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This may come as a shock to you, but Miranda loves books. She will read pretty much anything but her favorite genres include fantasy, contemporary fiction, and humor. When not reading, she might be found hiking or sitting on some mountain somewhere, trying both to catch her breath and enjoy the beautiful views. If you happen to run into her, please tell her about all of your favorite books, remind her to water her plants, and show her all of your adorable puppy photos!
The year is 2050 and the earth is dying. The Inside Project has been created to save those deemed worthy to live safely away from the climate disasters that have become commonplace. But of course, every utopia has its cracks and this one is no different. I loved this novel. Dystopian and horrifyingly conceivable of a possible future for our world, I highly recommend this fast-paced and thought provoking read.
This gorgeously illustrated graphic novel made me nostalgic for the New York friend's trip that I've never actually taken. It also reminded me of some great (and not so great) times in high school, dealing with all the changes that come with being a young adult. There are some heavy emotions in here and the story is all the more beautiful for it. It's about roaming, both physically and figuratively, but it's also about finding your way in the world and making space for the person you are becoming.
"I count the ways I love myself, I'm furthest from zero I've ever been." This is a poetry collection that I will absolutely be reading again soon but at a slower pace. With heavy hitting themes of generational trauma, self acceptance, violence against women and more, these poems felt highly personal and revelatory of different paths the author has walked. The writing style is such that I know these poems would be absolutely beautiful to hear read aloud. This paired with the author's debut, How to Cure a Ghost, make for an excellent collection of poetry that packs quite a punch.
This is an absolutely beautiful novel. I read it in one day and even though I definitely had a list of things to do that day, I kept getting pulled back until I had finished the entire book. Bryan Washington writes with so much intention and care that I almost felt as if I was reading an account of something that happened to a close friend or family member. His descriptions of food, sex, pain, and love of all kinds are brimming with heartfelt honesty and intensity. This follows three gay men as they deal with some of the hardest things, from death and grieving to accepting parts of yourself you've kept hidden for years. Easily one of my favorite novels of the year.
I'll be the first to admit that I'm pretty clueless when it comes to cooking. However, this wonderfully practical and accessible book breaks everything down in a way that makes me feel like I'm not completely hopeless and can actually handle what these techniques and recipes are asking of me. This is a new kitchen staple for me. If you're wondering which recipe you should start with (though there's definitely no wrong answer), I highly recommend the Loaded Sweet Potatoes or Matcha Lemon Bars!
Fans of Shirley Jackson rejoice! This modern day visit back to the world of Hill House is everything I needed to kick off spooky season. This was full of delightfully creepy easter eggs for those who have read the original, and is a great introduction for those who haven't. The feelings of both dread and enchantment that Hill House still inspires in me years after my first foray into its halls will keep me coming back again and again, much like the poor souls in this book who can't seem to stay away.
In picking this book up, I completely ignored the plea to "not judge a book by its cover" because, well, look at this cover. And I am happy to report that the contents of the book absolutely do it justice. John Scalzi's books are some of my favorites to read because they are full of humor and absurdity from start to finish and this one was no exception. If you one day hope to inherit your long lost uncle's villainy business, give this book a read to get some insight into how best to proceed (or not proceed) if ever you do. And maybe consider putting cats in charge because what other creature could possibly manage such a venture?
This book had me completely hooked right from the start. I never knew what was going to happen next and loved every minute of it. This is an exploration of hunger, desperation, gluttony, and the lengths we will go to to protect what we decide is most important even if it costs us everything. People are so strange and so wonderful and this dystopian novel perfectly captures all the highs and lows of existense in a changing world. Zhang's other book, How Much of These Hills is Gold, is also one of my favorites and I highly recommend both!
This little book of poetic letters was healing for my heart. It's easy to get discouraged by the amount of hatred and contention in the world but these pages reminded me that there is also goodness to be found. Written by a Chinese-Canadian trans woman, this is a beautiful and insightful perspective that unfortunately often gets overlooked in our loud society. Please read this and treat yourself to some self-love and care, and a deeper understanding and compassion for your fellow humans.
Please give me all the books Travis Baldree ever writes. This one is just as much of a warm hug as Legends and Lattes, and I once again wish I could live within these pages just for a little while to experience all my cozy fantasy dreams. You should most definitely read this and if you haven't yet read Legends and Lattes, do yourself a favor and grab a copy of that while you're at it.
Dealing with themes of depression and anxiety caused primarily by the black hole of late stage capitalism, this book is an excellent examination of how it really feels to be caught up in a whirlwind of corporate doom and existential dread. Despite the dreary topic matter, I was completely entranced from start to finish with the amazing writing and the completely relatable feeling of pointlessness that follows the main character, Cassie, throughout the story. This is an excellent read but be warned, it may leave you rethinking your 9-5.
Part queer coming-of-age story and part in depth look at the author's adult life working both as a dominatrix and in academia, this book was a reminder of why I love memoirs so much. The vulnerability and candidness left me in awe of the author's ability to recount her experiences and personal feelings surrounding them. This looks closely at the relationship between self worth, sexuality, and the effect other people can have on the most intimate parts of ourselves. I recommend checking content warnings before jumping in but this was an engrossing read and one that I won't soon forget.
What a wild ride of a book! I couldn't put it down. It's a feminist western pitched as "True Grit meets Sarah Waters" and after reading, that's a pretty spot-on likeness. It follows the story of Bridget, a young woman left on her own and with no options, who ends up working at the local brothel. She is set very quickly on a path of self discovery and growth, whether she wants it or not. The plot twists were brilliant and unexpected. I don't read westerns very often but after this one I will definitely be keeping an eye out for more.
This is a truly fantastic book. It's an account of a journey that pushed the boundaries of the time and disregarded gender norms that told women what they shouldn't and couldn't in the 1930s. Prior to this, nobody had yet to survey the plants along what was then said to be the most dangerous river in America, and these two women wanted to be the first to do so. I highly recommend this if you have any interest in the history of the Grand Canyon, the science of botany, or just want to read a smart and funny book about passionate women risking everything to journey into the great unknown.
It's no longer a question of if I will read a book by Lauren Groff but when, and I'm very glad I picked this one up sooner rather than later. This is an absolutely brutal and heart-rending story of a girl trying to survive in the wilderness after escaping from a settlement of colonial invaders who forced her to travel with them to the "new world." This book is full of anguish but also left me feeling a deeper appreciation for the power of nature and the fragility of life. The beauty of Groff's writing, even when about truly horrific experiences, is something that I'm in awe of every time I open one of her books.
Y'ALL. This graphic novel is cheesily one of my favorites of the year so far. It is so gouda. Brie-lliant in every way. When only child Lady Camembert loses her father, she is at risk of losing her home and inheritance. The only way to avoid that is by pretending to be a son instead. Her plan goes perfectly until she meets and befriends the beautiful Princess Brie. Please read this and obsess with me over the adorable and cheesy shenanigans that ensue. Perfect for fans of THE GIRL FROM THE SEA and THE PRINCE AND THE DRESSMAKER.
The cover caught my attention and the writing style and story kept it through every page. This book speaks on many of the same things we see in our world today; the struggles that marginalized peoples face, the taboo of certain topics and interests, and the utter devastation that can be done by corporations with seemingly unchecked power and greed. In this story, while sexual desires and appetites are seen as mundane, eating is done in secret and enjoying food is an unholy act. We read about women who struggle within the confines of what society has deemed acceptable, and we see their journey to find what makes them truly happy. While not what I would call a "traditional" sci-fi/fantasy read, it's one I highly recommend.
An incredibly moving and utterly absorbing family saga, this is one of my favorite reads of the year so far. It follows three siblings who were sent ahead of the rest of their family on a journey as part of the "mass exodus" from Vietnam in the 1970's. Their story is a story of tragedy that is all too true to life for those who have been forced to migrate due to wars and other circumstances outside of their control. It is also a story of overcoming, and is so poignant and beautiful in its telling that I was captivated from the first page to the last sentence. This is a quick read but a powerful one that I can't recommend highly enough.
For those looking for a book that is different from what you would imagine a “normal” murder mystery to be, this is a near-future dystopian novel that follows the lives of a group of socially and politically marginalized neighbors living in a neglected urban housing complex. Think 1984 by George Orwell. Perfect for fans of slower paced, character-driven books and anyone in search of something unique in the world of speculative fiction.
Murder mystery but in space! This has everything you could possibly want in a sci-fi/mystery read. Aliens, spaceships, witty banter, tragic backstories, twists and turns for days. I could go on and on. It’s weird in the best way. Looking forward to reading the next in the series!
This book was unsettling in the best way. Set amongst Florida swampland, this is about a group of 13-year-olds who obsess over the disappearance of the pastor's daughter. Jumping back and forth between the present and the future, the writing is mesmerizing and almost hypnotic. Descriptions of bare feet being attacked by fire ants and cigarette lighters being held to skin left me squirming. This is a great debut from Dizz Tate and I'm looking forward to reading what she writes next.
Might want to buckle your seatbelt for this one because you're going to be speeding through these pages. This novel follows Damani, a Rideshare driver barely making ends meet after the death of her father. When she meets Jolene, a "woke" white woman, we get an up close and personal look at the harm that can be done by those who believe they know what's best without actually listening to the people they are trying to advocate for. This was a gut-punch of a book and Priya Guns is a new voice that I can't wait to read more from.
I love books that are more about the journey than the destination. This book didn't seem to have much of a destination at all, meandering through beautiful prose and odd realities that left me wondering if what I was reading was actually a dream. I'm still not sure if the main character knew either. This is about the ghosts we encounter in the mundane and the lasting effects of our smallest decisions. It contemplates love and loss; reading like a piece of music as the pages lead you through a tale both strange and enchanting.
Perfect for fans of BRAIDING SWEETGRASS and WORLD OF WONDERS, this is a debut essay collection that focuses on ten sea creatures alongside reflections on the author's own experiences growing up as a queer, nonbinary Asian American. The juxtaposition of these obscure sea beings and Imbler's own experiences with race and queerness creates a beautiful portrait that is both scientific and deeply personal. Part nature writing part memoir, this is a thoughtful examination of life and the ability to thrive even in the harshest of conditions.
This memoir is a heart-wrenching depiction of coming-of-age amidst love and grief in the 90's. The author is the son of Taiwanese immigrants who maintain roots primarily in Taiwan, leaving him to deal with a lot of things on his own, most notably of which being the murder of one of his best friends. He finds himself in writing, art, and music, and in doing so also finds pieces of his friend to hold onto. This is about friendship, youth, and finding an identity while forging a path ahead through pain and trauma. Some of the best books are ones that leave you wanting more and I just hope that Hua Hsu keeps writing because I'm a fan for life.
The Walking Dead but instead of zombies it's cats? And instead of infection through bite it's infection through cuddles?? This is the most fun thing I've read in quite a while and if something like this ever happens for real, I'm toast. I will be among the first to be infected. My cat can unenthusiastically confirm.
This was pitched as a queer Knives Out and if that doesn't make you want to read, I don't know what else I could possibly say to change your mind. This was so much fun. A locked room historical noir at its core, pick this one up if you want to lose yourself for a little while in this fantastic murder mystery. Bonus points if you can guess the murderer prior to the big reveal.
This debut about a multigenerational Vietnamese American family was a moving portrayal of how generations are affected by the experiences and choices of those that came before. This focuses on the relationships between mothers and daughters and is told from several points of view throughout multiple time periods, drawing on Vietnamese zodiac astrology to connect the fated events in their lives. I was captivated right from the start and am looking forward to reading more from this author in the future. This is a great read for fans of Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi.
Okay, this is CUTE. I tore through this in about an hour and will probably end up reading it again sometime soon. Ella and Madeleine perfectly compliment each other's strengths and weaknesses as they work together to right some wrongs and just be generally adorable. This is perfect for some lighthearted but meaningful reading, accompanied by really great illustrations. Highly recommend!!
This is no ordinary ghost story. It is wholly unique from any other that I've read or watched. It's the story of 14-year old Blanca (if you count ghost years she's actually about 400 years old) who falls in love with legendary writer George Sand who has come to visit the island where Blanca died and is now haunting. As we read about her tragic life and horrible death, we are simultaneously reading about how she has found ways to "live" as a ghost, falling in love and having experiences through the eyes of the living. With beautiful writing, dark humor, and so much depth of feeling, this book is one I will likely be thinking about for quite some time.
The cover is what really drew me to this book but after discovering that it's about reality TV stars who get caught up in a mystery, I was hooked. Something about the train wreck that is reality TV reels me in and I can't bring myself to look away. This book feels like that but better because you don't want to look away. This is creepy. This is funny. This even has moments of depth and true heartache which are not typically characteristics of reality TV. This is one of my favorite reads so far this year. Somebody please, for goodness sake, cuddle with Patricia.
Once I started this, I couldn't stop. This book is a retelling of sorts. It takes two classic characters, Dracula and Mr. Rochester, and tells us the story of their wives. This is the account I wish we had all along. About women who were treated horribly by these infamous men and their stories of fighting back, finding ways to live, and loving deeply despite the horrors forced on them. Read this. Read this and then get all of your friends who are fans of Jane Eyre or Dracula to read this too.
To tell you I liked this book would honestly be an understatement. "A novel of high fantasy and low stakes," is such an accurate description. The stakes are low but the heart and hopes are high. I was immersed in the world and the characters, their goals and accomplishments. If I don't get to have a cute lil coffee shop fantasy adventure at some point in my life, at least I will have lived it through these pages. Travis Baldree, I will read everything you write.
A wild west murder mystery but with angels and demons?? Yes, please! This is such a fun and quick read. I couldn't put it down because I needed to know how it ended. Rebecca Roanhorse creates worlds that I love spending time in and I would be thrilled if she decided to write more stories in this universe.
This book somehow feels as large as the ocean while also being stiflingly claustrophobic. The beauty of the writing and the emotion injected into the most everyday, ordinary things is completely engrossing. This book follows the story of a married couple, Leah and Miri, and how their lives are upturned when Leah gets trapped at the bottom of the ocean on a sub nautical research assignment. Alternating between two characters and two timelines, we read about Leah's experience being stuck underwater as we are also reading about Miri living with how Leah has changed after returning home. Speculative fiction with moments of both absolute horror and heart wrenching romance, this is the perfect read for fans of Jeff VanderMeer's Annihilation or if you are simply wanting to read something entirely unique.
This is an absolutely stunning memoir. The writing is beautiful and so is the storytelling. Putsata Reang gives us an account of her experiences growing up as a gay Khmer American as well as sharing her mother's story of escaping Cambodia and raising her family in a new place while trying to survive an abusive marriage. This book felt so personal to read - almost like reading journal entries. The relationship between mother and daughter is raw and real, the experiences shared bringing feelings of both joy and sadness. If you are going to read one memoir this year, let it be this one.
What a beautiful book. I felt pretty much every possible emotion while reading. And it definitely hurt my heart at times which I think is a Nina LaCour specialty. If one of her books doesn't make you cry at least twice, you must not be paying very close attention. Anyway, crying aside, please read this. It touches on important themes of addiction, family hardships, relationship struggles, and a lot more. The two women who lead this story are compassionate and caring even though they have plenty of reasons not to be. This is all about overcoming and learning to live and love even when the world is throwing all kinds of stuff your way. Grab a drink, pull up a chair, and cry over this beautiful book with me.