Tomi Adeyemi’s Children of Blood and Bone is a stellar young-adult fantasy novel. It’s the start of what promises to be a new blockbuster series, with a film adaptation already in development. The heroine Zélie leads a wide and compelling cast of characters in the land of Orïsha, where magic has been banned and those who have it are ostracized or killed. Adeyemi’s world-building is excellent, and the development of her characters and themes assures readers are hooked until the final page. Highly recommended for those in search of a gripping read that will introduce them to a setting they’ll be thrilled not to have seen the last of. —Raela Schoenherr
Raela Schoenherr is an editor at a Minnesota publishing company. She loves to talk books and writing on Twitter
For the dog days of summer, I’ve chosen a terrific spirit to accompany one of the most refreshing cocktails: the gin and tonic. To go with your tonic, I encourage you to try Uncle Val’s Botanical Gin. Gin is most often distilled from grain, and infused with many botanical elements, giving a wonderful array of flavors. Uncle Val’s is made entirely stateside in the Pacific Northwest, distilled five times for smoothness and infused with juniper, lemon peel, sage, lavender and many other botanicals. For an extra crisp and summery taste, try it with a cucumber wedge instead of lime. $34.99. —Kevin Castellano
Kevin Castellano is the general manager of Wayzata Wine and Spirits and a lake-area wine and liquor expert.
Tinariwen came together as a band of Tuareg refugee fighters who grew up listening to Arabic protest chants, as well as Western rock stars like Elvis, Jimi Hendrix and Bob Marley. Often referred to as “desert blues,” their music is guitar-driven and deeply influenced by their experiences as Saharan nomads. The group’s founder witnessed his father’s murder when he was 4, a casualty of the 1963 uprising in Mali. In 2013, Tinariwen was even targeted by militant Islamists. Elwan, their newest album, is another poetic call for freedom and real revolution rock. Opening track “Tiwàyyen” is a haunting call and response. “Sastanàqqàm” feels like it was lifted off an experimental Black Keys album. They show their range with some laid-back country Western flair on “Nizzagh Ijbal.” If you enjoy Tinariwen, check out Umm Kulthum, the most popular singer in the history of the Arabic-speaking world. —Sean Schultz
Sean Schultzis a lifelong musician who enjoys consuming popular culture. He lives in Minneapolis with his wife, new baby daughter and two dogs.
Read, Drink, Listen: August 2018