#SabrinaAndCorina by #KaliFajardoAnstine

🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸 out of 5 🌸s
#SabrinaAndCorina by #KaliFajardoAnstine

I absolutely loved this collection of stories. To be very honest, I went into it slightly biased in its favor–one of the author’s sisters was my eldest daughter’s best friend when they were small, and I share the dubious distinction with another sister of having been horribly bitten by the same dog. That said, the stories stunned me with their scope, their imagery, and the breadth of the author’s knowledge of the human condition, specifically of the female human condition. The stories are riveting and just plain lovely. The collection brought to mind nobody so much as Lucia Berlin. Brilliant.

#TheChristmasCompany by #AlysMurray

🌸🌸🌸🌸 out of 5 🌸s for The Christmas Company by Alys Murray. I received an ARC in return for an honest review.

This book swept me up in its charm from the very first page, and didn’t let go of me for an instant.

The town of Miller’s Point, TX, is steeped in Victorian Christmas charm. The Christmas Company operates an annual festival that is every Christmas lover’s dream. But Scrooge, in the form of it’s new CEO Clark Woodward, is intent on destroying that dream by closing down the Company.

Kate Bruckner, energetic and determined, decided to save the Company and by extension the festival.

This is a truly Hallmark story, filled with the sights, sounds and scents of Christmas. It’s a story all about never, ever, giving up.

#ConvenienceStoreWoman by #SayakaMurata

🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸 of 5 🌸s

#ConvenienceStoreWoman by #SayakaMurata is absolutely incredible.

This slim novel is positively packed with imagery and sensory details. You can hear the sounds of the convenience store clearly on every page.

A razor-sharp depiction of what it’s like to be a single woman in a world run by societal expectations, it’s also a depiction of what it’s like to be a sociopathic single woman in that world.

Brilliant, heartrending, this little book will haunt you.

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#ANannyForHarry by #SylviaMulholland

🌸🌸 out of 5 🌸s

#ANannyForHarry by #SylviaMulholland was, for me, a disappointment. I felt that the novel’s initial setup of pregnant lawyer Kali, doctor hubby Matt, and blonde nanny Britta was just too much of a trope from which to hang an entire novel.

Harry is the baby, named before he’s even born. Kali goes through pregnancy struggles that every pregnant woman goes through, including massive self-doubt. All of that is eventually worsened when her doctor hubby hires a Swedish nanny with whom he has a mysterious connection. Said nanny is obviously pretty worthless as a nanny.

Ultimately I just didn’t care about any of the characters, not even the baby. Well-written, definitely. Would I recommend? As a throwaway on vacation, yes.

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#IfThen by #KateHopeDay

🌸🌸🌸🌸 out of 5 🌸s
This is a fascinating book, and exceptionally readable. The characters are utterly human, a fact that not only adds to but propels the story.
An intriguing exploration of the motives that drive us all, the book centers around the ultimate "what if." What if we could glimpse the alternate realities in which we might live?
I absolutely recommend this book.

#TheRealLolita by #SarahWeinman

🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸 out of 5 🌸s

#TheRealLolita by #SarahWeinman

This book grabs you from the first page and refuses to let go. You are not allowed to look away, no matter how uncomfortable you may be.

The story of Florence “Sally” Horner was the unacknowledged source material for much of “Lolita” by Vladimir Nabokov. She was a very real little girl who was kidnapped by Frank LaSalle and forced to accompany him on an almost two year road trip across America. All the while, this child was brutalized by LaSalle, who would later confess to his crime in open court.

Sally Horner died tragically two years after her rescue, in a car crash, never able to live a normal life.

The book convincingly tracks the similarities between Sally’s real life horrors, and the fictionalized ones of Lolita. Nabokov even mentions Sally in his novel.

I was left wishing desperately that the book had had nothing whatsoever to do with “Lolita”. I wanted Sally to have her own voice apart from Nabokov’s depraved imaginings. Nonetheless, I loved this book and I recommend it highly.

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#Caroline

🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸 out of 5 🌸s

Caroline by #SarahMiller is an astonishing book. The writing is close to perfection, and the atmosphere is so richly imagined that you can almost smell the smoke of a prairie fire.

I didn’t want this book to end. I am going to immediately reread it, something I very rarely do.

Caroline tells the beginnings of the #LittleHouseonthePrairie story, from the point of view of Caroline Ingalls. As a child in the 1970s I was blessed to be able to watch the Michael Landon drama on TV, and I must admit that it was the voice of Karen Grassle I heard while reading this.

The book deals with this country’s Westward expansion, and it does show the prejudices then prevalent against Native Americans. I think it is handled well by the author.

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