Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Book Review: "Bookworm" by Robin Yeatman

Sometimes, the best stories are the ones in your head.

Do you ever feel out of step with other readers, in that you don’t like books that many seem to love, and you love some that have gotten mixed reviews? It seems like that’s been happening a lot lately for me, but I guess that’s one of the amazing things about reading!

Victoria would love her entire life to change. Her husband is a demanding boor who repulses her, her parents are constantly critical of her, she hates her job, and her one friend doesn’t seem to get her. She loves to lose herself in reading. (Same, girl. Same.)

One day she stops in her favorite cafe to read and relax and she spots the man of her dreams. Not only is he handsome, but he’s also a reader—in fact, he’s reading the same book she is! She definitely sees that as a sign that they’re meant to be together.

More and more she fantasizes about being with her dream lover; in fact, she envisions visiting him at night and their trysts. At the same time, she keeps envisioning scenarios in which her husband meets his end, inspired by some of her favorite books. And then one night, her fantasies and reality collide.

This is a dark book, and I’ll admit the line between fantasy and reality confused me at times. I also didn’t like that the characters hated A Little Life and liked Eileen, as I felt the opposite about those!!

Still, this is a unique story and I know it appealed to others, so maybe I'm not the person you should listen to about this one.

Monday, February 27, 2023

Book Review: "For Her Consideration" by Amy Spalding

What if her Hollywood job turns into a Hollywood ending?

Nina was devastated when her last relationship ended three years ago, especially when her girlfriend sent her a list of all her faults. She fled Los Angeles for the suburbs and moved into her aunt’s condo, leaving all of her friends and her old life behind.

Working for a talent agency, her job is to respond to emails that celebrities receive, but use their own tone and voice. One day she is summoned to Los Angeles by her boss because one of her clients, actress-on-the-rise Ari Fox, doesn’t quite feel that “her” emails sound genuine enough, and she wants to get to know Nina a little better.

Ari, whose name is being talked about as a potential Oscar winner, is a bit of a control freak. But she’s also proudly out, and sexy as hell, and she keeps wanting to meet with Nina. Is she flirting? She couldn’t possibly be interested in someone like Nina, could she?

Before she realizes it, Nina has fallen for Ari completely, and it seems the feeling is mutual. As the two take tentative steps toward a relationship, Nina is riddled with fears that Ari will quickly recognize the faults her ex-girlfriend enumerated. And at the same time, Ari pushes Nina to get back to writing scripts, which is what brought Nina to LA in the first place.

This is a sweet, steamy, emotional romance about allowing yourself to be vulnerable, remembering who in your life is there to have your back, and fighting for what you want. Nina is such a complex character, and I loved all of her friends and her aunt Lorna as well. Ari seemed a little less developed but I still enjoyed her. A fun one!!

Saturday, February 25, 2023

Book Review: "I Have Some Questions for You" by Rebecca Makkai

She’s not the girl she was back in high school. But can you truly shed your younger self?

When Bodie attended the Granby School in New Hampshire, she already had experienced more tragedy and trauma than most people her age. Being a scholarship student among the rich, privileged, and beautiful was difficult enough, but trying to find your identity and confidence when you’re at your most vulnerable definitely took its toll. Her former roommate was found murdered in the spring of her senior year, and although the killer was quickly convicted, the case remains one that intrigues and fascinates the public.

Years later, Bodie is now a successful film producer and podcaster. She is invited back to Granby to teach two short courses, and she’s pleased to be returning feeling and looking so much better than she did back in high school. But it’s not long before she starts to get drawn into the details of her former roommate’s case. Was it as easily solved as it appeared back in 1995, or did the police quickly rush to convict an outsider without considering other suspects?

As Bodie’s life starts to unravel, she finds herself growing more and more obsessed with the case, ostensibly in helping her students research it for a podcast. But she starts to realize that maybe she played more of a role in the rush to judgment than she ever thought. Can she help make a difference the second time around?

This was a really fascinating story, part mystery and part coming to terms with your past. The narration alternates between past and present and follows Bodie’s obsession with the murder and her confronting her own tragedies and hurts. It’s not a fast-moving book, and there’s a lot going on here, but I really loved it.

Thursday, February 23, 2023

Book Review: "Someone Else's Shoes" by Jojo Moyes

Caution: unpopular opinion ahead.

Ever since picking up Me Before You a number of years ago and dissolving into an emotional puddle, Jojo Moyes has been an auto-buy author for me. I’ve loved a number of her books and I was eagerly anticipating the release of this one. But to say this one didn’t work for me would be an understatement.

Sam has been struggling to keep afloat. Her husband has been depressed for a while but doesn’t want to get help, or do much of anything more than lay in bed or stare at the television. He's certainly not trying to look for a job. And ever since her employer was bought by a larger company, she’s had to deal with a sexist boss who’s never satisfied with her work.

Nisha has lived a life of luxury, traveling the globe with her wealthy husband. Until one day her husband decides it’s time to find a younger woman and he files for divorce, cutting Nisha off completely–no clothes, no place to live, no money. All she has is a fancy pair of custom-made Louboutin high-heeled shoes. But she doesn’t even have those anymore, because someone mistakenly walked off with her gym bag, leaving a nearly identical one behind.

When Sam realizes she has inadvertently picked up the wrong bag, she is horrified. But when she puts on Nisha’s shoes, a more confident Sam emerges. She understands that it’s up to her to change her life. This is the story of how one action changes lots of things, and how friendship can get you through anything.

This book was so much longer than it needed to be. At times, it was hard to figure out exactly what the book wanted to be. Toward the end it veered into silliness and I honestly didn’t like either of the main characters–or some of the supporting characters–very much. But others have loved this, so maybe I was just cranky?

Monday, February 20, 2023

Book Review: "City Under One Roof" by Iris Yamashita

City Under One Roof is a compelling crime novel that gives a new twist to the locked-room mystery.

During the summer, the small town of Point Mettier, Alaska, is full of tourists. But in the winter, the population of this town—only accessible via a tunnel that closes for bad weather—shrinks to about 200 people. And they all live in the same high-rise building, where nearly everything is located.

When local teens find a severed hand and foot washed up on the shore, the police believe it’s the remains of someone who jumped off a cruise ship. The case raises the suspicions of Cara, a police detective from Anchorage, who comes to Point Mettier to investigate. But her reasons for investigating aren’t entirely above-board.

She is stranded in the town during a blizzard, and has to stay in the same condo building as everyone else in town. When a severed head is found, Cara, who teams up with local policeman JB, realizes the killer may be someone they’re all staying with. More and more, she discovers that everyone in Point Mettier is hiding something. And the arrival of a dangerous gang from a nearby Native village only complicates matters further.

First of all, the book had me at Alaska. It’s one of my favorite settings for books. And I loved the concept of the town and the condo—I totally felt claustrophobic.

This reads like a movie, which makes sense because Yamashita is an Academy Award-nominated screenwriter, and it’s definitely full of unusual characters, some of whose stories definitely felt incomplete. I’m guessing a second book is in the works, especially given the twist Yamashita threw in at the end?

Book Review: "Stone Cold Fox" by Rachel Koller Croft

She knows what she wants and she’s not going to let anything—or anyone—stand in her way.

Y’all, I absolutely DEVOURED this book. Literally, I was hooked from the very first sentence: “I decided that I would marry Collin Case after the fifth time we fucked.”

Bea is beautiful, smart, and ambitious. She provokes strong reactions—and quite different ones—between men and women. After spending her childhood as a pawn in her mother’s calculated efforts to swindle wealthy men, Bea wants nothing more than to settle down with the right man. Provided he’s immensely wealthy.

She sets her sights on Collin Case, shortly after she lands his family company as a client for the firm she works for. Collin is handsome, very rich, pleasant, and dull. He’s perfect for Bea, and it’s not long before Collin realizes she’s perfect for him.

Of course, when an outsider tries to marry into a family that has been wealthy and highly connected for generations, they’re bound to face resistance. But Bea is prepared for the long game of winning them over to her side. And while she’s unfazed—and even energized—by the machinations of Collin’s best friend, Gale, Bea can’t help but wonder how much Gale knows, and how dangerous she might actually be.

Does the apple really fall far from the tree? Will Bea be satisfied if she gets what she wants? This book was excellent—twisty, sexy, and funny, and now I want more!!

Book Review: "After Perfect" by Maan Gabriel

This is the heartfelt story of a woman trying to find her way after her marriage ends.

Be the perfect wife. That’s what Gabby was taught to do by her traditional Filipino mother. And that’s what she’s done—put aside her dreams and supported her husband, Simon, whom she dated in high school. But after being married for 16 years, Simon tells Gabby he wants a divorce.

Gabby falls apart. Life with Simon is what she knows. But with the support of her best friend, she decides to go back to school to study creative writing. And it’s not long before she finds herself drawn to Colt, the bestselling author who teaches one of her classes. He, too, becomes an advocate for Gabby to pursue her dreams and independence.

As Gabby builds her new life, including getting a job, the attraction between her and Colt grows deeper. Yet as he opens up to her, Gabby sees that he’s perhaps as vulnerable, if not more so, than her. Can a fresh start be found with someone who may be too damaged to love and be loved?

This was an emotional book and Gabby is definitely someone to root for. I loved the NYC and DC area settings. (The book actually even mentioned a few places not far from my house.) The one challenge that I had is one of my least favorite tropes—miscommunication. I know it creates more drama, but I want to shake characters and say, “Just talk to one another!”

Book Review: "One Month of You" by Suzanne Ewart

She wants to deal with life alone. He won’t let her.

Ever since her mother was diagnosed with Huntington’s disease, Jess has kept her burdens to herself, only letting a few people know. And when she tests positive for the disease herself, she knows she should share her struggles, what it’s like watching her mother’s condition deteriorate, knowing she will face the same fate. But she doesn’t.

One rule that Jess has set for herself is don’t fall in love. So when Alec, the bartender at the local pub, expresses an interest in her, she can’t allow it. Sure, he’s handsome (despite the beard), funny, and kind, and she can’t stop thinking about him. But she knows it won’t end well—it can’t—so why start?

Of course, they run into each other constantly. So when Jess tells Alec about her mother’s condition (not hers), he proposes an arrangement: date him for one month. Let her actually live her life and have fun for the first time in so long. But they cannot fall in love.

The time spent with Alec is amazing, and to no one’s surprise, they fall for each other. But what will happen if Alec finds out about her diagnosis? She wouldn’t want him to stand by her out of obligation, or worse, abandon her. So it’s best she break it off before things get too serious. Right?

This is definitely a moving story, although it didn’t destroy me as much as I expected. The challenge that I had was that I really didn’t like the way Jess treated Alec. She was really mean in the way she pushed him away and sent him mixed messages. At one point in the book, she asks him why he’s interested in her. I wondered the same thing.

Sunday, February 19, 2023

Book Review: "Eileen" by Ottessa Moshfegh

Ottessa Moshfegh's debut novel is blunt and a little creepy, but it packs an unexpected emotional punch.

Are there authors you’ve been meaning to read for a while, authors you’ve heard a ton about and always wondered whether their writing was for you? I have many of those, and one of them is Moshfegh. This book has been on my shelf for a few years so I thought I’d give it a try.

Eileen is a dissatisfied, lonely young woman. She spends her days working in the office at a juvenile detention facility, where she feels total disdain for her two female coworkers, and often fantasizes about Randy, a handsome young guard. By night she lives with her alcoholic father, buying his liquor and keeping him from killing himself and others, and she dreams of running away, of ending her life, of getting out of the dilapidated house and its perpetual state of decay.

Into this miserable existence comes Rebecca, the prison’s new education director. Rebecca is everything Eileen wishes she could be—confident, beautiful, one who commands attention. Eileen dreams of building a friendship with Rebecca, one that could perhaps change her life. And before she knows it, she becomes a willing accomplice to a crime.

The book is narrated by a much-older Eileen looking back on that time of her life. The story is an interesting one and I read with a great deal of trepidation, worrying about what would happen. But Moshfegh’s style is very in-your-face; there’s a lot of detail about bodily functions, decay, body parts, etc.

I definitely recognize Moshfegh’s talent but I’m not sure if I’ll read another of her books unless someone can tell me they’re not as graphically detailed.

Book Review: "The Gentleman's Book of Vices" by Jess Everlee

Even though its title is similar to a few other books, including a popular YA series, this is a fun and romantic gay Victorian love story.

London, 1883. Charlie is a well-dressed son of privilege, although what he has to show for it is a mountain of debt, an immense tolerance for alcohol, and a collection of erotic novels that he keeps under lock and key. He spends many nights with a motley crew of friends at The Curious Fox, one of the city’s “molly houses” (gay bars).

All of this is soon to change, however, when Charlie gets married, in an arrangement brokered by both sets of parents. Charlie feels like he can be a dutiful husband even if he can’t truly love his wife.

But when he finds the true identity of Reginald Cox, his favorite author of erotica, he cannot wait to meet the man, Miles Montague. When Charlie shows up at the bookstore he owns, Miles thinks Charlie is there to blackmail him, but he just wants Miles to sign a copy of his favorite book. Their chemistry is instantaneous and intense, and it’s not long before the two are spending a lot of time together.

As Charlie’s wedding approaches, Miles and all of his friends at The Curious Fox try to convince him to call it off. Should Charlie risk the wrath of his family and the loss of his financial comforts to finally go after his happy ending, or should he do what is expected?

I enjoyed this so much!! I loved all of the characters and there was a lot more weight to the story than I expected. I hope Everlee has another book like this up her sleeve!! (Note: the second book in the series comes out in July!)

Book Review: "A Thousand Miles to Graceland" by Kristen Mei Chase

Two women. One convertible. One thousand miles.

This book was adorable and poignant.

Grace has found that the easiest way to deal with her outrageously over-the-top mother is to connect with her as little as possible. But when her husband ends their barely functioning marriage, she decides to cope with that by granting her Elvis-obsessed mother’s 70th birthday wish—a road trip from El Paso to Graceland.

What’s a road trip without adventure or chaos? Throw in an overabundance of her mother’s makeup and wigs, and lots of unresolved hurts and memories, and this one is sure to be a doozy. But as much as her mother aggravates her, spending all that time in the car, with Elvis songs on repeat, helps her understand some of what has made her tick.

Will they make it to Graceland in one piece? Can they overcome the issues from their past that made Grace leave home as soon as she could? And can the power of the King move them through?

This was a fun book, sweet and emotional. Reading it a few weeks after Lisa Marie Presley’s death gave it an added bittersweet note, but I love stories of family dynamics and, of course, Elvis.

Book Review: "Waiting for the Flood" by Alexis Hall

Sometimes you must weather the storm to find happiness.

It was supposed to be their dream home. While Edwin loved it a little more than Marius, they looked forward to spending forever there. But forever didn’t last very long, and it’s been two years since Marius left.

Edwin lives a lonely existence. He doesn’t go out much, at least since he saw Marius utterly happy with other people and it undid him. He works to restore and repair old books and memorabilia, both historic and mundane, which seems fitting because he’s often stuck in the past.

When fierce rains flood the area, Edwin is unprepared. But a savior arrives in the form of Adam, who works for the Environment Agency. As Adam shows Edwin how to weather the storm and they fight the waters that could greatly affect his neighborhood, Edwin realizes he can open his heart again. But will he fall back in the same patterns?

This is the second book in Alexis Hall’s Spires series, after Glitterland, which is already one of my favorite books of 2023. This, however, didn’t quite work for me. Instalove happened so quickly, it almost felt like something was missing. And I guess because Edwin was an intellectual, his dialogue was peppered with a lot of big words which didn’t quite fit.

There are two other books in this series, so I’ll give it another shot, because I do love the way Hall writes!

Book Review: "Afterglow" by Phil Stamper

Four best friends deal with senior year of high school and decisions about their futures, in this sequel to Golden Boys.

Oh, my heart.

Reese, Heath, Sal, and Gabriel were inseparable best friends growing up in the small village of Gracemont, Ohio. As the only openly gay students in their high school (and probably their town), it’s only natural they would have gravitated toward each other. And after each of them had a summer adventure of their own, they’re now back to take on their senior year.

Each of them has challenges to deal with. Sal wants to pursue a different path than his mother has been prepping for; Reese is ready to study fashion design in NYC, but is afraid to leave Heath, and has another secret he’s not ready to share; Gabriel is trying to weather a long-distance relationship and uncover a scandal in school; and Heath feels the pressure of waiting for a prestigious athletic scholarship.

Along the way, they’ll wonder how their friendships and romances may change when they’re not all in the same place next year. Will they succeed without their cheering squad, confidantes, and partners-in-crime?

I loved Golden Boys but thought Afterglow was even better because the boys’ stories better meshed together. And while this is the second book in Stamper’s duology, I wouldn’t mind if he brought the quartet back for a third book, because I’ll miss them!!

There’s nothing quite like high school friendships, and the feeling you’re ready to take on the world.

Book Review: "The Jeweler of Stolen Dreams" by M.J. Rose

Powerful and magical. M.J. Rose has done it again!

This dual-timeline novel is focused on French jeweler Suzanne Belperron. In 1942, she was ahead of her time in terms of her jewelry creations, with color and form, and she counted heiresses and royalty among her customers.

But while Belperron was world-renowned for her jewelry, perhaps her greatest contribution to society was secretly getting countless Jewish families out of France since WWII began. As the Nazis draw closer to discovering her secret, the risks increase, until the unthinkable happens.

In 1986, Violine is an appraiser for an auction house who is asked to visit the home of a political candidate and son of a former Senator. He has inherited a house full of valuable items that he’d like Violine to appraise.

She’s wowed by everything, but feels particularly drawn to a vintage trunk. Since childhood, Violine has had the ability to determine the provenance of an object and feel the secrets of its owners. What she discovers inside the trunk, a secret cache of precious jewels, awakens nightmarish visions. What are they, and to whom did they belong?

The lives of Suzanne and Violine intertwine as she tries to find out more about the jewels. But what will her discoveries mean, not only to history, but to her own life?

I don’t read much historical fiction, particularly set during WW2, but I always make an exception for M.J. Rose. I’m so grateful to Get Red PR Books and Blue Box Press for inviting me on the tour for this book.

Friday, February 10, 2023

Book Review: "Georgie, All Along" by Kate Clayborn

This is a heartfelt, poignant, and charming story about overcoming your past and finding yourself.

Georgie couldn't leave her small Virginia hometown fast enough. She got a waitressing job in Richmond, which led to an opportunity to become a personal assistant to a filmmaker, and the next thing she knew, she moved to Los Angeles. There, she worked nonstop as the PA to a famous screenwriter and director. It was crazy, unpredictable work, but she loved it and felt she had purpose and control.

But when her boss decides to retire, Georgie finds herself jobless and homeless. She moves back home to plan for her future and help her pregnant best friend Bel out, who also moved back home recently.

And then Georgie remembers that there’s no escaping your reputation in a small town. Everyone still thinks of her as a flake, a spontaneous prankster who never was serious about everything. As she tries to figure out what she wants to do with her life, she finds a notebook that she and Bel wrote when they were in 8th grade. This “friendfic” was full of all the things they were going to do to conquer high school.

Is it too late to live your 8th grade dreams? With the help of Levi, who knows all too well how hard it is to outrun your reputation, she’ll try to recapture that youthful enthusiasm. Yet as she tries to figure out what’s next, it may be what has been missing is right near her.

I’ve been a fan of Kate Clayborn for a while and I love the heart, charm, and romance she brings to her books. This is really good!

Book Review: "Maame" by Jessica George

Jessica George's debut novel is moving, thought-provoking, and just so good.

FOMO hits hard on Bookstagram from time to time. I saw this book since the end of 2022 and heard so much praise, so I couldn’t wait to read this. I love it when a book lives up to the hype!

Maddie is a dutiful daughter. She’s currently the primary caregiver for her father, who has Parkinson’s. Her mother mostly lives in Ghana, but that doesn’t stop her from haranguing Maddie about finding a man to marry or asking Maddie—who has to pay all of the bills—to send money. She also gets no help from her older brother, who always has an excuse to not be around or contribute financially.

At the same time, Maddie is struggling with motivation at work, where she is tired of being one of the only Black people, and she’s dealing with loneliness. When her mother decides to move back to London for a year and promises to take over her father’s care, Maddie is ready to move out and start living the life she should at 25.

But although she has decided to embrace saying yes to new opportunities—including drinking and dating—she still finds herself mired in unhappiness and dealing with similar issues at her new job. And after a tragedy and a betrayal set her back on her heels, she finds herself lost, yet afraid to actually speak her mind and admit she’s struggling.

I thought this book was excellent. It captured all the challenges of family, career, friendship, love, and responsibility. Maddie was such a fantastic character and I really felt for her. It’s amazing that this was a debut novel—I can’t wait to see what George does next!!

Book Review: "The Sweet Spot" by Amy Poeppel

Amy Poeppel's latest is a sweet (of course!) and slightly zany story about friendship, family—both chosen and blood, revenge, and fresh starts.

Lauren, a sculptor, is unbelievably excited when famed designer Felicity starts selling her stuff. It will be an enormous career move for her, although the volume of orders makes it harder for Lauren to spend time with her husband Leo, a truly absent-minded professor, their three children, and a rambunctious dog.

What Lauren doesn’t know is that an off-the-cuff remark to Felicity gives her the motivation to make changes in her own life. These changes upend Melinda’s life, and she’s determined to make both Lauren and Felicity pay.

But the course of revenge never runs smoothly, and it’s not long before Melinda’s anger has caused ripples in several people’s lives, including Felicity, Lauren, and Olivia, a young woman who was essentially collateral damage in Melinda’s rampage.

It takes a baby left behind by its parents to bring Melinda, Lauren, and Olivia together, and soon their lives—and others’—become intertwined as things go off the rails in very interesting ways. Can friendships, second chances, even love flourish amidst this chaos?

I love the way Poeppel writes. I’ve enjoyed all of her books and I was eagerly anticipating this. She never disappoints; her books are funny, warm, and just so charming. I definitely finished this with a smile on my face!

Book Review: "The Way They Were: How Epic Battles and Bruised Egos Brought a Classic Hollywood Love Story to the Screen" by Robert Hofler

This new book gives a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the classic love story.

Do you like to know the stories behind famous movies, the things that might have changed everything if they had come to fruition? I’m always fascinated by film history, so when Kensington Books offered me an advance copy of this book, which looks at the hard road to get The Way We Were onto the screen, I jumped at the chance.

Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, The Way We Were is a quintessential love story, about two completely different people in the 1930s—Katie, a Jewish activist who supports communism, and Hubbell, the handsome, privileged WASP—who fall in love and struggle with the world around them. The movie is on the American Film Institute’s list of top 10 movie romances.

While Barbra Streisand and Robert Redford seem tailor-made for their roles, the truth is, Redford didn’t want to make this movie. At first, he bristled against playing what he described as a “Ken doll” to Streisand, and he demanded that his role be expanded, so a bunch of screenwriters had to rework the script.

This was a really interesting story, a battle of egos, machinations, and compromises. What I found most fascinating is that Arthur Laurents, the original screenwriter, actually based the story on his own romance with his partner. Laurents was essentially the Streisand character while his partner, Tom Hatcher, was Redford.

Definitely a great read for film buffs and fans of this movie.

Book Review: "None of This Would Have Happened If Prince Were Alive" by Carolyn Prusa

Boy, was this a funny, moving book about finding strength to overcome disasters—both atmospheric and emotional!

Is this not such an amazing title? Prince was such a huge part of my musical life. I actually remember I was out having lunch with friends when I saw the news he had died, and couldn’t believe it.

When a Category 4 hurricane bearing down on your city isn’t your biggest problem, you’re a warrior. Ramona is constantly juggling the demands of her career—and a boss who says “kewl”—and raising two children, the younger of whom is failing at toilet training. It’s not that her husband Desmond doesn’t help, it’s just he always seems to mess things up or not listen to her.

But when she picks up her daughter early from daycare, she arrives home to find that he’s been cheating on her. She’s barely holding it all together, and having to evacuate with her kids, worry about her stubborn mother who lives on the water, and consider infidelity and ending her marriage is almost too much to bear.

The book alternates between the present and various points in Ramona’s relationship with Desmond. It’s at turns sarcastic, emotional, thought-provoking, and funny as hell. I love the voice that Carolyn Prusa gave to her characters, especially Ramona and her mother.

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Book Review: "Endpapers" by Jennifer Savran Kelly

It’s 2003. New York City is just starting to move forward after 9/11. Dawn works as a bookbinder at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, repairing old books while hoping to find the spark to reignite her own artistic efforts.

At the same time, she is struggling with her sexual identity. She is dating Lukas, who wishes she were a man, while there are days she isn’t sure what or who she really is. In a time before people generally understood the concept of nonbinary or genderqueer, Dawn’s exploration serves to complicate her relationship with Lukas, her colleagues, and her family.

One day while repairing a book she finds the cover of a pulp novel from the 1950s bound inside the back cover. She cannot figure out how it would’ve gotten there. But that’s only the start of the mystery. The cover features a woman dressed as a man, and on the back is a love letter from one woman to another, written in German.

Who were these women? What happened to them and their relationship? And why does this book cover speak to Dawn so much? Solving this mystery becomes an obsession for her, as well as an opportunity to avoid dealing with her concerns about her creative block, her relationship with Lukas, and the violence that always threatens the LGBTQ community. It's sad that many of the issues addressed in the book haven't changed much in 20 years.

This was so good. Thanks so much to Algonquin Books for inviting me on the tour for this. I found it so compelling, and I cannot get it out of my mind.