Category: Contemporary Fiction

Review: By the Book by Jasmine Guillory

This book combined a lot of things I love about Jasmine Guillory, and a few things I didn’t love so much.  Isabelle is a likeable character, sympathetic and fairly well-developed. She works as an assistant in a publishing house, and I found the description of the work fascinating. Izzy actually gets to coach, prod, and…

Review: Young Mungo by Douglas Stuart

Stuart has written a second pull-your-heart-out-and-stomp-all-over-it book, one that did not disappoint for a minute, even considering how much I loved Shuggie Bain.  Stuart manages to write about very ugly things so beautifully. These two books are similar in a lot of ways, so if I can criticize anything it’s that Stuart isn’t breaking new…

Review: The Candy House by Jennifer Egan

I loved Egan’s Pulitzer Prize-winning A Visit from the Goon Squad, although now, nearly 12 years later, I didn’t remember much about the book. Maybe I should have reread it before reading the sequel, The Candy House, but instead I read it much like a stand-alone book. Maybe that’s why I had trouble connecting with it. Both…

Review: Come As You Are by Jennifer Haupt

When asked if I’d be interested in reviewing this book, I was excited by the idea of a novel set in early 90s Seattle music scene. I was in college at that time and it may be cliché but the Seattle sound really did rock my world. There was something so personal and emotional about the…

Review: Before the Ever After by Jacqueline Woodson

Before the Ever After is a beautifully written middle-grade novel about a 12-year-old boy whose father, a professional football player, is suffering from CTE. The book occurs in a time before anything was widely known about CTE and its effects on many athletes. Zachariah, or ZJ, is in the dark about what’s happening to his father, and…

Review: Olympus, Texas by Stacey Swann

This is a book I’ve been recommending lately, and it’s one you may not have heard of (I discovered it through Modern Mrs. Darcy’s summer reading list. This debut novel is a story about a dysfunctional family in small town Texas, and it’s based on the stories and themes of classical mythology. I thought it was fantastic.…

Review: O Beautiful by Jung Yun

O Beautiful is a story about America – a specific part of America, but it reflects attitudes and issues found nationwide. So it’s fitting that there’s a lot going on in this novel. Maybe a bit too much at times, but it definitely held my interest.  Elinor is a Korean-American in her early forties, previously a…