Fiction Addiction

Child by Judy Goldman

In her lovely memoir, Judy Goldman reflects on what it was like to be a young Jewish girl raised by a Black nanny in the 1940s and 50s south. Mattie Culp became a part of the Kurtz family: sleeping in young Judy’s bedroom, using the family bathroom, celebrating holidays with them—things unheard of in the Jim Crow south. Now in her 80s, Goldman reflects on what Mattie had to give up—including her own child—in order to make the Kurtz family’s life so much easier.

Child by Judy Goldman, (List Price: $28, University of South Carolina Press, 9781643362830, May 2022)

Reviewed by Linda Hodges of Fiction Addiction in Greenville, South Carolina

Tokyo Dreaming by Emiko Jean

Tokyo Dreaming is a breathtaking story that is so vividly written you will feel like you are walking next to Izumi as she navigates imperial life. Izumi has overcome so many challenges since discovering that her father is the Crown Prince Makotonomiya Toshihito of Japan. The transition from normal small town girl to Imperial princess has been difficult. Now Izumi’s mom has joined her in Japan, and they are living the happy family life that Izumi always dreamed of with her father. When Izumi’s father proposes to her mom, everyone is thrilled for the life that is to come. Everyone, except the Imperial council who has their doubts about the match. Izumi decides she will do whatever it takes to make sure her mom and dad have their happily ever after. But what will it cost her? Her future happiest, her friends, or even the true love of her life. Tokyo Dreaming continues the story that began with Tokyo Ever After. Perfect for fans of Sarah Kuhn’s I love you so Mochi, Katherine McGee’s American Royal, or Meg Cabot’s Princess Diaries.

Tokyo Dreaming by Emiko Jean, (List Price: $18.99, Flatiron Books, 9781250766632, May 2022)

Reviewed by Gretchen Shuler, Fiction Addiction in Greenville, South Carolina

Unmasked by Paul Holes

I don’t read a lot of “true crime,” and I honestly struggled with this one until I realized that it had completely captured my attention and I was unable to put it down. Paul Holes has lived a life unimaginable to most of us; facing the depths of depravity and the lengths of evil that exist in this world over the course of his lifetime. Clearly it has affected him…he paints himself as a rather unlikable character, single-mindedly focused on his work at the expense of his relationships, his marriage and his family. Imagine obsessing over one single thing (in his case capturing the Golden State Killer) every day of your life for over two decades. It is no wonder his personal life suffered as a result, but so deep was his obsession with this particular cold case, even his professional life was negatively impacted. I almost wonder if he isn’t affected by Autism or some other syndrome that drove his compulsion to pursue this predator for most of his career. This is a fascinating read not just in the steps it takes to catch a killer, but in how it can affect the lives of so many different people in so many different ways. It is disturbing, but compelling and even if it isn’t something you would normally pick up, it was an amazing read.

Unmasked by Paul Holes, (List Price: $28.99, Celadon Books, 9781250622792,  April 2022)

Reviewed by Brent Bunnell from Fiction Addiction in Greenville, South Carolina

Like a Sister by Kellye Garrett

Like a Sister is as much a story about today’s social media culture and societal issues especially those of race and class as it is a masterfully written twisty mystery. The story is narrated by the very relatable Lena Scott, half- sister of realty star Desiree Pierce who is found dead of a presumed overdose. Lena uses sarcasm and wit to hide her emotions because as a young Black woman in today’s world Lena believes what her mother has always told her – that she must always show her super-woman side to the world. While Desiree was a known alcoholic and coke user, one of the main reasons the sisters had not spoken in two years, Lena is convinced that Desiree didn’t die from an accidental overdose of heroin. She wouldn’t have been surprised if it were coke but never heroin, as Desiree hated needles and was too vain to ever leave track marks. Lena believes the last favor she can do for her sister is find out the truth behind her death even, as it turns out, at the risk to her own life.

Like a Sister by Kellye Garrett, (List Price: $28, Mulholland Books, 9780316256704,  March 2022)

Reviewed by Nancy McFarlane, Fiction Addiction in Greenville, South Carolina

Gallant by V. E. Schwab

Olivia Prior has grown up in an orphanage, unable to speak, the only one able to see the ghouls around her. Her mother’s journal is her only link to her unknown past, until she gets a letter from an uncle she didn’t know she had, summoning her to her family home, Gallant — a place her mother had warned her against in her journal, even as her words spiraled into madness. But Olivia longs for a place to belong, and so she goes. It turns out, though, that Gallant is more than just a house. When Olivia crosses the crumbling garden wall, she finds herself in a shadow Gallant, ruled by death, and she has to decide which world she really belongs in. Schwab has a way of telling stories that really gets to the root of the story — yes, this is a story about family and loss, life and death, a doorway between them, and a girl who can live in both worlds, but Schwab makes it so much more, breathing life and meaning into everything Olivia is and does and wants to be. A beautiful book for fans of Holly Black and Neil Gaiman..

Gallant by V. E. Schwab, (List Price: $18.99, Greenwillow Books, 9780062835772,  March 2022)

Reviewed by Melissa Oates, Fiction Addiction in Greenville, South Carolina

Fearless Heart by Frank Murphy

Surya Bonaly is an amazing Olympic ice skater who astounded the world with her abilities on ice. Fearless Heart tells her story with beautiful illustrations that shows Surya’s life, her challenges, and her triumph. Fearless Heart will inspire the reader to work hard to follow their dreams, and stand up for what they believe in.

Fearless Heart by Frank Murphy, (List Price: $17.95, Triumph Books, 9781629379340, January 2022)

Reviewed by Gretchen Shuler, Fiction Addiction in Greenville, South Carolina

The Violin Conspiracy by Brendan Slocumb

The Violin Conspiracy is listed as a mystery and while the theft of a ten-million-dollar violin is at the heart of the book, the story is so much more than the theft and who stole it. It is about music and how someone who is a true musician can forget the terrible things around him and just live for the music. It is a story about the violin itself and what it meant to an enslaved boy who was subjected to horrors we can’t imagine. And most of all it is the story of Ray and how his grandmother, his violin, his mentor, and those few who believed a young Black boy could become a famous classical violinist helped him to become the man and the musician he came to be. I know absolutely nothing about classical music, and there was a lot that went over my head, but this was written in such a way I was moved by Ray’s dedication and how much music meant to him. This should be read by every aspiring musician, especially those who have experienced prejudice as Ray did. It is a lesson in how to transcend slights and injustice and become the best person you can be.

The Violin Conspiracy by Brendan Slocumb, (List Price: $28.00, 9780593315415, February 2022)

Reviewed by Nancy McFarlane, Fiction Addiction in Greenville, South Carolina

She Persisted: Helen Keller by Courtney Sheinmel

The story of Helen Keller is one that will inspire everyone. She Persisted: Helen Keller is perfect for the young reader who is interested in historical figures, or people with disabilities. This book will encourage your young readers to strive to overcome challenges that might arise, and introduce them to challenges other people live with.

She Persisted: Helen Keller by Courtney Sheinmel, (List Price: $5.99, 9780593115695, December 2021)

Reviewed by Gretchen Shuler, Fiction Addiction in Greenville, South Carolina

Greenwich Park by Katherine Faulkner

Greenwich Park is a fabulous debut novel. The book starts off with a letter to Helen from someone in prison wanting her to know the truth. So, you know from the beginning that something bad is going to happen, but you don’t know who wrote the letter. Told from three points of view–Helen’s, who hopes to finally be bringing a baby to term after many miscarriages; Serena’s, who is Helen’s college friend and now married to her brother Rory; and Kate’s, Helen’s child hood friend who is her brother Charlie’s on again and off again girlfriend–the story takes time to develop but once it starts going it seems to go in lots of different directions at once. The ending will surprise you, and then the rest of the ending will surprise you even more – and then the last sentence on the last page happens.

Greenwich Park by Katherine Faulkner, (List Price: $27.00, Gallery Books, 9781982150310, January 2022)

Reviewed by Nancy McFarlane, Fiction Addiction in Greenville, South Carolina

How High We Go in the Dark by Sequoia Nagamatsu

When a scientific team discover a mummified body of a prehistoric girl buried in the ice of the Arctic, they accidentally release a pathogen that will cause a pandemic that will last for generations, and change the face of humanity forever. As decades go by, people are faced with unbelievable choices when dealing with a searingly unending pandemic. What should they do to preserve humanity? Should they end the suffering of those who are ill? Could they assist the grieving by giving them one more day with their loved ones? What is it like for those infected with the virus? Where did this alien pathogen actually come from? If there is no cure, should they reach for the stars?Each story and character is vaguely interwoven with each other as choices are made on how to help those afflicted with this plague. What is the best answer? Each generation must choose for themselves. How High We Go in the Dark is a thought provoking novel that will show the depths of humanity over generations as they face an unending pandemic.

How High We Go in the Dark by Sequoia Nagamatsu, (List Price: 27.99, William Morrow, 9780063072640, January 2022)

Reviewed by Gretchen Shuler, Fiction Addiction in Greenville, South Carolina


The Last House on the Street by Diane Chamberlain

Diane Chamberlain’s newest novel couldn’t be more relevant for our current times. It is hard to believe that we are still fighting the battles for the right to vote that were being fought in 1965. Told from two story lines – one in 1965 North Carolina right before the signing of the Right to Vote act and one in 2010 – the separate stories of Ellie and Kayla and what they have endured merge when Ellie comes home for the first time in 45 years and Kayla prepares to move into the house at the end of the street. Despite the personal tragedy and other strange things that have been happening including a warning to not move in that included a death threat, Kayla is determined to make the house a wonderful home for herself and her young daughter. A definite must read for fans of Big Lies in a Small Town.

The Last House on the Street by Diane Chamberlain, (List Price: $27.99, St. Martin’s Press, 9781250267962, January 2022)

Reviewed by Nancy McFarlane, Fiction Addiction in Greenville, South Carolina

Murder Under Her Skin by Stephen Spotswood

What a fun read! A traditional mystery set in 1946 with two female private investigators who are called to a traveling circus to help find the murderer of the tattooed lady from the side show. This case is of particular interest to Willowjean (Will) Parker who has been working for the brilliant and world-famous detective Ms. Pentecost for the past few years) because she lived and worked at the circus for five years and considered it home and the employees her family. I can’t wait to read about more cases that this interesting and witty duo are able to solve.

Murder Under Her Skin by Stephen Spotswood, (List Price: $27.00, Doubleday, 9780385547123, December 2021)

Reviewed by Nancy McFarlane, Fiction Addiction in Greenville, South Carolina

PEN: An Illustrated History by Carles Torner

PEN International believes as I do that freedom of speech is the fundamental tool against repression, racism, and terror. I congratulate them on their 100-year anniversary! 

PEN: An Illustrated History by Carles Torner, (List Price: 59.95, Interlink Publishing Group Inc, 9781623719029, November 2021)

Reviewed by Jill Hendrix, Fiction Addiction in Greenville, South Carolina

The Maid by Nita Prose

The Maid is a cozy mystery the way cozies should be written. It is beautifully written, extremely entertaining, has a great mystery, twists you don’t see coming and most of all one of the most endearing and interesting characters you will ever meet. Molly Gray is on the autism spectrum. She does not react to people and circumstances like normal people do because she doesn’t understand their facial expressions and their emotions. But her Gran has taught her over the years to be honest, to be a hard worker and to be very, very polite. Molly is a maid in a luxury hotel. A job she loves and is very, very good at because she loves order, and neatness, and routine. When she finds a dead body in one of her rooms it is not surprising that the police keep thinking that she is hiding something because, while always answering truthfully, she takes things very literally. It is also not surprising when she is eventually arrested for the murder. What is surprising is everything else that happens. I normally like more thriller type books but this was one of the most delightful books I have read in ages and the mystery was top notch.

The Maid by Nita Prose, (List Price: $27.00, Ballantine Books, 9780593356159, January 2022)

Reviewed by Nancy McFarlane, Fiction Addiction in Greenville, South Carolina

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