Category Archives: Contemporary Fiction

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Where the Crawdads Sing is a slow moving book. I generally do not care for books like that, but for this one it totally worked. It just fits the vibe and makes you kind of feel like you’re in the marsh, living a little slower, noticing things happening around you. The character development in this book is phenomenal. Even some of the side characters grow and change. The descriptions of things living in the marsh are incredible and vivid. The ending is both surprising and, when I think about, just what part of me hoped for. Kya learning to read so quickly and being able to comprehend high level textbooks is somewhat questionable as is her ability to so easily communicate with others even though she was so young when her family left her and spends long periods of time all alone. I recommend this book to adults who enjoy contemporary fiction.

4 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 83
Pages Read in 2022: 29,583
Graphic Novels: 2

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Filed under Contemporary Fiction, Reason: Book Club, Reason: Grim Readers

A Limited Run by Karen McQuestion

A Limited Run by Karen McQuestion

I enjoyed A Limited Run so much. Lately there have been so many reunion shows and look back podcasts for old shows. This book takes that idea and goes even further by having the original cast, twenty years older, live in character (including now-adults pretending to be teens) in a recreation of their show’s setting for ten days. They are given limited directions each day, but have no idea what their castmates have been told to do. The characters are well developed and I found that I really cared what happened to them and even felt outrage at the unfairness and gaslighting one went through. I suspected some things before they were revealed, but totally missed others. One character had me totally puzzled by her actions and wanting to know what her motivation was and where her knowledge came from is largely what made the book hard to put down. I very highly recommend this book to people who enjoy those reunions shows and podcasts. It’s a very fun read!

5 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 78
Pages Read in 2022: 28,229
Graphic Novels: 1

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Filed under Contemporary Fiction, Reason: Asked by the Author, Reason: I Like the Author

Holly Banks Full of Angst by Julie Valerie

Holly Banks Full of Angst by Julie Valerie

Holly Banks Full of Angst is so over the top farcically funny. Every character is exaggerated but still totally relatable. Everyone around Holly in her new village seems perfect. She tries so hard to fit in but is still a hot mess no matter what she does. The head of the PTA is kind of a bully, and maybe a little crazy, pressuring people into volunteering so they can have a much better school and town then the next town over. I laughed out loud several times while reading it. It’s just such a fun mind vacation. I recommend it to anyone who has ever dealt with “perfect” neighbors or an overbearing PTA.

4 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 77
Pages Read in 2022: 27,870
Graphic Novels: 1

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Filed under Contemporary Fiction, Reason: Grim Readers, Reason: LitHub Bingo

Regretting You by Colleen Hoover

Regretting You by Colleen Hoover

Regretting You is an emotional roller coaster that sucks you in and squeezes your heart as the characters deal with grief and betrayal. It is predictable in all the perfectly predictable ways with the ending you hope for the whole time. It reads fast and is hard to put down. It alternates between the points of view of the mom and the teenage daughter which results in very effectively reminding people that communicating with those you love is the most important thing. I highly recommend it to adults who enjoy romances and having their hearts put into a blender.

5 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 72
Pages Read in 2022: 26,084
Graphic Novels: 1

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Filed under Contemporary Fiction, Reason: We Be Book'N, Romance

If the Shoe Fits by Julie Murphy

If the Shoe Fits by Julie Murphy

If the Shoe Fits is cheesy, funny, and predictable in all the best ways. It’s set on a reality dating show set up like the Bachelor. I’ve never watched a single episode of the Bachelor, but I don’t live under a rock so I know pretty much how they go and the author really portrayed it well (including the complete absurdity and unreality of it all). The body positivity and representation is excellent and works naturally into the story. The end was exactly what I wanted it to be. The only problem I had with the book was a few editing issues that annoyed me (such as calling a flight from New York to Los Angeles transatlantic and misspelling brakes as breaks). It’s just such pleasant brain candy. I recommend it to adults who want a little mind vacation.

4 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 56
Pages Read in 2022: 20,190
Graphic Novels: 1

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Filed under Contemporary Fiction, Reason: We Be Book'N, Romance

Anxious People by Fredrik Backman

Anxious People by Fredrik Backman

I’m not a huge fan of the writing style of Anxious People. I usually enjoy books that jump around the timeline going into the past and back to the present multiple times, but this one does it without always making sense. It is often very ambiguous which actually is the most amazing thing about the book, but every so often it’s too ambiguous and seems like it is saying something it’s not. I really don’t care for books that go “There are two policemen. One is young and one is old. The old policeman did not want his son to become a policeman. The young policeman is the old policeman’s son.” like this one does. I just don’t like the sentence construction or that method of storytelling. The moral and ending were great. It really makes you think about the ripples we cause by every little action and how we affect others, for good or bad. Above all, this book reminds us that we are all connected and does it very creatively. I’ve concluded, though, that I’m just not a Fredrik Backman fan (this is the second book of his I’ve read and rated three stars). His books are just so-so to me. For people who like his books and writing style, Anxious People is a great choice.

3 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 51
Pages Read in 2022: 18,501
Graphic Novels: 1

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Filed under Contemporary Fiction, Reason: Book Club

A Quiet Life in Bedlam by Patricia Bjornstad

A Quiet Life in Bedlam by Patricia Bjornstad

Reading A Quiet Life in Bedlam feels like listening to your grandma reminiscing about their life. Some of the stories are outlandish, some are sad, some are funny, some are shocking. I found myself wanting to give the narrator, Kate, a hug. She has a lovely self-deprecating sense of humor. Sprinkled throughout are bits of songs and a little commentary on the times (60s through early 70s). I was totally sucked in to the story and couldn’t wait to find out more about Kate’s life. It’s really well-written. I recommend this book to adult women.

5 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 38
Pages Read in 2022: 13,641
Graphic Novels: 1

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Filed under Contemporary Fiction, Reason: Random Choice

Reminders of Him by Colleen Hoover

Reminders of Him by Colleen Hoover

There is no doubt the writing in Reminders of Him is beautiful. The romance is lovely. The ending is wrapped up in a perfect happy (albeit rather rushed) bow following lots of heartbreak and sadness and hope along the way. The way Ledger was so conflicted between whether he should hate or love Kenna and if he was betraying people he cared about by falling in love with her was written so incredibly well. I probably would’ve given this book 5 stars if I didn’t have experience with foster care, that’s how good it is. The thing is, I feel like the author did absolutely no research. The story would’ve been very different if she had. The way parental rights termination happened wasn’t accurate. The fact it wasn’t a CPS case even though she gave birth in jail was all wrong. Because her mother’s rights were terminated and the father was dead, Diem was technically parentless (meaning she would’ve been a ward of the state) so it seemed odd the grandparents hadn’t adopted her yet. A big deal was made about how her rights were terminated because her sentence was so incredibly long. She served 5 years and since she was in jail when the child was born, she got out when the kid was still just 4. That’s not an incredibly long sentence or a long time for the child to remain in kinship care with her grandparents, without rights being terminated, and have regular visitation with her mother. The way the nearly 5-year-old Diem accepted her biological mother without hesitation and seemed to attach to her super easily and instantly was meant to be heartwarming but instead just threw up all the red flags in my mind wondering if she had RAD (reactive attachment disorder) and at the very least disordered attachment (even though no other relationships in her life indicated she did). I spent so much time while reading it being annoyed by how wrong she got foster care, I just didn’t feel the intense feelings other readers talk about. I recommend the book to adults who enjoy emotional stories with lots of romance, but you might want to skip it if you have experience with foster care or you may just end up more annoyed than anything else.

3 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 23
Pages Read in 2022: 8199
Graphic Novels: 1

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Filed under Contemporary Fiction, Reason: We Be Book'N, Romance