Recent Reviews

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Devil Is Fine: A Novel By John Vercher Cover Image
Devil Is Fine

A novel of grief, immediate and generational, takes us deep into the mind of our narrator, a biracial man dealing with the death of his son and a legacy of slavery and violence. Lines between reality and fantasy, dreamworld and consciousness, imagination and haunting are artfully blurred and erased in this deeply moving and often funny story of a man losing and finding himself, his son, his ancestors. Grief, truth, revelation join to propel the deeply flawed and struggling narrator on a painful and renewing journey. Recommended by Nancy

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The Melancholy of Untold History: A Novel By Minsoo Kang Cover Image
The Melancholy of Untold History

In The Melancholy of Untold History, Kang combines a dizzying dance of fable, Science Fiction, contemporary tales, and mythology, creating a novel that is rich and a layered and, at times, almost entirely incomprehensible. This novel contains stories told by many over the span of 3000 years, and readers who welcome the story with patience will be amazed. Recommended by Manda

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Sharks Don't Sink: Adventures of a Rogue Shark Scientist By Jasmin Graham Cover Image
Sharks Don't Sink

There are so many things that we can learn from sharks, one of them being that while they are not naturally buoyant, they stay afloat because they keep moving forward. In Jasmine Graham's book Sharks Don't Sink, we witness Graham staying afloat in the world of science and academia by creating her own path and moving forward. Learning more about sharks and the organization Minorities in Shark Sciences (MISS) opened my eyes and lifted me up. This is an inspiring and beautiful read. Recommended by Manda

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Woe: A Housecat's Story of Despair: (A Graphic Novel) By Lucy Knisley Cover Image
Woe

If you enjoy following cats on Instagram as much as I do, you’ll love Woe by Lucy Knisley, a collection of comics about her cat, Linney. It’s an especially meaningful read now that Linney has passed on. For those who love iconic kitties with big purrsonalities (such as the Raven’s own, Dashiell), Woe is a hilarious and heartfelt tribute. Recommended by Mary

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The Italy Letters By Vi Khi Nao Cover Image
The Italy Letters

This short novel from a queer Vietnamese American novelist is beautiful and difficult to classify. A work of fiction, it also touches on poetry and prose, taking the form of a letter correspondence between the main character and an Italian lover. The narrative is honest and powerful and undeniably erotic. Love, lust, and loneliness carve a huge path through the novel. Recommended by Manda

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Nell of Gumbling: My Extremely Tiny Forest Adventure By Emma Steinkellner Cover Image
Nell of Gumbling: My Extremely Tiny Forest Adventure

In this second book in the Nell of Gumbling series, Nell finds herself navigating a right of passage with her best friends as she works to answer the age old question- What is more challenging? Surviving a Multidisciplinary Wilderness Engagement Adventure, or navigating the awkwardness of seventh grade crushes? This middle grade graphic novel is lovely and wholesome, and readers will find themselves nostalgic for summer camp after this sweet read. Recommended by Manda

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Upstaged (A Graphic Novel) By Robin Easter Cover Image
Upstaged

Upstaged offers a nice, new twist on the summer camp story for middle grade readers. When Ashton discovers their best friend Ivy won't be bunking with them at theater camp, they think they couldn't feel more disappointed. That is until they see what appears to be flirtation between Ivy and the new lead in the musical, Ella. Facing jealousy and miscommunication head on will be the biggest challenge Ashton has ever faced. Recommended by Kelly

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The Only Ones By Carola Dibbell Cover Image
The Only Ones

Man! I can’t believe I’ve just now discovered Carola Dibbell’s The Only Ones almost a decade after its first publication. Despite this, in 2024, amid ever-restricting abortion laws and the targeting of IVF, still-emerging from COVID-19, this book has never been more timely. In a dystopian, pandemic-riddled future, people will do whatever it takes to keep themselves, and their children, alive. With commentary on (largely Catholic) rhetoric concerning the sanctity of life, this book explores the ways in which a human life can be created, sustained, and destroyed. Told in the unforgettable matter-of-fact, self-reliant, working-class voice of Inez, a rare “hardy” immune to disease, it is an incredibly moving story about parenthood, love, and survival. Recommended by Mary

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Peg and Rose Play the Ponies (A Senior Sleuths Mystery #3) By Laurien Berenson Cover Image
Peg and Rose Play the Ponies

For a cozy mystery, this one kept me pleasantly on edge. With personalities as different as mismatched shoes, Peg and Rose keep each other mostly centered on the path toward a killer at a Kentucky horse-breeding facility. I hope to see much more from this  sister-in-law duo. Recommended by Kelly

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A Refiner's Fire: A Commissario Guido Brunetti Mystery By Donna Leon Cover Image
A Refiner's Fire

LIke a warm, comfortable pair of slippers, Leon's Guido Brunetti is back with another Venetian mystery. In this one, a couple of teen gangs are traumatizing the city, and the seemingly untouchable military hero father of one of the boys is becoming increasing menacing. When Brunetti's old fellow police officer Bocchese is attacked, he steps forward and embroils himself further. A deeply sane and satisfying novel. Recommended by Kelly