The Inheritance Games

I first heard of this book from a book club friend whose tastes and recommendations I trust so I added it to my TBR pile where it was destined to sit for weeks and months like every other unfortunate book that winds up there.  But then I was looking for a quick, fun, read to get me out of a reading slump so I started scrolling through my Goodreads to see which book would help me.  This book was the perfect slump buster, a terrific blend of mystery, puzzles, and overall entertainment I was looking for and I cannot wait to read the second in the series.  Don’t let the young adult tag deter you, this is a delightful book that adults with imagination will enjoy.

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Only When It’s Us

This was a delightful surprise.  I can’t remember where I first came across this book but when I read this description “frenemies-to-lovers, college sports romance about a women’s soccer star and her surly lumberjack lookalike classmate” I knew I wanted to read it.  There was more depth to this story than I expected and I found the romance to be sweet and realistic.  

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The Midnight Library

Sometimes, books get a lot of buzz, show up on numerous “best of lists,” get recommended by everyone you know and don’t live up to the hype.  At the end of last year it seemed I couldn’t go anywhere without hearing about Matt Haig’s newest book, and as much as I wanted to read it, I was worried the buildup would be too much and I would be left disappointed.  I am happy to say that this book was everything I had hoped it would be. 

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The Mountains Sing

I host a book club at my library which was started last year during the first few months of the pandemic. At the time, the books we read were mostly mysteries or whatever books we were able to get our hands on easily while in quarantine. With the start of the new year, I took the opportunity to really think about a theme for the year.  With everything going on in the world and in an effort to introduce different books and authors to my community, I chose the theme of ownvoices.  The first book I chose was Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai first English novel, “The Mountains Sing.”  While historical fiction is a genre I don’t normally gravitate towards, I’m so glad I decided to read this book. Not only is it a phenomenal book and taught me things I never knew about the Vietnam War, it also led to a fantastic discussion and I would highly recommend it to all readers.

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Let the People Pick the President: The Case for Abolishing the Electoral College

No one, no matter your political affiliation, can deny we are living in a divisive time for American politics.  There is not much we seem to agree on, and the fighting seems to never end.  This would seem to be the worst time for this book to come out, but I would argue there is no greater time to advocate for the end of the electoral college. Jesse Wegman lays out a very succinct argument for ending this misunderstood process while providing well-researched historical context for this archaic and anti-democratic system.  Every American citizen should read this book.

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A Libertarian Walks Into a Bear

Fair warning: I feel like I should get this out of the way right off the bat: I really can’t stand Libertarianism as a concept or ideology nor can I put up with Libertarians in general so I fully admit that I was hoping for some schadenfreude while reading this book.  While my beliefs about libertarianism didn’t change, this book was nothing like I thought it would be and I found myself moved by several of the townspeople’s stories and left with a feeling of sadness about the world that I didn’t expect.  The story told in this book is also humorous, irreverent, and timely in a way that I don’t think Hongoltz-Hetling could have imagined when he began to write it.  I would recommend this book for both political and non-political book fans.

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Cemetery Boys

How I adored this book!  I am not the intended audience for Aiden Thomas’s book but still found myself being swept up in his tale of young people searching for the place they belong and fighting for the respect they deserve.  This book has a bit of everything: family, friendship, humor, and romance and I think anyone who reads this would like it.  This book is especially important for young trans people who may be struggling to find acceptance among their family and friends.  I highly recommend this book.

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Dear Child

Woo boy was this book a roller coaster.  My family and friends know that I scare easily which is one of the reasons I don’t like horror movies.  It’s also one of the reasons I sometimes have to stop reading a book when the sun sets and the shadows start to look like creepy things haha!  This was one of those books.  As much as I loved it and wanted to keep reading, I had to put it down at night and switch to something more light hearted to ensure I would be able to sleep at night.  Part mystery, part psychological thriller, this book kept me guessing until the very end and I highly recommend it for fans of chilling suspense novels.

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Spoiler Alert

Over the past few years, there has been a push for more inclusive characters in romance novels, with a real focus on fat love interests.  There have been some positive and well written titles, but many authors have failed at creating stories that feature plus size women who find love while also not shaming them about their weight. Oliva Dade has quickly emerged as an author that can write relatable fat characters without being condescending and without their weight being the only thing that defines them.  Spoiler Alert is no exception to this, and I highly recommend this fun and charming romance.

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Leave the World Behind

While reading this book, I kept thinking, “did Rumaan Alam think his book would be so timely when he was writing it?”  The topics of race, class, and family would have been enough to make this a very 2020 book but how could anyone have known that a book that discussed those topics AND a global catastrophe would be written pre-2020, only to be released at the end of what feels like the longest year ever?  As much as I loved this book, I would hesitate to recommend it right now, solely based on the content, knowing that some people might not want to read about the beginning of the end of the world while we are still dealing with a pandemic. However, if you feel like you can handle this topic right now, this book is one that you will be hearing about a lot over the next few months (Netflix bought the rights before the book was even released and Julia Roberts and Denzel Washington are already set to star in the adaptation,) and I really enjoyed this one, as much as you can enjoy a sad, semi-apocalyptic book.

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