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Expand your literary horizons with New Books!, a weekly newsletter spotlighting 3-5 exciting new releases, hand-picked by our very own Liberty Hardy. Sign up now! Barrett’s short story collection Ship Fever won the National Book Award in 1996 and I’ve been with her ever since. The Rivera family leaves Mexico after their daughter Maribel has an accident and needs treatment (and education) she can’t there.
I hopped onto Marvel Unlimited and added a million things to my library but started with this, as I have wanted to read it forever (well, forever for a newly minted comic person, say three years?) and not only was it a short run, but also actually accessible (don’t get me started on how slow MU has been because everyone and their mother was on it). I tend to plow through more books in the summer when I have time to read outside long after I get out of work.
Every Wednesday, I assemble with a few of my local friends around lunch time to hit up the nearby comic book shop.
East of West takes place during an alternate history, where the world is in a futuristic Wild West. If you’ve been following Book Riot for a while, you know that a lot of us here worship at the temple of A. The Good Girl is a book that hung around the periphery of my awareness for a couple months before I finally decided I had to read it. Since it’s been seven years since the seventh Harry Potter book was released (and seven years since I read the whole series all at once), I thought now would be an excellent time to reread the entire series and rewatch all eight films. Off the Edge, the terrific second book in Crane’s romantic suspense series Undercover Associates, just won a RITA, the Romance Writers of America’s highest honor, and was the very first self-published work to do so. On the surface, Love is the Drug is about a bioterrorist attack on the United States, a super flu that is supposedly released on the US by the Venezuelan government. Part of what makes Alaya Dawn Johnson such an incredible writer is not just her beautiful use of language, or her incredible stories, but the normalcy with which she represents diversity in her books. There are a hundred reasons to read this book, whether you love a fantastic political thriller, you’re looking for a love story fraught with tension, you want beautiful, lyrical prose, or you want to see more diverse books. Lastly, I have to sneak in a shout-out to the Matt Fraction & David Aja Hawkeye series because it is seriously beautiful and seriously well-written. I had a really difficult choice to make this month, because I started July by reading two awesome books: Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter and Neanderthal Seeks Human. A sweeping epic of eccentric and corrupt billionaires, political activists, sexual revolutionaries, and beautiful women who live by their wits set against a backdrop of massive social upheaval and a nation hanging in the balance–it sounds like the awesomest novel ever, but everything in Barbara Goldsmith’s meticulously researched and fascinating Other Powers actually happened.
This is one of those books in which what actually happens is less important that everything that comes after. Scott Lynch ends his Gentleman Bastard series with even more great heistiness and criminal undertakings. The (best)worst thing about this book though was that Lynch is definitely launching into another series after it.
I really loved Tom Rachman’s first book, The Imperfectionists, the stories of the staff at an international English-language newspaper based in Rome. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book that made me think so deeply about love and what it means to truly love someone until now. The “meet-cute” of Finch and Violet is unusual by any stretch: the teenagers meet while both perched at the top of their school’s bell tower, preparing to throw themselves over the edge. It’s hard to look at the news without getting the impression that nearly all of us are doomed to be murdered, abducted, blown up, or tortured to death. Not only my favorite read of October, but a massive contender for my book of the year, Michel Faber’s The Book of Strange New Things manages to explore almost every facet of humanity in this gut-wrenching, heart-breaking novel. Everything about this book was beautiful and sad and thought-provoking and wonderful; it shed light on humanity and they way we are and think and exist in ways that were subtle and effortless. I stumbled across the Pharos Editions reissue of this 1990 bestseller by accident at my beloved Word bookstore; I bought it on the basis of its opening paragraph, and that impulse turned out to yield one of the best memoirs I’ve ever read. I’ve been on a kick of nonfiction recently, specifically with nonfiction that deals with gardening. Gabi is kicking off her senior year in high school when her best guy friend is kicked out of his house for coming out as gay and her best girl friend tells her that she’s pregnant.
Ruth Goodman is best known for her living history miniseries on the BBC (Victorian Farm, Edwardian Farm, etc.), where she goes and lives as as a person from that time period for a whole year.
The novel that results from this setting is a science-fiction police procedural that follows one of these locked-in individuals (who, like many like him, navigate the world in a robotic, android-ish suit), a new FBI agent and his non-locked in partner as they investigate a murder.
I have to confess: I read the first couple of chapters of The Name of the Wind three times before I actually decided to commit to reading the whole rest of the book, despite glowing recommendations from several of my most trusted bookish friends.
Part-memoir, part-playbook, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s Off the Sidelines: Raise Your Voice, Change the World is a refreshingly practical addition to the women’s empowerment shelf. Reading Atwood’s first two parts of the Maddaddam Trilogy was an effort to head the HBO adaptation off at the pass. A bunch of people have already raved about this book, so I’ll keep it short: The Paying Guests is a really amazing book.
On the surface, there’s not a lot of action in Zupan’s debut novel: some shallow graves are dug, a sheriff’s deputy goes out with his dog to look for missing persons, and there’s one particularly harrowing chase through a field in a Montana prairie.
I didn’t know I wanted a feminist fairytale poetry collection, and then I read Poisoned Apples.
Jay moves his wife and son off the grid, to a stretch of river bottom farmland in the Mississippi hills, hoping to position himself at the forefront of a revolution in agriculture. I was a little bit skeptical about this book just because when everyone seems to be hyping up a book, I stay away to avoid being disappointed.
Check it out, you guys- The Three-Body Problem, already a huge hit in China, is now the very first Chinese science fiction novel available for English-language readers. I almost feel guilty about recommending a book that doesn’t come out for another seven months, but only almost, because I want to tell the everyone about this book!
Neil Gaiman and the Fantasy Masterworks series introduced me to John James and his roguish protagonist–that’s more than one thank-you letter I owe now. Expand your literary horizons with New Books!, a weekly newsletter spotlighting 3-5 exciting new releases, hand-picked by our very own Liberty Hardy. It is different in tone and style from Annihilation but is still very much in the same territory, genre-wise. Hamilton’s childhood and adolescence were made up of a series of misadventures, delinquency, drug use, and negligence as she was often left to her own devices, and she and her siblings were forced to fend for themselves.
The story of a man who goes to a colony in space and interacts with an alien race while Earth appears to be on the verge of destruction sure sounds sci-fi and there’s plenty of sci-fi trappings.
When they arrive in Delaware, they move into an apartment complex housing numerous other immigrants, each with their own stories of how and why they came to be living in the States. After finally going back to Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows, I decided to continue the trend by re-Twilighting. The artwork is pretty, but not fantastic or groundbreaking; what really hit me with this one is Mark Waid’s contribution to Marvel’s historic ability to knock people in the feels.
Jump ahead several decades, and Iron Man, Giant-Man, Thor and the Wasp pull him out of the ocean and proceed to disappear. And every Wednesday since the Fall of 2013, these friends have pestered me to start reading East of West by Jonathan Hickman. I downloaded an egalley and read it all in a flurry just a few days before the galley was set to expire.
I’ve seen the movies a few times over the years (ABC Family reruns at Christmastime have become something of a tradition), but I’d almost forgotten how amazing the books are. The third book, Into the Shadows, is just as good, and it’s easy to jump in to the series here.
I love reading a book in which nearly every main character is a minority, but that is only one part of who they are. I love them both equally (ish) but for different reasons: Beautiful Ruins is amazingly well-written, well-constructed, and tells a good story to boot.
A young girl is said to have slept with her teacher, and then a bunch of stories go around and grow up around this one central scandal, or tragedy, or mere experience, depending on who’s talking about it. Instead of the Bastards against the world, Lynch sets the Bastards against each other, more specifically a long-time departed associate, Sabetha. While part of me wants to stay in Lynch’s amazingly created world, part of me also has a bit of series fatigue with fantasy. I loved the way Rachman explores how old things survive in a new world, the way he played with storytelling structure in the book, and the characters he built along the way. Most stories say pretty much the same thing – It’s real love when you’ll do anything for that other person, can’t get enough of them, when you sacrifice things for them, compromise, all of that business. So begins an unlikely love story that pulls Violet out of the grief-driven depression after her sister dies in a car accident while Finch continues to battle a deep-seated mental illness, sinking further into his own darkness despite his growing love for Violet.
However, my efforts to read poetry have revealed that it wasn’t poetry I disliked- the poets I’d read at school had been uninspiring.
Hush is loads of fun to read as a Batman fan, and it’s super friendly for fans at all levels of knowledge of the character and the world he inhabits. Peter Leigh, a once alcoholic and self-destructive man turned preacher with the help of his wife, Bea, is sent on a mission to Oasis, a newly discovered planet trillions of miles away. Peter and Bea felt entirely real and I was with them the entire way, cheering through every high and shouting at every low.
On its surface, The Dead Girl is the story of the sensationalized murder of Thernstrom’s best friend, Bibi Lee, in 1984, but at its heart it’s a powerful exploration of personal grief and our very public cultural obsession with “dead girls” like Bibi: beautiful, charismatic, enigmatic, and permanently preserved as tragic victims. The Descendants was one- I caught the movie after it got so much Oscar buzz and enjoyed it- but sure enough I liked the book more. This one is an overwhelming memoir about farming on a plot of land the author and her future husband name Essex Farm.
Gabi’s father is an addict, and she’s feeling immense pressure this year when it comes to her home and family life — is she ready or willing to go away to college and break from some of the cultural expectations put upon her as a Latina girl? She’s unfailingly fascinated and enthusiastic about history, and she’s never squeamish or whiny, so when I saw that she’d written a guide to daily Victorian life, I was all over it.
When Geo Stewart, the eccentric owner of the Absaroka County junkyard (or waste management facility, as Geo prefers to call it), is pulled off the roof of his house, it seems like a hilariously quirky accident. I rambled a little bit about it in the Peeking Over Our Shoulders column, and finally finished it this week.
Scalzi takes you to a future where mankind has been hit with a virus that mostly dishes out fevers and flu-ish symptoms to anyone who gets it. It chronicles the life of an extraordinarily accomplished woman leader, but studiously conveys warmth and accessibility with folksy “Hey, I have fat jeans, too!” anecdotes.
Each of the three sections reads like a distinct type of story – a Victorian story of manners, a sexy romance novel, and a murder thriller – but the whole is held together by an intriguing and wonderful main character.



This is the book I wish my 13-year-old self had had; the book that belongs on your shelf next to Ophelia Speaks, Go Ask Alice, Wintergirls. But I am a sucker for a good survivalist-type story and it became available at my local library, so I decided to give it a try. It’s news like this that demonstrates American publishers’ continued efforts to bring us translated works from around the world.
Five pages in, I was already hugging it and jumping up and down on the bed because I knew I was going to love it. Photinus is a Greek native and Roman citizen who’s mostly interested in a quick buck and a good time.
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Four women are sent by a secret government agency into Area X, a mysterious section of coastal land surrounded by an invisible border and inhabited by who knows what. We now get to see inside the Southern Reach agency where we follow the story from the agency’s new director, a man called Control, in keeping with the anonymity of Annihilation’s characters.
But as she grows up, her scrappy nature, inner strength, and usefulness in the kitchen come to light, and she manages to not only made a good living for herself as a cook, but also to open her own restaurant and become a writer. Told through multiple voices, Henriquez’s story is, at heart, a romance between two teenagers: Maribel and her new neighbor Mayor. Cap has to fight his way through understanding modern New York, and when he and the Avengers get mixed up with a new kind of villain, figure out which way is up, and where he wants home to be. Near the beginning of July, I read The Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure and I can say it was the first book I’ve read in months that I couldn’t put down.
Earlier this month, I finally caved, and purchased the first and second trade paperbacks of the comic book series. Owen, in turn, narrates his electric life during the Harlem Renaissance and faded one in 1950s Philadelphia. I shouldn’t have worried about getting through it before expiration though; I was reading it in as many quick snatches as I could muster.
There are few things that come close to the immersive, escapist experience of reading Harry Potter. It has a lot of well known romance tropes: a tortured bad boy hero, a secret baby, and a big misunderstanding, but Crane’s distinctive quirky voice is what sells it. Bird is black, and it has an effect on her, and her decisions, but it is not the whole story or her whole identity. But Neanderthal Seeks Human offered me escapist entertainment and made me care about the characters in a way Beautiful Ruins didn’t, so Neanderthal wins.
Anthony and and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, scurrilous tycoon Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt, firebrand preacher and serial womanizer Henry Ward Beecher, and reformer and escaped slave Frederick Douglass, just to name a few–swirls around the book’s central focus, the scandalous and canny spiritualist Victoria Woodhull, who survived an impoverished, brutal childhood to become one of the most influential and wealthy women in America. The book centers on the alleged victim’s sister, not the AV herself, and the other individual girls who all take private lessons with the same saxophone teacher.
I adore how Lynch always had the love interest, Sabetha, in the background as a reminder, but waited until the third in the series to give her a full book. Like The Imperfectionists, The Rise and Fall of Great Powers starts out in a nostalgic place – this time, an isolated bookstore in the Welsh countryside owned by 31-year-old Tooly Zylberberg. But this book didn’t tell me what love was about – the author showed me by the way of her incredible, almost stream-of-consciousness style way of describing various events of her life, her views on Shanghai, descriptions of people and places, and way of speaking about her lover. And Still I Rise is not the first book of poetry I’ve enjoyed in the last couple of months, but I think it’s been the best. Just the sheer amount of cameos and unabashed don’t-give-a-damn attitude about what goes and doesn’t while telling a good story make this one worthwhile.
Most important, to me at least, is that Faber managed to discuss faith and religion without talking down to the reader and without coming out on one particular side in the end. Thernstrom is a ruthless, gorgeous writer (it’s almost impossible for me to believe The Dead Girl was originally her senior thesis, written when she was 23) who is as brutal when facing her own motivations and attraction to Bibi’s death as she is when laying bare the hypocrisy of other people around her. The author illustrates what it’s like to start a farm from scratch and with little funding. This book, told through diary format, is a true year-in-the-life of a girl as she learns how to navigate the road she’s on while figuring out what it is she wants to do for herself when school comes to an end.
After I picked this up (and subsequently got it signed by John Scalzi while fanboying ever-so-slightly) at New York Comic Con, I spent my first day back from the convention buried in this book, finishing half of it in a single evening. However, 1% of anyone who gets the virus ends up with Locked In (or Haddens) syndrome, leaving them fully aware consciously, but unable to move. A directionless woman finds she has, quite literally, lost her sense of direction, and a family man with a steady job shows up to work only to find that it’s not there. What I got with Oryx & Crake was a darkly funny, frequently cynical peek at a potential future bubbling under our present.
Through a framework of fable and metaphor, Heppermann looks long and hard at body issues, eating disorders, abuse, and consumerism. In this novel, Liu asks us to imagine what life was like during China’s Cultural Revolution in the 1960s and then apply that knowledge of intellectual harassment and violent suppression to the present-day, and an opportunity to make first contact with an alien race. In Uprooted, a strange ritual takes place in Agnieszka’s town every decade: A young woman is chosen by The Dragon, and then whisked away to live in his tower. In the process of seeking those things out he inserts himself into the politics and economics of several primitive Germanic tribes and inadvertently inspires the Norse legend of Odin (or Wotan or Votan, for you purists). The Area simply appeared 30 years earlier, killing (we assume) everyone who was present at the time, and anyone who tries to pass through the border, except through a specific door. Those that were put off by Annihilation’s outright weirdness will find Authority an easier read. Interspersed are the individual tales of how immigrants in this apartment complex chose to leave their home countries and make a go of it in America. And I have to admire how this really successful YA series captured our attention with so many pages of people standing around thinking or talking. Readers who don’t know where to start with Murakami should definitely give this accessible, entertaining novel a try.
I looked forward to my train rides to and from work because it gave me time to read this book.
After promptly devouring both collections in a single weekend, I discovered I was indeed missing out. And he’s unleashing some serious vengeance on the people who took away… well, you know what, if I say much more, I’ll ruin absolutely everything.
And with good reason: she is a no-nonsense, kick-ass writer who believes in all of us, even if we don’t believe in ourselves. On the subway, before bed, in the kitchen while trying to cook dinner and not burn down my apartment building.
Loner Thorne has worked his way to the number two spot in Hangman, a criminal organization, in order to exact revenge on its leader. It’s classified as a romantic comedy, but really it’s a coming of age story centering around Janie, a super-smart trivia hound who’s obsessed with comic books and shoes, but isn’t very confident.
The book quickly jumps back to two earlier periods, when Tooly was 21 years old and living in New York City and when Tooly was nine years old living in Bangkok. This well-researched, fantastically-written story about a woman in 17th century France is one of the better books I’ve read all year.
The book isn’t a thriller and didn’t have me in suspense, but it’s a page-turner through and through. Even if you’re just familiar with Batman through various films, this book won’t leave you behind. Pinker’s book takes an erudite, lengthy, persuasive look at the civilizing effects that literature, critical thinking, art, cosmopolitanism, and more have had on the decline of violence. I highly recommend this book, so please read it ASAP so we can talk about it and cry together.
Matt’s wife is in a coma, and he’s suddenly a single parent to the two daughters he’s ignored for years.
The romance between the narrator and her future husband is also pretty fantastic in a practical yet magical way. Joy is immune, though, and she finds herself swept from her life as a cough syrup-addicted, graveyard-shift-at-the-grocery-store worker and living in a hospital in Kansas that has been repurposed into a research facility where “doctors” conduct tests on the immune in hopes of discovering a cure or vaccine. This isn’t a guide to being rich and Victorian, it’s a guide to how the normal, working class people lived, and it’s beyond fascinating. Soon Sheriff Walt Longmire is investiating murder and drug trafficking in sleepy Durant, Wyoming. 1% doesn’t sound like a lot of people, but when you take into account the entire world… the number suddenly becomes staggering. It’s part of her strategy for convincing readers that leadership isn’t reserved for “special” people. It’s a book that makes you despair for humanity and question what Atwood herself thinks about us. The story begins with an actor dying of a heart attack while on stage during a performance of King Lear. Should the human race resist such a meeting, or welcome the aliens with open arms, in the hope that otherworldly brains can save humanity from its self-destructive tendencies? No one really knows what goes on, only that after ten years, the woman is released, and another takes her place.
While it reveals part of Area X’s mystery, readers are still turning pages at break-finger speed, especially towards the end.
Seriously-every Volturi gathering is 100 pages of half-spoken-half-Edwarded train of thought.
But as the month came to an end, I read Don’t Start Me Talkin’ by Tom Williams, and it’s been sticking with me.
Let’s just say Death and the other Horsemen are on the outs, a cult of powerful world leaders are supporting the oncoming end of the world, and it’s all drawn out beautifully, both in story and in art. Luiselli handles this stream-of-consciousness style with charm and mastery, making the story of love, identity, art, and ghosts unforgettable. In Glory O’Brien, Glory is coping with graduating from high school, the possibility of leaving her widower father, and the growing separation between her and her best friend, Ellie. The book will inevitably get Gone Girl comparisons – it’s a story about a young woman who is kidnapped by a guy who has been watching her, and when her boyfriend bails once again, leaving her sitting alone in a bar, the kidnapper chats her up and she goes home with him willingly.
Along the way he had a very hot and very-bad-idea affair with Nadia, a crime boss’s “Party Princess” daughter. After she dumps her long-time boyfriend for cheating on her and loses her job, it looks like Janie’s life has hit rock bottom.


The book alternates between these threads to show how Tooly’s past threads together and how her experiences help her figure out the mysteries of her childhood. It follows Claudette de Oeillets from her poverty stricken childhood as the daughter of players (theatrical people) to the courts of King Louis XIV (the Sun King, the one who built Versaille). You also can’t help being impressed by the frankness and eloquence with which Niven approaches very real issues for lots of teenagers.
I was most interested in the minute details here– how to remove cream from milk the old fashioned way, the reasoning for tilling with horses instead of machine, and ultimately the harshness of a life of labor.
The days are as desolate as the winter prairie, and when the flimsy system holding the hospital together falls apart, Joy escapes and sets out for Florida in search of the mother she has never known.
While there are some tough issues tackled in the book, including teen pregnancy, abortion, drug addiction, and death, it never once feels overdone or melodramatic. It’s much more about the downstairs than the upstairs- and it’s about time someone told the history of those folks. The plot of this novel might have made Junkyard Dogs depressing, were it not perfectly balanced with humor and zippy dialog.
And while they wait to to find these lost things, or adjust to life without them, we get to know the characters: their heartaches, their fears, their joys, their regrets, and their plans for adjusting to a very uncertain future. She issues us all an invitation to get off the sidelines and take seriously our moral obligation to participate in the political conversations surrounding issues that we care deeply about. As its characters give into both their basest instincts and grand Malthusian delusions, all of which usher in the end of this world, you fear that Atwood looks upon humans with a wry, detached and unaffectionate eye, like a sardonic god. Simultaneously, a flu epidemic begins to take hold in the world and crumble the world that we currently know, which, let me tell you, was a weird thing to be reading about at the moment. In exchange for this, The Dragon provides protection for the town, and serves its best interests.
The feelings in Annie On My Mind are big, sweeping, teenager-y, but it feels so genuine at the same time, so honestly and lovingly written, that it doesn’t feel melodramatic. The women are stripped of all electronic equipment (and their names) and sent in to see what’s what, and creepy weird shenanigans ensue. Where Annihilation was like an episode of Lost, Authority is like an episode of X-files directed by Kafka. I wanted to read it, but I knew that I probably wouldn’t, so I planned to give it to my mom for Christmas. The family dynamic centers around the tension between father James, Chinese-American, and mother Marilyn, Caucasian. There’s not much more I can tell you without being completely spoilery, but the narration shifts among the victim’s mother, the lead detective, and the kidnapper, each of them providing context with nuggets of information doled out sparingly. A year and a half later they cross paths again, as a more mature Nadia, now a mother, tries to undo some of the damage done by her father (sweatshops, money laundering, and drug dealing).
Her boyfriend is ambitious and ready to do whatever it takes to get into National Security. With the help of her friends and a cute guy named Quinn, however, she bounces back and finds her place in the world. It doesn’t share the noir elements, but it definitely has a similar feeling of claustrophobia—the sometimes suffocating feeling of being a teenage girl. The background characters in the book are just wonderful and the unique structure made it a joy to read.
The descriptions are exquisite, the facts incredibly interesting, and the plot continually moving. It was a nice break from my normal fiction, but I still walked away feeling pretty darn educated. Her journey takes her through abandoned cities and to bewildered people, and it’s her time in the fractured landscape that helps her face the broken pieces of herself.
I loved the chemistry between Walt and his sassy deputy, Victoria Moretti, and I ALSO loved that Vic answers her phone like Dorothy Parker.
At the same time, Zupan ratchets up the suspense with a menacing undertow that pulled me deeper and deeper into the novel.
The story then jumps back and forth in time between the pre- and post-epidemic follows multiple characters whose lives are closely linked in a variety of ways. But there’s so much more: physics, math, astrophysics, a virtual-reality “game” in which people try to solve the “three-body problem,” and all written so that a non-science person like me can understand it! As the time of the next choosing draws near, the village is certain The Dragon will select Agnieszka’s beautiful best friend, Kasia. Maybe it’s because I wanted to be a scientist but didn’t because I was bad at math that her quiet jewel-like stories of early 20th-century explorers, map makers, inventors, and natural historians speak to me insistently of the path not taken, of laboratories, and field research into snails, of being the kind of mind who is able to pose The Big Questions. His narrator, Pete Owens, has a raw mix of suspicion, curiosity, intelligence, and naivete that makes it hard to tell how much he truly knows about the sharp-witted older man he admires.
While James fights a futile struggle to fit in, Marilyn fights an equally hopeless battle of breaking the mold. The tension and the “What happened to her?” elements kept me holding my breath the whole way through. Romantic suspense is not a genre I usually enjoy, but Crane has a warm, tender touch, even amid the carnage.
I was slightly disappointed Quinn didn’t turn out to be The Batman, but other than that this novel is pretty delightful. It’s about a late-20s Chicago woman who works on the staff of the Senior Senator from Illinois during his reelection campaign in 2008. There is magic, sadness, intrigue, and joy throughout this novel and I highly, HIGHLY recommend it.
And yet with all this heaviness, the tone of the book is often light and funny and even kooky. Van den Berg’s short story collections infused me with sky-high expectations for this debut novel, and I was not disappointed.
Too often their stories are about the path to weight loss and how that changes them for the better.
The characters are charming and pitch-perfect, and the mystery kept me guessing until the very end.
Mississippi independent bookstore owner Jamie Kornegay has penned a debut novel that will establish him as a major force in the pantheon of elite Southern writers. The way this book connects all of these narratives and provides so many interesting perspectives on what our lives are like now and what could potentially happen completely gripped me and I am now on the bandwagon of pushing this book on everyone I know. Add to that Ken Liu’s beautiful, elegant translation and…well, I really can’t stop talking about this book. It’s not often that I cry while reading and it’s not often that books have such a profound effect on me, but this one did on both counts. But to everyone’s surprise, it is Agnieszka who is picked, and carted off to The Dragon’s tower.
There were a few lesbian YA novels before Annie, but it makes sense to me now that Annie is always considered THE one, because it was the first to have the balls to show that gay teens in love could go through some enormous amounts of bullshit, but still, in the end, be happy.
And there is Peter himself, an addict before finding religion and it’s unclear whether he’s addicted to God or a really changed man. Despite the fictional characters, this novel is chocked full of information about the blues.
Neither of them succeeds and instead focuses on Lydia to fulfill their hopes and dreams, at the expense of their other two children, Nathan and Hannah.
King is a master storyteller, and her idea of the future is chilling, because it seems so plausible, and everything about her characters feels so real. Thorne’s tendency to model his approach to life on martial arts legend Bruce Lee, for example, is a sly wink to stereotypes of the subgenre but also a poignant reminder that he had no other role models. This is unlike any parent-child bonding book you’ve read before, but you come to love clueless Matt and his bizarre kids and really watch them grow into people through some rather madcap adventures.
The language is beautiful, spare, and carefully crafted, and the characters are fully realized and unforgettable. There really is something for every reader here, and it’s a completely enjoyable book from start to finish. It took me a while to finish it (I’m a serial nonfiction abandoner, so I had to continually fight the urge), but I stuck with it, and I LOVED IT.  It was as thoroughly fascinating as I had hoped it would be.
He’s left his wife Bea behind on earth and the book is as much about their relationship and what distance can do to a couple as it is about aliens or God.
Then, after a chance meeting with a homeland security agent named Roosevelt at an elite party, she wakes up in a hospital with no recollection of how she got there.
There’s a lot of heart, great character development, a look into the culture of native Hawaiians, and meditations on how a long marriage works. There is tension and redemption and insight and even humor in these pages, and they make for a really incredible read. Sure, Gabi has to deal with body image and she feels pressure to lose weight from those around her, but she also realizes that her life and her dreams are much bigger than her waist size and she’s not afraid to pursue what it is she wants. In addition to a detailed exploration of the early history of blood transfusion, there’s murder, intrigue, moral uncertainty-all the elements of a stellar mystery novel. My recent move to Chicago made it all the more relevant, as the Windy City is well known for its blues scene. Roosevelt is sure she knows something about her parent’s work, and is willing to do whatever it takes to make sure that the secrets are trapped in Bird’s brain stay there.
This is an indie (Chicago’s Fifth Star Press) novel that is deserves a much wider readership.
Gabi is one of the most authentic teen voices in YA, and it’s refreshing to read a story told through the point of view of a Mexican American girl who embraces her cultural.
There are witches and wizards and enchanted forests, and it sings from the page because Novik’s writing is itself magic. Don’t Start Me Talkin’ is a rambling adventure filled with topnotch musical references, vivid storytelling, and astute cultural analysis.
The only person who is willing to tell her anything is Coffee, a Brazilian diplomat’s son and a genius with a penchant for designer drug manufacturing. King is working hard to save us before the angry pink goo beneath the city consumes us all, and I believe she just might succeed.
As she and Coffee try to figure out what really happened that night, they realize there’s a reason the government should be afraid of what she knows.




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