Recent Reviews

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Killingly By Katharine Beutner Cover Image

Yes, Killingly is a crime novel, but it's so much more. Based on the as yet unsolved disappearance of a Mount Holyoke College student in the late 1890s, Beutner's novel imagines what might have happened to Bertha Mellish. Driven and fearlessly unconventional, Mellish befriends another social outcast on campus, Agnes, with whom she forms a most unusual relationship. As the stakes of the investigation into Mellish's disappearance build, Beutner weaves together the themes of queer love and women's isolation, entrapment, and untapped power. This book is electrifying! Recommended by Kelly

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Happy Stories, Mostly By Norman Erikson Pasaribu, Tiffany Tsao (Translator) Cover Image
Happy Stories, Mostly

Happy Stories, Mostly is a collection unlike others. Through speculative stories focused on queerness and religion in Indonesia, Pasaribu complicates the relationships we hold dear. A woman mourns her gay son on a spontaneous trip while a straight student forms a close bond with his gay peer around a story of a giant. One story explores getting over a break up while another deals with the unanswered prayers department in heaven. Each story is absurd while sincere and pushes toward a future that is not all shiny and magical, but almost happy. This collection is philosophical, revolutionary, and exciting. Recommended by Nikita

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Falling Back in Love with Being Human: Letters to Lost Souls By Kai Cheng Thom Cover Image
Falling Back in Love with Being Human

I was in awe from the first page of Falling Back in Love with Being Human. Through poetic letters, Thom, a Chinese-American trans woman, tackles the hardest task of all: loving humanity even as it doesn’t love her back. Each letter ends with a suggested practice, and through this combination, I felt reflective and heartbroken. However, the pain which this collection creates feels necessary to healing, reminding us that love is worth facing all our emotions. Thom is a force, confronting us with the dark spaces and replacing them with a warmth and forgiveness that is hard won. Recommended by Nikita

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Cleat Cute: A Novel By Meryl Wilsner Cover Image
Cleat Cute

One thing about me? I am going to devour a sports romance, ESPECIALLY a soccer romance. This book had about every trope I have ever loved in it and I ate it UP. It feels like it channeled Chloe Liese's Everything for You, but made it the best way. A fun, flirty sports romance that will leave you kicking your feet. Cleat Cute features: A grump who has been playing for the USWNT for 10 years with a sideline worthy injury is replaced with a cheerful jokester who just so happens to be oh so beautiful. Their friends with benefits arrangement quickly crumbles and leaves behind true, raw and deep love for one another... which may just break these two, or set them free. Do these two fools in love care more for each other or for making the roster? I LOVED this book, a sapphic romcom perfect for Bend it Like Beckham or Ted Lasso fans. Their romance is dynamic, the characters are realistic and wonderful. Give it a shot, this book scores high on all my lists! Recommended by Kahill

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Miss Matched By Wendy Million Cover Image
Miss Matched

Miss Matched is a book that had me hooked from the first line. As a hopeless romantic, this book checked all the boxes. What happens when your matchmaking software pairs you with your ex? Mayhem, misfortune, and a Missed match? or maybe the second chance of a life time at getting the one that got away? Tayla is a woman so tired of the constant bad dates that she begrudgingly begins an online dating adventure, only to have her Ex flame Simon show up on her doorstep. Simon says they should date for a month to prove they are no love match but really he's just thrilled to get to date Tayla again, unsure he can give her up a second time. This book is funny, sweet and explores the notion of a one true soul mate. Both our MC's are utterly likable and just about the only ones in the world who can't tell they're in love. I adored it's natural banter and heartwarming ending. Recommended by Kahill

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The Witch Hitch By Elizabeth Bass Cover Image
The Witch Hitch

Indie Next review for The Witch Hitch by Elizabeth Bass A witty, charming romantic comedy with quite an enchanting twist. Wedding jitters are common, but for Bailey they include severe paranoia, and the new ability to communicate with her pet parrot and learning she’s a real live witch. Throw in a strange stalker, her uptight almost in-laws and finding out her birth mother accidentally conjured a man from 1930? Bailey has her work cut out for her. Dealing with a 120 year old hottie from the past who is NOT her fiancé(arguably better than the aforementioned fiancé but I digress) was not part of the plan, as they work together to get Seton back to his own time... they may just realize that Bailey doesn't want to send him back. The plan? falls apart. Their romance? sizzles and soars. The Witch Hitch is a cozy witch romcom with heart and sass and a whole lot of giggling on my part. A perfect pick me up read. Recommended by Kahill

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At the Edge of the Woods By Kathryn Bromwich Cover Image
At the Edge of the Woods

Inspired by the author’s experience with long Covid, At the Edge of the Woods is a historical yet topical novel about a woman existing outside of society’s expectations. Laura escapes her miserable marriage to reestablish herself in an isolated cabin in the mountains of Italy, her home country. Immersed in nature, she simplifies her routine—hiking, foraging, reading for hours. Only during occasional trips into town does she notice the villagers’ disdain. Amid lyrical prose and ever-building tension, Laura distances herself from conventional reality, but she may be all the wiser for it. Recommended by Mary

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Crook Manifesto: A Novel By Colson Whitehead Cover Image
Crook Manifesto

Colson Whitehead’s Crook Manifesto is everything you’d want a sequel to The Harlem Shuffle to be. Volume two in Whitehead’s planned trilogy once again finds furniture salesman Ray Carney torn between going legit and Harlem’s criminal underworld. This time, Carney launches three more capers against the backdrop of the 1970s: urban blight, bicentennial pride, and Black revolutionaries fight for space on the Manhattan streets. Which side of Carney—crook or family man—will prevail? It remains to be seen, but through it all, Whitehead’s hilarious cast of criminals, mobsters, hitmen, and assorted do-badders make this yet another memorable novel from an American master. Recommended by Danny

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Shakti By SJ Sindu, Nabi H. Ali (Illustrator) Cover Image

Shakti is magic. She is blessed. She may be a little dangerous. Shakti’s family has a connection to the goddess of protection Durga Ma, and pray to her everyday. Shakti herself seems to have a more powerful connection to the goddess of destruction Kali Ma, and the anger they share makes it more powerful. Now that she’s starting a new school again, Shakti has to learn how to control her anger, her protective instinct, and her magic, before she hurts the whole town. Mesmerizing, relatable, and two refreshing supportive parents, this graphic novel is here to combat all the lone heroes out there. Recommended by Sameah

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In Vitro: On Longing and Transformation By Isabel Zapata, Myers (Translator) Cover Image
In Vitro

Zapata’s In Vitro is a gut punch of a read on motherhood, loss, change, and anxiety. Reflecting on her own story and others, Zapata’s non-linear structure captures the emotional journey of in vitro fertilization. Zapata’s story is one of both misogyny and power, excitement and fear. She is trapped in the liminal space of almost-motherhood, shoved into a dark corner of desiring but not achieving motherhood as society sees fit. In Vitro is crucial, allowing space for all emotions around a difficult and expensive process that many people go through all in the attempt to have a child. Recommended by Nikita