In writing Hamra and the Jungle of Memories, Hanna Alkaf begins in the fashion of a traditional fairy tale. In her reimagining of Little Red Riding Hood, Alkaf borrows heavily from the Malaysian Muslim culture and weaves her magical retelling with Malay customs and cuisine. The star of this tale is thirteen-year-old Hamra, who is stubborn, sad, rebellious, and angry. She is tired of wiping up messes and cooking and listening to her grandmother say things that don’t’ make sense now that she is living with dementia. Hamra is tired of always having to be nice and good and polite and responsible. And she isRead More →

Book One in the Three Doors Trilogy by Emily Rodda, The Golden Door, tells the story of three brothers: Dirk, Sholto, and Rye who are residents of Southwall, a community in the city of Weld governed and over-regulated by a suspicious Warden. Eighteen-year-old Dirk is brave and determined if not a bit of a conspiracy theorist who thinks the Warden is up to no good.  Sholto is equally determined but dark and cynical, although the thirst for knowledge glows in him.  As an apprentice Healer, he tends to seek out peace. Rye, the youngest, is cautious, perceptive, and pragmatic. Their home, previously a place of peaceRead More →