Race Relations

“The Tagibi Prophecy, Volume 1: The Chronicles of Theo is an epic fantasy adventure, a thought-provoking tale of a young warrior and his meeting with a heroic young woman, each from very different worlds. United by a common cause, the pair of unlikely heroes raise an army to defend Kiow from an enemy, the like of which they have never seen before

It’s 1966. Angie Finley has a lot on her plate – the Women’s Right’s Movement, school integration, the Vietnam War, a cocky anti-war activist, a sexy jock. The 1960s comes alive in this novel about a teen-age girl struggling to make sense of the social upheaval around her.

Strong writing and story-telling by a capable author who transports the reader back to the 1960s with depth, clarity and humor. Angie is a witty, likeable protagonist who has a heart for others and a mind of her own. She is a feminist being raised by a mother who has a 1950s view of women, which frustrates Angie. While the story deals with meaty topics of racial injustice,  women’s rights and the Vietnam war, with clever brush strokes, as the story goes on, it also begins to touch on several other social issues, which makes it feel, at times, as if the author has thrown in ‘everything but the kitchen sink’. It then focuses less on Angie’s story and borders on becoming more of a diatribe on every cause out there. Also, the character arc was a bit disjointed at times. Angie behaved in a passive-aggressive manner with her family and boyfriend, regarding her own life, but showed bravery and courage when dealing with the plights of others, even people she didn’t know very well. This led to moments where Angie’s actions and those of her mother, didn’t feel believable. There were also minor characters that were introduced in the beginning and crucial to the ending, but because they did not appear in the middle of the book, or did not appear much after that, it was hard to remember who they were. This caused the climax and ending to lose a bit of steam.

Overall, a well-told, engaging story with a strong sense of time and place. Fans of Historical Young Adult novels or novels dealing with social issues, will enjoy this book.

Review by A Daffodil for Angie

One brother goes missing in action in Afghanistan, the other falls in love with an Afghan girl in England.

Tales of the Whirling Rainbow is a journalist’s account of some of the key myths and mysteries of the Americas, and an exploration of how those myths are resounding in real time. Drawn from sources both ancient and modern, this small treasure conveys adroit insights into key facets of North America’s unfolding saga. 

Eldad ha-Dani, a lone traveler, sets out of the mysterious Hebrew kingdom of Simien in the heart of Africa to search for his lost brethren far to the north. But what will happen once he reaches the Jewish communities of the Mediterranean? Will they even recognize him and his people as kin, or will differences of language and habit create an impassable gulf?

Pitch Perfect Finalist

Every newspaper editor owes tribute to the devil… Harry Wentworth’s bill just came due.

Julia Cirignano
Votes: 0 Not eligible for review

White Wine & Medical Marijuana is a book of poetry that explores themes such as femininity, sexuality, weakness, strength, addiction, power, and profanity. It analyzes these themes, while keeping the language casual, simple, and accessible to all readers. Enjoy the power struggle between self criticism and self love, the raw life observations, and the relentless scrutinization of everyday life.

She wants to know the truth, but some secrets might be better left alone… Kate wants to know the truth behind the secrets and lies her grandmother has told her. But the deeper she digs, the more betrayal she finds, changing her life in ways she could have never foreseen.

Pitch Perfect Pick

Will Jordan O’Duffy take his guns to school to exact revenge on those who sexually assaulted him in the locker room, or will the illegal immigrant who befriends him keep him from doing something terrible that he will never be able to undo?

Vanessa Frances
Votes: 0 Not eligible for review

A collection of poetry, prose, and essays, touching on triumph and tragedy, overcoming one’s own demons, abuse, as well as the bittersweetness of first love and first loss. As with dirty clothes, humans themselves are given the chance to wash, rinse, dry, and fold themselves over and over again. With every cycle, we gain more of our own wear and tear, adding to our own individuality. Everything comes out in the wash.

Scheduled for Review on September 18, 2017

“You can’t kill a ghost.” Young American Aliya Scott travels to Tanzania to help children with her condition. There, people without pigment in their skin are called “zeru-zeru,” it means “ghost,” and they are believed to possess magical powers. When Aliya goes missing, her father sets out on a mission to find her. Will he reach her before it is too late?

Told in a witty combination of standard prose, letters, emails, and diary entries, LETTING GO, in the tradition of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s AMERICANAH, is a long-distance love story that also examines race, religion, and the difficult choices we make following our passions.

Follow the strange, lustful and horrific journey of Sandy Beech as he is ensnared into the realm of African witchcraft. The Witch’s List bridges our world of convention, with that of a fabulous Twilight Zone, what may be true reality — a realm of magic and ultimate possibility.

Troubled by feelings of racial inferiority, Nqobile, a Zimbabwean student in America fruitlessly searches for meaning in black consciousness ideas and religion, eventually finding spiritual transformation by looking within himself.

In rural Depression-era Alabama, 14-year-old Ruby Graves must face poverty, racial barriers, and a pastor bent on her destruction in order to find the faith she needs to unlock a mysterious gift of healing.

Don’t let “Christian novel” stop you from diving into the first book in Jennifer H. Westall’s Healing Ruby series. Yes, the story includes quotes from scripture, references to God, and a whole lot of praying, but these elements are squares in a patchwork quilt of skillfully expressed details that make this historical tale engaging, moving and illuminating.

Westhall has created well-drawn characters and dialogue so natural that it makes the reader feel like an eavesdropper. The plot’s (very) occasional lags are worth overlooking because of the reflective residue it leaves behind, giving Healing Ruby staying power that lingers long after the final chapter ends.

Review by Healing Ruby

Jesus returns to earth and meets activist Magdalene who is fighting for a better world. But only a conman will recognize him. Using humor, Jesus and Magdalene broaches recent phenomena of social and political conflict.

Rone Varlamagne, Prince of the Kingdom of Roanoke, finds himself seriously injured and near death at the foot of enemy lands. His survival depends on an unlikely ally, Keiara, daughter of the Terraquois chieftain. Instead of killing him, she decides to save his life.

Pitch Perfect Finalist

American Nemesis is a dystopian novel set in the near future, and the story imagines a world where the States are no longer united. In 2030 a significant crisis develops on the North American continent, as a tragic border incident brings the two Americas to the very brink.

When the worlds of Johnny and Jamaal collide, the catastrophic clash ignites racial conflict not seen since Ferguson. The incident tests the fledgling love of Johnny’s best friend Lucas and his African-American girlfriend Chantal, setting them on a quest for truth and justice in the perverse racial landscape of 2016.

A disturbing yet highly recommended must-read, especially during current troubling times.

Review by Anita Lock

Pitch Perfect Finalist

To put his broken life together, Prodigal son Duddy Doogan must explore his Southern, moss-draped family tree and excavate all the terrible truths and mysteries buried deep within the roots.

A man is running for his life. An army is deployed to hunt him down. He has no right to be there. He has no right to live. He is not considered human. In the United States of Europe, 2058, the price of freedom is higher than ever before.

Abraxas Hernandez never wanted to be a detective. But when his cousin is murdered, Abraxas is dragged into a frenzied investigation that takes him from the mean streets to the corridors of power in City Hall to a tequila-fueled pool party that turns deadly.

Pitch Perfect Finalist

A bluesy biker story set in the deep south during the late 60s, with a splash of Stephen King, Poe, and inspiration by Quentin Tarantino. For those interested in true myths and legends, along with the history of the biker culture.

A Cajun family secret, two very different boys, and a fight to keep a grandmother’s love—who would’ve guessed that looking through old photo albums could get Wendy into so much trouble?

Paco Jones is a half-Mexican kid, newly transferred to a private school where he’s called ‘Taco’ and ridiculed daily. So when he falls for Naomi, a beautiful classmate, what hope is there? Through dumb luck and some clever moves, Paco soon finds himself center stage amidst a middle school mess.

The Improbable Rise of Paco Jones is for readers who enjoy coming-of-age novels where the outcast rises up against all odds. Biracial teens should especially identify with this book. Carrillo even dedicates the book to them: “To the bicultural or biracial kids out there who have gone through the pain and confusion—along with the curiosity and beauty—of navigating the world and their identities without ever fitting neatly into one category.” In truth, all teens, no matter what their identity may be, will find valuable lessons in Carrillo’s charming little novel.

Review by Candi Sary

A small town is rocked by an accident at it’s power plant that changes the lives of more than just those who were hurt. Supernatural forces combined with religious fervor create an explosive situation.

Pitch Perfect Finalist

Three kids discover the lost aliens and their extraordinary ship, The Cerulean Star. But when the military captures them, it is Liberty—the frailest and most brilliant one—who leads the six kids as they struggle against overwhelming odds to regain the extraordinary ship and its precious freedom.

Nichole is struggling to deal with keeping her family together and taking care of her young siblings. Richard is trying to decide what is important in his life after making many mistakes. Can they overcome and get a second chance?

This book is a good read, and anyone who enjoys a contemporary storyline with modern issues, such as prejudice, addiction and social inequality will enjoy the themes and ideas examined here. It is also driven nicely by the well rounded characters.

Review by Chantelle Atkins

In a world where the four elements rule as gods, the Gaias of Wind, Fire, Water and Earth determine the fate of every man and woman. Threatening this seemingly perfect world this the Fourborn – the only one who has the power to set mankind free from it’s elemental shackles.

In 1982, in Oxford, Rupert Carlos, the heir of an English Earl and a Spanish Countess, meets Clearvoice, a “Red Indian elder who has come to confront the British about the treaties. Rupert’s coming of age is complicated by the shocking conspiracy of a corrupt Canadian bureaucrat in London

Strikingly relevant, brutally honest, politically incorrect look at 12-year old Glen Feigman’s experience with integration in 1970. Events at school lead to a violent shaking of his liberal Jewish suburban family’s foundations. Adding to Glen’s misery, he fears he is gay. Poignant yet often funny, and definitely thought-provoking.

Glen Shuld offers readers plenty of food for thought in his fictional memoir. Shuld incorporates topics on racism, inequality, minority issues and gender. Baby boomers will especially relate to the nuances he describes of the 1960s and 1970s. The Color of Character comes highly recommend—indeed, a wonderful and riveting read!

Review by The Color of Character