A compact, boisterous tale that succeeds in describing the struggle to regain control in life.


A young New Orleanian looks forward to his upcoming marriage while fighting off the temptations of the party scene in this novella.

Jo Santos always finds time to hit the bars. As he lives in New Orleans, the ever present lure of the French Quarter’s venues is a constant enticement, so much so that he even celebrates his quarter-birthdays. (“My half birthdays get wilder. My actual birthday, in August, is like fucking Mardi Gras.”) Blessed with a Mexican family that loves to cook for him and a group of friends who know how to keep the drinks coming, Jo easily falls into gluttonous behavior. He works in retail management, and the boring days give way to boozy nights. But then there is Hope,Jo’s fiancee. She’s a lawyer and often works late. If the party scene is just for Jo and his friends, then Hope is good for comfortable nights at home together watching movies. Planning the wedding keeps them busy, but after Jo goes on one more crazy binge, the relationship is threatened, with Hope feeling unsure that he will ever be able to change his ways. Rosas’ fast-paced tale is a brief one, and a bit short for a novella, but it does dive right into the heart of the protagonist’s intriguing struggle between a workaday life and the hazy club scene. It is a fun, sometimes humorous jaunt into a world of muffulettas and mai tais, with plenty of hangovers and regrets afterward. While some characters are clearly drawn (one uncle looks like Don Quixote), others are among a string of guys with alcohol and weed on their minds. This story could be built into something bigger, but if Jo’s choice is between drinking with friends and settling down, then Hope needs to be in more scenes.

A compact, boisterous tale that succeeds in describing the struggle to regain control in life.

Pub Date: N/A


Page Count: 67

Publisher: Manuscript

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2021

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For devoted Hannah fans in search of a good cry.


The miseries of the Depression and Dust Bowl years shape the destiny of a Texas family.

“Hope is a coin I carry: an American penny, given to me by a man I came to love. There were times in my journey when I felt as if that penny and the hope it represented were the only things that kept me going.” We meet Elsa Wolcott in Dalhart, Texas, in 1921, on the eve of her 25th birthday, and wind up with her in California in 1936 in a saga of almost unrelieved woe. Despised by her shallow parents and sisters for being sickly and unattractive—“too tall, too thin, too pale, too unsure of herself”—Elsa escapes their cruelty when a single night of abandon leads to pregnancy and forced marriage to the son of Italian immigrant farmers. Though she finds some joy working the land, tending the animals, and learning her way around Mama Rose's kitchen, her marriage is never happy, the pleasures of early motherhood are brief, and soon the disastrous droughts of the 1930s drive all the farmers of the area to despair and starvation. Elsa's search for a better life for her children takes them out west to California, where things turn out to be even worse. While she never overcomes her low self-esteem about her looks, Elsa displays an iron core of character and courage as she faces dust storms, floods, hunger riots, homelessness, poverty, the misery of migrant labor, bigotry, union busting, violent goons, and more. The pedantic aims of the novel are hard to ignore as Hannah embodies her history lesson in what feels like a series of sepia-toned postcards depicting melodramatic scenes and clichéd emotions.

For devoted Hannah fans in search of a good cry.

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-2501-7860-2

Page Count: 464

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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A whimsical fantasy about learning what’s important in life.


An unhappy woman who tries to commit suicide finds herself in a mysterious library that allows her to explore new lives.

How far would you go to address every regret you ever had? That’s the question at the heart of Haig’s latest novel, which imagines the plane between life and death as a vast library filled with books detailing every existence a person could have. Thrust into this mysterious way station is Nora Seed, a depressed and desperate woman estranged from her family and friends. Nora has just lost her job, and her cat is dead. Believing she has no reason to go on, she writes a farewell note and takes an overdose of antidepressants. But instead of waking up in heaven, hell, or eternal nothingness, she finds herself in a library filled with books that offer her a chance to experience an infinite number of new lives. Guided by Mrs. Elm, her former school librarian, she can pull a book from the shelf and enter a new existence—as a country pub owner with her ex-boyfriend, as a researcher on an Arctic island, as a rock star singing in stadiums full of screaming fans. But how will she know which life will make her happy? This book isn't heavy on hows; you won’t need an advanced degree in quantum physics or string theory to follow its simple yet fantastical logic. Predicting the path Nora will ultimately choose isn’t difficult, either. Haig treats the subject of suicide with a light touch, and the book’s playful tone will be welcome to readers who like their fantasies sweet if a little too forgettable.

A whimsical fantasy about learning what’s important in life.

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-52-555947-4

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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