RaveBookPageDouaihy...immerses the reader in her hyperlocal New Orleans setting and the murky depths of Sister Holiday’s tormented soul. Her prose is frequently lyrical and often lacerating, her characters layered and intriguing ... Scorched Grace is both entertaining and devastating, dominated by a queer sleuth with a clever, curious mind and a fatalistic yet somehow still hopeful heart.
RaveBookPage... cerebral, character-driven ... In Harper’s hands, Gemma and Falk’s dynamic is a compelling mystery unto itself ... Harper’s lyrically written, immersive and slow-burning mystery serves as a powerful send-off for a beloved character.
RaveBookPageIlluminating, informative and often funny ... Orenstein is an impressively intrepid figure throughout this charming and candid memoir in essays ... An entertaining chronicle of a challenging year wonderfully well spent. Creativity and craft can soothe anxiety, encourage connection and spark joy; Orenstein’s book will do the same.
PositiveBookPage... a mix of thoughtfully explained hard science and colorfully described hands-on adventures (a beachside whale dissection is particularly memorable) ... Thanks to Mustill’s gift for storytelling, it’s as interesting to learn about these experts as the creatures they study. Reidenberg is a particular delight, as is Dr. Roger Payne, whose album of whale song recordings went multiplatinum in 1970. Through it all, there runs an undercurrent of appreciation and wonderment as Mustill gulps down knowledge and determinedly questions whether \'decoding animal communications [is] no longer a fantasy but a technical problem\' ... Wild (and thrilling!) as that may seem, Mustill’s findings offer hope that someday a book called How to Speak Whale might be more dictionary than discussion, more conversation than exploration.
RaveBookPageFascinating and frank ... Butts can usher readers onto [a] more positive path, thanks to its top-notch reportage, assured and respectful voice and invitation to butt-centric contemplation.
RaveBookPageMesmerizing...rendered in finely wrought prose, steeped in memory and thrumming with endless curiosity.
PositiveBookPage... passionate and probing ... Moss expertly and often hilariously indulges his inner curmudgeon when describing the recent influx of moneyed and inconsiderate \'New People\' and rhapsodizing about the city that emerged once they fled the virus’ epicenter ... Moss has created an indelible portrait of a city in transition; it vibrates with eat-the-rich energy and time-marches-on poignancy.
PositiveBookPageFifteen years ago, Ron Ashton rendered a teenaged Meg Williams homeless...Her mother fell in love with the successful real estate developer and was grateful when he agreed to help refinance their beloved home...Alas, he lied about the documentation as well as about his intentions; Meg\'s mom died not long after, leaving her daughter alone to deal with unresolved grief and sudden housing insecurity...But an incandescently angry Meg determinedly clawed her way to solvency one con job at a time, with impeccably thorough research as her secret weapon and terrible men as her favored targets....It\'s an exciting premise, bolstered by intriguingly detailed descriptions of Meg\'s various ruses, compelling character growth and lots of slow-building tension via complex manipulation...Clark has yet again crafted a fascinating pair of women who wrestle with trauma, sexism, identity and whether it\'s ever okay to do bad things for good reasons.
PositiveBookPage... deliciously suspenseful ... Readers will be enchanted by the period charm of Hare\'s ocean liner setting and will swoon as Lena gets to know Will, a Black musician ... Readers will enjoy playing sleuth, racing to figure out who did it, how and why, even as they ponder the ultimate question: Will Lena survive the trip to New York unscathed?
PositiveBookPageJónasson inspires fast page turns via quick cuts among the four characters as they reflect on the past (so many secrets!) and frantically strategize about the present. Mini cliffhangers keep the story humming along ... Spare prose and brisk pacing make for an immersive read that\'s less about the individual characters and more about what they become when they\'re forced together, no longer able to dissemble or hide. Will they work together to save themselves before it\'s too late? Can they? Outside is an intriguing study of isolation, claustrophobia and the particular menace to be found in beautiful yet unforgiving terrain.
RaveBookPageKeenly observed ... Readers will gleefully snort at his hilariously spot-on recollections ... Start Without Me is equal parts acid and heart. It’s a collection of sardonically funny stories about a firecracker of a kid who hadn’t yet found his kindred spirits. It’s a series of entertaining tirades about life’s indignities. And it’s an engaging look at the origin story of a man who, despite years of self-doubt, has finally embraced his particular superpowers.
PositiveBookPage... a cleverly constructed, meticulously detailed, often hilarious epistolary novel that kicks off with an intriguing premise ... Hallett deputizes the reader right along with the lawyers with this approach, which gradually engenders an understanding of—and fascination with—a family-led amateur theater group ... It’s mightily impressive how skillfully Hallett shades in her characters’ personalities and ulterior motives, especially since so many of them are actors and thus adept at emotional manipulation. The layers of revelation are plentiful and pleasing—as is the feeling that, as the pages turn, the culprits and their intentions are becoming increasingly clear. Or are they? A long list of suspects (15 by this reviewer’s count!) and an endlessly shifting mass of clues add up to twists and misdirects that will keep readers a captive audience until the very end of this thought-provoking and deliciously dramatic debut.
RaveBookPage... edifying and entertaining ... Through it all, Williams is disarmingly open about her loneliness, embarrassment (forays into dating, oh my!) and vulnerability. She teaches, confides and encourages—and offers a thrilling account of her debut solo whitewater rafting trip, too. Hilariously, both a portable toilet and a parasol figure prominently in said trip, as well as an action movie’s worth of unpredictable rapids, self-recrimination and stunning vistas. It’s a perfect metaphor for her fascinating, memorable quest to survive and thrive in an often-heartbreaking world.
PositiveBookPage... a compellingly realistic and timely first entry in Tamron Hall’s new mystery series starring the ambitious and fabulous Jordan, a woman not unlike her creator ... Her fiction takes on racism, sexism, media ethics and institutional bias, offering a fascinating inside look at the intricate ballet that is a live newscast ... a promising start to a series sure to appeal to fans of badass women with mysteries to solve and something to prove.
PositiveBookPage... winningly affecting and timely ... Readers will root for the good-hearted and charming Ant as he learns lessons about trust, teamwork and true strength, with some sweet hints of romance thrown in as well. They might learn a new skill, too, thanks to Johnson’s beginner-friendly explanations of the strategies—and fun!—of playing spades.
PositiveBookPage... a gastronome’s delight. It has piquant surprises tucked inside and will leave readers both sated and wanting more ... Tucci is quite opinionated about food. Well-placed \'fuck\'s signify outraged incredulity and offer hits of hilarity throughout.
PositiveBookPageRobinson is as hilarious as ever ... As in her previous memoirs-in-essay, not only is the bestselling author’s work super funny, it’s also enlightening and thought-provoking. Whether she’s offering advice to aspiring bosses, dismantling the \'patriarchal narrative [that] every woman . . . wants the same things\' or explaining why the #ITakeResponsibility initiative in the summer of 2020 enrages her, Robinson’s voice is sure and strong ... a memorable, meaningful reading experience dotted with hits of poetry, anger and revelation ... slip into your inside cardigan (a la Mr. Rogers) and settle in for another rollicking and resonant Robinson read.
James Tate Hill
RaveBookPage[A] disarmingly honest and funny memoir ... Hill writes movingly of the internalized shame and stigma that had such a strong hold on him for some 15 years ... The author is adept at humor in Blind Man’s Bluff and he also deploys finely tuned, often deliciously slow-building suspense ... Blind Man’s Bluff is an inspiring, often incredible story that reminds us of the strength that can come from vulnerability.
PositiveBookPageReaders who enjoy murder mysteries with lots of intertwined plotlines, quirky characters and zany hijinks topped off with a healthy dose of horniness will be delighted ... With her trademark warmth and humor, Jones answers some of these questions and raises even more, nicely teeing up the next installment in Sunshine’s complicated, sexy and highly entertaining life story.
RaveBookPagePlaying with perspective is a Miranda specialty, and she does so spectacularly in Such a Quiet Place, exploring how speculation can transform from idle entertainment to actual condemnation. She also touches on a favored theme of manipulative friendships, as Harper’s persistent self-doubt and empathetic nature leave her vulnerable, coloring her worldview and behavior toward Ruby ... Miranda has created a claustrophobic and suspenseful whodunit—a pressure cooker brimming with a host of plausible suspects, toxic HOA groupthink and plenty of finger-pointing among supposed friends—that ponders the eternal question of how well we really know those closest to us.
PositiveBookPage... atmospheric and intense ... Like the seaweed that lays in messy heaps on the rocky Norfolk beach, the interplay among Griffiths’ appealingly varied characters becomes ever more tangled as the story progresses, making for an intriguing mix of secrets, loyalties and ulterior motives. The Night Hawks will delight longtime fans and new readers alike with its spooky-beautiful setting, layered mysteries and authentically complex relationships.
RaveBookPage... edifying and entertaining ... The author [...] has done impressively extensive research for Super Fly ... But Balcombe is quite serious about flies’ impact on humanity and the Earth, urging more attention to flies’ massive evolutionary success. (One expert \'estimates there are about 17 million flies for every human.\') He asks, \'How closely, then, are flies’ fates enmeshed with our own?\' For those who wish to learn the answer, Super Fly is an excellent and compelling start.
RaveBookPage... epic and exciting ... As the two women’s stories unspool—rife with ambition, desire, triumph and failure—numerous other characters come to the fore with fully realized tales. The book’s level of detail is considerable and impressive, whether Shipstead is explaining airplane mechanics, describing life during wartime or otherwise layering her story over and through history. Her nonlinear storytelling creates a marvelous pastiche of adventure and emotion as she explores what it means (and what it takes) to live an unusual life ... Underpinning it all is a reverence for nature, thrumming in the forests of Montana, the jagged peaks of Alaska and the stupefying ice shelves of the Antarctic. Shipstead’s exhilarating, masterful depictions of Marian’s flights feel like shared experiences that invite readers to contemplate both magnitude and majesty. Great Circle is sure to give even firmly earthbound readers a new appreciation for those who are compelled ever skyward.
RaveBookPageOne of the delights of life in a big city is the chance encounter. For Martha Teichner, one such interaction changed her life, and When Harry Met Minnie: A True Story of Love and Friendship is her heartfelt tribute to that singular experience ... When Harry Met Minnie is often a heart-rending read—humans and animals suffer, die and grieve. It’s also studded with wry wit, meaningful musings on friendship and fascinating insights into the author’s and Carol’s lives and work. Teichner already has fans from her decades at CBS, but she’s sure to gain even more with this lovely, moving ode to the beauty and pain of loving our fellow creatures, whether human, canine or otherwise.
PositiveBookPageGriffiths’ strong sense of place—the sea is sparkling yet unsettling, Aberdeen’s cliffs beautiful yet unforgiving—provides a rich foundation for a cleverly constructed story with complex, memorable characters. Each is granted multiple turns to share their innermost thoughts, from feverish yet fearful interest in their detective work to poignant musings on years past. Through them, the societal tendency to underestimate the elderly is examined and defied time and again ... a cozy bibliophile’s delight of a mystery that turns writerly research and acknowledgments into fodder for pivotal plot points, offers a tongue-in-cheek peek at the publishing business and pays tribute to friendships that transform into chosen families.
Matthew Gavin Frank
RaveBookPage... a work of strange beauty born of personal tragedy. Frank and his wife Louisa’s sixth miscarriage set him on the path to this book—an often unsettling, thoroughly researched, poetically expressed mélange of memoir, historical analysis and philosophical meditation ... The narrative’s path is not linear; instead, Frank follows the flow of his prodigious curiosity ... Suspense builds as the pages turn. Betwixt and between, there’s much to marvel at, from the far-reaching aftermath of diamond mining to the ways old memories have a hold on us. Readers will empathize with Frank’s efforts to process his grief and with Diamond Coast residents’ search for glints of hope in a grim desert. Through it all, pigeons soar in the sky and alight on the ground, offering companionship, a particular set of skills and thought-provoking fodder for metaphor.
RaveBookPageTrauma underpins so many of the characters’ reactions and decisions in Every Waking Hour, and Schaffhausen addresses it with fascinating detail and great empathy, drawing on her background in neuroscience and Ph.D. in psychology. It all makes for a compelling countdown to a surprising resolution (several of them, really—there are numerous intriguing threads for reader-sleuths to follow). This book is the fourth Ellery Hathaway title, and the gasp-inducing goings-on in its final pages are sure to prime fans for yet another skillfully crafted, suspenseful installment.
PositiveBookPage... a wild international caper that’s at once nerve-wracking and fascinating in its extreme peril and layered complexity ... Lindsay does an excellent job of building toward the solution via masterful feats of planning, costuming, social engineering and a well-placed felony (or several). Readers travel to various spots around the globe as Riley races to complete the job, protect his loved ones and live to steal another day. This frequently funny, always inventive, often quite dark thriller will delight fans of Lindsay’s bestselling Dexter series and the hit TV show it inspired.
RaveBookPage... an imaginative, funny, intriguing novel ... Williams ushers readers back and forth in time as Peter and Mallory wrangle with capricious office politics, unresolved romantic feelings and the assorted indignities of being human, often to hilarious effect. The author has a gift for writing set pieces and inner monologues that at first seem quotidian and then gradually spiral—or soar—into delightful absurdity ... In The Liar’s Dictionary, Williams has created a supremely entertaining and edifying meditation on how language records and reflects how we see the world, and what we wish it could be.
PositiveBookPageThe Man in the Microwave Oven is an entertaining, often outright funny mystery that winningly combines traditional and modern methods of crime-solving, ponders whether it’s ever acceptable to lie and warmly conveys the value of friendship and family even as dead bodies turn up all over town.
PositiveBookPageJohnston has once again created a heroine who’s as smart and savvy as she is badass. He lays a complex trail of clues, hazards and betrayals as Bridge goes undercover to track down the mole and ends up in tense interrogations, edge-of-your-seat chases and action-packed fights to the possible death. Can she unearth the mole before something terrible happens? Readers will thrill to the chase in this kickoff to a techno-thriller series that has at its center a hacker with a heart of gold—and nerves of steel.
PositiveBookPageMaroney’s thoroughness renders The Modern Detective a textbook of sorts ... a helpful resource for those concerned about their personal or professional security ... instructive for anyone who wants to increase their privacy, protect their assets...or perhaps make a clean getaway.
RaveBookPage... imaginative and witty ... Through some hilariously masterful manipulation, the group unearths clues and teases out witness testimony ... Osman’s careful attention to the realities of life in a retirement village ensures that The Thursday Murder Club is a compassionate, thoughtful tribute to a segment of the population that’s often dismissed and ignored. It’s also an excellent example of the ways in which a murder mystery can be great fun.
RaveBookPage...a beautifully crafted, unblinkingly honest, often darkly funny lament for a loving family that never was. The author’s mother was a cruel and abusive narcissist, her father an enabler and Laveau-Harvie and her younger sister the casualties of their parents’ twisted way of inhabiting the world. ... Their six-year journey of navigating endless health care bureaucracy while revisiting familial pain makes for an engrossing and fascinating read, one that moves with the ebbs and flows of Laveau-Harvie’s supressed, impressionistic memories ... Through this protective gauzy \'fog\' beams the author’s light: an unflinching and empathetic memoir of the collision between past trauma and new outrage, dotted with precious moments of rueful levity and fleeting beauty.
RaveBookPageRooney takes her gift for inhabiting fascinating real-life figures in an exciting new direction ... Rooney provides historical context that is at once sweeping and specific, and her affinity for research is evident in details both lovely and harrowing ... Rooney makes a strong case for considering alternatives to war, pondering who we call heroes and why, and offering animals more empathy and respect. This is a creative, heartfelt, edifying reimagining of an important event in World War I history, as seen through the eyes of two extraordinary individuals.
PositiveBookPage... a smart, thoughtful, sometimes vulnerable, always witty collection of essays. Some are new, some previously published, and together they offer an overview of a very special life so far ... Lippman is aware of and thankful for said specialness, and she acknowledges her good fortune often ... With its \'gleefully honest\' hits of humor and willingness to take a close look at some discomfiting truths, it will come as no surprise to Lippman’s fans that My Life as a Villainess is an engaging read—an intrepid investigation of the author’s inner landscape and a raucous, no-holds-barred visit with that friend you admire for her candor, passion and unabashed nostalgia for 1980s fashion.
PositiveBookPageHere, he hits the road again, this time turning his critical and clever eye on enduring stories about strange beasts, alien visitors and other oddities. In this compelling historical and cultural analysis of human nature, in terms of where myths come from and why they persist, Dickey cites the historians, credible or otherwise, who have made conspiracy theories and UFOs their life’s work, and shares his take on their motives and popularity ... engaging and impressively researched.
RaveBookPage... the author puts a fresh, clever spin on horror tropes, this time with echoes of The Amityville Horror and The Haunting of Hill House. And he amps up the tension by alternating chapters of Ewan’s book with Maggie’s musings, thus putting the past and present on a collision course that readers can, but our heroine cannot, see. Home Before Dark is a compelling and layered mix of taut psychological suspense, genuinely scary haunted-house terrors and the vagaries of memory, capped off with an inventive and satisfyingly wild ending.
RaveBookPageStep by suspenseful step, Miranda lays a path for readers to follow as Olivia tries to separate dreams and reality, fear and fact—with a tenacious local detective not far behind ... a creepy, compelling portrait of a life forever warped by unwanted fame, a timely theme in this era of internet celebrity and the fall from grace that often follows ... It’s a shivery kind of fun to wonder along with Olivia whether those close to her should be trusted or feared, and to urge her on as she races to unravel the past without unraveling her sanity. She may have been rescued all those years ago, but now, only she can save herself.
RaveBookPageYoung has crafted a story that begins with a horrific discovery and expands to explore the weight of familial obligation, the far-reaching devastation of drug addiction and the ways in which guilt and boredom can curdle into something much more sinister ... The suspense is slow and steady in this meditative, artistic take on the murder mystery—the author’s language is poetic, and her contemplation of the corrosiveness of suppressed emotion is both sympathetic and impatient: When will people learn? This is an unusual, compelling portrait of a people and a place where the future always seems impossibly far away.
RaveBookPage... a delicious thrill ride of a read. It’s got swapped identities, minute-by-minute suspense, shadowy figures, murder mystery and enough twists and coincidences to make things exciting yet frighteningly realistic ... a suspenseful, timely tale about smart, strong women who support one another in their determination to not just survive, but also thrive, uncertainty and risk be damned.
PositiveBookPageFlashbacks and flash-forwards are understandably tricky, especially among multiple eras, but Spencer-Fleming handles them with skill and ease, using secrets and revelations alike to ramp up the suspense and create a chain of investigation and mentorship among the police chiefs of each successive generation ... She also writes with compassion for those who struggle, whether with PTSD, financial strain or, like Clare, finding a satisfying balance between nervous new motherhood and a demanding job ... lets readers spend time inside the marriage of two beloved characters and follow along as they race against time to solve a confounding murder case that is threatening Millers Kill’s sense of unity and safety. The author also explores PTSD among returning veterans, small-town politics, class conflict, gender identity, religion and more in this multifaceted exploration of community and crime in a small town ... an exciting return to a beloved series, as well as an intriguing entry point for readers new to the world of Russ, Clare and Millers Kill.
RaveBookPage... engrossing and powerful ... The novel is written in alternating timelines and perspectives, with well-researched nods to the 1970s-1980s Manhattan art scene and keenly felt deep dives into Miranda’s unraveling mental state as she contends with her husband’s increasing jealousy and resentment...Sligar prompts readers to muse on the ways in which artists often suffer greatly for their creations, especially if they are women. She also, with great empathy, explores the potentially devastating effects of untreated mental illness and the downsides of ambition, success and fame ... rife with fascinating dichotomies—gossip is corrosive but sometimes useful; trauma is torturous but may inspire powerful art; success is desirable but exhausting to maintain—and offers a fresh look at the legacies we leave behind, in all their painful and powerful humanity.
RaveBookPageIn the last 30 years, instances of autoimmune illnesses have tripled, and our medical system has not yet developed a respectful, effective way of working with such patients. Instead, skepticism and dismissiveness (the classic it’s-all-in-your-head response) is the norm, writes Ramey, and people, predominantly women, are staying sick ... Ramey’s angry about that, and she explains why with intelligence, humor and impressively thorough and far-ranging research ... a stirring and inspiring rallying cry, an engaging and often harrowing personal story...and an eminently worthwhile read.
PositiveBookPageHammer has crafted a story that will fascinate readers craving a dramatic true tale of confident criminals, denizens of shadowy underworlds and the law enforcers who strive to catch and punish them ... Hammer’s exploration of the factors that culminated in egg trafficking is thorough and fascinating, offering context and entertainment alike ... Hammer paints a vivid portrait of the thrill of the chase and the long-term relationship between criminal and police officer—both of them smart and daring, neither of them willing to give up. The Falcon Thief also shines a light on the world of wildlife crime: its perpetrators, addicted to their pursuits; its wealthy and Machiavellian masterminds; and our heroes, who work toward ensuring that all creatures are safe from the greedy and devious few. Ultimately, this book is a fine tribute to McWilliam and to others dedicated to conservation, and a compelling deep dive into the psyche of a very specific sort of criminal.
PositiveBookPageShariatmadari thoughtfully addresses the roles of politics, power and geography regarding how we speak, as well as which languages are considered valuable (or not) ... Don’t Believe a Word is a heartfelt and illuminating starting point on the path to that understanding.
PositiveBookPageComedy nerds and curious newbies alike will LOL at the improv-infused Crying Laughing ... Thanks to his own comedy chops, Lance Rubin expertly explains the aforementioned games as Winnie masters them. Readers will cheer her on even as they cringe-laugh sympathetically. Crying Laughing offers insight into why it can be good to be unfunny, and gently but firmly advocates for facing up to feelings, even scary ones. Winnie’s rapid-fire internal voice and awkward dating experiences are a hoot, and her relationships are infused with compassion and nuance ... This sweet and appealing story celebrates kindness, wit, perseverance.
PositiveBookPageGallay describes British forays into Ireland, North America and South America in extensive, sometimes suspenseful, detail, and takes an in-depth look at the politics behind Ralegh’s imprisonments in the Tower of London and his eventual punishment by death ... Gallay has crafted a richly detailed portrait of a courtier, poet, author and alchemist who, he argues, should inspire readers to approach history from a different angle.
RaveBookPageMcPherson ramps up the tension with ever more creative revelations and twists that will have readers eager to see what on earth is coming next. It’s a fascinating study of what can happen when we suppress our instincts or aren’t sure who to trust, and a delightfully torturous day-by-day recounting of the aftermath of a life-changing lie: everyone seems suspicious, using the proper verb tense is suddenly crucial and eccentricity begins to feel a lot more sinister. Fans of McPherson’s award-winning work...will relish whipping right through Strangers at the Gate, guessing and gasping all the way.
PositiveBookPageThis is not a typical realizing-your-parents-are-flawed story, to be sure, and debut author Daniel Nieh really goes for it, packing in action, suspense, drama, plus some humor and sexiness, too. The author’s background in Chinese-English translation serves him well, as skillfully employed language throughout evokes Victor’s ties to his Chinese heritage ... [an] entertaining, colorful debut.
PositiveBookPageAn edifying, entertaining read filled with adventure, suspense, history and romance, When We Left Cuba is a thought-provoking look at the ways in which politics can be intensely personal.
PositiveBookPage\"... an intriguing, entertaining and occasionally gruesome mashup of mystery, biography, history and literary intrigue ... A fascinating, exhaustively researched exploration into how art can influence society and vice versa, Murder by the Book: The Crime That Shocked Dickens’s London turns an unflinching eye to the ways in which biases born of economic inequality affect the way crimes are investigated and prosecuted. It’s a true crime devotee’s delight.\
Vero Cazot and Julie Rocheleau
RaveBookPageThe artwork is vibrant and kinetic, and its depiction of goings-on both fantastical and reality-bound is detailed and eminently appealing. About Betty’s Boob is an inspiring, entertaining story of pain and grief transformed into joyful self-acceptance—societal expectations be damned.