Fiction & Literature Book Reviews

A CONTRIVED WORLD by Jung Young-Moon
Released: April 15, 2016

"A contrived world? A contrived book, though, if such a thing is wanted, an inducement to torpor and despair."
Does Korean literature have a slacker-novel genre? If so, here's its archetype. Read full book review >
PANTHER'S PREY by Lachlan Smith
Released: April 5, 2016

"Fans of this estimable series already know that Smith is much better at digging his hero into deep holes than devising plausible explanations for his often dumb behavior or providing clues to the real killer. Newcomers are advised to hang on for one wild ride."
San Francisco public defender Leo Maxwell just can't catch a break. In fact, he can't even cut himself loose from the selfsame villains that have been dogging him through three previous cases (Fox Is Framed, 2015, etc.).Read full book review >

SINEW by John Arends
Released: Nov. 4, 2015

"Though some poems misfire, many in this collection offer thoughtful, linguistically deft perceptions."
These 32 poems anatomize the connections that people both make and miss with themselves, others, and the human condition. Read full book review >
Lord Souffle by Vaughan Wiles
Released: Oct. 8, 2015

"A wistful, brightly imagined tale of a young man on the make."
A young graduate moves from South Africa to England to kick-start his career in Wiles' debut novel. Read full book review >
Impulse  by E. B. Walters
Released: Jan. 27, 2015

"A competent, formulaic romance that could have used a little more spark."
In this romance novel, an independent woman must try to resist a man she's pretending to marry. Read full book review >

Indulge by E. B. Walters
Released: July 30, 2015

"A jumbled romantic thriller."
After their engagement, a couple faces threats as they prepare for their wedding in Walters' (Impulse, 2015, etc.) sequel. Read full book review >
DARK SKY by Joel Canfield
Released: Aug. 15, 2015

"A detective story whose imperfect protagonist boasts endearing qualities just below his rakish exterior."
A former CIA agent tries to prove a dead war hero isn't actually dead and runs afoul of a private security company that may want to silence him in this thriller. Read full book review >
Mr. Right For The Moment by Jewl Franklin
Released: Sept. 26, 2008

"Deliciously crass with a unique focus on men who aren't the one."
After freeing herself from a long marriage marred by her husband's infidelity, a military wife rejoins the dating world only to run across more players and cheaters in Franklin's debut novel. Read full book review >
Darkness & Light by Kyle Hoy
Released: Dec. 19, 2015

"A bold myth with solid worldbuilding, hampered by weak characters and a conclusion that's more like likely to irritate than tantalize readers."
A sweeping fantasy epic that combines magic and mysticism with space exploration and high drama, set amid a primal struggle between Darkness and Light. Read full book review >
Pages in the Wind by Sally Saylor  De Smet
Released: Sept. 2, 2015

"A dark, stirring novel with a riveting final twist whose implications linger well after the last page."
A mystery about the cascading consequences of childhood trauma, as seen through the eyes of a young prison inmate. Read full book review >
Mimadamos by Chadi Ghaith
Released: Dec. 21, 2015

"Wild and meditative, this heady book delivers plenty of ideas, some large, some obvious."
A fantastical debut novel concerns the union of two supernatural entities. Read full book review >
Arrivals and Departures from Normal by Lana Jean Rose
Released: Oct. 22, 2015

"An evocative novel that details the gradual evolution of an artist and a woman."
Rose tracks the development of a confused, creative girl in this debut bildungsroman. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Michael Eric Dyson
February 2, 2016

In Michael Eric Dyson’s rich and nuanced book new book, The Black Presidency: Barack Obama and the Politics of Race in America, Dyson writes with passion and understanding about Barack Obama’s “sad and disappointing” performance regarding race and black concerns in his two terms in office. While race has defined his tenure, Obama has been “reluctant to take charge” and speak out candidly about the nation’s racial woes, determined to remain “not a black leader but a leader who is black.” Dyson cogently examines Obama’s speeches and statements on race, from his first presidential campaign through recent events—e.g., the Ferguson riots and the eulogy for the Rev. Clementa Pinckney in Charleston—noting that the president is careful not to raise the ire of whites and often chastises blacks for their moral failings. At his best, he spoke with “special urgency for black Americans” during the Ferguson crisis and was “at his blackest,” breaking free of constraints, in his “Amazing Grace” Charleston eulogy. Dyson writes here as a realistic, sometimes-angry supporter of the president. View video >