I don’t know how it happened but I have already met my reading goal for the year. Fifty-two books, and then some. What I have not done, is keep up with longer form reviews. There are just too many good books, and not enough time. But I’ve heard it said (by a certain bard) that ‘brevity is the soul of wit.’ So I hope you won’t mind a quick round-up of the new releases I neglected to single out closer to pub day.
Fire Becomes Her by Rosiee Thor- Queer found family and eat the rich vibes and just… my heart is bursting. Thor’s second novel is sumptuous, a tale that rages from start to finish in its exploration of respectability and power – who’s born with it, who earns it, who doesn’t. You don’t want to miss this ragtag bunch of misfits, or Thor’s gentle exploration of identity, self-discovery, and love in all its forms.
One True Loves by Elise Bryant – I had tears in my eyes from all the laughing. Elise had me giggling like a buffoon from the very first page. These are the sorts of best friend antics I am here for. But for all the moments of levity, this is also a gorgeous exploration of mental health amidst the pressures to be exceptional. I loved the romance, but even more I loved seeing Lenore navigate how to let go of her mask, particularly with her own family.
The Nobleman’s Guide to Scandal and Shipwrecks by Mackenzi Lee – This is nearly my favorite of the series. Adrian is a perfect, anxious bean of a narrator. Seeing Monty (the real protagonist, let’s be honest) and Felicity all grown up, the siblings working toward healing (and hijinks) together, the candid discussions of mental health, grief, and disability… so many good and beautiful things. I think the main thread lost me a bit (much in the same way as Dead Man’s Chest), and I would have loved to see more Luisa & Percy, but oh the characters! *chef’s kiss*
Bitter by Akwaeke Emezi- A worthwhile addition to the world of Pet – once which grapples with the dichotomies of rebellion and the costs humanity contends with while seeking peace. Bitter is an example to us all of how to care for ourselves and others, even and especially those who act as caretakers to the world.
Unlock Your Storybook Heart by amanda lovelace – Of all 9 collections I’ve read from lovelace, this one was the most me – an ode to every ‘gifted’ kid who grew into an anxious adult with imposter syndrome and the stories that allow them escape. Fittingly, a tale as old as time, but with a poetic spin only amanda could give it.
The Island of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak – A beautiful, poignant tale of love, loss, and nature in times of war. Shafak’s prose jumps off every page and I found it difficult not to highlight every page. The pacing is delicious, the characters are magnetic, and the fig tree is my favorite narrator – her spunk was captivating.
Delilah Green Doesn’t Care by Ashley Herring Blake – AHB’s adult debut is a happy-making book. The cover alone is enough to have me shouting from the rooftops. But what I’m really here for is the queer YEARNING (in all caps), sisterly healing, and camp shenanigans. I will be needing the sequel STAT.
Girls of Fate and Fury by Natasha Ngan – Paper and Fire was trauma, Storm and shadow was reconciliation and revenge. Fate and Fury? Recovery and reclamation. What an incredible conclusion to this beautiful series, in all honesty my favorite of the three. Girls of Fate and Fury rages with brilliant hope. Natasha truly outdid herself. If anything truly sums up my thoughts though, it’s this quote from the book:
“When a place holds power over you, it looms large. And once that power is stripped away, it appears how it really is. Just a room, or a courtyard, or a house, or a palace. Walls and floorboards and gates and archways. Building blocks. Pieces of a place, but not the heart of them.”
…and last but not least:
The Path to Kindness ed. by James Crews (out 4/12) – This poetry collection/anthology is a balm for the soul. Highly evocative and lush with sensory detail, it presents mindful, calming moments of poetry and reflection on life in all its forms – joy, grief, rest, hurry… I especially loved some of the poems in the earlier half that focused on birds. #BirdLover
That’s all for now, folks! Your regularly scheduled long form reviews will be back next month. 🙂