The Altruists by Andrew Ridker

The Altruists by Andrew Ridker

Sardonically titled, the only true altruist dies in the beginning, setting her husband and two adult children spiraling downward. Each is in crisis, searching for how to live. All are blind to themselves but quick to point out hypocrisy and self-indulgence in others. It makes for challenging relationships. Written with mocking humor, we watch the […]


I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes with Death by Maggie O’Farrell

I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes with Death by Maggie O’Farrell

It is a mystery to me that the author, who is celebrating her survival into her 40’s despite bad decisions that could have led to her drowning twice, strangulation by a stranger, deathly childhood illness, car accidents, robbery with deadly weapons and more, has titled her book with a quote from Sylvia Plath, the poet […]


This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel

This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel

Rosie, a doctor and mother of four boys, does everything she can think of-scientifically and superstitiously- in order to ensure her fifth child is a girl. Of course, she and her husband instantly fall in love with their new baby boy, Claude. However, when Claude is three, he says he wants to wear dresses and […]


Hardscrabble

Hardscrabble

2019 Wrangler Award for Outstanding Juvenile Book Winner 2019 Spur Award – Western Writer’s of America Finalist  This is a nicely plotted,  heartfelt Middle Grade Western looks into the lives of folks homesteading in 1910 Colorado. Belle Martin is 12 years old and excited about the adventure of trying to farm the Colorado prairie. But […]


Improvement by Joan Silber

Improvement by Joan Silber

Silber’s lively writing style is a pleasure to read in her patchwork novel about how actions of others and acts of fate can improve us, or, in some cases be disastrous. Rayna, single mom, loves Boyd, a good guy with a record. Rayna’s aunt Kiki has a colorful past but now settled, worries about Rayna’s […]


kaddish.com by Nathan Englander

kaddish.com by Nathan Englander

Larry is the fallen-away son in a very Orthodox Jewish family. When his father dies, the clan gathers at his sister’s house to sit shivah, the seven-day mourning period. The whole scene is just torture for poor Larry, who professes no patience for what he considers mere superstition. When he is informed that as the […]


The Song for a Whale

The Song for a Whale

Cool story about Iris, a deaf girl named after a whale. Iris has strong tech skills (she repairs antique radios for pocket money) but she’s main streamed in a school with no deaf students and feels frustration at being alone. Then she learns about a whale (Blue 55) who communicates in a different frequency from […]


The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck

The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck

Gentler than I expected, this is the story of a morally upright German woman whose husband was one of a band of conspirators who tried unsuccessfully to assassinate Hitler. She promised at the time to take care of the wives and children if their husbands did not survive the attempt. Marianne lives with her children […]


The Preacher by Camilla Läckberg

The Preacher by Camilla Läckberg

It’s a very hot summer in the Swedish vacation town of Fjällbacka. Campers, golfers, boaters and tourists flock to the town to enjoy the short, sunny season. When the body of a young woman is found buried near some coastal rock formations, and then two more skeletons are found buried just below her, the tiny, […]


The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

I don’t often read novels in verse. They aren’t my thing, but Elizabeth Acevedo’s debut novel, “The Poet X,” is making think I have been missing out.  Acevedo tells the story of Xiomara who feels ignored at home and school, but is also the target unwanted attention from both her classmates and mother. The boys […]