A triumph.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2021

  • National Book Award Winner

WINTER IN SOKCHO

An atmospheric novel about an independent young woman in a South Korean beach town.

Dusapin's debut novel depicts a young biracial Korean woman living and working in a small guesthouse in Sokcho, South Korea, a beach town 60 km from the North Korean border. When a mysterious middle-aged Frenchman named Yan Kerrand arrives, off-season, in the midst of the winter slump, the woman is intrigued. She has never met her father, a Frenchman who left her mother after a brief affair, but has studied French language and literature in school and dreams of traveling to the country someday. The novel unfolds in brief vignettelike chapters that reveal the unnamed woman's daily life. After work, she visits her mother, who works in the fish market and is renowned for her delicious octopus soondae. Despite pressure to marry, the young woman is ambivalent about her long-distance relationship with her boyfriend, Jun-oh, an aspiring model in Seoul. Dusapin's novel avoids clichés in the woman's developing relationship with the lonely foreigner, who turns out to be an internationally renowned graphic novelist looking for inspiration for a new book. The woman observes the man and never looks at him as a savior or stereotypical lover. Instead, Dusapin depicts a fiercely intelligent, independent woman who longs to be seen clearly for who she is and the choices she has made, including leaving Seoul to help her aging mother. Higgins' exquisite translation from the French original is a pleasure to read. The descriptions of daily life in the titular town are beautiful, elliptical, and fascinating, from the fish markets near the beach to soju-drenched dinners in local bistros to a surreal glimpse of a museum on the DMZ. Dusapin, who like her protagonist is of French and Korean heritage, has won several awards for her novel in Switzerland, where she lives, including the Prix Robert-Walser and the Prix Régine Desforges.

A triumph.

Pub Date: April 27, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-948830-41-6

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Open Letter

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Hits the marks for spooky thrills and mysterious chills.

BOOK OF NIGHT

A former thief who specialized in stealing magical documents is forced back into her old habits in Black's adult debut.

Charlie Hall used to work as a thief, stealing for and from magicians—or rather, “gloamists.” In this world, gloamists are people with magical shadows that are alive, gaining strength from the gloamists' own blood. A gloamist can learn to manipulate the magic of their shadow, doing everything from changing how it looks to using it to steal, possess a person, or even murder. Gloamists hire nonmagical people like Charlie to steal precious and rare magical documents written by their kind throughout history and detailing their research and experiments in shadow magic. Gloamists can use onyx to keep each other from sending shadows to steal these treasures, but onyx won't stop regular humans from old-fashioned breaking and entering. After Charlie’s talent for crime gets her into too much trouble, she swears off her old career and tries to settle down with her sensible boyfriend, Vince—but when she finds a dead man in an alley and notices that even his shadow has been ripped to pieces, she can’t help trying to figure out who he was and why he met such a gruesome end. Before she knows it, Charlie is forced back into a life of lies and danger, using her skills as a thief to find a book that could unleash the full and terrifying power of the shadow world. Black is a veteran fantasy writer, which shows in the opening pages as she neatly and easily guides the reader through the engrossing world of gloamists, magical shadows, and Charlie’s brand of criminality. There's a lot of flipping back and forth between the past and the present, and though both timelines are well plotted and suspenseful, the story leans a touch too hard on the flashbacks. Still, the mystery elements are well executed, as is Charlie’s characterization, and the big twist at the end packs a satisfying punch.

Hits the marks for spooky thrills and mysterious chills.

Pub Date: May 3, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-81219-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Tor

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

With captivating dialogue, angst-y characters, and a couple of steamy sex scenes, Hoover has done it again.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 10

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • IndieBound Bestseller

REMINDERS OF HIM

After being released from prison, a young woman tries to reconnect with her 5-year-old daughter despite having killed the girl’s father.

Kenna didn’t even know she was pregnant until after she was sent to prison for murdering her boyfriend, Scotty. When her baby girl, Diem, was born, she was forced to give custody to Scotty’s parents. Now that she’s been released, Kenna is intent on getting to know her daughter, but Scotty’s parents won’t give her a chance to tell them what really happened the night their son died. Instead, they file a restraining order preventing Kenna from so much as introducing herself to Diem. Handsome, self-assured Ledger, who was Scotty’s best friend, is another key adult in Diem’s life. He’s helping her grandparents raise her, and he too blames Kenna for Scotty’s death. Even so, there’s something about her that haunts him. Kenna feels the pull, too, and seems to be seeking Ledger out despite his judgmental behavior. As Ledger gets to know Kenna and acknowledges his attraction to her, he begins to wonder if maybe he and Scotty’s parents have judged her unfairly. Even so, Ledger is afraid that if he surrenders to his feelings, Scotty’s parents will kick him out of Diem’s life. As Kenna and Ledger continue to mourn for Scotty, they also grieve the future they cannot have with each other. Told alternatively from Kenna’s and Ledger’s perspectives, the story explores the myriad ways in which snap judgments based on partial information can derail people’s lives. Built on a foundation of death and grief, this story has an undercurrent of sadness. As usual, however, the author has created compelling characters who are magnetic and sympathetic enough to pull readers in. In addition to grief, the novel also deftly explores complex issues such as guilt, self-doubt, redemption, and forgiveness.

With captivating dialogue, angst-y characters, and a couple of steamy sex scenes, Hoover has done it again.

Pub Date: Jan. 18, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5420-2560-7

Page Count: 335

Publisher: Montlake Romance

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

Did you like this book?

more