Ann Napolitano’s new novel, Hello Beautiful, deserves all of the praise I am sure it’s going to get. It is gorgeously written, with flawed characters so movingly portrayed you can feel the tenderness with which Napolitano handles each one. Even the ones you can’t quite sympathize with are never flat. Families come together, break apart, and come together again. Its March publication date, the month of March Madness, is also fitting, given that a central character, William, finds solace early on in basketball.
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This winter ended up being a season of cozy science fiction for me. I devoured Winter's Orbit by Everina Maxwell (amazing) and then plowed through every book in Becky Chambers' Wayfarers series. Those of you who regularly read our blog will remember Lori raving about Becky's Monk and Robot series (also amazing and cozy and full of self-acceptance and love). Well, it prompted me to get the audio-book of The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, #1 in Wayfarers. Her world-building, wit, and characters are all *chef's kiss*. Of all of the probable and improbable sci-fi futures I've read, this is the one I like the most. Full of acceptance and a mingling of cultures and diverse beings who learn about each other's ways of life, it is so very satisfying to read.
Anyone who has asked me for help in the mystery section of Island Books knows that, with very few exceptions (Louise Penny and Ann Cleeves), I do not read contemporary mysteries. I prefer any bloody murder to be at a historical remove. But I also realized, after combing through my reading journal, I’ve primarily read mysteries set in Regency London. Or World War I London. Or post-WWII London. The common denominator apparently being historical London. So when I visited the meticulously curated Lopez Bookshop last fall, I took a chance on expanding my comfort zone with the delightfully titled Singapore Sapphire, by A.M. Stuart, a historical mystery set in turn of the century colonial Singapore.