September Bookshelf

HAPPY SEPTEMBER!!!! (shhh, we skipped July and August, but that’s okay!!!)

Sara:

  1. The Calculating Stars – I visited Emory in Columbus last week (hi, I miss you already!) and she grabbed this book when we were out shopping and told me to get it, so of course I got it! The book takes place in 1952, following the events after a meteoroid hits Washington, D.C. (where I am, gasp!) Elma York is the protagonist, a WASP pilot and mathematician who wants to earn her own spot on the moon.
  2. Circe by Madeline Miller – Circe was published over a year ago, but it popped back up on my radar when I heard it was going to be an eight-episode mini series on HBO! I’ve also been on a bit of a mythology binge lately, so it seems like this is the perfect time to read a re-telling on the original Greek myth!
  3. The Twisted Tree by Rachel Burge – Keeping with my theme of mythology, Burge’s debut YA novel borrows from Norse mythology and tells the story of a girl named Martha, who can tell things about a person just by touching their clothes – an ability she did not posses until after falling from a tree and becoming blind in one eye. The reviews make it sound very spooky, so I am, of course, very very excited to read it!
  4. Silver in the Wood by Emily Tesh – As weird as it might sound, I’ve also been on a sort of tree binge when it comes to the books I’m reading (it all has to do with a story I’m trying to write. Also, trees are pretty cool), and Emory recommended this one to me! Honestly, the cover itself was enough to grab my attention!!! The plot of magic forests, old secrets, and grappling with one’s past is an added bonus!

Emory:

  1. The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow – I’m super excited to read this for NetGalley this month! This book has everything I look for in a good Edwardian fantasy novel: a young ward, a strange mansion, a mysterious book, and – yes, you guessed it – a MAGICAL PORTAL!!!
  2. The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates – Another book that I’m super grateful to NetGalley for. This book follows a young enslaved Hiram Walker, who discovers his magical powers when they save him from drowning in a river. From that moment forward, Hiram decides to use his magic to escape his enslavement and then to rescue the family he leaves behind.
  3. Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir – I’ve been WAITING for this book to come out for the better part of a year – queer skeletons in SPACE?! What more could a girl wish for?! Admittedly, I haven’t done too much research on this book because I want to go into it with a fresh mind, but I am very very excited for it.
  4. Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim – Goodreads compares this book to Project Runway, and I am 100% down for it. It’s about a young girl who must pose as a young boy to compete for the role of imperial tailor by sewing 3 magical dresses from the sun, the moon, and the stars.

June Bookshelf

HAPPY JUNE!!!

Sara:

  1. Stronger Than A Bronze Dragon by Mary Fan – The title itself was enough to grab my attention, especially since Emory has been on a dragon binge with her books. This one promises not just your every day dragons, but mechanical dragons! Sounds like a cool twist, and I can’t wait to read it!
  2. Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson – This book sounds like it has everything – evil sorcerers, magical books that transform into monsters made of out ink and leather, unlikely alliances, and sabotage! It already has great reviews on Goodreads, and I’m so excited to get it!
  3. Wicked Fox by Kat Cho – Out on June 25th, Cho’s debut novel takes on the Korean myth of the gumiho, a nine-tailed fox who must devour men in order to survive. I mean…do I need to say more? (No, but I will!). The protagonist, Miyoung, is one of these gumihos, hunting in secret in modern day Seoul when she decides to spare the life of a human boy – Jihoon – and loses her fox bead (her gumiho soul) in the process.
  4. The Girl in Red by Christina Henry – This book is right up my alley. It’s a post-apocalyptic twist on the classic fairytale of Little Red Riding Hood. Desperate to get to her grandmother to ensure her safety, Red braves the dangerous forest that is packed full of monsters (wolves and humans).
  5. The Outside by Ada Hoffman – Ada Hoffman has been making strides to include more autistic characters in speculative fiction (check out her Autistic Book Party). The Outside features Yasira Shien, an autistic physicist whose work on a space station backfires when it explodes, throwing her into a confusing set of events that includes cyborg servants of God, her long lost mentor, and traveling beyond reality itself.

Emory:

  1. This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone – A novella co-written by two of my favorite authors! Out in July in the US, but I managed to snag an eARC on NetGalley! I started reading last week and it is truly breathtaking!
  2. Shatter the Sky by Rebecca Kim Wells – Bisexual dragon-stealing ladies! Need I say more? (Apparently I really do like dragons now!!)
  3. New Suns: Original Speculative Fiction by People of Color ed. by Nisi Shawl – A brilliant anthology featuring work by some of my favorite short story writers (Jaymee Goh, Rebecca Roanhorse, and Steven Barnes to name a few!). And, of course, an intro written by THE Levar Burton!
  4. The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi – A reimagined 1880s Paris feat. a gang of unlikely friends (a hotel owner, a engineer, a historian, a dancer, and a fighter). I can’t wait to start reading!
  5. Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke – As I embark on my journey to read every Regency fantasy novel out there, I must confront the fact that I only ever read 1/4 of this book and then watched the TV series instead. Time to dive back into this delightful brick of a book!

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!).

April Bookshelf

WOW! We survived the treacherous Ides of March and are one month closer to sweet, sweet summertime. Welcome to the glorious month of April – here are the books we can’t stop thinking about!

Emory:

  1. Once & Future by Cori McCarthy and Amy Rose Capetta – This book has been popping up all over my feed this past month. A galactic fantasy retelling of the Arthurian legends chock-full of LGBTQ+ characters ~ literally all I need right now!
  2. Storm of Locusts by Rebecca Roanhorse – The second installment in Roanhorse’s acclaimed Sixth World series – a post-apocalyptic urban fantasy that explores themes of climate change and environmental collapse through the lens of Navajo history and religion. Roanhorse will be a keynote speaker at Sirens this year, and I can’t wait to get my hands on her next book!
  3. Jade City by Fonda Lee – In a writing workshop at Sirens, we did some close-reading of a fight scene from Fonda Lee’s kick-ass novel ~ I’ve never read anything so visceral and masterfully written! In this fantasy, warriors utilize jade to heighten and focus their magic, giving them a fighting edge against their rivals. Reading this now so I can get ready for the second book in the series, Jade War, coming out this summer!
  4. Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova – The first installment in the Brooklyn Bruja series! I first learned about Cordova’s amazing work while at Sirens (do you see a theme here??). A bisexual bruja from Brooklyn accidentally banishes her family to another realm ~ can’t wait to devour this book and it’s sequel – Bruja Born – which came out this past summer!
  5. How Long ‘til Black Future Month? by N.K. Jemison – I’ve been wanting to delve into NK Jemison’s work for quite some time now, but haven’t yet found the time for all 468 pages of The Fifth Season (which I hear from so many people is SO GOOD!!!). So excited to start with this amazing collection of spec fic short stories!

Sara:

  1. Descendant of the Crane by Joan He – The Young Adult debut novel for Joan He, Descendant of the Crane details the life of Princess Hesina of Yen, who, more than anything, just wants a normal life. This becomes impossible for her to attain once her father is found dead and Hesina must take on the role of Queen. Comes out April 9th, and I can’t wait!
  2. The Bird King by G. Willow Wilson – Author of Alif the Unseen and a writer for the Ms. Marvel comics, G. Willow Wilson presents a new novel chock-full of interesting characters, including one who can create maps of places he’s never been before, and who can even bend the shape of reality (and he’s not even the main character!). I already went out and bought a copy because the description just sounded so cool!
  3. The Haunting of Tram Car 015 by P. Djèlí Clark – Taking place in an alternate version of Cairo, this book follows Senior Agent Hamed al-Nasr and his new partner, Agent Onsi, as they are called on to inspect a dangerous, possessed tram car. That’s right – a possessed tram car. And apparently the demon possessing it has an interesting origin story.
  4. Here and Now and Then by Mike Chen – I heard about this book during one of my classes for grad school, and I knew immediately it was a book I had to read. Set in the 1990s, Kin Stewart appears to be your standard suburban dad, but that appearance quickly falls away when readers learn he’s really a time traveling secret agent from the year 2142 that got stranded. Too bad his rescue team shows up eighteen years late. Time travel + secret agents = a must read.
  5. Broken Stars translated by Ken Liu – This is a collection of translated contemporary Chinese Science Fiction, with stories that range from your classic science fiction, science fantasy, cyberpunk, and space operas, while also including stories with ties to Chinese culture, like alternate Chinese history and chuanyue time travel. I’m excited to break into a new genre of sci fi with this collection!

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