Fiction & Literature Book Reviews

BARREN BRANCHES by Laurie Richards
FICTION & LITERATURE

"A stirring historical novel anchored by Richards' acutely drawn female protagonist."
A tragic dust blizzard begets life-altering changes for a Kansas schoolteacher and her family in Richards' Depression-era debut. Read full book review >
THE WOMAN WHO READ TOO MUCH by Bahiyyih Nakhjavani
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: April 15, 2015

"An ambitious effort produces an expertly crafted epic."
A mid-19th-century Persian poetess clashes against old-world gender expectations, religious orthodoxy, and politics in this exquisite tale, based on the actual life of poet and theologian Tahirih Qurratu'l-Ayn. Read full book review >

THE SCARLET GOSPELS by Clive Barker
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 19, 2015

"Perhaps not the best jumping-on point into Barker's twisted universe, but a fun, gory roller-coaster ride for horror fans and a worthy ending for an iconic villain."
Horror master Barker (Absolute Midnight, 2011, etc.) brings down the lights on two of his most enduring creations: the Cenobite hell priest Pinhead and private eye Harry D'Amour.Read full book review >
LITTLE BLACK LIES by Sharon Bolton
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 19, 2015

"In the end, what might have been a searching look into the fine line between mishap and crime ends in a cascade of improbability."
Bolton (A Dark and Twisted Tide, 2014, etc.) offers three different tellings of much the same tale, set in the stark beauty of the remote Falkland Islands.Read full book review >
MAYUMI AND THE SEA OF HAPPINESS by Jennifer Tseng
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 26, 2015

"Tseng explores time and place, isolation and connection, and veers more toward the lyrical than the lurid."
A sense of longing suffuses Tseng's sexy, sad debut novel about a 41-year-old librarian who embarks on an affair with a shy, handsome high school student. Read full book review >

THE CURSE OF ANNE BOLEYN by C.C. Humphreys
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 5, 2015

"Overly long, too convoluted, and populated by fight scenes that prove tiresomely detailed, this novel progresses in a zigzag pattern that readers will find confusing."
In this sequel to The French Executioner (2014), Humphreys mixes old world with new as the saga of Anne Boleyn's severed hand—and the power that's attributed to it—inspires court intrigue, star-crossed love, and witchcraft.Read full book review >
THE LADIES OF MANAGUA by Eleni N. Gage
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 5, 2015

"From the closely chaperoned lives of schoolgirls in 1950s New Orleans, where Isabela was a student, to the explosive insurrection of 1970s and '80s Nicaragua to the sniping artistic world of 2010s New York, Gage carefully and thoughtfully explores the social demands placed on women and the repercussions of submitting to or defying them."
An up-and-coming painter faces the collapse of her romantic life while repairing her neglected relationship with her mother. Read full book review >
THE GHOST NETWORK by Catie Disabato
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 5, 2015

"Artistic ambition, cultural critique, and a revolutionary philosophy drive the mysteries underlying this complex, charismatic novel."
A probing investigation into the disappearance of a rising pop star and the subsequent death of an obsessive fan goes awry in this thrilling debut novel. Read full book review >
EAT MY HEART OUT by Zoe Pilger
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 12, 2015

"A darkly funny, outrageous, and unromantic novel about a young woman obsessed with love."
Gleeful weirdness and vicious satire come together in a debut novel that follows an awful yet surprisingly likable young woman as she attempts to navigate the painful confusions of love, herself, and other people. Read full book review >
THE WELL by Catherine Chanter
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 19, 2015

"Chanter's poetry background is evident, as the beauty of her prose often outshines the strength of the plot, but the story is compelling if not wholly gripping."
An oasis in the midst of a countrywide drought sows more death than life in Chanter's intriguing debut. Read full book review >
LIFTED BY THE GREAT NOTHING by Karim Dimechkie
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 19, 2015

"A promising debut penned in vivid, suspenseful prose that gives a new spin to the classic tale of fathers and sons."
Twelve-year-old Max's father, Rasheed, is determined to give Max everything he longed for throughout his own childhood in Lebanon, but he can't prevent their growing alienation as Max becomes a teenager and seeks out his Lebanese heritage. Read full book review >
THINGS YOU WON'T SAY by Sarah Pekkanen
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 26, 2015

"Pekkanen reliably builds strong, interesting characters, but here, a plot too important for melodrama fails them."
A timely topic—the police shooting of a Hispanic youth—from a bestselling writer better known for domestic dramas. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Gabrielle Zevin
March 3, 2015

A. J. Fikry’s life is not at all what he expected it to be. He lives alone, his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history, and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. But when a mysterious package appears at the bookstore, its unexpected arrival gives Fikry the chance to make his life over—and see everything anew. “Zevin writes characters who grow and prosper,” our reviewer writes, “in a narrative that is sometimes sentimental, sometimes funny, sometimes true to life and always entertaining.” View video >