Category: Review Requests and ARCs

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: 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…

Review: A Deadly Fortune and The Unquiet Dead by Stacie Murphy

I was offered a review copy of Stacie Murphy’s new novel, The Unquiet Dead, a historical mystery set in 1893.  Since it was a sequel, I decided to read A Deadly Fortune first. I loved both of them and highly recommend them for anyone who likes historical mysteries.  A Deadly Fortune, Murphy’s debut novel, introduces…