“Raybearer” by Jordan Ifueko

I read Raybearer in January for a book club and had a great time with it. The story was easy to fall into, and I loved the worldbuilding. I can’t believe I waited so long to read it.

Well… that’s a lie. It’s YA fantasy and these days I keep assuming that YA fantasy means “YA romance with some fantasy” that I often avoid such books. But stories like Raybearer are getting me interested in YA fantasy again.

Genre

YA Fantasy

Series

Raybearer, book 1

Pubbed

2020

Goodreads summary

Nothing is more important than loyalty. But what if you’ve sworn to protect the one you were born to destroy?

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“Wrapped Up in You” by Talia Hibbert, narr. by Selina Scott-Bennin & Philip Batley

This novella was very popular this past Christmas. Since I was in the mood for romance novels at the time, I added it to my TBR. But I didn’t get to it until this January. I picked it up shortly after completing Hibbert’s Get a Life, Chloe Brown. That story was entertaining and made me want to try more of Hibbert’s work.

I borrowed the audiobook of Wrapped Up in You from the library. Unfortunately, despite the many claims of how good this story is, it didn’t work for me and effectively threw me out of my romance mood.

Genre

Contemporary; Romance

Series

n/a

Pubbed

2020

Goodreads summary

William Reid is nothing special, except for his billion-dollar acting career and his, you know, face. (Apparently, it’s a good one.) Winning ‘Sexiest Man Alive’ was nice, but this Christmas, he has more important goals in mind… like finally winning over his best friend’s little sister, the super-smart and kinda-scary Abbie Farrell.

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“Get a Life, Chloe Brown” by Talia Hibbert

I kept hearing about this book last year. It was as if everyone had read a Talia Hibbert novel and loved it, and the one most talked about was this one — Get a Life, Chloe Brown. I hardly read romance novels, but the romance reading bug bit me toward the end of 2020 and its effects carried over into 2021, so I picked up this book in January. Although I didn’t love it as much as everyone else, it made me want to try more of Hibbert’s work.

Genre

Contemporary; Romance

Series

Brown Sistsers, book 1

 

Pubbed

2019

Quick summary

Set in the U.K., this is an enemies-to-lovers story featuring an interracial couple.

After almost getting hit by a car, Chloe plans to reinvigorate her life by making a list to help her “Get a Life,” which includes moving out of her family’s mansion. Chloe is a Black woman who is chronically ill with fibromyalgia. She successfully moves into an apartment with the help of her younger sisters, Dani and Eve, who often tease her about the building’s sexy handyman, Redford “Red” Morgan.

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“Cartography of the Void” by Chris Abani

I read this book a while ago, but I’ve been feeling slumpy on and off lately, which is why I’m just now posting this reflection on it. It was a good read, but I think I read it at the wrong time. You know how it is to read a book, even a very short one, when you’re feeling slumpy: The mood makes it seem as if you’re taking FOREVER to finish it.

Genre

Nonfiction — memoir

Series

The Face

Pubbed

2014

Goodreads summary

A profound and gorgeously wrought short memoir by acclaimed Nigerian-born author and poet Chris Abani that explores his personal history and complex sense of identity through a meditation on the face.

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“The Belles” by Dhonielle Clayton

I don’t read much YA fantasy anymore, and that’s on purpose. I felt duped by the ones I read in recent years because although they are categorized as fantasy, the romance is almost always the focus. Now, that’s not a problem, if that’s what you like and why you picked up the book, but it’s a disappointment for me. So because of that (and other reasons), I’ve been cautious about the YA fantasy books I choose to read.

But recently I read The Belles for a buddy-read with Rachel at Life of a Female Bibliophile. I’ve been curious about it, love the cover, and bought it after briefly meeting the author about a year or two ago. It was a quick read and certainly interesting, but… meh. I didn’t care much for it.

Genre

YA Fantasy

Series

The Belles, book 1

Pubbed

2018

Goodreads summary

Camellia Beauregard is a Belle. In the opulent world of Orleans, Belles are revered, for they control Beauty, and Beauty is a commodity coveted above all else. In Orleans, the people are born gray, they are born damned, and only with the help of a Belle and her talents can they transform and be made beautiful.

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“Boy Snow Bird” by Helen Oyeyemi

This novel had been sitting on my shelf unread for a while, so when a bookclub I’m in chose it for one of our reads, I was enthusiastic to do so. I’d heard great things about it and that it’s inspired by the Snow White fairytale, so I thought the book sounded promising. But unfortunately, the story wasn’t as outstanding as I thought it would be.

Genre

Historical Fiction; Magical Realism; Literary

Series

n/a

Pubbed

2013

Goodreads summary

The widely acclaimed novel that brilliantly recasts the Snow White fairy tale as a story of family secrets, race, beauty, and vanity.

In the winter of 1953, Boy Novak arrives by chance in a small town in Massachusetts, looking, she believes, for beauty—the opposite of the life she’s left behind in New York. She marries a local widower and becomes stepmother to his winsome daughter, Snow Whitman.

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“Greyborn Rising” by Derry Sandy

Here’s a paranormal novel set in the Caribbean that includes creatures from Caribbean folklore. There are jumbies, soucouyants, lagahoos, and a nefarious obeah man intent on letting in more monsters from the Grey.

(Btw, I know the author and received a free copy of the book to read and review; but my thoughts below are my honest reaction to the story.)

Genre:

Paranormal; Fantasy

Series:

n/a

Pubbed:

2019

Goodreads summary:

The Greyborn are Rising and only the Order can save humankind.

The world consists of three parallel realms; the Grey where Greyborn—preternatural creatures of legend live; the Ether which is the realm of Heaven and Hell; and the Absolute where humans make their home, blissfully unaware of the tripartite nature of their world.

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