#24in48 Recommendations

Originally, I was going to do a post about what I’m reading for #24in48 which is happening this weekend (click the link for the deets), however, it turns out…the spawn are finally joining us in Pittsburgh that weekend so we will be running around showing them their new city. So I thought maybe I would help with some recommendations. I’m a bookseller on hiatus, it’s the least I can do. As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t generally do a lot of my heavy reading for readathons, otherwise it’ll feel like I’m not making any progress so I’ll be keeping it nice and light (in page length anyway). I’m also going to keep it to more recent books since I haven’t really talked about anything newish in the last two years on here. And away we go!

Fiction

The Lady's Guide to Celestial Mechanics (Feminine Pursuits, #1)The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics by Olivia Wait

F/F Regency romance is sparse on the ground when it comes to the Big 5 publishers so when I heard about this story about an astronomer who falls for an explorer’s widow? I was basically the human realization of that Fry gif. This hit all the spots. Fiber art! Science! Sexy times! All the exclamation points.

 

 

 

 

Kingdom of Exiles (The Beast Charmer, #1)Kingdom of Exiles by Maxym M. Martineau

While we are on the topic of romance, let’s talk about this romance/fantasy. To be honest, I still can’t figure out if it’s Romance with a fantasy theme or Fantasy with a romance subplot. That’s not a knock. I really liked that way Martineau blended it. As a bookseller, I just didn’t know where to shelve it. Ha! Anyway, it is a fun start to a series that I’m seriously interested in seeing where it goes.

 

 

 

An Illusion of Thieves (Chimera, #1)An Illusion of Thieves by Cate Glass

Also the first in a new series, I had a good time with this fantasy novel about a royal courtesan who is exiled when her brother steals from the wrong person and now has to keep an eye on him. It’s not flashy magic, and there’s a found family aspect which I am a huge fan of.

 

 

 

 

MiddlegameMiddlegame by Seanan McGuire

What, you haven’t heard me screaming about this book already? I’ve been reading Seanan McGuire forever and she STILL BLOWS ME AWAY with this standalone about two people, Roger and Dodger who are unexplainably linked. The technical writing alone is fantabulous. Also do yourself a favor and listen to it on audio because Amber Benson narrates and she is amazeballs. It is on the longer side that I generally don’t recommend, but  the plot’s roller coaster will keep you going.

 

The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill SistersThe Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters by Balli Kaur Jaswal

If you loved Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows, you need Jaswal’s recent gift to the literary world (and if you haven’t read it, go do that one too). Three sisters are sent on a pilgrimage to India after their mother’s death. The catch? They don’t really see eye to eye. Themes of immigration, sisterhood, familial obligation, and culture are weaved together so beautifully here. It was one of the first books I read in 2019 and I’m still thinking about it.

 

Nonfiction

Southern Lady CodeSouthern Lady Code by Helen Ellis

Ellis’s short story collection American Housewife is my favorite recommendation for people who don’t like short stories. It’s amazing. And everything I love about it, Ellis puts in this essay collection (also great rec for people who don’t like essays. See what I did there?). This is the book to read for quick bites of wit and charm in equal measures.

 

 

Call Them by Their True Names: American Crises (and Essays)Call Them by Their True Names by Rebecca Solnit

Another great essay collection, but this time, less funny. Solnit is spot on with most of her observations and with the state of our nation at the moment (let’s be real, forever) this hits in the spot that tells you this is all fucked up and these are the reasons why that maybe you couldn’t name.

 

 

 

We're Going to Need More WineWe Are Going to Need More Wine by Gabrielle Union

I’m just going to say what I put down for IndieNext. Writing this off as another celebrity memoir is the worst mistake you can make in your reading life. Union has put together a collection of essays covering topics of race, feminism, beauty standards, and fame that truly touch the soul. I would recommend for fans of Roxane Gay and Phoebe Robinson, for her blunt truthfulness and heart. I thoroughly enjoyed reading every essay and would read anything she writes in the future. (TW: rape)

 

Believe Me: A Memoir of Love, Death, and Jazz ChickensBelieve Me: A Memoir of Love, Death and Jazz Chickens by Eddie Izzard

I am a huge fan of Eddie Izzard’s and have been since high school when I discovered Dress to Kill. I highly recommend the audio of this because of course I do. It’s Eddie. He talks about coming to terms with being transgender, a word he never applied to himself, his comedy career, his family, and everything in between. Then go watch all of his standup…after the readathon, of course.

 

 

Priestdaddy: A Memoir

Priestdaddy by Patricia Lockwood

Ending it with one more audiobook recommendation because Lockwood herself reads it and while a lot of authors can’t pull it off, Lockwood nails it. She does fantastic impressions of her family which is worth the price of the audiobook. She recounts the years where after her husband has some health problems they move in with her conservative parents. And oh boy, it’s a doozy. You need to read it to believe this kind of wild. You’ll laugh out loud on your commute and scare the crap out of that baby sleeping in their stroller. I’m sorry. But not really.

 

So that’s it, I mean, it’s not really it because if you know me, I have more recommendations where that came from, but these are a good start. If you want more, you know where to find me.

What are some books you are recommending for people’s #24in48 needs?

July Book Club Favorites

This month the Ladies Reading Speculative Fiction book club read Redwood and Wildfire by Andrea Hairston. We haven’t picked our August book yet so stay tuned!

Here’s what some of us enjoyed this month outside of our book club read.

Roses and Rot by Kat Howard. This hit all the right buttons for me: an artists’ colony on the edge of Faerie? Where do I sign up? Although, like any “true” tale of the Fae, that attractive idea is more of a snare than a treat. The voice of the novel manages to feel real and contemporary while weaving in all the peril and beauty of fairy tales. Excerpts of the main character’s own writing project insightfully explore the themes of those evergreen stories. Echoes of Tam Lin foreshadow the climactic struggle of artists from all disciplines competing to be good enough for the Fae. Anyone who has asked themselves why they work so hard to “make it” in the arts will understand the stakes. Add to the mix a “stage mom” worse than any stepmother, and a sister-love better than Anna and Elsa – Roses and Rot kept me enthralled. One of my top reads this year. –Juniper


Watership Down by Richard Adams. There’s a Seanan McGuire quote about Watership Down, which is roughly that it takes an extraordinary book and an extraordinary writer for a book about rabbits to be more reflective of the human condition than most books about humanity, and it’s completely spot-on. I’ve read this book so many times that I can’t even begin to count them all, and each time has been equally precious and important to me. There’s a tendency for people to look at Watership Down and think, “ah, a kids’ book about rabbits, this won’t be that rewarding,” and that tendency is incredibly unfortunate. Watership is one of the most rewarding books I’ve ever read, which is why I  keep coming back to it. It’s about rabbits, yes, and you can absolutely read it to your children. However, its success lies in things that appeal to ten-year-olds and fifty-year-olds alike: This is a story about danger, war, camaraderie, loyalty, death, and need. It’s about refugees setting up in new territory, being welcomed and rejected in turn, and figuring out how it is that they must live their lives in their new home. It leans heavily on the loyalty and love between those who leave home together and fight together to find a new place in the world, and it always returns to hope, joy in the smallest things in life, and the bonds between us. -Anie

As for me. I thoroughly enjoyed Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. It was a heartbreaking story told in 300 years of one family from Ghana. I loved the changing POVs as it moved from one generation to the next. You get a sense of how each character saw themselves and how then they were perceived by their descendants as well as how their choices (and in some cases their lack of freedom to make choices) affect the next generation.

What were your favorite books of the month?

WWW Wednesdays 6/22

WWW Wednesday is a book meme run by Taking on a World of Words.

Every week I’m going to jump on here and talk about the week’s books. So let’s get to it shall we?

What are you currently reading? I just started The Geek Feminist Revolution  by Kameron Hurley which so far is pretty interesting. Remember, I love books about the arts so it should be no surprise I’m also into The Fifth Avenue Artists Society by Joy Calloway.

What did you recently finish reading? Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge by Paul Krueger was great. I have been a fan of urban fantasy for years and this was a great new addition to the genre. I had a lot of fun reading it and can’t wait to see where the series goes. I also finished We Were Feminists Once: From Riot Grrl to Covergirl, the Buying and Selling of a Political Movement by  Andi Heisler, which was enlightening. I think it is a must read for any feminist. Roses and Rot by Kat Howard rounds out my reads for this week. I haven’t been so pleased by a book in a long time. Howard’s prose was lovely and the story was engaging. It’s been a long time since I’ve read so many great books in a row. Hopefully it continues.

What do you think you’ll read next? I’m looking forward to reading Sweet bitter  by Stephanie Danler. I really love books about cooking and restaurants. I also need to start Redwood and Wildfire by Andrea Hairston for my book club pick.

What does your book life look like this week?

WWW Wednesdays 6/15

WWW Wednesday is a book meme run by Taking on a World of Words.

Every week I’m going to jump on here and talk about the week’s books. So let’s get to it shall we?

What are you currently reading? I’m currently reading The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye. I’m not loving it, but I’m not hating it. I admit to being a bit biased since the concept of the book is two magicians competing using their magic. Sounds a bit like The Night Circus and in my opinion, the latter did it with more imagery and heart. So far, I’m not feeling very interested in any of the characters. I’m disappointed because I wanted to love it. I’m also reading Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge by Paul Krueger. I’m only a few chapters in, but I’m really loving it. A Chinese-American protagonist, alcohol created superpowers, creepy things in the night? What’s not to love?

What did you recently finish reading? I finished a few recently. The Great 2016 Challenge has been working pretty well for me. The most recently finished was The Star-Touched Queen by Roshabi Chokshi, which I found to be really well written with lovely imagery and an engaging plot. I also read two sad books, What Lies Between Us by Naomi Munaweera and  An Unrestored Woman by Shobhaa Rao respectively. I expecting a sad read, but the content of that sadness was something I wasn’t ready for. I don’t want to give things away, just that these normally would be books I avoid. They were wonderfully written so I don’t want to dissuade anyone from reading it. It was just the subject matter. I have to say especially for An Unrestored Woman, I loved the way it was written as paired short stories. My main complaint with short stories is that I want more, this fulfilled that need. I also finished a nonfiction with Pistols and Petticoats: 175 Years of Lady Detectives in Fact and Fiction by Erika Janik. On the whole it was filled with a lot of cool facts and references, but it could have been so much better. It seemed to focus mostly on white ladies only and I think the author would have benefited from looking at comics as well for her examples of lady detectives. Especially to show the difference between the roles of the lady detectives in the beginning with the ones in modern times. Jessica Jones in comparison to Nancy Drew? Lots of food for thought there.

What do you think you’ll read next? Technically I’m kinda reading We Were Feminists Once: From Riot Grrl to Covergirl, the Buying and Selling of a Political Movement by  Andi Zeisler already, if you count I’ve read the introduction. I’m really interested to read the points about commercializing feminism. I love books about art in all of its forms so Roses and Rot by Kat Howard sounds like it’s totally in my wheelhouse.

What does your book life look like this week?

WWW Wednesdays 6/8

WWW Wednesday is a book meme run by Taking on a World of Words.

Every week I’m going to jump on here and talk about the week’s books. So let’s get to it shall we?

What are you currently reading? I’m continuing the great 2016 Hardback Challenge with What Lies Between Us by Naomi Munaweera and Pistols and Petticoats: 175 Years of Lady Detectives in Fact and Fiction by Erika Janik.

What did you recently finish reading? I just finished First Women: The Grace and Power of America’s Modern First Ladies by Kate Andersen Brower. I wasn’t overly thrilled with it. It came off super gossipy and sort of catty. Brower used a lot of anonymous sources saying one first lady said awful things about another first lady. The cattiness seemed to take up most of the book instead of really focus on the women themselves and their lives. Or she would use one First Lady’s faults to bump up another which is a serious no-no in my book. I also finished Before We Visit the Goddess, the latest by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni. I adored Mistress of Spices, Queen of Dreams, and Leaving Yuba City: Poems. When I reviewed it for Litsy, I kept going between Pick or So-So. It just felt a little underdeveloped for me, but on the whole I did enjoy it. I’m a big fan of mother/daughter stories.

What do you think you’ll read next? An Unrestored Woman, a debut novel by Shobha Rao that I picked up at the Bay Area Book Fest last weekend. The bookseller promised me a tragic story and it feels like I’m ready for one right now. Also for my fantasy needs, I’m going to read The Star-Touched Queen by Roshabi Chokshi. I have heard such wonderful things.

What does your book life look like this week?

The Great Read All My 2016 Hardbacks Before They Go to Paperback Challenge

I recently started a book budget (my spending on books got Shopaholic out of control), so I’ve made some ground rules on what books I do spend money on. I do buy ebooks from Amazon, mostly the ones on sale for $1.99. If I’m buying it in print for more than $15, I double check how long I’ve wanted it.

I noticed that some of the books I thought I wanted so badly that I bought them right away are now coming out in paperback, and that copy I bought? Still on my TBR bookcase. This isn’t saying anything about the books or their quality. Only that I am extremely fickle and get distracted by all the books. How can I fix this? It is ridiculously hard to keep up with all the books that are coming out, not to mention get too all the backlist books I missed along the way. I did pretty well recently clearing some of that backlist, so I thought maybe I should devote myself to reading these awesome front list books that I absolutely had to have. I declare it the Great 2016 Read My 2016 Hardbacks Before They Go to Paperback Challenge. Yes, usually it takes about a year for books to go to paperback, but you’ve seen my shelves (What?! you haven’t seen my shelves? You need to be following me on Instagram). There are a lot of books to get to. If I can clear this backlog then maybe it’ll be easier when new books come out. Are you laughing? Stop it. Of course I’m aware I’ll never be caught up, but a girl can dream, right?

Since I’ve taken up this challenge in the middle of May, I’ve read four (!) books that I owned in hardback. I’m working on Jane Steele by Lyndsey Faye currently.

Finished

TBR

Are there any books you really need to get to this summer?

May Book Club Favorites

This month the Ladies Reading Speculative Fiction book club read Ancient, Ancient by Kiini Ibura Salaam. Our next pick is Redwood and Wildfire by Andrea Hairston.

Here’s what the ladies enjoyed this month outside of our book club read.

Come as You Are: The Surprising Science That Will Transform Your Sex Life by Emily Nagoski. I can say that the subtitle is entirely apt. It sounds like a self-help book, but it’s more like a self-acceptance book – and that REALLY HELPS! We all tend to think we’re at least a little bit broken, so…just read this. And then gush about it to your partner. –Juniper



Fable” by Charles Yu. A few years ago I picked up Yu’s How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe on the recommendation of my friend Oliver. I’ve read a lot of science fiction and it’s rare that I read something truly surprising, but Yu’s novel was rich, complex, innovative, and heartfelt. So when I heard this week that Yu had a story in the New Yorker, I immediately went to check it out. “Fable” took my breath away. Yu deconstructs allegory in his stories. Instead of disguising the true content of his narratives, he presses the edges of them by meticulously unwinding the metaphorical veneer surrounding them, stitch by stitch. “Fable” is simultaneously a surreal and true-to-life tale about the nature of love, heartbreak, and family and how we work our way through it. He wields a plain, seemingly simplistic writing style defiantly, revealing the deeply moving story underneath. It’s well worth a read. –Clara

 


As for me. Binti by Nnedi Okorafor. I knew I loved Nnedi’s books after reading Who Fears Death and The Book of Phoenix, but Binti just made it even more so. I got to dish about it a lot during Bout of Books and was thrilled when someone read it on my recommendation and loved it. It’s a wonderful feeling. She’s also a favorite of the book club (we got to meet her when she came to speak at UCSC a couple months ago). Nnedi’s worldbuilding is so intricate, even in a less than 100 page novella. I can’t wait until January for book 2.

What were your favorite books of the month?

WWW Wednesdays 5/25

WWW Wednesday is a book meme run by Taking on a World of Words.

Every week I’m going to jump on here and talk about the week’s books. So let’s get to it shall we?

What are you currently reading? I’m reading The Children’s Home by Charles Lambert in a probably doomed attempt to read all my 2016 hardbacks before they go to paperback. So far, I’m into it.

What did you recently finish reading? Just finished Ancient, Ancient by Kiini Ibura Salaam for the book club.Wasn’t overly fond of it. I also finally finished All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders. I’m putting it solidly in the so-so category. I didn’t hate it, but it also didn’t blow my socks off. The characters all felt particularly overwrought. I know there was some crazy environmental stuff going on, but wow.  Also right before publishing this post I read The Earl Next Door by Charis Michaels. I love renovation romances, but I was disappointed there wasn’t more of the renovation in this one. The overall plot was pretty good though so I’ll forgive it this time.

What do you think you’ll read next? I’m gonna try to pick up Girls & Sex: Navigating the Complicated New Landscape by Peggy Orenstein again. I got kicked out of a nonfiction mood the last time I tried reading it. I’m okay now.

 

What does your book life look like this week?

WWW Wednesdays 5/18

WWW Wednesday is a book meme run by Taking on a World of Words.

I’m trying to get more into the habit of writing on here and thought this blog hop might be a great way to do it. Every week I’m going to try to jump on here and talk about the week’s books. So let’s get to it shall we?

What are you currently reading? I’m working on a story a day from Ancient, Ancient by Kiini Ibura Salaam for my book club. It’s going very slowly. The prose is not my usual so I’m taking my time breathing it in.

What did you recently finish reading? Truthwitch by Susan DennardI love the portrayal of a friendship between two teen girls, but the book didn’t blow me away. There was no real interest for me in the main plot, which really didn’t seem like it was much of anything.

What do you think you’ll read next? The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye. I was lucky enough to meet Evelyn through a mutual friend and I was able to go to her book launch of this YA fantasy novel about two magicians that are dueling to the death in Imperial Russia. Off the cuff it sounds like a YA version of The Night Circus meets A Darker Shade of Magic, both books that I loved so hard. I can’t wait to jump into this story.

 

What does your book life look like this week?

WWW Wednesdays 5/11

WWW Wednesday is a book meme run by Taking on a World of Words.

I’m trying to get more into the habit of writing on here and thought this blog hop might be a great way to do it. Every week I’m going to try to jump on here and talk about the week’s books. So let’s get to it, shall we?

What are you currently reading? As I’m in the middle of Bout of Books there are a few books going on. I am reading Girls & Sex: Navigating the Complicated New Landscape by Peggy Orenstein. Not too far into it, but so far, my impressions are that it would make a great read to go with Come As You Are: The Surprising New Science That Will Transform Your Sex Life by Emily Nagasaki if you’re wondering what sex is like for the modern woman. I’m also reading Ancient, Ancient by Kiini Ibura Salaam which is a collection of short stories for my book club. I’m trying to read a story a day so I can fully experience each one. My historical romance pick is Falling into Bed with a Duke by Lorraine Heath. I’ve been reading her Scoundrels of St. James series and the following series Scandalous Gentlemen of St. James which follow a group of connecting families and now I’m on another tier of the series. I’m enjoying the unconventional family dynamics that Heath puts into her books. I only had one in all the series that didn’t win me over, so those are good odds!

What did you recently finish reading? I just finished Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor. I am a big fan of Nnedi’s work. This is my fifth. I also recently finished Binti which was so wonderful. Lagoon basically asks the question, “What will you do when the aliens come?” In fact that question is on the back of the book. Nnedi recently came to speak at University of California, Santa Cruz and I was lucky enough to attend. She told us how this book was her response to District 9 as she was unhappy with the movie. I loved the book. It was great. She is one of the best world builders in the business. Her characters are fully developed. Just go get this book now.

What do you think you’ll read next? As I’m also reading all the books my friends have lent me, I have a few to choose from. I think the next will be Tarnished by Rhiannon Held. It’s the second in a werewolf series and I had a good time with the first one. If I finish Falling into Bed With a Duke, I’ll moving onto the next in the series, The Earl Takes All.

 

What does your book life look like this week?