Genre: General Fiction

#BookReview A Great Country by Shilpi Somaya Gowda @PenguinRandomCA #ShilpiSomayaGowda #AGreatCountry #PenguinReads

#BookReview A Great Country by Shilpi Somaya Gowda @PenguinRandomCA #ShilpiSomayaGowda #AGreatCountry #PenguinReads Title: A Great Country

Author: Shilpi Somaya Gowda

Published by: Doubleday Canada on Mar. 26, 2024

Genres: General Fiction

Pages: 336

Format: ARC, Paperback

Source: Penguin Random House Canada

Book Rating: 9/10

From the New York Times bestselling author, a novel in the tradition of Celeste Ng’s Little Fires Everywhere, exploring the ties and fractures of a close-knit Indian-American family in the aftermath of a violent encounter with the police.

Pacific Hills, California: Gated communities, ocean views, well-tended lawns, serene pools, and now the new home of the Shah family. For the Shah parents, who came to America twenty years earlier with little more than an education and their new marriage, this move represents the culmination of years of hard work and dreaming. For their children, born and raised in America, success is not so simple.

For the most part, these differences among the five members of the Shah family are minor irritants, arguments between parents and children, older and younger siblings. But one Saturday night, the twelve-year-old son is arrested. The fallout from that event will shake each family member’s perception of themselves as individuals, as community members, as Americans, and will lead each to consider: how do we define success? At what cost comes ambition? And what is our role and responsibility in the cultural mosaic of modern America?

For readers of The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett and Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid, A Great Country explores themes of immigration, generational conflict, social class and privilege as it reconsiders the myth of the model minority and questions the price of the American dream.


Review:

Astute, fast-paced, and thought-provoking!

A Great Country is a nuanced, absorbing tale set in Pacific Hills, California that takes you into the lives of the Indian American Shah family as their lives get turned upside down when the youngest member of the family, twelve-year-old Ajay, is brutally arrested and they must each individually confront their conflicting feelings and experiences with systemic racism, prejudice, privilege, controversy, reputation, and ableism.

The prose is well-turned and fluid. The characters are flawed, troubled, and confused. And the plot is a moving tale of life, loss, shame, reputation, ostracism, class division, suffering, friendship, affluence, culture, and familial drama.

Overall, A Great Country is a hopeful, compelling, multi-generational saga by Gowda that is a good reminder that family can be frustrating, messy, secretive, and sometimes hard to love, but they can also be surprising, supportive, loyal, and the only true place that feels like home.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

         

 

 

Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Shilpi Somaya Gowda

SHILPI SOMAYA GOWDA was born and raised in Toronto, Canada. Her previous novels, Secret Daughter, The Golden Son and The Shape of Family became international bestsellers, selling over two million copies worldwide, in over 30 languages. She holds degrees from Stanford University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she was a Morehead-Cain scholar. She lives in California with her husband and children.

Photo by Alissa Rose Photography

#BookReview Good Material by Dolly Alderton @PenguinRandomCA #GoodMaterial #DollyAlderton #PenguinReads

#BookReview Good Material by Dolly Alderton @PenguinRandomCA #GoodMaterial #DollyAlderton #PenguinReads Title: Good Material

Author: Dolly Alderton

Published by: Doubleday Canada on Jan. 30, 2024

Genres: Contemporary Romance, General Fiction

Pages: 336

Format: Paperback

Source: Penguin Random House Canada

Book Rating: 8/10

From the bestselling author of Ghosts and Everything I Know About Love: a story of heartbreak and friendship and how to survive both.

Andy’s story wasn’t meant to turn out this way. Living out of a suitcase in his best friends’ spare room, waiting for his career as a stand-up comedian to finally take off, he struggles to process the life-ruining end of his relationship with the only woman he’s ever truly loved.

As he tries to solve the seemingly unsolvable mystery of his broken relationship, he contends with career catastrophe, social media paranoia, a rapidly dwindling friendship group and the growing suspicion that, at 35, he really should have figured this all out by now.

Andy has a lot to learn, not least his ex-girlfriend’s side of the story.

Warm, wise, funny and achingly relatable, Dolly Alderton’s highly-anticipated second novel is about the mystery of what draws us together – and what pulls us apart – the pain of really growing up, and the stories we tell about our lives.


Review:

Witty, tender, and authentic!

Good Material is a snappy, insightful tale that takes you into the life of the disillusioned, thirty-five-year-old comedian Andy as he struggles to juggle a lacklustre career, life as a single thirtysomething, a sudden end to a relationship he thought was going well, the intricacies of dating younger women, and a friend group that all seem to have their stuff together and are getting married and having babies.

The writing is genuine and direct. The characters are lonely, quirky, and adrift. And the plot is a lighthearted, touching blend of life, love, introspection, friendship, self-depreciating humour, awkward situations, sweet moments, dating woes, misunderstandings, intimacy, and moving on.

Overall, Good Material is a layered, astute, clever tale by Alderton that is the first novel I’ve read by this author, but certainly won’t be my last.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

        

 

 

Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Dolly Alderton

DOLLY ALDERTON is an award-winning author, screenwriter and journalist based in London. She is a columnist for The Sunday Times Style and has also written for GQ, Red, Marie Claire and Grazia. She is the former co-host and co-creator of the podcast The High Low. Her first book, Everything I Know About Love, became a top five Sunday Times best-seller in its first week of publication, won a National Book Award (UK) for Autobiography of the Year and was made into a BBC One TV Series. Ghosts, her first novel, was published in 2021. Dear Dolly, a collection of her agony aunt columns from the Sunday Times Style magazine, was published in 2022 and was also a Sunday Times best-seller.

Photo by Alexandra Cameron.

#BookReview The Other Valley by Scott Alexander Howard @SimonSchusterCA #TheOtherValley #ScottAlexanderHoward #SimonSchusterCA

#BookReview The Other Valley by Scott Alexander Howard @SimonSchusterCA #TheOtherValley #ScottAlexanderHoward #SimonSchusterCA Title: The Other Valley

Author: Scott Alexander Howard

Published by: Scribner on Feb. 27, 2024

Genres: Fantasy, General Fiction, Science Fiction

Pages: 304

Format: ARC, Paperback

Source: Simon & Schuster Canada

Book Rating: 8.5/10

A literary speculative novel about an isolated town neighbored by its own past and future

Sixteen-year-old Odile is an awkward, quiet girl vying for a coveted seat on the Conseil. If she earns the position, she’ll decide who may cross her town’s heavily guarded borders. On the other side, it’s the same valley, the same town–except to the east, the town is twenty years ahead in time. To the west, it’s twenty years behind. The towns repeat in an endless sequence across the wilderness.

When Odile recognizes two visitors she wasn’t supposed to see, she realizes that the parents of her friend Edme have been escorted across the border from the future, on a mourning tour, to view their son while he’s still alive in Odile’s present. Edme––who is brilliant, funny, and the only person to truly see Odile––is about to die. Sworn to secrecy in order to preserve the timeline, Odile now becomes the Conseil’s top candidate, yet she finds herself drawing closer to the doomed boy, imperiling her entire future.


Review:

Intricate, unique, and thought-provoking!

The Other Valley is a clever, absorbing tale that takes you into the life of Odile, a young girl who has her life turned upside down when she accidentally glimpses people visiting from the east who are living twenty years in the future, one of her close friends suddenly dies, she destroys her chances of becoming a member of the influential Conseil, and she must decide whether she will risk her life to go twenty years in the past and enter the duplicate valley to the west to alter the one tragedy that changed so many lives forever.

The prose is raw and expressive. The characters are vulnerable, conflicted, and inured. And the plot is a mysterious, immersive tale of life, love, loss, family, friendship, self-identity, power, security, control, duty, desperation, and magical realism.

Overall, The Other Valley is a gripping, pensive, speculative story by Howard that did a beautiful job of incorporating a creative storyline, what-if fiction, and an atmospheric setting into a compelling coming-of-age tale full of reflection, friendship, and first love.

 

This book is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

        

 

 

Thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Scott Alexander Howard

Scott Alexander Howard lives in Vancouver, British Columbia. He has a PhD in philosophy from the University of Toronto and was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard, where his work focused on the relationship between memory, emotion, and literature. The Other Valley is his first novel.

Photograph by Veronica Bonderud

#BookReview Batshit Seven by Sheung-King @PenguinRandomCA #SheungKing #BatshitSeven #PenguinReads

#BookReview Batshit Seven by Sheung-King @PenguinRandomCA #SheungKing #BatshitSeven #PenguinReads Title: Batshit Seven

Author: Sheung-King

Published by: Penguin Canada on Feb. 20, 2024

Genres: General Fiction

Pages: 336

Format: ARC, Paperback

Source: Penguin Random House Canada

Book Rating: 8/10

From Governor General’s Award-nominated author Sheung-King comes a novel about a millennial living through the Hong Kong protests, as he struggles to make sense of modern life and the parts of himself that just won’t gel.

Glen Wu (aka Glue) couldn’t care less about his job. He’s returned to Hong Kong, the city he grew up in, and he’s teaching ESL, just to placate his parents. But he shows up hungover to class, barely stays awake, and prefers to spend his time smoking up until dawn breaks.
 
As he watches the city he loves fall—the protests, the brutal arrests—life continues around him. So he drinks more, picks more fights with his drug dealer friend, thinks loftier thoughts about the post-colonial condition and Frantz Fanon. The very little he does care his sister, who deals with Hong Kong’s demise by getting engaged to a rich immigration consultant; his on-and-off-again relationship with a woman who steals things from him; and memories of someone he once met in Canada….
 
When the government tightens its grip, language starts to lose all meaning for Glue, and he finds himself pulled into an unsettling venture, ultimately culminating in an act of violence.
 
Inventive and utterly irresistible, with QR codes woven throughout, Sheung-King’s ingenious novel encapsulates the anxieties and apathies of the millennial experience. Batshit Seven is an ode to a beloved city, an indictment of the cycles of imperialism, and a reminder of the beautiful things left under the hype of commodified living.


Review:

Insightful, candid, and immersive!

Bathsit Seven is a unique, colourful tale that takes us into the life of Glen “Glue” Wu, a young man who, after spending a few years attending university in Canada, returns to a politically tense Hong Kong where he finds himself in a serious rut spending his days drinking, getting high, spending the occasional time with platonic friends as well as those with benefits, masturbating, lackadaisically teaching ESL remotely, and contemplating what he wants out of life and where he actually fits into the world.

The writing is creative and direct. The characters are lonely, impulsive, and insecure. And the plot, told through narration and a scattering of QR Codes, is an engaging, perceptive tale about life, friendship, family, culture, politics, orientalism, racism, and self-identity.

Overall, Batshit Seven is a captivating, well-written, astute tale by Sheung-King that highlights the true struggles of coming of age in a contemporary world that seems to increasingly be more overwhelming, judgemental, and stressful.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

        

 

 

Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Sheung-King

SHEUNG-KING’s debut novel, You Are Eating an Orange. You Are Naked., was a finalist for the 2021 Governor General's Literary Award for Fiction and the 2021 Amazon Canada First Novel Award. It was longlisted for Canada Reads 2021 and named one of the best book debuts by The Globe and Mail. Sheung-King taught creative writing at the University of Guelph, where he received his MFA. He divides his time between Canada and China.

Photo by Maari Sugawara.

#BookReview Greta & Valdin by Rebecca K Reilly @simonschuster @AvidReaderPress #Greta&Valdin #RebeccaKReilly #SimonSchuster

#BookReview Greta & Valdin by Rebecca K Reilly @simonschuster @AvidReaderPress #Greta&Valdin #RebeccaKReilly #SimonSchuster Title: Greta & Valdin

Author: Rebecca K Reilly

Published by: Avid Reader Press on Feb. 6, 2024

Genres: General Fiction, LGBTQIA

Pages: 352

Format: ARC, Paperback

Source: Simon & Schuster

Book Rating: 9/10

For fans of Schitt’s Creek and Sally Rooney’s Normal People, an irresistible and bighearted international bestseller that follows a brother and sister as they navigate queerness, multiracial identity, and the dramas big and small of their entangled, unconventional family, all while flailing their way to love.

It’s been a year since his ex-boyfriend dumped him and moved from Auckland to Buenos Aires, and Valdin is doing fine. He has a good flat with his sister Greta, a good career where his colleagues only occasionally remind him that he is the sole Maaori person in the office, and a good friend who he only sleeps with when he’s sad. But when work sends him to Argentina and he’s thrown back in his former lover’s orbit, Valdin is forced to confront the feelings he’s been trying to ignore—and the future he wants.

Greta is not letting her painfully unrequited crush (or her possibly pointless master’s thesis, or her pathetic academic salary…) get her down. She would love to focus on the charming fellow grad student she meets at a party and her friendships with a circle of similarly floundering twenty-somethings, but her chaotic family life won’t stop her mother is keeping secrets, her nephew is having a gay crisis, and her brother has suddenly flown to South America without a word.

Sharp, hilarious, and with an undeniable emotional momentum that builds to an exuberant conclusion, Greta & Valdin careens us through the siblings’ misadventures and the messy dramas of their sprawling, eccentric Maaori-Russian-Catalonian family. An acclaimed bestseller in New Zealand, Greta & Valdin is fresh, joyful, and alive with the possibility of love in its many mystifying forms.


Review:

Fresh, deft, and exceptionally memorable!

Greta & Valdin is a tender, hopeful, intimate multi-generational story that delves into all the emotional bonds and intricate ties that exist between family members, especially two siblings, Greta and Valdin and immerses you in a tale about accepting the things you cannot change, following your heart, learning to heal, and embracing whatever comes next.

The prose is evocative and controlled. The characters are young, self-aware, and relatable. And the tightly crafted, witty plot, told from alternating perspectives, unfolds seamlessly, unravelling all the motivations, behaviours, personalities, desires, needs, insecurities, heartbreak, and complex relationships within it.

Overall, Greta & Valdin is a nuanced, atmospheric, uplifting debut by Reilly that does a remarkable job of highlighting all the universal struggles of navigating the world as an adult, acquiring self-confidence, forging friendships, experiencing love, and feeling entitled to be loved.

This novel is available February 6, 2024.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

         

 

 

 

Thank you to Simon & Schuster for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Rebecca K Reilly

Rebecca K Reilly (Ngaati Hine, Ngaati Rehua Ngaatiwai ki Aotea), born 1991, is a Maaori novelist from Waitaakere, New Zealand. She has a BA (hons) in German and European studies from the University of Auckland and an MA from the International Institute of Modern Letters at Victoria University of Wellington, where she won the Adam Foundation Prize in Creative Writing for 2019.

Photograph by AMP Berry.

#BookReview Hold My Girl by Charlene Carr @charcarr1 @Sourcebooks @sbkslandmark #HoldMyGirl #CharleneCarr #bookmarkedbylandmark

#BookReview Hold My Girl by Charlene Carr @charcarr1 @Sourcebooks @sbkslandmark #HoldMyGirl #CharleneCarr #bookmarkedbylandmark Title: Hold My Girl

Author: Charlene Carr

Published by: Sourcebooks Landmark on Oct. 10, 2023

Genres: General Fiction

Pages: 400

Format: Hardcover

Source: Sourcebooks Landmark

Book Rating: 8.5/10

Two women. Two eggs. One life-changing switch.

Katherine finally has it all. She’s spent her entire life striving for perfection―obsessing over her spotless home, maintaining her pristine reputation, building her perfect family―and her hard work has finally paid off. After seven difficult years of trying (and failing) to conceive, Katherine gives birth to Rose, her IVF miracle child, and at last has the one thing she’s wanted most of all. But one thing isn’t quite perfect. Rose’s pale skin doesn’t match Katherine’s complexion, and an irritating doubt begins to grow in Katherine’s mind.

Tess never got the happy ending she wanted. She underwent IVF at the same clinic as Katherine, but after finally conceiving, Tess’s daughter was stillborn. Now, nearly two years later, she’s approaching rock bottom. Consumed by her grief and without hope for the future, Tess is divorced, broke, and stuck in a dead-end job beneath her skillset. But shortly before Rose’s first birthday, Katherine and Tess get a call from the fertility clinic. Their eggs were switched.

As Katherine’s carefully planned life begins to crumble around her, Tess finally sees the glimmer of hope she needed to get her life back on track. Motherhood has always been their dream, and neither woman is prepared to share that claim over Rose. It will take a tense custody battle to decide who deserves to be Rose’s mother, but it will also push them to the brink.

With themes of racial identity, loss, and betrayal, Hold My Girl is an emotional novel that will leave you What makes a mother?


Review:

Insightful, thought-provoking, and sensitive!

Hold My Girl is a compassionate, moving novel that introduces us to two young women, Katherine and Tess, as they navigate the torment and fallout of their eggs being secretly switched at an IVF clinic, resulting in one mother being ecstatic to finally be the mother she’s always wanted to be and another mother grieving the loss of her baby girl until the truth comes out and each woman has to navigate the emotional, psychological, and legal upheaval of being the birth mother versus the biological one.

The prose is sincere and rich. The characters are vulnerable, multilayered, and genuine. And the plot is a compelling tale of life, loss, love, friendship, family, race, discrimination, marital discord, courage, hope, heartache, secrets, grief, motherhood, interracial families, and infertility.

Overall, Hold My Girl is a fresh, pensive, emotional tale by Carr bursting with heart, hope, and healing that immerses you so thoroughly into the feelings, lives, and personalities of the characters you can’t help but be fully invested.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

         

 

 

Thank you to Sourcebooks Landmark for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Charlene Carr

CHARLENE CARR spent much of her childhood creating elaborate, multi-faceted storylines for her dolls and reading under the blankets with a flashlight when she was supposed to be asleep. A bit of a nomad, she’s lived in four countries and seven Canadian provinces. After working an array of mostly writing related jobs, she decided the time had come to focus exclusively on her true love—novel writing. She lives in Nova Scotia with her husband and daughter. Hold My Girl is her tenth novel, and she recently received a Canada Council for the Arts grant to revise her next novel.

#FeaturePost Between the Head and the Hands by James Chaarani @ecwpress #BetweentheHeadandtheHands #JamesChaarani #ECWPress

#FeaturePost Between the Head and the Hands by James Chaarani @ecwpress #BetweentheHeadandtheHands #JamesChaarani #ECWPress Title: Between the Head and the Hands

Author: James Chaarani

Published by: ECW Press on Sep. 26, 2023

Genres: General Fiction, LGBTQIA

Pages: 240

Format: Paperback

Source: ECW Press

The candid story of a young man abandoned by his family and religion and left searching for identity in an unfamiliar world.

When Michael Dawouk is disowned by his Muslim family for being gay, he turns his back on the religion and culture he grew up with. He is forced out onto the street, only to be taken in by a former high school teacher who offers him room and board in exchange for sex. Michael is soon left with nothing to believe in, until he meets Wyatt, a successful Texan businessman who takes him under his wing. But what Michael can’t see is that his mentor is just as lost as he is.

Searching for the connection and belonging he lost when he left home, Michael immerses himself in temporary pleasures ― nights of danger, intrigue, and meaningless sex ― until he begins to crave a kinder form of love.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

       

 

 

Thank you to ECW Press for gifting me a copy.

 

About James Chaarani

James Chaarani's work has appeared in Condé Nast's Them, The Advocate, Slate, and Vice. The Toronto, Ontario resident was selected for Lambda Literary's Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices in Los Angeles.

#BookReview If I Let You Go by Charlotte Levin @tinycharlotte72 @PGCBooks @panmacmillan #IfILetYouGo #CharlotteLevin #PGCBooks

#BookReview If I Let You Go by Charlotte Levin @tinycharlotte72 @PGCBooks @panmacmillan #IfILetYouGo #CharlotteLevin #PGCBooks Title: If I Let You Go

Author: Charlotte Levin

Published by: Pan Macmillan on Sep. 5, 2023

Genres: General Fiction

Pages: 384

Format: Hardcover

Source: Publishers Group Canada

Book Rating: 8/10

If I Let You Go by Charlotte Levin is a deeply moving and gripping portrayal of a woman coming to terms with loss.

Every morning Janet Brown goes to work cleaning offices. It calms her, cleanliness, neatness. All the things she’s unable to do with her soul can be achieved with a damp cloth and a splash of bleach. However, the guilt she still carries about a devastating loss that happened eleven years ago, cannot be erased.

Then, Janet finds herself involved in a train crash and, recognising the chance to do what she couldn’t all those years ago, she makes a decision. As news spreads of Janet’s actions, her story inspires everyone around her, and for the first time her life has purpose and the future is filled with hope.

But Janet’s story isn’t quite what it seems, and as events spiral out of control, she soon discovers that coming clean isn’t an option. Because if Janet washes away the lies, what long-buried truths will she finally have to face.


Review:

Nuanced, gripping, and tight!

If I Let You Go is an unsettling, character-driven novel that introduces us to Janet, a young woman who, after a tragic accident eleven years ago, has spent her life in the shadows, performing her cleaning job to the best of her abilities, keeping house and placating her domineering husband, and visiting her elderly father as often as possible, until one night she decides she’s had enough and by morning her life will be irrevocably changed forever when she wakes to discover she’s a heroine of a train crash she can’t actually remember.

The writing is crisp and edgy. The characters are anxious, tormented, and flawed. And the plot is a tense, unpredictable tale full of twists, turns, revelations, insecurities, deception, grief, manipulation, lies, and tragedy.

Overall, If I Let You Go is an intriguing, intense, immersive tale by Levin that does a wonderful job of highlighting just how devastating and all-consuming guilt and grief can be and reminds us to savour every moment because life can often change in a heartbeat.

 

This book is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

        

 

 

Thank you to Publishers Group Canada for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Charlotte Levin

Charlotte Levin has been shortlisted for the Andrea Badenoch Award, part of the New Writers North Awards, and for the Mslexia Short Story Competition. Charlotte lives in Manchester and If I Can't Have You is her first novel.

Photograph courtesy of Author's Goodreads Page.

#BookReview The Connellys of County Down by Tracey Lange @CeladonBooks #TheConnellysofCountyDown #TraceyLange #CeladonBooks #CeladonReads

#BookReview The Connellys of County Down by Tracey Lange @CeladonBooks #TheConnellysofCountyDown #TraceyLange #CeladonBooks #CeladonReads Title: The Connellys of County Down

Author: Tracey Lange

Published by: Celadon Books on Aug. 1, 2023

Genres: General Fiction

Pages: 288

Format: ARC, Paperback

Source: Celadon Books

Book Rating: 9/10

From Tracey Lange, the New York Times bestselling author of We Are the Brennans, comes The Connellys of County Down: a story about fierce family loyalty, good intentions gone awry, and the consequences of improbable love.

When Tara Connelly is released from prison after serving eighteen months on a drug charge, she knows rebuilding her life at thirty years old won’t be easy. With no money and no prospects, she returns home to live with her siblings, who are both busy with their own problems. Her brother, a single dad, struggles with the ongoing effects of a brain injury he sustained years ago, and her sister’s fragile facade of calm and order is cracking under the burden of big secrets. Life becomes even more complicated when the cop who put her in prison keeps showing up unannounced, leaving Tara to wonder what he wants from her now.

While she works to build a new career and hold her family together, Tara finds a chance at love in a most unlikely place. But when the Connellys’ secrets start to unravel and threaten her future, they all must face their worst fears and come clean, or risk losing each other forever.

The Connellys of County Down is a moving novel about testing the bounds of love and loyalty. It explores the possibility of beginning our lives anew, and reveals the pitfalls of shielding each other from the bitter truth.


Review:

Sincere, immersive, and insightful!

The Connellys of County Down is a tender, engaging tale that sweeps you away to Port Chester, NY and into the lives of three siblings, Tara, Eddie, and Geraldine, as they each grapple with all the secrets, wounds, trauma, tragedy, hurt, shame, guilt, tears, and discontent that surrounds them.

The prose is heartfelt and raw. The characters are complex, scarred, and loyal. And the plot is a beautifully written, affecting tale about life, loss, friendship, family, secrets, jealousy, guilt, pain, anger, denial, resentments, familial drama, forgiveness, miscommunication, and self-reflection.

Overall, The Connellys of County Down is a hopeful, absorbing, multi-generational saga by Lange that reminds us where there’s love, there’s a way and that when it comes to family, life is a combination of all the messy, frustrating, challenging, heartbreaking, complicated moments, as well as all the lovely, wonderful, touching times that happen in-between.

This novel is available on August 1, 2023.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

         

 

 

 

Thank you to Celadon Books for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Tracey Lange

Born in the Bronx and raised in Manhattan, Tracey Lange comes from a large Irish family with a few secrets of its own. She headed west and graduated from the University of New Mexico before owning and operating a behavioral healthcare company with her husband for fifteen years. While writing her debut novel, We Are the Brennans, she completed the Stanford University online novel writing program. Tracey currently lives in Bend, Oregon, with her husband, two sons and their German Shepherd.

Photo courtesy of Author's Goodreads Page.

#BookReview Little Monsters by Adrienne Brodeur @adriennebrodeur @SimonSchusterCA @AvidReaderPress #LittleMonsters #AdrienneBrodeur #SimonSchusterCA

#BookReview Little Monsters by Adrienne Brodeur @adriennebrodeur @SimonSchusterCA @AvidReaderPress #LittleMonsters #AdrienneBrodeur #SimonSchusterCA Title: Little Monsters

Author: Adrienne Brodeur

Published by: Avid Reader Press on Jun. 27, 2023

Genres: General Fiction

Pages: 320

Format: ARC, Paperback

Source: Simon & Schuster Canada

Book Rating: 8/10

From the author of the bestselling memoir Wild Game comes a riveting novel about Cape Cod, complicated families, and long-buried secrets—for fans of the New York Times bestsellers The Paper Palace and Ask Again, Yes .

Ken and Abby Gardner lost their mother when they were small and they have been haunted by her absence ever since. Their father, Adam, a brilliant oceanographer, raised them mostly on his own in his remote home on Cape Cod, where the attachment between Ken and Abby deepened into something complicated—and as adults their relationship is strained. Now, years later, the siblings’ lives are still deeply entwined. Ken is a successful businessman with political ambitions and a picture-perfect family and Abby is a talented visual artist who depends on her brother’s goodwill, in part because he owns the studio where she lives and works.

As the novel opens, Adam is approaching his seventieth birthday, staring down his mortality and fading relevance. He has always managed his bipolar disorder with medication, but he’s determined to make one last scientific breakthrough and so he has secretly stopped taking his pills, which he knows will infuriate his children. Meanwhile, Abby and Ken are both harboring secrets of their own, and there is a new person on the periphery of the family—Steph, who doesn’t make her connection known. As Adam grows more attuned to the frequencies of the deep sea and less so to the people around him, Ken and Abby each plan the elaborate gifts they will present to their father on his birthday, jostling for primacy in this small family unit.

Set in the fraught summer of 2016, and drawing on the biblical tale of Cain and Abel, Little Monsters is an absorbing, sharply observed family story by a writer who knows Cape Cod inside and out—its Edenic lushness and its snakes.


Review:

Dramatic, simmering, and sincere!

Little Monsters is a tender, engaging tale that sweeps you away to the idyllic Cape Cod during 2016 and into the lives of the Gardner family, especially siblings Ken and Abby, as the preparations for their father’s upcoming seventieth birthday party will have them finally confronting all the jealousy, resentment, pain, scars, long-buried secrets, and despicable behaviours that have tied them together since childhood.

The prose is fluid and smooth. The characters are bitter, troubled, and flawed. And the plot is a captivating tale about life, loss, heartache, guilt, love, secrets, revelations, acceptance, familial drama, friendship, hope, mental illness, forgiveness, and introspection.

Overall, Little Monsters is a heartfelt, intricate, nuanced tale by Brodeur that reminds us that families are complicated and messy, the choices we make often have far-reaching consequences, and skeletons often find their way to the surface no matter how well they’re buried.

 

This novel is available June 27, 2023.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

        

 

 

Thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Adrienne Brodeur

Adrienne Brodeur is the author of the memoir Wild Game, which was selected as a Best Book of the Year by NPR and The Washington Post and is in development as a Netflix film. She founded the literary magazine Zoetrope: All-Story with Francis Ford Coppola, and currently serves as executive director of Aspen Words, a literary nonprofit and program of the Aspen Institute. She splits her time between Cambridge and Cape Cod, where she lives with her husband and children.

Photograph by Tony Luong.