Beep, by Bill Roorbach****
Seattle Book Mama Blog » Magical Realism
by seattlebookmama
6d ago
Beep is squirrel monkey, born and raised in the rain forest of Costa Rica. He’s not a baby anymore, and his old uncles have informed him that all the females are spoken for, and he must travel to a new area to mate and propagate. It’s tricky business, though, because human encroachment has separated the forests from one another, so Beep cannot get to the next forest without going through areas developed by humans. Beep’s odyssey takes him much farther than anyone imagined, and in the end, he finds fame and satisfaction. My thanks go to NetGalley and Algonquin for the invitation to read and re ..read more
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The Morningside, by Tea Obreht****
Seattle Book Mama Blog » Magical Realism
by seattlebookmama
3M ago
In 2019, Tea Obreht blew me away with Inland, a work of historical fiction—alternative history actually—so creative that I haven’t stopped thinking about it to this day. Her new book The Morningside is a dystopian novel that, while not as remarkable as the previous effort, is both intriguing and memorable. My thanks go to NetGalley and Random House for the invitation to read and review. This book is for sale now. Our protagonist is Silvia, and she and her mother are refugees from a homeland made dangerous by violent political turmoil. They were invited to live in The Morningside, a once grand ..read more
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Sharks In the Time of Saviors, by Kawai Strong Washburn*****
Seattle Book Mama Blog » Magical Realism
by seattlebookmama
5M ago
A story like this one only comes along once in a rare while, luminous, intimate, and deeply affecting. My great thanks go to NetGalley and also Farrar, Strauss and Giroux for the review copy. This book is available to the public, and you should get it and read it. Initially I was drawn to this book for several fairly superficial reasons. The cover is certainly arresting; the title is perplexing. But the biggest draw for me was that it was set in Hawaii, and all of the characters are native Hawaiians. In my corner of the world, the Pacific Northwest, there are a lot of Pacific Islanders. Why a ..read more
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Martyr! by Kaveh Akbar
Seattle Book Mama Blog » Magical Realism
by seattlebookmama
6M ago
“’Do you worry about becoming a cliché? ‘ “’How do you mean?’ “’Another death-obsessed Iranian man?’” My thanks go to Doubleday and NetGalley for the invitation to read and review this singular debut novel. This book is for sale now. Our protagonist is Cyrus, an Iranian immigrant who comes to live in the U.S. as an infant. He is raised by his father, Ali; his mother’s plane was shot down shortly after Cyrus was born, an accident on the part of the U.S. military. His father dies suddenly while he is away at college, leaving him rootless. He spends a lot of time anguishing over death, wonderi ..read more
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Dogboy Vs. Catfish, by Luke Garcias*****
Seattle Book Mama Blog » Magical Realism
by seattlebookmama
7M ago
“Dirty deeds, done dirt cheap, Dirty deeds, done dirt cheap. Dirty deeds, done dirt cheap; Dirty deeds and they’re done dirt cheap.” AC/DC This may have been the biggest sleeper of 2023. Dogboy vs. Catfish is a true thriller by Luke Gracias, one that grabbed me by the front of my shirt at the beginning and didn’t let me go till it was done with me. My thanks go to NetGalley for the review copy. This book is for sale now. A couple of Goodreads friends raved about this book, and right away, I was curious. The title: not your usual formulation. Then there’s the setting; I haven’t read many book ..read more
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In the Pacific Northwest, October evenings are a g...
Seattle Book Mama Blog » Magical Realism
by seattlebookmama
9M ago
In the Pacific Northwest, October evenings are a great time to stay home. Of course, some people put on their hunting jackets, grab their gear, and head out into the woods; some are party animals seeking a good Halloween bash; and some are charitable souls that organize haunted houses and other seasonal attractions, with the proceeds going to good causes. But a fun fact is that a majority of us do exactly what I plan to do: curl up at home with my beagle, my book, a cup of hot apple cider and a bunch of Halloween candy that trick or treaters never show up to claim. Can’t let all that chocolate ..read more
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Flags on the Bayou, by James Lee Burke****
Seattle Book Mama Blog » Magical Realism
by seattlebookmama
10M ago
James Lee Burke is one of the finest prose stylists the U.S. has to offer. His brilliant, lush descriptions, quirky, resonant characters with interesting names, and his passion for the rights of the working class are the stuff of legends. My thanks go to Net Galley and Simon and Schuster for the invitation to read and review his latest novel, Flags on the Bayou. This book is for sale now. Our protagonist is Hannah Laveau, a former slave who’s on the run from the law. With her is Florence Milton, an abolitionist from Massachusetts. Hannah is determined not to be caught, but also to retrieve he ..read more
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The Night Ship, by Jess Kidd****
Seattle Book Mama Blog » Magical Realism
by seattlebookmama
1y ago
Jess Kidd can write. I read and reviewed her debut novel, Himself, which I loved so much that I bought a copy to give as a gift; I called it “Sly as hell and fall-down-laughing funny.” I have read and reviewed her others as well:  Mr. Flood’s Last Resort (The Hoarder in Britain,) and Things in Jars. Her most recent novel, The Night Ship, is technically as good or better than any before, but I love it less, largely because of the expectations I brought to it, based on the other three before it. I’ll explain that momentarily. My thanks go to Net Galley and Atria Books for the review copy ..read more
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The Fortunes of Jaded Women*****
Seattle Book Mama Blog » Magical Realism
by seattlebookmama
1y ago
The Fortunes of Jaded Women by Carolyn Huynh, is hilarious and oddly touching. It’s the best debut novel of 2022, and it isn’t as if there was no competition. My thanks go to Atria Books and Net Galley for the review copy; this book is for sale now. Mrs. Mai Nguyen was born in Vietnam, but has lived most of her life as a Californian. When we meet her, however, she has flown to Kauai, the home of a renowned Vietnamese psychic. The psychic tells her that the year ahead will be a pivotal one, the one in which she must repair her relationships with her sisters and her daughters. There will be one ..read more
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The Matchmaker’s Gift, by Lynda Cohen Loigman*****
Seattle Book Mama Blog » Magical Realism
by seattlebookmama
1y ago
“The heart is big enough to hold both grief and love.” I read Loigman’s debut novel, The Two-Family House, followed by The Wartime Sisters, and I loved them both, so when Net Galley and St. Martin’s Press invited me to read and review The Matchmaker’s Gift, I leapt. Once again, Loigman has me at hello. This outstanding historical novel is for sale now, and you should get it and read it. The story is told from the point of view of two protagonists, a woman and her grandmother; they were close, but Sara the grandmother has died, so her story is told in the past, beginning in 1910, when she ar ..read more
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