Image of a girl in a dress surrounded by trees and monsters at the bottom with a golden city at the top on the other side of a wall. Text says "The scariest monsters are the human-shaped ones. Genoveva Demova FOUL DAYS." Cover blurb text: "'A fresh, gritty world bursting with wonderful characters–and monsters galore!'-Allison Saft."

Foul Days

FOUL DAYS rating: four stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐. Set in Chernograd, Bulgaria, FOUL DAYS by Genoveva Dimova (Tor/Macmillan, June 25, 2024) is a fantasy novel with a sassy, rough-and-tumble urban feel (think the Six of Crows duology by Leigh Bardugo). Chernograd is split by a Wall in which an evil magical creature is trapped, making passage next […]

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Pymphomania

I defy you to figure out why British author Barbara Pym (1913-1980) is so darned good. Pym seems to be writing about nothing much at all, and yet she is riveting. She casts some kind of spell. Examine her syllable by syllable. Take her writing apart; it’s far more than the sum of its parts.

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Image of a hand with painted fingernails holding a jar of cream. Blood is dripping from the hand. Cover blurb says: "'This novel is a blood-stained mirror. What truth will it reflect back to you?'-Rachel Harrison, national bestselling author of Black Sheep." Text says "youthjuice a novel e.k. sathue"

youthjuice

YOUTHJUICE rating: 3 stars ⭐⭐⭐. HEBE was supposed to give me the heebie-jeebies, but the novel stole its own thunder almost immediately. A slow horror buildup would have been ideal in the gothic horror novel youthjuice by E.K. Sathue (Penguin Random House, June 4, 2024). Sophia is the new Creative Director for HEBE, a cosmetics

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Image of a redheaded woman with a ponytail who has a turnkey in her back. Text says "A Memoir A Well-Trained Wife My Escape from Christian Patriarchy" by Tia Levings."

A Well-Trained Wife

A WELL-TRAINED WIFE rating: four stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐. A WELL-TRAINED WIFE: MY ESCAPE FROM CHRISTIAN PATRIARCHY by Tia Levings (St. Martin’s Press/Macmillan, August 6, 2024) is a blunt and staggering account of a woman’s marriage, motherhood, escape, and recovery within the extreme (arguably now mainstream) religious right. You can call it dominionism, you can call it

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Image of a beach house deck with chairs and items such as bathing suits and clothes drying on the side of the deck. Another beach house is in the background. Text says "SANDWICH A NOVEL BY CATHERINE NEWMAN AUTHOR OF We All Want Impossible Things." Cover blurb says: "'Sandwich is joy in book form. I laughed continuously, except for the parts that made me cry. Catherine Newman does a miraculous job reminding us of all the wonder there is to be found in life.'-Ann Patchett, New York Times bestselling author of Tom Lake"

Sandwich

SANDWICH rating: 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐. Don’t tug at my heartstrings, as a rule. It annoys me. I don’t like three-hanky, or even two-hanky reads. One hanky might be okay if there is also humor. SANDWICH by Catherine Newman (HarperCollins, June 18, 2024), is a dead-realistic novel about three generations of family vacationing at Cape Cod.

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The Fox Wife

THE FOX WIFE rating: 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐. The term “immersive” gets thrown around a lot, but I rarely get truly immersed in books. Yangsze Choo‘s fantasy novel THE FOX WIFE (Henry Holt/Macmillan, February 13, 2024) had me in its grip from page one. I was there in 1908 Manchuria. The novel is as stunning as

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Image of black oval cameo with white feminine hands holding a poppy with dog tags for a bracelet. Text says "The Warm Hands of Ghosts New York Times Bestselling Author of The Bear and The Nightingale Katherine Arden"

The Warm Hands of Ghosts

THE WARM HANDS OF GHOSTS rating: 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐. I’ve been waiting for-ev-er. Eons. Okay, five years. But that’s a long time to wait for Katherine Arden. The Winternight Trilogy is one of my favorite fantasy trilogies, hands down. THE WARM HANDS OF GHOSTS by Katherine Arden (Del Rey/Penguin Random House, February 13, 2024) ends

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Image of a rearing horse with flesh peeling off its bones. Text says "WHAT FEASTS AT NIGHT T. KINGFISHER AUTHOR OF WHAT MOVES THE DEAD

What Feasts at Night

WHAT FEASTS AT NIGHT rating: 4 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐. Chilling! It wasn’t real horses as I predicted from the cover, but dream horses that were scary in WHAT FEASTS AT NIGHT, the second novella in the Sworn Solider horror series by T. Kingfisher (Tor/Macmillan, February 13, 2024). However, distinguishing dreams from reality is iffy in this

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Text says "#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR LEIGH BARDUGO THE FAMILIAR a novel". Image of a hand with a beaded red sleeve with lace at the wrist, wearing a red stone ring and holding a rosary. A black scorpion is crawling out of the sleeve.

The Familiar

THE FAMILIAR rating: 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐. Leigh Bardugo‘s historical fantasy novel THE FAMILIAR (Flatiron/Macmillan, April 9, 2024) is set around 1590 in Madrid, just after the defeat of the Spanish Armada by England under Elizabeth I, and a century after the first expulsion of the Jews from Spain in accordance with Ferdinand and Isabella’s Alhambra

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