Before I took a break from blogging, I did monthly wrap-ups and they were really long and took ages to write and put together so I wanted to try something different. I want to put out mini-reviews every time I complete three books. I think this will be more manageable for me and more readable for you guys so welcome to my first three reads of the year!
The Road to Oz by L. Frank Baum
Release Date: 1909
Genre: Children’s fantasy
Meet Dorothy’s new friends, the Shaggy Man, Button Bright and Polychrome, as you travel with them to the Emerald City. Share their adventures with the Musicker and the Scoodlers. See how they escape from the Soup-Kettle and what they found at the Truth Pond. Find out how they are able to cross the Deadly Desert and finally get to the Emerald City of Oz.
As you might know, I’m trying to work through the fourteen books in the Oz series, and in 2021, I’ve committed to reading one each month until I’m done. The Road to Oz is the fifth book in the series. The beginning of The Road to Oz had me laughing out loud. The Shaggy Man and Button-Bright are new characters and their interactions are so funny. This one also gave me some insight into L. Frank Baum. I’m fascinated by him and what he was thinking about when he wrote these stories and in this particular entry, he includes a brief exchange between (I think) The Shaggy Man and the Tin Woodman where they talk about using money in exchange for goods. Oz, what I gather is supposed to be a perfect place in Baum’s eyes, doesn’t use money and the Tin Woodman finds the idea of money disgusting. I really thought this was interesting to include in the story. I do think the end was a little tedious but overall, still an interesting and fun story.
Grown by Tiffany D. Jackson
Release Date: September 15, 2020
Genre: YA contemporary, mystery
Korey Fields is dead.
When Enchanted Jones wakes with blood on her hands and zero memory of the previous night, no one—the police and Korey’s fans included—has more questions than she does. All she really knows is that this isn’t how things are supposed to be. Korey was Enchanted’s ticket to stardom.
Before there was a dead body, Enchanted was an aspiring singer, struggling with her tight knit family’s recent move to the suburbs while trying to find her place as the lone Black girl in high school. But then legendary R&B artist Korey Fields spots her at an audition. And suddenly her dream of being a professional singer takes flight.
Enchanted is dazzled by Korey’s luxurious life but soon her dream turns into a nightmare. Behind Korey’s charm and star power hides a dark side, one that wants to control her every move, with rage and consequences. Except now he’s dead and the police are at the door. Who killed Korey Fields?
All signs point to Enchanted.
After reading Monday’s Not Coming last year, I’d been anticipating getting Grown from my library for months. As soon as I got it, I started reading it and before I knew it, I was halfway done. I took a break to eat dinner and then immediately went back to finish it. I don’t read books in one day but this one was so readable and I just had to know what was going to happen next. The pacing is phenomenal and keeps you turning the pages. This book, of course, deals with some difficult topics such as grooming, abuse, and stalking. It also has a lot to say about the way society doesn’t believe black women, especially in these situations. Enchanted is such an interesting and well-written character. She goes from wanting to live out her dreams to needing to protect herself and her family. The stakes are high the entire book and if you like hard-hitting contemporary, I recommend picking this up.
The Obelisk Gate by N. K. Jemisin
Release Date: August 16, 2016
Genre: Fantasy, Dystopia
Goodreads Synopsis for the first book in the series (The Fifth Season)
This is the way the world ends. Again.
Three terrible things happen in a single day. Essun, a woman living an ordinary life in a small town, comes home to find that her husband has brutally murdered their son and kidnapped their daughter. Meanwhile, mighty Sanze — the world-spanning empire whose innovations have been civilization’s bedrock for a thousand years — collapses as most of its citizens are murdered to serve a madman’s vengeance. And worst of all, across the heart of the vast continent known as the Stillness, a great red rift has been torn into the heart of the earth, spewing ash enough to darken the sky for years. Or centuries.
Now Essun must pursue the wreckage of her family through a deadly, dying land. Without sunlight, clean water, or arable land, and with limited stockpiles of supplies, there will be war all across the Stillness: a battle royale of nations not for power or territory, but simply for the basic resources necessary to get through the long dark night. Essun does not care if the world falls apart around her. She’ll break it herself, if she must, to save her daughter.
The first book in this series, The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin, was definitely at the top of my favorites list last year and I was so excited to pick up The Obelisk Gate. This is a fantastic sequel! It picks up immediately where the previous book left off and really allows readers to jump right back in and find out so much about this world and how the magic and orogeny works. I was also really excited to follow and character that I had so many questions about in the first book. I really appreciate Jemisin’s ability to casually reveal shocking information. The excitement every time I read something major sprinkled in a sentence was wonderful. I do think the middle portion of this book, in particular, is a bit slower than everything I’ve read in the series thus far but I think it was necessary in order to convey some complex information that was important to this story and that, I think, will be critical to the final installment. I can’t wait to read The Stone Sky next month and finish this wonderful series.
What have you been reading recently? Have you read any of these? Are you interested in any of them? Come chat with me!