This was a really fun follow-up to The Left-Handed Booksellers of London—Nix’s alternative 1980s London and the magical booksellers who monitor magic in the UK. We get a return of the fashion-forward Merlin and recently magical Susan as they try to stop a powerful, ancient spirit who wants Susan’s powers. I almost liked this book better than the first because I was already familiar with the setting and could fall right into it.
Two Tribes, by Emily Bowen Cohen
This is a lovely middle grade graphic novel about a 13-year-old girl being raised by her white Jewish mother with questions about her indigenous father and heritage. Mia’s father hasn’t been in the picture since her parent’s acrimonious divorce. Knowing her mom won’t let her visit her father, she sneaks away taking a bus from Los Angeles to Oklahoma where she gets to know her other family and learns about her tribe. Of course, she gets in big trouble for it, and it all works out well in the end. It’s great for biracial kids who wonder who they really are. And people who like well-told stories, of course.
Highly Suspicious and Unfairly Cute, by Talia Hibbert
A YA debut by one of my favorite romance authors. Celine and Bradley used to be best friends, now they are enemies competing for a prestigious scholarship in their last year of school. It turns out that their big fight four years earlier was more of a misunderstanding and that they both care a lot about the other. Main characters with real lives, secondary characters you want to hang out with too—Hibbert always tells a great story.
The Once and Future Sex: Going Medieval on Women's Roles in Society, by Eleanor Janega
A fantastic read about women during the medieval period (which covers 1200 years!). I really enjoyed this book and Janega’s delivery of the information, as well as the way she made sure the reader understood that nearly all information has been filtered through the lens of men. Who, by the way, believed women to be sexually insatiable and far more interested in sex than men. Janega also offers a lot of insight into our modern era by contrasting it with the medieval period. Highly recommend!
The Fox & the Little Tanuki, by Tagawa Mi
A cute looking manga. It is cute looking, but I couldn’t get into it. I felt the story was choppy and the dogs and main fox character looked too much alike.
The Quiet Gentleman, by Georgette Heyer
A reread. This is the one that started it all for me. Still fantastic.
Camp Sylvania, by Julie Murphy
I’ve read nearly all of Murphy’s books and they have all been great. This is her first foray into a story with a fantasy element and it really worked. Maggie is sent to a summer “fat” camp, against her wishes, that has been rebranded as a “wellness” camp by the new owner and famous influencer, Sylvia Sylvania. Things are immediately weird there—they can only eat red-colored food, they can’t leave their bunks after dark, and they are encouraged to donate blood daily. Maggie quickly makes friends with her bunkmates as they try to find out why camp is so strange. Yes, vampires are involved. Murphy does a great job creating a full, reality-based story with or without the fantasy element. The story is really a take down of wellness culture.
Network, Effect, by Martha Wells
This was a relisten. (I don’t always add in my rereads of The Murderbot Diaries, but I haven’t reread this in awhile.) Always worth it.
Spector Inspectors, by Bowen McCurdy and Kaitlyn Musto
A really fun graphic novel about a group of young ghost hunters with a popular YouTube channel who visit a haunted town and become mired in a hundred-year-old mystery. The spookiness was well done, the art is great, and all four main characters are a delight. Recommend.
Siren Queen, by Nghi Vo
Old Hollywood steeped in magic? I’m in…duh. This Hollywood is an extension of the fae realm complete with soul bargaining, magic spells cast by cameras, Friday night Wild Hunts, and stars who really become part of the firmament. Luli Wei is a Los Angeles native who falls in love with movies, making it her life’s mission to become a start while avoiding the pitfalls of losing her soul, her body, or worse. So much of what makes this book great is that Vo doesn’t actually change any of the language used to talk about the magic of Hollywood, but the way she uses it changes the implications from hyperbole to real magic. Very good book. Highly recommend.