“Only rain, not tears, ran down his cheeks. He wasn’t a real boy after all.  He was a wolf, and he cried like one.” Ruth Emmie Lang’s Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance (St. Martin’s Press, 2017) is one of my favorite reads of the year so far, and I almost didn’t read it.  You may rememberContinue reading “BEASTS OF EXTRAORDINARY CIRCUMSTANCE – Ruth Emmie Lang”

LONE WOMEN – Victor LaValle

Larry McMurtry meets Stephen King in Victor LaValle’s genre-bending Lone Women (One World 2023), and I couldn’t put it down. The novel opens with 31-year-old Adelaide Henry fleeing her family’s farm and heading to Montana.  She has a travel bag, a locked steamer trunk, and plans for a fresh start under the Homestead Act.  She’llContinue reading “LONE WOMEN – Victor LaValle”

LEGENDS & LATTES – Travis Baldree

“It was a weapon… Now, it’s a relic. A decoration. Something from before.” Y’all.  Travis Baldree’s Legends & Lattes (Tor 2022) is so freaking adorable I can hardly stand it.  Like most cozies, it’s an extremely quick read.  Unlike most cozies, it’s high fantasy.  The novel opens with Viv, an orc, in her last battle. Continue reading “LEGENDS & LATTES – Travis Baldree”


“Until the lions have their own histories, the history of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.” – African proverb, quoted by Chinua Achebe in “The Art of Fiction,” The Paris Review, no. 139 Lola Jaye writes in the author’s note of The Attic Child (William Morrow 2022) that the novel is her “attempt toContinue reading “THE ATTIC CHILD – Lola Jaye”


“If you have a baby goat, you always lead with ‘I have a baby goat.’” Brimming with Disney references and its own kind of magic, Abby Jimenez’s Part of Your World (Grand Central Publishing 2022) is the sweetest kind of romance.  If you’ve been here for a bit, you know I don’t typically do romance. Continue reading “PART OF YOUR WORLD – Abby Jimenez”

CHAIN-GANG ALL-STARS – Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah

“There’s blood on every piece of here.” Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah’s Chain-Gang All-Stars (Pantheon Books 2023) has been compared to The Hunger Games meets Gladiator meets Squid Games, and it will fuck you up.  It’s a gory, bloodbath to the bitter end with a piercing sneer of a look at the US penal system that doesContinue reading “CHAIN-GANG ALL-STARS – Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah”

THE DAVENPORTS – Krystal Marquis

Inspired by the real-life Patterson family, Krystal Marquis’s The Davenports (Dial Books, 2023) is a young adult, Bridgerton-esque romance set in Chicago in 1910.  The Davenports are an extremely wealthy Black family, and that fortune has placed them in a very small section of the American population.  William Davenport, a former slave, built his empireContinue reading “THE DAVENPORTS – Krystal Marquis”

THE NEW LIFE – Tom Crewe

Tom Crewe’s debut novel, The New Life (Scribner 2023), is historical fiction based on actual events.  Crewe plays a little bit with the timeline and reimagines documented relationships as well as creates new ones.  In the Afterword, he writes “Truths needn’t always depend on facts for their expression.” Crewe is a novelist; he’s not aContinue reading “THE NEW LIFE – Tom Crewe”


“There was a whispering, silence; and on the floor the snow melted to tears.” Alan Garner’s Treacle Walker (4th Estate, HarperCollins 2021) was my final read of the 2022 Booker Prize longlist. Having read it, I’m a bit surprised this slim, little oddity of a novel made the shortlist; but it did, and Garner isContinue reading “TREACLE WALKER – Alan Garner”

THE BONE SHARD WAR – Andrea Stewart

Orbit Books recently sent Andrea Stewart’s The Drowning Empire trilogy in anticipation of the release of book three. (A huge thanks for the gifted books.) Reviews for the first two of the trilogy, The Bone Shard Daughter and The Bone Shard Emperor, have already been posted.  The riveting conclusion to the trilogy, The Bone Shard War, willContinue reading “THE BONE SHARD WAR – Andrea Stewart”