Author: Marina Lostetter Publication date: April 13, 2021 Genre: fantasy My rating: 5/5 stars
Magic masks. A serial killer. Political intrigue. Mysterious gods. Folks, this is my favorite fantasy novel I’ve read this year–a deliciously dark tale with intricate worldbuilding, memorable (and diverse!) characters, and a nuanced portrayal of the impacts of trauma on the human psyche. I’m so grateful to Jean Book Nerd for having me as a host on this tour. Stick around for my review, more info on the book, and a giveaway you don’t want to miss!
Author: Jessica S. Olson Publication date: March 9, 2021 Genre: YA fantasy, romance, retelling My rating: 4/5 stars
Phantom of the Opera phans, rejoice–this is the gender-swapped Phantom retelling we’ve all been waiting for. Dark, luscious, and full of twisted magic, this story offers a fresh twist on the musical (and novel) you know and love. It takes out the love triangle, adds in a magic system rooted in the buying and selling of memory, and doesn’t shy away from the tricky blend of monstrousness and humanity that is the Opera Ghost. In other words, it tells a new tale while maintaining the best parts of the original. The end result is magical–music to my ears, if you’ll pardon the pun.
Alright, friends: I’m finally getting back on my game with blogging and Bookstagram. I posted on more than half of the days in February, which is about the ratio I’m trying to go for. February was a great reading month for me, in both quantity and quality. To prevent making this post overly long, let’s dive right in:
Author: Fredrik Backman Publication date: September 8, 2020 Genre: contemporary literary fiction My rating: 5/5 stars
When I picked up this book, I wasn’t sure what to expect from it–a lot of popular titles kind of miss the mark for me, so perhaps my wariness was justified. But let me tell you: this one COMPLETELY lives up to the hype. This narrative is warm, wise, and witty, alternating emotional sucker-punches with laugh-out-loud commentary on the ridiculousness modern life, and it is one of my favorite reads of this year so far.
Author: Matt Haig Publication date: August 13, 2020 Genre: magical realism, contemporary, fantasy My rating: 4.5/5 stars
Do you ever read a book that deals with a topic that is really close to your heart, and all you can think when you read it is some sound of internal shrieking because somebody gets it? Because…yeah, that pretty accurately sums up my feelings on The Midnight Library, a story about depression, second chances, and the impact of even the smallest choices. As is typical for me, this audiobook review is going to be very short, sweet, and concise, because let’s face it–audio reviews can be hard to write. Let’s go.
Author: Angie Thomas Publication date: January 12, 2021 Genre: YA contemporary/recent historical My rating: 5/5 stars
Going into this book, I knew I would love it. Angie Thomas is a phenomenal writer and both of her first two books blew me away. But y’all, I did not expect it to be this phenomenal. Writing a prequel can be a risky move, so I was a little skeptical about how this one would work out–but this one was flawlessly executed, fusing both pain and joy in the experiences of a Black teenage boy who finds himself unexpectedly a father. I know it’s only February, but I think it’s safe to say this book will wind up in my top ten reads of this year. Just…wow.
Author: Adrienne Young Series: Fable (#1) Publication date: September 1, 2020 Genre: YA fantasy My rating: 4.5/5 stars
Folks, this book is more than just a pretty cover. After all the hype surrounding it when it came out, I wasn’t sure whether I would end up actually enjoying it as much as people suggested. But I am so glad I ended up reading it anyway last month, because y’all: this one is actually really good. Pirates, diving for gemstones, trade rivalries, and boats–it is a quintessential female-fronted maritime adventure, and I need more books like this one, stat.
Author: Lucy Foley Publication date: June 2, 2020 Genre: mystery/thriller My rating: 4/5 stars
Lately, I’ve been trying to diversify the genres that I read. This has included joining in a monthly horror read hosted by Melanie at TBR and Beyond, as well as picking up the occasional thriller and some historical fiction, to complement my usual contemporary/literary/YA/fantasy/nonfiction/poetry. (I’ve also been dabbling in some MG and even trying a romance once in a while–yes, I know, shocking! My opinions on those romances, though, are…less shocking, if you know me. But that’s a story for another day.)
All that is to say, this book, being a thriller, was a little outside my wheelhouse. I gave this specific one a shot because my friend M at Storme Reads a Lot was pretty psyched when it won the Goodreads Choice Award for the Thriller category last year, and…I guess I generally like to defer to those with more expertise when trying a genre that they know much better than I do? Their enthusiasm sold me on it.
Cool, enough rambling. Let’s make this actual review short, sweet, and to the point:
Author: Rudy Francisco Publication date: December 8, 2020 Genre: poetry My rating: 5/5 stars
Are you a fan of Amanda Garmon, looking for a poetry collection to fill that lyrical hole in your heart that you didn’t know was there before? Look no further; Rudy Francisco is your guy.
Let’s be real: spoken word is having a MOMENT right now thanks to Garmon’s wonderful performance at the inauguration ceremony last month. I think, therefore, that this is a great time to promote other spoken word poets as well, especially when they’re so stylistically similar. Plus, it’s the start of Black History Month, so it seems only fitting to start off with a review of a book by a phenomenal Black author.
Author: Naomi Kritzer Publication date: November 19, 2019 Genre: young adult, sci-fi, thriller My rating: 4.5/5 stars
Excellent queer rep. The coolest, quirkiest, most awkwardly badass AI. A ragtag team of internet friends, a road trip, a reprogrammed sex-education robot (not the AI), a literal cat…this book has a bit of everything, and it works so well. In under 300 pages, this tiny page-turner covers an impressive span of topics, with a delicate balance of fun and dread that will ring true for all of us who grew up alongside the internet.