Reading Recs

Spring 2019 Reading Recs

Happy spring! Hooray for more sunlight and fewer dark dreary days. Here are a few of the books I’ve enjoyed over the last few months.

Blood Water Paint by Joy McCullough (YA Historical Fiction / Verse)

It’s a book in verse! I knew this story would destroy me by the time I was two pages in. Through poetry we learn the story of a teenaged Artemisia Gentileschi and her public rape trial. The book deals with the aftermath of sexual assault, the struggle to find your own power, and finding your voice. It’s a book full of cathartic rage. Beautiful and dark.

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi (YA Fantasy)

It’s a gilded age heist! This story is stuffed with Chokshi’s sumptuous prose and gorgeous visuals, but it’s also a lot more humorous than her previous YA novels. The characters on the ragtag team of thieves each have their own motivations for working together, and sometimes against one another. Each one was a delight in their own way.

I particularly loved this for the Filipino representation, which I’ve almost never seen before. There’s even Tagalog in this book! It’s got a multicultural cast, Jewish, bisexual, and autistic rep. Here’s a finger to anyone who says that POC cannot exist in fiction set in western historical settings.

The One You Fight For by Roni Loren (Contemporary Romance)

I was bawling through the last half of this novel. This series deals with the fallout of a high school shooting, and what happens to those that survive. This particular book wrestles with who deserves forgiveness. The main characters are Taryn, a survivor of the shooting, and Shaw who was the shooter’s brother.

As usual, Loren’s writing left me feeling like my heart was a little less heavy. There is so much compassion and woven in to this story line. There was also the smoking hot chemistry. Loren took a story line that could be problematic in a less able writer’s hands, and dealt with it with graceful sensitivity. I’m forever a fan.

The Storm Runner by J.C. Cervantes (MG)

This story had me laughing and grinning (also Cervantes took a puke joke and managed to run with it through the whole book). If you want a lesson on voice, pick it up. It’s stuffed full of terrifying Maya mythology, but it’s still modern and fun. This book is part of the “Rick Riordon Presents” line, and judging by my first taste, I can say you should read them all.

Wildcard (Warcross #2) by Marie Lu (YA Science Fiction)

I highly recommend this duology. I’d describe it as: A virtual worldwide Nintendo-like tournament goes awry, because something terrible is at work behind the scenes, and only a brilliant hacker/bounty hunter can save the day.

This sequel picks up about a minute after Warcross ends. Lu is a master at twists and surprises. She left me unable to predict what would happen from one chapter to the next, and the pacing never lets up. This book concluded the duology with just the right touch: not too sweet, but still hopeful. The writing is SO good.


Reading Recs

Last year, at reader request, I created a recommended reading list, and in 2018 I nearly tripled the number of books I read, so this will be fun! Maybe you’re still looking for book gifts? I’ve got you covered. Not all of these books are 2018 releases, but I did read them this year so they’re still fresh in my mind.

Fave Adult Reads 

  • City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty 
  • The Poppy War by R. F. Kuang 
  • Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse

Fave YA Reads 

  • The Education of Margot Sanchez by Lilliam Rivera
  • American Panda by Gloria Chao
  • Legendary by Stephanie Garber 
  • Warcross by Marie Lu
  • The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan

For The Most Intricately Crafted Narratives

  • Jade City by Fonda Lee
  • House of Binding Thorns by Aliette DeBodard

For The Worldbuilding Aficionados

  • The Belles by Dhionelle Clayton  (YA)
  • Dread Nation by Justina Ireland  (YA)

For the Dark Fairy Tale Lovers

  • The Wicked Deep by Shea Enrnshaw (YA)
  • Blanca and Roja by Anna-Marie McLemore (YA)
  • The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert (YA)

Notable Non-Fiction

  • Quackery by Lydia Kang and Nate Pedersen
  • Steering the Craft by Ursula LeGuin

If You Like It Hot (Adult Romance)

  • The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang 
  • A Hope Divided by Alyssa Cole 
  • The One You Can’t Forget by Roni Loren

Made me Laugh (And that’s a hard thing to do)

  • Royals by Rachel Hawkins (YA)
  • A Duke by Default by Alyssa Cole

Stories That Left Me Twisted

  • The Devourers by Indra Das
  • MEM by Bethany C. Morrow
  • The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

If you ever want a particular recommendation (Say, you like action packed narratives, or stories about ghosts) Please feel free to ask! I’ve always got plenty.