by Tommy Orange In honor of National Native American Heritage Month, I wanted to recommend Tommy Orange’s There There. A member of the Cheyenne and Arapahoe Tribes, Tommy was born in Oakland, where he set his 2018 book about the urban Native American experience. Because I know Oakland, I loved seeing his characters living here and there around the city. At first his characters appear to be swallowed by the surrounding environment and dominant culture that lead to deep persona
Today is Mary Donahue’s birthday! That’s right, born April 13, 1963, Mary — the protagonist in Winter Light — turns 59 today. She’s appalled! And deep down delighted, because as a teen, she never expected to live this long or have such an interesting life. She still isn’t sporty, but walks daily to keep her cholesterol down. She’s disgusted beer now gives her indigestion. She’s become a voracious reader, though mostly of nonfiction revolving around history and current events,
by Ann S. Epstein Ann S. Epstein’s newest historical novel, The Great Stork Derby, due out Oct. 19, is a gut-wrenching story built upon one of the craziest true events that ever occurred in modern human history: a baby-making contest.
The story begins in 1976 with the humiliating image of a curmudgeon who’s fallen on the floor of his decrepit Toronto house and can’t get up. When help finally arrives, the social worker assigned to Emm Benbow gives him two stark choices, eithe
This is the best deconstructed love story I’ve ever read! In Careless Love, author Steve Zettler gives us a spectacular love story steeped in rich Hawaiian sunsets and the stark reality of how fleeting moments of love and passion can be. Though neither the narrator’s name nor gender are mentioned, I pictured him as a man in his 40s. Only a few weeks before his mother dies, she shocks him by saying the man she divorced is not actually the narrator’s father. Instead, his real d
I don’t often read dystopian novels because of the claustrophobic doom that often hovers over them. But I’m glad I received an advance reader copy of Jessica Bell’s newest novel, How Icasia Bloom Touched Happiness, because the end is so bright. You’ll find my review below and on Goodreads. Jessica Bell’s newest novel, How Icasia Bloom Touched Happiness is a philosophical tour-de-force dressed as a dystopian journey that brandishes elements of classics such as “The Hand Maid’s
Buy now! Thanks, everyone, for your support over the past 6 months in making Winter Light a 2021 Gold Medal IPPY Winner in Young Adult Fiction! Mary Donahue loves you all, even if she’s too cool to show it. In thanks, I’m offering 1 FREE Kindle copy to any book club that chooses the book for discussion. As always, I’ll be happy to join your book club discussion if that’s something your members would enjoy. Thanks to Virginia Andrade McPherson, Kelly Spring and others who’ve a
Buy now! I just learned Winter Light won a Gold Medal in Young Adult Fiction in the 2021 Independent Publishers Book Awards (IPPY). A virtual awards ceremony will take place June 30. I’d like to congratulate the other winners in this 25th awards event. I’d also like to give a huge thanks to Vine Leaves Press and all of you friends and readers! #literaryaward #WinterLight #MarthaEngber #novel #fiction
By Connie Biewald Preorder now, publication date of May 25, 2021 I fell in love with Nadine Antoine on the first page of Connie Biewald’s Truth Like Oil, a sentiment that only grew stronger the deeper I sank into the story of an immigrant mother’s plight to keep her two young adult sons on the straight-and-narrow in a foreign culture.
Just watching the exhausted Nadine climb the stairs of her apartment building in Cambridge, MA, after her long shift as a nurse’s aide, I knew
Book Review I just finished reading Ever Rest, Roz Morris’ new novel due out June 3, 2021 (available for preorder). A fantastic read! Below is my Goodreads review of this literary book club treat. Roz is the author of two previous novels — My Memories of a Future Life and Life Form Three — as well as the memoir Not Quite Lost and the book for writers Nail Your Novel. Besides being a writing coach and instructor, she’s a ghostwriter for bestselling authors. ___ Ever Rest by Ro
I had the most pleasant surprise this morning when I opened my email to find a copy of my upcoming novel’s book cover by Jessica Bell, publisher of Vine Leaves Press and a top-notch book designer, as well as author and singer/song-writer. Due out Oct. 6, 2020, by Vine Leaves Press Now I have the task of building a Book Launch Team. If you’re interested, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Though I’ve had two previous books published, I’ve never done this particular task. Free Book
As I read this book, the writing became “gorgouser and gorgeouser,” the very term the main character uses to describe — with full-on melancholy — the love of his life that he slid away from. Rather than lyrical in the way harp music or a serene river flowing by, the book’s language is akin to an Irish beach where you’re likely to cut your feet on the sharp rock not yet ground into fine sand, despite centuries of pummeling. The story begins with lifelong Irish mates Maurice an