Tuesday, April 27, 2021


Below are a few somewhat brief $.02 opinions about books I've read or listened to recently but don't have time, inclination, or opportunity to review in full. Their appearance in this recurring piece generally has little to nothing to do with merit. Many of these books I enjoyed as much or more than those that got the full court press. I hope you'll consider one or two for your own TBR stack if they strike your fancy whether they struck mine or not.


Winter Countsby David Heska Wanbli Weiden

Winter Counts is a knockout piece of crime fiction featuring a Native American protagonist written by a Native American author. Which is reason enough to pick this up, since Native authors are vastly under-represented and under-appreciated. Weiden's debut has been shortlisted for the Edgar Award for Best First Novel, and I wouldn't be surprised if he took home the prize. Set on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota, Winter Counts centers on local enforcer Virgil Wounded Horse and his efforts to combat a local drug issue and save a family member in the process. Fantastic stuff and I can't wait for more DHWW and Virgil.

Group, by Christie Tate

For whatever reason there has been a spate of therapy books in the non-fiction realm lately and I am here for it. Others I've read (and greatly enjoyed) were written from the psychologist/psychiatrist perspective, so this was a fresh take. Told by Christie Tate, it was a story I related to in many ways, as Tate was a top student in her law school yet plagued by sadness and thoughts of her own death. Her wonderful therapist, Dr. Rosen, semi-forces her to join a psychotherapy group, and the result is a fabulous and often hilarious read.

Dear Child, by Romy Hausmann

A nifty take on an abduction story, Dear Child begins with a young woman unconscious and hospitalized in Munich following a hit-and-run. With her is a small child, Hannah, who tells a fairly creepy story of their existence and calls the woman "mama." But is the woman her mother? What of the brother Hannah says they left behind to clean stains on the carpet? And is "mama" really Lena, a girl who went missing 13 years ago? Told from alternating perspectives, Dear Child is a super fun ride. 

Little Cruelties, by Liz Nugent

Liz Nugent rocks. And that's not a pun on Ted Nugent, because we all know he's a moronic dick. Little Cruelties is told from the perspectives of three brothers--William, Luke and Brian Drumm. They are all present at a funeral. The catch is that one of them is in the casket and you don't find out which one until the end. Nugent is masterful at setting forth their intertwined lives and intimacies, each with his own version of events, strengths and frailties. Full of mind games and psychological maneuverings, it's a fast-paced gem.


Where The Edge Is, by Grainne Murphy

Gosh this one started out great, and I think I will eventually go back to it. A road in Ireland subsides, trapping five people inside a bus. As the rescue goes forth, we begin to learn about those involved. I was transfixed. Then all of a sudden I wasn't. One section started getting deep into historical issues and my pandemic-riddled brain just wasn't in for it at the time. But I love the cover and the premise and the beginning, so I will give this one another go one day. 

Between Two Kingdoms, by Suleika Jaouad

Oh boy. I was really looking forward to this memoir, mostly for the roadtrip-with-dog that was to follow the author's devastating cancer diagnosis when she had just graduated from college and was on the precipice of a new love and dream career. I hated that I wasn't enjoying it. I kept plugging along, thinking I was being an asshole for judging this woman who was going through such hell. But then. An event relating to her dog. Huh. Maybe I'm not off-base. But I'll give her yet another benefit of the doubt. Then, NOPE. A second event with animals, this one I couldn't overlook, even when someone went through what she did. She's a self-absorbed jerk who spent most of the book proving it and in the end didn't really replace that sentiment with anything redeeming. Bummer. (Of course, your mileage  may vary.)

No comments:

About Malcolm Avenue Review

I was lucky enough to be born and raised in a nifty, oak-shaded ranch house on Malcolm Avenue, a wide-laned residential street with little through traffic, located amid the foothills of Northern California. It was on that street and in that house I learned most of my adolescent life lessons, and many grown-up ones to boot. Malcolm Avenue was "home" for more than thirty years.

It was on Malcolm Avenue, through and with my family and the other families that made up our neighborhood of characters, that I first learned about and gained an appreciation for the things I continue to love the most to this day: music, animals, photography, sports, television/movies and, of course, books.

I owe a debt of gratitude to that life on Malcolm Avenue. It gave me a sense of community and friendship, support and adventure. For better and worse, life on that street likely had the biggest impact on the person I've become. So this blog, and the things I write here, are all, at their base level, a little bit of a love letter to Malcolm Avenue.


  © Blogger templates Newspaper by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP