PositiveUSA Today[An] enthralling tale that’s as fun as it is mysterious ... Though a bit slow to start, once Velvet Was the Night gets going, it’s hard to put down. The characters are fascinating, the tone lush and romantic, and it’s all wrapped up in a mystery with twists and turns one likely won’t see coming ... Moreno-Garcia’s writing style, which captivated audiences in her bestselling 2020 horror novel Mexican Gothic is firing on all cylinders again despite the slightly slow start, showing off her flexibility and prowess as a crafter of engaging stories – even if you are not a fan of noirs. Her word choice is confident, fluid and natural, never feeling forced.
PositiveUSA Today... an unflinching look at queerness, parental relationships and how we affect one another in the process of figuring it all out ... A character study focused on stay-at-home Sammie told over the course of several years doesn\'t have much by way of plot to carry the story forward. In its place is a slow burn of ruminations on what it means to give up your life in service of raising a child, trying to fit into queer circles as parenting takes center stage, the tension of middle age, and how we all succeed or fail at connecting with those we love, as well as ourselves ... Fans of Arnett’s first novel, Mostly Dead Things, will find similarities between the two texts thanks to the author’s predilection for sussing out the most unseemly parts of being alive and a member of a family. But where the former text deals with that lot grieving a loss, With Teeth looks more closely at living in stasis, the small horrors of parenting and how we affect those we love the most when we’re hurting ... an at-times horrifying read, and almost frustratingly un-put-down-able given how little actually happens. Arnett is a master of tension-building as Sammie bumbles her way through parenting a son she isn’t even sure she likes and who definitely has a few troubling behavioral problems ... though its ending feels a bit underwhelming and even a bit cliche, Arnett’s voice and style help pull off something that would otherwise leave a lot to be desired. Her lush renderings of the world around Sammie make even Central Florida at its muggiest seem romantic ... Overall, the psychological examinations at the heart of \"With Teeth\" make for a gripping read. Unabashedly queer, probing and unafraid, With Teeth is an exceedingly engaging sophomore outing from Arnett, solidifying her place in the pantheon of contemporary writers taking long, hard looks at difficult and at-times unseemly topics without shying away from humanity’s worst impulses ... Here is a story with a chewy, sinewy bite that will leave you hard-pressed to look away.
RaveUSA Today3.5/4 stars ... Anna North presents a far different perspective on the genre, one forged by women, Black and nonbinary people looking for the freedom, space and right to exist in a world that largely doesn’t want them ... North’s richly tended language makes for an expansive world. But never once does the story feel weighed down by its subject matter: Ideas about feminism, American racism and sexual/gender identity are seamlessly and purposefully woven into the tale without preachiness or constant trauma ... The vividness with which she writes this world is one that’s captivating and hard to put down ... It does feel like a missed opportunity that, for all Outlawed does address, it does not take into consideration the indigenous people whose lands on which these bandits (and frontier towns) exist ... a thrilling tale.
PositiveUSA TodayHernandez is unrelenting in her portrayal of the regular violence, assault and abuses faced by these Other-ized people in \'civil societies.\' She excels in her ability to show the ease of even the most brazen fascism and the pervasiveness of the feelings and scenarios that elicit its subsequent rise. Every few pages, something devastating happens, either in real time or recollection, rendering the story more harrowing – perhaps especially if you’ve ever been a victim of such abuse ... It does make it hard, however, to decide whether to recommend this book and to whom. On the one hand, it is so vital to see queer people of color centered in stories, and there are a few moments where we do get to see Black and queer joy rather than pain. Hernandez’s voice and writing style lay vivid on the page, and her craft is evident from the jump ... On the other hand, the story at times feels like tragedy porn. Marginalized people deserve to have their stories centered and not always exist as a sad lesson for white people; Crosshairs may not be that ... Hernandez had several diversity readers involved in the project, so your quibble mileage may vary, but there are moments where it feels evident that a non-Black person is telling the story of this transmasculine femme Black person, regardless of the particular traits (queerness, multiracial/Filipino identity) the author and Kay do share. It renders Kay a bit flat, particularly toward the end. Who Kay is feels underfed compared to other characters. Kay’s cohorts jump off the page, but we never quite get a clear picture of who Kay really is, even with several drag queen flashbacks. Instead, Kay’s story feels like a vessel for others and not their own ... Hernandez is a talent undeniable. She’s an evocative, vibrant writer whose voice and point of view are an exciting addition to the literary landscape. An at-times tough (depending on your sensitivity to violence and abuse) but solid read, Crosshairs tells a story of battling against the insidious nature of fascism and white supremacy by being unabashedly yourself.