[Review] The Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin

In 2016 I reviewed the Hugo Award winner for Best Novel, The Fifth Season. After a slow and difficult period of adjustment, due to narrative structure and writing style, this epic fantasy blew my socks off and quickly became one of the best books I read that year. It is an ambitious and dense, but incredibly rewarding novel if one invests the time and effort. The Obelisk Gate is a solid sophomore effort that continues the epic saga of this post-apocalyptic story in a way that promises great things for the series finale.

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Q&A With Yi Shun Lai, Author of “Not A Self-Help Book”

Last week I reviewed Yi Shun Lai’s Not A Self-Help Book: The Misadventures of Marty Wu and let me once again recommend it to you all. If you’re a fan of epistolary novels, this book is a must-must read. It has a unique voice and plot, with memorable characters and complex relationships. The mother-daughter relationship is especially complicated and nuanced. If you read and review Not A Self-Help Book, I’d love to know your thoughts on this aspect of the novel. There’s also a good mix of humor and serious moments, with a dose of family drama to top it off. It’s difficult not to find something in this novel that you’ll like!

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Guest Review: The Moon In The Palace by Weina Dai Randel

A guest review by Adria J. Cimino.

#30Authors is an event started by The Book Wheel that connects readers, bloggers, and authors. In it, 30 authors review their favorite recent reads on 30 blogs in 30 days. It takes place annually during the month of September and has been met with incredible support from and success in the literary community. It has also been turned into an anthology, which is currently available on Amazon and all author proceeds go to charity. Previous #30Authors contributors include Celeste Ng, Cynthia Bond, Brian Panowich, and M.O. Walsh. To see this year’s full line-up, visit www.thebookwheelblog.com/30authors or follow along on Twitter @30Authors.

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Review: Santa Muerte by Lucina Stone

I have always been fascinated by time travel stories, especially ones that feature people of color being sent to the racist past. Novels like Kindred by Octavia Butler and A Wish After Midnight by Zetta Elliott brilliantly illustrate the oppressiveness of institutionalized racism and how modern people are helpless under its weight no matter how brave and strong-willed they may be. These stories are brutally honest about the realities people of color faced before the Civil Rights movement. And they should be! Nothing infuriates me more than when young people, but especially young people of color, idealize 1920s or 1950s in American history. We should never forget how bleak and traumatic those times were for people of color.

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Black Women As Heroes And Role Models – A Reading List

There are countless books that feature strong, heroic, inspirational, and fearless girls and women. I cannot possibly know them all nor do I claim to. The list I am providing only includes the books I am familiar with personally or ones that have been recommended to me by trusted sources. I must make this clear because I am far from an authority on this topic. But I do want to commend and recommend these incredible works that feature black women and girls as heroes and role models.

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Review: The Round House by Louise Erdrich

Louise Erdrich is one of the authors whose work I want to complete before I die. She is a prolific writer with 15 novels — a list that is likely to grow over the years. I must admit that reading 15 novels of a single author is somewhat intimidating, but I am committed to this goal. Thankfully, it is a life-long, long-term goal so I am in no rush to read all her work in only a few years. I’ll enjoy every one of her novels at my leisure and offer them the time and respect they deserve.

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Review: Stained by Abda Khan

Reading a novel about the rape of a young woman and how it changes her life irrevocably isn’t easy. Considering that nearly 1 in 5 women have been raped or have experienced attempted sexual assault, reading a novel that explores the subject would be even more difficult. But stories like Stained are an important aspect of the ongoing conversations around sexual assault and rape culture. It’s clear that author Abda Khan cares deeply about this issue and wanted to explore it with the respect and nuance it deserves.

Review: The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin

N.K. Jemisin’s The Fifth Season was nominated for a 2015 Nebula Award for Best Novel. It did not win, but is certainly worthy of that honor. This novel is the first in a trilogy that introduces us to a land called The Stillness, which has a fascinating and complex history. I am eager to explore this world further in the sequel, The Obelisk Gate, out in August 2016!

Before I can even begin to talk about this book, you will need some context or it won’t make any sense.

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Review: God Help the Child by Toni Morrison

God Help the Child opens explosively with writing that showcases how easily Toni Morrison is able to transition into the 21st century. The first two chapters are told from the perspectives of two of the novel’s most important characters, Sweetness and Bride. These two women are mother and daughter, and their complex, unsavory relationship is expertly depicted by Morrison in her typical evocative and incisive language. Unfortunately, the promise of a grand and significant novel that we may have expected after such thrilling opening is not fully realized by story’s end.

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