Jennifer Stevenson's 2004 debut, Trash Sex Magic (Small Beer Press), is in fact most trashy, sexy, and magical, and even a little creepy--but inventive and engaging from start to finish. Set in fictional Berne, Illinois, on the Fox River, the book stars a pair of trailer-dwelling heroines, mother and daughter Gelia and Raedawn Somershoe. Still a hottie at 60, Gelia has an irresistible sexual allure, as does Raedawn. They also have a supernatural connection with their surroundings--including a 60-foot tree that happens to be one of Raedawn's lovers. But when a developer schemes to take over their property and has the tree cut down, things get truly strange. Swarms of toads and turtles emerge from bubbling pools. Birds and bugs go into mating frenzies. Cast-iron foxes rise up and run. People shape-shift into animals. And unless Raedawn finds a lover to take the place of her tree--with somewhat dire consequences for said lover--there'll be much more weirdness to come. Stevenson (who lives in Evanston) will read from Trash Sex Magic as well as her forthcoming The Brass Bed, which involves a reluctant incubus, as part of the Bookslut Reading Series; she'll be joined by Charles Blackstone (The Week You Weren't Here) and Maureen McHugh (Mothers and Other Monsters). Tue 8/23, 7:30 PM, Hopleaf Bar, 5148 N. Clark, 312-850-4277.