Recent Reviews

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We Deserve Monuments By Jas Hammonds Cover Image
We Deserve Monuments

When her family learns that her grandmother is dying, Avery is uprooted from her life in D.C. and transplanted to her mom’s tiny hometown in Georgia. She leaves behind her college-obsessed friends (and ex) just before starting her senior year in a town where she knows no one, including her own grandmother. Years of lost time span between three generations of Black women, and Avery is determined to unearth the divisive secrets that color her family and finally get to know her impenetrable grandmother, all while getting to know herself. A debut novel about who and what is worth remembering with a special focus on Black queer love in the South, We Deserve Monuments is unforgettable. Recommended by Mary

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Life Is Hard: How Philosophy Can Help Us Find Our Way By Kieran Setiya Cover Image
Life is Hard

Though Life Is Hard makes philosophy relatable, it doesn't make it facile. Sections on universal conditions such as illness, loneliness, and grief will remind readers that since time began, we've all been in this together and have a whole body of human thought to find meaning in the tough times. Setiya's own battle with chronic pain places him squarely in the middle of the struggle with the reader. Recommended by Kelly

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The Book of Gothel By Mary McMyne Cover Image
Book of Gothel

I love retellings of fairy tales, and this account of the “true” story behind the tale of Rapunzel is exceedingly well-done. Not only a behind-the-scenes look at the Rapunzel tale, it is also a frame story (also a personal favorite), opening and closing in modern-day Germany. Magic, strong women, evil, and love propel this excellent fantasy. Recommended by Nancy

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Men in Blazers Present Gods of Soccer: The Pantheon of the 100 Greatest Soccer Players (According to Us) By Roger Bennett, Michael Davies, Miranda Davis, Nate Kitch (Illustrator) Cover Image
Gods of Soccer

You don’t have to play soccer to understand that it is irrefutably the beautiful game. You don’t have to love soccer to see it’s the most widely played sport in the world. I do both, and Gods Of Soccer is the kind of “coffee table book” that if gifted to the right soccer fanatic will bring tears to their eyes. An alphabetical anthology of the best of the best, starting with Akers and ending with Zico. With lovely praise for trailblazers like Beckham and Hamm along the way.  Find your self crying in joy due to the incredible contributions to soccer that your favorite players have made or find yourself wondering why some of these folks even made it in if they’re seemingly the most hated forwards on the pitch. Either way, it’s a grand read.

Perfect for birthday gifts or World Cup season! Recommended by Kahill

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The Tiger and the Cage: A Memoir of a Body in Crisis By Emma Bolden Cover Image
The Tiger and the Cage

Emma Bolden’s The Tiger and The Cage is a vulnerable and visceral look at endometriosis and the healthcare field. Bolden has been plagued by excruciating pain, heavy menstrual bleeding, and fainting spells since her childhood. As she investigates what she later learns is aggressive endometriosis, she struggles with doctors, family, and friends. While she worries about her ability to have biological children, doctors and peers focus on her virginity, marriage, and misdiagnoses. The rage and anxiety Bolden captures illustrates her desire to both be heard and fit society’s expectations. The Tiger and The Cage is a powerful memoir of sexuality, the unpredictability of bodies, and societal norms that must necessarily be questioned. Recommended by Nikita

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Into the Riverlands (The Singing Hills Cycle #3) By Nghi Vo Cover Image
Into the Riverlands

Nghi Vo is an elegant and poignant storyteller, and Into the Riverlands is no different. It continues the story of cleric Chih and their talking bird Almost Brilliant as they record stories of famed martial artists in the treacherous riverlands region. As you meet each character on the journey, including elder Lao Bingyi who commands a room and Wei Jintai, a trained fighter who doesn’t break a sweat, you meet their quirks. Vo crafts a world that slowly reveals itself with humor and heartbreak, weaving together into a fine cloth. The story is both suspenseful and languid, and it will soften your heart. Recommended by Nikita

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Twelfth Grade Night (Arden High, Book 1) By Molly Booth, Stephanie Strohm, Jamie Green (Illustrator) Cover Image
Twelfth Grade Night

I was invested in Twelfth Grade Night from the first couple of pages. Aspiring songwriter Vi is facing public high school alone without her twin, Sebastian, and in a school with fairies and ghosts, she is beyond unprepared. The story explores her new friendships, crush on dreamy poet Orsino, and rifts with Sebastian. The illustration style is perfect, creating a story that leaps off the page like Heartstopper. The story quickly builds a cast of cute and lovable characters, from stunning school heartthrob Olivia to plotting, confident Maria. It’s hard not to love this one, and I’m hopeful for a second volume. Recommended by Nikita

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We Deserve Monuments By Jas Hammonds Cover Image
We Deserve Monuments

When her family learns that her grandmother is dying, Avery is uprooted from her life in D.C. and transplanted to her mom’s tiny hometown in Georgia. She leaves behind her college-obsessed friends (and ex) just before starting her senior year in a town where she knows no one, including her own grandmother. Years of lost time span between three generations of Black women, and Avery is determined to unearth the divisive secrets that color her family and finally get to know her impenetrable grandmother, all while getting to know herself. A debut novel about who and what is worth remembering with a special focus on Black queer love in the South, We Deserve Monuments is unforgettable. Recommended by Mary

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Is Mother Dead (Verso Fiction) By Vigdis Hjorth Cover Image
Is Mother Dead

Holy mother, is this a fantastic read, or what? (It is.) IS MOTHER DEAD traces the obsessive tendencies of Johanna, an internationally successful artist and widowed mother, who has returned to her hometown of Oslo after running away decades before. The book tugs us through the streets of the city and digs deep beneath the detritus of the surrounding woods as Johanna stalks her own mother who long ago disowned her. Psychologically complex and twisting, each page pulls the reader further down a dark spiral into the abyss of doubt, anger, fear, and violence that lurks beneath the surface of an estranged mother-daughter relationship. Recommended by Wulfe

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If I Survive You By Jonathan Escoffery Cover Image
If I Survive You

If I Survive You by Jonathan Escoffery is the kind of book that you can’t decide whether you’ll read over a couple of weeks, so you can slowly soak in every perfectly-selected word and reflect on the complexities of its characters, the slow layering of thematic flavor—or if you’ll eat it up in one night because you have to know what happens next. This collection of interconnected short stories spans generations and continents as it explores the life of a family redefined by a move from Jamaica to Miami. Escoffery has a remarkable talent for making his reader double over with laughter one paragraph, only to begin tearing up the next. I had to set aside my pen after the first story when I realized I’d underlined almost every single line. Recommended by Wulfe