Blog Type

Bluebird Bluebird by Attica Locke

Darren Mathews grew up in rural East Texas on land his family had owned for generations.  He became a Texas Ranger like his uncle.  When the book begins, he is a little down on his luck.  He and his wife are spending some time apart, and he has been suspended at work.  An old friend asks him to investigate a double murder in the tiny town of Lark, Texas that may be racially motivated.  The body of a black lawyer from Chicago was pulled from the bayou.  A few days later a younger white woman’s body was found.  Darren goes to Lark and finds a mystery w...

Read More

Gather the Daughters by Jennie Melamed

Gather the Daughtersis the haunting debut novel of author Jennie Melamed. It explores the lives of women both young and old in a fictional patriarchal island society in a postapocolyptic America. The island society was founded by a group of male leaders called the wanderers. The wanderers control all aspects of life on the island, controlling access to technology, education, and resources. Female rights are strictly curtailed and summers are the only time of freedom for young girls of non childbearing age. It is during one summer that the young girls begin to rebel against the system that b...

Read More

Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz

Mystery author Alan Conway may be horrible to work with, but his bestselling series featuring Detective Atticus Pünd is keeping Susan Ryeland’s publishing company in business. Ryeland is Conway’s book editor and when she receives his latest manuscript, about two murders in a quiet 1950s English village, we read it along with her. We are just as frustrated as she is when the manuscript of the novel-within-the-novel cuts off just as Pünd is set to unmask the killer. Conway’s final chapter is missing.

To make things worse, the author has apparently just commi...

Read More

The Leavers by Lisa Ko

The Leavers, Lisa Ko’s debut novel, tells two stories: the first belongs to Deming Guo, the young child of an undocumented Chinese immigrant. One day, his mother simply never comes home from work. He is eventually adopted by a well-intended white family, who; try as they might, cannot patch the hurt and loss festering within this young boy. He resents his mom for abandoning him and resents his foster parents for being unable to breach the gulf between his own culture and theirs.

The second story goes back in time to follow his mother Polly, born in a small Chinese village who, ...

Read More

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Eleanor Oliphant is a bit of an oddball.  Her sense of socially appropriate behavior is a bit unconventional and seems to stem from something very mysterious and very bad thing that happened in her past. She spends her free time following a rigid routine consisting mainly of eating pizza, drinking vodka alone in her apartment, and taking Mummy’s weekly phone calls; until she happens upon a musician who she’s decided is the perfect man for her.  

Eleanor is ready to transform her practical and boring appearance in order to land this man, but the whole proces...

Read More

The Marsh King's Daughter by Karen Dionne

This book takes place in the Tahquamenon River Valley in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.  That alone made it a fun read.  The descriptions of plants, animals, and insects is vivid.  Helena and her parents lived in a remote cabin that was surrounded by a marsh.  They didn’t have electricity, running water or a car.  She never went to school and learned how to read from old National Geographicmagazines.  Her father taught her all about nature, how to hunt and gather food, and how to survive in her harsh environment.  She never saw anyone other than h...

Read More

The Sleepwalker by Chris Bohjalian

The Sleepwalker is the newest release by bestselling author Chris Bohjalian.  Bohjalian is a master at creating tightly written novels that are both haunting and mysterious at the same time, and Sleepwalker is no exception.  The book revolves around the very interesting concept of sleepwalking and its profound effects on both the afflicted and their families.  He weaves a compelling mystery around a New England mother and sleepwalker that goes missing and the heartache her family endures while trying to piece together the events leading up to and surrounding her disappearance...

Read More

Music of the Ghosts by Vaddey Ratner

2003: Nearly twenty-five years after escaping the Khmer Rouge as a child, Suteera Aung has returned to Cambodia.

Officially, Teera is there to fulfill the dying wish of the only other member of her extended family to survive the genocide – but she is also responding to a letter she has received from a stranger.

The nameless “Old Musician” who lives at the temple where Teera’s relative is to be memorialized claims to have known her father and been with him in the prison camp where he died. The family had never known what happened to Teera’s father...

Read More

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance

Hillbilly Elegy is a captivating analysis of a culture in crisis—that of white working-class Americans- a demographic of our country that has been in decline for over forty years.  J. D. Vance shares his personal experience in order to give better understanding of the struggles of “hillbilly” Americans and how he overcame cultural adversity and achieved success.

The author, 32, is the product of Appalachia, the Marines, Ohio State, and Yale Law. The son of a drug addict mother who married five times and a father who left the home when he was a baby, Vance ...

Read More

The Mother's Promise by Sally Hepworth

The Mother’s Promise is the latest novel by Sally Hepworth, whose previous works include The Secrets of Midwivesand The Things We Keep. Although she is considered a writer of “women’s fiction,” to do so would be to limit both her own body of work and our perception of what a woman writing fiction can achieve.

The novel revolves around the stories of four women: Alice, whom has recently been diagnoses with cancer, her teenage daughter Zoe who suffers from crippling anxiety, as well as two hospital workers, Sonja and Kate. Although the story begins somewhat slow...

Read More