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  • Writer's pictureCaroline

Fiction Roundup Spring 2023

Updated: May 17

Hi friends, I'm back! Here's a roundup of all the fiction I read and enjoyed this spring. Let me know which ones you add to your TBR.

The Words We Lost by Nicole Deese

Wow, Nicole's best one yet! This story encompasses cozy second-chance romance and the complexities of grief and healing from past trauma. I didn't feel Joel and Ingrid's connection as much as with her past characters but it was still a sweet story. The dual timeline was handled well and added depth. This is the first in a series, so I'm looking forward to revisiting Fog Harbor.

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher and happily provided my honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not required to post a positive review.*

The Long March Home by Marcus Brotherton and Tosca Lee (currently reading)

I received a copy of this gorgeous hardback from the publisher! It's easy for WWII fiction set in the Pacific Theater of the war to feel dry, but not this novel. The story manages to walk a line between memories from life in the States and the grim realities of the war, specifically the Bataan death march. I love Jimmy Propfield and his journey of leaving Mobile, AL and joining up to be stationed in the Philippines. What follows is harrowing and tear-jerking but ultimately hopeful. This is a masterful spotlight on World War II in the Pacific. I recommend it to history buffs -- it would also make a great gift!

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher and happily provided my honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not required to post a positive review.*

A Man Called Ove by Fredrick Backman

You may have heard of the recent movie adaptation, starring Tom Hanks. This Swedish author (who started as a blogger) has a gift for capturing the fragility of the human experience with grace, emotion, and sneaky humor. You will laugh and ugly cry and it will be worth it. (TW: suicide attempts) Click here to read the full synopsis.

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

Not really sure why I loved this so much. It gave cozy early 2000s vibes and I loved the secret underground literary society and the code-breaking. Slow-moving but gosh, so good.

From the synopsis: "Global conspiracy, complex code-breaking, high-tech data visualization, young love, the secret to eternal life. Mostly in a hole-in-the-wall San Francisco bookstore."

Thank You For Listening by Julia Whelan

Ah, Julia Whelan is an artist! This was the best rom-com (with so much heart) I’ve read in a while. *Heads up to some of my readers that there are open-door love scenes and steamy audiobooks—the character is a romance narrator, after all—and language.* The wit and satire keep it from being cheesy.

I first heard the story of how Julia came to write this novel on the What Should I Read Next podcast and knew I had to read it! I loved the deepish-but-not too-deep look at the romance genre, tropes, euphemisms, and happily-ever-after endings. And I can’t give spoilers but the twist was delightful!

I fell in love with Blah (ok I fell in love with all of them) and Sewanee was a main character I related to way too hard.

The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware

As a huge Ruth Ware fan, this is a hard one to rate! I enjoyed this novel so much - it was deliciously creepy and a nice twist on Ruth Ware’s usual storylines. Points for a satisfying ending!

But the borderline plot holes and misunderstandings spun as major twists? Eh. Most of the fun of reading these mysteries is working out the puzzle along the way, and I just couldn’t do that with this story, because of the messy way the clues were shared. (Someone please explain how in the world Hal misunderstood the photo. Is that a plot hole??)

Anyway! This book was fun and I loved the characters and Hal’s ability to read people. Just anticlimactic in the plot department.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

This classic psychological thriller is a RIDE. Good grief. Content warning: explicit everything. Worth reading and an excellent study of narcissism and psychopathy. Nothing lighthearted about it, but it was fascinating.

Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

I was surprised at how much I loved this -- it may make my Top 10 List this year! It was my second sci-fi read EVAH and so good. Ryland's mission to save humanity sends him into another solar system full of surprises. It's a deliciously long book with humor, wit, adventure, and (effortless) nerdy science. The stakes were huge and the details were perfect. It was good good good, as Rocky says.

Happy Place by Emily Henry (currently reading)

I'll be reviewing this one soon but I'm in love. I'm an Emily Henry superfan and this is her best yet.

What was your favorite read so far this spring? Comment below!

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