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

The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen
Award winners / Challenges / Diverse Reads / First Novels / Historical Fiction / New to Me Author

The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen

The Sympathizer is a first novel by Viet Thanh Nguyen, which won last year’s Pulitzer Prize for literature.  It’s a fascinating look at the Vietnam War and its aftermath from the perspective of the Vietnamese.  Right away it makes you realize how much Americans only see the Vietnam War from our own perspective, not those … Continue reading

The Sound of Things Falling by Juan Gabriel Vásquez
Challenges / Diverse Reads / Historical Fiction / New to Me Author

The Sound of Things Falling by Juan Gabriel Vásquez

I read this book for the Read Around the World challenge, where a specific country is selected for each month.  May’s selection was Colombia.  Vasquez is a noted author in Colombia, having won numerous awards, primarily for this novel and for The Informants.  He studied law in Bogotá, Colombia and studied literature in Paris at … Continue reading

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 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 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