Review: The City We Became (Great Cities #1) by N.K. Jemisin

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SYNOPSIS:

Every city has a soul. Some are as ancient as myths, and others are as new and destructive as children. New York City? She’s got five.

But every city also has a dark side. A roiling, ancient evil stirs beneath the earth, threatening to destroy the city and her five protectors unless they can come together and stop it once and for all.


RATING: ☆★☆

New York might be born in the world only to be shown right out of it.

Early in “The City We Became”, New York’s human avatar, a young queer Black man living in the streets, tries to salvage the City, to hold the breaking jar, keep his fingers over the cracks, but a battle with the Enemy—who sent forth the police as its harbingers—had worn him to little more than edges. He is weak and unsteady as moonlight on water, and the City was a candle that might burn out if he waited too long. 

Continue reading “Review: The City We Became (Great Cities #1) by N.K. Jemisin”

Review: Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust

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There was and there was not, as all stories begin, a princess cursed to be poisonous to the touch. But for Soraya, who has lived her life hidden away, apart from her family, safe only in her gardens, it’s not just a story.

As the day of her twin brother’s wedding approaches, Soraya must decide if she’s willing to step outside of the shadows for the first time. Below in the dungeon is a demon who holds knowledge that she craves, the answer to her freedom. And above is a young man who isn’t afraid of her, whose eyes linger not with fear, but with an understanding of who she is beneath the poison.

Soraya thought she knew her place in the world, but when her choices lead to consequences she never imagined, she begins to question who she is and who she is becoming…human or demon. Princess or monster. 


RATING: ☆★☆

               The story of the Shah’s twin sister came to the people of Atashar as most rumors do, as a drifting set of jokes and have-you-heards that combined and recombined themselves slowly into a single tale: a poisonous girl with the blood of a div moving in her veins, a burden to her family, living in the shadows, cursed and reviled.

               But unlike most rumors, this one is true.

Continue reading “Review: Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust”

Review: Silver in the Wood (The Greenhollow Duology #1) by Emily Tesh

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There is a Wild Man who lives in the deep quiet of Greenhollow, and he listens to the wood. Tobias, tethered to the forest, does not dwell on his past life, but he lives a perfectly unremarkable existence with his cottage, his cat, and his dryads.

When Greenhollow Hall acquires a handsome, intensely curious new owner in Henry Silver, everything changes. Old secrets better left buried are dug up, and Tobias is forced to reckon with his troubled past—both the green magic of the woods, and the dark things that rest in its heart.


RATING: ☆★☆★

                 “Silver in the Woods” stirred up a nest of longing inside me, and when I finished it, a wild desire gripped me to walk into the woods—to walk and walk until I found someplace quiet and silent and still where all my misery is turned into smoke, like fog wicked away by the sun.

Continue reading “Review: Silver in the Wood (The Greenhollow Duology #1) by Emily Tesh”

Review: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

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A Life No One Will Remember. A Story You Will Never Forget.

France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.

Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world.

But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore and he remembers her name.


RATING: ☆★☆★☆

Oh, to be a French girl who knelt in the woods, on the eve of a wedding she did not want, and prayed for freedom to a god—or a devil?—who only answers after the dark, and he made her a deal that will grow to be like a thorn in her, a goad: she will live forever, but she will be forgotten by everyone she meets, always slipping, like a thought, out of reach. An eternity of flitting from one place to another, never feeling quite at home anywhere, and from one person to another, leaving behind only the phantom feel of her touch, and the faint memory of seven freckles dotting her cheeks, like a scattering of stars…

That is, until a boy born with a broken heart says, “I remember you”, and it feels like a prayer. Like a crack in the mortar of her curse.

Continue reading “Review: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab”

Review: Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

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SYNOPSIS:

Camino Rios lives for the summers when her father visits her in the Dominican Republic. But this time, on the day when his plane is supposed to land, Camino arrives at the airport to see crowds of crying people…

In New York City, Yahaira Rios is called to the principal’s office, where her mother is waiting to tell her that her father, her hero, has died in a plane crash.

Separated by distance—and Papi’s secrets—the two girls are forced to face a new reality in which their father is dead and their lives are forever altered.

And then, when it seems like they’ve lost everything of their father, they learn of each other.


RATING: ☆★☆★

It is hard to describe the space that yawned open in the life of Camino Rios and Yahaira Rios after their father died in a flight crash. It is harder still to describe the truths he left behind, cutting swift and deep, like a knife: Camino and Yahaira are sisters who, for sixteen years, hadn’t known of each other’s existence. Continue reading “Review: Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo”

Women with Swords in Books

There is just… something about a woman with a sword.

Her grip tight, unfaltering, on the hilt of her silvered sword, hanging from a broad and battered belt, hands quick as lightening snatching the sword from its sheath, facing her enemies, girded and braced, sword up against the coming blows, or aimed at tearing flesh, the enemy undone before her, kneeling and begging for mercy, the point of  the sword placed gently under their chin, blood drying thick on her wrist-

Alright. Okay. I got distracted there for a second. Point is: I love women with swords. So without further ado, here are 10 book recommendations with women and… swords.

Continue reading “Women with Swords in Books”

A List of Feel Good Books to Help You Survive the Cataclysmic Experience of Being Alive Right Now

I think these days more than ever, with a pandemic ravaging every corner of the world, I understand more keenly how absolutely necessary it is to find the escape hatch in reality, to seek out a pleasant corner and while away the hours inside a story. Inside a comfort read.

So what does a comfort slash feel good read mean for me? Continue reading “A List of Feel Good Books to Help You Survive the Cataclysmic Experience of Being Alive Right Now”

20 Book Recommendations with Casual LGBTQ+ Representation

Sometimes, when I say I long for more stories with queer characters, I mean stories where they’re embroiled in intergalactic wars, or committing high-risk heists, or traveling through time and worlds, or navigating a post-apocalyptic landscape. Stories where the characters are permitted to simply exist as queer, where they’re defined by more than just the ire and oppression they face. No compunctions, no hang-ups.

Of course that doesn’t mean Continue reading “20 Book Recommendations with Casual LGBTQ+ Representation”

Review: A Burning by Megha Majumdar

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Jivan is a Muslim girl from the slums, determined to move up in life, who is accused of executing a terrorist attack on a train because of a careless comment on Facebook. PT Sir is an opportunistic gym teacher who hitches his aspirations to a right-wing political party, and finds that his own ascent becomes linked to Jivan’s fall. Lovely–an irresistible outcast whose exuberant voice and dreams of glory fill the novel with warmth and hope and humor–has the alibi that can set Jivan free, but it will cost her everything she holds dear.

 


RATING: ☆★☆★

At the start of Majumdar’s standout debut novel, Jivan, a young Muslim woman, makes a Facebook post that takes a jab at the government’s handling of a train bombing in Bengal. Someone hastens to whisper of it, and Jivan lands in a prison cell, charged with the attack before night finishes falling. Continue reading “Review: A Burning by Megha Majumdar”