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THE BERRY PICKERS by Amanda Peters

The Berry Pickers by Amanda Peters is a novel about an indigenous Mi’kmaq family in Nova Scotia who travels to Maine every summer to pick blueberries as migrant workers. One summer, 4 year-old Ruthie, the youngest of the family’s five children, disappears while they are working out in the field. Her disappearance is the first in a series of devastating losses suffered by the family, and is a loss felt especially hard by her brother Joe, who was 6 at the time. Meanwhile there is a second storyline, told in alternating chapters, about a girl named Norma who lived in

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THE GUEST by Emma Cline

Two months ago, it seemed like The Guest by Emma Cline was everywhere and everyone I know was reading it. Thankfully, that resulted in me getting a copy from my friend (thanks, TB!). I had read and liked, but not loved, Cline’s debut novel The Girls, and was a little iffy on the premise of The Guest, but when people told me they couldn’t put it down, I decided to give it a try. It’s

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PETE AND ALICE IN MAINE by Caitlin Shetterly

I think readers fall into two camps: those who enjoy pandemic novels that bring back all the stress and angst of 2020 Covid, and those who do not enjoy pandemic novels that bring back all the stress and angst of 2020 Covid. I am one of the readers who enjoys those novels, and the most recent one I read was Pete And Alice In Maine by Caitlin Shetterly. It’s about a married couple with two

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THE COUNTRY OF THE BLIND by Andrew Leland

Another short review because I am so behind! The Country Of The Blind: A Memoir At The Edge Of Sight by Andrew Leland is about the author’s experience losing his sight due to retinitis pigmentosa, a condition that causes the gradual loss of vision over decades. At times it is intensely personal, while at others it is an almost academic treatise on blindness through history and the organizations and institutions devoted to representing and advocating

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THE ROAD TO DALTON by Shannon Bowring

I am waaaay behind on reviews, so the next few are going to be short. If you like books of interconnected stories about small towns, I have a five-star read for you: The Road To Dalton by Shannon Bowring, a character-driven debut novel about several people living in a small remote town in northern Maine. It’s an ordinary cast of characters – a doctor, his wife the librarian. a woman who works at a nursing

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WHO WE ARE NOW by Lauryn Chamberlain

I am a sucker for books about post-college groups of friends. That rootless, confusing time of life, when you’ve left the college cocoon and have to figure out what you want to do and who you want to be, lends itself so well to fiction. And groups of people with changing – often conflicting – goals and desires can make for a compelling story. That’s why I picked up Lauryn Chamberlain’s novel Who We Are

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END CREDITS by Patty Lin

I am naturally drawn to the microgenre of memoirs about people’s jobs/careers – I love digging in on the challenges and joys of what people do for a living, whether it’s acting, working in tech, medicine, or finance. Patty Lin’s memoir End Credits is about her almost two decades spent as a TV screenwriter, taking readers through how she got into the industry and why she eventually left. Like many of the memoirs I’ve read

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TOM LAKE by Ann Patchett

A new book from Ann Patchett is always cause for excitement, and her latest came out in early August (unusual for a highly anticipated release) because Patchett wanted it to be a summer read. Tom Lake is a pandemic novel about love, family, and how people and timing can change our ambitions and dreams. The premise of this one didn’t grab me right away when I read about it, but I was definitely willing to

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THE OTHER SIDE by Lacy Johnson

Boy, I am really gravitating toward heavy books these days. The most recent was The Other Side, a memoir by Lacy Johnson about an abusive relationship that resulted in a kidnapping and rape. The memoir is a raw, deeply honest account of Johnson’s relationship with the man who assaulted her, as well as the trauma she experienced in the years that followed. Why I picked it up: I learned about The Other Side on an

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SOMETHING WILD by Hanna Halperin

Something Wild by Hanna Halperin is a dark novel about two sisters who go to help their mother move out of their childhood home and discover that she is in an abusive relationship with her husband. Their attempts to extricate her from the relationship force them to relive complicated and painful memories from their adolescence that shaped them into who they became as adults. Why I picked it up: I read Halperin’s second novel, I

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SPEECH TEAM by Tim Murphy

Speech Team by Tim Murphy is about five people who were members of a speech team at a public high school in Massachusetts in the 1980s. In 2019, one of the members has committed suicide and left a goodbye post on Facebook in which he called out their speech coach for saying something awful to him in high school that he carried through his life. The suicide causes the remaining four members to get back

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TALKING AT NIGHT by Claire Daverley

Vacation read #2 was Talking At Night by Claire Daverly. I had seen this book out and about and was intrigued by its premise: a couple meets in high school and experience an intense chemistry that leads them on a windy and often tortured path for years to come. It was compared to Normal People (reviewed here), which I loved, so this was a no-brainer for me. Why I picked it up: Once I read

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MAD HONEY by Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Finney Boylan

Up until now, I had never read anything by Jodi Picoult. A friend of mine recommended her most recent book. Mad Honey, and walking out of of the library earlier this month, I spied it on the shelf and impulsively grabbed it without even reading what it was about. I started it on audio and finished it in print as my first vacation read this summer. This is one of those books that’s best to

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GAMES AND RITUALS by Katherine Heiny

Games And Rituals is a collection of short stories by Katherine Heiny, an author I like quite a bit. I am not always a big fan of short stories, but if she’s the author, I’m in. Heiny has a unique gift for coming up with totally original settings and situations, and then delving in quickly so that you feel totally immersed in the characters and invested in the outcome. Why I picked it up: I

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BUSINESS OR PLEASURE by Rachel Lynn Solomon

A few weeks ago, I was feeling a bit weighted down by a series of heavy, serious reads. In need of a palate cleanser, I reached for two light books – The Wife App (reviewed here) and Business Or Pleasure, a romance by Rachel Lynn Solomon. It’s about Chandler, a ghostwriter living in Seattle who has a one night stand with a cute man she meets in a bar. Well, it turns out that the

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THE WIFE APP by Carolyn Mackler

In Carolyn Mackler’s The Wife App, three divorced single mothers in New York City create an app called the Wife App, which allows men (or women) to pay hired hands to cover the time-consuming, uncompensated mental load chores that usually fall to wives: school forms, birthday gifts, travel arrangements, medical appointments, etc. The goal is to show that this work is valuable and that the women doing it deserve to be paid – and to

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