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I’m already on my third book of this conference’s haul of Advance Reader Copies, and I’ve enjoyed them all so far. Two of them I think I’ll pass along, since they’re of the type that’s fun to read but I don’t expect to want to read them a second time. One I’m definitely keeping. It was FUN.

  1. Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge, by Paul Krueger (KEEPING.) (6/16)
  2. The Turning Point, by Freya North (fun, weepy. Has Lifetime Movie written all over it.) (5/16)
  3. The History of Great Things, by Elizabeth Crane (interesting format, worth a read) (4/16)
  4. Arcadia, by Iain Pears (2/16)
  5. Some of the Parts, by Hannah Barnaby (2/16)
  6. Rare Objects, by Kathleen Tessaro (4/16)
  7. Julia Vanishes, by Catherine Egan (6/16)
  8. Ten Prayers that Changed the World: Extraordinary Stories of Faith that Shaped the Course of History, by Jean-Pierre Isbouts (3/16)
  9. Rightful Heritage: Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Land of America, by Douglas Brinkley (3/16)
  10. The Decent Proposal, by Kemper Donovan (4/16)
  11. Sisi: Empress on Her Own, by Allison Pataki (3/16)
  12. City of Secrets, by Stewart O’Nan (4/16)
  13. Three-Martini Lunch, by Suzanne Rindell (4/16)

 

I wanted to talk a little about Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge. The reason I’m keeping it is because I read it in 24 hours and when I turned the last page, my first thought was to wish for a sequel so I could spend more time with those characters. But as I thought about it more in the hours after finishing, I realized that it does something unusual. It has a cast that is diverse in the way that Shonda Rhimes shows are diverse – it’s just who was cast, and the characters are generally not entirely based on what makes them diverse.

Last Call‘s main character is Bailey Chen, a Chinese-American woman. The main cast also includes a blind gay man, an African-American woman, and a post-transition trans man. The only one of those adjectives that plays ANY significant role in the plot is that Vincent is blind. I am particularly pleased by the treatment of the trans man. That element of his character literally comes up in one short scene, and it in no way defines his story arc. I really like that about the way Paul Krueger designed that character, and the character in question is one of the most appealing of the entire story. I heartily recommend this book, and I hope you all look into it when it comes out, especially if you like magic and mixology.