Here are some brief thoughts on three novels I read recently:
Dreams of Joy, by Lisa See, is a great sequel to Shanghai Girls, which takes place in Red China in the late 1950s. This setting was very foreign to me (I am more familiar with the 1940s and 1950s Los Angeles of Shanghai Girls due to movies and because my father grew up in LA during that time), so I found it a little harder to relate to. However, the story and writing are excellent and Lisa See once again tells a powerful story about love and dreams. 5/5 stars.
Blanche on the Lam, by Barbara Neely, was an enjoyable, light mystery, but nothing spectacular. The mystery part was slow to develop and not quite the sort I expected. The main character, a black female domestic worker, was interesting and certainly a different perspective from what I am used to. 3/5 stars.
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, by N. K. Jemisin, was an engaging fantasy novel with some unusual twists thrown in: a main character who is female and gods who live in the world with the mortals. The story is creative and has a few surprises. Overall I enjoyed it and will probably read the other two in the series. 4/5 stars.