Category Archives: Books Books Books

After Elias by Eddy Boudel Tan

Coen decides to turn the wedding ceremony into a memorial for his groom when Elias dies in a plane crash the week they are to be celebrating. The cryptic last words of Elias haunt Coen, and he delves into Elias’ past to find out why he never spoke of his family. Tan’s tale of a past too hurtful to recall is heartwrenching as Coen learns more about Elias than Elias would ever have told him. I was fortunate to receive a digital copy of this wonderful story of a struggle to love from the publisher Dundurn through NetGalley.

How to Walk on Water and Other Stories by Rachel Swearingen

In this short story collection of tales that verge almost into the supernatural, my favorite is about a woman who transforms her apartment into art that’s mysterious, macabre, and sometimes just plain weird. Told from the perspective of her boring boyfriend, he makes her seem otherworldly, when she is probably mentally ill or neurodivergent, or maybe merely tired of this world. There’s so much going on in these stories. Swearingen is a fantastic short story artist. I was fortunate to receive a digital copy of this collection from the publisher New American Press through NetGalley.

Don’t Look for Me by Wendy Walker

Molly’s guilt sends her running away from her family, inadvertently into a dangerous situation, Angry as she is, her daughter feels something is wrong, and so Nicole searches for her mother. Dear Reader must truly stretch belief at the climax, but still, it’s a good thriller, with lovely ambiguity, a creepy little child, and shattered family dynamics. I was fortunate to receive a digital copy from the publisher St. Martin’s Press through NetGalley.

Comanche by Brett Riley

An old west atrocity becomes a modern day ghost story. Even psychopathic killers have feelings, which a posse finds out after they disrespect an outlaw’s body, pinning his murderous ghost to the site. Over a hundred years later, investigators come to Comanche, Texas, to rid the town a second time of the Piney Woods Kid. Humor and irony abound in this delightful tale of a pissed off ghost. I highly recommend this book for fans of ghost stories, westerns, and cozy mysteries. I was fortunate to received a digital copy from the publisher Imbrifex Books through NetGalley.

A Door Between Us by Ehsaneh Sadr

On the way home from their wedding, amidst political protests, Sarah pulls an activist into the car to protect her, changing her new husband Ali’s destiny, as military police drag him from the car. Sarah’s cousin is with the military police force, and Ali’s sister is a protestor, bringing untold shades of gray into this harrowing family drama unfolding within political turmoil in Iran. Sadr is an amazing storyteller, and I was fortunate to receive a digital copy of her novel from the publisher Blackstone Publishing through NetGalley.

Connecting with Life by Martin Summer

The simple writing style belies the message of how our connection with nature improves our health and life holistically. Summer shares ideas of how to make that connection, ideas that are part common wisdom, part niche urban nature guru, part natural home guide. It’s worth it to learn as much as you can about the subject, especially if you’re not inherently outdoorsy, or have lost the tenuous connection due to work, living environment, or lifestyle choices. I received this lovely book from the publisher Summer Press through NetGalley.

The Subjects by Sarah Hopkins

A mysterious benefactor rescues teenage drug dealer Daniel from his path to prison. The benefactor runs a “school” with unorthodox teaching methods, sometimes with deadly results. Hopkins creates beautifully flawed characters in an impossible situation at an already highly emotional time in their lives. At times belief must be suspended with a strong will, but this is still a story I recommend for its compelling storyline and sympathetic, vulnerable characters. I was fortunate to receive a digital copy of this award-winning novel from the publisher Text Publishing through NetGalley.

Disappear Doppelgänger Disappear by Matthew Saleses

A disturbing tale about assimilating in a country where the president incites violent prejudice, the main character Matt Kim feels himself slowly disappearing. Learning that there are other versions of his girlfriend and himself, he believes he may be transitioning to another dimension, perhaps to the one in which his doppelganger disappeared. Salesses describes the ambiguity of fearing and desiring being invisible, not knowing which could be safer. I highly recommend this novel for the storyline and for learning about different perspectives. I was fortunate to receive a digital copy from the publisher Little A through NetGalley.

The World Doesn’t Work That Way, but It Could by Yxta Maya Murray

This collection digs deep into humanity ensnared in the frustrations of the way things work, with compassion thwarted by bureaucracy, beauty tainted by facts of life, and thus forth. It’s not for the delicate. I highly recommend it for the pragmatic prose and storytelling. I was fortunate to receive this short story collection, reminiscent of the style of one of my favorite storytellers Steve Carr, also for the emotionally hardy reader, from the publisher University of Nevada Press through NetGalley.