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Dearest Dorothy Are We There Yet?
by Charlene Ann Baumbich

(1st in series) Good for Jan Karon Mitford readers or Patrick Taylor Irish Doctor series. This series is lighter in tone and shorter in length than either of those 2 series. Main character is an 87-year old spunky woman. Over half of characters are 50+ years old. Reader is privy to the characters' prayers. Small town is lively. Good book for when you want to relax and be entertained.

Washington Black
by Esi Edugyan

This book told the story George Washington Black, a young slave who departs life on a sugar plantation aboard a cloud cutter. His story unfolds over the years as he journeys the globe, avoiding a bounty hunter, honing his artistic and scientific knowledge, and falling in love. At every turn, the color of his skin is a barrier to his success or a threat to his life, but his thirst for knowledge and wonder at the world see him through.

Get A Life, Chloe Brown
by Talia Hibbert

I appreciate the lead female is a voluptuous, black woman dealing with medical and emotional trauma issues and that the lead male is a white, tattooed man with red hair. Those characters are not typically represented in stories as leads let alone pairing up as a couple. This book was written beautifully and I love the approach the male takes when he finds out about the female’s disability. He accepts her as she is and does not view her as an inconvenience or act unnecessarily worried. All those lovely things aside I do not recommend the book for people who are old-fashioned romantics such as myself. This is a great read for those looking for a romance story set in modern dating times. If you are like me however, it can be uncomfortable how detailed the sexy stuff gets and how much of it there is throughout the entire book. I craved a sweet romance but ended up reading a very erotic novel.

Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man
by Emanual Achoa

The book provides some really interesting perspective of the American experience; he is a first generation American with Nigerian roots The writing style is informal and draws the reader into the conversation.

Looking For Alaska
by John Green

This book was overrated for sure. I had high hopes for it since it was the first result to pop up when I searched realistic fiction and I noticed it was by popular YA author. However, I did not find this book to be realistic at all. Maybe it isn’t realistic to me because of my personal life experience, but it seems the author just presumes what teenagers are like and goes with the obvious stigmas commonly portrayed in Hollywood. I was a teenager once and I did not know any peers at all that had childhood trauma, poverty, substance abuse, chain-smoking, and extremely high intelligence all wrapped up in one person. Yet in this book every single teenager fits that exact model. That seems unrealistic to me because the ones who study hard and are academically successful do not typically have as much free time to party as these teenagers do but I guess in this book these characters must be natural born geniuses. All they do is abuse substances and complain while somehow being academically on top and receiving scholarships. The characters are annoyingly moody for no reason at all besides for the sake of “teenage angst,” with the exception of Takumi. They are also just downright jerks to each other and every one around them. The main character is boring and moody which is frustrating because he has no significant trauma and has loving parents yet still is so apathetic. And for someone who is apparently so smart to where he receives scholarships he shows throughout the whole story that he cannot think for himself or think things through. Maybe that is why he goes along with all of this disgusting activity that his so-called friends have him do, for the sake of just feeling SOMETHING. The pointless conversations in this book had me bored over halfway through the book. Will not read again.

by Silas House

Southernmost by Silas House follows former preacher Asher Sharp as he flees his former home with his son, Justin, after losing him in a custody battle. Asher finds safety in Key West as he searches for the brother he betrayed years earlier. As he comes to terms with his new found beliefs about the world and God, Asher must also come to terms with what he has done and the consequences of his actions. Beautiful pros that encapsulate a human's struggle with faith, love, and human connection. House also does a lovely job creating a believable setting, from the terrifying floods of Tennessee to the sticky heat of Key West, and believable characters you can't help but relate to. I would recommend this title for anyone who loves literary, Southern fiction.

Defending Jacob
by William Landay

Wow! This book has been recommended to me more than once, but I always just kept pushing it away, cause I didn't feel like I wanted to go on this emotional rollercoaster at that point, but finally decided to take the adventure. Andy (Jacob's Father) has been a district attorney for twenty years. You can tell that he is admired and respected in the courtroom. His wife, Laurie and son, Jacob live in a quiet community and then a brutal crime is committed. A young boy was stabbed to death and left in a park. Sadly, the accused is Andy's son, Jacob. This novel is complex, realistic and disturbing. I am still mulling it all over. At the end, I thought I had it all figured out and then realized very quickly that I did not.

Well Played
by Jen DeLuca

This was a fun little romantic comedy! Set in the small town of Willow Creek, Stacy works at the Renaissance Fair and finds herself in love with the member of the band that performs every year. She thinks she is messaging and texting him in the hopes of getting him to commit to a relationship, but comes to find out it wasn’t Dex after all. The characters are fun and believable, and the romance that develops is sweet. It was a fun read!

The Tourist Attraction
by Sarah Morgenthaler

This little book was cute! It was an easy listen and I appreciated the little quirky humor in it. The female lead, Zoey, is a waitress on vacation in a swanky hotel in Alaska with her equally swanky friend Lana. They go to a local pub/diner where she meets Graham, the unthrilled owner of "The Tourist Trap" who hates tourists. Of course, they are both angsty and completely available, like any good romance book. Their story is full of fun, silly occurances, and I absolutely loved it.

Mistletoe and Mr. Right
by Sarah Morgenthaler

Great holiday rom-com that make you feel warm and fuzzy on the inside. This is the second book in the "Moose Springs" series.
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