Author: Kacen Callender Series: Islands of Blood and Storm (#2) Publication date: December 1, 2020 Genre: adult fantasy
After absolutely falling in love with Felix Ever After earlier this year, I simply had to try out more of Kacen Callender’s work. So when I saw an opportunity to get involved in a blog tour with one of Callender’s books–and one that is in my favorite genre, no less!–I simply had to sign up. And I am so glad that I did; this dark fantasy, full of political struggles and open commentary on colonialism, is excellent. Callender’s writing prowess apparently spans a wide range of genres as well as age levels (seriously, they write MG, YA, and adult, and genres including both contemporary and fantasy??), and I will certainly be picking up more of their books in the future. But enough about how much I love this author–let’s get on to the story!
Author: Bethany C. Morrow Publication date: June 2, 2020 Genre: young adult, fantasy My rating: 3.5/5 stars
First, I want to make something abundantly clear: this is a tremendously important book. It deals with lots of major issues that the Black community is currently facing, and has been facing for a long time, and it uses a highly unique premise (some very literal Black Girl Magic) to convey those ideas. I feel like I need to stress that part because this was one of those books that I loved in theory, just not in execution. I don’t want this review to be taken as, “This book isn’t important.” I think it is a book that is very, very much worth reading. However, it would be disingenuous for me to rate it higher, because it faltered in its actual writing, on technical elements like worldbuilding and pacing.
Author: Omar Holmon Publication date: May 12, 2020 Genre: poetry My rating: 4/5 stars
In his quick, lively debut collection, poet Omar Holmon delivers a rollercoaster of emotions chronicling everything from the death of a parent to racism to love to the pride in being a nerd. This is a book that will make you laugh, but will also make you think, often in the same poem. It may not be hugely advertised, but this is a solid addition to Button Poetry’s catalog, as well as an excellent testament to the experiences of a Black nerd trying to navigate family and this complicated world we live in.
Author: Bethany C. Morrow Publication date: June 2, 2020 Genre: young adult, urban fantasy, contemporary Publisher: Tor Teen
If ever there was a good book to promote now, given the widespread Black Lives Matter protests in the United States, this is it. Written by a Black author, and dealing with topics including systemic racism, social justice, body image, and misogynoir, the relevance of this book to today’s situation cannot be overstated. The characters attend Black Lives Matter protests. They discuss everything from natural hair and gospel music to traffic stops and police brutality. And above all, this book is a celebration of literal Black Girl Magic–this is a story about sirens, and in its world’s mythos, only Black women can be sirens.
In honor of this being Banned Books Week, this week’s Thoughts on a Thursday will be specifically focusing on topics related to banning books. Hopefully these won’t be the same points everyone shares all week, about intellectual freedom and all that jazz, though those are very important things to consider. Instead, I have some personal quibbles with, queries about, and quizzical glances at some specific titles and concepts in the world of challenged and banned books. Brace yourself. There’s some hot tea here.