The Queen of Dirt Island by Donal Ryan
Perhaps my favorite book this month. A beautifully written story of a family of women in a small town in the Irish countryside. Family loyalty, love, betrayal, and loss are endured by this household in their own steadfast committment.
What Happened to Ruthy Ramirez by Claire Jimenez
I enjoyed this as an Audible because I like the authentic voices and accents.
Though this story centers on the disappearance of a young girl, it is a revealing portrayal of multiple generations of a Puerto Rican-American family on Staten Island.
The author is a Puerto Rican American who grew up on Staten Island, so I think her representation is legit.
Both hilarious and heartbreaking.
Carmen and Grace by Melissa Coss Aquino
Puerto Rican American cousins from Brooklyn suffer abandonment from drug addled mothers, absent fathers and are lured to the safety of a drug cartel run by a welcoming mother figure. These are not stupid girls. They just find a place to live with order and rules of behavior they never had.
Could have edited out some repetition, but overall an absorbing read.
Homestead by Melinda Moustakis
A quiet, spare novel about a young couple in 1956 Alaska trying to establish a homestead claim. Working the land and their own relationship is a double challenge. Once again, I salute the women pioneers of our country.
The Chinese Groove by Kathryn Ma
The optimistic Shelley, a Chinese immigrant who arrives in California to stay with his rich uncle and pursue his dreams, is met by a more realistic landscape and the vagaries of life and untruthful "friends" and lovers. His relentless upbeat quest will keep you engaged and cheering for him.
Kuntslers in Paradise by Cathleen Schine
I loved this writer's book The Grammarians , so I had high hopes for this one. Good, but not great. I hate whiny characters and the grandson who goes to visit his grandmother in sunny California and gets "stuck" there by the pandemic annoyed me. But the story of the immigrant GM and her life in early Hollywood was interesting. The housekeeper is a hoot!
Hang the Moon by Jeannette Walls
From the author of The Glass Castle , this is the story of Sallie Kincaid, daughter of Duke Kincaid who has run his small fiefdom in rural Virginia for decades. After his death, Sallie is in the role of CEO of a powerful and lucrative operation which includes bootlegging. The situation raises significant ethical issues for honest, church-going folks.
Fun, fast-paced tale.
The Confidante by Christopher Gorham
The subject of this book is a fascinating woman named Anna Rosenberg. I had no knowledge of her and her outsized role in FDR's presidency.
The book is rather dry and does not give insight into Rosenberg as a person, but her achievements and contributions and dedication to our country are truly remarkable. She never lost her appreciation for the freedom of her adopted country.
The Things We Make by Bill Hammack PhD.
This is not as dry as you might expect. Very conversational writing makes engineering and science compelling to the non-STEM reader. His descriptions of inventing and improving apparatus, buildings, and processes will make you look at the world with a more inquisitive mind.