Category: Recent Release

Review: The Belle of Belgrave Square by Mimi Matthews

I gave up reading historical romances for a little while because they started feeling dated and repetitive. I understand that it’s hard to write about independent women and diverse characters in times that don’t lend themselves to that. I’m grateful to Evie Dunmore – and now Mimi Matthews – for bringing me back to historical…

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: Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

I loved this novel about a strong, opinionated woman in the early 1960s who is a chemist, a single mother, and the star of a cooking television show. This sort of novel could easily become trite but it never did. Elizabeth Zott has to deal with sexism, harassment, and assault, as she navigates the world of science…

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: Ordinary Monsters by J.M. Miro

If you’re looking for a big fantasy/horror novel you’ll get lost in for a while, this is a book to consider. It combines elements of many other stories — a gothic mansion in the Scottish highlands, a school for “unusual” children, a tormented villain, and brave heroes, both young and old. It’s one of those…

Review: Bloomsbury Girls by Natalie Jenner

I liked the idea of this book better than I liked the book itself. It’s set in 1950’s London, in a fictional shop called Bloomsbury Books. It centers around three women: Grace, who’s in an abusive marriage; Vivien, who longs to write and to manage the bookstore rather than merely stand at the cash register;…

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…