Fiction & Literature Book Reviews

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 >
LET ME TELL YOU by Shirley Jackson
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: July 28, 2015

"There's an old-fashioned feel to Jackson's language and setups, but her stories never fail to deliver. For fans of midcentury suspense, it doesn't get much better than this."
Unpublished and uncollected work by the celebrated author of The Haunting of Hill House (1959) and other neo-Gothic chillers.Read full book review >
CROOKED HEART by Lissa Evans
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: July 28, 2015

"A dark, cherishable, very English comedy about not-so-funny times and events."
A clever orphan and his scam-artist guardian—an odd couple in wartime London—explore the space between legally wrong and morally right. Read full book review >
GONZO GIRL by Cheryl Della Pietra
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: July 28, 2015

"A novel that shows our nation's path from refreshing nonconformity to end-times careerism."
This autobiographical novel about a year spent as Hunter S. Thompson's personal assistant contains crazy highs (of course) and many dismal lows. Read full book review >
CROOKED by Austin Grossman
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: July 28, 2015

"A worthy pop-cult amusement, if sometimes reading like cutting-room-floor Stephen King mixed up with a little Boris and Natasha."
Henry Kissinger, dark lord of the universe? Read full book review >
THE NIGHT STAGES by Jane Urquhart
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: July 28, 2015

"Highly satisfying on many levels, this novel will have book clubs basking in its big symbols and abuzz over Tamara's final decision; for when the fog lifts, there are two planes outside: one to New York and one to Shannon."
Grounded by fog during a layover, a woman heading to New York recalls growing up in wartime England and the lover she has just left in Ireland in this thoughtful, multifaceted work. Read full book review >
PRETTY BABY by Mary Kubica
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: July 28, 2015

"This book will give insomniacs a compelling reason to sit up all night."
Things go dangerously wrong when a middle-class wife and mother impulsively opens her home to a homeless teen and her tiny baby in Kubica's sophomore novel. 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 >