Elevate Difference

Reviews tagged fiction

The Finishing Touches

I consider myself a feminist yet I read chick lit like it's going out of fashion—is that strange? I'm aware this genre is often problematic from a certain feminist point of view, but it also provides ample material for a proper discussion.

Claire de Lune

Claire de Lune, Christine Johnson’s debut novel, is a good, but not standout, addition to werewolf lit. The simple way that this twist on werewolf lore is presented will make it a quick and satisfying read to ardent werewolf lovers, though it will have a tougher time winning the hearts of others.


Beauty is the outstanding first novel of British author Raphael Selbourne, winner of the prestigious 2009 Costa First Novel Award (formerly known as the Whitbread Literary Awards). The novel’s plot is seemingly predictable–an illiterate girl runs away from an abusive home where she had been forced to marry a much older mullah (religious man) at the age of fourteen.

29: A Novel

If there is one book that will certainly be made into a successful film, it is this one. All the ingredients are there for an entertaining feature-length romp. The plot is quite simple: a seventy-five year old grandmother celebrates her birthday and, while blowing out her candles, makes a seemingly unattainable wish, to be twenty-nine again.

Dreams in Prussian Blue

For a long time, it seemed to me as if all Indian writers in English wrote “serious” things—complicated stories, language that needed some getting through, “big” themes, weighty tomes. And then came Chetan Bhagat and the many followers in his footsteps, who unleashed upon us a spate of poorly-written novels, mostly to do with engineering institutes and adolescent angst.

Everything Matters!

Someone should count how many coming-of-age novels have ever been written that focus on white, male characters. To me, it seems like every time I browse around in a bookstore and skim through the back covers of books in the “New & Hot Fiction” section, the onslaught of these story set-ups just doesn’t end. I realize that some topics never get boring, like love, betrayal, or war.

Alone With You: Stories

For years, I read The New Yorker for the politics and music reviews more than for its fiction.

Half Life

Love stories aren’t really my thing, but Roopa Farooki’s newest novel, Half Life, shows many shades of love in a way that warms the heart, wets the eye, and expands the mind. The book opens with Aruna Ahmed Jones’ seemingly crazy and impulsive decision to leave her year-old marriage.


Miguel Syjuco’s Ilustrado is the novel made for re-reading. There are continual twists and turns and questions about the nature of fiction writing that immediately attune one to the constructed nature of the textual landscape.

Cook the Books

Cook the Books is part of a series of mystery books (Gourmet Girl Mysteries) by mother-daughter writing team Jessica Conant-Park and Susan Conant. Chloe is a graduate student in her mid twenties, who lives by herself and has a passion for food. She has an incredibly gorgeous best friend named Adrianna, who is married to a goofy but honest and lovable free-spirited (broke) man named Owen.

Angel and Apostle

Deborah Noyes’s Angel and Apostle, styled as a sequel to The Scarlet Letter, is a fascinating journey and an interesting effort to flesh out the life of a child attempting to live under the shadow of shame, guilt, and community exile.

Letter to My Daughter

I admit that I am influenced by book titles in my choice of books to read. In that sense, Letter to My Daughter was somewhat off putting for me. I was expecting a somewhat predictable story of a mother writing a letter to her daughter.

Forbidden Passion

Forbidden Passion is a paranormal romance centered around the relationship of Dr. Marlena Bender and Sheriff Dante Valtrez. Set in the small Southern town of Mysteria, the book begins with Marlena returning home to confront her troubled past. Twenty years before, Marlena witnessed the gruesome deaths of her mother and sister at the hands of two men in the woods.

Masculine Identity in the Fiction of the Arab East Since 1967

It is widely acknowledged that limited gender constructs and highly patriarchal social structures, the kind that are prevalent in the Middle East, are often harmful to women.


Originally written for the German public, Wetlands has made its way west to shock some freedom into the views of female sexuality and feminism. Wetlands could be the placid story of Helen, a girl using her hospital stay to get her parents back together.

All the Living

It doesn’t take much of a search to learn that All the Living by C. E. Morgan has been very well-reviewed. The story itself is simple: girl and boy meet; event pushes them toward a commitment neither of them had thought through; life gets rough and someone thinks about finding a way out; a certain kind of intimate conversation between girl and boy becomes possible as a result of the difficulties they learn to endure together.

The Spare Room

Many of us love our friends just as much as our family members. We often believe we would go to great lengths to protect them, as does Helen, the narrator of The Spare Room.

Jesus Boy

Star-crossed intergenerational love between a Christian matriarch and a young church pianist sounds like an unlikely fictional masterpiece, but in Jesus Boy, Preston L.

Kill Your Darlings: Issue One

Kill Your Darlings has a lot to live up to. In its inaugural issue its editor, Affirm Press’ Rebecca Starford, says the journal’s mission is to "reinvigorate and re-energise" Australia’s literary scene.

The Lacuna

A Barbara Kingsolver novel can often be defined in just one word: captivating. In her first work of fiction in nearly a decade, The Lacuna delivers (in true Kingsolver style) with intricate characters, potent settings, and a sturdy construction built on extensive research.

The Blue Orchard

I can't remember the last time a tale of fiction grabbed me and wouldn't let me go. I finished The Blue Orchard by Jackson Taylor over a week ago and it still haunts me during those quiet moments of my day. What drew me in to say 'yes' to reviewing this book was that it is a tale of a nurse in pre-Roe America who is arrested for performing illegal abortions.

Mathilda Savitch

Despite years of being told not to, I immediately judged Victor Lodato’s novel Mathilda Savitch by the cover. I opened it expecting to speed through a mature version of Harriet the Spy with a twist of Tim Burton’s eccentricity.

Hotel Iris

Having been forced to drop out of school to work at her family's seaside hotel in Japan, a young woman named Mari suffers through days marked by routine. She cleans rooms, minds the desk, and attends to the needs of the guests. The novel Hotel Iris explores what happens when a girl breaks free of a life of controlled repetition, only to fall victim to an even more brutal cycle of submission and domination.

Song Over Quiet Lake

In Song Over Quiet Lake, Sarah Felix Burns tells several intertwining stories of loss, love, and healing. The novel centers on an unlikely friendship between a young white woman, Sylvia, and a Tlingit elder, Lydie Jim. Both are students at the University of British Columbia, and they meet when Sylvia is assigned to be Lydie’s tutor.

Baba Yaga Laid an Egg

When she sleeps, her nose scrapes the ceiling of her small cottage. Her breasts hang from a pole over the fireplace, and she has a leg made of iron. She lives alone in a hut on chicken legs, and her gates are topped with human skulls. Passing heroes can flatter her and order her to do their bidding, but heroines must serve her in order to win her favor.

The Last River Child

The Last River Child is the story of a town caught up in a legend: they believe there are children possessed by the spirit of the river meant to bring misfortune to everything around them. Everyone is taught to stay away from the river, but a young girl named Peg feels drawn to the river and refuses to believe the story.

Waking Up in the Land of Glitter: A Crafty Chica Novel

Waking Up in the Land of Glitter is Kathy Cano-Murillo's first foray into the world of novel writing. The author, known to her crafting disciples as "Crafty Chica," already has a well-established fan base because of her popular crafting books, web series, nationally syndicated newspaper column, instructional craft cruise to Mexico, and product line.

The Lotus Eaters

When I read a book that keeps me enthralled to the final page, that is so absorbing I have to tear myself away from it, I find myself amazed (and envious) that anyone can be so gifted. That’s how I felt after reading The Lotus Eaters. Having attended my share of writing seminars, I realize you can’t really soar as a writer until you have truly mastered the craft; however, some writers seem to have talent that defies reason.

Remarkable Creatures

I'm a huge fan of Tracy Chevalier. Like a lot of people, I began with Girl with a Pearl Earring, and have since made my way through all but one of her other books. So of course I leapt at the chance to sample her newest offering. Like all her books, Remarkable Creatures begins with something tangible.

A Dead Hand: A Crime in Calcutta

Here’s the thing about reading a book that’s set in the place you live: it obliges you to scrutinize the setting, the authenticity of the dialogue, and the accuracy of the story in a way you may not have done otherwise. This effect becomes magnified when the place in which you live is not the place you are from, and when your own situated existence in that un-rooted place resembles that of the author’s.