Staff Reads: August 1

Staff Reads: August 1

Do you wonder what the Bookish team is reading? Do you want to take a peek at our bookshelves? You’ve come to the right place. Here are the Bookish staff’s personal weekend reading recommendations. Tell us what you think in the comments!

If you’re still looking for some inspiration, check out our Summer Previews for a look at the best books of the season.

Stay Sexy & Don’t Get Murdered by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark

I started listening to Stay Sexy & Don’t Get Murdered on runs this week, and I’m enjoying it so far. I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve never listened to the accompanying podcast, but have been pleasantly surprised by how accessible the book is for newcomers. I’m enjoying getting to know Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark better: They’re very witty and a lot of fun. I see why their podcast is so popular! Elizabeth

The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez

I think I’ve found a new favorite contemporary romance novel with The Friend Zone. Abby Jimenez’s debut has all of my favorite romance novel qualities: It features a hilariously snarky heroine and the sweetest hero as they fall in love despite circumstances that prevent them from being together. I immediately fell for this romance beginning with the perfect meet-cute where the main characters end up in a funny fender-bender, only to find that their best friends are getting married. One of the main reasons Kristen keeps Josh in the friend zone, besides the fact that she has a long distance boyfriend, is that she’s been suffering from large fibroids and intense periods, making her want a hysterectomy at the age of 24. This surgery should be a relief for her, but she’s met this amazing guy who wants a baseball-team sized family. Kristen’s infertility has already impacted her self esteem, and feeling like she’s not worth Josh’s love and commitment really puts her in a bad place. This book made me laugh and cry, and it filled my heart with so many emotions. Kristen is a character who you want to shake and hug. I just wanted to tell her she’s worth loving. And Josh is just perfection. Someone find me a Josh ASAP! I’ll be  recommending this book to everyone. You can also read some of Abby Jimenez’s romance reading recommendations paired with cupcakes in an article she wrote for us. —Dana

Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

After being completely enchanted by the Good Omens series on Amazon, I knew that I wanted to read the book as well. I was pleased to find that it was every bit as good as the show, and I especially enjoyed discovering those small differences and bits that didn’t make it into the show. I’ve heard wonderful things for ages about the writing of both Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, but this was the first time I had read anything written by either of them. Despite already knowing what was going to happen with the plot; the clever, creative, and witty writing charmed and entertained me at every turn. It has easily moved onto my list of favorite reads of all time, and I look forward to working my way through more of both authors’ books in the future. —Alyce

Aquicorn Cove by Katie O’Neill

I read this adorable graphic novel last weekend! Aquicorn Cove has the same author as The Tea Dragon Society, which I also adored and talked about in a previous Staff Reads. This beautiful and whimsical story takes place in the aftermath of a huge storm that hits a small seaside village. Lana and her father go back to the village to help her aunt rebuild. While there, Lana finds a small seahorse-like creature that needs her help. This sweet story tackles environmental awareness in many forms including global warming, overfishing, and conservation. Katie O’Neill takes a very scary and overwhelming topic and brings it back to the basics. We can all do something to help the oceans, even if it’s just choosing not to use a plastic straw. While this story deals with conservation, it is also about family, grief, and obligation. This book never feels too dark or heavy, but it touches upon serious themes. Another aspect that I enjoyed so much about Aquicorn Cove and Tea Dragon was the attention to diversity in O’Neill’s storytelling. Because the stories are told through a visual medium, she never has to say what a character’s race is, but it’s great to see many skin colors represented. Honestly, I could go on and on about my love for this one!—Dana

The Wreck and Rise of Whitson Mariner by  S. D. Smith and illustrated by Zach Franzen

It’s hard to describe the world of The Green Ember book series without doing it a disservice. It is epic in scope and theme, but not in length. The stories focus on complex relationships and internal conflict, but not at the expense of intense action. The stakes for the characters are intensely, uniquely personal, but in a way that affects the fates of entire nations. Also, the main protagonists are rabbits. Rabbits with swords. The fact that they are rabbits will surely prevent a lot of “grown-ups” from reading the books, but humans in the same situations would be far less interesting, and the plight of the rabbits being attacked by armies of hawks and wolves—not to mention a traitorous faction of rabbits—is more compelling than I would have believed. These days, people throw around comparisons to The Chronicles of Narnia series whenever a story features talking animals, but I think in this case the comparison is apt. I’m currently reading The Wreck and Rise of Whitson Mariner, a book of history about this world of rabbits. It is every bit as arresting and enlightening as a book of real history, and more entertaining. —Curt

Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes

I’ve always been a huge fantasy reader, but this year I just haven’t been in the mood to read much fantasy. One of my friends recommended Morgan Rhodes’ Falling Kingdom series, which is a sweeping six-book YA series that has been compared to Game of Thrones, and I decided to take the plunge. I sped through this first book in a few days and it put me right back in the mood for this genre. This first book has about five different POVs set  in three different kingdoms. The book’s inciting incident is a murder, which sets up a lot of political intrigue in this story because it gives the kingdoms a reason to fight. The comparison to Game of Thrones felt very loft at first, but given the large cast and intrigue, I understand my friend’s point.The magic system and some of the character development did feel rushed at times, but the story was still exciting and I can’t wait to see what happens next. I’ve already picked up the next book and I can’t put it down! —Dana

The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer

An old and very bookish friend texted me recently wanting to know if I’d read The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer. When I told her I hadn’t, she insisted that I would love it. I snagged a copy from my local library, and started reading it this week. So far, I’m loving the way that Wolizter follows her characters from adolescence into adulthood: She writes so perceptively about success, jealousy, and the way that relationships shift over the years. I’m looking forward to finishing this book and discussing it with my friend!Elizabeth

Buffy the Vampire Slayer #1 by by Jordie Bellaire and illustrated by Dan Mora and Raul Angulo

I recently read the first volume in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer reboot from Boom Studios and I LOVED IT! This comic adaptation reimagines Buffy as a teen in the present day. The characters are the same at their cores, but they’re introduced differently–namely, they’re stripped of 90s tropes. Willow is out and has a girlfriend. Cordelia is the queen bee, but is actually super nice. Buffy is more interested in joining the track team than being a cheerleader. This series is such an interesting take on the show, and I am so excited to see where it goes next.—Dana


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