Staff Reads: May 10

Staff Reads: May 10

Staff Reads

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 Spring Previews for a look at the best books of the season.

The Right Swipe by Alisha Rai

After finishing Alisha Rai’s Forbidden Hearts series, I immediately dove into her new Modern Love series that begins with The Right Swipe. The book follows Rhiannon, the inventor of a dating app called Crush, after an amazing one-night stand with Samson. Against her better judgement, she agrees to see him again, but then ghosts her. This proves to Rhi that all her cynical dating rules are right. Rhi runs into Samson, who is a retired NFL player, at an event for a rival dating service where he announces that he will be their spokesperson. Alisha Rai perfectly captures what it’s like to be dating in 2019 with all if its awkwardness, hilarity, and emotional guardedness. Rhi is a boss and I loved seeing a corporate woman who was unapologetically smart and put-together. Samson had his reasons for ghosting and his story was really beautiful and touched upon the impact that sports injuries and repeated concussions can have on football players’ bodies. Also, I didn’t put it together that Rhi is the sister of a character from the Forbidden Hearts series until she went back home. Gah, I could go on and on about why I loved this book. Alisha Rai has done it again with another series filled with emotional depth. —Dana

The Incendiaries by R. O. Kwon

I just started reading R. O. Kwon’s The Incendiaries, which I’ve been hearing interesting things about ever since it came out last summer. I put it on hold at my local library, and was excited to see it was my turn to dive in this week! So far, it’s clear that Will Kendall is on his way to falling in love with Phoebe Lin, but I know enough about this novel to know that it’s not going to turn out well for them. I’m excited to spend more time with this story over the weekend! —Elizabeth

I Like to Watch by Emily Nussbaum

This is going to be a great summer for books by New Yorker writers. Books from both Jia Tolentino (Trick Mirror) and Emily Nussbaum? We barely deserve these blessings. Nussbaum prefaces I Like to Watch with an introduction about how she ended up as a television critic (it involves Buffy the Vampire Slayer and a PhD program), which enriches the whole collection with a meditation on what it means to be an earnest fan of a mass-market medium. With essays on True Detective, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and her truly iconic take on Sex and the City, Nussbaum explores why some kinds of television are taken as groundbreaking and others as fizzy diversionmaking a passionate argument that the latter are often more revolutionary. The real high point of this collection, though, is her meditation on Woody Allen and Louis C.K. in the aftermath of #metoo, what it means to value free speech, how to distance yourself from monstrous artists when you love their art, and the point at which her work as a critic intersected with allegations against C.K. It was a gut punch, but one of the best pieces of writing about the cultural aftershocks of fall 2017. —Nina

Brazen and the Beast by Sarah MacLean

The second installment in Sarah MacLean’s Bareknuckle Bastard series hits shelves in July, but I was lucky enough to receive an early copy. Reader, it’s perfection. This book is my new religion. It’s Lady Henrietta Sedley’s birthday and she’s celebrating by taking control of her destiny. With the help of her best friend Nora, she sets out to begin the Year of Hattie. The only thing standing in her way is Whit, more commonly known as Beast. As a hero, Beast is my catnip. MacLean beautifully crafts a hero who’s experienced such deep loss and sadness that he cuts himself off to avoid ever feeling that way again. He’s far more vulnerable than he dares let on, as is our phenomenal heroine. Hattie is the kind of heroine I want to get a drink with. She’s fierce in her determination, driven by her desire to change her life, and unflinching when it comes to protecting the people and things she loves. Though she’s plagued by feelings of doubt instilled by society’s expectations of what a woman should be, she doesn’t let it hold her back. Their chemistry is knot (pun intended) to be missed. Also, I want to join Hattie and Nora’s girl gang. These women support and empower each other in the best of ways. MacLean delivers a captivating story packed with sizzling romance and characters readers will want to return to again and again. —Kelly

LifeL1k3 by Jay Kristoff

I’ve been in a sci-fi reading mood lately, so I picked up LifeL1k3 by Jay Kristoff, who cowrote one of my favorite sci-fi series, the Illuminae Files. This book is set in a future with artificial intelligence, robots, and almost-human androids called lifelikes. The main character Eve lives with her grandpa and friend Lemon Fresh in a junkyard. Eve quickly learns that she isn’t who she thinks she is when she meets Ezekiel, a lifelike who calls her Ana and claims they used to be in love. I loved how fast-paced and exciting this book was. The humor was laugh-out-loud funny and reminded me of the other books I had read by Kristoff. I can’t wait to pick up the sequel because the end of LifeL1k3 had so many twists that I didn’t see coming! —Dana

Mistakes to Run With by Yasuko Thanh

Heartache, survival, and resilience are the best words I can think of in describing Yasuko Thanh’s memoir, Mistakes to Run With. As a pre-teen, Yasuko was an honor roll student and talented gymnast with nowhere to go but up. By 15, she was selling her body on the streets of Victoria, Canada. The story follows Yasko as she develops an addiction to drugs and alcohol, spends some time in jail at 16, and later falls in love with her pimp. It’s a whirlwind of emotion from start to finish, and while this story is so far out of my comfort zone that I found it hard to stomach in some parts, I’m so glad I stuck with it. I’m always looking for books that can change my perspective and leave me more informed about the world, and this one certainly does that. —Katie

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

For years my fellow editor Elizabeth has raved about A Little Life and, with an Audible credit at my fingertips, I decided to see why she loved it so much. The novel follows four friends from their 20s to their 50s, capturing the highs and lows of their lives and the small moments that make us human. It was, in a word, devastating. There are moments of pain and tragedy that seem endless, and brief flares of beauty that I hoped would last and never did. It’s hard to sum up, hard to read at times, and hard to let go of. Every character felt so fully realized and I found myself updating people in my life on their movements, as if telling them about the lives of my close friends. It’s a book I would recommend with great caution—and only with a proper content warning—but I would steer those who were interested to the audiobook. The narrator, Oliver Wyman, was fantastic—capturing each character and Hanya Yanagihara’s stunning writing perfectly. —Kelly

29 Seconds by T.M. Logan

29 Seconds is a fast-paced thriller with a fabulously fulfilling twist of an ending! Sarah is a young wife, mother, and professor wading through university politics, trying to honestly advance her career while working beneath a man who has quite a reputation with the female professors. Alan Hawthorne is powerful and wealthy and he holds the key to large amounts of funding for the university. While his reputation is well known throughout the office, every woman that has ever spoken up is suddenly removed from her post, her career ruined. When he sets his sights on Sarah, she must decide if she’s willing to fight. After a moment of impulse leaves her in the debt of a man with dangerous connections and an offer of repayment, she has to make a choice. A chance to make all her problems disappear… with one 29-second phone call. Would you take it? T.M. Logan blew me away with his debut novel, Lies and I was beyond excited to dive into 29 Seconds. His writing style is fast-paced with every chapter leaving you hanging, making it impossible to put down! T.M. Logan is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors and I can’t wait to see what he shares next! — Alicia


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