Bonfire by Krysten Ritter
Contemporary Fiction / First Novels / New to Me Author / Recent Release / Review Requests and ARCs

Bonfire by Krysten Ritter

I picked up this book from NetGalley because I loved Ritter in Jessica Jones.  I know that acting and writing are completely different, but I feel like she must have brought a lot of herself to the role, so I was curious about her first novel. I should say first off that the modern-day mystery-thriller … Continue reading

Contemporary Fiction / Diverse Reads / First Novels / Highly Recommended / New to Me Author

Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue

I loved this thoughtful book about immigration and U.S. citizenship.  It was the perfect complement to the other books I’ve read on this subject, like Lisa Ko’s The Leavers and Diane Guerrero’s In the Country I Love. This is the story of Jende Jonga and his wife Neni.  The Jongas are from Cameroon, having emigrated … Continue reading

Best Books of Summer Part Two: Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
Award winners / Diverse Reads / First Novels / Highly Recommended / Historical Fiction / New to Me Author

Best Books of Summer Part Two: Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

This was a powerful book about the impacts of slavery, and for me it was another book of summer that completely lived up to the hype.  Gyasi writes of two sisters, living in two different African villages.  One marries a white slaver and remains in what is today Ghana, and the other is captured at … Continue reading

Stay With Me by Ayòbámi Adébáyò
Challenges / Contemporary Fiction / Diverse Reads / First Novels / New to Me Author / Review Requests and ARCs

Stay With Me by Ayòbámi Adébáyò

I found this book about a marriage in Nigeria fascinating and meaningful, although it wasn’t quite what I expected. The story begins with a married couple who now live apart.  Yejide is going to see her husband after many years for his father’s funeral. Then the story takes us back to the early years of … Continue reading

The Atlas of Forgotten Places by Jenny D. Williams
Contemporary Fiction / First Novels / Highly Recommended / Historical Fiction / New to Me Author / Recent Release / Review Requests and ARCs

The Atlas of Forgotten Places by Jenny D. Williams

I was pretty much glued to this book while I was reading it.  It’s both suspenseful and thoughtful, and provides detailed information about a country that most Americans know little about.  Williams, a former aid worker in Uganda, tells the story from two perspectives.  Sabine is a German woman who has spent most of her adult life … Continue reading

Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong
Contemporary Fiction / Diverse Reads / First Novels / Highly Recommended / New to Me Author / Recent Release / Review Requests and ARCs

Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong

I recommend this short but moving first novel by Rachel Khong about a woman caring for her father with Alzheimer’s.  This is a prospect I find absolutely terrifying, whether for my parents and for myself.  It seems to me that almost any physical ailment would be less scary than gradually losing one’s mind, knowing that … Continue reading

The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen
Award winners / Challenges / Diverse Reads / First Novels / Historical Fiction / New to Me Author

The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen

The Sympathizer is a first novel by Viet Thanh Nguyen, which won last year’s Pulitzer Prize for literature.  It’s a fascinating look at the Vietnam War and its aftermath from the perspective of the Vietnamese.  Right away it makes you realize how much Americans only see the Vietnam War from our own perspective, not those … Continue reading

Contemporary Fiction / Diverse Reads / First Novels / Highly Recommended / New to Me Author / Recent Release

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

The world feels very wrong right now. Between shootings, terrorism, and the horrible people that are governing our country with seemingly no ethics or empathy whatsoever. I’ve been trying to write a review of this book for a while, and it’s especially relevant right now with this week’s acquittal of Philando Castile. On top of … Continue reading

The Leavers by Lisa Ko
Contemporary Fiction / Diverse Reads / First Novels / Highly Recommended / New to Me Author / Recent Release / Review Requests and ARCs / Uncategorized

The Leavers by Lisa Ko

This is a really thoughtful, moving novel about a Chinese family that is torn apart in the United States.  Peilan grows up in China in a small village but dreams of exploring the world, so she travels to New York for factory work at better wages.  She has Deming while still very young herself, and … Continue reading

The Last Days of Café Leila by Donia Bijan
Challenges / Contemporary Fiction / Diverse Reads / First Novels / Historical Fiction / New to Me Author / Recent Release / Review Requests and ARCs

The Last Days of Café Leila by Donia Bijan

Part of my Reading All Around the World Challenge, this is a book written by a chef in the U.S. who was born in Iran.  Café Leila tells the story of an Iranian family that experiences terrifying changes in the country after the revolution and establishment of the Islamic Republic in the early 1980’s. The … Continue reading

The Wangs vs. the World by Jade Chang
Contemporary Fiction / Diverse Reads / First Novels / New to Me Author / Recent Release

The Wangs vs. the World by Jade Chang

I’ve seen mixed reviews of this book, but I really liked it.  Chang gives us a screwed-up family on a road trip, but she makes their story sympathetic, clever and at times funny.  I’ve seen this book described as hilarious, and I can’t say it reached that level for me, but then I’m not Chinese so … Continue reading