Janelle Hanchett" rel="bookmark">

I’m Just Happy to Be Here by Janelle Hanchett

Title: I'm Just Happy to Be Here: A Memoir of Renegade Mothering Author: Janelle Hanchett Genre: Memoir Publisher: Hachette Books Release Date: May 1, 2018 Format: Hardcover Pages: 320 One of the strongest voices in my parenting journey has been that of Janelle Hanchett, the hilarious and profane author of the Renegade Mothering blog. The appeal […]


Genre: contemporary, memoir, women’s fiction
Subjects: A.A., addiction, alcoholism, diety, god, marriage, motherhood, parenting, recovery, religion
Elena Ferrante" rel="bookmark">

The Neapolitan Novels by Elena Ferrante

It is a fetid place that refuses to take a back seat to her characters, even though it is the seven families of the neighborhood that quickly draw you in and keep you turning the pages.  Ms. Ferrante demonstrates a deep understanding of how places shape people, which is displayed in her opening scene, which takes place between Elena Greco, the series’ narrator, and the son of her closest friend, Lila Cerulla.


Genre: contemporary, fiction, literary fiction, postmodernism
Margaret Atwood" rel="bookmark">

Moral Disorder and Other Stories by Margaret Atwood

Even Atwood’s earliest novels are full of her wit, wry humor and bitingly funny characterization, so it is unsurprising to discover these same qualities throughout all of the stories, which tell the story of a woman named Nell in short episodes. The stories are framed by aging; in the first story, Nell is in late middle age and meditating on the nature of a long-term marriage. In the next, she is a young girl, who has yet to meet Tig, the married man that she makes her life with. By the last stories, Nell is long past her adventures and taking care of her elderly parents.


Genre: contemporary, literary fiction, short story collection

The Secret Place by Tana French

The Secret Place did not disappoint, by which I mean that it took over my life in the week that it took me to read it. If you’re not familiar with French’s style, her Dublin Murder Squad series is a collection of first-person character-driven classic detective novels told through the eyes of various Dublin Murder detectives that are inevitably assigned to the case of a lifetime. I do not read a lot of crime fiction because of its tendency to be more focused on the details of the mystery than the characters of the story, but French combines the detective genre with thoughtful character development and the sort of poetic prose that reminds me of Margaret Atwood. And did I mention how Irish her novels are? French was raised all over the world, but she lives in Dublin, which is obvious in the faithful and delightful representation of Irish speech and culture. Having an Irish spouse makes reading her dialogue a delight, because it’s so faithful that it almost feels like a private joke.


Genre: contemporary, crime, fiction, mystery

In Another Life by Julie Christine Johnson

Can love span death? This is the big question that Julie Christine Johnson asks us in her debut novel In Another Life. Johnson sets her novel in the Languedoc region of southern France and almost immediately throws the reader back 800 years to one of the darker periods of Christian history, when the Catholic Church led a successful crusade against the native Cathar sect of southern France.


Genre: contemporary, fiction, historical fiction, women’s fiction

The Japanese Lover by Isabelle Allende

Isabel Allende’s latest novel, The Japanese Lover, brings us into the luxurious and artistic world of Alma Mendel, the matriarch of the wealthy San Francisco Belasco family. Facing the end of her life, Alma leaves behind the mansion where she has spent most of her life in favor of the Lark House, a surreal retirement home where yoga classes and political demonstrations interrupt conversations about voluntary euthanasia and the enthusiastic smoking of medical marijuana by its ageing residents.


Genre: contemporary

Sisters of Heart and Snow by Margaret Dilloway

In Sisters of Heart and Snow, Margaret Dilloway returns to the central theme of her award-winning novel An American Housewife; the biracial and first generation Japanese-American experience. Sisters Rachel and Drew Snow are the daughters of a merciless American businessman and his Japanese catalogue bride Hikari, who are thrown together as adults to take care of their declining mother after nearly two decades of estrangement.


Genre: chick lit, contemporary, fiction