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’ […]Read more "REVIEWED: MEM"
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 […]Read more "REVIEWED: The Poppy War"
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 […]Read more "REVIEWED: Stray City"
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 […]Read more "REVIEWED: RAINBIRDS"
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 […]Read more "REVIEWED: The Map of Salt and Stars"
Whiskey & Ribbons by Leesa Cross-Smith (Contemporary Novel, Match 2018). This fast-rising short story writer’s first novel is a moving, three-sided examination of shattering loss, abiding love and the cleansing power of passions reborn. It is, in a sense, a love triangle–but one unlike any you’ve seen and, despite misplaced (if understandable) feelings of guilt that […]Read more "REVIEWED: Whiskey & Ribbons"
White Chrysanthemum by Mary Lynn Bracht (Historical/Contemporary Novel, 2018). Korean-American Mary Lynn Bracht’s first novel is the compelling, tragic yet love-infused story of two sisters caught up in and separated by the cruelty of modern war. In 1943, Hana is 16 and Emi is several years younger, living in a coastal village on the Korean island […]Read more "REVIEWED: White Chrysanthemum"