Oxford Exchange

Afro Samurai Vol.1 by Takashi Okazaki

This was epic. I absolutely can’t wait to get more into this series. Gave me Black Swordsman Arc vibes from Berserk. I hope to see Afro develop more and maybe gain something to care for instead of being purely based on revenge. The setting in the end also gave me Fountainhead Palace vibes from Sekiro.

Afro Samurai Vol.1 by Takashi Okazaki, (List Price: $19.99, Titan Manga, 9781787739000, November 2022)

Reviewed by Ethan Davis, Oxford Exchange in Tampa, Florida

It Took Luke by Mark Bouchard

If this is going to be a single volume story, then what a ride it was. The art style is great! I love how the only color on the pages are that of blood and gore. Gives the work a bit of uniqueness. Nothing I love more than a main character with a dark past and a giant sword (Berserk Inspiration 100%)

It Took Luke by Mark Bouchard, (List Price: $19.99, Oni Press, 9781637150849, October 2022)

Reviewed by Ethan Davis, Oxford Exchange in Tampa, Florida

Fraternity by Andy Mientus

These chaotic passage of events and writing style reminded me a lot of the novel I Love You, Beth Cooper. Plot-wise, as a YA book, it is extremely insightful in regards to the AIDs epidemic, despite the allure of occult fantasy in this queer coming of age story. It was an entertaining read. I appreciate the tribute to notable gay figures within American history, as well as the representation of queer people of color. In all, it was extremely chaotic, and at times cheesy, but I would still read this and would recommend to those who enjoyed the Haunting of Jake Livingston.

Fraternity by Andy Mientus, (List Price: $19.99, Amulet Books, 9781419754708, September 2022)

Reviewed by Yarah Elshaer, Oxford Exchange in Tampa, Florida

Talli, Daughter of the Moon Vol. 1 by Sourya

I love it when the first volume of a series catches your attention and leaves you wanting more. When I started Talli, I wasn’t sure what to expect. At first, I thought it was going to be a normal run-of-the-mill Shonen-like manga where nothing crazily drastic happens to characters. Boy was I wrong. The second limbs start to fly and characters have intense personal issues/trauma means that what you are reading is going to have some meat to it. Really excited to find out more about the lore and characters!

Talli, Daughter of the Moon Vol. 1 by Sourya, (List Price: $19.99, Oni Press, 9781637150825, September 2022)

Reviewed by Ethan Davis, Oxford Exchange in Tampa, Florida

Berserk Deluxe Volume 11 by Kentaro Miura

This is the best series of all time, hands down. Absolutely gorgeous artwork, incredible world-building, and intense developments. Berserk is about trauma and how you can overcome that trauma. There will always be hardships and the only thing you can do is keep moving forward. I will always recommend this series to everyone. Character development is unmatched. Berserk has inspired so many other creative works of art, and it fully deserves recognition. 11 out of 10

Berserk Deluxe Volume 11 by Kentaro Miura, (List Price: $49.99, Dark Horse Manga, 9781506727554, July 2022)

Reviewed by Ethan Davis, Oxford Exchange in Tampa, Florida

Elsewhere by Alexis Schaitkin

Vera grew up in a picturesque town along the mountains where girls become women who become mothers with the caveat that some will vanish. Desperate to determine who is going to encounter this affliction, gossip consumes the small town of who loves their child too much or too little, who hugs their child too long or short, and much more. Eventually, Vera encounters motherhood and begins to question the affliction and her future. Will she be able to watch her daughter grow up or will she disappear? Throughout this book, I was glued to the pages, desperate to decipher Vera’s future, engrossed in the town gossip, and basking in the setting as if I were there. Alexis Schaitkin does a marvelous job bringing readers into this story and feeling as though the affliction could reach them. A beautiful tribute to motherhood and the trials it bears.

Elsewhere by Alexis Schaitkin, (List Price: $26.99, Celadon, 9781250219633, June 2022)

Reviewed by Stephanie Carrion, Oxford Exchange in Tampa, Florida

Etta Invincible by Reese Eschmann

Kids turned superheroes. A lost dog. A magical train. A friendship that can save the city. Etta Invincible, told in scenes of written chapters and comic book pages, tells the story of Etta and Eleazar as they search for a lost dog and face the overwhelming sights and sounds, quirky characters, and magical foes all in their city of Chicago.

Etta Invincible by Reese Eschmann, (List Price: $17.99, Aladdin, 9781534468375, July 2022)

Reviewed by Cat Chapman, Oxford Exchange in Tampa, Florida

The Scent of Burnt Flowers by Blitz Bazawule

Bazawule swiftly drops you into an immediate and tumultuous love story between Bernadette and Melvin as they escape the States seeking a fantastical refuge in 1960s Ghana. This piece is deeply heartbreaking, yet manages to hold it together through its magical storytelling. “Queen and Slim” fans will love this novel as its deep cinematic influence encourages evocative visuals and sentient understandings of the character’s interiors.

The Scent of Burnt Flowers by Blitz Bazawule, (List Price: $27, Ballantine Books, 9780593496237, June 2022)

Reviewed by Eden Hakimzadeh, Oxford Exchange in Tampa, Florida

In Every Mirror She’s Black by Lolá Ákínmádé Åkerström

Åkerström invites the reader into the complex and dynamic interior worlds of three Black women, with varying levels of privilege and proximity to whiteness, as they navigate the novel’s locations of America and Sweden. By following each of their unique and dynamic journeys, we learn about how our their intimate relationships reflect back the love and care they have learned to believe they deserve through social cues and cultural reminders. A story that paints landscapes of love and loss invites all readers to consider: if home is a feeling, how will you know you’ve found it? An extraordinary and fast-paced novel that I can not wait to recommend both solo and book club readers!

In Every Mirror She’s Black by Lolá Ákínmádé Åkerström, (List Price: $16.99, Sourcebooks Landmark, 9781728253169, June 2022)

Reviewed by Eden Hakimzadeh, Oxford Exchange in Tampa, Florida

Acts of Service by Lillian Fishman

I feel so strongly about this book, I truly think this is the best book I have read this year. A piece of art. The author managed to capture so perfectly the thoughts of sexuality, gender norms, and expressionism in a woman in her 20s. I admired her pushing the boundaries to talk about topics that are considered taboo, such as polyamory, infidelity, and manipulation. The writing was so beautiful, the characters were all so addictive, yet so horrible, and I just couldn’t put it down. Majority of the text is thoughts that the main character has, rather than action, so if you don’t like that, this is not the book for you. I feel like I could recommend this to any girl my age that is vocal about sex, feminism, and love. Truly a book I think everyone should read. I never like to re-read books, but this is a book I can definitely see myself re-reading. I am dying for a sequel, or at the very least, another novel by Lillian Fishman.

Acts of Service by Lillian Fishman, (List Price: $27, Hogarth, 9780593243763, May 2022)

Reviewed by Yarah Elshaer, Oxford Exchange in Tampa, Florida

Razorblade Tears by S. A. Cosby

Fantastic thriller with a tender narrative running throughout as two ex-convict fathers come to terms with each of their sons’ homosexuality too late. Highly recommended!

Razorblade Tears by S. A. Cosby, (List Price: $17.99, Flatiron Bookss, 9781250252715,  April 2022)

Reviewed by Laura Taylor, Oxford Exchange in Tampa, Florida

Who Is Wellness For? by Fariha Roisin

Who is Wellness For? is part-memoir, part well-researched collection of works that earnest endeavor in answering the title’s query. Roisin maps constellations of historical context, spiritual meaning, and community care. A map that is truly a gift for anyone who considers that self-healing work is never really meant to be done alone. Each dot on this map reminds us of the many people and communities before this moment that teach us the dire necessity of prioritizing communal care. This book is a total offering to its readers, both as a starting place or a gentle reminder, meeting them wherever they may be on their healing journey. I look forward to re-reading this book and have added all of her intentional citations to be TBR lists.

Who Is Wellness For? by Fariha Roisin, (List Price: $26.99, Harper Wave, 9780063077089, June 2022)

Reviewed by Eden Hakimzadeh, Oxford Exchange in Tampa, Florida

The Sex Lives of African Women by Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah

One of the most substantial and honest collections of essays about sex and pleasure I’ve ever read. Each author bares it all in order to give the reader permission to tell the truth about their relationship with sex. By centering voices and experiences that typically get left out of anthologies like this, we get to witness a multidimensional sexuality meditation through the lens of discovery, exploration, and joy. What a gift!

The Sex Lives of African Women by Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah, (List Price: $28, Astra House, 9781662650819,  March 2022)

Reviewed by Eden Hakimzadeh, Oxford Exchange in Tampa, Florida

Hansel and Greta by Jeanette Winterson

This book felt like a fever dream in all the wildest ways. From comedic to angering, this book covered an abundance of feelings and topics that made it whole. A fun and much needed adaptation to a classic fairytale. Will stay with you a long time after reading.

Hansel and Greta by Jeanette Winterson, (List Price: $17.95, Haymarket Books, 9781642595765, January 2022)

Reviewed by Stephanie Carrion, Oxford Exchange in Tampa, Florida

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