Fiction & Literature Book Reviews

CESS by Gordon Lish
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 31, 2015

"As much a game as a book, Lish's latest doesn't quite track for the plot-driven. Language lovers will enjoy it, though, and it's a sight more challenging than your average morning sudoku."
Noted editor and somewhat less noted writer Lish (Krupp's Lulu: Stories, 2000, etc.) serves up a post-Joycean slice of mannered modernism to mark the twilight of his years ("I'm gaining on 90…").Read full book review >
Mind Over Bullies  by D.K. Smith
CHILDREN'S AND TEEN
Released: Aug. 31, 2015

"Complex, layered YA that easily appeals to adults, too.
"
In this intricate YA tale, teenagers with special skills unite to confront bullying, though they end up fighting crime, murder, and terrorism. Read full book review >

LANDFALL by Ellen Urbani
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 29, 2015

"Though the novel is occasionally unconvincing, its compassionate heart and clear eyes will surely touch some readers."
Along with the levees of New Orleans, Hurricane Katrina breaks open two families of women, revealing—and creating—unexpected ties of the heart. Read full book review >
A Village in the Fields by Patty Enrado
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 28, 2015

"Multilayered, empathetic, and touching account of a workingman's life."
In Enrado's debut novel, a retired Filipino farmworker looks back on his long and costly struggle for civil rights. Read full book review >
Death By Arbitrage or Live Low Die High by Urno Barthel
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 27, 2015

"An extremely clever thriller that dazzles on every level."
This third volume in a series of techno-thrillers pits Chester and Urno's (Death by Tech, 2014, etc.) scientist/sleuth against murderous inside traders. Read full book review >

CANDY CORN MURDER by Leslie Meier
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 25, 2015

"All this musing and fretting pushes the murder, when it finally arrives, into the back pages of Meier's 25th, and the solution is barely a footnote."
The Tinker's Cove Giant Pumpkin Fest turns into a giant pain in the squash for The Pennysaver's intrepid reporter Lucy Stone (Christmas Carol Murder, 2013, etc.). Read full book review >
THOREAU IN PHANTOM BOG by B.B. Oak
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 25, 2015

"Although the story could use some pruning, it provides plenty of vividly presented historical information on the Underground Railroad and Thoreau's world in the 1840s."
A philosopher, a physician, and a free-spirited woman work together to solve a mystery in the 19th century. Read full book review >
THE FOLLY by Ivan Vladislavic
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 25, 2015

"Playful fiction with a corresponding (and paradoxical) seriousness of intent."
A slim, symbolic novel with allegorical overtones by a noted South African novelist and short story writer. Read full book review >
WOMAN OF THE DEAD by Bernhard Aichner
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 25, 2015

"Gory, explicit, and crammed with dialogue that is often profane as well as curt, this tale of a woman brimming with hate and vengeance won't be for everyone."
Bloody corpses and an intriguing protagonist combine to flesh out Aichner's violent tale. Read full book review >
THE NATURE OF THE BEAST by Louise Penny
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 25, 2015

"Penny is an expert at pulling away the surface of her characters to expose their deeper—and often ugly—layers, always doing so with a direct but compassionate hand."
In Inspector Gamache's 11th outing, the sheltering forest around his small village of Three Pines is revealed to be a hiding place for unexpected evil. Read full book review >
IF YOU ONLY KNEW by Kristan Higgins
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 25, 2015

"A powerful, emotionally textured winner."
A divorced wedding-dress designer tries to extricate herself from her ex-husband's new life by moving from Manhattan to her suburban hometown, just in time to see her sister's marriage rocked by a sexually graphic text. Read full book review >
THE TAMING OF THE QUEEN by Philippa Gregory
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 25, 2015

"Although Kateryn's studiousness makes for some dull reading, the pace picks up as her intellect becomes her greatest liability."
By pondering the mistakes of her predecessors, Kateryn Parr, sixth wife of King Henry VIII, manages to keep her head. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Vanessa Diffenbaugh
September 1, 2015

Vanessa Diffenbaugh is the New York Timesbestselling author of The Language of Flowers; her new novel, We Never Asked for Wings, is about young love, hard choices, and hope against all odds. For 14 years, Letty Espinosa has worked three jobs around San Francisco to make ends meet while her mother raised her children—Alex, now 15, and Luna, six—in their tiny apartment on a forgotten spit of wetlands near the bay. But now Letty’s parents are returning to Mexico, and Letty must step up and become a mother for the first time in her life. “Diffenbaugh’s latest confirms her gift for creating shrewd, sympathetic charmers,” our reviewer writes. View video >