WHAT THE FIREFLIES KNEW – Kai Harris

“Her smile is like a gigantic, dripping ice cream cone, after I stuff my belly full with dinner. Even with a stomachache, I want that smile.” (7) Kai Harris’s debut novel What the Fireflies Knew (Tiny Reparations Books) is a classic Bildungsroman, with a loss, journey, conflict, and growth.  What makes this novel unique isContinue reading “WHAT THE FIREFLIES KNEW – Kai Harris”

YOUNG MUNGO – Douglas Stuart

“He was Mo-Maw’s youngest son, but was also her confidant, her lady’s maid, and errand boy. He was her one flattering mirror, and her teenage diary, her electric blanket, her doormat. He was her best pal, the dog she hardly walked, and her greatest romance.” Douglas Stuart’s follow-up to the Booker Prize-winning Shuggie Bain wasContinue reading “YOUNG MUNGO – Douglas Stuart”

LESSONS IN CHEMISTRY – Bonnie Garmus

Bonnie Garmus’s Lessons in Chemistry (Doubleday 2022) proved to be quite a timely read considering the recent SCOTUS leak – not because it features an abortion, but because it is wrapped in the confines of discrimination that have long held women hostage.  I work in a male-dominated field.  I frequently have clients assume I’m theContinue reading “LESSONS IN CHEMISTRY – Bonnie Garmus”

SEEKING FORTUNE ELSEWHERE – Sindya Bhanoo

Two short story collections in one month?  Who am I?!?! Short story collections are underrated.  The tight writing and one-sitting reads make them perfect to get out of reading slumps and to serve as palate cleansers.  I really should add more to my TBR.  Catapult sent me Sindya Bhanoo’s collection, Seeking Fortune Elsewhere (2022), andContinue reading “SEEKING FORTUNE ELSEWHERE – Sindya Bhanoo”

FEVERED STAR – Rebecca Roanhorse

“We are but fevered stars… Here a little while, bright with promise, before we burn away.” I preordered Rebecca Roanhorse’s Fevered Star (SAGA PRESS 2022) after reading Black Sun.  Much like the first of the series, Fevered Star, the second in the Between Earth and Sky series,is full of strong female characters, magic, politics, andContinue reading “FEVERED STAR – Rebecca Roanhorse”

TRUE BIZ – Sara Nović

I’ve read a lot of books in the past almost four decades, and I can say with absolute certainty that none of them were like Sara Nović’s True Biz (Random House 2022); deaf representation has been woeful absent in my literary canon.  This book is… I’m not sure I can find the words. Part teenageContinue reading “TRUE BIZ – Sara Nović”

PROOF OF ME & OTHER STORIES – Erica Plouffe Lazure

Erica Plouffe Lazure’s Proof of Me & Other Stories (New American Press 2022) cements her rightful place as one of my favorite southern contemporary short story authors. We studied at ECU together and I’ve been a fan since that first story we workshopped.  I’ve previously compared her work to Bobbie Ann Mason and Flannery O’Connor,Continue reading “PROOF OF ME & OTHER STORIES – Erica Plouffe Lazure”

PEACH BLOSSOM SPRING – Melissa Fu

Family sagas are one of my most favorite genres. They tend to be epic, chunky novels that hit that sweet spot for me. When I saw Melissa Fu’s Peach Blossom Spring (Little, Brown and Company 2022), I knew I had to have it. It boasts a stunning cover, and it follows a time in ChinaContinue reading “PEACH BLOSSOM SPRING – Melissa Fu”

HONOR – Thrity Umrigar

Thrity Umrigar’s Honor (Algonquin 2022) was very nearly a rare five-star read, but the generic and forced ending quickly yanked that top rating.  I cannot talk about this book, particularly what I disliked that brought the rating down, without spoilers.  If you don’t want it spoiled, stop reading now. Last warning. Honor is extremely well-writtenContinue reading “HONOR – Thrity Umrigar”

NOWHERE FOR VERY LONG: The Unexpected Road to an Unconventional Life – Brianna Madia

I’ve been following Brianna Madia since just before the Dagwood incident.  (If you know Madia, you know what I’m referring to.) Part of what drew me to her are her abilities as a storyteller. Full disclosure – I have been openly critical of how she feeds the social media beast, the dangerous devil-may-care attitude sheContinue reading “NOWHERE FOR VERY LONG: The Unexpected Road to an Unconventional Life – Brianna Madia”