Here's some picks from co-owner Matt!
This book is a page-turner from start to finish. I raced through it and I’m not sorry. Though it’s billed as a YA novel, the story and lessons are important for all ages.This Is My America reveals how our inability to examine and reconcile with the legacy of anti-Black racism in the country. Kim Johnson’s debut novel is a searing investigation of mass incarceration told through the lens Tracy Beaumont, a high school journalist and activist. After her father was sentenced to death seven years ago, Tracy fights to exonerate him before time runs out. With less than a year left, Tracy’s older brother, a star track athlete, is on the run, accused of killing a white girl. Not knowing who to trust as she fights for justice on two fronts, Tracy works to unravel the mysteries of two murders that have upended her family’s lives, all while being a teenager navigating the everyday and historical biases engrained into this small Texas town. Beyond being exciting, the book is an eye-opening read for someone who has not had to endure the emotional labor of racial injustice.This will be a book worth revisiting. If we’re still going to require kids to read books like To Kill a Mockingbird, then This Is My America should be taught alongside.
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The Magician duology is one of my the first fantasy series I read as a kid and it is one that I continue to return to even today. King of Ashes by Raymond E. Feist introduces a new storytelling universe distinct from The Riftwar Cycle’s Midkemia and Kelewan. King of Ashes captures much of the same magic of Magician without, well, the magic. After a brutal betrayal wipes out the kingdom of Ithrace and, seemingly, the Firemane line of kings, we discover one last heir remains. The boy, Hatu, is spirited away to be raised as part of a nation of assassins, the only clue to his lineage a shock of red hair. Years later, as Hatu and his friends, Donte and Hava, complete their training, the tentative peace between the kingdoms that’s held since the betrayal begins to fall apart. Quickly the lives of the three, along with a young smith named Declan, are changed forever as they’re cast across the continents to deal with the machinations of unseen forces.
King of Ashes is an entertaining fantasy story and I eagerly awaited the follow-up because there is so much hinted at behind the scenes. Though it moves a bit slow at points, there’s enough intrigue to keep you chugging through it. Fans of Feist’s past work will enjoy this new inflection on his storytelling.
I spent a lot of time listening to audiobooks while driving between San Diego and Los Angeles-- a harrowing drive in rush hour traffic. While listening to The Spy and the Traitor, I found myself longing for more traffic so I could continue listening to one of the most harrowing true stories I've ever heard. The tale of Oleg Gordievsky, a Russian intelligence officer in the 1970s, turning spy for the British for a decade will keep you on the edge of your seat the entire time. Full of betrayals and subterfuge, The Spy and the Traitor is told with depth and intelligence while never giving up the pacing of a Jason Bourne movie. I don't want to say too much, because you HAVE to read this, but Ben Macintyre's writing is so compelling you'll forget that the Cold War has been over for decades.