Recent Reviews

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Outsider: A Novel of Suspense (Kate Burkholder #12) Cover Image

The latest in the Kate Burkholder series, Outsider, is a terrific release. When police chief Burkholder's long-lost friend and fellow cop, Gina Colorosa, exposes corruption in her home precinct, both women find themselves on the wrong side of police weapons. A member of the Amish community in Burkholder's town finds Colorosa bleeding and nearly frozen in her vehicle in a snowdrift, news that quickly reaches Burkholder and puts her and the Amish family at grave risk. This narrative is especially poignant in today's times when reports of the Amish protesting in support of the Black Lives Matter movement have reminded the nation that there is more to these intensely private communities than meets the eye. Recommended by Kelly. Support the Raven, and listen at the following link:

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Take a Hint, Dani Brown: A Novel (The Brown Sisters #2) Cover Image
Take a Hint, Dani Brown

I loved the second of Talia Hibbert’s Brown Sisters series, Take a Hint, Dani Brown.  Like the first, this book features realistic situations and diverse characters, and is also super sexy!  Dani is a witchy PhD candidate teaching at a university, her classroom housed in the same building where Zafir Ansari works as a security guard.  A former professional rugby player and a hopeless romantic, Zaf is a giant teddy bear.  But workaholic Dani is the queen of no-strings-attached.  After a security drill gone wrong ends with Zaf heroically carrying Dani out of the building, the incident goes viral on Instagram.  Are Zaf and Dani just playing up #DrRugbae, or could they be something more?  Hibbert yet again handles sensitive topics with grace and grants them visibility.  I can’t wait for the next book! Recommended by Mary. Support the Raven, and listen to the audio at the following link:

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A Burning: A novel Cover Image
A Burning

A Burning tells the all-too-believable story of Javin, a teen-age girl in India who has left school, despite being an excellent student, to get a job and help her struggling family. After a comment against the government on facebook, she is accused of a crime she didn’t commit, largely because she is a Muslim. Her story is the central of three comprising the novel. PT Sir is Javin’s physical education teacher who, largely through chance, becomes involved with the leading nationalist political party. And Lovely is a trans woman aspiring to be a film star whom Jivan is tutoring in English. As Jivan’s arrest and trial unfold, the stories of all three characters develop in alternating chapters told from each of their points of view. This novel is not only a compelling tale of each of the characters’ lives and the impact of PT Sir’s and Lovely’s actions on Jivan’s fate, but it is a critical examination of nationalism in India today – and thus a cautionary tale about nationalist extremism anywhere in the world. Recommended by Nancy. Support the Raven and listen now at the following link::

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Serena Says Cover Image
Serena Says

Serena can’t wait to visit her best friend JC in the hospital as she recovers from surgery, but when Serena comes down with a cold, a new classmate gets to visit JC instead.  All of the sudden, JC seems to have a new best friend, and Serena’s feeling left out.  Meanwhile, Serena practices vlogging at home, speaking her mind and hoping to post on her sister’s YouTube channel when she’s ready.  Between growing pains and group projects, Serena could use some confidence now more than ever.  A sweet story with realistic conflicts and a super diverse cast, Serena Says is a fast favorite! Recommended by Mary


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Get a Life, Chloe Brown: A Novel (The Brown Sisters #1) Cover Image
Get a Life Chloe Brown

Get a Life, Chloe Brown is the ultimate book candy!  Chloe, a Black British thirty-something web designer, has been living in her family home ever since a diagnosis of fibromyalgia upended her life several years prior.  After years of semi-hermithood, a near-death experience prompts her to make a list of things she’d like to do in order to “get a life.”  As fate would have it, the apartment building she soon moves into contains a devilishly handsome superintendent.  With a beautiful and long overdue representation of fibro and plenty of glorious, woman-focused sex, this audiobook is absolute bliss. Recommended by Mary. Listen to the audio and support the Raven:

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A Girl is A Body of Water Cover Image
A Girl Is a Body of Water

DUE IN SEPTEMBER: “Promise me you will pass on the story of the first woman...Stories are critical...The minute we fall silent, someone will fill the silence for us.” Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi seems to follow this counsel of her character Nsuuta in telling us the stories of Kirabo and the women around her. Stories of strength, myth, tradition, suffering, and sacrifice. As Kirabo grows into womanhood in late 20th-century Uganda, she learns directly and indirectly from numerous women, navigating the intersection of tradition and change, and myriad emotions, to arrive at a place of peace. A Girl is a Body of Water is richly satisfying and ultimately joyful. Only rarely do I read passages that strike me enough that I mark pages so as not to lose them. This is one book where I did. Recommended by Nancy

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Horace & Bunwinkle Cover Image
Horace & Bunwinkle

DUE IN SEPTEMBER: I can only hope that PJ Gardner's detective duo of Horace, the Boston Terrier, and Bunwinkle, the pot-bellied pig, gets their own series for middle-grade readers! Like classic pairs before them–Holmes and Watson and Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane–their methods and personality types may be miles apart, but their partnership is magic. In this first caper called just Horace & Bunwinkle, they must solve a series of pet-nappings in their new rural community before they themselves become victims. Read-aloud dialogue and adorable illustrations are the icing on the cake. Recommended by Kelly

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Little Bird Cover Image
Little Bird

DUE IN SEPTEMBER: Little Bird, Newberry medalist Cynthia Voigt's new book for middle-grade readers, offers an intelligent hero's tale about a young crow who must leave her flock to find their lucky talisman and prove her loyalty and worth. Her bravery in the face of new dangers coupled with cross-species communication leads not only to her success in finding the talisman but also a newfound respect for the world's diversity and the courage to find her own place in the world. Voigt weaves crow natural history into this tale, which will leave children with a newfound love and appreciation for this most intelligent of species. Recommended by Kelly

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One Time Cover Image
One Time

DUE IN SEPTEMBER: Newberry Award-winner Sharon Creech's new book, One Time, honors the unforgettable teacher in everyone's life. Through a series of inspired writing assignments, Miss Lightstone turns a group of ordinary elementary school students into writers, artists, and scientists by tapping into their inner dreams and dormant confidence. Also, narrator Gina Filomena and her friend Antonio teach their classmates that difference is power. This delightful book is a celebration of diversity. Recommended by Kelly

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A Whale of the Wild Cover Image
Whale of the Wild

DUE IN SEPTEMBER: A Whale of the Wild by Rosanne Parry offers children an intimate view of a family in crisis and the power of love to meet that crisis head on. Though Vega and her family members are orcas, Parry's gifted storytelling will help children see that their fellow creatures live lives much like their own, complete with self-doubt, sibling rivalry, and small triumphs. In doing so, she will help her young readers–especially girls–understand climate change in a way that inspires them to be their best, most courageous and loving selves rather than a way that frightens them into inertia. I can't recommend it highly enough. Recommended by Kelly