Fiction & Literature Book Reviews

Cut Paste Gone by Lisa  Safran
CHILDREN'S AND TEEN
Released: Aug. 2, 2015

"A well-written, engaging exploration of the maxim, 'Be careful what you wish for.'"
A young girl with a magic pair of scissors makes a collage out of reality in Safran's debut YA novel. Read full book review >
THE HAIRDRESSER OF HARARE by Tendai Huchu
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 1, 2015

"Though at times predictable, this touching debut should not be overlooked."
An uncompromising glimpse into contemporary Zimbabwe through the eyes of a young hairdresser. Read full book review >

THE NORMA GENE by M.E. Roufa
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 1, 2015

"A novel with a madcap premise and appealing characters that does not quite fulfill its comedic promise."
Roufa's debut novel follows the misadventures of a clone of Abraham Lincoln and a clone of Marilyn Monroe as they attempt to evade government agents and figure out what it means to claim their own identities. Read full book review >
MIDNIGHT ON THE MISSISSIPPI by Mary Ellis
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 1, 2015

"Ellis, best known for her Amish series (A Widow's Hope, 2009, etc.), starts her new Secrets of the South mystery series with a pleasant love story but not much mystery."
A newly minted private eye bids to enter the big time in the Big Easy. Read full book review >
CLOSE QUARTERS by Adrian Magson
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 1, 2015

"Prolific Magson's second round for Portman (The Watchman, 2014, etc.) delivers in the clinch, with gripping, authentic action scenes. The stateside segments are distinctly less memorable."
A rugged CIA contractor encounters enemies from all sides when he tries to rescue a State Department wonk held captive in Ukraine. Read full book review >

A Long Way Back by J. Everett  Prewitt
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: July 30, 2015

"A fresh re-examination of race in the military."
Prewitt's (Snake Walkers, 2005) mystery confronts the wages of both war and racial conflict. Read full book review >
IF I COULD TURN BACK TIME by Beth Harbison
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: July 28, 2015

"The fun of Harbison's (Chose the Wrong Guy, Gave Him the Wrong Finger, 2013, etc.) conceit is overshadowed by its clichéd ending."
A wealthy financier, unhappy with her loveless state, hits her head and wakes up back in high school, with a chance to rewrite her future. Read full book review >
CIRCLING THE SUN by Paula McLain
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: July 28, 2015

"Ernest Hemingway, who met Markham on safari two years before her Atlantic crossing, tagged her as 'a high-grade bitch' but proclaimed her 1942 memoir West with the Night 'bloody wonderful.' Readers might even say the same of McLain's sparkling prose and sympathetic reimagining."
A full-throttle dive into the psyche and romantic attachments of Beryl Markham—whose 1936 solo flight across the Atlantic in a two-seater prop plane (carrying emergency fuel in the extra seat) transfixed the world. Read full book review >
THE DYING GRASS by William T. Vollmann
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: July 28, 2015

"Telegraphic and episodic—so much so that it recalls the later work of Eduardo Galeano—Vollmann's saga is a note-perfect incantation. Stunning."
The indefatigable, seemingly inexhaustible Vollmann (Last Stories and Other Stories, 2014, etc.) returns with another impossibly long—and peerless—book, this one an epic study of the Nez Percé War of 1877.Read full book review >
RAISING APHRODITE by Kirk Curnutt
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: July 28, 2015

"The comedy occasionally runs broad and bawdy and the references feel a bit forced (a disastrous Liz Phair concert; an extended conversation about Andrea Dworkin's Intercourse), but Curnutt throws in enough fragile humanity to make Vance and Chloe's mutual journey to adulthood worthwhile."
This comic novel traces the misadventures of a single dad and his teenage daughter as they navigate adolescent and middle-aged angst to the soundtrack of Alabama punk rock. Read full book review >
HOW TO BE A GROWN-UP by Emma McLaughlin
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: July 28, 2015

"Such a cupcake of a book, it feels like you're doing something more self-indulgent than reading."
Ditched by her actor husband, a Manhattan mom takes a job at an Internet startup run by rude club kids with MBAs. Read full book review >
KITCHENS OF THE GREAT MIDWEST by J. Ryan Stradal
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: July 28, 2015

"Food and family intertwine in this promising debut that features triumph, heartbreak, and even recipes."
A young girl navigates a tumultuous childhood to become one of the top chefs in the country in this delicious debut from Stradal. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Sara Paretsky
author of BRUSH BACK
July 28, 2015

No one would accuse V. I. Warshawski of backing down from a fight, but there are a few she’d be happy to avoid. High on that list is tangling with Chicago political bosses. Yet that’s precisely what she ends up doing when she responds to Frank Guzzo’s plea for help in Brush Back, the latest thriller from bestselling author Sara Paretsky. For six stormy weeks back in high school, V.I. thought she was in love with Frank. He broke up with her, she went off to college, he started driving trucks for Bagby Haulage. She forgot about him until the day his mother was convicted of bludgeoning his kid sister, Annie, to death. Stella Guzzo was an angry, uncooperative prisoner and did a full 25 years for her daughter’s murder. Newly released from prison, Stella is looking for exoneration, so Frank asks V.I. for help. “Paretsky, who plots more conscientiously than anyone else in the field, digs deep, then deeper, into past and present until all is revealed,” our reviewer writes. View video >