RaveShelf AwarenessDoubles as a family drama and offers potent critiques of the United States\' cold war policies in Africa. Wilkinson\'s narrative skips around in time, adding to the suspense while giving the reader complementary perspectives on her protagonist, Marie Mitchell ... crammed with ideas worth unpacking ... a complex and powerful work.
PositiveShelf AwarenessIn many ways, Golden State is a reflection on contemporary preoccupations about fake news and alternative facts. ... recalls 1984 in its emphasis on surveillance, obsessive record-keeping and bureaucracy, although the sunshine and acres of marijuana fields make Winters\'s vision considerably more attractive ... Winters is an expert at combining social commentary with gripping mystery plots, and the novel never slows down enough to be accused of didacticism. With rich characters, frequent twists and tense set pieces, Winters always nails the hardboiled basics. And even as Ratesic\'s unquestioning faith in his society erodes, it remains a provocative and compelling alternative to the uncertainty that can seem to undergird modern life.
PositiveShelf AwarenessThe novel pushes a relentless pace, with countless well-executed action scenes and an impressive body count ... Zero Sum Game\'s pleasures lie in the protagonist\'s repeated ability to extricate herself from seemingly impossible predicaments, whipping up math-based solutions to gunfights on the fly. In one memorable scene, Russell makes a number of small adjustments, one involving an umbrella, that allow her to eavesdrop on a distant conversation. How? It involves sound waves and, of course, math. In Cas Russell, Huang has created a protagonist with a distinctive hook.
Martin Solares, Trans. by Heather Cleary
RaveShelf Awareness\"...another unpredictable descent into a region of Mexico teetering on the edge of complete lawlessness. It is reminiscent of Don Winslow\'s dark thrillers The Power of the Dog and The Cartel in its emphasis on the miseries wrought by the drug trade, but Solares\'s focus is firmly on the Mexican side of the border ... throughout the book\'s bold narrative choices, Solares maintains a deft touch for suspense. He draws out the threat of violence like a horror maestro until it unleashes in terrible bursts. Solares\'s most frightening ability of all, though, is to give even monstrous characters understandable motivations.\
Roberto Saviano, Trans. by Antony Shugaar
PositiveShelf Awareness\"Saviano and his translator, Antony Shugaar, use the nuances of language to reflect on the culture that produces gangs of violent young boys ... The Piranhas contains scenes of violence that are shocking not just in their ferocity but for the youth and immaturity of the perpetrators. The gangsters of this novel are children who carry out crimes in between rounds of PlayStation ... Saviano paints a portrait of youthful disaffection and misguided priorities, ending in tragedy as daisy chains of violent acts reach their inevitable conclusions.\
RaveShelf AwarenessEmpress succeeds in its mission to impress upon the reader the remarkable character and achievements of Nur Jahan ... According to Lal, Nur has been unfairly blamed for the civil strife that accompanied the latter part of her rule with Jahangir and given little of the credit she deserves. Empress remedies these slanders and oversights while telling an engrossing tale of female power.
Curzio Malaparte, Trans. by Jenny McPhee
RaveShelf AwarenessMalaparte\'s talents as a writer include his acid wit and an eye for detail. In his hands, the higher levels of Soviet society prove just as ridiculous and corrupt as the aristocratic societies of Europe. The tennis matches, affairs, scandals and society gossip that define court life in Europe are conducted in Moscow, however, in a pervasive atmosphere of fear ... Malaparte\'s sense of humor is pitiless, memorably referring to Lenin\'s embalmed corpse as a \'precious crustacean.\' Kremlin Ball is a terrifically funny and entertaining portrait of a seemingly powerful group of people dancing on the brink of destruction.
PositiveShelf Awareness\"What at first seems like an unusual riff on the home invasion thriller evolves into a story that can\'t easily be pigeonholed. Without ruining any of Tremblay\'s nasty surprises, it is safe to say that the four strangers turn out to have very earnest motivations that they believe to involve the fate of the human race. The novel unfolds cinematically, taking place over hours rather than weeks. As harrowing as it may be, however, there is a lot of warmth in its depiction of Eric, Andrew and Wen\'s small family. There is also a surprising amount of dark humor. The Cabin at the End of the World deftly moves between private insecurities and existential terror, poking holes in the flimsy sense of security families rely upon.\
Ethan J Kytle, Blain Roberts
RaveShelf Awareness\"Denmark Vesey\'s Garden: Slavery and Memory in the Cradle of the Confederacy is vital to understanding some of the deepest fault lines in American life ... This is an excellent history of the divergent views of slavery that developed in Charleston, S.C., after the Civil War and that have contributed to deep racial divisions in American life.\
Sam J. Miller
PositiveShelf AwarenessBlackfish City...establishes a dystopian world that stands apart in a crowded field ... Blackfish City distinguishes itself by a number of idiosyncratic touches ... In a dystopic future where climate change threatens human survival, a strange \'orcamancer\' might offer the only glimmer of hope for the inhabitants of the floating city of Qaanaaq.
Bob D. Ehrman
PositiveShelf AwarenessHe offers a survey of many centuries of scholarship on the subject, writing about the merits of certain explanations while rejecting others. What emerges in his account is a measured, grounded, but no less astounding tale of a persecuted religion that swept the ancient world with shocking rapidity.
PositiveShelf AwarenessBerwald excels at depicting the wonder and appreciation she has gained for the strange, gelatinous creatures and the ocean that sustains them ... Jellyfish are fascinating in part because there's so much more to find out about them. In Spineless, Berwald demonstrates that our oceans represent a scientific frontier at least as exciting and promising as space, and posits jellyfish as a prime candidate for study and appreciation.
RaveShelf AwarenessIn his new book, Greenblatt focuses on a much older work of literature: the story of Adam and Eve. Greenblatt is clear-eyed about the ways relatively recent scientific discoveries have for many displaced the long-dominant origin story, but he has 'come to understand that the term "lie" is a woefully inadequate description of either the motive or the content of these stories, even at their most fantastical' ... After establishing the origins of the Western world's most impactful origin story, Greenblatt examines the diverse ways the story has been interpreted over time ... Greenblatt excels at showing how a seemingly simple story could inspire ideas that were frequently at odds with each other, or even with their author's own purposes ... The Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve seeks to remind us why the story of Adam and Eve had such a powerful impact on Western culture, and even resurrects the story's value for present-day readers without the same theological inclinations.