally enigmatic as a tool for conveying the feeling of the story beyond verbal description. I still can‘t decide if it was done very well or if it was an unsuccessful effort that missed its mark. The ending didn‘t wrap up all the loose threads and questions that I had, but again, I can‘t tell if it was intentional or not. 🤔

TrishB I had the same feeling! I also thought it was very slow, but probably intentional too. 2mo
shaynarae @TrishB Oh good, I‘m glad it wasn‘t just me! 2mo
17 likes1 stack add2 comments
review
shaynarae
Edgedancer | Brandon Sanderson
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Panpan

🚮

blurb
shaynarae
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Surf‘s up, reading‘s down. I‘ve been spending more time in the ocean, which means less time reading. Only 7 books this month, most of them being in/around/near the water 🌊🏖
1 🎧 audio
1 🖥 ebook
5 📚physical books
Fiction: 6
Nonfiction/essays/memoirs: 1
From my shelf: 0
#monthlywrapup #julystats

21 likes2 comments
review
shaynarae
Beneath a Scarlet Sky | Mark T. Sullivan
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Panpan

This story would‘ve played out better for me in the hands of another writer. The writing was pretty bad, and the fictionalized recounting of Pino‘s true story fell short of its potential. I also have to admit & accept that WWII novels don‘t seem to strike my fancy. I finished the book, but it took me such a long time to slog through it.

19 likes1 stack add
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shaynarae
The Golem and the Jinni | Helene Wecker
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Pickpick

Very well done audio! I really enjoyed this story of 2 magical beings from across the ocean end up finding each other in early 20th century New York and their struggling with navigating in the human world. I believe this book is now a series, but it certainly serves as a stand-alone. I don‘t think i‘ll read its sequel because I‘m happy with where the story ended and don‘t want to be disappointed by anything after.

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shaynarae
The Giant's House: A Romance | Elizabeth McCracken
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Pickpick

This book was so sweet and charming! A delightful summer read about a librarian and an “over tall” Cape Codder in the early 20th century and their relationship to each other. Subtitled “A Romance,” itms not cringe-y; rather it‘s simply sweet without the overwhelming elements passion. Darling, funny, and heartbreaking, I recommend picking up this one. #catsoflitsy

rretzler 😻 3mo
wanderinglynn What a cute fur-baby! ❤️🐱 3mo
17 likes3 comments
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shaynarae
Cape May | Chip Cheek
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Panpan

I knew this book would be trashy, but it was worse than I imagined. It was a poorly written faux erotica masquerading as wannabe literature (or maybe this is the kind of romance men like to read?). I was fine with it being bad until there was such a chasm of consequence between the male and female protagonists following the events of the book. It feels like this book missed an opportunity to make a comment rather than pulling a ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ #cattail

review
shaynarae
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Pickpick

I LOVED this book! Beautiful, evocative, full of strong women, it‘s a story of 2 friends who are part of a women‘s collective of divers in a matriarchal society on the island of Jeju, South Korea in the 1940s onward and the impact of war and cultural & personal perceptions on their relationship. Anyone who‘s looking for a solidly good + beachy read should pick this up.

22 likes2 stack adds
review
shaynarae
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Pickpick

My self-imposed obligatory whale read of the year (because I ❤️🐋🐳!) This book was more about whaling than I expected, but overall one of the more well-rounded whaling books I‘ve read. Moby Dick is very clearly Philip Hoare‘s muse and following it in structure. This means that, not only is whaling addressed, but also an admiration of the whales themselves. It‘s definitely not a scholarly or academic book, though.

blurb
shaynarae
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Here are my #top6reads of 2019 so far. These books made such a huge impression on me and are ones that I keep thinking about and/or find myself constantly recommending. Happy halfway, everyone!

Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks Love Daisy 💗💗💗 4mo
Hoopiefoot I read Barbarian Days a few years ago and still find myself thinking about it ❤️🏄‍♀️ 4mo
shaynarae @Hoopiefoot That‘s awesome! I picked up surfing last year and fell madly in love with it. Barbarian Days captures surfing in ways I didn‘t think verbally possible. It‘s such a wonderful book! 4mo
41 likes3 comments
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shaynarae
Once Upon a River | Diane Setterfield
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Pickpick

What a wonderful book! Diane Setterfield did not disappoint. Set in the 19th century England along the Thames, it‘s a tale of a mysterious appearance of a small child who awakens from death. Her identity and the stories of the community weave together and entangle themselves in the question of what is real and what is imagined.

atla This is my absolute favorite of the year so far 💕💕 4mo
39 likes3 stack adds1 comment
blurb
shaynarae
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Water reads and beach books for July‘s #tbr 🌊🏖

17 likes1 stack add
blurb
shaynarae
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10 books this #pridemonth
3 🎧 audio
2 🖥 ebooks
5 📚physical books
Fiction: 8
Nonfiction/essays/memoirs: 2
From my shelf: 2
#monthlywrapup #junestats

review
shaynarae
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Pickpick

Ending #pridemonth with this one. Vuong‘s poetry and skill with verse definitely comes through in this novel. The story felt so real that I often had to remind myself this was fiction, not a memoir. A challenging book, but one that‘s beautiful and sticking with me. 🏳️‍🌈

review
shaynarae
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Pickpick

While I have some reservations about the author, the cultural attitude towards minorities in the 1940s (the decade in which this book was written), and what happens in the book, the story itself was interesting and heartbreaking. It moved along beautifully and captivated my attention. I‘ve had a hard time focusing in reading lately, but I sat down with this book for substantial chunks of time. #pridemonth 🏳️‍🌈

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shaynarae
This is How It Always Is | Laurie Frankel
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Pickpick

I absolutely LOVED this book! Everything about it wonderful: the story, the writing, the layers - the whole package. It‘s a beautiful tale of family and transformations, fairy tale and real life, examined through the lens of gender-coding and queerness. #pridemonth 🏳️‍🌈

Amiable I loved this book too 👍🏼 4mo
25 likes1 comment
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shaynarae
Daisy Jones and The Six | Taylor Jenkins Reid
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Pickpick

A novel about sex, drugs, and rock and roll in 70s was not at all appealing to me. But after hearing such rave reviews, I decided to give it a whirl. The oral history format of the band and related characters really lent itself well to it being performed as an audiobook. I found myself looking forward to every chance I had to listen. After it was over, I wished the band was real 😂

BookwormM Me too 4mo
Cailey_Mac I‘m listening to it now! I love that they do a full cast of characters 4mo
AnnaDesourdy I totally wish the band was real. Several times while reading I had to remind myself I couldn't google them 🤣 4mo
29 likes3 comments
review
shaynarae
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Pickpick

Yes, this book is just as good as everyone says it is! Who knew a writing and style guide could make a great audiobook? I was entertained and intrigued from beginning to end. The constant LOL‘ing made it hard to listen to while exercising, but I couldn‘t turn it off. This is a book I would definitely read again and will recommend to everyone who‘s into words.

15 likes1 stack add
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shaynarae
The Blue | Nancy Bilyeau
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Panpan

I had high expectations for this book about an 18th young female painter sent to spy on an English porcelain manufacturer and steal the recipe for their new shade of blue. About halfway through, the story took a weird turn into a romantic interest and nose-dived into bad, nonsensical writing and a plot that lost steam. Any recommendations out there for a GOOD art-centered book?

shaynarae @emz711 Thanks! Christopher Moore is always good for a laugh. I wonder if I can get my book club to go for it 😜 4mo
18 likes2 comments
review
shaynarae
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Pickpick

This book was such a delightful read. I loved the simple, quiet story of Eleanor Roosevelt and her companion/lover Hick as 2 women in love throughout years of their lives and their differing personal situations. The extent of historical truth didn‘t matter to me at all; it was the light, airy, and sweet story of the 2 women that carried me along. #pridemonth 🏳️‍🌈

Soubhiville Beautiful photo! 4mo
shaynarae @Soubhiville Thank you! 4mo
23 likes1 stack add2 comments
review
shaynarae
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Pickpick

Very academic (aka dry-but-interesting). If you‘re interested in gay male culture, rights, and activism in early 20th century Berlin, this book is for you. While it sets Berlin in context in relation to other European cities, it‘s very specific to time and place, so don‘t expect a broad scope. #pridemonth 🏳️‍🌈

24 likes1 stack add
blurb
shaynarae
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My Pride month #tbr 🏳️‍🌈📚

review
shaynarae
All Systems Red | Martha Wells
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Pickpick

Sci-fi is not my thing, but I appreciated how well-written this book is. It‘s amusing and simple without trying too hard or being overly redundant. I don‘t feel compelled to continue reading the series, but as far as sci-fi books go, this was a great reading experience for me. And I loved snapping this photo with my own fuzzy murderbot. #catsoflitsy

Now onto my Pride reading list! 🏳️‍🌈🎉

Soubhiville 🐱💜. I love that you called him/her Murderbot. That describes my guys pretty well too! 5mo
27 likes1 comment
review
shaynarae
The Book of Life | Deborah Harkness
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Panpan

Unpopular opinion: I hated this book. It elicited more eye-rolling and groaning than any other book I‘ve ever read. Though the audio narration was fantastic, there was nothing to be done about the overwritten prose or unnecessarily endless expansion of royally flat, boring cast characters. Every minute of getting through this book was incredibly painful for me.

shaynarae I think I wanted the story to be something it‘s not. In the first book, I thought Matthew was wooing Diana to get to Ashmole 782, and that this was a hustle story. As the pages and books went on and it became abundantly clear I was very wrong about that, my tolerance for the dull characters and antiquated power dynamics faded quickly. (edited) 5mo
SW-T Book one was the strongest in the trilogy. Book three was ok, but I didn‘t care for book two or her follow up in 5mo
18 likes2 comments
blurb
shaynarae
Words of Radiance | Brandon Sanderson
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Fewer books this month, due to another lengthy Brandon Sanderson Stormlight Archive novel and warming weather getting me going with outdoor activities.
3 🎧 audio
1 🖥 ebooks
4 📚physical books
Fiction: 5
Nonfiction/essays/memoirs: 3
From my shelf: 1
#monthlywrapup #maystats

TheNerdyProfessor I loved Beautiful Ruins! Such a beautiful book. 5mo
shaynarae @TheNerdyProfessor It really was delightful! I‘m so glad I picked it up. 5mo
20 likes1 stack add2 comments
review
shaynarae
American Spy: A Novel | Lauren Wilkinson
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Pickpick

I thoroughly enjoyed this book! I felt like I was in a bit of a reading slump and was picking my way through this at a snail‘s pace. But every time I sat down with it, even for just a few pages at a time, I was immediately immersed in it, which is a testament to the writing. After reading a 1,000+ page book in a fantasy series, I appreciated the brevity of this story. Though I can see how it may feel insufficient for other readers.

review
shaynarae
Words of Radiance | Brandon Sanderson
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Pickpick

Much better and way more exciting than Way of Kings. I‘ll definitely be reading the next book in the Stormlight Archive series.

TrishB I loved this one 💕 5mo
20 likes1 comment
review
shaynarae
Beautiful Ruins | Jess Walter
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Pickpick

I picked this up because I was in desperate need of an audiobook for a long, solo car trip, and this was recommended both as lovely book with an amazing narrator (Edoardo Ballerini). I was not disappointed. The story was sweet and lovely, and Ballerini made it come alive in ways I don‘t think I could‘ve done for myself if I was reading the text. Add this to your summer audiobook TBR.

20 likes1 stack add
review
shaynarae
Spring | Ali Smith
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Pickpick

Not my favorite of Ali Smith‘s seasonal quartet, but that doesn‘t mean that this wasn‘t an absolute delight to read. Ali Smith does literary magical realism and social commentary masterfully well. This novel comments on the current political and social climate, including #metoo, immigration, and surveillance. Sad, full of promise, beautifully executed. Very evocative of the sentiments suggested by the title.

Emilymdxn I felt exactly the same! 5mo
22 likes1 comment