Recent Reviews

Murder Is Easy Cover Image
Murder Is Easy

The Libro.fm audio version of one of Christie's lesser known works, Murder Is Easy is just the ticket for listening during a pandemic. The magnificent reader manages 15-plus voices, giving character and individuality to each. Also, the mystery is set in a small English village, and the retired police detective gets help from Marple-esque little old ladies. Delicious escapism. Recommended by Kelly (Purchase at the following link to support the Raven Book Store, https://libro.fm/audiobooks/9780063031241-murder-is-easy).

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Miracle Country: A Memoir Cover Image
Miracle Country

DUE IN JULY: The desert strips people’s souls bare, especially a desert in a warming climate. It makes the most sensitive of them into writers yearning to understand both the things it has taken from them and all it has given. Reminiscent of Terry Tempest Williams’ memoir Refuge, Kendra Atleework’s book, Miracle County, weaves natural history, history, and memoir with elegy for a mother’s life cut short by cancer. We view most elements in Atleework’s narrative through their absence: water, indigenous people, her mother, the one-time stability of a now-shattered family. She makes exquisite beauty of loss. Recommended by Kelly

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Barn 8: A Novel Cover Image
Barn 8

When two egg industry auditors devise a plan to steal a million chickens, you won’t think they’re crazy—you’ll be rooting for them the whole way.  Barn 8 hits the ground running like a chicken with its head cut off.  A colorful cast is brought to life beautifully in the audiobook, and there’s plenty of irony and thoughtfulness.  The most emotional moments for me were those which involved the chickens—their lives, their wants, their freedom. At just the right time, Deb Olin Unferth gracefully shines light on animal rights and the future of humanity with this wonderful, quirky story, unlike anything you’ve read before! Recommended by Mary

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The Lying Life of Adults Cover Image
The Lying Life of Adults

DUE IN JUNE: Nothing will convince you to stay home and read all day like an elegant, gritty Ferrante novel.  Her latest, dripping with richness and complexity, features Giovanna. In the unforgettable opening sequence, her powerful father declares her ugly, comparing her face to that of his estranged sister, who repulses him.  Giovanna tracks down the source of her ugliness—this unknown relative—as her body’s uncontrollable blossoming into womanhood leaves her disgusted and ashamed. With intense fury and hunger at odds, Giovanna burns through her life, uncovering a web of lies whose epicenter is an object as beautiful and ugly as herself.  Ferrante’s work is so good I could cry.  Recommended by Mary.

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Vera Kelly Is Not a Mystery (A Vera Kelly  Story #2) Cover Image
Vera Kelly Is Not a Mystery

DUE IN JUNE: Thank you Rosalie Knecht! This second installment of the Vera Kelly series does not disappoint! Recently fired from her when her boss overhears her breaking up with her lesbian lover, Kelly draws on her former CIA roots, and spends her last few dollars to open her own private investigation company. Fasten your seat belts because she unknowingly takes on a client with ties to dangerous, clandestine political operatives in the Dominican Republic. This is a raucous ride with one of the pluckiest new PIs to hit the literary scene in years. Recommended by Kelly

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The End of the Day Cover Image
The End of the Day

DUE IN JUNE: Bill Clegg’s The End of the Day is a tightly crafted novel. In elegant prose, he gradually reveals the intertwining of the lives of his complex characters. Each chapter is devoted to one of the six central players, and through their disparate perspectives, we learn the truths of their lives, none fully known to any of the others. With a forceful, ambiguous ending, Clegg leaves us pondering its meaning and his characters and their fateful decisions. These decisions, from youth through late adulthood, carry both intentional and unanticipated consequences, some predictable and some surprising to the reader. Recommended by Nancy

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Morningside Heights: A Novel Cover Image
Morningside Heights

DUE IN JUNE: Join Pru Steiner and Spence Robin on the marriage journey of a lifetime. When literature professor Spence begins showing signs of Alzheimer's, he and his normally hesitant and deferential wife and former graduate student Pru must reverse roles. This book spans decades of life lessons on child-rearing, divorce, religious differences, and caregiving with a humor and attention to daily detail rarely found in today's fiction. This one is a keeper. Recommended by Kelly

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From the Desk of Zoe Washington Cover Image
From the Desk of Zoe Washington

Zoe loves to bake. She wants to be a professional pastry chef when she grows up, and her mom landed her an internship at a local bakery this summer! But when she receives a letter from her birth father in prison on her 12th birthday, everything changes. Marcus sounds very nice in his letter, but he's in jail for murder. Zoe's not sure at first, but as she writes back and forth with Marcus (secretly—her mom would never allow it), she sees that he's really a good person. Could innocent people go to prison? With friendship challenges, cupcake creations, and a fight for justice—not to mention Bahni Turpin's peppy narration—From the Desk of Zoe Washington is an absolute delight to listen to. Recommended by Maryt

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Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You: A Remix of the National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning Cover Image
Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You

Inspiring the next generation of antiracists, Jason Reynolds’ remix of Ibram X. Kendi’s Stamped From the Beginning is outstanding.  This accessible book for young readers is read in Reynolds’ laid back voice, with transitions between chapters delightfully filled with hip hop. Reynolds’ voice also shines through in the text, which he adapts to be not a “history book” (even though it has history in it) but a book about our present.  He acknowledges that talking about race and privilege is uncomfortable, but guides readers through mindful breathing to get through it, because it’s important. Recommended by Mary

Stupid Black Girl

DUE IN JUNE: Powerfully witty and thoughtful, Aisha Redux’s Stupid Black Girl reveals her personal experience as an American African in New York. Born to West African parents, Redux discusses spirituality, sexuality, and the black experience from a unique and frequently ignored perspective. Redux’s writing is anything but passive, calling upon other black women to embrace their strength and beauty despite Eurocentric beauty standards. She spares no time shutting down those who dismiss African spirituality or the black perspective on racism in America. Stupid Black Girl is a radical look at embracing blackness in all forms, as well as knowing the difference between cherishing tradition and supporting oppressive systems. Recommended by Nikita