Posted in book review, books

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

Latest book read is the short novel Every Heart a Doorway. It’s so good. If circumstances had allowed, I would have devoured this book in one sitting. The book centers on an estate that takes in and educates pre-teens and teens that have been to other lands, like Alice in Wonderland type lands (though there’s quite a variety of magical worlds that are wonderfully described) but ended up back in our normal world against their wishes. I read as little about a book before I read it as possible because I’m sensitive to anything that even hints at being a spoiler (and that’s why I don’t go in-depth in reviews, I’m afraid of accidental spoilering). So, I was expecting it to be some fun magical type boarding school deal. It has elements of that, but it also has a murder mystery.

I loved magical boarding school part the best. I’m not really a big murder mystery kind of person, except that it featured more of a creepy character that I really liked. But even with that not being really my thing, I liked the whole book quite a bit. There is apparently two sequels coming out. Well, one appears to be a prequel and the other a proper sequel. I plan to read both of them as soon as they are released.

As you may have noticed, making my reading more reflective of the world we live in is important to me. I felt a little bad when I started reading this book because I thought it didn’t get any points for diversity and my reading list this year has been a little too white and heterosexual. Turns out, I was mistaken. The author is bisexual, one of the main characters is asexual and another prominent character is transgendered. I’ve never before read a book with an asexual or transgendered character, so that was a nice change.

 

Posted in book review, books, historical fiction

Jam on the Vine by LaShonda Katrice Barnett

Last night I finished Jam on the Vine and it is quite good. The book begins in 1897 and Texas. It is so refreshing to find a book that begins not long after the end of the Civil War with a focus on black people. I’ve read many post-Civil War books in the past, but they are usually focused on (and written by) white people. The author does a great job of showing the challenges that black people faced not only in the South, but everywhere in the United States at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries. The book, especially during the last chapter, made me think of how much black people still struggle despite how many years it has been since slavery became illegal and the years when the book takes place.

While learning lessons of black struggle is important, the book is not non-fiction. It is an interesting story with well written characters. I even brought this book to the beach with me, when normally I would have brought my Kindle instead, because I wanted to keep reading it. (Sorry, library, I think I got 99% of the sand out of your book.) I would like to read more books by black writers that focus on black people during the years following the Civil War and up to WWII.

I gave it 5 stars on Goodreads and would love to see a miniseries tv show done of this book. It gets points on diversity in that the main characters are black, one of those characters is Muslim, the author is black, and there is a lesbian relationship. Buy it or get it from the library.