Recent Reviews

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Within These Wicked Walls: A Novel Cover Image
Within These Wicked Walls

In historical Ethiopia, Andromeda is a debtera in desperate need of a job. A nineteen-year-old exorcist and religious worker, Andi can cleanse things—and people—of the Evil Eye. Having grown up in poverty on and off the street, the only person she trusts is herself. Despite the fact that many more experienced than she have already run screaming from the haunted mansion where she’s just been hired, Andi believes in her ability to complete the job—if not for herself then for the cursed heir who’s gradually stolen her heart. But the Evil Eye’s presence here is much worse than she’s ever imagined. This retelling of Jane Eyre is the spooky, sensual, Black-authored read of your nightmares. Recommended by Mary

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1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows: A Memoir Cover Image
1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows

From behind layered veils of oppressive silence comes the lovely voice of Ai Weiwei, a Chinese artist who himself along with his family has experienced the volatile rise and fall of regimes. This memoir not only details the development of an artist sorting through his own past but also offers a history of a wondrous country and culture in turmoil. Recommended by Kelly

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No One Else Cover Image
No One Else

R. Kikuo Johnson's clean style and brilliant storytelling follow single mom Charlene, her son Brandon, and her brother Robbie at their home on Maui. After single-handedly caring for her aging father during his final years, Charlene quits her nursing job and decides to apply to medical school upon his death. Brandon, whose cat, Batman, had recently run off, splits his time between searching for his friend and cleaning up after his mom. Robbie, a traveling musician, returns home to find his sister in the throes of grief and struggles to process his own relationship with his dad. A masterful, timeless, touching story of an ordinary family. Recommended by Mary

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The Shadow Cover Image
The Shadow

In this psychological thriller, Black German author Melanie Raabe explores the concepts of free will, misogyny, guilt, and art. As soon as Norah moves from Berlin to Vienna, strange things start happening to her. A homeless woman speaks to her a prophecy--that Norah will kill a man she's never met on the anniversary of her childhood best friend's suicide, which haunts her to this day. A journalist who'd moved once to escape a stalker and then again from a committed relationship and career disaster, Norah is clever and bold. She's always stood up for what's right--could she really be capable of killing someone? With a twist that flips everything on its head, this intricately-plotted book is not to be missed! Recommended by Mary

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Sex Cult Nun: Breaking Away from the Children of God, a Wild, Radical Religious Cult Cover Image
Sex Cult Nun
Sex Cult Nun offers a shocking glimpse into the Children of God cult from its founder’s granddaughter. Faith Jones grew up in a world of farm chores and praising God. This world, however, also consists of secrecy. She recalls a childhood of moving across many countries to escape detection from government entities while asking for donations and performing God-centered songs at venues to keep her family afloat. Through her striking description of Mo letters, her authoritarian father, and other members of The Family, Jones unveils her upbringing as built on abuse for the sake of male pleasure. In a shocking yet hopeful memoir, Jones details her journey to leaving the world she knows to find agency and her dreams. Recommended by Nikita
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Postcolonial Love Poem: Poems Cover Image
Postcolonial Love Poem

Pulitzer Prize-winning Postcolonial Love Poem will make you want Natalie Diaz to write a love poem about you. Here, she writes sensual lesbian poems and warm platonic ones, poems about water and basketball and things lost in translation. Her elegant poetry begs to be studied—add this stunner from a Mexican Mojave poet to your shelf, and eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Recommended by Mary

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Gwen the Rescue Hen Cover Image
Gwen the Rescue Hen

Inspired by a true story of hens that survived a tornado at an egg farm in Ohio, Gwen the Rescue Hen is a tender tale that will have kids doting on chickens everywhere you look. Before the tornado whisks them away, Hen and her flock are kept in tiny cages, illustrated in black and white. They long for the day when they might be able to spread their wings and fly in a world full of color and light. The tornado drops them right around Mateo’s neighborhood, and he befriends Hen—naming her Gwen—and brings her home, along with the rest of her small flock. Together, Gwen and Mateo learn about what chickens can do when they’re free. Chicken facts are included in the back. Recommended by Mary

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Two Bicycles in Beijing Cover Image
Two Bicycles in Beijing

When I first discovered this book, I thought it would be about two friends who ride their bicycles around Beijing together. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that it was not the people but the bicycles who were friends! A delivery boy buys Lunzi, the red bike, and they ride all over town as he makes his deliveries and she looks for her friend, Huangche, the yellow bike. When the old friends reunite, new friends are made. This sweet story features gorgeous, textural illustrations and a sprinkling of Mandarin Chinese throughout a tour of Beijing’s main attractions. Recommended by Mary

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The Big Bad Wolf in My House Cover Image
The Big Bad Wolf in My House

This book is breathtaking and heartbreaking but ultimately hopeful. The tale of The Three Little Pigs is used as a familiar anchor as a tale of domestic violence is told. A little girl describes the actions of the Big Bad Wolf—he’s sweet at first, but then he yells and curses, breaks things without cleaning them up or apologising, and even leaves bruises on the girl’s arm. The girl and her mom don’t feel safe in their home, and they’re able to seek refuge at a domestic violence shelter with other parents and children. This vital story is told with such grace—don’t be afraid to share it with children. After all, domestic violence happens in real life, too. Recommended by Mary

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The Dangers of Smoking in Bed: Stories Cover Image
The Dangers of Smoking in Bed

Newly available in English, The Dangers of Smoking in Bed is a knockout collection of literary horror by Argentine journalist Mariana Enríquez, read flawlessly and tantalizingly by Rebecca Soler. Readers will learn of Angelita, a walking infant corpse; of a woman who fetishizes the human heart; of an enigmatic pop star whose latest album, Meat, inspires a new kind of craze. All of the stories are narrated by women—clever women who struggle to express their sexuality, who want to believe in something, who nurture and devour at once. Fans of Carmen Maria Machado, what are you waiting for? Recommended by Mary