I am so glad that this sequel lived up to all my expectations after absolutely loving Fable. The aspects I loved about Fable were the adventure of the dredging and the complex character stories where not everyone was all good or all bad.
Namesake sees Fable about to start off on her own with West and the crew when they are suddenly ensnared in a political plot that pits her desires and loyalties against one another. I was happy to see character development as well as as much adventure as could be packed into the pages. There were a few characters I was happy to see pop back up and the ingenuity the crew had to try to get themselves out of each and every jam. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I know this is intended to be a duology but I’d love to see more in this world with these characters. What’s the last series you wanted more of once the series was over?
“We’d always thought Jessica was mean because she was so full of life that it chafed at her from the inside out. She was always simmering, and it reminded us of a pot of stew on the stove. She contained so much beneath her skin, and when it got heated up, all those things tumbled and boiled.”
Major Virgin Suicides vibes with this one! Tigers Not Daughters is the story of a family that has broken by loss. We follow the story of three sisters as they navigate grief following the loss of their oldest sister, Ana. These girls grow up with their grief-stricken, abusive widower father navigating life without a mother figure. They struggle to fit in with their peers and each has taken a different tact to coping… none of which are the healthiest.
I love that each of the three sisters had a distinct personality and voice. Too often in YA, all of the characters have a similar angsty, immature vibe. Here these girls are trying to find away to both settle their grief and move on. Each unusual path of coping leads them to a better understanding of Ana’s life and death and all felt like real journeys to me. I like that the story was equally gritty and yet somewhat soft around the edges.
Pick this one up if you are looking for your emotions to be stirred. These girls will show you loss and sorrow; rage and revenge; love and loyalty – and most of all what it means to be a sister. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Thanks to Algonquin Young Readers for a copy of this one. All opinions above are my own.
“-we must work hard and be good even in freedom. That’s what you telling me. With rules like that, don’t it make you wonder what freedom’s for?”
Wow, what a heavy story about freedom, identity and the weight of love. Libertie made me so frustrated at every turn. And so did her mother. And her husband. And well, frankly everyone in this novel. So many expectations, social pressures and moments of pride defined the lives of the poor souls in this novel.
Libertie is trying to make her own way in the world and trying to step out of her mother’s shadow, shirk her mother’s expectations and the boundaries society places on her because of her color. She is born into the Northern states after the war and her view on the world is certainly through a different lens than her mother. Her mother has made an exceptional place in the world for herself, she is a doctor in a world where she knows at any moment she could lose everything she has built for herself because of her skin color. She has also built a dream for her daughter’s life by her side, a life she feels recognizing what her daughter is worth.
Libertie, on the other hand, has other ideas. Her choices are impetuous. The first taste of true freedom she gets from the weight of her mother’s gaze, she immediately thrusts herself under the weight of another’s expectations. Trapped once again, Libertie begins to see the truth of her mother’s intentions for her and begins to learn the meaning of freedom is much deeper than she could have ever imagined.
The writing is painfully beautiful and emotionally wrought. The characters are complex and show interesting development over the duration of the story. I really loved the ending but definitely want more time to see what happened to these characters. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Thank you to Algonquin Books for a copy of this novel. All opinions above are my own.
What’s something you appreciated about your parents after you became an adult?
“We don’t get where we’re going matching hate for hate.”
Wow, what did I just read?! I’m not quite sure but I want more of it. A little bit contemporary treatise on being black in America and a little bit sci-fi, it reminded me a lot in style of Binti. We feel the emotions of brother and sister, Kevin and Ella as they navigate through life as black children and young adults. Both have special abilities that bond them to one another but separate them from those around them.
Kevin is incarcerated and Ella is his only link to the outside world. The bond between the two is so intense. They show us the struggle of being black throughout history and how the system is just completely against them. Ella has the ability to also glimpse the future and the potential of what she sees gives them both hope to hold on through the worst.
My rating is simply reflective of the brevity and the quick shifting through their lives which stylistically frustrated me because I wanted so much more information about them and their lives. Had this book been a hundred pages longer it could easily have been a five-star read for me. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
As a female scientist myself, I am here for all the stories I can find about trail-blazing women in the field. Marie Curie, the first female Nobel Prize (ultimately the winner of two) is one that I greatly admire but I didn’t know much about her personal life. Cantor tells us the story of how Marya, a young driven Polish girl becomes Marie, a confident French scientist changing the field of medicine. The novel imagines a second timeline where young Marya chose love in Poland over an education at the Sorbonne. Either one of these stories would have made for a great novel of an important woman in human history but together they played off one another perfectly. It was interesting to see the drastic differences and the subtle parallels. I loved her passions and the way she navigated trying to fulfill her need for education in both time lines.
I have two small criticisms that kept this from being 5 stars for me. One, not enough about the science! The narrative of Marie’s life and how she felt about science and the impact of her discoveries/awards was interesting but I really wanted more details about her work in the lab. That is likely just a personal preference though, I imagine not everyone without a science background would want to get lost in that minutiae… but I did. I do appreciate that the Author’s Note provided some great resources for that. Two, while I understand everyone has limitations, Marie’s relationship with her daughters (in both time lines) had a subtle undertone of “a woman can’t have it all.” This may have been the truth of her life, but it made it hard for me to root for her. You can be wholly dedicated to your career and care about your children in a healthy way. I hate to be critical of someone’s life but I don’t like underlining that her family suffered for her work. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Thank you to Harper Perennial for a copy of this novel. All opinions above are my own. I devoured this one along with my favorite breakfast on my flight home this week.
Are you looking for a creepy slow burn mystery that will raise the hair on the back of your neck? Then The Lost Village is for you. It follows a small group of Scandinavian filmmakers who are investigating the mystery of an old mining town that was found deserted in the late 50’s. The group is unusually motivated to find out what led to the stoning of a woman, the disappearance of its residents and the lone survivor, a baby. Alice, the leader of the group, is driven by a family connection to the town. As they drive into the town they are isolated from the outside world, there is no cell service and the nearest village is hours away by car. When they begin to explore, they are met with lots of signs that the town does not want them there and even that they might not be alone.
I wouldn’t say that this one has a ton of heart pounding action so I’m not sure I get the “thriller” tag on this one. I’d say it’s unsettling and even disturbing at times where you’re very interested in turning the pages to figure out just what is going on. The pacing reminded me in a lot of ways of Get Out. There are small clues and breadcrumbs along the way but mostly you’ll be shaking your head wondering why these people didn’t get the heck out of the town as soon as things began to go awry.
I liked that the story flipped back-and-forth from present day to the time just before the disappearance. You’d figure something out in the present and then go back to the past to see it unravel in real time. I’m not sure in the end that the mystery was that hard to figure out. As always the cruelty of humanity shines throughout this one. The sense of community and tradition and how those things can sweep an entire town away reminded me a lot of The Mercies. How a misunderstanding or old world view of a person who doesn’t conform (read: mental illness) can lead to such cruelty. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Thanks to Netgalley for a copy of this book. All opinions above are my own.
What’s the creepiest book/movie you’ve ever encountered?
“Plant your new garden with the seeds of a quality, water it with tolerance and empathy, and warm it with a temperate heat of truth.”
I really loved Lobizona, I’d say that it is Furia meets Harry Potter (without the prejudices) meets Twilight (think of only the wolf pack part). Manu has no idea who she truly is, she is living in the US and her biggest problem is that her and her mother are “undocumented.” She also has an usual condition where once a month when the moon is full she is filled with pain and she has unusual eyes which keep her being homeschooled to avoid questions on what may be wrong with her.
She begins to unravel the truth about who and what she really is when her mother is arrested by ICE and her neighbor is attacked. This sends her on the run and straight into a group of people who have the same unusual eyes as her. She navigates her way into their ranks and begins to feel like she just may have a place where she finally belongs. The why she feels that way begins to peel back layers of her history and explain why her mother fled with her in the first place. The world building for this one is so fun as it takes a very serious issue of immigration and turns it on its head. The empathy that you feel for Manu, her family and friends is intense. The fantasy world is weaved beautifully around the harsh realities of the real world. The bonding of these young people to one another and the love and loyalty shown throughout the story helps to underline the importance of identity. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫
I just got approved for the sequel on Netgalley and I can’t wait to see where this story goes! Get on this fantasy train before the release of Cazadora in the summer!
“It’s your identity, but it gets defined or controlled by other people.”
“The stilettos aren’t fme shoes. They are fyou shoes.”
What can I say about Fire Keeper’s Daughter?! I loved it! It’s Sadie meets Winter Counts and is full of gorgeous tribal stories and traditions weaved into a modern teen’s world. Daunis is transitioning from high school to college while balancing the politics of her heritage (half white and half Obijwe) while trying to figure out how meth is so suddenly killing off her friends. She goes from a hopeful teen to a ruthless CI trying to save her tribe and find herself in the process.
Daunis was everything you want in a heroine, she was strong, passionate, opinionated, kindhearted, clever and proud. Her love for her tribe and her family was so inspiring to read. She had the emotional ups and downs of a teenager but did her best to be wise and practical when faced with situations that should have absolutely floored her. The turns of the story will break your heart but her resilience will make you proud.
It was one of those reads where I was literally pacing myself because I don’t want it to end. This is the perfect read if you’re looking to be wholly entertained, solve a mystery and diversify your shelves. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Thanks to Netgalley for a copy of this novel. All opinions above are my own.
“Deep down everyone in this purgatory knew they’ve been conned, but they were all too scared to make a peep.”
Hoo boy, Orange City will twist your melon! I would say this book is 1984 if Tyler Durden had learned advertising from Black Buck. Our main characters are all people who are living in a dystopian city separate from the rest of the world. The leader “The Man” is a megalomaniac who is trying to build a utopia in the vision of Stalin, a project that has begun to go awry. He has also begun to alter his body in the creepiest of ways to build his confidence and power. He has the citizens of this city under his control as he has rescued them from less than ideal circumstances in the real world and they are essentially indentured servants. We follow a small group of them who surround our star, Graham. He’s a nobody that has undergone lots of abuse in his life and is just trying to find a stable piece of ground upon which to build his life.
When he is offered an assignment to test some new sodas for an advertising campaign, he quickly finds himself in over his head. The sodas are the newest plan for The Man to have more control over his city. The addiction is instant and the impacts on the individual are sweeping. The more Graham consumes, the more he begins to question just how grateful he should be to be living in the City. The immersive power of advertising reminded me of the insanity of the recent hit Black Buck and made for an enjoyable page turner.
Thanks to Blackthorn Book Tours for a copy of this novel. All opinions above are my own.
“Our show for our fans ain’t have a thing to do with their show for theirs.”
The Final Revival of Opal & Nev recounts the story of a musical duo and their struggles to rise to fame and maintain a presence in an era where a racially mixed group was not the norm. Nev adores Opal from the moment he meets her and would do anything to make their partnership successful. The truth of how far he would go is recounted throughout the story of their rise and fall in popularity.
The story is narrated in a series of interviews and news clips with all of the parties surrounding their musical career. Opal and Nev each tell their own stories to Sunny, the editor of a music magazine who is also the daughter of their former drummer. A drummer who is killed during their most famous show and the circumstances that lead to that death and the repercussions of it are the meat of the story. We see the harsh truth of prejudice and racism in their day to day interactions with their label, other musicians, their fans and one another. The truth that defined their success and every aspect of their lives after stardom is slowly revealed and will leave you shaking your head in frustration.
The last third of the book dragged a bit for me. I am not sure I get some of the allusions to Daisy Jones other than in narrative style. Daisy was all about drama and attitude while this story dealt with real substantial cultural issues.
If you started a band, what kind of music would it be and what instrument would you play?