BOMB SHELTER – Mary Laura Philpott

I purchased this for the cover.  I know it.  I could say otherwise, but the cover of Mary Laura Philpott’s Bomb Shelter: Love, Time, and Other Explosives (Atria 2022) had me hit “select” without further consideration.  I knew it was a collection of nonfiction, slice of life essays and that Philpott was known for herContinue reading “BOMB SHELTER – Mary Laura Philpott”

BABEL – R.F. Kuang

My first read of 2023 was Babel by R. F. Kuang (Harper Collins 2022). Before I get into the review, I must mention the Harper Collins strike.  Employees with the company have been on a strike since November, and they are striking for fair wages, stronger diversity commitments, and union rights. To read more aboutContinue reading “BABEL – R.F. Kuang”

THE WILDERWOMEN – Ruth Emmie Lang

I’ve heard such good things about Ruth Emmie Lang, and I recently picked up both Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance and The Wilderwomen.  I love magical realism, found families, and broken familial relationships.  I was certain I would love The Wilderwomen (St. Martin’s Press 2022).  And I tried.  Oh, how I tried.  But I wanted toContinue reading “THE WILDERWOMEN – Ruth Emmie Lang”

THE MARSH QUEEN – Virginia Hartman

Virginia Hartman’s debut The Marsh Queen (Gallery Books 2022) had the potential to be as stunning as its cover.  A bird artist from the Smithsonian returns to the marshes of Florida to face the ghost of her father, the mental decline of her mother, and a mystery that has sullied the town for years; itContinue reading “THE MARSH QUEEN – Virginia Hartman”

OTHER BIRDS – Sarah Addison Allen

“Maybe I thought that if I just collected enough words, I could totally rewrite myself one day.” “Stories aren’t fiction. Stories are fabric. They’re the white sheets we drape over our ghosts so we can see them.” Sarah Addison Allen’s Other Birds (St. Martin’s Press 2022) is full of whimsy and the best kind ofContinue reading “OTHER BIRDS – Sarah Addison Allen”

AS LONG AS THE LEMON TREES GROW – Zoulfa Katouh

“Every lemon will bring forth a child, and the lemons will never die out.” Zoulfa Katouh’s As Long as the Lemon Trees Grow (Little, Brown & Co 2022) is a love letter to Syria, each page solidifying that the “where” is always so much a part of the “who” when it comes to identity.  TheContinue reading “AS LONG AS THE LEMON TREES GROW – Zoulfa Katouh”

THE HOUSE IN THE ORCHARD – Elizabeth Brooks

“On closer inspection it’s obvious that every single one of the apples is rotten, whether they’re brown and speckled with mould, or green-gold and riddled with holes.” October is the perfect month for a slow burning gothic, and Elizabeth Brooks’s The House in the Orchard (Tin House 2022) is a quick read that hits theContinue reading “THE HOUSE IN THE ORCHARD – Elizabeth Brooks”

THISTLEFOOT – GennaRose Nethercott

“May there always be wine, may there always be smokes, may the jesters be kings and the kings become jokes.” “I do not want you to think that what comes after is your fault. I do not want you to think that the ending could have been changed. It is not your fault. It isContinue reading “THISTLEFOOT – GennaRose Nethercott”

BRONZE DRUM – Phong Nguyen

“Gather around, children of Chu Diên, and be brave.  For even to listen to the story of the Tru’ng Sisters is, in these troubled times, a dangerous act.” The bones of Phong Nguyen’s Bronze Drum (Grand Central Publishing 2022) were exhilarating; it was an easy BOTM pick for me.  Historical fiction, cloaked in myth andContinue reading “BRONZE DRUM – Phong Nguyen”

WHEN WOMEN WERE DRAGONS – Kelly Barnhill

“Beatrice and I walked home in the snow, pulling the weight of my mother’s memories behind us.” “There is a limit to how much we can hold, and how much we can keep in this world. It’s not a good idea to cling to the things you can’t bear to lose. That’s how we break,Continue reading “WHEN WOMEN WERE DRAGONS – Kelly Barnhill”