Category: Recent Release

Review: Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

If you’re a fan of gothic horror, you will love this book. I’m not a huge fan of the gothic novel, although I did enjoy Rebecca and I like seeing how other authors take on this genre. I read it mainly because it’s by…

Review: Saint X by Alexis Schaitken

I had mixed feelings about this book, but I found the story and its characters really compelling.  Saint X is a fictional island in the Caribbean, a place where affluent white families go to soak up the sun and drink all day long.  The…

Review: Vera Kelly is Not a Mystery by Rosalie Knecht

I loved the first book by Knecht, Who is Vera Kelly? so I was very happy to receive a review copy of its sequel. These books combine a couple of things I really love – a complicated main character, a mystery, and the history…

Mini-reviews: The Night Watchman, The Glass Hotel, and The Lost Man

You may know I’m not a huge fan of mini-reviews. All three of these books deserve a full review. But given limited time, all three were really great reads so I wanted to share my thoughts. The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich I loved…

Review: My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell

I didn’t know if I’d like this book, but I found myself listening to it at every opportunity and I couldn’t stop thinking about it.  It’s the story of Vanessa, a fourteen year old in a boarding school in Maine who has a sexual relationship with her English teacher .  Years later, when other victims come forward and they look to her for support, she doesn’t know how to respond. This is her story, told over 17 years.

I’m finding it much harder to describe this book than I thought I would, because the words we use for sexual abuse (like rape, and victim, and power) are so important, and that’s what makes this book so interesting and so challenging.  Vanessa loves Strane and refuses to see herself as a victim — yet Strane is clearly manipulating her, and the effects on Vanessa as both a teen and an adult are absolutely devastating.  As are the many ways school authorities and even Vanessa’s parents fail her.

Review: The Beauty of Your Face by Sahar Mustafah

This book about a Palestinian family in Chicago, Illinois begins with a school shooting.  Afaf, the principal of a school for Muslim girls, is praying when the gunman opens fire.  Then the book goes back to Afaf’s childhood.  Afaf is raised in Chicago in…

Review: The Herd by Andrea Bartz

As mystery/thrillers go, The Herd has an interesting premise.  Eleanor is a beautiful and successful woman who created The Herd, which is a woman-only workspace and social clique.  It’s basically a boy’s club without the boys.  Her three closest friends, Hana, Katie and Mikki,…

Review: Amnesty by Aravind Adiga

I found this a really interesting read about what it’s like to be an undocumented immigrant in Australia. Adiga tells the story through the eyes of Danny, who has fled his native Sri Lanka after torture. He comes to Australia through a school program,…

Review: They Called Us Enemy by George Takei

Regardless of whether you like Star Trek, whether you’re Japanese, or whether you read graphic novels, you should pick up this book.  George Takei never fails to impress me with his humor, his knowledge, and his passion for telling a story.  He brings all…

Review: Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb

It seems fitting to discuss a book about therapy the day after Thanksgiving, a holiday that raises so many complicated family issues — though hopefully yours was lovely!  This book has plenty of buzz already without my review, but I loved it.  It’s unlike…

Review: The Dutch House by Ann Patchett

This was only my second read by Patchett, after the excellent Commonwealth, and I was struck again by Patchett’s thoughtful development of characters and understanding of family dynamics.  This is a story that covers decades in the lives of a single family in Pennsylvania,…

Memoir Review: Ruth Reichl’s Save Me the Plums

This is my first time reading Reichl, and I found this book fascinating and thoroughly enjoyable.  Reichl describes her background and what led her into cooking and then restaurant critiquing, but most of the book is spent describing her years as the editor of…

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