Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Five Black Children’s Books For Young Bookworms

Jess and I bought our nephew his first book at two months old because you’re never too young to excited about books! We have a list of children books by Black authors that will make perfect additions to a burgeoning bookshelf.

King of Kindergarten by Derrick Barnes, illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton
A kindergartener takes on his first day of school

Rocket Says Looks Up by Nathan Bryon, Illustrated by Dapo Adeola
A little astronaut-in-training just wants everyone to look up!

Little Legends: Exceptional Men in Black History by Vashti Harrison
Illustrator Vashti Harrison’s newest book about Black men in history!

Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry Illustrated by Vashti Harrison
Based on the touching Academy Award-winning short film about a father doing his daughter’s natural hair for the first time.

The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson Illustrated by Rafael López 
a young girl builds relationships and expands her world

Saturday, February 15, 2020

AudioFile Magazine’s Picks of the Best New YA Audiobooks For Winter Listening

We are teaming up with AudioFile Magazine, the place for audiobook reviews, narrator interviews and audiobookish content, to present AudioFile Magazine's Picks of the Best New YA Audiobooks for winter listening. This Earphones Award-winning list has fantasy, historical fiction, and long-awaited series finales.


by Tomi Adeyemi |  Read by Bahni Turpin

Bahni Turpin exquisitely narrates the second book in this fantasy series, Legacy of Orïsha. Her steady pace and West African accent draw us into the story of Zélie, a Maji warrior, and Princess Amari-- both of whom fight against a monarchy that threatens to destroy the people of Orïsha. The listener is able to connect and sympathize with these two magical beings, even after they have made terrible decisions that produce violent consequences. They are relatable, overwhelmingly passionate, and humanly flawed. A riveting audiobook! Earphones Award Winner


by Mildred D. Taylor | Read by Allyson Johnson

Both author Mildred Taylor and narrator Allyson Johnson fully meet expectations in concluding the Logan family saga, which began in 1975. Johnson warmly welcomes listeners as if inviting them to sit by the fire to hear this family story. The heroine of so many of the Logan books, Cassie, is 19 at the time of the Civil Rights movement. She leaves behind both her beloved land and the hateful prejudice of Mississippi when she moves north and then goes to California. But she discovers that prejudice exists everywhere. The drama of the plot and the depth of the characterizations ensure that this audiobook is unforgettable. Earphones Award Winner


by Rosaria Munda | Read by Christian Coulson, Candice Moll, Steve West

This dragon fantasy rife with political intrigue has three narrators. Christian Coulson portrays Leo, the last living member of the ousted ruling class, who is hiding in plain sight as Lee, a dragon rider who is competing for the coveted Firstrider position. Candice Moll voices Annie, another contender for Firstrider, whose family was murdered by Lee's father. Steve West's voice is stately and resonant as he delivers the flashback sequences that show Lee and Annie's shared childhood in an orphanage. Coulson's Lee and Moll's Annie are both very likable, and the narrators do an exceptional job expressing the characters' complex emotions as they begin to question the new meritocracy's harsh caste system. Earphones Award Winner.


by Justine Ireland | Read by Bahni Turpin, Jordan Cobb 

Two narrators portray the dynamic relationship of the heroines in this compelling sequel to DREAD NATION. In an alternate history, zombies risen from Civil War battlefields are turning folks into undead across the country. Alternating chapters reveal the viewpoints of two African-American characters, both trained assassins who struggle to find their true identities. Themes of human experimentation and prejudice take a back seat to the tense action in this gripping audio. Earphones Award Winner
 by Libba Bray | Read by January LaVoy

Narrator January LaVoy returns for the final installment of Bray's Diviners series. The dead are rising, and only a band of supernaturally gifted people can stop them. There are more than 25 characters in this story, ranging from an African-American boy to an adult woman with a Russian accent, and the choice to leave it all to LaVoy was inspired as she needs no supporting cast. This is an audiobook one wishes would never end. Earphones Award Winner
Which audiobook are you excited for?

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor

15 Hours 54 Minutes | Hachette Audio | YA Fantasy  | 10/02/2018

There is just no way Laini Taylor brain works the way everyone else does. Her vibrant and expansive imagination allows her to dive into fantasy worlds that are beautiful, mystifying and devastating. 

Muse of Nightmares seamlessly continues the story of Strange The Dreamer and unravels the horrifying truth behind the Godspawn and Mezarthum all while Lazlo and the people of Weep come face to face with the children who survived a horrific genocide. In a way, this book is also an origin story that spans worlds and decades.

I think this series worked well as a duology and I'm starting to really get behind wanting more. I mean  there is a point where you could see where a third book could have easily been inserted because we are introduced to a new adversary whose sudden arrival instantly accelerated the story in kind of an awkward way but Taylor eventually evens it out

Like with the first book I  found the references to genocide and rapes hard to read. This series and Daughter of Smoke and Bone exist. in the same universe and it feels like Taylor is still asking the same question about redemption and reconciliation after genocide and war. Also, both books feature mass rape and the commodification of children.

Taylor's story really crosses the divide between Young Adult and Adult fantasy. As a writer, she is invested in the lives and perspectives of her adult and teen characters alike.

Speaking of Smoke & Bone I liked the ending of this one a lot better if fit together and felt more…planned. 

With all of that said I personally enjoyed how Taylor connects her worlds and hinted at future stories to come.  

Where is the next book, please?


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