Category: Diverse Reads

Review: The Fortunes of Jaded Women by Carolyn Huynh

This is a humorous and emotional saga of a Vietnamese family in America. Though not a perfect book for me, I expect this book will resonate quite a bit with those who are mothers and who are Vietnamese-American. Generations ago, the family is cursed because a woman runs off with a man who isn’t her…

Review: The Scent of Burnt Flowers by Blitz Bazawule

I appreciate books that are hard to categorize because they cross genres. Not surprisingly, this debut novel by Blitz Bazawule, a musician, artist, and filmmaker, does exactly that. The Scent of Burnt Flowers tells the story of a young Black couple, Melvin and Bernadette, who flee the United States in 1966, after a violent altercation with…

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: Peach Blossom Spring by Melissa Fu

This is the kind of historical novel I love – it’s a decades-spanning family saga that builds on the author’s own family history.  In this debut novel, Fu tells a story that parallels that of her father, who is born in China during the Japanese War of Aggression in the 1940s and the Chinese Civil…

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…

Reading Around the World: Mini-Reviews of Three Apples Fell From the Sky, Burnt Sugar, Convenience Store Woman, and The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba

I don’t always read as many books from other countries as I’d like, and I often find reading translated works challenging. This summer and fall I read quite a few books set in other countries, so I wanted to share these mini-reviews. I try to read books that are by authors that are from those…

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…

Review: Sorry I’m Late, I Didn’t Want to Come by Jessica Pan

This book is Pan’s memoir of a year when she decided to challenge herself to live like an extrovert.  She explains that there’s nothing wrong with being an introvert, only she’s an excessively shy one (a “shintrovert” as she calls herself), which means she’s probably missing out on friendships and career opportunities by not engaging…