“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”


“She’d first eaten her father’s salt, then her husband’s; it was time to eat her own.” “If she was this lonely, Geeta berated herself, she should get a damn dog.” Take “Goodbye Earl” (or, more recently, Taylor Swift’s take on the same theme with “No Body, No Crime”), set it in India and change MaryContinue reading “THE BANDIT QUEENS – Parini Shroff”

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”

AGE OF VICE – Deepti Kapoor

Billed as India’s response to The Godfather, Deepti Kapoor’s Age of Vice (Riverhead Books 2023)  is a gangster novel meets political commentary kissed with a romance wrapped in a family saga.  In short, it’s a muddled, confusing thrill ride of extreme violence and unlikeable characters.  Even though a bit sloppy at times and in seriousContinue reading “AGE OF VICE – Deepti Kapoor”


“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”


“I am trying to carve out a story between the macabre and the fairy tale, so that a glimmer of truth can appear.” “There are the goodbyes and then the fishing out of the bodies – everything in between is speculation.” Following the end of the Vietnam War, over 1,000,000 refugees fled Vietnam seeking refugeContinue reading “WANDERING SOULS – Cecile Pin”

STONE BLIND – Natalie Haynes

“I see you. I see all those who men call monsters. And I see the men who call them that. Call themselves heroes, of course.” The story of Medusa isn’t about just Medusa.  It could never be just about Medusa because mythology weaves in and out. The gods and goddesses, the Fates and Greys andContinue reading “STONE BLIND – Natalie Haynes”