BOOK REVIEW: What We Were Promised

What We Were Promised by Lucy Tan (Contemporary Novel, 2018). This touching first novel features vivid characters interacting with the hopes and contradictions of our multicultural world, as well as universal the joys, challenges, contradictions and heartbreaks of modern family life. Wei and Lina Zhen grew up in a small town in the China of the […]

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REVIEWED: MEM

MEM by Bethany C. Morrow (Alternate History SF Novel, 2018). In this version of the 1920’s, we’re a couple decades into an odd new technology where doctors can remove selected memories from patients. In the process, these memories are brought to a separate life. These artificially created people, called ‘Mems,’ are exact duplicates of their ‘Sources’ […]

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REVIEWED: The Poppy War

The Poppy War by R. F. Kuang (Fantasy Novel, 2018). Like many writers, this first-time fantasy novelist has drawn on elements of a real-life subject she knows about (in this case, Chinese history and mythology) as inspiration for an imaginary world series. There’s nothing wrong with that, yet I must confess to some slight ambivalence in […]

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REVIEWED: Stray City

Stray City by Chelsey Johnson (Contemporary Novel, 2018). In the last months of the 20th century, Andrea Morales is a 20-something artist who has left behind her very conventional Midwestern Catholic upbringing for life as part of the thriving and politically active lesbian community of Portland, Oregon. Most of her associates, friends and lovers are (like […]

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REVIEWED: RAINBIRDS

Rainbirds by Clarissa Goenawan (Contemporary Novel, 2018). Ren Ishida heard of his sister’s violent and mysterious death just after finishing his graduate degree at one of the top universities in Japan. Keiko was long-estranged from the rest of the family, though she spoke to Ren through weekly phone calls. She’d been living in a smallish town […]

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REVIEWED: The Map of Salt and Stars

The Map of Salt and Stars by Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar (Novel, 2018). Whether it’s the mood of the country/world, various authors responding to what’s in the news or just plain coinicidence, I’ve noted several recurrent themes in novels (and even nonfiction books) I’ve been reading. For one thing, I’ve been encountering plots involving women in either […]

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