Reviews: Cultural drama, mystery, and intrigue packed into 3 must-read new releases

January was a big month for new releases in bookstores.

Journalist Ashley Kritzer joined FOX 13’s Linda Hurtado to review some titles released in January that readers won’t want to miss.

On the list of January's Tampa Bay Reads hits are books that explore culture, family, mystery, and a lot of surprising drama.

"Olga Dies Dreaming"

First up is "Olga Dies Dreaming" by Xochitl Gonzalez. It’s a New York Times Bestseller that was called the ‘most anticipated book of 2022’ by Time, Barnes and Noble, the Boston Globe, and others.

The story centers on two Puerto Rican siblings live in modern day New York City. Their mother hasn't been part of their lives for a very long time, but comes sweeping back into their lives just as Hurricane Maria is devastating Puerto Rico. 

"Olga Dies Dreaming" digs deep into issues of family identity and sociopolitical struggles – themes with which everyone can identify.

 It’s also educational for anyone who may not be familiar with injustices faced by Puerto Ricans, plus and a deep dive into their culture. 

"The Fields"

Next is "The Fields" by Aaron Young, a fictional crime procedural with a tagline that says it all: "Some things don’t stay buried."

This book weaves the tale of how a small Iowa town deals with the discovery of a woman’s body in a cornfield and how the implications spread beyond the town’s borders.

Kritzer said the plot lines come together in an "explosive ending."

"Mouth to Mouth: A Novel"

Finally, a unique offering called "Mouth to Mouth: A Novel" by Antoine Wilson. Kritzer said this book is "Absolutely one of the most unique books I've read this year."

The story unfolds over the course of one conversation. The narrator sees an old college classmate at the airport. There's a flight delay. They sit down for beers and his college classmate, a successful art dealer, reveals how he built his career, starting with the story of how he saved a man from drowning. The story explores the difference between fate and destiny, plus hard work, with a "killer" twist.

The reviewer

Ashley Kritzer is a journalist for the Tampa Bay Business Journal and a book reviewer on Instagram. She received promotional copies of these books from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review only.

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