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Family Legacies Across Continents and Generations

The Color Line by Igiaba Scego  literary fiction  Other Press, October 2022  Rebels, infidels, invaders, patriots, anarchists, immigrants, migrants are all considered suspicious "others" by their various adversaries. Two women, Lafanu in the late 1800s and Leila in 1992 through 2019, wrestle with labels of otherness imposed upon them by societies and cultures that evolve, atrophy, and regress on issues of freedom and autonomy and inherent safety for people who are Black, Brown, female and/or otherwise considered less worthy of having their humanity and its complexity recognized and respected. The Color Line examines and celebrates people who refuse to internalize racism, sexism, misogyny and other biases to step forward into dangerous, unknown, forbidden places and spaces.  Lush emotive prose in this English translation from its original Italian transports the reader. At the end, the author's note followed by pictures of actual significant landmarks mentioned in both time
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Still Dreaming of Justice for All + More

  [In above image b & w picture of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and other Civil Rights advocates is from the endpapers for Let Freedom Ring, Stanley Tretick's Iconic Images of the March on Washington by Kitty Kelley.]    Pride and Protest by Nikki Payne  contemporary literature, romantic  Berkley, November 2022  Liza and Dorsey's story is a love letter to the District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia region (the original DMV) that acknowledges the range of its complexities and contradictions. Effective grassroots community engagement struggles against political and corporate interests that prioritize profit over people. Exploring family nuances and legacies in behavior patterns and expectations in addition to genetics and finances add richness to an already dynamic reimagining of a literary classic. It's often humorous, especially the clever summaries of oppressive annoyances (my label for them).   Lady Hawthorne (San Francisco Mystery Series #7) by Alexi Venice, aut

Magical People, Places, Sleuths & Wise Women

  Anthologies  - fantastical worlds, multifaceted characters, engaging themes, adventurous journeys    Africa Risen: A New Era of Speculative Fiction  edited by Sheree Renee Thomas, Oghenechovwe Ekpeki, Zelda Knight  Tordotcom, November 2022   We're Here: The Best Queer Speculative Fiction 2021  edited by L.D. Lewis, Charles Payseur  Neon Hemlock Press, October 2022  All Kinds of Love   Witchful Thinking (Elemental Love #1) by Celestine Martin  contemporary speculative romance  Forever, September 2022  To avoid spoilers, my general feeling is that the author of this delightfully layered and whimsical love story about finding one's purpose, place, and people is probably a fan of some early Tom Hanks movies. Lucinda and Alex's connection exudes #relationshipgoals.  Blackmail and Bibingka (Tita Rosie #3) by Mia P. Manansala  contemporary mystery  Berkley, October 2022  Ah, family... Can't work with them without drama, can't let them get wrongly accused of committing mu

New Year, Big Book Energy

  Happy New Year!  This year is scheduled to be my most hectic professionally with multiple writing projects, the expansion of The Write Women Book Fest from one day to two along with additional partnerships, and other  commitments and goals outside of my bookish endeavors. So fewer and much shorter reviews this year even though I'll probably (try to) read as much as usual.  Seduced by Passion (Billionaire Island Brides #1) by Ana E. Ross  contemporary romance, December 26, 2022  Xiomara and Raph's love story is a sweeping family saga filled with secrets, conflict, temptation, themes of cultural historical context, in addition to an emotionally layered development of their relationship. Plus, blazing chemistry.  No More Sidelines (Solomon Pro Athletes #1) by Leslie North  contemporary romance, December 22, 2022  What starts as a series of adversarial encounters leads to a cease-fire that evolves into friendship then love for Claire and Marcus in this thoughtful, compressed stor

Winter Holidays Hiatus Untill January 2023

  Only 3 more weeks of 2022 and there's so much to do!  Buy gifts. Wrap gifts. Deliver gifts.  Send cards.  Read purely for pleasure. Attend awesome bookish events like the engaging Fatty Fatty Boom Boom discussion with the author, Rabia Chaudry, hosted by the Prince George's County Memorial Library System at the Greenbelt Branch a few days ago. Bake goodies. Share goodies. Enjoy goodies. Appreciate friends and family. Socialize. Write. Rest.  Merry, Happy, Joyous, Festive Holy, Pagan and/or Secular Winter Holiday Celebratory Wishes to all! 

Looking for Love in Dangerous Places

  Matchmakers Run Amok   Partners in Crime by Alisha Rai  contemporary romance, Avon, October 2022  Mira's and Naveen's pasts come back to bite them while offering opportunities to heal in this romp with substance.  Sweetwater and the Witch (Harmony #16) by Jayne Castle  paranormal romance, Berkley, September 2022  Can two people with sketchy dating histories perfectly match each other? Ravenna and Ethan find out while working together to answer questions about shady dealings.  The Matchmaker's Lonely Heart by Nancy Campbell Allen  historical mystery romance, Shadow Mountain, September 2021  An intrepid amateur sleuth crosses paths with a cynical police detective and alters the course of their lives and those they love.  New Spins on Old Tales  Robin Hood A Turn of the Tide (A Stitch in Time #3) by Kelley Armstrong  historical time travel romance, KLA Fricke, Inc., October 2022  Greek mythology  The Maiden and the Unseen by Jeanette Rose & Alexis Rune  contemporary supe

Love Letters Past & Future

  Family ties, love, maintaining connections, resources, political power dynamics and more link these two superficially different books, nonfiction versus fiction, historical fact versus futuristic speculation. These letters record, examine, testify, process, implore, admonish, celebrate the breadth of human experiences.  I Can’t Wait to Call You My Wife, African American Letters of Love and Family in the Civil War Era by Rita Roberts  non-fiction history  Chronicle Books, October 18, 2022   In the acknowledgments the author expresses her intention to use “letters to provide a more real and personal understanding of the past” in order to share the history of African American experiences with non-academic audiences. She achieves that goal. Images, maps, newspapers, pamphlets, portraits, handbills, and marriage licenses support detailed historical facts animated by the intimate wr