A sort-of (?) horror by an indigenous author. Waitress/bartender Kari has got her life in order after a rough childhood—her mother abandoned her and her father had brain damage from an accident—and an adolescence of heavy drug use. Things change suddenly when her cousin gives her a bracelet that once belonged to her mother, a woman of the Cree tribe. Now Kari is being visited by the ghost of the woman she never knew and to free herself of the haunting, she has to find out what happened to her mom. Overall a good book, I liked the characters and the not easy relationships between extended family. This was not scary at all, though. I guess ghosts just aren’t scary to me.
The Empress of Salt & Fortune, by Nghi Vo
Another novella in the Singing Hills Cycle, where cleric Chih comes across the old servant of the recently deceased empress. They listen to her story and come to understand the true history of how the empress claimed the throne. This is another novella series that I’d call cozy. Quiet, low-stakes, but beautifully told. Like listening to a story around a campfire.
Cotillion, by Georgette Heyer
One of my all-time favorite Heyer books, and always a comfort read. Who needs a knight in shining armor to rescue you from dragons? More comfortable is someone who will hold an umbrella for you in the rain or make sure you have a seat at a ball. Freddie and Kitty forever.
Fault Tolerance, by Valerie Valdes
Last book in this trilogy, and just as fun as the first two. Still filled with oodles of pop culture references, this one’s storyline comes from 80s mecha cartoons, particularly Voltron. I have a feeling that I miss a lot of references too as the author is a gamer and I don’t really game. Still a hoot to read.
Short Film Starring My Beloved’s Red Bronco, by K. Iver
This is a heartbreaking, and stunning, poetry collection about the author’s first love, their suicide, and the unending grief. Iver is nonbinary, queer, and the beloved of the title was trans and helped them to understand their own sexuality as a teenager. As a study on grief, it is insightful and emotional. As a look into growing up as a queer kid, its equally tragic.
The Many Assassinations of Samir, the Seller of Dreams, by Daniel Nayeri
When Monkey is “sold” to Samir, he is in for a lot more trouble than he could guess. Traveling the Silk Road with a merchant caravan, Samir has made a lot of enemies—he talks a good game but his products leave something to be desired—who now have sent seven assassins after him. Good thing Monkey is there to have his back. Nayeri’s prose is gorgeous and the episodic nature of the book harks back to Arabian Nights. This would be a perfect read aloud for the whole family.
Death at the Savoy, by Prudence Emery and Ron Base
It’s the swinging 60’s at the poshest hotel in London. Priscilla, a young Canadian, manages the press office for the Savoy. That is when she’s not partying at all hours or fending off unwanted advances. When the dead body is found in the River Suite, and it’s found out she may have been the last person to see the guy alive, her world turns topsy turvy as she conducts her own investigation into his mysterious death. Frothy fun with a lot of great details. (One of the authors actually worked at the Savoy at that time.) It’s a great potato chip read.
Welcome to Feral, by Mark Fearing
This is a middle grade graphic novel in the vein of Goosebumps or Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. Feral is a small town with a lot of supernatural shenanigans. Each chapter tells a different creepy story—from a slide that eats children to a bicycle that launches a kid into orbit. The art is not my favorite style, but the simple, bold lines adds a lot to each story. Definitely a recommend for kids who are into the creepy.
Looking Glass Sound, by Catriona Ward
Like The Last House on Needless Street, this story is mind bending. It’s a meta story within a meta story, and while the jacket description is absolutely true, it only reveals the very surface of the story. I can’t think of a way to write what the book is about without making this a very long paragraph and give too much away. What I can do is say how great this book is and how much it will stick with you after you have read it.
Have His Carcase, by Dorothy T. Sayers
After reading Death at the Savoy, I wanted to read a real, classic British mystery and was in the mood for Sayers—especially one featuring Harriet Vane, Lord Peter Wimsey’s paramour. I like these mysteries because it isn’t all about the mystery. Sure, they are trying to solve a murder, but the story is also about Harriet and Peter’s proto-relationship. This is a great whodunnit though, and while I had a good idea what the ending was going to be, it did keep me guessing. Can’t go wrong with a Sayers’ mystery.