Staff Reads: May 3

Staff Reads: May 3

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.

In the Woods by Tana French

My dad gave me this book a few years ago and I have no idea why it took me so long to pick it up, since it comes highly recommended by many people, including Kelly! The story follows an Irish detective as he investigates the murder of a young girl in the neighborhood he grew up in. Back in the 80s, when the detective was a 12-year-old child, he was involved in a situation in which his two best friends disappeared into the woods, never to be found, and he was found nearby seemingly possessing no memory about what went on. The new case is eerily reminiscent of his childhood experience, and I’m hoping we get more answers about the mysterious childhood case as the novel progresses. The detective is such a fun, witty, blunt character and I really enjoy progressing through the story from his point of view. That, mixed with a handful of Simpsons references and the need to find out what happened to those kids in the 80s and the girl today, make for a very interesting and compelling read. I am so happy to see there are five more Dublin Murder Squad novels by Tana French that I’m already planning on picking up next. —Amanda

Stripped by Zoey Castile

Last month I visited California for the first time and made a pilgrimage to The Ripped Bodice, which has been at the top of my bookstore bucket list for years and exceeded every expectation. I picked up an incredible haul there, including a signed copy of Stripped by Zoey Castile. The book kicks off with a delightful and memorable meet-cute (all I’ll say is: swapped laundry bags) and from there Robyn and Zac can’t seem to stay away from each other. Robyn is an elementary school teacher who feels as though she’s lost her sense of purpose, and Zac is a stripper who loves his work but still feels unfulfilled. Add in an adorable Siberian Husky, a pack of great friends, and some killer dance moves and you’ve got one fantastic read. I’ve already ordered a copy of the second book in this series from my local indie, and I’m going to finally dive into the movie that inspired this book: Magic Mike. —Kelly

The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware

I read The Turn of the Screw by Henry James for a course in college and loved it. I was excited to see Ruth Ware had a new thriller coming out that was inspired by James’ classic, and happily picked it up. This novel did a great job updating some of the creepy aspects of The Turn of the Screw: Technology played a major role in the plot, and the “smart home” was a convincing twist on the notion of a haunted house. I flew through this novel, and noticed when I went to bed last night that I was listening for the sound of someone pacing overhead. Thanks Ruth! —Elizabeth

Say Nothing by Patrick Radden Keefe

I just finished Say Nothing by Patrick Radden Keefe. It was an absolutely amazing read about the Troubles in Northern Ireland from the late 1960s to the early 1990s. This book is based on the oral histories of many participants in the conflict, and depicts a time when there were no winners. This is a story about a group of young, sociopathic ideologues who attempted to take on the British government. The IRA is clearly the underdog here, but they are in no way depicted as pure, or even all that clever. There were so many amazing things to take from this book, and each would be a bit of a bit of a spoiler. This is a riveting story and one that I would highly recommend to anyone interested in world affairs, history, or how governments are willing to sacrifice their own for the “greater good.” —Fran

The Duke Buys a Bride by Sophie Jordan

I’m definitely that person that will read a companion series of books out of order, so despite this being book three of the Rogue Files it is the first of the series that I have read. I really enjoyed it and now want to read the rest of the books. This story follows Alyse who is being auctioned off for marriage and Marcus, the Duke of Autenberry, who thinks he bought a servant their freedom but instead bought a wife. Alyse and Marcus butt heads immediately and have such great chemistry. This book features a road trip through Scotland as the two ride to Marcus’ estate, and readers get to see them fall in love from the forced proximity. On the road they run into Laird Hunt MacLarin who is the hero of the next book, and I was smitten with him right away. If you’re looking for a quick and fun historical romance you should check out this series! —Dana

My Boyfriend is a Bear by Pamela Ribon, illustrated by Cat Farris

Isn’t dating just unbearable? In this hilarious and charming graphic novel, Nora ditches her pretentious boyfriend and finds true love in the form of a literal black bear. This is a book that uses the bear as a metaphor to explore various aspects of dating from the challenges of long distance relationships (#hibernation) to introducing a new significant other to disapproving friends and family. But it also leans into the fun and silliness of having a heroine fall for a very furry animal hero, who loves her cat, helps out around the house, and is honestly a pretty great boyfriend! This was a weird and wonderful story about finding happiness in an unexpected place and I loved every moment. —Kelly

The Princess Saves Herself in This One by Amanda Lovelace

Since last month was National Poetry Month, I really wanted to pick up something written in verse and my best friend recommended The Princess Saves Herself In This One to me. I wouldn’t say that I like poetry, but I think Amanda Lovelace changed my opinion. This collection of poems immediately drew me in, and I couldn’t put it down. It follows Lovelace’s life through different hardships such as feeling like an outsider, losing her mother and sister, and dealing with abusive boyfriends. Every poem is different from the next but all are beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time. The poems put you in her shoes in a way that I’ve never experienced with verse and the formatting made all of the poems so unique in their emotional depth. I love the message that in life you’ll face seemingly insurmountable obstacles, but only you can get yourself through it all. I can’t wait to pick up more of Amanda Lovelace’s work! —Dana

The New Me by Halle Butler

There’s been a spate of very dark and very funny stories about young-ish women made hollow by late capitalism, including Halle Butler’s The New Me. Its narrator Millie goes to her boring temp office job, listens to the inane and cliquish conversations around her, gets drunk with her friend that she doesn’t really like, watches TV, falls asleep, and does it all over again. She tells herself she is self-aware about her behavior, which makes things better. But she knows that it doesn’t. While not the most pleasant read, per se, The New Me rings true in its social observations and in its characterizations of modern life as a combination of things that numb us and things we do to numb ourselves. Recommended for fans of Severance and My Year of Rest and Relaxation. —Nina

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