I have been debating for days whether I was going to stick to our regular blogging schedule this week. In light of every thing going on it seems unimportant but I have decided to go forward with posting because to me, reading books (both fiction and nonfiction) teaches empathy.
We are planning to offer some of our favorite fiction recommendations that are written by black authors and feature black characters throughout the weeks to come. Some that we have read and some that still sit on our TBRs.
Until then, I am excited to share what I’ve been reading and loving recently.
What We’ve FinishedHouse of Dragons (House of Dragons, #1) by Jessica Cluess
Published by Random House Books for Young Readers on May 12, 2020
Five royal houses will hear the call to compete in the Trial for the dragon throne. A liar, a soldier, a servant, a thief, and a murderer will answer it. Who will win?
When the Emperor dies, the five royal houses of Etrusia attend the Call, where one of their own will be selected to compete for the throne. It is always the oldest child, the one who has been preparing for years to compete in the Trial. But this year is different. This year, these five outcasts will answer the call....
THE LIAR: Emilia must hide her dark magic or be put to death.
THE SOLDIER: Lucian is a warrior who has sworn to never lift a sword again.
THE SERVANT: Vespir is a dragon trainer whose skills alone will keep her in the game.
THE THIEF: Ajax knows that nothing is free--he must take what he wants.
THE MURDERER: Hyperia was born to rule and will stop at nothing to take her throne.
I LOVED this book. I loved it so much that even though I did not receive it as an ARC I will be offering a full, spoiler free reviews early next week. The best I can describe it is The Triwizard Tournament meets Game of Thrones with dragon companions. It’s so good. Cluess does not hesitate shock the reader and keeps you guessing until the very end. While there are five different POVs I never felt confused or lost. It’s utter perfection! It will definitely be one of my favorite reads of the year.Beach Read by Emily Henry
on May 19, 2020
A romance writer who no longer believes in love and a literary writer stuck in a rut engage in a summer-long challenge that may just upend everything they believe about happily ever afters.
Augustus Everett is an acclaimed author of literary fiction. January Andrews writes bestselling romance. When she pens a happily ever after, he kills off his entire cast.
They're polar opposites.
In fact, the only thing they have in common is that for the next three months, they're living in neighboring beach houses, broke, and bogged down with writer's block.
Until, one hazy evening, one thing leads to another and they strike a deal designed to force them out of their creative ruts: Augustus will spend the summer writing something happy, and January will pen the next Great American Novel. She'll take him on field trips worthy of any rom-com montage, and he'll take her to interview surviving members of a backwoods death cult (obviously). Everyone will finish a book and no one will fall in love. Really.
Yes I totally caved to the hype and picked up this summer romance. Having just moved from northeastern Indiana it was fun to vicariously revisit the area. But Henry’s adult romance is so much more than just a fluffy contemporary romance. It deals with grief, loss of a parent, and writer’s block a among other things. It’s fun and entertaining but has enough substance to make you think.
What We’re Currently ReadingHalf Life by Lillian Clark
An overachiever enrolls in an experimental clone study to prove that two (of her own) heads are better than one in this fast-paced, near-future adventure that's Black Mirror meets Becky Albertalli.
There aren't enough hours in the day for Lucille--perfectionist, overachiever--to do everything she has to do, and there certainly aren't enough hours to hang out with friends, fall in love, get in trouble--all the teenage things she knows she should want to be doing instead of preparing for a flawless future. So when she sees an ad for Life2: Do more. Be more, she's intrigued.
The company is looking for beta testers to enroll in an experimental clone program, and in the aftermath of a series of disappointments, Lucille is feeling reckless enough to jump in. At first, it's perfect: her clone, Lucy, is exactly what she needed to make her life manageable and have time for a social life. But it doesn't take long for Lucy to become more Lucy and less Lucille, and Lucille is forced to stop looking at Lucy as a reflection and start seeing her as a window--a glimpse at someone else living her own life, but better. Lucy does what she really wants to, not what she thinks she should want to, and Lucille is left wondering how much she was even a part of the perfect life she'd constructed for herself. Lucille wanted Lucy to help her relationships with everyone else, but how can she do that without first rectifying her relationship with herself?
I will gushing about this book next week as part of our stop on a blog your with The Fantastic Flying Book Club. Suffice it to say that I love this book and I am a little less than halfway through. Lucille, our overachieving protagonist is so relateable and there is an edginess to the narrative that reminds me of shows like Black Mirror and American Horror Story.The End of October by Lawrence Wright
on April 28, 2020
In this propulsive medical thriller--from the Pulitzer Prize winner and best-selling author--Dr. Henry Parsons, an unlikely but appealing hero, races to find the origins and cure of a mysterious new killer virus as it brings the world to its knees.
At an internment camp in Indonesia, within one week, forty-seven people are pronounced dead with acute hemorrhagic fever. When the microbiologist and epidemiologist Henry Parsons travels there on behalf of the World Health Organization to investigate, what he finds will soon have staggering repercussions across the globe: an infected man is on his way to join the millions of worshippers in the annual Hajj to Mecca. Now, Henry joins forces with a Saudi doctor and prince in an attempt to quarantine the entire host of pilgrims in the holy city . . . Matilda Nachinsky, deputy director of U. S. Homeland Security, scrambles to mount a response to what may be an act of biowarfare . . . already-fraying global relations begin to snap, one by one, in the face of a pandemic . . . Henry's wife Jill and their children face diminishing odds of survival in Atlanta . . . and the disease slashes across the United States, dismantling institutions--scientific, religious, governmental--and decimating the population. As packed with suspense as it is with the riveting history of viral diseases, Lawrence Wright has given us a full-tilt, electrifying, one-of-a-kind thriller.
I added this one to my Book of the Month box more as a momento of the crazy year that has been 2020 and then immediately started the audiobook. With only a few hours left in the book it has been one wild ride. What I love most about it is the research done about other pandemics it is so fascinating to read about similar events across history.
What We’ll Read NextWhat's Left of Me Is Yours by Stephanie Scott
on June 23, 2020
A gripping debut set in modern-day Tokyo and inspired by a true crime, for readers of Everything I Never Told You and The Perfect Nanny, What's Left of Me Is Yours charts a young woman's search for the truth about her mother's death and the lengths that a family will go to keep safe what they hold most dear--whether or not that is one another.
In Japan, a covert industry has grown up around the "wakaresaseya" (literally "breaker-upper"), a person hired by one spouse to seduce the other in order to gain the advantage in divorce proceedings. When Satō hires Kaitarō, a wakaresaseya agent, to have an affair with his wife, Rina, he assumes it will be an easy case. But Satō has never truly understood Rina or her desires and Kaitarō's job is to do exactly that--until he does it too well. While Rina remains ignorant of the circumstances that brought them together, she and Kaitarō fall in a desperate, singular love, setting in motion a series of violent acts that will forever haunt her daughter's life.
Told from alternating points of view and across the breathtaking landscapes of Japan, Stephanie Scott exquisitely renders the affair and its intricate repercussions. As Rina's daughter, Sumiko, fills in the gaps of her mother's story and her own memory, Scott probes the thorny psychological and moral grounds of the actions we take in the name of love, asking where we draw the line between passion and possession.
So the other day I was just minding my own business doing behind the scenes library stuff when I looked at our “take a book” box and what book should I see except one of my most highly anticipated debuts of the summer. Part love story and part murder mystery I cannot wait to dive in.The Court of Miracles (Court of Miracles, #1) by Kester Grant
Published by Knopf Children's on June 2, 2020
Les Misérables meets Six of Crows in this page-turning adventure as a young thief finds herself going head to head with leaders of Paris's criminal underground in the wake of the French Revolution.
In the violent urban jungle of an alternate 1828 Paris, the French Revolution has failed and the city is divided between merciless royalty and nine underworld criminal guilds, known as the Court of Miracles. Eponine (Nina) Thénardier is a talented cat burglar and member of the Thieves Guild. Nina's life is midnight robberies, avoiding her father's fists, and watching over her naïve adopted sister, Cosette (Ettie). When Ettie attracts the eye of the Tiger--the ruthless lord of the Guild of Flesh--Nina is caught in a desperate race to keep the younger girl safe. Her vow takes her from the city's dark underbelly to the glittering court of Louis XVII. And it also forces Nina to make a terrible choice--protect Ettie and set off a brutal war between the guilds, or forever lose her sister to the Tiger.
The last book on my list is an alternate history reimagining of what would have happened if the French Revolution had failed. Our main character is Nina who will stop at nothing to protect her younger adopted sister Ettie. It sounds amazing and perfect for right now considering the fact that Grant is an author of color.
What About You?
What have you been reading lately? Tell us all about it in the comments!