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Posts by Katie H

The sweet smell of imperfection

Cover of Essence of Perfection
A review of Essence of Perfection by Nita Brooks

Nicola King is used to pressure. As the lead chemist for her family’s cosmetics brand, Queen Couture, she’s the genius behind the brand’s biggest hits and a leading figure in the perfume world that has her rubbing elbows with the elite of the fashion and entertainment industry. At least, that’s the image Nicola likes to project.

Sep 24, 2020

A tangled tale

Cover of The Golden Thread: The Col
A review of The Golden Thread: The Cold War and the Mysterious Death of Dag Hammarskjold by Ravi Somaiya

The 1960s was an especially rife period for political assassinations, but for years, one of the most famous deaths of the decade—the killing of United Nations General Secretary Dag Hammarskjold—was officially an accident. The downing of the general secretary’s plane in the skies of Rhodesia (modern Zambia) in the early hours of September 18, 1961, has long been cast in doubt, almost from the moment the burnt out remains of the plane and its fifteen crash victims were discovered in the sweltering jungle (the sole survivor would later die in hospital after making some intriguing comments).

Sep 9, 2020

After the ever after

Cover of The Heir Affair
A review of The Heir Affair by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan

Is there any guilty pleasure quite as satisfying as royal watching? We all love to tune into the elaborate weddings, analyze sartorial choices and coo when a royal baby arrives on the scene. But as basically every generation of royalty throughout history has shown, the happy ever after surface doesn’t always match what’s happening behind palace walls, and occasionally that unhappiness breaks into the public.

Aug 31, 2020

Weather accuracy, the neverending goal

Cover of Storm Kings: The Untold Hi
A review of Storm Kings: The Untold History of America’s First Storm Chasers by Lee Sandlin

Though we've been lucky this summer, every Midwesterner knows its keening sound, a reminder that tornado season is upon us once again. Tornadoes remain something of an enigma today, even as technology and YouTube videos make the prediction and experience of storms more routine. But our knowledge of tornados is a very recent phenomenon, as Lee Sandlin chronicles in Storm Kings: The Untold History of America’s First Storm Chasers.

Jul 27, 2020

Hot guys. And knitting.

Cover of Real Men Knit
A review of Real Men Knit by K. M. Jackson

It's a bit of misnomer to call Kwana Jackson’s newest novel, Real Men Knit a romance. It’s being billed as such by its publisher, but this is really more the story of a family with strong elements of romance intertwined. And unlike many other romances, this one begins with a tragedy: Mama Joy Strong, a foster-turned-adoptive mother to four boys and the proprietor of Harlem’s Strong Knits knitting store, has suddenly died. Her boys, now all grown and more or less launched into life with varying degrees of success, are left stunned.

Jul 1, 2020

Happily ever after in Hollywood

Cover of Something to Talk About
A review of Something to Talk About by Meryl Wilsner

Jo Jones has a lot to think about. The Hollywood screenwriter and former child actress has just signed on pen her biggest project yet, a big budget action flick featuring an iconic American comic book character, while dialing back her involvement in her successful television drama series. She’s bracing for the inevitable blowback that will come when the fanboys hear their favorite comic will be written by a woman, and an Asian American one at that.

Jun 11, 2020

The limits of forgiveness

Cover of Heaven, My Home
A review of Heaven, My Home by Attica Locke

It’s the fall of 2016 and Darren Mathews feels like a seismic change has happened. The African-American Texas Ranger isn’t just bracing for whatever changes will be coming to law enforcement following the election, but his personal life is equally posed on the brink of change. After the events of Bluebird, Bluebird, Attica Locke’s first book in the Highway 59 series, Mathews thought he had reached a precarious sense of peace. His marriage to lawyer Lisa ha

Jun 1, 2020

Minding Grandmama Queen

Cover of Queen Victoria’s Matchma
A review of Queen Victoria’s Matchmaking: The Royal Marriages That Shaped Europe by Deborah Cadbury

Many a bride or groom in history have been plagued by meddlesome relatives with opinions, solicited or otherwise, on the proper course a couple should—or shouldn’t—take in the path to wedded bliss. There is, after all, one’s happiness at stake. But let’s for a moment take a moment to feel for the offspring of that great matriarch, Queen Victoria. The queen and her beloved husband, Prince Albert, were graced with nine children, who in turn begat 42 grandchildren.

May 13, 2020

Rescue me

Cover of Take a Hint, Dani Brown
A review of Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert

Dani Brown needs some loving and soon. The grad student star of Take a Hint, Dani Brown is in hot pursuit of her PhD, but her latest partner ‘caught feelings’ and if there’s one thing Dani is clear on, it’s that she doesn’t want anything more from her relationships than a good time in bed. So, she’s dumped her girlfriend and is on the lookout for a new buddy to help her deal with the tension of academia—but definitely not a relationship. There’s the very cute security guard at her university office, but big, brooding former rugby pro Zafir Ansari doesn’t seem interested in her.

May 4, 2020

Well this is awkward...

Book cover graphic
A review of The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa

It’s the perfect wedding: not surprising, since the bride is a wedding planner and she’s created her dream ceremony that is as much a statement of her success as a businesswoman. It has to be, since Carolina Santos has worked too hard and her family has sacrificed too much for her to suffer another financial and emotional setback. But just as she’s about to walk down the aisle, the news from her groom, Andrew, comes through his brother Max, the best man: Andrew’s gone and there will be no wedding.

Apr 24, 2020