PositiveThe Dallas Morning NewsWeisgarber...has created a multilayered book that features conflicts both external and internal ... The Glovemaker is well-researched. It weaves in the early history of the Mormon church ... She does so in a way that fleshes out the characters and gives context to their anxieties. It never feels like an info dump. It can be hard to catch the book’s rhythm at first ... The characters’ moral calculations also require some patience; great questions aren’t settled in a paragraph. The Glovemaker is a quiet novel, but a rewarding one. It’s just right for a winter night and worthy of some rumination.
MixedDallas NewsIf Munroe thrillers are high-octane reads, Liars\' Paradox is the next level up. Jet fuel? Stevens pushes the writing maxim \'show, don\'t tell\' to its absolute limit and pares exposition to a bare minimum. So much happens so fast that readers may find themselves scrambling to keep up. One action sequence — set in a nature preserve — was so chaotic that I was a couple chapters down the road before I realized I\'d completely missed the identity and motivation of a shooter ... Stevens has always been able to pull off characters who might seem ludicrous in another writer\'s hands. (Twins trained in espionage from age 5? Really?) Damaged protagonists are her specialty. Readers will find Jack and Jill perfectly plausible. They might also find them exhausting. Or perhaps not. Devoured strictly as a page-turning thriller, Liars\' Paradox is a snappy diversion. The Munroe books often evinced more nuance — about the nature of evil, about life on the margins of society — and that doesn\'t quite come through as clearly in this novel.
RaveDallas NewsThe second half of the book is less a domestic drama and more an inside look at the world of theater, complete with table readings and dance rehearsals ... Poeppel works hard to build sympathy for the foul-mouthed pop star, Carter Reid, as a supremely talented, exploited man-child. But his true gift — his singing voice — can't really be captured on the page, and the portrayal falls a little flat ... Really, though, there's very little that's controversial here. It's a book about an entirely competent middle-aged woman organizing, cajoling, scheduling and strategizing her way through a series of obstacles. That's precisely what makes the novel so delightful.
MixedThe Dallas Morning NewsMcAllister...wants to explore anger and hopelessness that underlie these outbursts, but not in the ways readers might expect ... The other relentless force wearing away at [protagonist] Crawford — indeed, at the entire world in the novel — is what can only be described as toxic masculinity ... It\'s heartening to see a male writer explore the issue with such nuance. McAllister deserves tremendous credit for his perceptive work here ... In the latter parts of the novel, the teacher dabbles with an extreme religious group, a militia occupies part of the town, and a \'public security\' robot stands sentry on a street corner. All of this is intended as especially wicked satire. It elicited no laughter, however. By the end, the book\'s outlook seemed jaded and cynical. McAllister is a writer of considerable skill. But his book lands as the nation has watched the teenage Parkland survivors — earnest and hopeful — inspire thousands to organize for change. The mordant wit over in the corner at the wake — the one with the drink in his hand, cracking wise? Suddenly his jokes don\'t seem so funny.
PositiveThe Dallas Morning NewsMack's financial predicament may feel familiar to anyone who's watched the HBO sitcom Silicon Valley. Shafrir has upped the level of ridiculousness by making TakeOff's product — a 'mindfulness' app — seem particularly useless ... Shafrir makes an interesting and risky choice to show the harassment more from Mack's point of view than Isabel's. The book deserves praise for shining a light on the issue, a pervasive problem in tech. But Isabel just doesn't feel quite as vivid as the other characters, and the consequences for her don't seem serious ... For the most part, though, Shafrir's touch is just right in this debut novel. She's got the excesses of this industry nailed.
PositiveThe Dallas Morning News...a riotous, overcrowded, entertaining blowout of a novel ... Small Admissions contains a very large cast of characters. It was originally workshopped as a theatrical production, and readers might have welcomed a dramatis personae to help keep everyone straight. The book is heavy on dialogue, another clue to its origins ... She juggles multiple plotlines, offers social commentary with a dash of wit, and ties it all up neatly at the end ... Each chapter begins with a section of first-person narration from Kate's college friend Chloe. This device turns out to be more confusing than illuminating. Chloe's voice is not particularly distinctive from that of Kate or the other young women in the novel, so it's occasionally difficult to remember who's narrating these passages ... Readers who ride it out until December will find it's possible to catch the book's loopy rhythm and fling themselves wholeheartedly into the fun.
PositiveThe Dallas Morning NewsIvey chose a difficult path in To the Bright Edge of the World, but she navigates fearlessly. Inside this unusual novel, with its photographs and maps and wildlife illustrations, is an epic adventure intertwined with a story of genuine love.
PositiveThe Dallas Morning NewsGood as Gone distinguishes itself with a nuanced approach to these issues. Gentry has worked with survivors of domestic and sexual abuse, which may account for the sophisticated way she handles women's vulnerability to violence ... So much about this novel is fresh and insightful and decidedly not like every other thriller. It's a letdown, then, when the ending involves an action sequence at Houston's Waterwall Park. The scene feels formulaic ... That concession to genre aside, Good as Gone ranks as an outstanding debut, well worth reading. This is no mere Gone Girl wannabe.
PositiveThe Dallas Morning NewsThe Portable Veblen crosses the line between charming and annoying so early and so often that it could easily end up consigned to the Did Not Finish pile. But that would be a mistake. The novel is full of vibrant passages that practically leap off the page and twirl around the room.