Happiness Falls

By Angie Kim

When Mia and Eugene’s father goes missing the family is desperate to find him. Eugene and his father have been out for the day and Eugene returns alone, highly distraught. The problem is that Eugene has a condition known as Angelman Syndrome and cannot speak so Mia and her mom can’t find out what happened. And so begins their search to uncover this mystery. This is a brilliant look at how we assume that people’s intelligence is linked to their ability to speak, at parental love and at the lengths to which we will go hold a family together. Great!!!! (You also have to read Miracle Creek by the same author – reviewed earlier)

Family Lore

By Elizabeth Acevedo

Flor, Mathilda, Pastora and Camilla are four Dominican-American sisters who each have a “special” gift. When Flor decides to have a living wake, the sisters, Flor’s daughter and niece are frantic. Why? Because Flor’s particular gift is that she can see why someone is about to die. Acevedo is a master at conveying the quick, witty Spanish/English dialogue among these women. I fell in love with the sisters – with all their quircks and “gifts”. Great book!

A Tidy Ending; Three Things about Elsie; The trouble with Goats and Sheep

By Joanna Canon

I love Joanna Canon. She writes beautifully. Her characters are funny, smart and her stories are intelligent and thoughtful.

I copied and pasted these summaries from Goodreads:

“A Tidy Ending [Hardcover]:
Linda has lived in a quiet neighborhood since fleeing the dark events of her childhood in Wales. Now she sits in her kitchen, wondering if this is all there pushing the vacuum around and cooking fish sticks for dinner, a far cry from the glamorous lifestyle she sees in the glossy magazines coming through the mail slot addressed to the previous occupant, Rebecca.

Three Things About
Eighty-four-year-old Florence has fallen in her flat at Cherry Tree Home for the Elderly. As she waits to be rescued, she thinks about her friend Elsie and wonders if a terrible secret from their past is about to come to light. If the charming new resident is who he claims to be, why does he look exactly like a man who died sixty years ago?

The Trouble with Goats and
“An astute, engaging debut” (Publishers Weekly), The Trouble with Goats and Sheep is a quirky and utterly charming tale of a community in need of reconciliation and two girls learning what it means to belong. England, 1976. Mrs. Creasy is missing and the Avenue is alive with whispers. The neighbors blame her sudden disappearance on the heat wave, but ten-year-olds Grace and Tilly aren’t convinced.”


By R.F. Kuang

When Athena dies in a freak accident June steals her manuscript and publishes it as her own. It is a huge success and catapults June to fame. Of course things begin to unravel for June as she spins more and more faslehoods while convincing herself that she is deserving of these accolades and everyone else is at fault. This book brilliantly explores racism, cultural appropriation and social media. It will make you laugh while it horrifies you. I loved it.

The Colony

By Audrey Magee

A beautiful story of an isolated island off the coast of Ireland where the inhabitants are the keepers of the lost Irish language. The Englishman, Mr. Lloyd, is an artist looking for an authentic experience and a place to paint. Jean-Pierre Masson is a Frenchman studying this lost language in the hopes of preserving it (and writing about it to make his name). Caught between the two are James – a young lad who wants to paint and avoid the life of a fisher and Mairead, a young widow who mourns loves the island but yearns for more. This book wonderfully portrays all of the conflicted souls who find themselves thrown together while exploring the lingering effects of colonialism. It’s an amazing read!

The Great Believers

By Rebekka Makai

The book takes place in the 1980’s in Chicago during the AIDS epidemic. It features Yale, a development director for an art gallery and Fiona, a young woman who has lost her way after her brother, Nico, died from AIDS. The story moves between Yale and Fiona in the 80’s and Fiona in the present day. The book beautifully explores a devastating time in history. The characters are rendered with compassion and humour and the plot moves at a surprisingly quick pace. I LOVED this story!

Eight Perfect Murders

By Peter Swanson

Years ago, bookseller and mystery aficionado Malcolm Kershaw compiled a list of the genre’s most unsolvable murders, which he titled “Eight Perfect Murders”. Now there is a killer on the loose who has used Malcolm’s list to assist him (her?) in those dasterdly deeds. An FBI agent comes knocking on Malcolm’s door suspicion of him … I really like Peter Swanson’s mysteries. They’re clever, well written with great characters and intelligent dialogue. Fun and easy reads.

The Way of all Flesh/The Art of Dying/A Corruption of the Blood/Voices of the Dead

By Ambrose Parry

Edinburgh 1853. Meet Dr. Will Raven and Sarah Fisher. This unlikely duo teams up to care for the sick and unwittingly to solve murders. These books are nicely paced, intelligently written and evoke the sights and sounds of Victorian Scotland. They feature a heroine who is denied access to university yet fights for her place in society while the hero is a scrapper who becomes a doctor while fighting the demons of his past. Fun to read and you learn alot at the same time!

Birnam Wood

By Eleanor Canton

Mira Bunting has founded an eco-guerilla gardening group. She meets multi-billionaire Robert Lemoine. They use each other to achieve their goals, Mira’s to battle climate change and Robert’s to make more billions by disregarding the cost to the earth. The book’s well paced, the characters interesting and the dialogue is terrific. I did find the ending rather bleak so if you’re looking for a pick me up this isn’t it!

The Twyford Code

By Janice Hallett

The Twyford Code is written as a series of 200 audio files that have been recovered and deciphered from an iPhone belonging to Steven Smith, an ex-con recently released from prison after being incarcerated for 11 years. He is desperately trying to figure out what happened to his elementary school teacher, Miss Isles, when she disappeared on a field trip taken 40 years prior. Another unique approach to a mystery story that is clever, funny and compelling. I loved this one!