Welcome to Kira's recommendations! Check out what Kira has been reading below.
Salt Slow reads as a sort of a grown-up, feminist Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, and I love it for that. The stories titled “Collectables,” and “Stop Your Women's Ears With Wax” were certainly my favorite, but there wasn't a single story I didn't appreciate. I found myself caught off guard with each unexpected ending, and even though I finished the collection in a day, I had to set it down between each story and process what I had just read. Each story, regardless of its outlandishness, actually felt oddly relatable and enjoyable - the stories touch on male exploitation and female revenge in unexpected, creative, and satisfying ways. Armfield's debut is unsettling and electric, perfect fall reading.
Afia Atakora's Conjure Women draws the reader into the life of a mother and her daughter in the Civil War South as they're released from slavery and begin grappling with the future, and it does so in intimate and unexpected ways. The whole novel reckons with divides - the slaves who remember being forcibly stolen from their homes, now living with children born into a new freedom; between the black slaves and the white slavers; between Rue and the plantation owner's daughter Varina; between the old voodoo magic of Rue and her mama Ma Doe against the conventional religion introduced by the travelling Bruh Abel. Atakora creates a world that feels painfully and heartrendingly grounded to reality, yet her striking prose weaves the illusion of fantasy and hope throughout her pages - a reflection of the illusion Rue and Ma Doe create for the men, women, and children on the plantation they're irrevocably bound to. Conjure Women is a debut that I loved and is certain to place Atakora's name on the map.
Previously, I'd naively written off romance, but I actually loved Get a Life, Chloe Brown - Hibbert's diverse characters really drew me in and made for a unputdownable debut novel that I finished in about two days. Chloe (a larger, chronically ill black woman) finds herself in a near death situation that causes her to reevaluate her life. Ultimately, she writes a step-by-step list to create a meaningful, adventurous life for herself. First step? Move the heck out her parent's house, which leads her to meet Red - the motorcycle riding, tattooed, red headed artist who is essentially the antithesis of everything Chloe believes. As the saying goes, "opposites attract," and the antics that follow are endearing, relatable, steamy, both heartbreaking and heartwarming. Really, everything I'd want out of a well-written novel.