Book List, Staff Picks

Happy Holidays!

It’s Christmas Eve and if you’re looking for any last minute gifts for your loved ones, we always have plenty of wonderful staff picks available!

Let’s Play Volume 1 by Leeanne Krecic

I’ve gone down the Webtoon rabbit hole and have found myself completely wrapped up in Let’s Play. I can’t stop thinking about it. Let’s Play follows Sam, a young, fresh out of college, IT pro working for her father’s software company and designing indie games on the side. But when a ViewTuber posts a negative review of her game, and then moves in right next door, Sam world suddenly gets a lot more interesting.

She’s young, single and about to achieve her dream of creating incredible video games. But then life throws her a one-two punch: a popular streamer gives her first game a scathing review. 

Even worse, she finds out that same troublesome critic is now her new neighbor! A funny, sexy, and all-too-real story about gaming, memes, and social anxiety. 

Come for the plot, stay for the doggo. Volume 1 of Let’s Play collects the first 23 chapters of the Eisner-nominated webcomic phenomenon with over 5 million subscribers. 

Jade Fire Gold by June C. Tan

An epic high fantasy like no other, JADE FIRE GOLD is a wondrous enchanting tale you will not soon forget. Ahn and Altan are both such excellent characters, and their relationship is exactly what a slow-burn romance should be. The magic system is amazing, the story is thrilling, and the setting is beautifully described, but it is Ahn and Altan’s stories that truly draw you in, keep you reading straight through to the end, and have you begging for a sequel!

Girls of Paper and Fire meets A Song of Wraiths and Ruin in June CL Tan’s stunning debut, where ferocious action, shadowy intrigue, rich magic, and a captivating slow-burn romance collide.

In an empire on the brink of war . . .

Ahn is no one, with no past and no family.

Altan is a lost heir, his future stolen away as a child.

When they meet, Altan sees in Ahn a path to reclaiming the throne. Ahn sees a way to finally unlock her past and understand her lethal magical abilities.

But they may have to pay a far deadlier price than either could have imagined.

A stunning homage to the Xianxia novel with dangerous magic, fast-paced action, and a delightful  romance, Jade Fire Gold isn’t one to miss!  

King of Battle and Blood by Scarlett St. Clair

This adult paranormal romance/fantasy is perfect for fans of From Blood and Ash! With all the adult fun you love in a romance novel, with a fantastical mix of compelling world-building and gripping characters. this was a book written to cater to my tastes! This is a steamy enemy-to-lovers vampire novel where Isolde is forced to marry the vampire king, but soon discovers he might not be the nightmare of the stories she was told he was.

From fan-favorite Scarlett St. Clair, the bestselling author of the Hades & Persephone series, comes a new fantasy filled with danger, darkness, and insatiable romance.

Their union is his revenge.

Isolde de Lara considers her wedding day to be her death day. To end a years-long war, she is to marry vampire king Adrian Aleksandr Vasiliev, and kill him.

But her assassination attempt is thwarted, and Adrian threatens that if Isolde tries to kill him again, he will raise her as the undead. Faced with the possibility of becoming the thing she hates most, Isolde seeks other ways to defy him and survive the brutal vampire court.

Except it isn’t the court she fears most—it’s Adrian. Despite their undeniable chemistry, she wonders why the king—fierce, savage, merciless—chose her as consort.

The answer will shatter her world.

Autobiography of Red by Anne Carson

My best friend gave me this book for Hannukah last year and I fell in love with it. My copy is underlined and annotated to absolute death. This verse novel is based on the myth of Geryon and the Tenth Labor of Herakles. It even includes some (very) loose Carson translations of Geryoneis fragments, which I found particularly cool. If you’re looking to get lost in some lyrical prose, look no further.

The award-winning poet reinvents a genre in a stunning work that is both a novel and a poem, both an unconventional re-creation of an ancient Greek myth and a wholly original coming-of-age story set in the present.

Geryon, a young boy who is also a winged red monster, reveals the volcanic terrain of his fragile, tormented soul in an autobiography he begins at the age of five. As he grows older, Geryon escapes his abusive brother and affectionate but ineffectual mother, finding solace behind the lens of his camera and in the arms of a young man named Herakles, a cavalier drifter who leaves him at the peak of infatuation. When Herakles reappears years later, Geryon confronts again the pain of his desire and embarks on a journey that will unleash his creative imagination to its fullest extent. By turns whimsical and haunting, erudite and accessible, richly layered and deceptively simple, Autobiography of Red is a profoundly moving portrait of an artist coming to terms with the fantastic accident of who he is.

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

A beautiful and haunting retelling of a Russian folklore. Katherine Arden had me wrapped up in this story from the first page. Vasya is a young girl determined to carve her own path in the world, befriending the local spirits of her forest and home. When her stepmother attempts to send Vasya away, she must call on her connection with the Spirit of Death to rescue her village. A super great winter read that shines a light on historic Russia with a folklore twist.

Winter lasts most of the year at the edge of the Russian wilderness, and in the long nights, Vasilisa and her siblings love to gather by the fire to listen to their nurse’s fairy tales. Above all, Vasya loves the story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon. Wise Russians fear him, for he claims unwary souls, and they honor the spirits that protect their homes from evil.

Then Vasya’s widowed father brings home a new wife from Moscow. Fiercely devout, Vasya’s stepmother forbids her family from honoring their household spirits, but Vasya fears what this may bring. And indeed, misfortune begins to stalk the village.

But Vasya’s stepmother only grows harsher, determined to remake the village to her liking and to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for marriage or a convent. As the village’s defenses weaken and evil from the forest creeps nearer, Vasilisa must call upon dangerous gifts she has long concealed—to protect her family from a threat sprung to life from her nurse’s most frightening tales.

Beach Read by Emily Henry

This book was impossible for me to put down! The banter and energy between the main characters was wildly entertaining. What makes this book amazing is that it covers some pretty hard topics and challenges while still maintaining a fairly light atmosphere. The romance feels natural amongst the turmoil and the characters grow in more than just a superficial way. Despite the title BEACH READ is the perfect book to read year round!

A romance writer who no longer believes in love and a literary writer stuck in a rut engage in a summer-long challenge that may just upend everything they believe about happily ever afters.

Augustus Everett is an acclaimed author of literary fiction. January Andrews writes bestselling romance. When she pens a happily ever after, he kills off his entire cast.

They’re polar opposites.

In fact, the only thing they have in common is that for the next three months, they’re living in neighboring beach houses, broke, and bogged down with writer’s block.

Until, one hazy evening, one thing leads to another and they strike a deal designed to force them out of their creative ruts: Augustus will spend the summer writing something happy, and January will pen the next Great American Novel. She’ll take him on field trips worthy of any rom-com montage, and he’ll take her to interview surviving members of a backwoods death cult (obviously). Everyone will finish a book and no one will fall in love. Really.

Dietland by Sarai Walker

Self-hating Plum has been fat her whole life, and can’t wait to have gastric bypass surgery. She soon notices she’s being followed by a strange woman. This encounter forces Plum to confront her deepest self. Additionally, there’s a militia group of women who take revenge on the people and companies who exploit the female body. This satirical and subversive novel addresses women in western society and the power that culture has on women’s bodies.

Plum Kettle does her best not to be noticed, because when you’re fat, to be noticed is to be judged. With her job answering fan mail for a teen magazine, she is biding her time until her weight-loss surgery. But when a mysterious woman in colorful tights and combat boots begins following her, Plum falls down a rabbit hole into the world of Calliope House — an underground community of women who reject society’s rules — and is forced to confront the real costs of becoming “beautiful.” At the same time, a guerilla group begins terrorizing a world that mistreats women, and Plum becomes entangled in a sinister plot. The consequences are explosive.

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