The Impossible Lives of Greta Walls by Andrew Sean Greer


Greta tries a treatment to jolt her out of a deep depression brought on by her dear twin brother’s, Felix’s, death. The treatment’s effects take her between her own time (1985) and two others – 1918 and 1941. She has to confront different issues, choices, and social mores while getting another chance to listen to her heart.

Gwenamon says: Decent and a quick read

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The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers


Oh this book. It’s told from Private Bartle’s perspective both during and after the Iraq war about being powerlessly caught up in the war machine with his buddy, Private Murphy. I was moved by this novel which is quite beautifully written. Some people have criticized that it’s confusing and jumps around, but although I found that, I read it as purposeful given the enormity of the topic – the cost of war.

Gwenamon says: Yes!

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Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens


This is Kya’s story. She’s known to the locals as Marsh Girl, having survived on her own in the marsh for years, where only the seagulls are her friends. But she does forge a few key relationships and even finds love. And she also becomes suspected of murder. Although the plot is pretty unbelievable and quite predictable, the beautiful writing superseded all of that for me. I couldn’t put this book down.

Gwenamon says: Unbelievable plot, but wonderful writing

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Doomsday Book by Connie Willis


I find most science fiction books aren’t very well written, but this one is quite decent. It definitely meanders in parts and belabours points. However, it doesn’t have grammatical errors like the last book I tried to read that had won a Nebula Award. Doomsday Book is the first of a series, but I doubt I will read the rest. This one is satisfying though. A young female student, Kivrin, is sent back in time to study England before the bubonic plague. Of course, many things go wrong and I kept reading to find out what happens.

Gwenamon says: Decent

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Half Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan

half blood blues

Half Blood Blues tells of a jazz band with a superb horn player, Hieronymus Falk, trying to survive in occupied occupied Paris during WWII. Falk is young, German, and black. This is a fascinating tale of friendship, loyalty, betrayal, and purpose. It’s also about the stories we tell ourselves.

Gwenamon says: Loved it

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Paris Stories by Mavis Gallant


I was so excited to read stories by this legend, this giant of a storyteller. But I just couldn’t get into them. I think it’s because I’m not usually a short-story reader, or fan. In particular, one story about a husband and wife who are owners of a hotel felt like it should have been a novel. It jumped years here and there. The pacing was off for me.

Gwenamon says: Not for me

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Normal People by Sally Rooney


This is the tale of Connell and Marianne’s relationship, through high school and into college. Rooney’s novel is about love, family, friendship, and class with a distinctly modern lens. Although I didn’t really like the characters, I really liked this book. Rooney’s style is impressive, especially her sparse prose.

Gwenamon says: Yes!

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