When demon in human form, Kai, wakes from a year-long imprisonment, he and his companions go in search of whomever had plotted against him. Treachery is everywhere and they don’t know who to trust. Their search begins to echo the first battle won against the all-powerful Heirarchs—colonizing mages defeated sixty years before. Told in both the past and present, Kai is a compelling figure at once both unsure of himself and wildly talented. This was a little more high-fantasy than I’ve been into lately, but Martha Wells worldbuilding is on-point here. Full of rich history and descriptions, it’s very immersive.
System Collapse, by Martha Wells
I really didn’t mean to read to by the same author in a row. Witch King came out at the end of May and then I got access to an early digital reading copy of the next installment of Murderbot Diaries. … And I read it twice. It was a balm for my stressed-out soul at the beginning of June. It is terrific. Can’t wait for more.
Wake the Bones, by Elizabeth Kilcoyne
A young adult book and a listen. I thought this book was going to be more horror than it was. I liked it enough, but the really interesting part only lasted about two pages. Laurel recently dropped out of college returning to her rural Kentucky farm. The land calls to her and she discovers she might have some magic related to it. When her long-dead mother begins to return to her, she realizes the demon her mother neutralized with her death is coming back to take Laurel instead. Sounds scary, right? Not so much, it really concentrated on the dead-end, rural town that Laurel and her three friends want to leave but see no options anywhere else.
Bridge to Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson
I first read this when I was 9-ish and cried my eyes out. I remember loving it, but it being so so sad. Someone left a copy in my Little Free Library, so I thought I would see how 30-years had changed things. Not so much. Cried.My.Eyes.Out. Cried sooooo hard. And still, it is an absolutely wonderful story. Spare and simple, but fully realizing the joy of a best friend.
The World of Pondside, by Mary Helen Stefaniak
Pondside is a nursing home mostly populated by the elderly. Once exception is Robert Kallman, a younger man with advanced ALS. A software engineer, he creates an immersive video game that many of the residents use to reconnect with their younger, more mobile, selves. When Robert is found drowned in the namesake Pond, his close friend and collaborator is devastated. Foster is a young man with no family or friends who works as a kitchen aid at the nursing home. After Robert’s death, the game goes dark and Foster has to navigate the police, his demanding boss, his coworkers, and the Pondside residents to keep Robert’s dying wish. This is an odd book, but overall really good—different in the best way. It took awhile to get into as there are multiple narrators whose stories don’t coalesce until more than two-thirds of the way through. From there the story really takes off.
Game On: Shrinkle, by Emily Snape
This is the first in a new middle grade series published by the company I work for. It’s about two brothers who fight all the time who get sucked into a phone app game that shrinks them to 3 inches tall. They have to answer riddles the game gives them within an hour in order to return to normal all while navigating an apartment that is way too big and a baby sister who is now a giant. This is a really fun book. A ton of body humor, like gross, gross body humor—so perfect for the 8 to 11 year-old readers. Interesting concept and well-executed.
Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson
So, another book I read when I was 10-ish. I know remember why it has stood the test of time. Evocative and exciting, Jim Hawkins is the plucky hero that I think everyone wishes they were. Long John Silver is an especially great character—a sympathetic villain who always squeaks out of trouble. This is a fantastic read for kids and adults.
Witches of Lychford, by Paul Cornell
A supermarket is trying to take over a small village—a subject which has split the town in two. Elderly witch, and local crank, Judith knows that the supermarket is trying to destroy the border between two worlds. She is aided in her fight by two young women who have their own reasons for fighting back. This is a quick novella and delightful as much as it is menacing. And I love Judith. I want to be a cranky old witch one day.
Supper Club, by Jackie Morrow
Nora, Lili, and Iris are seniors prepping for college. When they find out they don’t have classes together and their individual hobbies will not give them any time together, they start a Friday night Supper Club. Supper Club becomes their one solid thing to hold on to as the shifting carpet of their lives threatens to separate them. This is a graphic novel with so much heart. Great artwork, wonderful characters, and even a few of the recipes that the girls share.
Against Technoableism, by Ashley Shew
My one nonfiction of the month and it was a doozy. In recent years, I have been learning more and more about disability justice and this book brought so much great information together. Shew is a professor of disability studies and technology ethics—and is also a cancer survivor amputee. She knows what she’s talking about. Ostensibly, this book is about how ableds think that technology will solve all disability “problems.” However, it goes farther than that, taking on a broader discussion of disability rights and activism. Shew is an engaging writer, which makes this short book an incredible introduction to these topics. This is one that every able-bodied person should read and a book that will help disabled people fell seen.