New Books for May!

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The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

“The Gilded Wolves is a magical take on an ever-compelling theme, with just enough riddles and conundrums to entertain the history and science geeks but not so much to turn off the fantasy naysayers. And best of all, it’s inclusive, diverse, feminist, and wonderfully queer. I found myself filled to the brim with gratitude coiling into every moment of admiration for Chokshi’s craft: gratitude for agency, nuance, complexity, inclusiveness, representation, mingled with awe at the way she draws on a wealth of meticulously detailed research to flesh out the characters’ surroundings, and never falters in the balance between the necessity of telling a story, and the indulgence of making it a pretty story by imbuing it with the lush, descriptive language for which Chokshi has become known.”  —from Goodsreads reviewer kzabrekker and image from @accio_library

Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me by Mariko Tamaki and illustrated by Rosemary Valero-O’Connell

“Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me is a gutpunching graphic novel that handles heartbreak in a very realistic and honest way while still managing to have a sweet and nostalgic touch to it. Did I love it? Yes. Do I wish I’ve read this as a teenager? Yes. Tamaki managed to create a story that I’m sure will resonate with many – most of us have had our heart broken after all – while still keeping it hopeful.  And, my god, that bleeping art. That pink coloring. The so very real and raw expressions of the characters. I need to feast my eyes on more by Valero-O’Connell. Wow.” —from Goodsreads reviewer Clauleesi and image from @hirosemaryhello

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood and illustrated/adapted by Renee Nault

“Praise be. The classic Margaret Atwood cautionary tale has finally been adapted as a graphic novel, and it is perfection. The spare art style emphasizes color (especially red and blue) and the facial expressions convey much even when words aren’t possible. I really can’t say enough about the illustrations: they evoke even more haunting, chilling doom than words alone can achieve.from Goodsreads reviewer bildungsromans and image from @NY Post

Voices: the Final Hours of Joan of Arc by David Elliott

“This book is exquisite. Voices has brought life once again to one of the most unforgettable and extraordinary female warrior icons in a quickly read poetic form. Everyone knows her name, but do they know her story?  Told in verse, in different medieval forms of poems, Voices is so unique (some stanzas are shaped like the subject that is ‘speaking,’ ie the sword or the crossbow). David Elliott has written such a compelling account of Joan’s short life from her beginnings in Domrémy, to her visions of the Saints, the battles she led against the English, and her eventual capture and execution.” from Goodsreads reviewer kamoorephoto and image from @literary_rich

Within These Lines by Stephanie Morrill

“I read Within These Lines in a day. This book is so good. I loved the characters. I loved Evalina’s fiery spirit and Taichi’s tender heart. I loved Diego’s (best fictional best friend award goes to this guy btw) protectiveness and Aiko’s honesty. I loved the story and the language and the prose and the fact that this wasn’t a will-they-won’t-they romance – it was a we-love-each-other-so-we’re-gonna-fight-together kind of romance. Which is something you rarely see in fiction these days. The story wasn’t contrived and it tackled a dark, dark time in our nation’s history without demonizing anyone, but considering everyone. Stephanie captured one of the lesser-known atrocities of WWII in such a raw and compelling way. Loved it so much!” from Goodsreads reviewer brianmcbrideauthor and image from @because.my.mother.read

Dealing in Dreams by Lilliam Rivera

The Outsiders meets Mad Max, girl gangs, throw downs, and a quest?  This description was unlike anything I’d read before, and with this beautiful cover, I couldn’t resist. Such intriguing and creative world-building.  Mega City is a matriarchal society led by a beloved woman, and men are primarily considered secondary citizens.  It’s a gritty, dangerous way of life, with gangs gaining power and moving up the food chain through physical battles against each other.  At the age of seven, girls are sent to soldier training camps.  Many of the citizens are hooked on pills that induce lucid dreaming, that are also a used as a form of payment.  It’s not an easy way of life by any means.  Dealing in Dreams is dark at times, full of action, and surprising revelations, and a book I’d recommend to dystopia and sci-fi fans.”      from Goodsreads reviewer TeriPolan and image from @lupita.reads

On the Come Up by Angie Thomas

“Honestly trying to give this book 6/5 stars. I love how it was completely different from Thug while taking place in the same neighborhood. You can tell Angie Thomas is a true student of all writing, breaking down syntax, rhyme scheme, diction and all other aspects of language throughout the story. Each character had a very clear conflict for the reader to follow so no point felt like it was convenient or forced to keep the story moving forward. I also loved how it ended with an over emphasized lesson in clear Neon Lights telling readers in case you can’t tell authenticity > everything.” from Goodsreads reviewer authorrkgold and image from @hugendubel

No More Excuses: Dismantling Rape Culture by Amber J. Keyser

“American’s don’t like rape. According to this book, they don’t like it so much they try their hardest to belittle it when it happens. Keyser breaks down why she believes this is so by scrutinizing rape culture in the United States. People dismiss rape because it gives them a sense of security that it won’t happen to them or anyone they know because the victim must have been at fault. Another reason is they simply refuse to see a person that they know in a bad light.  People also choose to believe that unless it is evidently clear that the rape was an extremely violent encounter then it must not be true. This is simply not always the case. Not wanting to be raped is not a hate message to men. What this short book does is it offers up solutions to the problem. The last chapter contains a lot of useful information on how to start the process of deconstructing rape culture. ” from Goodsreads reviewer Stephanie and image from @Amazon

Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive by Stephanie Land

I was struck by her sincerity, her soft voice, and her courage in “outing” herself as a single mother struggling to survive in poverty.  Land’s memoir begins with her unexpected pregnancy by a new boyfriend at age 28. The boyfriend is more than a jerk and Land gets away from him once he becomes violent. Without any family help that she could count on, Land lives with her baby daughter in a homeless shelter and then in low-rent apartments that she could barely afford. Over the next few years she supports herself and her kid by cleaning homes and doing yard work. She spends an inordinate amount of time applying for government aid, keeping files of paperwork and arranging her work schedule around government office schedules. I believe her unwavering love for her daughter is truly what saved her. This memoir is worth reading. Just be prepared for a more melancholy feel versus an inspired one.” from Goodsreads reviewer BooksBejeweled and image from @augiesbookshelf

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April New Books: Fantasy

 

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Fantasy genre coming at YA! (Get it? Y.A.? Young Adult?!??)

Much anticipated King of Scars of the popular Grishaverse by Leigh Bardugo.

“But even more than the developing mosaic of Bardugo’s world, the tensely escalating threat level and the craftily honed, quiet slicing of the understated prose, what really pushes King of Scars from very good to great are the deep undercurrents. It’s the attention and care that Bardugo pours into her characters, their failures, their successes, their actions in the face of repeated trauma and their responses to the heat and pressures, that truly pays off. ” – Review from goodreads.com/kzabrekker

The fierce and feminist dystopian fantasy We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia.

“…if you like diverse reads with queer characters of colour that have the same vibe as The Handmaid’s Tale (except Young Adult), then you’ll love this. Since the plot is unique and complex, I’ll put it simply: young girls are trained at the Medio School for Girls to become emotionless, conservative (glorified) maids Primeras or aesthetically pleasing, scandalous child-bearers Segundas and are sold married off to rich men. Except, based on the mythology of the world, a girl from each side is married to one man. The main character, Dani, is a Primera from the lower class and will be married off to the chief military strategist’s son alongside her first friend at the school (and now “enemy”), Carmen.” – Review from goodreads.com/aaronandella

Dark and gothic, Melmouth by Sarah Perry is perfect for lovers of romantic horror.

“Monsters are not always the ones hidden in your closet or under your bed. They can be as real as your mind and heart can imagine and in the book Melmoth, we confront a monster of old folklore, a monster that perhaps dwells in each of us, in our conscience and mind, one that follows us wherever we go.” – Review from goodreads.com/marialyce

Get disturbed with an incredibly dark retelling of old fairy tale arcs in Damsel by Elana K. Arnold. *CW: suicide, mental/physical assault, sexual abuse*

“Elana Arnold is a master of writing the struggles of young women and the violence they endure. DAMSEL is a story that feels both modern and ancient, a harrowing and compelling Gothic fairy tale of a young woman passing through fire to reclaim herself. It reads like a pre-Grimm-Brothers fairy tale, before they were sanitized bedtime stories, when they went to the darkest reaches of the human heart to bear witness of who we really are.” – Review from goodreads.com/jeff_zentner