Recent Reviews

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All the Beauty in the World: The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Me By Patrick Bringley Cover Image
All the Beauty in the World

Patrick Bringley took grief over his brother's death and job stress and turned them into an opportunity to reinvent himself. What seemed like  a career descent from a plum job at the New Yorker to a position as a museum guard at the Met turned into sanity, comradery, and a decade of quietude surrounded by some of the world's most beautiful works of art. The end result for this grateful reader is a perfect capture of the reason so many of us skulk around in art museums. Hands-down my most beautiful, soulful read of the year. Recommended by Kelly

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Sweetlust: Stories By Asja Bakic, Jennifer Zoble (Translator) Cover Image

A well-done and satisfying science fiction short story is an impressive feat. Sweetlust by Asja Bakic strings together eleven such feats—the muscle of this book is a series of cultural critiques based in eco-conscious feminism, and the dry, terrifyingly to-the-point writing style is the sinew. Each story ushers in a new post-apocalyptic landscape or nightmarish creature for the reader to examine, unshielded by excessive metaphor or description. In fact, the reader isn’t allowed to look away. I felt incised while reading Sweetlust. Recommended by Wulfe

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The Sun Walks Down: A Novel By Fiona McFarlane Cover Image
The Sun Walks Down

The brilliant, terrifying sunset, night after night, is one of the main characters in The Sun Walks Down by Fiona McFarlane, the story of a 6-year-old boy, Denny, lost in the Australian bush after a dust storm. A host of other characters, Indigenous and colonist, all equally compelling, become involved in the week-long search for Denny; their voices tell stories of complex relationships and inner lives, colonialism and racism. Denny’s mother finally sets a tree ablaze as a beacon for him, and the account of the frantic efforts to extinguish the fire and of the search’s culmination left me breathless. McFarlane is new to me, and I plan to read more of her work. Recommended by Kami

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Mr. Boop By Alec Robbins Cover Image
Mr. Boop

This comic brought my partner and I so much joy as we read each daily installment on Twitter (RIP) in 2020. Now collected in this gorgeous volume, Mr. Boop is the hilarious and raunchy story of author Alec Robbins and his real-life wife, Betty Boop. Recommended by Mary

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That Reminds Me By Derek Owusu Cover Image
That Reminds Me

Owusu’s That Reminds Me is a hazy memory of childhood trauma. Written in poetic vignettes, this memoir describes an unraveling. Growing up in unstable London households with mostly absent parents, Owusu faces classmates who say he smells like Africa and tell tales of his poverty among themselves. As he grows, his body becomes his own target, inescapably tempting as an outlet for the noise in his head. This memoir is written as it is lived, fragmented yet ever-connecting. That Reminds Me is a compelling reflection on mental illness, complicated families, and the traumas we struggle to shake. Recommended by Nikita

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Too Wrong to Be Right: A Novel By Melonie Johnson Cover Image
Too Wrong to Be Right

Indie next review for Too Wrong to Be Right by: Melonie Johnson The incredible sequel to Too Good to be Real. Too Wrong to Be Right is a fun love story between; Kat who is determined to find Mr. right after a long line of Mr. Majorly Wrongs and Mick who isn't sure how to get what he wants from life. Kat and Mick are a bit of a mess but there is true love beneath it all. The slow beginning only makes it worth it once you hit around the 3rd chapter and fall in LOVE with the story. A heartwarming read that focuses on breaking expectations and finding what you NEED and not what you thought you wanted. Spectacularly written, with lovable and relatable characters who you cannot help but root for. (Tropes: Strangers to lovers and then friends to lovers.) Recommended by Kahill

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Mr. & Mrs. Witch: A Novel By Gwenda Bond Cover Image
Mr. & Mrs. Witch

A thrilling--and iconic play on the classic Mr. & Mrs. Smith. One that has me laughing and loving it. Savannah Wilde is a very powerful witch who is ready to settle down with the love of her life, Griffin. One problem: Savy is an agent with C.R.O.N.E. (Covert Response to Occult Nightmares by Enchantresses; an organization tasked with protecting magical beings just like her) and Griffin? He's an agent with the HUNTERS, an organization founded upon…. witch hunting. Things get a bit complicated, seeing as the one job these two lovers have? killing the other. The result of this hilarious set up is a warm hearted, fast paced adventure with all the best tropes. (secret agents, zany sidekicks, lovers to enemies to lovers again, etc.) Bisexual representation, and a fast paced, fun read made this romance reader, doubly happy. Recommended by Kahill

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Our Share of Night: A Novel By Mariana Enriquez, Megan McDowell (Translated by), Pablo Gerardo Camacho (Illustrator) Cover Image
Our Share of Night

Our Share of Night is an inimitable masterpiece, a stunning work of literary horror. Enríquez’s storytelling is breathtaking and immersive, with gritty, tightly-woven character relationships which evolve over decades. At the novel’s center is a pagan cult like that of Argentina’s San La Muerte, which here is guided by heart-stopping nightmares and pure horror. The book is chiefly, however, a heartbreaking story of father and son, colored by political violence, a culture of fear, and ties that bind. I didn’t want it to end, and I want to read it again, immediately. Recommended by Mary

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Dyscalculia: A Love Story of Epic Miscalculation By Camonghne Felix Cover Image

Dyscalculia is about a breakup. A breakup with the love of your life, a breakup with the self you don’t want to be, and a break up with who you want to be. Felix weaves her story together in not quite poetry and not quite prose. It is anti-linear and honest and not always likable, but it is a love story to herself. Tackling mental health, trauma, and the desire to shove down the parts of you that are not okay, Felix articulates the difficulty of being a queer, nonwhite, mentally ill person who struggles with math. Recommended by Nikita

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Madame Restell: The Life, Death, and Resurrection of Old New York’s Most Fabulous, Fearless, and Infamous Abortionist By Jennifer Wright Cover Image
Madame Restell

Madame Restell is a deep dive into a powerhouse abortionist often forgotten in history books. Starting in 1830s New York, Wright constructs a complex world of poverty, racism, and misogyny with limited access to reproductive care. When rambunctious, bold, and skilled Anne Lohman steps in as New York’s not-so-underground abortionist, Madame Restell, even her most thankful patients can’t publicly support her. Wright’s retelling of the events that follow is suspenseful, heartbreaking, and as wild as Restell is herself. Madame Restell is an unforgettable history about a complicated self-made woman millionaire and a fight against those looking to control marginalized people. Recommended by Nikita