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

Books I read on vacation: mini-reviews
Children and YA / Contemporary Fiction / Historical Fiction / Part of a Series / Science Fiction

Books I read on vacation: mini-reviews

I don’t normally write catch-up reviews, for two reasons.  First, I read these books in the middle of July so I don’t remember them so well, and I wasn’t exactly taking notes.  And second, I’m not a big fan of the mini-review.  You know I like to go on and on about a book.  But … Continue reading

Ghost Talkers by Mary Robinette Kowal
Historical Fiction / Paranormal / Recent Release / Review Requests and ARCs

Ghost Talkers by Mary Robinette Kowal

Ghost Talkers is an ideal summer vacation read if you like historical and paranormal fiction.  Set in Le Havre during World War I, it’s about a team of women who are helping the British troops by serving as mediums.  Their role is to channel the dead, collecting the last messages and more importantly, the last observations of … Continue reading

League of Dragons by Naomi Novik
Fantasy / Historical Fiction / Part of a Series / Recent Release / Review Requests and ARCs

League of Dragons by Naomi Novik

My husband and I disagree about Naomi Novik’s Temeraire series.  He wanted to like them but didn’t find that the alternative history involving the dragons made sense, and that bothered him enough that he didn’t continue reading.  The issue is basically this: a world where dragons exist would be radically different, and yet the Napoleonic … Continue reading