Overthrow by Caleb Crain: I really struggled with this book. I’m probably not the appropriate audience for it. I found the start to be really interesting and I was drawn in but I got a bit lost in the politics of it all. I also found that I couldn’t really stay with any of the characters long enough to get a real feeling for them.
It’s well-written, perhaps just not for me! I had to look up words every few sentences and I found some of the grammar off-putting. There are definitely some interesting ideas explored in the novel and anyone interested in politics or activism would certainly find it interesting!
The Rules and Regulations for Mediating Myths & Magic (The Rules #1) by F.T. Lukens: This was a lot of fun and original! Bridger isn’t magical but he works for someone who is an intermediary with mythical creatures! Loved the witty banter and Bridger’s friendships. This is exactly the kind of thing I look for in a YA magical queer novel. There is hilarious banter, missteps that cause great consternation and laughter, magic and cute boyfriends.
I love the idea of this world where myths and legends are potentially real. Each myth has a way it must be approached, and most of them are quirky personalities with weird little ticks and behaviors. The only thing that bothered me about this book is that now I find myself wanting a job like Bridgers. Is it too late to incorporate this into my job at the Library?
Madness Blooms by M Lee: This was a difficult book for me to review. I found the description a little confusing. I felt I would be reading a f/f historical romance. Let’s be clear, I’m a CIS woman so I’m not reviewing this from the perspective of anyone with experience living a trans life. I would encourage you to check out the other reviews online as there are many.
It becomes clear about halfway through the book that the MC is a trans man…not a woman. This could be confusing for some people and offensive to others. My understanding is that the publisher has changed the description of the book so that deadnaming does not occur.
From the perspective of someone reading this as a historical novel, I found it quite interesting. I had no idea that the tulip trade was so cutthroat for a time in Holland. The novel is set in the 1600s and has to be read with that in mind. Women are not accepted as equals, gay men are treated brutally and hanged, trans people are not accepted at all and can potentially be jailed. If any of those types of situations make you uncomfortable, then you should probably take a pass on this book.
Madness Blooms is really well written. There is a lovely relationship between a young sailor named Jan and the MC. This is not a happy story, nor is everything resolved at the end. But, it is a beautiful, emotional story.
Since I read an ARC of this book, its publication has been postponed. I think that’s sad and I hope that this book comes out in the future. I believe there is room in the world for many stories. While this may not be an “Own voices” story (that the public is aware of anyway)… it’s a good one.
What Burns by Dale Peck: If you’re interested in the art form of the short story, this is a collection you’ll want to read. These stories are beautifully crafted and entice the reader into a world where things are messy and challenging.
There’s a dark undertone to the stories, but it’s realistic in the way that life isn’t always flowers and sunshine. I loved this collection.
I don’t think short stories are the kind of thing that a lot of people gravitate to, but these are some of the best I have read in a while. Each story is complete in its own way, satisfying and well-written. I highly recommend this!
Flannelwood by Raymond Luczak: This was a beautiful and melancholy book, The author has a remarkable writing style, it’s more like poetry than prose. I was caught up in the thoughts of the MC and swept away in his memories. Beautiful.
This is a reminder that our memory is flexible, it can be selective and leave us questioning ourselves when we shouldn’t be. It’s about remembering love and feeling the pain once it’s gone. It’s about moving on and struggling with every step.