Farewell the Dragon by Lee Barckmann

Rating: ★★★★★

RCR Says: “Through a careful unpacking of culture, religion, and economic zeitgeist, Barckmann begins to put his finger on the facts that separate East from West, if indeed there are any to be found.”

Portrait of Stella by Susan Wüthrich

Rating: ★★★★

RCR Says: “Ultimately, Wüthrich shows how life is so often an unpredictable balance of beautiful moments and heart-wrenching tragedy—and that is exactly why we must fight for each new day with a fresh heart.”

Gazelle in the Shadows by Michelle Peach

Rating: ★★★★

RCR Says: “Michelle Peach brings Syrian culture and cityscapes to life with her descriptions and characters. The reader can feel Elizabeth’s excitement and nervousness as she encounters new people, places, and foods.”

The Fearful Lion by Almas Akhtar

Rating: ★★★

RCR Says:Akhtar has created likable characters, and by developing their story arcs more dynamically, she could have made their struggles more deeply felt by the reader.”

The Medium of Desire by Alex McGlothlin

Rating: ★★★★★

RCR Says: “Though the novel’s tone comes across a bit nihilistic at times, its ultimate message, strengthened by a sprinkling of colorful and generally optimistic supporting characters, is that life’s beauty is better enjoyed with someone you love by your side.”