RaveBookPageA debut novel that will fill every historical fiction fan with gratitude ... Kennedy’s unyielding narrative voice exhibits heart-wrenching impassivity, forcing readers to grapple with their own prejudices and morals ... The novel’s brilliance lies in Kennedy’s commitment to nuance ... Impeccably written, Trespasses is a story that every reader will internalize differently. In only 304 pages, it achieves the complexity of a multigenerational saga without sacrificing the striking intricacies of its central protagonist’s story.
PositiveBookPageMargarita Montimore flexes her full creative prowess in her third novel ... Sasha is a more persuasive, complex character than Violet, though perhaps Violet\'s inscrutability is inevitable, given her occupation as a magician. However, for readers who strive to connect with every detail of a story, a reread may be helpful ... Humorous but not disproportionately so, suspenseful but not frightening and emotional but not tearful, Acts of Violet offers something for everyone. A quick read with irresistible charm, it\'s a comfort book in every sense of the word, blending mystery, science fiction and family drama to satisfy a craving you didn\'t quite know you had. In the end, you\'ll be left with the inkling that there might be some truth to magic after all.
Tara M. Stringfellow
RaveBookPage... a wonder of a novel ... Through her poignant and heartfelt prose, Stringfellow honors the spirit of her city as she brings three generations of a Black matriarchal family—and their resilience, determination and endless capacity for love and joy—into the spotlight ... Stringfellow’s intricately developed details are unrivaled, and the simplest moments make the North family instinctively relatable. It’s not the parties, calamities or deaths that hold a reader’s attention in Memphis, but rather a walk to buy butter pecan ice cream on a Friday afternoon, or a quiet afternoon spent with Joan and her sketchbook. With honesty and genuine affection, Stringfellow captures each of her characters’ unique personalities while preserving their uncanny familial resemblances. Furthermore, Memphis establishes a new standard for the role of a setting in a novel; Memphis is celebrated not only as a place but also as a people, a culture and, most importantly, a community ... Stringfellow has created an irresistible family in the Norths, who are sure to be beloved by readers for the ways in which they persevere.
Hannah Lillith Assadi
RaveBookPageElegant, melancholic and emotional, The Stars Are Not Yet Bells is lyrical from start to finish ... [The novel] draws its narrative style from the realms of poetry, making for an atypical and dazzling reading experience ... Assadi’s willingness to trust her reader is evident, and the book consequently becomes more immersive and self-reflective ... Assadi takes great care in crafting each sentence, incorporating poignant and thoughtful language into the heart of the story. This focus allows Assadi’s themes to shine ... It’s rare for a novelist to so seamlessly bring their themes into the spotlight without relying primarily on narrative events, but Assadi is willing and able to take the risk. As a result, her themes are even more relatable and decipherable, and impart longer-lasting messages ... Eerie and spellbinding, The Stars Are Not Yet Bells is not for everyone; its plot is incredibly subtle, leading to some moments of confusion, and readers must be willing to work through these moments of doubt and be flexible as they continue. But for the right reader, Assadi’s work is the epitome of ingenuity.
Jocelyn Nicole Johnson
PositiveBookPageJohnson doesn’t shy away from any topic as she calmly delivers, with too-real certainty, a ruthless kind of truth ... These six innovative, avant-garde stories showcase Johnson’s ingenuity ... Johnson plots each piece delicately, arranging them so that the subtleties shine through. The stories range in content and in tone—some ironic, some hopeful, some slightly sadistic—but each pulls its own weight, and each feels completely natural alongside the rest of the collection ... Throughout, Johnson’s one-of-a-kind voice offers a gateway to new perspectives, and necessary ones at that ... Part of the enjoyment in reading My Monticello is gaping at Johnson’s seemingly endless skill in plotting and sentence structure. While the novella is a bit slow-paced at first, and a couple of the stories could have benefited from a more apparent focal point, the collection is full of depth, and there are too many takeaways to count ... both unprecedented and inimitable, a beautifully thought out collection of elegant craftsmanship.