RaveLibrary JournalThis coming-of-age novel by El-Wardany, an Egyptian Irish poet and BBC broadcaster, captures perfectly the uncertainty of life in one’s mid-20s and how easy it is to become unmoored ... El-Wardany’s highly recommended debut sensitively handles rape, domestic abuse, and the pressure of familial obligation. The book’s particular strength is in its treatment of the women’s Islamic faith as each grapples with what it means to be devout. There are no easy answers here, and readers will be thinking about Malak, Kees, and Jenna long after they close the book.
PositiveLibrary JournalWhile the twists at the end are not needed and somewhat spoil what comes before it, this novel from Murphy is ultimately a love story between a mother and a daughter as well as an examination of how trauma shapes our lives and choices. Recommended for larger fiction collections.
Andrea Yaryura Clark
PositiveBooklistShifting from Paloma in 1998 to Santiago in the 1970s, Clark’s debut novel is a compelling story of a time and place that might not be well known to American readers as well as a heartbreaking narrative of generational trauma. Recommended for all public library collections.
RaveBooklistStine has once again written a thought-provoking, harrowing feminist tale that is a natural extension of our current climate crisis. Beyond the prescient plot, Stine’s characters shine with rich interior lives. Like Coral and her art, the characters create love, small comforts, and joy amidst their grueling day-to-day existences. Highly recommended for all fiction collections.
PanLibrary JournalWhile white heteronormative second-wave feminism of the 1970s is ripe for critique, Abeel’s...satire falls short; any valid insights are lost in the repetitive writing and characters who fail to engage readers’ interest. Nonetheless, those who lived through this era might enjoy the gossipy feel of this tell-all novel.
RaveBooklistKinch’s sardonic, world-weary narration is a delight. Full of adventure, magic, humor, and a touch of romance, The Blacktongue Thief exhibits a fully realized fantasy world. From card games to songs to long-ago wars, this world is lived in and awash in intriguing details. Give this to those readers eager for George R. R. Martin or Patrick Rothfuss to finish their series, or to any fantasy fan. Highly recommended for all library collections. This is epic fantasy adventure at its best.
S. Kirk Walsh
PositiveBooklistThe unique setting of Belfast during WWII makes this book stand out, though Hettie’s romantic entanglements threaten to make the very intelligent heroine seem foolish and vapid. Overall, fans of WWII fiction and historical fiction will enjoy this fresh take on the era, and it is recommended for all collections.
Lincoln Michel and Nadxieli Nieto
RaveBooklistIn 1500 words or less, 42 authors of both horror and literary fiction surprise, scare, and confound in this outstanding anthology ... Some have a Twilight Zone feel to them ... While some of the stories will leave readers wanting more of the world the author created, most are perfectly suited to this short form. Highly recommended for all fiction collections.
PositiveBooklistLoosely based on her own family history, Beanland’s first novel is a strong family drama. While the ending tidies each storyline up a bit perfectly, this is a finely realized work of historical fiction.
PositiveLibrary JournalWhile the pace of this debut is slow at times, Benn has created a delightful sleuth, and readers will look forward to more mysteries starring this Jazz Age heroine. Recommend to readers of Carola Dunn’s Daisy Dalrymple and Kerry Greenwood’s Phryne Fisher and all those seeking a period-rich mystery.
RaveBooklistPoet Givhan’s first novel is a unique take on dystopian fiction, weaving the culture of Pueblo peoples into an adventurous, apocalyptic page-turner. Lyrical writing and exceptional plotting make this #OwnVoices novel highly recommended for all fiction collections.
RaveBooklistA poignant and touching account of one woman moving on after great tragedy. Shortall’s American debut does not go for easy solutions but shows how grief manifests differently for those who experience it. Secondary characters in the novel provide necessary comic relief and hope to Grace that life will go on.
PositiveBooklistGamble has crafted an epic tale of antebellum America as seen through the eyes of immigrants. While some plot contrivances mar the otherwise excellent story, readers will enjoy this unconventional family. For all historical fiction collections.
MixedBooklistThe overall plot is fast paced, despite the format: the story is told through diary entries, newspaper clippings, and WPA slave-narrative interviews, which adds some distance between the reader and characters, and the story is bookended with the viewpoint of a modern historian who discovers Garet’s diary. Readers who relish an unusual narrative structure will enjoy this unique take on the traditional western.
Sergey and Marina Dyachenko, Trans. by Julia Meitov Hersey
RaveBooklistDark and foreboding, this fantasy, translated from Russian, is more of philosophical treatise on growing up and the nature of reality than an adventure tale. Readers willing to challenge themselves and slowly digest this deep book will enjoy it immensely.
RaveLibrary JournalDaring adventures, solid worldbuilding, and a sizzling romance make this first book in the Fallen Empire series a winner. Fans of fantasy and romance will be eagerly anticipating the next title in Azarion and Gilene\'s story. Highly recommended.
PositiveBooklist OnlineFour childhood friends make a pact to meet in their home village every year on the same date. Fabio, a photographer, lawyer Marco, and Tony, a doctor, arrive as usual. When Art, the originator of the pact, doesn’t show, the friends worry ... Making his debut writing in English, Italian author Dimitri crafts an emotional tale that is less about hidden supernatural things and more about the things we hide from our friends and from ourselves.
PositiveBooklist OnlineHannah Greene, 30, finally has her life figured out. She is about to graduate from business school, has a steady, long-term boyfriend, Ethan, and a prestigious new job at Goldman Sachs. But when she and Ethan take a road trip to wine country, the thought of going back to the urban jungle of NYC pales in comparison to the fresh air and wine of Sonoma. Luckily, one of the wineries, Bellosguardo, can use someone with Hannah’s business skills ... While Hannah can be unsympathetic at times with her selfish decisions, the eclectic cast of characters rounds her out. Perfect to read with a glass of wine and some good cheese.
PositiveBooklist OnlineBrock uses descriptions of the glamour of 1950s New York, South Beach, and Havana to add sparkle to this quick-paced period novel about a spoiled heiress who slowly learns to see beyond her own privilege.
RaveBooklistEach of the 11 short stories in this collection shares a similar lyrical, hallucinatory air ... Readers looking for happy endings should look elsewhere, as the author does a masterful job of showcasing the danger, both literal and figurative, that women face by loving another person. Perfect for fans of Kelly Link and of Carmen Maria Machado’s Her Body and Other Parties, Joffre’s debut collection heralds the arrival of a new, exciting voice in fiction.
PositiveLibrary JournalAs an updated version of Allison Pearson\'s I Don\'t Know How She Does It for our hyperconnected tech age, this debut novel is funny and smart with an appealing, driven protagonist.