THE WISE WOMEN – Gina Sorell

Actress-turned-author Gina Sorell’s second novel, The Wise Women, will be released by Harper on 4/5/2022.  (I rec’d an advanced copy through a Goodreads giveaway. Thank you!)  It’s a hug of an “everything works out in the end” story about mothers, daughters and sisters. There were some missed opportunities in developing the fragile and complex relationships,Continue reading “THE WISE WOMEN – Gina Sorell”

INTERIOR CHINATOWN – Charles Yu

Charles Yu’s Interior Chinatown (Pantheon Books, 2020) was a bit of an unexpected delight.  It’s witty and dark, entertaining and heartbreaking, insightful and inventive.  I didn’t expect it to be as hilarious as it was, but Yu’s smart writing in this script format brings a lot of truth layered in comedy. Willis Wu is anContinue reading “INTERIOR CHINATOWN – Charles Yu”

EVEN AS WE BREATHE – Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle

“And now it seems possible that love is the only thing that will outlive us all, but only if we continue to tell its story.” Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle’s Even as We Breathe (The University Press of Kentucky 2020) is a layered and fragile history, cloaked in mystery and romance, that is executed in a wayContinue reading “EVEN AS WE BREATHE – Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle”

SKIN OF THE SEA – Natasha Bowen

“Here is a story.  Story it is…” Billing Natasha Bowen’s Skin of the Sea (Random House 2021) as Children of Blood and Bone meets The Little Mermaid does it a bit of disservice; just because a book centers around Yoruba spirits (Orisa/Orisha) doesn’t mean it has to be compared to every other book that alsoContinue reading “SKIN OF THE SEA – Natasha Bowen”

WE WENT TO THE WOODS – Caite Dolan-Leach

I probably wouldn’t have picked up Caite Dolan-Leach’s We Went to the Woods (Random House 2019) had I seen the comparison to Donna Tartt.  I don’t know if Dolan-Leach studied the literary brat pack from Bennington, but her work is certainly reminiscent of that particular group of writers and their self-absorbed and unlikeable characters whoContinue reading “WE WENT TO THE WOODS – Caite Dolan-Leach”

ANXIOUS PEOPLE – Fredrik Backman

“Our hearts are bars of soap that we keep losing hold of…” If you’re going to split a book into the next year, you better make sure it’s a damn good one.  Otherwise, you’ll be cursed to read lukewarm works that just miss the mark for the entire year. (A bookish superstition that I’m notContinue reading “ANXIOUS PEOPLE – Fredrik Backman”

THE SENTENCE – Louise Erdrich

Louise Erdrich’s The Sentence (Harper 2021) was my last read of the year, and it was my favorite read of the year.  (I didn’t think anything would edge out Black Sun, but Erdrich’s effortless, timely and amazing storytelling did.  I shouldn’t have been surprised; Erdrich has been weaving some of my favorite stories for decades.)Continue reading “THE SENTENCE – Louise Erdrich”

TRISTAN STRONG KEEPS PUNCHING – Kwame Mbalia

The third and final installment of Kwame Mbalia’s Tristan Strong series, Tristan Strong Keeps Punching (Disney Hyperion 2021), was a near perfect conclusion to a story that writes itself in your bones and whispers in your sleep. All three works were five star reads for this bookdragon, and I know had I read this asContinue reading “TRISTAN STRONG KEEPS PUNCHING – Kwame Mbalia”

ONCE THERE WERE WOLVES – Charlotte McConaghy

Charlotte McConaghy’s Once There Were Wolves (Flatiron Books, 2021) is a slow burn of an environmental novel that begins tumbling fast into a whodunnit. McConaghy skillfully masters three classic literary conflicts in this novel that initially appears to be man versus nature before turning to man versus man before showing its true colors as manContinue reading “ONCE THERE WERE WOLVES – Charlotte McConaghy”

WHEN TWO FEATHERS FELL FROM THE SKY – Margaret Verble

Margaret Verble’s When Two Feathers Fell from the Sky (Mariner Books 2021) is one of those disappointing novels that simply does not live up to its potential. It’s a perfectly okay read, but I wanted it to be as great as a historical novel written by Verble about a Cherokee horse diver should have been.Continue reading “WHEN TWO FEATHERS FELL FROM THE SKY – Margaret Verble”