“How to Love a Jamaican” by Alexia Arthurs

When I posted to my personal Facebook account that I was reading this book and it was making me feel nostalgic and a bit sad, I was met with pity, concern, and ridicule.

I didn’t state what the book is about, so my friends and family thought I was talking about my love life. I felt the need to post a clarifying statement to explain that this is a book short stories about growing up in Jamaica and leaving the country to live in the U.S.; about being a Jamaican in a foreign country – the U.S.; about romance, yes, but also families and other relationships; about being a Black woman in the U.S. and about being a Black lesbian. It’s about these and much more, but these themes are at the forefront of the stories and most resonated strongly with me.

Genre:

Contemporary; literary

Pubbed:

July 24, 2018 (I received an ARC from the publisher through NetGalley.)

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“Sky in the Deep” by Adrienne Young

Hey now! Here’s another read that I was surprised to enjoy. I loved the beginning but then the story took a turn that made me worry that I wouldn’t like it. But by the end, I thought it was good.

Genre:

Fantasy; historical

Pubbed:

April 2018

Goodreads summary:

Raised to be a warrior, seventeen-year-old Eelyn fights alongside her Aska clansmen in an ancient rivalry against the Riki clan. Her life is brutal but simple: fight and survive. Until the day she sees the impossible on the battlefield — her brother, fighting with the enemy — the brother she watched die five years ago.

Faced with her brother’s betrayal, she must survive the winter in the mountains with the Riki, in a village where every neighbor is an enemy, every battle scar possibly one she delivered. But when the Riki village is raided by a ruthless clan thought to be a legend, Eelyn is even more desperate to get back to her beloved family.

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“Providence” by Caroline Kepnes

I seem to be saying this a lot lately, but when I read the synopsis for this story, I truly didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I did. I submitted a request for the ARC through Netgalley only because of the author’s name.

I read Kepnes’s first novel, You, about 2 years ago and loved it. You is a thriller about a man stalking a woman that is told in the second-person from the stalker’s perspective. It’s the only story I’ve read at such a length in the second-person narrative and didn’t feel annoyed by it. And the protagonist, Joe, has stuck in my mind ever since. I think Kepnes has a talent for developing strong characters that will stay with the reader long after completing the story. In Providence, the character who has stuck with me is Eggs.

Genre:

Thriller; mystery

Pubbed:

June 19, 2018

Goodreads summary:

A propulsive new thriller about the obsessive nature of love when an intensifying relationship between best friends is disrupted by a kidnapping.

Growing up as best friends in small-town New Hampshire, Jon and Chloe are the only ones who truly understand each other, though they can never find the words to tell one another the depth of their feelings. When Jon is finally ready to confess his feelings, he’s suddenly kidnapped by his substitute teacher who is obsessed with H.P. Lovecraft and has a plot to save humanity.

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“Dread Nation” by Justina Ireland

Another surprising read I didn’t expect to enjoy.

I’d given up on YA books because I became annoyed that they were mostly romance novels touted as other genres. Whether they are categorized as fantasy or horror or sci-fi, the main focus of the story is always the romance and often it is the weakest part of the story. Because of that, I stopped reading YA books for a while. But the few rave reviews I’ve seen of Dread Nation, as well as this article, got me curious and made me want to read the book. So I did.

Genre:

Historical fiction — alternative history; Horror (it’s not scary)

Pubbed:

2018

Goodreads summary:

Jane McKeene was born two days before the dead began to walk the battlefields of Gettysburg and Chancellorsville—derailing the War Between the States and changing America forever. In this new nation, safety for all depends on the work of a few, and laws like the Native and Negro Reeducation Act require certain children attend combat schools to learn to put down the dead. But there are also opportunities—and Jane is studying to become an Attendant, trained in both weaponry and etiquette to protect the well-to-do. It’s a chance for a better life for Negro girls like Jane. After all, not even being the daughter of a wealthy white Southern woman could save her from society’s expectations.

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“Geekerella” by Ashley Poston

I’m surprised I enjoyed this as much as I did.

Genre:

Contemporary; Romance

Pubbed:

2017

Goodreads summary:

Cinderella goes to the con in this fandom-fueled twist on the classic fairy tale.

Part romance, part love letter to nerd culture, and all totally adorbs, Geekerella is a fairy tale for anyone who believes in the magic of fandom. Geek girl Elle Wittimer lives and breathes Starfield, the classic sci-fi series she grew up watching with her late father. So when she sees a cosplay contest for a new Starfield movie, she has to enter. The prize? An invitation to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball, and a meet-and-greet with the actor slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor in the reboot. With savings from her gig at the Magic Pumpkin food truck (and her dad’s old costume), Elle’s determined to win…unless her stepsisters get there first.

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“The Golden Fool” by Robin Hobb

This is my favorite book by Robin Hobb.

I’m buddy-reading the Realm of the Elderlings books with Emily from Embuhlee liest and am enjoying them so much! They are entertaining and moving reads and whenever I complete one, I have to take a break to reflect on the story before moving on.

That’s what I did with this book and because I loved it so much, it took me a longer time before I could jot down my thoughts. I couldn’t organize them. I kept jumping from scene to scene in my mind, still excited and giddy about what happened and what’s to come in the next book. So my review below will be nothing but gushing about this book and exclaiming about unexpected plot twists that I didn’t see coming.

Genre:

Fantasy

Pubbed:

October 2002

Goodreads summary:

The second book in Robin Hobb’s thrilling fantasy series returns readers to the Six Duchies and the magical world of the Fitz and the Fool.

Fitz has been persuaded back to court, posing as a servant to the decadent Lord Golden (who is the Fool in disguise). In secret, he will train Prince Dutiful in the magic known as the Skill.

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“The Oddling Prince” by Nancy Springer

It wasn’t what I expected.

I requested an ARC copy from the publisher through NetGalley because the premise sounded interesting and the cover and title were appealing.

Genre:

Fantasy

Pubbed:

May 15, 2018 by Tachyon Publications

Quick summary:

The Oddling Prince was an interesting read and a bit different from the YA fantasy novels that are popular these days. The story, set “in the ancient moors of Scotland,” focuses on Aric, prince of Calidon and heir to the throne. Aric is the only child of his parents. When the story begins, his ailing father is nearing death because of a weird ring that won’t come off his finger. The ring appeared suddenly on his finger one day while out riding. It seems to be draining the king of his vitality.

But at the moment when death is about to sweep the king away, a stranger magically appears, seemingly out of nowhere, and saves the king by removing the ring. The king is immediately healed, or so it seems, and the stranger, who seems fey in appearance, claims to be the king’s son. The king denies this. All members of the castle shy away from the fey stranger, named Albaric, because of his inhuman beauty but Aric and his mother, the queen, quickly and easily accept the stranger.

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