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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REVIEWED: Whiskey & Ribbons

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 […]

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REVIEWED: White Chrysanthemum

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 […]

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REVIEWED: An Unkindness of Ghosts

An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon (Science Fiction Novel, 2017). This impressive first novel takes the aspects of a very familiar science fictional trope and uses them as metaphor for the exploration of past and present-day injustices. The trope in question is the generational spaceship, fleeing an Earth ruined by human greed and/or stupidity at relativistic […]

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REVIEWED: Sip

Sip by Brian Allen Carr (Post-Apocalyptic Novel, 2017). A winner of a couple literary awards for his short writings, Mr. Carr ventures into post-apocalyptic territory for his first novel. I’m not about to dismiss it as truly bad sci-fi, but don’t expect anything in the way ‘hard’ SF. Sip is more a blend of satirical or maybe even somewhat […]

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REVIEWED: The Floating World

The Floating World by C. Morgan Babst (Contemporary Novel, 2017). This novel focuses on an multi-racial family struggling to deal with Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. The disaster exaggerates and forces them to confront underlying tensions and issues none of them are eager to admit to, let alone confront. Tess, the mother, is a wealthy white […]

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REVIEWED: Feast Of Sorrow

Feast of Sorrow by Crystal King. (Historical Novel, April 2017). This unusually good first novel is a well-researched, discerning and ultimately quite poignant book about life in Ancient Rome. Thrasius, an educated slave with special culinary skills, movingly narrates this first-person tale. While he is a fictional character, many of those he comes into contact with […]

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