The Long Drop by Denise Mina
Challenges / Historical Fiction / New to Me Author / Recent Release / Review Requests and ARCs

The Long Drop by Denise Mina

This was a really interesting novel about a real-life serial killer in Scotland in the 1950’s.  I say interesting because it wasn’t quite like anything else I’ve read.  It’s not a mystery or a thriller, or a true crime novel.  It’s a little closer to Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood, although I hesitate to compare … Continue reading

Reading the Bailey’s Longlist: The Lonely Hearts Hotel and The Gustav Sonata
Award winners / Challenges / Historical Fiction / New to Me Author / Recent Release

Reading the Bailey’s Longlist: The Lonely Hearts Hotel and The Gustav Sonata

Both of these books were on this year’s Bailey’s Prize for Women longlist, although neither made it to the shortlist (in addition to Hag-Seed). The winner of the Bailey’s Prize will be announced June 7. Though quite different, these two books had several things in common.  Both are historical fiction, both have a main character who … 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

Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right
Challenges / New to Me Author / Nonfiction (Misc)

Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right

Like many of you, to say I was surprised by the results of the November election is a profound understatement.  What kept echoing through my mind the next day was this: why did so many people vote for a man whose policies will not benefit them?  I thought women wouldn’t vote for Trump because of … 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

In the Country We Love: My Family Divided by Diane Guerrero
Diverse Reads / New to Me Author / Nonfiction: Memoir / Recent Release

In the Country We Love: My Family Divided by Diane Guerrero

With the current news about deportations and ICE arrests, it felt important to me to read a book from the perspective of someone who has experienced it firsthand.  Guerrero is not an immigrant herself, but her parents and older brother were born in Columbia.  Guerrero’s parents were deported when she was only fourteen years old, … Continue reading

The Shadow Land by Elizabeth Kostova
Challenges / Historical Fiction / Recent Release / Review Requests and ARCs

The Shadow Land by Elizabeth Kostova

Kostova’s new novel is reminiscent of The Historian, in that it’s a big, sweeping tale that will take the reader all over modern-day Eastern Europe.  It’s quite different, however, in that there are no vampires.  But there’s still horror. The weakest part of this book is the beginning, because the story seems implausible at first, … Continue reading

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
Challenges / Diverse Reads / Highly Recommended / New to Me Author / Nonfiction: Memoir / Recent Release

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

Trevor Noah’s memoir of his childhood in South Africa is compelling reading for anyone who wants to know more about South Africa and apartheid.  At times humorous, and at times devastating, Noah brings his unique voice to this story.  He writes like he speaks, and many times in this book it felt like I was … Continue reading

1984 by George Orwell
Challenges / Classic Literature / Dystopian / Highly Recommended

1984 by George Orwell

1984 has to be one of the most disturbing books I’ve read, between the creepy parallels with our current political situation, and the torture and brainwashing.  Animal Farm has always been one of my favorite books, for its basic but powerful allegory about political corruption.  1984 takes this idea to a very different level. Written in … Continue reading

The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti
Contemporary Fiction / New to Me Author / Recent Release / Review Requests and ARCs

The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti

This is a book I ended up feeling torn about.  The writing is beautiful and I was deeply engaged in the story.  If you like a good anti-hero story, this is one you should read. The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley is structured around the stories behind Hawley’s twelve bullet wounds.  We begin the story … Continue reading