Hidey Ho, Bookworms!
I’m writing this intro as my kid naps. He actually refused his nap at the appointed time, only to crash on the couch next to me a couple hours later. Whatever, I’m letting him sleep. Pandemic rules: there are no rules. (Am I laughing or crying? I can’t tell.) It takes me so long to piece together a post these days sooooo now its a week later. Sam is currently sitting beside me on the couch asking me which direction we’re facing, thanks to an episode of Bluey. I’ve just discovered the compass function on my phone. This kid’s brain is like a sponge, I swear. He corrects me if I misread or substitute a word while reading to him (he’s not reading, just remembers his books very well), and now he’s grasping cardinal directions better than I ever have. It’s… humbling. Just a sprinkle on the top of the humble pie, really. Kids have their own minds and emotions and personalities- trying to figure out what strategies work for your particular child is an ongoing journey. An ongoing, endlessly humbling journey. But let’s talk about some nice, tasty books, shall we?
Real Men Knit by Kwana Jackson- Real Men Knit opens the day after the funeral of a beloved Harlem matriarch. Mama Joy ran a yarn shop called Strong Knits. She was a neighborhood institution. Despite having four sons (all of whom were adopted from foster care), Mama Joy’s shop offered a welcoming place for other kids in the neighborhood, Kerry Fuller among them. Kerry grew up in the shop along with the boys and worked there when she was old enough to be officially employed. She is heartbroken by Mama Joy’s loss every bit as much as her sons. Jesse Strong is rather directionless in comparison to his brothers, so when he announces that he plans to continue running the shop rather than liquidating and selling the property, they’re skeptical, to say the least. Kerry has always carried a flame for Jesse. He’s a bit of a player, but their chemistry cannot be denied. And, well, you can guess the rest. Y’all. I went in expecting a light rom-com and this book had me crying in the first few pages. Oof! Kwana Jackson managed to make me feel like I’d lost a family member in Mama Joy- it was brutal. But, you know, in a good way. This was a lovely story and if it were made into a series so I could follow the other Strong brothers to their own Happily Ever Afters, I’d definitely keep reading.
Cinderella Is Dead by Kalynn Bayron- Forget the Cinderella you thought you knew- this book takes things in a fascinating new direction. In the kingdom of Lille, the tale of Cinderella has taken on a religious significance. Girls and women are held as subservient to men in all ways. At the age of 16, the young women of the town are required to attend a ball (a la Cinderella) wherein they will be chosen as wives by literally any random dude at the ball. Old creepers, violent young men, wealthy aristocrats who are both creepy and violent- the girls have no choice. If a girl is not chosen after attending the annual ball three times, she’s shipped off to… Well, nobody really knows. But forfeits are never heard from again. This is the world in which our heroine Sophia was born. Sophia is in love with her best friend Erin, but there’s no chance of a happily ever after for two women in love in Lille. During the ball, Sophia manages to escape and finds herself in the long abandoned 200 year old tomb of Cinderella. It’s there that she encounters Constance, a descendent of Cinderella’s famed stepsisters and hears Cinderella’s story from an entirely new perspective. Y’all, this book is such a fun, exciting ride! I LOVE a good fractured fairy tale. And, while I don’t want to get too spoilery, did anyone out there read the Graceling series by Kristin Cashore? The king in this book gave me serious Leck vibes. All that is to say, this book is great and you should read it.
I actually have finished a couple more books, but since I took a break to talk about If the Boot Fits (review) last week, it feels like too much for a single post. No worries- I won’t leave you hanging. I’ll tell you about American Royals by Katharine McGee and Spoiler Alert by Olivia Dade soon. I’m currently reading Forbidden by Beverly Jenkins with my eyes and Ghost Squad by Claribel Ortega with my ears (which, I must say, was an excellent choice for Halloween week.) How’s your reading been going, Bookworms?
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Monika @ Lovely Bookshelf
I’ve got the audiobook of Ghost Squad bookmarked on Scribd. Glad you’ve been enjoying it! And awwww Sam. It’s so fun seeing them learn things on their own like that, making connections in that fascinating brain!
Jenny @ Reading the End
Oh yay, nice to hear that Cinderella Is Dead is good. It’s on my list!
I keep hearing about Cinderella Is Dead! It’s definitely on my Twisted Fairytale TBR, not least because of the queer romance angle! ???