May Bookshelf

It’s MAAAAAAY! Here are all the amazing and delicious books we are reading this month.

Sara:

  1. Orange World and Other Stories by Karen Russell – Out on May 14th, Karen Russell’s new book of short stories looks like it will be just as brilliant as her other works! Seriously, if you’ve never read anything by Karen Russell, you need to change that asap. Her prose is vivid, funny, and never what you expect. I’ve loved everything she’s written so far, and I am beyond excited to read her new short stories!
  2. We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal – The first installment of Faizal’s Sands of Arawiya also debuts on May 14th, following the stories of two characters, Zafira and Nasir, who are both legends throughout the kingdom, though neither of them wants to be. Things promise to get complicated when Zafira and Nasir are sent on the same quest to retrieve and special artifact – with Nasir instructed to kill Zafira.
  3. Captain America, Vol. 1: Winter in America by Ta-Nehisi Coates and illustrated by Leinil Francis Yu – In celebration of Avengers: Endgame releasing a little over a week ago (don’t worry, I won’t spoil anything), I thought adding a comic to my bookshelf for this month would be fitting. Ta-Nehisi Coates, author of works like The Beautiful Struggle, Between the World and Me, and a series of Black Panther comics, takes Steve Rogers and places him in the aftermath of Hydra’s takeover of the nation. The government doesn’t seem to trust Cap anymore, and the feeling appears to be mutual. I can’t wait to start reading this new installment in Cap’s story!
  4. Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett – With the new TV series airing at the end of this month, I figured I should re-read the amazing book it is based off of. Basically, an angel and a demon work together to stop the anti-christ from starting the apocalypse. If you haven’t read Good Omens already, get your hands on a copy immediately!!! It is a wild ride from start to finish, and I promise you will love every second of it.
  5. Mythic Journeys: Retold Myths and Legends edited by Paula Guran – Once again out on May 14th (I’m going to buy SO MANY books that day), this anthology collects stories from authors like Ken Liu, Neil Gaiman, and Ann Lecki that reinvent classic myths and legends and place them in a modern setting! That idea in itself is more than enough to get me interested!

Emory:

  1. The Tiger’s Daughter by K. Arsenault Rivera – I get easily overwhelmed by epic fantasies, but this one is high on my list!! Queer protagonists, warrior ladies, divine empresses, and of course, the tagline: Even gods can be slain…
  2. The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon – This book has been popping up all over my timeline lately! A very large book that I probably won’t get to until the summer, but it’s on my buying list now! Another great queer read ~ one of my friends called it a feminist takeover of the epic fantasy genre (looking at you, GoT).
  3. Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan – Already a New York Times Bestseller – and written by an OHIOAN!!!! A bloody fairytale-inspired read. Can’t wait to get my hands on this gorgeous book!
  4. Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal – This book was a birthday present from Sara (THANK YOU!). After reading Sorcerer to the Crown and The True Queen in the span of a week, I needed more Regency fantasy!
  5. The Dragon Republic by R.F. Kuang – My very first read for Netgalley! I’m taking The Poppy War with me this week (I’m halfway through it right now and it’s so goddamn funny and bloody and adorable and messed up and I can’t wait for the sequel!).

March Bookshelf

Happy March! (There is actually sun outside my window as I type this…that means winter is officially over, right? Right…?). At the beginning of every month, we’ll reveal the books that are on our radar for the next 30 days. Here’s the Top 5 books on our shelves for the month of March!

Emory:

  1. Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado – Just finished this for Feminist Sci-Fi Bookclub in February – now it’s time to reread it in preparation for my very first book review!
  2. King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo – After hearing Leigh Bardugo speak at Sirens in October, I’ve slowly been working my way through the Grishaverse. So excited to read the next installment! 
  3. A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab – I really need to read V.E. Schwab before she comes to Columbus for her author event in March. Also, I just really need to read V.E. Schwab!
  4. Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James – I have a confession: I get super intimidated by epic fantasy. But when EVERYONE is talking about how amazing Marlon James is…how could I not pick this up at my local bookstore?!
  5.  The True Queen by Zen Cho – Finally!!! The sequel to Sorcerer to the Crown!! I fell completely in love with Zen Cho’s 2015 novel the moment I picked it up (regency era magic?!?! yes please!) and I can’t wait to find out what happens next.

Sara:

  1. Kingdom of Copper by S. A. Chakraborty – I’m only 100 pages into the second installment of the Daevabad trilogy, and I’m already terrified of what kind of cliffhanger is waiting for me at the end. It can’t possibly be worse than the first book’s cliffhanger, right? (Right???)
  2. The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers – This one was a Christmas present from Emory (and, in a not-so-surprising twist, cause our minds think alike, I got her the exact same book for Christmas, too). Seems like the perfect starting point for my dive into the Sci-Fi genre.
  3. What it Means When a Man Falls From the Sky by Lesley Nneka Arimah – I’ve only read the first couple of stories from this collection, but w o w!! I haven’t even finished the collection and I’m already looking forward to re-reading each story to pick out things I missed.
  4. Gingerbread by Helen Oyeyemi – Releasing on March 5th, Oyeyemi’s new book explores the role of gingerbread in children’s fairy tales and makes a new place for it in a modern setting (and I’m sure there will be a cool, Gothic twist in there somewhere).
  5. Binti by Nnedi Okorafor – Okorafor’s Binti trilogy (all three books are out!) blends Sci-Fi and Afrofuturism. Each book is a novella, just around 100 pages, but based on the amount of praise and awards directed at this trilogy, every page holds something great. This might be the book I’m most excited to start!

Image Credit: Goodreads

Two Sisters. Infinite Books.

I’m Emory – I currently live in Columbus, Ohio, where I put my Shakespeare Studies MA to good use as an ice cream scooper/jewelry maker and Sci-Fi/Fantasy writer. When I’m not working, I volunteer at visiting author events, attend monthly Feminist Sci-Fi Bookclub meetings, and co-run a local writing group. My ideal book contains robots, magic, and a whole lotta bisexuals!

I reached out to my sister Sara about starting a book blog because, I’ll be honest, my master’s degree drained all the joy of reading right out of me. After graduating in 2016, I floated aimlessly from job to job until one day I realized what was missing from my life – my love of writing and reading. This past spring, I was lucky enough to get a grant from my city’s arts council to attend Sirens, an AMAZING conference dedicated to women/nonbinary folks who read and write SFF. This conference reignited my passion for reading and inspired me to get more involved in the writing/publishing/book-blogging community.

As a writer and reader, I am on a never-ending journey to diversify what I create and consume. My book choices for this blog will feature Sci-Fi/Fantasy books written by women, writers of color, LGBTQ+ writers, writers with disabilities, and all of the varying intersections of these identities. I’m so excited to broaden the scope of my reading and challenge myself with new perspectives and ideas.

Aside from reviewing books, I’m also interested in writing about building community as a reader and writer (online or in person). I recently co-founded a local writer’s group and began regularly attending a monthly book club – these two additions to my life have changed so much about how I approach writing and reading. I’m excited to talk more about the idea of creating ‘literary communities’ and how they can change and evolve over time!

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I’m Sara, currently living in the DMV area where I am working towards my MA in Publishing at George Washington University. Why publishing, you ask? Well, as I told my professor when he asked me the same question – I love books, I love talking about books, and I have pretty good taste in books, so the publishing industry seemed like the natural route to take. On top of school, I’m also interning at Oghma Creative Media as an editorial intern, where I do everything from working with authors on plot and character development in the early stages of their manuscript, to the final galley edits of a novel where I see if there’s any missing commas. To fill the rest of my free time, I also work in retail!

When Emory reached out to me asking if I wanted to do a book blog, my immediate reactions were excitement and a weird sense of relief, because I knew this was an opportunity that would get me back into the habit of reading. After completing my BA in English last summer, I felt unmotivated when it came to reading and writing. And now that I’m doing my MA in Publishing, when I find myself with free time I’m usually playing video games or binging a new Netflix show. I work best on a schedule, so a book blog seemed like the perfect way to get back into my love of reading and writing.

One of the other reasons I’m excited to begin this book-blogging journey is to further expand on the types of books I read. I’ve always been into YA Fantasy and Gothic fiction, but have only dipped my toes into the Sci-Fi genre. When it comes to Fantasy, nothing hooks me faster than a group of unlikely heroes with magical abilities roaming their world on a destiny-filled quest. As for Sci-Fi – I’m not sure what I like, but if there’s space and robots (think Pacific Rim), then I’m all in.

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There’s so many glorious books out there to be read – and we can’t wait to start this blogging adventure with you!