Welcome, reader, into a brilliant world where horror and humor are intricately bound into a commentary on sapphic love, humanity, the power of story, the patriarchy, Hollywood, and East Coast private school privilege. This is a mischievous celebration of the indomitable spirit of women, their love for each other, and their endless desire for simple agency. Well, and perhaps it is best mentioned here, the sometimes rather horrific means they will go to achieve that agency. Brilliantly written, terrifying and hilarious, I finished it wanting to simply start again. I suspect Plain Bad Heroine societies will be popping up, quietly humming. Xe Sands narrates on Libro.fm and the performance is perfection.
Iraq, Afghanistan, Columbia, Yemen — the U.S. Military presence in these countries, and in so many countries before, has been debated, but in Missionaries, through the lens of four participants, Klay brilliantly displays the tragic consequences of U.S. Military intervention in complex global situations it fails to comprehend. Mason is a U.S. Army Special Forces medic who has done tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Lisette is a foreign correspondent. Both leave Afghanistan with the bitter taste of loss and an unshakeable desire for more. Columbia seems the answer. For Juan Pablo, an officer in the Columbian military and liaison to the U.S., navigating the power bids and carnage of the military, drug cartels, and state is not as simple as the U.S. would like it to be. Abel, a Columbian battered by the tides of violence in his country, serves as a lieutenant in Los Mil Jesuses. All four come together with characters like Alma and Luisa, not to give answers but to implant deep in the U.S. soul questions that should not allow us to remain complacent.
Willa and Iano are in their late 50’s, educated, successful, middle class — so why are they struggling to take care of medical bills, find insurance, and figure out how to come up with money to renovate Willa’s old New Jersey inheritance that is falling down around them? Desperate, Willa looks to her home’s past and discovers people who also faced great uncertainty and change following the Civil War. In her research, Willa discovers Mary Treat, a naturalist who communicated with Charles Darwin, giving him field work to support his shocking new theories. Walk the Pine Barrens, feed Venus Fly Traps and explore the brilliance of the homes spiders build. And meet Tig, my new environmental hero. Both narratives explore what it means to live in a time of great change, to live unsheltered, untethered, fearful, exposed, free. Brilliant portrait of where we are and the possibilities of where we might go.
This is the gift for everyone in need of grace, for themselves and for all those battered by the difficulties and pain woven into the very fabric of life. The art greets the eyes like aloe vera on a burn, and the words remind us to value love, friendship, and our journeys simply, deeply.
The ritualistic murders that terrorized Vitoria twenty years ago were solved, and he killer is in prison. But when another murder replicates the ritual, Inspector Unai Lopez de Ayala races to discover who is behind this ingenious plot. While the festivals of Vitoria prevent the inspector from protecting people, they give the killer easy access to both his victims and the places he chooses to stage his murders. The Basque country, its mythologies and legends, intertwine with stories of privilege and abuse to lead the reader on a brilliant, thrilling puzzle of a mystery that will leave you anxiously awaiting the next book.