The Seven Year Slip
By Ashley Poston
The Dead Romantics by Ashley Poston was one of my favorite reads of 2022, so I was hoping for good things from her follow-up. I was not disappointed in this story of time slips and second chances.
Clementine always had a special bond with her artistic Aunt Analea. When the two of them weren’t off exploring the world together, Clementine spent a lot of time at Analea’s magical New York City apartment. Sometimes, one could walk in the door and slip into a moment seven years in the past, but Analea always wa...
Ab(Solutely) Normal: Short Stories That Smash Mental Health Stereotypes
edited by Nora Shalaway Carpenter and Rocky Callen
Young Adult Fiction
A vampire learns that he alone can save his town from destruction, but is not sure he can do so, because this act would involve being “seen,” and he suffers from social anxiety. A girl pours her heart out in letters to the ex-boyfriend she still loves, explaining that their breakup stemmed from her struggle with PMDD. A boy teased for his uncontrollable crying is befriended by a strong girl who is the victim of b...
Pineapple Street by Jenny Jackson
Honestly, it was the cover of Jenny Jackson’s debut novel Pineapple Street that captured me initially. It had a Great Gatsby feel and, from the first couple of pages, I could tell it was a very character-driven story. The characters weren’t ones I expected though. In fact, they were kind of annoying. Why did you keep reading? Well, the characters were so laughable, so totally not-relatable (except to maybe the wealthiest of New York City), that my reading journey felt like an escapist funhouse. I couldn’t put the book down.
In Pineapple ...
Evergreen by Matthew Cordell
This new picture book is sure to be a treasured favorite. It is a story about Evergreen the squirrel who is afraid of pretty much everything. When Granny Oak becomes sick Evergreen is tasked with delivering Mom’s special soup to help her feel better. Just the thought of traveling across Buckthorn Forest all by herself deeply frightens Evergreen but she knows she must go. With her mother’s reassurance that she can do it the adventure begins. Along the way Evergreen meets a rabbit, a hawk, a toad and other forest dwellers and each time ...
The Peacekeeper by B.L. Blanchard
In this alternate history, the Great Lakes region is part of an independent Ojibwe nation that was never colonized by Europeans. The peacekeeper of the title is Chibenashi, a lawman who has lived in the village of Baawitigong (which we know better as Sault Ste. Marie) his entire life.
Keeping the peace in Baawitigong usually isn’t a very strenuous job, but when a brutal murder occurs, the horror seems all too familiar to Chibenashi. When he was a teenager, his mother was killed in a very similar way. His family was further torn apart whe...
The Minus-One Club by Kekla Magoon
At first, I doubted that I would review this book. There are multiple issues going on (sometimes it seems like too much.) It’s heavy. It’s messy. It’s unresolved. However, it turns out that The Minus-One Club is not a book I could read and not say something about, because, in the right hands, it has the potential to be a life saver.
It was the recognition of Kekla Magoon as an award-winning YA author, the unique premise, and the retro-looking cover (including an image of the protagonist and random piec...
In the Upper Country by Kai Thomas
In the years before the American Civil War, Canada became a place of safety for formerly enslaved people who could reach its shores. There, refugees settled in communities like Buxton, Ontario and the fictional town of Dunmore, which sits on the northern coastline of Lake Erie and serves as the setting for Kai Thomas’s first novel.
One evening in 1859, the peace of Dunmore is disturbed when a bounty hunter turns up looking for a group of recent arrivals from Kentucky. During his attempted abduction, he is shot and killed with his own ri...
Verity by Colleen Hoover
The story starts with struggling writer, Lowen, who was hired to complete the remaining books of successful writer, Verity, who cannot communicate and is confined to her bed due to an “accident”. She is invited to stay with Verity and her husband, Jeremy, at their creepy mansion, so she can get into the headspace of the famous writer.
She stumbles upon a hidden memoir written by Verity about her life as a wife and mother. She details a life of vile child abuse and pain inflicted on her children. During her pregnancy, she drank alcohol, pop...
The 9:09 Project by Mark H. Parsons
I just finished a profoundly beautiful YA novel, and I can’t wait to share it with you.
17-year-old Jamison has become somewhat unmoored since the death of his mother. Feeling isolated and lost, he turns to the art she introduced him to – photography – and begins taking photos every day at the same corner at 9:09 p.m., the time of her death. Although at first the purpose of the project is unclear, it develops a huge following online, inspires others to start similar projects, and becomes the way in which Jamison is able to ...
Knight Owl by Christopher Denise
This is an enchanting and charming story featuring the cutest wide-eyed owl you will ever see.
The owl in this story has always dreamed of becoming a brave knight one day. When knights began to disappear from the castle owl decides to apply to Knight School and much to everyone’s surprise he is accepted. He becomes a great student despite his struggles with the heavy sword and shield. He is a very brave and determined owl!
When he finally gets the chance to prove himself and protect the castle his cleverness saves th...
The Divorce Colony by April White
For a woman traveling without her husband in the late 19th century, there was only one reason to take the train to Sioux Falls, South Dakota: divorce. South Dakota required only a 90-day residency before a woman could file for divorce, making it an appealing destination for women from other states with more restrictive laws. In The Divorce Colony, author April White details the stories of four different women who traveled to South Dakota with just that intention. Through her research, White unveils a little known piece of women’s history. This is ...
The Legend of Pedestrio by Abner Serd
This author’s pseudonym is very apt. Abner Serd has written an “Ab Serd” tale, indeed. His folksy story of two wandering outdoorsmen searching for a legendary traveler “who roams the Earth by day and the sky at night” is full of dry humor and fantastical landscapes.
The author visited Butman-Fish Library last June, spinning some of the yarns from his book and sharing what it’s like to hike cross-country. His stories are just as entertaining in written form.
Abner, the character who narrates this novel, merely wants his favo...
I Kissed Shara Wheeler by Casey McQuiston
Noticing that it had been on the New York Times Young Adult bestseller list for 15 weeks, I chose this novel to read and review in order to see what exactly gives it its staying power. This is Casey McQuiston’s first foray into Young Adult novels. You may recognize the name due to their smash adult novel Red, White & Royal Blue, which just wrapped up production on a film adaptation.
Chloe Green is openly bisexual and raised by two moms. The family has recently moved back to small town Alabama from California. Chloe is in her ...
The Golden Couple by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen
If your marriage was on the rocks, would you seek advice from a recently “unlicensed” therapist?
How about if she guarantees she can fix your issues in only 10 sessions?
This compelling story begins with a successful, wealthy, seemingly perfect couple and parents, Marissa and Matthew. Their idyllic marriage takes a turn when they attempt to navigate the fallout from her infidelity. A game of cat and mouse ensues and you are never quite sure who is playing who.
“Therapist” Avery swoops in to ...
Never Fall for Your Fiancée by Virginia Heath
There is nothing the Dowager Countess of Fareham would like more than to see her son, the current earl, happily married.
Hugh hates to disappoint her, but he knows he would make any woman a terrible husband. It’s far better for everyone that he stay single. Fortunately, his mother lives thousands of miles away in America, so Hugh can placate her by writing many letters about Minerva, the beautiful and accomplished woman he has fallen in love with and intends to marry – someday.
Minerva is completely fictional,...