RaveBookreporterThere’s nothing that Marisa de los Santos writes that I won’t read. Her writing is warm and accessible, like open arms welcoming us into the story ... Often in books, I’m frustrated when characters don’t talk directly to one another or don’t ask a tough question, but while there are misunderstandings and things that go unspoken, de los Santos lets her characters confront one another. They have difficult conversations, they call each other out, they connect and relate in an active, real way so that we understand when they keep something to themselves ... In true Marisa de los Santos fashion, she weaves a compelling, wisely plotted story with characters you want to hang out with and have as friends. She addresses weighty issues with beautiful prose, and while her writing is elegant and gorgeously crafted, it’s approachable, never sentimental, haughty or pretentious ... earns five stars.
RaveBookreporterI eagerly dove into this new book by an author I love, and she did not disappoint ... honest, mystical and immersive ... the point-of-view shifts are seamless, and we walk alongside each person throughout ... I tasted and smelled the foods, heard the unfamiliar language, winced at the punches, felt the wet, cold, fear and joy, and experienced the visions, miracles and connection to Earth, spirit and humanity. Erdrich shepherds us through humanness at its best and at its worst, ultimately uniting us ... Erdrich’s writing is the kind that makes writers swoon, admire and envy. Her prose and storytelling are masterful and stir that feeling of dismay: How could I ever write with such grace and beauty? Her style is poetic with splashes of humor and wit, and her characters are real humans with complex worldviews, complicated relationships and uneven emotions. They are fully revealed to the reader without authorial judgment. In fact, The Night Watchman could be used as a study in character development for writers --- it’s that deft ... This clever, artful and compelling novel tells an important story, one to open our hearts and minds. If you’re looking for a book that is smart and discussable, tender and painful, riveting and elegant, you’ll find it in The Night Watchman.
PositiveBookreporterCrafted with podcast transcripts and authentically formatted Twitter and Reddit feeds, which were often humorous and provided revealing glimpses into the social media storm between chapters, Barber explores the idea of cultural intrusion into legal, and what could be considered private, matters ... This conclusion makes the reader wonder if the book’s statement on this sort of curious and gossip-hungry behavior in our society is that it’s in fact beneficial despite being hurtful, prying and insensitive ... As a writer, I appreciated the critical decisions Barber made in pacing important reveals and parsing out details that keep the reader questioning and turning pages. She moves the story forward with breadcrumb clues and suppositions until the very end ... dives into the complexities of relationships, and the value of love and connection, especially in the face of tragedy and despair. It is the story of family and sisterhood, trust and loyalty, truth, lies and perceptions.
RaveBookreporterThe Summer Country is a well-crafted, smartly entwined story that is worthy of your time from the first page to the satisfying conclusion. Even Willig’s author’s note is compelling. Willig’s witty voice and poignant style shine throughout the book. With keen observations and nimble writing, she lets readers experience her characters’ emotions, regrets and the range of human feelings.
Maureen Joyce Connolly
PositiveBook ReporterMaureen Joyce Connolly manages unimaginable heartbreak with sympathy and compassion without becoming sentimental. Right alongside her characters, Connolly lets her readers experience their pain and loss, which is the sign of a well-told story ... She expertly weaves the Lakota and Selke cultures into the story, allowing readers to learn about the traditions, values and legends of these communities, which also influence the plot and underscore the story’s themes ... Cheers to Maureen Joyce Connolly on this skillful debut!
Deceit and betrayal, traitors and patriots, con artists and society women, scandal and infidelity, metaphors and symbols - The Glass Ocean has it all. Full of quippy, playful and clever banter, I found myself chuckling out loud at times. The relationship plot lines are terrific stories of push and pull, unreciprocated desires, witty dialogue and clever observations. One such line, another from Tess, stood out and made me consider it: \'It’s easy to love someone you can’t have. There’s no risk in it.\' What do you think? Readers are in for a fantastic read as they join the characters on the final voyage of the Lusitania. \
RaveBookreporterWith a wonderful feminist thread, I marveled at the way Clara in the 1920s was initially more of a pioneer and champion of women than Virginia in 1974. I found myself considering how society and upbringing influenced each woman. In what ways had our culture advanced—or not—in those decades? What informed and shaped women in each era, and those between and since? ... Full of mystery, controversy and history, The Masterpiece is on my list of favorites for this year and beyond.