Name a book you’ve read that was full of fire, desire, and passion.
A Duke by Default by Alyssa Cole
I couldn’t think of a book that’s full of “fire, desire, and passion,” so I simply chose a romance novel. I don’t read many of these, but I’ve been picking up a few lately. A Duke by Default is about a New York City socialite who visits Scotland so that she can apprentice with a swordmaker there. The story was a fun read and is the second in the Reluctant Royals series. It’s the first book I’ve read by Cole, and I’d like to try the others in the series too.
Name a book you’ve read that was beautifully written.
The Shape of Water by Guillermo del Toro and Daniel Kraus
I love this book. It was one of the best books I read in 2018, and I consider it a favorite. The movie was made before the book was published, so I watched it first and immediately fell in love with the story — historical fiction, romance with some magical realism (or is it fantasy?) thrown in about a young mute woman who falls in love with an amphibious man, who was captured and brought to a government facility in Baltimore, where it remains trapped.
As with the movie, I immediately loved the story as soon as I started the book, and a major reason why is the beautiful prose. I so loved how it’s written that I returned the library copy I had and just bought my own so I could highlight everything I admired. It’s a great read that I highly recommend. The movie is good, but the book gives the characters more depth.
Name a book you’ve read that featured twins.
The Lady in the Coppergate Tower by Nancy Campbell Allen
This is the third novel in Allen’s Steampunk Proper Romance series, which are steampunk, romance novels set in the Victorian period that are inspired by fairytales and classic novels. The first book in the series — Beauty and the Clockwork Beast — seems inspired by Jane Eyre and Beauty and the Beast. And this book, the third, The Lady in the Coppergate Tower, seems inspired by the fairytale Rapunzel and the classic novel Dracula. I didn’t like it as much as the first book, but it’s enjoyable. It’s about a young woman who learns that her background is more mysterious than she’d imagined.
Name a book you read that was a real tear-jerker.
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
I tend to shy away from books that are described as tear-jerkers. When Breath Becomes Air isn’t a tear-jerker. It’s Kalanithi’s memoir about his battle with cancer. Kalanithi was a neurosurgeon, which shows in his writing and how he describes his experience in this book. Because of how he writes the book, it didn’t make me cry, but the heartfelt epilogue written by his wife made me choke up a bit. It’s a thought-provoking, inspiring read that I highly recommend.
Name a book you’ve read that featured courageous characters.
The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan
The people from Emond’s Field — Rand, Mat, Perrin, Egwene, Nynaeve — who embark on a quest with Moiraine and Lan not fully knowing what they’re heading into are all courageous, especially considering that they don’t know much about the outside world prior to leaving their small village. I’m once again trying to read and complete Robert Jordan’s epic fantasy series, Wheel of Time. I recently completed rereading the first book, Eye of the World, and am looking forward to revisiting the second one.
Name a book you’ve read that was pure perfection.
Patsy by Nicole Dennis-Benn
A contemporary novel about a woman who immigrates to America to be with her lover, leaving behind a daughter in Jamaica with a promise to return, which she doesn’t intend to fulfill. This is a beautifully written novel that I found very relatable in some aspects because of how well it presents immigrant experiences and the feelings of those left behind.
Name a book you’ve read that was neither good nor bad.
Zodiac Starforce, #1 by Kevin Panetta, illus. by Paulina Ganucheau
This is the first issue of a YA fantasy comic book series about a group of teenage girls who protect their planet from dark creatures. Each girl represents a different astrological sign of the zodiac. Since it’s just the first issue, I couldn’t tell how well the story is, but it certainly intrigued me and I liked the art.
Name a book you’ve read that was dark and mysterious.
The Monster of Elendhaven by Jennifer Giesbrecht
This novella certainly is dark and mysterious. It’s a story of revenge, I guess. It’s about a guy who lurks in the shadows who decides to serve a frail man who wants to exact revenge on those who wronged his family and caused them to suffer. I’m still trying to make up my mind about this one.
Name a book you’ve read that was full of adventure.
Assassin’s Fate by Robin Hobb
It’s the last book in Hobb’s Fitz and the Fool trilogy, as well as the Realm of the Elderlings epic fantasy series. I completed it a couple weeks ago but haven’t yet reviewed it because I’ve been busy and am procrastinating and can’t believe the series is done. The Realm of the Elderlings series is filled with fantastic characters and loads of adventures. There’s magic, there’s wonder, there are dragons, there are liveships (ships that are actually alive, i.e., move independently and speak), and so much more. It’s a fantastic story to read!
Name a book you’ve read that made you think.
Thunder & Lightning: Weather Past, Present, Future by Lauren Redniss (illus.)
An illustrated nonfiction book about the weather that made me consider how much weather affects us and we affect it. It’s a great read for both adults and kids (a bit advanced for kids but a good one to read with them and provide explanations). I learned so much from it.
Name a book you’ve read that was really quirky.
The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil by Stephen Collins (illus.)
A graphic novel about a man living on an island called Here who unintentionally grows a gigantic beard. This was a fun, quirky read that also touches on people’s fear of the unknown. The illustrations are great as well, and sometimes the prose take on a poetic voice that made me think it’s actually a long poem.
Name a book you’ve read that was very imaginative.
Saga, Vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughan, illus. by Fiona Staples
It’s been a while since I’ve mentioned this comic book in a tag, so this is here to remedy that. It’s also a very imaginative story. Sure the basis of it — a couple from countries at war are on the run — has been done many times, but I like chances the story and illustrations take to make Saga unique. It’s one of my favorite comics.