This book started off with a great story of a young boy caught in an impossible situation, a black teenager killing a Klansman in self-defense in 1913. The second section, a young woman unknowingly marrying a mobster, began another storyline that intersected tangentially with the first. This was really two distinct stories, both good, but not related enough to be in one novel. It tries to be historical fiction by mentioning historical events, but the characters are not really affected, just referencing them. Even with these niggles, the characters are solid, interesting, and endearing, even the ones who struggle the most to be good, and I recommend it for that alone. It’s really like getting two stories in one, actually. I was fortunate to receive a digital copy from the author through NetGalley.
Intertwined throughout Brazil’s history is this multi-generational story of strong familial obligation despite heartbreak over parental preferences. Amorim is a storytelling force, with his characters responding to historical events. I highly recommend this book for its nitty gritty perspective of Brazil and the dynamics of a family beset by tragedy. I was fortunate to receive a digital copy from the author through NetGalley.
There are a lot of twists and turns in this story of two missing women and a girl. My niggle is that the plot twist came out of nowhere, with no hints to back it up and provide the reader with that aha moment, so it didn’t come across as credible as it might have. Kubica is great at representing the messy, ambivalent, guilt-ridden emotions of human nature. I definitely like her work. I just wish she had led up to her climax more ambiguously, so that her red herring didn’t come across so clunky. I do recommend her for her storytelling talent. I was fortunate to receive a digital copy from the publisher Park Row through NetGalley.
I will read anything by Mary Kay Andrews. In her latest, Letty takes her niece from New York to a little motel in Florida after finding her sister murdered. Letty discovers her sister’s past and a potential romance that she cannot allow herself. Andrews tackles big subjects with a light touch, making this an easy beach read that’s hard to forget. I always recommend her work. I was fortunate to receive a digital copy from the publisher through NetGalley.
Estranged friends Sam and Holly go on a road trip to rescue their sick friend’s dog from her ex-husband across the country. Ann Garvin’s writing feels as though she’s telling you the story right there in person, with all the animation and emotion pouring forth as you sit rapt, laughing out loud, sighing, and crying along with her. Although the humor often feels deflective, it’s generally always relatable, since we all do it. The emotions can be a bit overwhelming if you don’t like to cry. The carefree Summer character comes off as a plot device to move the story forward, which makes her feel a bit ethereal, actually sort of suiting her character ironically, as though she might be Sam’s alter ego. Maybe she was! In any case, I will read anything by Ann Garvin, because she is a fabulous storyteller. I was fortunate to receive a digital copy from the publisher Lake Union Publishing through NetGalley.
I love short story collections. Even if they aren’t all fabulous, there’s always a few that stand out. I feel like some of the stories were a bit reaching to be included in the concept of the title, but one that returns to my memory again and again is the tale of the stranger turning out to be family, and turning out to be just as dangerous as a stranger. If you like short story collections, then this is a good read. If you’re not overly fond of them, it seems like some of the big name authors phoned this one in, unfortunately. I received a digital copy from the publisher Hanover Square Press through NetGalley.
Caroline and Sela are half-sisters, but only Sela knows this. Caroline finds out through a DNA test, and her life paradigm shifts. Sela needs her for a kidney transplant. Strawser is brilliant at portraying the harrowing unleashing of secrets, maintaining tension throughout the story, with a tiny cliffhanger at the end of each chapter that keeps the reader engaged. I highly recommend anything by her. I was fortunate to receive a digital copy from the publisher St. Martin’s Press through NetGalley.
This is a fascinating novel reminiscent of John Irving’s style. Von Palleske introduces us to history we didn’t know we interested in learning about, the art of making glass eyes. Her characters are unique, in appearance–albino twins, and their ability to interact in the world, or fail to interact, as in the main character’s inability to resolve his guilt, forcing him outside the mainstream of society. He feels connected to his childhood best friend for life through this guilt after urging him to climb a tree and the friend falls, losing his eye. There’s sexual ambiguity, unearthly music (the twins), and frenemies galore. I was fortunate to receive a digital copy from the publisher Dundurn through NetGalley.
This is such a disturbing story about how even someone on the school board can harbor the darkest traits, fed by deep resentment, and culminating in mass murder including children. Schechter leads the reader through the childhood and early adulthood of Andrew Kehoe, making one wonder about anyone and everyone who might seem a little off, who might one day reveal himself to be a mass murderer, so prevalent in this day in this country. I was given a digital copy of this well-researched and well-written horrifying biography from the publisher Little A through NetGalley.
This is a nice thriller with flawed characters that keep you wanting to yell at them to stop being so careless. It felt like watching CSI or NCIS renegade agents. There are some excellent scenes, like Sloane getting almost eaten by Big Bill in the pond, but overall. I’d recommend it if you like crime series, though this one at least is a decent standalone. I received a digital copy from the publisher Thomas & Mercer through NetGalley.