It’s been a few weeks since I posted anything, I’ve been working 12 hour days and weekends for the past month and the last thing I wanted to do was sit in front of my computer for even longer to write a blog post! Things have calmed down now, so I’m going to do a recap of some of the great books I’ve read in the past month or so. I would recommend them all, I enjoyed every one of them.
The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren
For someone who doesn’t read a lot of contemporary books/rom-coms, I feel like I’ve been reading a bunch in the past year (5? 6?) because I know I can count on them to not be too stressful and have a happy ending. This book made me laugh out loud when I was stressed out of my mind and was a lot of fun. I listened to it on audiobook since my eyes were too tired from staring at my computer for 12 hours a day, and I didn’t love the voice for they guy but I still would recommend it. I think listening to it made it even funnier than if I had been reading a physical copy or ebook!
The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi
This book was a little difficult to read, it dealt with a lot of heavy topics like abortion and miscarriage, domestic violence, and rape. If that doesn’t sound too triggering to you, this was a really interesting and well-written book about a woman who casts aside society’s expectations of what a woman should do and how much power she should have over her own life. Lakshmi was a compelling main character, and I also loved all the secondary and peripheral characters.
Black Water Sister by Zen Cho
This book was so unlike anything else I’ve read, I’m not even sure what genre to call it! It follows Jess, a young woman who moves back to Malaysia from America with her family after her dad fell ill. She has to navigate her long distance relationship with her (secret) girlfriend, family drama, finding a job, and … spirits and gods possessing her body and using her to get revenge. It’s a wild ride, and at times a little too chaotic and disconnected, but overall I enjoyed this story. Ah Ma was a standout: she’s not a quiet old lady, she’s got the spine and sharp tongue of a lot of Asian grandmothers I know!
The Switch by Beth O’Leary
I read The Flatshare by the same author last year and it was so wholesome and cute! This book was also really cute and wholesome, but it’s not really a romance in case that’s what you’re expecting after reading The Flatshare. It’s all about the relationship between a grandmother and her granddaughter, and how the family pieces themselves back together after a devastating loss. Even though some of the themes are really heavy, the book was overall very charming and funny!
The Once and Future Witches by Alix E Harrow
I LOVED this book. I had heard a lot about it and was worried it wouldn’t live up to the hype, but it exceeded my expectations! I loved the relationship between sisters, the terrifying villain, and the gorgeous prose. Even though this book was mostly about white women suffragettes and the right to vote, this book was very intersectional and inclusive: Black women call out white women on their privilege, there are magic systems that differ based on different groups’ lived experiences, the men are called upon to use their privilege as allies for women’s rights, and there are positive portrayals of queer and trans folks. I feel like marginalized groups are rarely mentioned, let along strongly present, in most historical fantasy based on America/Europe, so I really appreciated that. I also really liked that the author wasn’t afraid to let bad things happen to the characters, the stakes were so much more heart-stopping when you knew they had a lot to lose. “Behind every witch is a woman wronged.”
The Betrayals by Bridget Collins
This book was really unique and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. This was very atmospheric and thought-provoking, and quite cerebral even though most of the book revolves around complicated push-and-pull relationships between different characters. It’s set in an alternate historical world, where the government makes dissenters “disappear”, women are thought to be hysterical and not fit to have positions of power, persecution of minorities abounds, and the national game is combination of religion, art, and a mathematical expression. There was a lot to consider in the ugliness of people, both in intensely personal relationships and in betrayal by society as a whole or the government you spent your life in service of. Although this book has a lot of genre fiction tropes, it reads and feels more like literary fiction. This isn’t a book meant to leave you satisfied, or a book that celebrates the triumphant rebellion against oppression. It’s a book that leaves you with a bittersweet, open ended meditation on humans and their flaws.