Dad’s Red Dress by L.J. Sedgwick
Children and YA / Contemporary Fiction / Highly Recommended / New to Me Author / Review Requests and ARCs

Dad’s Red Dress by L.J. Sedgwick

I loved this book by Irish author L.J. Sedgwick about a teenager who moves to Ireland with her transgender dad, her artist stepmother, and her younger sister Laura. It’s an unusual story, but one that’s told with humor and sensitivity. Jessie loves her family and her family clearly loves her.  Yet she’s hit with a … Continue reading

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

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

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 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