June Super Reads | Black + Queer | Let’s Talk About Love

REVIEW

This book left such a MIND-BLOWING impression, not only because it was such an achingly sweet romance, but also for the representation that was so poignant and beautiful.

Alice is black. That’s complicated enough when it comes to dating and the hypersexualization that so many people assume because of her skin color. THEN she happens to fall for a cute Asian boy, Takumi, and that makes dating even MORE complicated with interracial differences to navigate.

She is also asexual. Meaning: she has no interest in sex. But she’s biromantic, meaning: she’s romantically (not sexually) drawn to both males and females. And she CRAVES romance like she needs air to breathe.

To say Alice’s life is fraught with challenges is an understatement.

Continue reading “June Super Reads | Black + Queer | Let’s Talk About Love”

Book Review: The House of Salt and Sorrows

Review

Enter the world of Annaleigh Thaumas, rife with ocean creatures and the ever-present salty tang of sea air. The story starts with a sea burial, where Annaleigh and her family are seeing off yet another sister in death – committing her body to the Salt once more. These are People of the Salt – born from the salt of the sea, and they would be buried in the salt of the sea.

This is the fourth sister to die, all under unpleasant circumstances – everything from the plague to a horrifying plunge from a cliff trail to the rocks below. But the family doesn’t want to grieve anymore. There are eight Thaumas girls remaining and many of them have spent a majority of their lives in drab, dark mourning clothes.

Not anymore. The Thaumas girls are expected to find matches and marry well. But they can’t do that when they continually spend a year or more in mourning for each sister they return to the Salt.

So they prepare a ball. They throw off the gray weight of grief and don sparkling slippers and silky, bright fabrics in the hope of catching the eye of a handsome, eligible bachelor for their own Happily Ever After.

But the ball sputters out. Few, if any, gentlemen approach the Thaumas girls for a dance. Because there’s a rumor going around. The Thaumas household is cursed. That’s why they’ve buried four girls. No one wishes to run the risk of a cursed bride.

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Pint Sized Reviews: Fortunately, the Milk

No milk.

Who knew such simple, mundane words could lead to a wild and dazzling adventure? When Dad takes a run-of-the-mill trip to the corner store for more milk, he’s gone for a long, long time. His children are at home, waiting for breakfast, staring glumly at their dry, boring cereal. Because everyone knows: you can’t have cereal without milk.

At last, Dad returns. But his children are disappointed. Why did he take so long? Did he forget about them in favor of chatting up a friend at the market?

Well, actually, Dad ran into a spot of trouble that bloomed into a wacky escapade, spanning many centuries of time and space that tickles the funny bone of all ages.

It starts when dear old Dad hears a strange noise like a thrumming. And when he looks up, he sees a bizarre silver flying disc. Aboard that disc are green globby people – aliens. And when Dad opens the door of their ship – still keeping a tight hold on the milk – everything goes topsy turvy.

He let the space-time continuum in.

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Pint Sized Reviews: Witch of the Weave

Witch of the Weave

by Henry Szabranski

I’ve recently discovered that Clarkesworld magazine’s back issues are available online for free, including podcast form. I’m not usually an audiobook fan just because I prefer to have the text in front of me. But it’s a personal goal this year to read more short fiction. Cozying up in bed at the end of a long day and listening to a full story that’s only an hour long (or less) has become a treat that I really look forward to! You can read or listen to this story in its entirety here.

In Witch of the Weave, we meet Skink and Percher, siblings who are struggling to eek out survival. They used to live in the Motherman, complete with luxuries like a library and a tribe of family members who loved them.

But after the razorbugs wrought a slew of destruction, they abandoned the shelter of the Motherman’s body and were launched into a foreign world beyond the mists. Now they must rely on only each other within the weave – giant tubes that provide both passage and shelter.

Skink is young though, with debilitating headaches and twisted feet she can’t walk on. Percher either carries her or she must swing through the weave.

Then Skink and Percher are woken by a surprise visitor. It turns out they’re not the only ones left alive in the world. But when these visitors find out what Skink can do with her mind and the weave, they treat her with wariness.

Witch, they call her. Patternmaker.

Skink has a special extra sense about the weave. There’s a living intention and purpose out there among the massive tubes. Elusive. Hard to grasp but she can feel it. But Skink is young, naive. She has no idea that the thing, the creature living in the weave is like a black widow spider, crouched and waiting to pounce on the patterns locked away within Skink’s brain.


The imaginative world-building in this short story was fantastic and awe-inspiring. Every single second of the story is packed with action, from start to finish. There is never a dull moment where you’re left yawning. At the very first line, you’re dropped into the weave alongside Skink and Percher, fighting to survive in a strange, foreign world.

Though the beginning starts out with a pretty grim overview of the world and it’s desolation, the ending provides a glimmer of hope that there might be even more strange and unusual worlds to explore, just waiting for you on the horizon.


What is some of your favorite world-building you’ve ever read? Let me know in the comments!

The Librarian’s Bookshelf: Season of the Witch

REVIEW

Sabrina Spellman is caught between two worlds, half mortal, half witch. With her sixteenth birthday fast approaching, her life stands on the cusp of being turned upside down. She’s expected to join the Academy of Unseen Arts where she will learn to come into her full power as a witch.

It’s a bittersweet decision: Sabrina has always felt curious about her darker, magical side and the thought of cultivating it is a tempting one. But she will be forced to sever all ties with the life she lives now. No friends, no boyfriend.

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