Reviews Posted This Week

The Rabbit Back Literature Society by Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen – Magical realism about a group of writers in Finland.  Amazing, must read

Of Things Gone Astray by Janina Matthewson – More magical realism about people in London losing what is most dear to them

The Waters Rising by Sherri S. Tepper – Fantasy about the preparations for the end of land civilizations on Earth.

Pointe by Brandy Colbert – What happens when your best friend who was kidnapped four years ago is rescued and you find out that you know more about the crime than you think you did?

The Free Negress Elisabeth by Cynthia McLeod – Historical fiction about a self-made black woman in colonial Suriname fighting for the right to marry.  It is an unbelievable story that is actually true!

Around the Internet

I read only white authors for 12 months.  What I learned surprised me.

“Rather than restricting myself, my decision to be conscious about what I read introduced me to books I ordinarily would not have bothered with. Instead of my usual crime/procedural/legal thrillers, I actually read some science fiction. And some fantasy. And I loved it. Saladin Ahmed’s Throne of the Crescent Moon and Nnedi Okorafor’s Who Fears Death are now two of my favourite books. I would never have heard of them had I not deliberately sought them out.”

Perceptions of Diversity in Book Reviews – This is interesting for those of us writing reviews.

“These reviews reveal a few specific issues or perceptions about diversity: the idea that diversity in a book is contrived; the critique that a book contains too many issues; the question of believability; the demand for glossaries; and finally, unsupported assumptions relating to race.”

Malinda Lo

How Strong Female Characters Still End Up Weak and Powerless

“We think of Abilities and Skills like they’re stats on a character sheet rather than thinking about what abilities women possess inside the story to affect that story. We think of Powers like She Can Fly or She Knows Kung Fu or She Has Mastered The Ancient Art Of Laser Kegels when we should be focusing on the character’s internal power, her narrative power to push on the story, to be a well-rounded human being, no matter how vulnerable, no matter how strong.”

-Chuck Wendig


Reading This Week

The Living Blood (African Immortals, #2)The Living Blood by Tananarive Due
“Jessica Jacobs-Wolde’s life was destroyed when her husband, David Wolde, disappeared after killing both their daughter Kira and Jessica herself–and reviving Jessica to immortality with his healing blood. David was a Life Brother, member of an ancient, secret, and immortal African clan. Now Jessica, hiding with her surviving daughter in rural Botswana, attempts to make sense of her new existence as she uses her altered blood to save the incurably ill. But her daughter Fana was born with the living blood in her veins, and at the age of 3 can raise a storm, kill with a thought, and possess her mother’s mind. The true extent of her abilities is unknown. Jessica’s only hope of teaching Fana to control her dangerous talents is to travel to Ethiopia and find the Life Brothers’ hidden colony.” – from Goodreads

I read the first book in this series and am interested to see what comes next.

Power Forward: My Presidential EducationPower Forward: My Presidential Education by Reggie Love
“Reggie Love is a unique witness to history, whose introduction to Washington was working in Junior Senator Barack Obama’s mailroom. As body man; to Obama during his first presidential campaign, Loves job was to stay one step behind the candidate, but think and act three steps ahead during a typical eighteen-hour workday. As President Obama’s personal aide during that momentous first term, Love sat yards from the Oval Office and often spent more time with the President than anyone else.” -from Goodreads

Charlie was always my favorite part of The West Wing so I jumped on the chance to read this book by a real body man.

This Side of HomeThis Side of Home by Renée Watson
“Identical twins Nikki and Maya have been on the same page for everything—friends, school, boys and starting off their adult lives at a historically African-American college. But as their neighborhood goes from rough-and-tumble to up-and-coming, suddenly filled with pretty coffee shops and boutiques, Nikki is thrilled while Maya feels like their home is slipping away. Suddenly, the sisters who had always shared everything must confront their dissenting feelings on the importance of their ethnic and cultural identities and, in the process, learn to separate themselves from the long shadow of their identity as twins.” – from Goodreads

Invaded (Alienated, #2)Invaded by Melissa Landers
“The romantic sequel to Alienated takes long-distance relationships to a new level as Cara and Aelyx long for each other from opposite ends of the universe…until a threat to both their worlds reunites them.

Cara always knew life on planet L’eihr would be an adjustment. With Aelyx, her L’eihr boyfriend, back on Earth, working to mend the broken alliance between their two planets, Cara is left to fend for herself at a new school, surrounded by hostile alien clones. Even the weird dorm pet hates her.” – from Goodreads

I see they are still whitewashing the covers of this series about aliens with brown/red skin.