Waiting to Begin by Amanda Prowse

Book Genre Block - "General Fiction" Person holding book
Waiting to Begin book cover with mirror
Book Genre Block - "Emotional" Person standing between bright earth and desolate earth

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This dual-timeline story follows Bessie as her 16-year-old self, and then 37 years later. Something happened to Bessie in 1984, and now, in the present day, it’s time to come to terms with the secrets she’s been keeping.

This was a story filled with emotion and beautiful writing. Prowse has created a wonderful story that shows amazing character growth for the MC. I really enjoyed the supporting characters throughout this story. She has strong relationships with many people, including her gay son, who is a newlywed. She and her daughter seem to have a slightly more strained relationship, but it’s still a good one, and I enjoy reading about it.

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The Witch Demands a Retraction by Melissa Balmain

Rating: 5 out of 5.
The Witch Demands a Retraction book cover with cartoon witch holding a sign that says wicked

This is a hilarious book of fairy tales that is meant for adults. It gives some great twists on stories that we know so well. I think this is a great book to have out on the coffee table to share with friends as they visit. It’s easy to flip through and the stories are short and easy to read.

Some are silly with a great twist on the original ending of the story. Other stories are spicy and definitely are meant for adult-only eyes. One of my favorites is what Goldilocks was really doing in the Bears’ home that day!

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When We Blinked by Stephanie Mack

Book Genre Block - "Rom Com" couple on bench
When We Blinked cover with landscapes and two figures sil
White library with lots of stairs and "Contemporary" text

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This book was wonderful! I loved, LOVED all the amazing moments that felt perfect and were just what I want from a rom-com, but it was more than that. This book had emotion, heart, happiness, love, and life. I am enamored with it.

I really settled into these characters and this story. I enjoyed the POVs, and they felt fresh and new! This is absolutely a romance novel, but it feels real and fun at the same time. There were some heavy topics that were covered, and they were handled well. It was a great balance between life and love.

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Far Gone by Danielle Girard

Person peeking through hole titled "Thriller"
"Mystery" Genre card with dark woods and light in the distance

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This was such an exciting, heart-racing thriller! Far Gone is the second book in the series Badlands Thriller, but I think this can be read as a stand-alone.

14-year-old Hannah witnesses the murder of the couple she is babysitting for. Detective Kylie is assigned the case, and she finds a connection to an old case. We alternate between three storylines, Detective Kylie’s investigation, Hannah’s experiences, and the old case that the new one is connected to.

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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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Eat Your Words by Isabel Chiara

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Eat Your Words was a really fun book! I love the food-centric story and the support of loving ourselves and our relationship with food! I think the author has done a wonderful job writing this story. It’s a topic that is delicate, and I think that she has approached it from a place of personal understanding and thoughtful compassion for others.

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Swagger: Unleash Everything You Are and Become Everything You Want by Leslie Ehm

"Non Fiction" words carved into wood
Book Cover "Swagger" with crown drawn over "A" in Swagger
Book Genre Block "Inspiring" with letter tiles spelling "Do Not Give Up"

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Self-Help is a genre that continues to interest me. Swagger is focused on helping you to become your true, authentic self. As you go through the book, there are activities and ways to help you create goals.

I thought this was a really great book to help you become who YOU truly are. This is not about faking or pretending until you become what you think you are, it is about bringing out what is already inside you. The stories that are shared within this book are truly inspirational, and I found myself nodding over and over as I read them.

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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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Decanted by Linda Sheehan

Book Genre Block - "General Fiction" Person holding book
Book cover for Decanted with
White library with lots of stairs and "Contemporary" text

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This story really tells us that we can follow our dreams, and I love that! Samantha leaves her day job behind to become a wine maker. She gets an internship in France🥳!!! (but it’s unpaid😔). That is okay though, she takes her life’s savings and hops on a plane!

Samantha is this inspiring character that makes you truly feel like you can do anything! Learning about wine making with Samantha was an amazing experience. Watching her learn and grow felt easy and I just enjoyed the story from start to finish!

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Eva and Eve: A Search for My Mother’s Lost Childhood and What a War Left Behind by Julie Metz

Book Genre "Memoir" with person writing with pen
Book Cover of "Eva and Eve" with an old
"Non Fiction" words carved into wood

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Julie Metz has written an absolutely stunning memoir that takes her family’s story and brings you into each heart-racing moment!

This story brings Julie’s personal impact from the War and her family’s harrowing experiences together. I really appreciated the opportunity to see how the war continued to change people’s lives long after it ended. Julie’s story opened my eyes and broke my heart a bit (she puts it back together though)!

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