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 STARDUST THIEF – Chelsea Abdullah

“To him, stories were truths painted over in gold.” “The Sandsea is a rip in the world, made from a fire so fierce it has never stopped burning. That kind of magic – you must stay away from it. Do you understand, Sweet Fire?” Most of us are familiar with the classic One Thousand andContinue reading “THE STARDUST THIEF – Chelsea Abdullah”

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”

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”

THE FORTUNES OF JADED WOMEN – Carolyn Huynh

“Because there was nothing wrong with having Vietnamese daughters. It was how the world treated them that turned it into a curse.” Carolyn Huynh’s The Fortunes of Jaded Women (Atria Books 2022) was a highly anticipated release for me.  Magical realism, historical fiction, Asian diaspora, a matrilineal family saga… I was sold. Now that I’veContinue reading “THE FORTUNES OF JADED WOMEN – Carolyn Huynh”

WOMAN OF LIGHT – Kali Fajardo-Anstine

Kali Fajardo-Anstine’s Woman of Light (One World, Penguin Random House 2022) was a highly anticipated read and yet another example of where my expectations for a book are unrealized.  One could argue that it was over-hyped and that’s why it fell short, but I’d argue that its failings are due to not providing enough fleshContinue reading “WOMAN OF LIGHT – Kali Fajardo-Anstine”

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”