Book Reviews by Genre


Fiction

Contemporary Fiction

Portrait of a Thief

Grace D. Li

Five Chinese American college students try to steal priceless works of art from major museums in order to return them to the homeland from which they were pillaged.

The Sign for Home

Blair Fell

When Arlo Dilly, a sheltered young DeafBlind man, decides to take a writing course at the local community college, he hires a new tactile ASL interpreter who exposes him to much more than English.

When I Ran Away

Ilona Bannister

When I Ran Away is an unforgettable first novel about love – for our partners, our children, our mothers, and ourselves – pushed to its outer limits.

The Santa Suit

Mary Kay Andrews

Ivy Perkins buys an old farmhouse sight unseen after her divorce. Upon arriving at her new home, she discovers that the last family left all of their things, including a Santa suit complete with a Dear Santa letter in the pocket. Ivy takes it upon herself to figure out the mystery behind the letter as she acclimates to her new small town life.

At the Edge of the Haight

Katherine Seligman

Maddy Donaldo, homeless at twenty, has made a family of sorts in the dangerous spaces of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. It’s the only home she has. When she unwittingly witnesses the murder of a young homeless boy and is seen by the perpetrator, her relatively stable life is upended. Suddenly, everyone from the police to the dead boys’ parents want to talk to Maddy about what she saw.

After Perfect

Maan Gabriel

Gabby is getting a divorce after 20 years of being a housewife and having the perfect life with her childhood best friend. Single at 36 and without a plan, Gabby enrolls in a MFA program where she meets her hunky, mysterious professor Colt. Is Gabby destined for another heartbreak or will her connection with Colt unbreak her?

Once There Were Wolves

Charlotte McConaghy

Inti Flynn arrives in Scotland with her twin sister, Aggie, to lead a team of biologists tasked with reintroducing fourteen gray wolves into the remote Highlands. She hopes to heal not only the dying landscape, but Aggie, too, unmade by the terrible secrets that drove the sisters out of Alaska. Inti is not the woman she once was, either, changed by the harm she’s witnessed―inflicted by humans on both the wild and each other.

Everyone in This Room Will Someday Be Dead

Emily R. Austen

Gilda, a 20-something, atheist, lesbian, cannot stop ruminating about death. Gilda stumbles into an interview for a receptionist job at a Catholic church and becomes obsessed with her predecessor’s mysterious death.

We Are the Brennans

Tracey Lange

We Are the Brennans explores the staying power of shame―and the redemptive power of love―in an Irish Catholic family torn apart by secrets.

Infinite Country

Patricia Engel

Rich with Bogotá urban life, steeped in Andean myth, and tense with the daily reality for the undocumented in America, Infinite Country is the story of two countries and one mixed-status family—for whom every triumph is stitched with regret and every dream pursued bears the weight of a dream deferred.

Girls with Bright Futures

Tracy Dobmeier & Wendy Katzman

Three moms. Three daughters. Each with a dream to attend Stanford. With one spot left at Stanford from their elusive private school, these moms do whatever it takes for their daughters to be the chosen ones. But how far will they go to ensure their daughter is admitted?

Outlawed

Anna North

In Outlawed, barren women are cast out of society or hanged as witches. Ada is one of those women. After being cast out from her home and all she has ever known, she ends up joining a group of outlaws.

Fantasy & Science Fiction

Tread of Angels

Rebecca Roanhorse

In a Western mining town, half-blood sisters fight against the ruling class when one of them is accused of a grisly murder.

Spells for Forgetting

Adrienne Young

An atmospheric story about an unsolved murder and a second chance at love on a magical island in the Pacific Northwest.

The Wilderwomen

Ruth Emmie Lang

Two sisters with psychic abilities search for their mother that disappeared five years earlier.

Sign Here

Claudia Lux

A debut novel about a guy who works in Hell (literally) and is on the cusp of a big promotion if only he can get one more member of the wealthy Harrison family to sell their soul.

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Graphic Novels

Green River Killer

Jeff Jensen & Jonathan Case

A graphic novel detailing the hunt, capture, and interviews with the Green River Killer.

Gender Queer

Maia Kobabe

A graphic memoir depicting one person’s journey of self-identifying as gender queer.

Maus

Art Spiegelman

Maus tells the story of Vladek Spiegelman, a Jewish survivor of Hitler’s Europe, and his son, a cartoonist coming to terms with his father’s story. 

Montress: Awakening

Majorie Lu & Sana Takeda

𝘔𝘰𝘯𝘴𝘵𝘳𝘦𝘴𝘴 tells the story of a teenage girl who is struggling to survive the trauma of war and who shares a mysterious psychic link with a monster of tremendous power, a connection that will transform them both and make them the target of both human and otherworldly powers.

Horror

Hidden Pictures

Jason Rekulak

Mallory is fresh out of rehab when she takes a job as a babysitter for five-year-old, Teddy. Teddy loves to draw but soon his pictures grow sinister, and Mallory fears something may be terribly wrong.

Old Country

Matt Query & Harrison Query

Harry and Sasha move into their dream house in Teton Valley having bought it sight unseen. The couple could not be happier until their neighbors bring warnings of a malevolent spirit that lives in the valley, one which, with every season, will haunt them in fresh, evermore diabolical ways.

Beneath the Stairs

Jennifer Fawcett

A woman returns to her hometown after her childhood friend attempts suicide at a local haunted house—the same place where a traumatic incident shattered their lives twenty years ago.

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View by author, rating, or date

How I Rate Books

I provide an overall star rating at the end of reviews. I also conclude reviews with my thoughts on the book in totality.

All star ratings are broken down into the components I consider. These components are different for fiction and nonfiction.
– For fiction: writing, plot, and character development.
– For nonfiction: writing, cohesiveness, and storyline (for narrative nonfiction and memoirs) or organization (for more subject-matter focused nonfiction).

My Star Ratings

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I loved this book. It made me think AND feel. I will highly recommend this book to everyone and urge them to read it pronto.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I really enjoyed this book. It made me think OR feel, not both. I would highly recommend this book to nearly everyone.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

This is your average book, which I enjoyed. I would recommend it, possible with some caveats.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

I thought this book was okay. My overall thoughts can be summed up as meh. I may recommend this book to certain people.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

I actively disliked this book or it was highly problematic. I am unlikely to recommend it.

Historical Fiction

The Diamond Eye

Kate Quinn

Based on a true story, The Diamond Eye is an unforgettable World War II tale of a quiet bookworm who becomes history’s deadliest female sniper.

The Younger Wife

Sally Hepworth

Someone is hurt at a wedding between a 60-something heart surgeon and his new 30-something bride. Was it an accident or purposeful?

Atomic Anna

Rachel Barenbaum

From the author of A Bend in the Stars, an epic adventure as three generations of women work together and travel through time to prevent the Chernobyl disaster and right the wrongs of their past.

Yellow Wife

Sadeqa Johnson

Pheby has lived a relatively sheltered like on a plantation, shielded by the master’s sister and her mother’s position. She has been promised freedom on her 18th birthday, but just before she turns 18 she is sent to the Devil’s Half Acre, a jail in Richmond, Virginia.

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Literary Fiction

Good Neighbors

Sarah Langan

Celeste Ng’s enthralling dissection of suburbia meets Shirley Jackson’s creeping dread in this propulsive literary noir, when a sudden tragedy exposes the depths of deception and damage in a Long Island suburb—pitting neighbor against neighbor and putting one family in terrible danger.

The Last White Man

Mohsin Hamid

Two young white people deal with a changing world after one of them wakes up one morning with dark skin. Soon, others start to change and unrest grows.

Black Buck

Mateo Askaripour

Black Buck is a crackling, satirical debut novel about a young man given a shot at stardom as the lone Black salesman at a mysterious, cult-like, and wildly successful startup where nothing is as it seems.

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Romance

Two Wrongs Make a Right

Chloe Liese

Opposites become allies to fool their matchmaking friends in this swoony reimagining of Shakespeare’s beloved comedy, Much Ado About Nothing.

Something Wilder

Christina Lauren

A daughter of a notorious treasure hunter guides a group of tourists, that happens to include a former flame, on a fake treasure hunt.

Lizzie Blake’s Best Mistake

Mazey Eddings

When food poisoning strikes everyone but Olive and her sworn enemy, who happens to be her new brother-in-law, she ends up on a dream vacation where sparks fly.

The Unhoneymooners

Christina Lauren

When food poisoning strikes everyone but Olive and her sworn enemy, who happens to be her new brother-in-law, she ends up on a dream vacation where sparks fly.

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Young Adult

Fresh

Margot Wood

A vulnerable coming-of-age story about the thrilling new experiences––and missteps––of a girl’s freshman year of college.

Pet

Akwaeke Emezi

In a near-future society that claims to have gotten ride of all monstrous people, a creature emerges from a painting seventeen-year old Jam’s mother created, a hunter from another world seeking a real-life monster.

It All Comes Back to You

Farah Naz Rishi

After Kiran Noorani’s mom died, Kiran vowed to keep her dad and sister, Amira, close—to keep her family together. But when Amira announces that she’s dating someone, Kiran’s world is turned upside down. Not only will Amira start tearing the family apart, she is dating Kiran’s ex-boyfriend’s brother – who ghosted her three years prior.

Firekeeper’s Daughter

Angeline Bouley

Eighteen-year-old Daunis Fontaine has never quite fit in, both in her hometown and on the nearby Ojibwe reservation. She dreams of a fresh start at college, but when family tragedy strikes, Daunis puts her future on hold to look after her fragile mother. The only bright spot is meeting Jamie, the charming new recruit on her brother Levi’s hockey team. But Jamie is hiding something. Everything comes to light when Daunis witnesses a shocking murder, thrusting her into an FBI investigation of a lethal new drug.

Nonfiction

Biography & History

Memoir & Autobiography

Hello, Molly!

Molly Shannon with Sean Wilsey

The memoir of actress and comedian Molly Shannon detailing her childhood through her career.

Bad Fat Black Girl

Sesali Brown

From funny and fearless entertainment journalist Sesali Bowen, Bad Fat Black Girl combines rule-breaking feminist theory, witty and insightful personal memoir, and cutting cultural analysis for an unforgettable, genre-defining debut.

Vacationland

John Hodgman

A nonfiction story collection about adulthood from former The Daily Show With Jon Stewart correspondent John Hodgman.

I’m Glad My Mom Died

Jennette McCurdy

A heartbreaking and hilarious memoir by iCarly and Sam & Cat star Jennette McCurdy about her struggles as a former child actor—including eating disorders, addiction, and a complicated relationship with her overbearing mother—and how she retook control of her life.

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Narrative Nonfiction

American Kingpin

Nick Bilton

The unbelievable true story of the man who built a billion-dollar online drug empire from his bedroom—and almost got away with it.

The Other Dr. Gilmer

Benjamin Gilmer

A rural physician learns that a former doctor at his clinic committed a shocking crime, leading him to uncover an undiagnosed mental health crisis in our broken prison system–a powerful true story expanding on one of the most popular This American Life episodes of all time.

Taking Down Backpage

Maggy Krell

In Taking Down Backpage, veteran California prosecutor Maggy Krell tells the story of the battle against Backpage. Through a combination of memoir and legal insight, Krell reveals how she and her team started with the prosecution of street pimps and ultimately ended with the takedown of the largest purveyor of human trafficking in the world.

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Humor

A Very Punchable Face

Colin Jost

From growing up in a family of firefighters on Staten Island to commuting three hours a day to high school, to attending Harvard while Facebook was created, to hosting Weekend Update on Saturday Night Live, Jost shares how he has navigated the world like a slightly smarter Forrest Gump.

Medicine

Cost of Living

Emily Maloney

In Cost of Living, Emily Maloney examines her experiences with our the trouble U.S. health care system from both the perspective of a patient and a caregiver. In doing so, she examines what the health care system costs us – financially emotionally, physically, and spiritually.

A Thousand Naked Strangers

Kevin Hazzard

A Thousand Naked Strangers is a former paramedic’s account of his decade spent mostly working in a public hospital ambulance in Atlanta. While Hazzard does discuss some of the cases he encountered, this book is about his journey as a paramedic, connecting with others, and finding beauty in chaos.

Science & Psychology

Cultish: The Language of Fanaticism

Amanda Montell

The author of the widely praised Wordslut analyzes the social science of cult influence: how cultish groups from Jonestown and Scientology to SoulCycle and social media gurus use language as the ultimate form of power.

Social Issues

Corrections in Ink

Keri Blakinger

Corrections in Ink is a memoir about a young woman’s journey – from the ice rink to addiction and prison to the newsroom – and how she emerged with determination to expose the broken criminal (in)justice system.⁣

What We Don’t Talk About When We Talk About Fat

Aubrey Gordon

Aubrey Gordon unearths the cultural attitudes and social systems that have led to people being denied basic needs because they are fat and calls for social justice movements to be inclusive of plus-sized people’s experiences.

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