With or Without You by Caroline Leavitt

Book Genre Block - "General Fiction" Person holding book
With or Without You book with painted woman
White library with lots of stairs and "Contemporary" text

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Oh wow, this book is a beautiful, emotional story that feels like a real view into someone’s life. With or Without You is a look into a middle-aged life that hasn’t gone quite as expected. As events unfold, the reflection on where one’s life is now and where one thought it would be take the reader on a beautiful journey!

The characters are the stand out win from this story. You get to know them and you connect with them, and you ultimately cry and celebrate with them. I loved that this story made you friends with the characters. While this was an emotional journey, this is still a light at the end of the tunnel, and the character growth throughout the story provides the reader with satisfied and comforted feeling.

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When She Comes Back by Ronit Plank

Book Genre "Memoir" with person writing with pen
When She Comes Bac
Book Genre Block - "Emotional" Person standing between bright earth and desolate earth

Rating: 5 out of 5.

When She Comes Back is an absolutely amazing, yet heartbreaking memoir. The strength of Ronit throughout this story is amazing, and it speaks volumes to the determination to overcome that she had.

Her story takes us through her parental abandonment of her and her absolutely devastating childhood. Ronit provides a view of her life through the lens of hope rather than devastation though, which makes this emotional read one that provides an uplifting feeling for the reader.

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The Accidental Suffragist by Galia Gichon

"Historical Fiction" genre card with glasses and book photo
The Accidental Suffragist book cover of woman's outline with woman's face filling outline
Book Genre Block - "Emotional" Person standing between bright earth and desolate earth

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This was a wonderful view of the Suffragist movement! I loved having one woman as the MC. I was able to follow her story through her work, her homelife, and how the movement fits into all the facets of her life.

Helen, the main character, is one that drives inspiration and action. As she is pulled into the suffragist movement, she begins to have the movement impact her life, her marriage, and her safety. I really enjoyed Helen’s story, and it’s going to stay with me for a long time.

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The Wave by Kristen Crusoe

Book Genre Block - "General Fiction" Person holding book
Book Cover The Wave with large wave
Book Genre Block - "Emotional" Person standing between bright earth and desolate earth

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This book wrecked me a little bit. This is definitely an emotional read, and it is one that I will provide some content warnings for (see below). It is a parent’s worst nightmare and their biggest fear coming true on the page. Crusoe takes that terrifying story and brings life to it, providing character insight into the situation, and bringing the reader on a journey.

The author has truly written a beautiful story that is hard to put down. The character journeys are wonderful, and Crusoe brings so much detail and depth to them. I found this to be a quick read, and one that I didn’t want to put down. I needed to know what was going to happen.

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Serious Little Catholics by Kathy Gereau

Book Genre "Memoir" with person writing with pen
Serious Little Catholics book cover with photo of three children
Book Genre Block - "Emotional" Person standing between bright earth and desolate earth

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This was a wonderful memoir! Kathy’s personality is fun and really comes out through the words on the page! I really enjoyed that she writes this book with light-hearted stories and a lovely attitude.

Serious Little Catholics is a story of growing up Catholic. We see Kathy’s thoughts and perspective of being in Catholic school and beyond. She tells stories that make you laugh, and she provides great context around the faith that she grew up in.

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When in Vanuatu by Nicki Chen

Book Genre Block - "General Fiction" Person holding book
Book Cover "When in Vanuatu" with hand making
Book Genre Block - "Emotional" Person standing between bright earth and desolate earth

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This is one of those stories that gave me such an expanded view of a location I didn’t know a lot about. I loved the setting in the Philippines.

When in Vanuatu is a story that follows Diana and her husband to Manila. We follow her focus on having a baby, and the struggles she has. At her doctor’s encouragement to destress, she moves to Vanuatu.

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I Thought You Said This Would Work by Ann Garvin

White library with lots of stairs and "Contemporary" text
I thought you said this would work book cover with vw bus driving on raod
Book Genre Block - "Emotional" Person standing between bright earth and desolate earth

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This book truly brings all the emotions out in the reader. I laughed, I cried, I breathed sighs of relief, and I had moments of utter sadness. This is the type of book that pulls you into the pages and has you walk, or rather drive, along side the characters and experience the story with them.

Samantha and Holly are two women who used to be friends, but haven’t even spoken to each other in a long time. When Katie asks a favor, Samantha and Holly are sent on a road trip together that is filled with crazy adventure and possibly forgiveness.

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It Happened in Tuscany by Gail Mencini

Book Genre Block - "General Fiction" Person holding book
book cover "It Happened in Tuscany" with foggy rolling hills
Book Genre Block with image of group of children

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This was a story of friendship, hardship, family, and love. I was surprised by the deep emotions this book drew out of me! It was a lovely journey.

We follow Will and his neighbor, Sophie, as they travel to Italy. Their friendship seems impossible, but grows into a bond that is absolutely lovely. I love what an absolute grump Will is. His attitude creates the best payoff for the reader as Sophie works to thaw him and their friendship forms.

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Survival of the Thickest by Michelle Buteau

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Book Genre
Book Cover with author on cover
Book Genre Block - "Emotional" Person standing between bright earth and desolate earth

Hilarious! I laughed out loud reading this book more than I have in a long time. Michelle Buteau is hilarious. She also had the ability to create extremely emotional moments that had me bawling while I listened. This is a book that you should listen to the audio if you have the chance. Michelle narrates it, and she does an absolutely phenomenal job!

This is a memoir that will take you on a journey of Michelle’s romance situations, both absolutely hilarious and heartwarming, her friendships, her family, her job, her journey to being a mother, and her overall thoughts on life.

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The Winter Song by Saurav Dutt

Book Genre Block - "General Fiction"
Book cover of winter road and person's profile and silhouette
Book Genre Block -

From the acclaimed Author of ‘The Butterfly Room’ comes a powerful afterlife drama conveying how great gifts can be hidden in death and how they can bear fruit in our lives if we have the faith to let them unfold.

Somewhere between the mountains and the mist in North India, a widower must reconcile himself to the loss and grief that haunts him after the recent death of his wife.

Unhinged by grief, anger, and guilt, John Perera has set off on a journey, a journey to honour the love of his life and to fulfill the promise he made to her to uncover the truth behind the mysterious death of their son. It is a journey of extraordinary self-discovery that will take him to the extremities of his soul and question all he believes about life, death, and faith.

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From the Moon I Watched Her by Emily English Medley

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This book was a heavy, difficult read. I want to preface this review with a very strong content warning. This book will not be for everyone. Make sure to read the content warning before you decide if this is for you if you have sensitivities or triggers when reading.

Stephanie is our narrator and the main character in this book. We follow her as she ages, but her first narrative is at five-years-old. We find out that Stephanie’s father is the local preacher, extremely against the act of abortion, and yet, we soon discover that inside the preacher’s home and private life, things are disgusting, ugly, and awful.

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The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Wow. This book was beautiful. Just absolutely, heartwarmingly wonderful.

This entire story was a feel-good heartwarming read that I just wanted to hug and say thank you to. Do yourself a favor and read this one!

“Sometimes,” Mr. Parnassus said, “our prejudices color our thoughts when we least expect them to. If we can recognize that, and learn from it, we can become better people.”
Quote from The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune

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