The generational story telling and unique vehicles give this novel a fresh and engrossing take on the effects of racism and colorism. I swallowed this book whole! My only issue is that it ended on the character it did. Read it, then let's talk! 

Tried out an #indie novella and absolutely loved it. The Matriarch begins when a very old woman wants to tell one last story from her death bed. I usually steer away from fantasy, but the writing ensnares you and the magical elements are presented in a realistic fashion. A surprising and fun read!

Wow, this book takes the series in a very different direction. The world building is incredible,  but Naomi's character outshines it. No, she still doesn't get her own close third perspective, and she only has a few lines. And yet, those quick interactions do so much!  Her relationships with Havelock and Basia show her deep sense of justice,  her kindness,  and her strength.  Anyone else in love with Naomi? 

When a Nigerian refugee and a British magazine editor find their lives colliding, we find beauty in their vivid memories, seamlessly woven into the narrative. Cleave can turn the most mundane into something gorgeous. Pleasantly surprised by the gritty personalities and plot in this unique tale. 

A Psalm for the Wild-Built

Wowza! This novella is an absolute delight. A perfect blend of science fiction, dystopia, and literary fiction. The prose are delicious as you explore a completely new and beautiful future society. It imagines that the best of humanity is possible even as it recognizes our inherent and unavoidable internal dilemmas. This adventure of a monk and a robot makes me want to write poetry, climb a mountain, and hug my loved ones. It makes me want to plant a tree, sing a song, and relish a good cup of tea. In short, it makes me appreciate life. I can't recommend A Psalm for the Wild-Built enough.

Sabrina  & Corina

Sabrina & Corina is short fiction at its absolute finest. How can you make me so invested in these characters, so immersed in their world, in so few pages? With beautiful set details, layered characters, and heart-wrenching plots, the stories in this book will stay with me for a very long time.

Bellows Fables from the Musical Underground

I have stumbled upon an absolute gem. Bellows, Fables from the Musical Underground is spun from the lessons learned in the music industry. Meet The Critic, The DJ, the Folk Singer, and many other characters as they stumble through the joys and dangers of loving music. Each story had me laughing aloud at the wit and creativity in the writing. This book is dark and **funny**.

A different artist illustrates each fable, crafting a surprise with each turn of the page. I would recommend it to anyone who has been in the music industry, first and foremost, and anyone who can appreciate clever writing, musician or not.

This is a unique piece of fiction that I will cherish and purchase for students, family, and friends.

For the Love of Many

This book is largely a love story; a passionate, all-consuming, and forbidden love story. Although a lot of the book is focused on the relationship between Billie and Nadine, Dunn manages to weave in many harsh realities of the era. She looks at abortion, segregation, prostitution, Mafia, addiction, and childhood trauma. These tough topics are seamlessly interwoven into the women's lives, painting a harsh picture of the 20s through the blurry lens of someone who has fallen madly in love with someone she is not allowed to be with.

My favorite character is Billy, who I connected with as someone who has experienced a lot of trauma. Dunn did an incredible job of bringing the long-lasting and nearly imperceptible effects into focus through Billie's character. Her writing style is dripping with rich, unique descriptions, and her characters are fully formed, fun, and endearing.

If you're a history buff and love a good romance, this book is the perfect combo.

Devil in the White City

We tried out this nonfiction novel that follows the lives of two men living in Chicago at the same time - the creator of the Chicago World's Fair and a serial killer. If you're a history buff, this is a no brainer win. The detail of the accounts are unmatched. We learned so much! If you are into architecture OR crime stories, buckle in to sit through a lot of the other one. You have to be interested in both to fully enjoy this book. A little dry at times, but overall I give this book a solid recommendation. It taught me a lot more about US history than I expected it to!

Skelly's Square

This book has a shockingly unique plot. Plus, Black’s writing is rich with detail, humor, and innovative diction. With interesting characters bringing you along for the strange ride, it’s hard to put down Skelly’s Square!

There were a few moments where I wished there was more explanation, but I have a feeling he's saving those reveals for book two. 

If you're into wartime historical pieces, good vs. evil fantasy, or a healthy dose of modern day Irish skepticism, you will enjoy this wickedly weird combo of all three. 

Blood of Beasts

The ambiance of Lemke's world was really fun. The glowing plants, compounds, and leftover people fighting for scraps painted an immersive picture of a different US. The storyline was fun with plenty of twists and turns to keep me reading. My only critique would be to watch that the dialogue and actions fits the age of the character. Titania and James would occasionally say or do something that would throw me out of the story because it felt way off for their age. My favorite characters were Luna, as she seemed to stick to the brave friend she was, and the cat girl.

Overall, I would recommend this to a younger YA reader (12-16) looking for a fun blend of fantasy, scifi, and dystopian fiction. I will definitely be adding it to my classroom library and recommending it to students!

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