We Are the Scribes: A Review

We Are the Scribes by Randi PinkRuth Fitz has always been quiet but after her beloved older sister dies during a protest, Ruth can’t bear to write or even speak more than a handful of carefully rationed words. How can she keep talking, keep doing the thing she used to love, when Virginia can’t do anything?

Grief hits the Fitz family in different ways. Ruth’s mother dives even deeper into her work doubling down as an Alabama senator and voice for social change both in DC and in increasingly frequent television appearances as her celebrity grows. If all of this work takes her away from home and the gaping hole Virginia left behind, well, sometimes that’s the price of being an activist, isn’t it?

With Senator Fitz away, Ruth’s father has settled into the unfamiliar role of caregiver and primary parent. A professor of African American history with his own cache in academia, it’s difficult knowing his wife’s renown is quickly eclipsing his own.

Ruth knows it’s impossible for her mother to turn down an offer to join a presidential ticket as the candidate for Vice President. But she also doesn’t understand why she hears about the news with her father and baby sister while watching the news. Having to travel as a family on a road trip over the summer to garner votes is equally baffling. Not to mention daunting.

When it feels like everything is falling apart, Ruth receives a letter. Really, it’s a scroll–parchment with a seal that reads WE ARE THE SCRIBES from Harriet Jacobs, sent author or Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl who was born in 1813 and died in 1897.

The scroll tells Ruth she’s been chosen as a scribe for the times. Which makes no sense when she can barely speak. Never mind coming from a woman beyond long dead. Ruth wants to question the scrolls. Maybe even ignore them. But somehow Harriet–impossible, wise, compassionate Harriet–seems to understand exactly how much Ruth is struggling … and maybe exactly how Ruth can get herself and what remains of her family through it in¬†We Are the Scribes¬†(2022) by Randi Pink.

Find it on Bookshop.

We Are the Scribes¬†is a standalone contemporary novel with elements of fabulism in the form of Harriet’s letters to Ruth and a powerful audiobook narration by Imani Jade Powers. Ruth and her family are Black. During the ill-fated bus tour for their parents, Ruth forms a friendship with Judy, the daughter of the presidential candidate. Judy is white and dealing with her own fallout from becoming part of her father’s political campaign.

Feminist themes are at the forefront of this story as Ruth tries to figure out how to feel like she’s enough for herself and her family. The trajectory of her mother’s political career also adds to these themes as both Ruth and her father struggle with their family’s new celebrity and what it means to be the relative of a senator whose star is on the rise–a struggle mirrored by Judy who has been burned by media coverage of the campaign and also knows there is more to her father than the smiling face he puts forward for the press.

We Are the Scribes¬†thoughtfully explores grief and what it means to endure both through Ruth’s journey over the course of the summer and in parallels to Harriet’s struggles as a woman escaping slavery. Literary prose and meditative pacing make this deceptively short book one worth savoring.

Possible Pairings: I Rise by Marie Arnold, Vinyl Moon by Mahogany L. Browne, Tyler Johnson Was Here by Jay Coles, We Deserve Monuments by Jas Hammonds, One of the Good Ones by Maika Moulite  and Maritza Moulite, Sugar Town Queens by Malla Nunn, Who Put This Song On? by Morgan Parker, Dear Martin by Nic Stone, Genesis Begins Again by Alicia D. Williams, Black Enough edited by Ibi Zoboi

Spice Road: A Review

Spice Road by Maiya IbrahimImani always dreamed of becoming a Shield like her older brother Atheer. Shields are elite warriors who, after drinking misra tea, can wield magic to protect the kingdom of Qalia from all outside threats including manipulative djinni, horrific ghouls, and other monsters. Known for her metal affinity and skill with a dagger, Imani is one of the youngest Shields from the long-revered Beya clan. A clan that is shadowed by disgrace and grief in the wake of Atheer’s disappearance.

Caught stealing the coveted and carefully guarded misra spice, most people are ready to believe Atheer developed a magical obsession and, addicted to the misra, died shamefully in the Forbidden Wastes that surround Qalia. Imani has no reason to believe otherwise. Until a djinni named Qayn reveals that Atheer may be alive. And sharing the carefully guarded secret of the misra with outsiders–an offense that is punishable by death.

Desperate to find her brother before worse can befall him, Imani binds herself to Qayn in exchange for his promise to lead her across the Forbidden Wastes to Atheer. Traveling with Qayn and an expedition of other Shields including Taha–a beastseer and her longtime rival–will lead Imani to a world filled with secrets and betrayals that were previously beyond her comprehension in¬†Spice Road¬†(2023) by Maiya Ibrahim.

Find it on Bookshop.

Spice Road¬†is the first book in a trilogy and Ibrahim’s debut novel. With a world inspired by Arab cultures, all characters are cued as Arab with a variety of names, skin tones, and body types. At nearly five hundred pages,¬†Spice Road¬†is a sprawling series starter that takes its time to introduce readers to narrator Imani and her world.

Vivid descriptions and intense action sequences add drama to the story although the novel’s slow pace belies the urgency Imani feels to reach her brother. Slowly, as she sees beyond Qalia’s borders, Imani’s insular understanding of Qalia and its place in the world begins to expand leaving her to the often unpleasant work of unpacking her privilege both in Qalia and beyond. While this plot thread doesn’t always show Imani in the best light with her starting the novel ignorant of her privilege and unwilling to help outsiders, her development is well-drawn and her growth (mostly) earned as she learns more about the larger world and the way she wants to move through it.

With so much focus on Imani’s introspection, other characters are underutilized throughout the novel–especially Qayn who is a dynamic foil to Imani and Amira who pushes Imani to question her assumptions about Qalia even as she supports her older sister. As a rival with a vastly different ideaology, Taha plays opposite Imani in a will-they-or-won’t-they push and pull that is ultimately unsatisfying and further underscores Imani’s numerous bad choices. Imani is unwilling to trust Qayn because he is a djinni despite his staying true to his word at every turn. Instead, Imani assumes best intentions for Taha during almost the entirety of the novel despite his never reciprocating that trust or doing anything to meaningfully support Imani. It’s unclear if these three characters are meant to be positioned in a love triangle, but if they are Imani chose poorly in this volume.

Spice Road is the exciting start to a trilogy that tackles privilege and colonialism alongside sweeping adventure.

Possible Pairings: The Candle and the Flame by Nafiza Azad, Hunted by the Sky by Tanaz Bhathena, Mirage by Somaiya Daud, Truthwitch by Susan Dennard, We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal, Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko, Year of the Reaper by Makiia Lucier, The Kinder Poison by Natalie Mae, Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas, Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes

Violet Made of Thorns: A Review

Violet Made of Thorns by Gina ChenShrewd and calculating witch Violet Lune doesn’t see the harm in using her magic for opportunistic gain. Especially if she’s the one gaining. Even now, positioned as King Emelius’s trusted Seer, Violet knows her position in the palace is unstable. Especially when Emelius’s son Prince Cyrus has no use for Violet or her carefully crafted (but not always entirely true) predictions. And he’s poised to take the throne come summer.

But Violet isn’t the only witch who has peddled prophecy throughout the kingdom and one is dangerously close to coming true–a dangerous curse that might save the kingdom. Or destroy it. Everything¬†depends on the prince’s future bride.

When Violet’s attempt to influence Cyrus’s choice with one more carefully worded prediction goes horribly wrong, Violet has a choice to make: She can seize this moment to take control of her life, finally gaining the stability she has sorely lacked even if it damns the rest of the kingdom. Or she can try to save Cyrus from his cursed fate–and admit that the prince might actually be as charming (or at least attractive) as everyone at court always says.

In a world where magic can be bought and sold, sometimes telling the truth is the most powerful spell of all in Violet Made of Thorns (2022) by Gina Chen.

Find it on Bookshop.

Violet Made of Thorns¬†is Chen’s debut novel and the start of a series. Violet is cued as a fantasy version of Chinese hailing from Auveny’s neighboring kingdom Yuenen. Cyrus reads as white (like most of the kingdom of Auveny). Other characters (and kingdoms) add diversity of the world and contextualize this fairytale remix beyond the common white/European setting with character with a variety of skintones, cultural identities, and across the LGBTQ+ spectrum including Cyrus’s twin sister Camilla who is lesbian.

Chen’s novel is filled with an abiding understanding and fondness for tropes and themes common to fairytales–many of which are artfully turned on their head by the end of the story. While beautiful, Cyrus is far from charming to Violet–constantly doubting her actions and her motives throughout the story even as the two form a very uneasy alliance to stop the curse from spiraling out of control. Confident and often brash to hide her own insecurity, Violet is keenly aware of her vulnerabilities within Auveny’s court as both a young woman and a person of color. Whether these fears drive her to become the villain of the story or its hero might be something readers will have to decide for themselves.

Violet Made of Thorns¬†is an exciting story that builds familiar fairytale elements into something new; a story set in a world where happily ever after doesn’t come with rose colored glasses. Highly recommended.

Possible Pairings: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black, The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima, Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao, The Impostor Queen by Sarah Fine, Once Upon a Broken Heart by Stephanie Garber, Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko, Furyborn by Claire Legrand, The Shadows Between Us by Tricia Levenseller, This Woven Kingdom by Tahereh Mafi, Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin, Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes, Realm of Ruins by Hannah West

Mindy Makes Some Space: A Graphic Novel Review

Mindy Makes Some Space by Michele Assarasakorn and Nathan FairbairnMindy Kim is pretty sure she has it all figured out. Things are going great with PAWs, the dog walking business she runs with her best friends Gabby Jordan and Priya Gupta. And things are always great with Mindy’s mom–it’s always been just the two of them at home and that’s just how Mindy likes it.

Except things are changing for Mindy at home and on the PAWs front. And she’s not sure she likes it. In fact, she’s pretty positive she hates it.

First Mindy’s mom has met someone–a total dork with an admittedly exceptional (and enormous) cat named Chonk. And as their relationship progresses Mindy isn’t sure she wants to make room for someone else in all of the family traditions she has with her mom.

Then Hazel starts at school. Gabby and Priya like the new girl immediately, but Mindy isn’t sure how to feel about sharing her best friends with someone else–especially when Hazel wants to join PAWs too.

With everything changing, Mindy’s resistance to change could lead to some big upheaval at home and with PAWs that could turn into a cat-tastrophe in .

Find it on Bookshop.

Mindy Makes Some Space is the second book in the PAWs series which begins with Gabby Gets It Together. Although this book builds on what comes before, Mindy provides a helpful recap for any readers who decide to dive in without reading the first volume. Mindy and her mom are Korean, Gabby is biracial (her dad is shown with brown skin while her mom is lighter), Priya is Indian. The story takes place in Canada. Hazel uses a wheelchair.

Mindy has a lot of growing to do in this installment as she tries to deal with new people in her life. While totally realistic, her behavior can be pretty cringe-inducing with overt rudeness to her mom’s new boyfriend and hurtful snubs to keep Hazel out of PAWs.

Hazel is a great addition to the group (even if it takes Mindy some time to admit it) but, afraid of losing what she has with Gabby and Priya, Mindy does everything she can to keep Hazel out of PAWs. This includes questioning how Hazel will be able to walk dogs when she is in a wheelchair and instead trying to leave her to walk Chonk all by herself. While the ableism in Mindy’s behavior is pretty clear, it isn’t addressed by name which felt like a missed moment. Hazel does eventually confront Mindy about her behavior (and Gabby and Priya about their complicity by not speaking up). By the end of this installment, Mindy acknowledges her own bad behavior and that she’s going to have to work hard to fully make it up to Hazel.

Mindy Makes Some Space is another fun installment with a lot of humor while also tackling the prickly growing pains that can come with changing families and changing friend dynamics.

Possible Pairings: Home Sweet Forever Home¬†by Rachele Alpine and Addy Rivera Sonda, Best Babysitters Ever by Caroline Cala, The Great Pet Heist by Emily Ecton and David Mottram, Real Friends by Shannon Hale, LeUyen Pham, and Jane Poole, Clara Humble and the Not-So-Super Powers by Anna Humphrey and Lisa Cinar,¬†All’s Faire in Middle School¬†by Victoria Jamieson, Allergic: A Graphic Novel by Megan Wagner Lloyd and Michelle Mee Nutter, Kristy’s Great Idea¬†by Ann M. Martin and Raina Telgemeier, Click¬†by Kayla Miller, Good Dogs with Bad Haircuts Rachel Wenitsky, David Sidorov, Tor Freeman, Original Recipe by Jessica Young

Nothing More to Tell: A Review

Nothing More to Tell by Karen M. McManusFour years ago Brynn’s favorite teacher at Saint Ambrose was murdered. Her ex-best friend, Tripp Talbot, was one of the three students who found Mr. Larkin’s body. The case was never solved. Brynn and Tripp haven’t spoken since that horrible day.

Now, Brynn’s family is moving back to town after her dad’s promotion leaving Brynn to complete her senior year at the one place she never wanted to revisit.

Returning to all of the bad memories is bad enough but Brynn is also still trying to figure out how to salvage her dream of attending Northwestern’s prestigious journalism school after last year’s dick pic scandal ruined her previously sparkling portfolio.

An internship at a popular true-crime show might be exactly what Brynn needs to rehab her online search results (it turns out it’s hard to get past being a BuzzFeed punchline) and find out what really happened to Mr. Larkin all those years ago.

As she dives into the past, Brynn realizes she might not have known her favorite teach as well as she thought. But the more she gets re-acquainted with Tripp, the clearer it is that he’s still hiding something in¬†Nothing More to Tell¬†(2022) by Karen M. McManus.

Find it on Bookshop.

McManus’s latest standalone mystery alternates between Brynn and Tripp’s first person narrations (including flashbacks from Tripp four years ago leading up to the discovery of Mr. Larkin’s body). Brynn and Tripp are white with more diversity among the supporting cast.

Nothing More to Tell¬†makes great use of Brynn and Tripp’s limited point of view to draw readers into the story and maintain suspense as the details surrounding Mr. Larkin’s murder are slowly revealed. In addition to solving the murder, Brynn also struggles to untangle what exactly went wrong with her friendship with Tripp all those years ago adding another layer to this character-driven mystery. Although much of the main mystery is resolved off page, Brynn and Tripp’s character arcs are so well executed that it hardly detracts from the plot

With secrets, lies, and numerous red herrings Nothing More to Tell is another satisfying mystery from a master of the craft.

Possible Pairings:¬†Promise Boys¬†by Nick Brooks, Killing Time by Brenna Ehrlich, They Wish They Were Us by Jessica Goodman, A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson, This is Why We Lie by Gabriella Lepore, The Lies We Tell¬†by Katie Zhao

*An advance copy of this title was provided by the publisher for review consideration*

Gabby Gets It Together: A Graphic Novel Review

Bookish Gabby Jordan, athletic Priya Gupta, and trendy Mindy Kim don’t have a lot in common when they first meet at school. That is until the girls realize they all adore animals even if none of them can have a pet of their own.

Desperate to get in some face time with literally any furry friends, the girls come up with a few plans. After their initial attempts don’t go as well as they’d hoped, PAWs (Pretty Awesome Walkers) is born to fill the gap in their neighborhood for afterschool dog walking.

While the dogs are great, it turns out running a business can be hard–even when it’s with your best friends. With arguments about uniforms, schedules, and commitment to the business it’s starting to feel like there’s not even any time left to spend with their doggy clientele.

When things (and leashes) get out of hand Gabby, Priya, and Mindy will have to work together if they want to save their business and their friendship in Gabby Gets It Together (2022) by Michele Assarasakorn and Nathan Fairbairn.

Find it on Bookshop.

Gabby Gets It Together is the first of what will hopefully be a long running series. This volume introduces all of the characters (including their main dog clients) and the club leaving lots of room to grow in later volumes. Gabby is biracial (her dad is shown with brown skin while her mom is lighter), Priya is Indian, and Mindy is Korean. The story takes place in Canada.

Voiceovers from Gabby and snappy dialogue move this story along while colorful and detailed artwork create engrossing panels on every page. All of the animals PAWs encounter are drawn with loving care–if you aren’t an animal lover when you start this graphic novel, you might be by the end!

In addition to discovering many furry friends, the members of PAWs navigate the ins and outs of new friendship and a new business throughout the story as they work with parents to figure out realistic workloads and communicate with clients what they can and can’t do. All of this is presented in a way that’s realistic for a group of pre-teens and also offers a potential framework for any young readers who might be inspired to try starting their own dog walking venture.

With its sense of humor and focus on friendship,¬†Gabby Gets It Together–and the rest of this series–make a great read-a-like for the classic Baby-Sitters’ Club (in prose or graphic form) and titles like¬†Real Friends¬†by Shannon Hale. Highly Recommended.

Possible Pairings: Home Sweet Forever Home¬†by Rachele Alpine and Addy Rivera Sonda, Best Babysitters Ever by Caroline Cala, The Great Pet Heist by Emily Ecton and David Mottram, Real Friends by Shannon Hale, LeUyen Pham, and Jane Poole, Clara Humble and the Not-So-Super Powers by Anna Humphrey and Lisa Cinar,¬†All’s Faire in Middle School¬†by Victoria Jamieson, Allergic: A Graphic Novel by Megan Wagner Lloyd and Michelle Mee Nutter, Kristy’s Great Idea¬†by Ann M. Martin and Raina Telgemeier, Click¬†by Kayla Miller, Good Dogs with Bad Haircuts Rachel Wenitsky, David Sidorov, Tor Freeman, Original Recipe by Jessica Young

This Vicious Grace: A Review

This Vicious Grace by Emily ThiedeAs the latest in a long line of Finestras, Alessa Paladino’s gift from the gods should magnify her Fonte partner’s magical abilities making it possible for the pair to combat the demons that threaten the island of Saverio. Every Finestra and her suitor face the Divorando and its hoard of attacking demons during their time–usually working together to end the cycle before retiring and waiting to train the next Finestra.

Instead, Alessa has had three ceremonial weddings and three funerals for each Fonte–all killed by her touch. Reviled by the city, under threat from her own soldiers, Alessa’s situation is dire even without the looming threat of the next Divorando.

Desperate to stay alive, Alessa hires Dante–an outsider marked as a killer–who is willing to keep Alessa alive for enough coin.

Working with Dante, Alessa begins to understand more about her powers and how she might be able to use them without killing her suitor. But with Divorando approaching and demons at the gates, it is Dante’s secrets that might tear Saverio apart in¬†This Vicious Grace¬†(2022) by Emily Thiede.

Find it on Bookshop.

This Vicious Grace is the first book in a duology set in a world reminiscent of Renaissance Italy imbued with magic. Alessa is cued as white although there are varied skintones among the citizens of Saverio. In a society where marriages serve to enhance magic, the relationships Alessa forms are more reminiscent of political alliances than traditional marriages although it is worth noting that same sex marriages are welcome and seen as commonplace both for magic and romantic reasons.

Thin world building and ab abrupt start do little to situate the reader in the story although Alessa’s peril and her desperation are immediately palpable as she struggles to control her powers. This character-driven story focuses heavily on Alessa and Dante with banter, flirting and what could be seen as a slow-burn romance if only the main characters had more convincing chemistry. In other words,¬†This Vicious Grace¬†has a lot of pieces that make an entertaining fantasy for patient readers.

Unfortunately, Thiede also makes some strange creative choices including the use of antisemitic stereotypes that continue to give me pause.

Spoilers to follow:

Continue reading This Vicious Grace: A Review

The Hunger Between Us: A Review

A version of this review originally appeared in Horn Book:

The Hunger Between Us by Marina ScottSummer, 1942. Leningrad is entering its second year under siege with all supply routes in and out of the city blocked by Nazi forces. Glue mixed with dirt from a burnt down sugar factory is being sold on the black market as candy. Bread rations from the Soviet government have been reduced again and come from loaves that are more sawdust than flour.

Liza has learned from her mother to do whatever it takes to survive. She’s even hidden her mother’s death from authorities–burying the body herself–so that Liza can keep using her precious ration cards. With rumors of cannibals haunting the streets after curfew and the secret police enforcing order with strict brutality everyone in the city is desperate.

When Liza’s best friend Aka suggests trading “entertainment” for food from the secret police, Liza knows it’s a mistake. Her mother always said there are lines that shouldn’t be crossed. But after Aka disappears Liza will do anything to find her even if she has to confront the ugly truths of the siege and the cost of survival firsthand in The Hunger Between Us (2022) by Marina Scott.

Find it on Bookshop.

The Hunger Between Us¬†is Scott’s debut novel. All characters are cued as white (and Russian, of course).

Short, fast-paced chapters drive this novel as Liza scrambles to survive and searches for Aka. In a city rife with desperation, questions of morality exist alongside survival as Liza must decide what she is willing to trade both for information about Aka and for food.

With a body already ravaged by symptoms of starvation, Liza becomes an unreliable narrator as she tries to cut through the fog of hunger and fatigue. With no easy paths forward, much of this suspenseful story is mired in the daily brutality of the siege as Liza tries to find her own moral compass and cling to hope where she can.

The Hunger Between Us¬†operates in moral grey areas as Liza and everyone she meets along the way confront the fact that the line between “good” and “bad” becomes increasingly malleable as desperation climbs; an excellent (fictional) counterpoint to MT Anderson’s thoroughly researched Symphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad.

Last Chance Dance: A Review

Last Chance Dance by Lakita WilsonSmarting from her parents’ divorce in eighth grade, Leila Bean thinks it must be fate when she meets cute Dev Rajan while shopping for schools supplies the summer before freshman year. A habitual viewer of reality dating competitions, she knows better than to waste the opportunity.

Four years later, Leila and Dev are easily their high school’s most unproblematic couple. Which is why Leila is devastated when Dev decides to break up with her just before graduation instead of taking their relationship long-distance during college. Aside from the confusion of being out of a committed relationship for essentially the first time, Leila is devastated that this will be her biggest memory from high school.

Leila is skeptical when her best friend suggests the distraction Leila needs is to take part in her school’s annual Last Chance Dance. As its name suggests, the dance will give Leila a chance to match with 3 unrequited crushes (if the interest is mutual) and one algorithm-chosen wild card.

No one is more surprised than Leila when she’s matched with all of her crushes–and her longtime nemesis. Going on dates with athletic Kai, activist Mason, and bookstagrammer Eva is fun but the biggest surprise for Leila is that class clown Tre’–orchestrator of her biggest humiliation in eighth grade (and possibly her entire life)–might be an actual contender for a date and maybe even more in¬†Last Chance Dance¬†(2023) by Lakita Wilson.

Find it on Bookshop.

Leila and most of the characters in her Maryland neighborhood school are Black; characters fall across the LGBTQ+ spectrum including bisexual Eva and “masculine presenting lesbian” Bree. Dev is cued as Indian American and Hindu.

Opinions will vary but this adult reader was unable to willingly suspend enough disbelief to buy into a school sanctioning a very complicated dance like the Last Chance Dance and balked at Leila’s pride in acting like half of an old married couple with Dev at the novel’s start. While some readers might have a hard time getting in Leila’s head when it comes to her singular focus on relationships, the story does a lot to tease out her motivations and flesh out her character.

Wilson’s breezy narrative and the inventive premise ultimately make a winning combination in Last Chance Dance where Leila learns how to trust again while figuring out how to define herself outside of her relationship status.

Possible Pairings: Dramatically Ever After by Isabel Bandeira, Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett, Happily Ever Afters by Elise Bryant, I Wanna Be Where You Are by Kristina Forest, Today Tonight Tomorrow by Rachel Lynn Solomon

*A more condensed version of this review appeared as a review in an issue of School Library Journal*

February 2023 Recap

Monthly Reading Recap graphic

Blog Posts:

Read:

  1. The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune (audio)
  2. Cruel Illusions by Margie Fuston
  3. Vanessa Yu’s Magical Paris Teashop by Roselle Lim (audio)
  4. The Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman (audio)
  5. The Map From Here to There by Emery Lord (audio)
  6. Squire by Sara Alfageeh and Nadia Shammas
  7. How The Best Hunter In The Village Met Her Death by Molly Knox Ostertag
  8. Mysteries of Thorn Manor by Margaret Rogerson
  9. Demon in the Wood by Leigh Bardugo and Dani Pendergast (audio)
  10. Nothing More to Tell by Karen M. McManus (audio)
  11. Luminary: A Magical Guide to Self-Care by Kate Scelsa
  12. Garlic and the Witch by Bree Paulsen
  13. Night of the Raven, Dawn of the Dove by Rati Mehrotra (audio)
  14. The Last Tale of the Flower Bride by Roshani Chokshi (audio)
  15. Crumbs by Danie Sterling
  16. Flowerheart by Catherine Bakewell
  17. Igniting Darkness by RL LaFevers (audio)

Final breakdown: 17 read, 9 audio, 6 books given away

How My Month Went:

Trying something new after seeing Kristin’s monthly wrap ups on her blog and really liking the way it put everything together. This is my last month before my next year on ALA’s Rise Feminist Book Project starts so I’m trying to catch up as much as possible on reviews to write and books to read. Slowly but surely!

January was stressful, but February has not been kind. This month has included a long overdue dental trip which requires additonal trips for a deep cleaning (no cavities though!) which is fine but I hate the dentist so much that I’m absolutely dreading it. I also filed my taxes which somehow always has some kind of weird stressor because of course. THEN because that wasn’t enough the handle to my freezer came off in my hand so that’s being replaced–which is great but so many things!

I had some nice work moments too this month which were good in this season of perpetual stress and burnout. Quite a few compliments on my clothes and accessories. A teen intern who saw my Book Reviewing 101 presentation came into the library to get the URL of my blog and tell me she was reading one of my reviews–which was quite lovely since it’s not always clear who my readers here are. Plus the book club I run at work had some new faces and a really nice discussion.

With the end of this month, it’s time to gear up for Rise. I am still playing perpetual catch up on reviews and still have so many 2022 titles to talk up here!

You can also see my recap from last month.