Editor’s Choice – Fiction We’re Reading Right Now

Everyone should be reading fiction. Novels allow us to expand our imaginations – and see the world in entirely new ways. Fiction readers possess a level of creativity that can only be achieved by unpacking the imaginative world of an author’s mind. After a summer filled with reading, I found that these four novels stood out and left a lasting impression on me, my thoughts, and my life.

A Tale of Two Wise Fools by Arin Keshishian

(Fiction / Literary)

What a wonderful, thoughtful, and memorable novel. Written by Arin Keshishian, A Tale of Two Wise Fools is a story everyone should read. It’s a nostalgic tale of sentimentality, self-reflection, and self-discovery – bound together with the power of friendship.

Set in 1970s Los Angeles, the book introduces you to a 19-year-old French expat named Adrian – who is facing his own demons while attempting to get over his first true love. He is busy keeping his passion for music alive, and starts spending time with a solitary, 70-year-old American companion named Max. Max is a lifelong alcoholic and although at completely different phases of life, the two lost souls find themselves connecting and discussing life over beers. Despite their massive age difference, they find connection in being beat down by the world.

But, when they are presented with newfound hope, they must decide whether they’ll take a new path. As Max’s excessive drinking takes Adrian along for the ride, both men open up about their past, their present, and their outlooks – pushing them to discover more about themselves along the way. Throughout the book, you are reminded of the profoundly interconnected nature of humanity – and that sometimes our biggest challenge is accepting that we deserve hope and happiness.  

Azygos by J.H. White

(Fiction, Fantasy / Paranormal)

J.H. White’s debut novella does not disappoint – it’s a gritty re-imagining of the modern vampire trope. Blending urban fantasy with just the right amount of horror and darkness, this first installment of the Tiber Series grabs a hold of you and doesn’t let go.

Azygos follows two distinct paths – interweaving the lives of its two main characters, Marlowe and Sloan. Sloan and his family have been tracking his mother’s killer for as long as he can remember. As time passes with no answers or closure, the resentment and hatred in his family grow to a breaking point.

Marlowe and her family must return home to Portland after she recklessly commits a grave mistake while hunting. Her guilt and her family’s judgment intensify – but upon a chance meeting between the two, things begin to change. But as people are murdered and secrets are told, their bond agonizingly twists towards its final challenge. As their lives collide, the solace they find within each other may only be a disguise for their darkest nightmares.

I was completely captured by author J.H. White’s marvelous writing style – as she beautifully describes two diverging paths that eventually collide and become one. After finishing this book, be sure to check out the second book in the series, Basilic.

Behold All the Dwellers Upon Earth by John A. Merullo

(Fiction, Fantasy / Contemporary)

This may be John Merullo’s first novel, but he demonstrates that he is a literary force who is here to stay. I loved this unique, political fantasy that both impresses and surprises with each page. The protagonist, Nathan Brimmer, comes from a wealthy, upper-class Boston family. His heritage is both privileged and unusual. At a young age, he discovers that he possesses supernatural abilities.

He keeps his powers to himself, until he meets Sarah – who has similar, but lesser, abilities. They eventually marry and have four children. While all the Brimmer children have these powers in some capacity, David and James-William have the greatest of them all. They know, understand, and can do things that no one else can.

As years go by, David and James-William can see a disaster looming that they know their father can prevent. They guide him onto the national political stage to correct many injustices and stop the horror they foresee. As the novel progresses, it explores relevant topics – particularly religious and LGBTQ themes. As thoughtful as it is timely, the book sets the tone for an exciting series to come.

Rebels Against God: A novel of murder, politics, and abolition in 19th century Virginia by Scott McIntosh and Susan McIntosh

(Fiction / Historical)  

Although a work of fiction, this is the perfect read for history buffs. The authors deliver a historical mystery around the murder of founding father and abolitionist George Wythe. The book explores the racial tensions of the early 1800s through the eyes of anti-slavery pamphleteer Samuel Morrison and former slave Elizabeth Pleasants.

In 1806, founding father and abolitionist Chancellor George Wythe shook the foundations of Virginia’s slaveholding society with a groundbreaking judicial opinion. In the case of Wright v. Hudgins, Wythe declared three enslaved women free, asserting freedom as the birthright of all humans. Supported by the Virginia Declaration of Rights, his decision was a beacon of hope for many, but a threat to others. Weeks later, Wythe and his mixed-race student—rumored to be the son of President Thomas Jefferson and his slave Sally Hemings—were murdered. Although a trial followed, no one was convicted, and the records were destroyed in the Civil War, leaving the case an unsolved mystery.

Rebels Against God immerses readers into the investigation led by Samuel Morrison and Elizabeth Pleasants. They navigate the treacherous waters of racial and political tensions to unveil the shocking truth behind the murders and the ensuing cover-up. This historical mystery provides a compelling resolution to the unsolved murder of George Wythe, shedding light on the dark side of America’s founding era.

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