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Bloom by Kenneth Oppel and Sophie Amos (Narrator)
Bran New Death by Victoria Hamilton and Margaret Strom (Narrator)
Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas
Charming as a Verb by Ben Philippe
Cleopatra in Space: Queen of the Nile by Mike Maihack
The Cruelest Month by Louise Penny
A Death Long Overdue by Eva Gates and Elise Arsenault (Narrator)
Don't Date Rosa Santos by Nina Moreno
Giant Days, Volume 14 by John Allison Giant Days, Volume 14 by John Allison
The Girl and the Ghost by Hanna Alka
The Golden State by Lydia Kiesling
Handbook for Homicide by Lorna Barrett and Cassandra Campbell (narrator)
Hey, Kiddo by Jarrett J. Krosoczka
I'm Not Dying with You Tonight by Kimberly Jones and Gilly Segal
Kazu Jones and the Denver Dognappers by Shauna Holyoak
Love, Jacaranda by Alex Flinn
A Man Lay Dead by Ngaio Marsh
Mimi Lee Reads Between the Lines by Jennifer J. Chow
Ms. Koizumi Loves Ramen Noodles Volume 1 by Naru Narumi
The Princess in Black and the Bathtime Battle by Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham
Raven Black by Ann Cleeves and Gordon Griffin (narrator)
Rent a Boyfriend by Gloria Chao
Restaurant to Another World Volume 2 by Junpei Inuzuka and Katsumi Enami (Illustrations)
The Ripple Effect by Malorie Blackman
The Santaroga Barrier by Frank Herbert
The Sea Fairies by L. Frank Baum
Shadowspell by Jenna Black
Sister of My Heart by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Solutions and Other Problems by Allie Brosh
The Wall and the Wing by Laura Ruby
Wanderers by Chuck Wendig

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5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

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The Golden State: 12/20/20

The Golden State

The Golden State by Lydia Kiesling is set in a fictional high desert county in Northern California, near both the borders of Nevada and Oregon. Daphne is feeling the strain of being a single parent while her husband is stuck in Turkey. No longer able to cope she leaves work early, takes her infant daughter, Honey, out of daycare and heads to her parents' home in Altavista.

Kiesling describes the drive and for the most part sticks to actual landmarks. But when Daphne heads into her fictional county, the made up landmarks are very close to nearby ones, just ones south of Tahoe, instead of north of it. I personally found the choice to flip north and south distracting — the first of many details that pulled me out of the novel.

The entire timeline takes only ten days. Ten days spread over 304 pages. Unfortunately these days are weighted so that the first few are given the bulk of the pages. The last quarter of the book is where everything happens but I had already lost any ability to care about Daphne and her daughter.

The 225 or so pages before the actual plot is bloated with the mundane details of day to day life. Most of these details are centered on the minutia of Honey's life: what she eats, what she vomits, when she needs her diaper changed, what kind of mess in said diaper. Etc. The second favorite filler is the physical demands of motherhood. We get all the details of what it's like to be pregnant, to postpartum bleeding, the first period, breast feeding, etc., etc.

Here's the thing, I've been there and done that. I'm not sure what entertainment or literary enlightenment I'm getting by reading through these laundry lists of life. Frankly, it's boring. It was so boring that before Daphne had even met Alice, I no longer cared about anyone in the book.

Two stars

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