TTT | New-to-Me Authors I Discovered in 2021

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly topic hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week she provide a topic and you are free to use that topic and/or variations of that topic to make your top ten list. A full list of the weekly themes can be found here.

TJ Klune: Most everyone has heard about Klune’s The House in the Cerulean Sea. I didn’t realize until after I finished that a lot of his books are on my TBR pile. Hopefully, I get to read his other books soon.

Daisy Johnson: Read Johnson’s Everything Under for a class I audited last fall. I was entranced with the language and world she created, while not perfect by any means, it was still a wonderful read and I’m excited to see what else she writes in the future.

Pamela N. Harris: Her debut novel, When You Look Like Us, was beautiful and poignant and everyone needs to read it!!

Taylor Jenkins Reid: I’ve probably said this before, but I don’t care. I’m not a fan of TJR. There I said it, come at me! I did finally read 3 of her books last year and had such high expectations that I think that’s why the books themselves fell flat for me.

Lee Mandelo: Another debut author I read last year. Mandelo’s Summer Sons was a gritty, American Gothic novel, and their another author that I’m excited to see what they come up with next.

Lisa Jenn Bigelow: Hazel’s Theory of Evolution was such a fun middle-school read that approached difficult topics in a great way for kids, so this author is definitely on my radar now.

Heather Walter: I think we all fell in love with Malice and Heather Walter in 2021….no, just me, well okay than.

Becky Chambers: I absolutely fell in love with the world and characters Becky Chambers created in The Wayfarer Series and she’s become one of those automatic buy authors.

Kekla Magoon: I had never heard of Kekla Magoon until reading How It Went Down, a tragic story told with beautiful prose. I definitely want to pick up her other books.

Happy Reading Darlings!

TTT | 2021 Releases I Was Excited to Read But Didn’t Get To

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly topic hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week she provide a topic and you are free to use that topic and/or variations of that topic to make your top ten list. A full list of the weekly themes can be found here.

I always say I’m going to read my TBR that I actually own and yet, I always end the year with the same or more books that I own and haven’t read. Life just keeps getting in the way of my reading! I’m hoping to actually change this now that I’m officially done with school now.

As a librarian, I review children’s and young adults’ books for a journal. These are the ones I picked for my December checkout that I was hoping to have them finished by the end of the new year. Instead, I got lost in re-watching (then watching) Criminal Minds and reading didn’t happen. These are obviously going to be at the top of my TBR since the reviews for them are due in soon.

I own this book. I remember buying this book and being so excited that I found a hardcover on the discount shelf. Why have I not read this? That is a question for past Darcy!

I specifically went to the store on the day of it’s release to buy it. I paid full price. Still have not read it.

This book sounds amazing and then I saw the book without the cover jacket and needed by own copy. We had a retreat for my job in August (before school started) and before making the 3 hour car ride back home, I stopped at a local bookshop. This was a book I purchased. I think I’m subconsciously thinking about the work retreat when looking at this book.

A book I was supposed to read for one of the book clubs I’m in. I’ve heard from the book club and other friends that it’s great. The few chapters I’ve read have been hilarious and completely relatable. Yet, I always have a hard time (I guess you could say love/hate relationship) with self-help books.

I only recently got really into the romance genre, but that’s only because I like romances that aren’t just straight, white people. I absolutely loved Written in the Stars, and I recently re-read it, so I definitely want to read Hang the Moon now!

I mean one, this cover is gorgeous, and two, what else do I need in life besides a girl who can grow plants from a single touch. The answer is nothing!

Confession time, I still have not read The Henna Wars. I know, I’m ashamed of myself! Part of me is so afraid to read my owned TBR because that means I’ll need to buy more books and my bank account cannot handle that at this point.

Happy Reading Darlings!

TTT | Most Recent Additions to My Book Collection

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly topic hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week she provide a topic and you are free to use that topic and/or variations of that topic to make your top ten list. A full list of the weekly themes can be found here.

This week’s topic covers the most recent books to my collection. I’m interpreting this as ones I (or someone) bought for my collection.

Books I received as Christmas gifts from others

Books I bought myself in the past few weeks because I needed them

The book I needed to buy so I could finally finish the series

Happy Reading Darlings!

TTT | Best Books I Read In 2021

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly topic hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week she provide a topic and you are free to use that topic and/or variations of that topic to make your top ten list. A full list of the weekly themes can be found here.

The end of 2021 and we’re still in a pandemic. I’m exhausted from the past two years but books have kept me somewhat sane. Here are some of my favorites from this year.

I cannot recommend this book enough! The plot was great and the characters were so compelling. I absolutely loved the twist on The Sleeping Beauty fairy tale, especially with lesbians!

Every adult should read this book and it doesn’t get enough hype. A fascinating dual tale of seventeen-year-old Will Tillman and seventeen-year-old Rowan Chase. Rowan finds a skeleton on her family’s property. 100 years earlier, Will is a misguided teen in Tulsa during the 1920s.

Another book that doesn’t get enough hype. This book is the one where you actually see the main character change and realize their own biases. Mara wants to play football after getting kicked off the basketball team, and this one choice leads to a ripple effect that Mara doesn’t want to focus on or really care about. Highly, highly recommend. It’s a fun read that also delves into topics about sexuality and gender.

Ugh, I cannot get enough of Kyoshi and Rangi’s romance! They are so stickin’ cute! This one was such a great read just like the first one. I also think this series is great, as Yee does a good job of letting those who may not be fans of the two Avatar series still understand the storylines.

First off, Claudia Rankine is an amazing writer. In this poetry/essay collection, she truly brings up topics that need to be talked about and these will be uncomfortable for white people at times. Sit with the uncomfortableness and think about what Rankine is trying to get across.

This book is such a warm and lovely gay blanket and I cannot get enough of this! Arthur and Linus are completely adorable. And I would protect all those babies with my life!!

This collection of poetry by Seema Yasmin is beautiful and thought-provoking. I know I keep saying it, but I definitely recommend this to everyone. With lines like, “She is a Muslim woman in charge of the remote control & human evolution. Eight percent of your genome is viral-we are literal cousins of ancient pathogens wretched offspring of pandemics,” it’s hard not to get lost in the beauty of her words.

Nicole Murphy goes missing, but nobody cares because when you have brown skin, brown eyes, black braids or fades nobody cares in the good ole’ US of A. Jay Murphy, Nic’s younger brother, is determined to find out what happened and find his sister alive, no matter what. This was an amazing book and definitely time as we care more when white skin, blonde eye girls go missing.

Etaf Rum takes us inside the world of conservative Arab women living in America. We are taken through the lives of Deya, who lives with her grandparents in Brooklyn and is starting to meet suitors, and her mother, Isra, who didn’t have a choice to leave Palestine for America to marry Adam. A difficult, beautiful, and complex novel that will have you truly think about the lives of Arab American women.

Again, another book that everyone needs to read. Extremely accessible and well-written that takes us through African-American voting rights in this country and how we still have a lot of work to do to make sure everyone’s vote actually counts.

Happy Reading Darlings!

TTT | Books I Hope Santa Brings

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly topic hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week she provide a topic and you are free to use that topic and/or variations of that topic to make your top ten list. A full list of the weekly themes can be found here.

Books are the only thing I put on my Christmas list and only recently have people actually believed me when I say that’s what I want. Oh well, here are some books I hope to receive this year. If you want to get anything from my wishlist, here is the amazon link. Please, please, do not feel obligated to get anything!!

Happy Reading Darlings!

TTT | Books on My Winter 2021 To-read List

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly topic hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week she provide a topic and you are free to use that topic and/or variations of that topic to make your top ten list. A full list of the weekly themes can be found here.

I’m actually currently reading this and enjoying it immensely! I just finished re-reading Stalking Jack the Ripper and Hunting Prince Dracula.

And of course, once I finish Escaping from Houdini, I’ll need to read Capturing the Devil!

I borrowed this from a friend, so I really need to read it soon!

This has been on my list for a while, but I now am reading it to submit a review to a journal.

Another title to review for a journal!

And the last title I’m reviewing for a journal.

Another book (eARC) I’m currently reading. I’m hoping to finish it before the new year.

I’ve owned this one for a while and just haven’t gotten to it yet (don’t know why). I’ve heard great things about it, so I hope to get it soon.

I absolutely love Trevor Noah and I’ve heard amazing things about his book, so I’m excited (is that the right word?) to read it!

I spent one semester in grad school reading all of Morrison’s fiction. It was a lovely, difficult, heartrending semester where I learned a lot. This will just add more to my knowledge and leave me with lots of thoughts.

Happy Reading Darlings!

TTT | Freebie

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly topic hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week she provide a topic and you are free to use that topic and/or variations of that topic to make your top ten list. A full list of the weekly themes can be found here.

This past semester has been crazy! Not only was I working a full-time job, in my last semester of my library science graduate program, but I also decided to audit two classes (do some of the homework) for fun. Yeah….I just really love learning for learning’s sake. One of the classes was Historical Perspectives on Gender and sexualities. The final was a scholarly book review, and on the last day of class and the final time slot, each student went over the book they chose. Here are the books that I would like to read after hearing about them.

In Bad Girls at Samarcand Karin L. Zipf dissects a dark episode in North Carolina’s eugenics campaign through a detailed study of the State Home and Industrial School in Eagle Springs, referred to as Samarcand Manor, and the school’s infamous 1931 arson case. The people and events surrounding both the institution and the court case sparked a public debate about the expectations of white womanhood, the nature of contemporary science and medicine, and the role of the juvenile justice system that resonated throughout the succeeding decades.

In this comprehensive history, Ashley D. Farmer examines black women’s political, social, and cultural engagement with Black Power ideals and organizations. Complicating the assumption that race and gender constraints relegated black women to the margins of the movement, Farmer demonstrates how female activists fought for more inclusive understandings of Black Power and social justice by developing new ideas about black womanhood. This compelling book shows how the new tropes of womanhood that they created–the “Militant Black Domestic,” the “Revolutionary Black Woman,” and the “Third World Woman,” for instance–spurred debate among activists over the centrality of gender to Black Power ideologies, ultimately causing many of the era’s organizations and collectives to adopt a more radical critique of patriarchy.

Lillian Faderman tells the compelling story of lesbian life in the 20th century, from the early 1900s to today’s diverse lifestyles. Using journals, unpublished manuscripts, songs, news accounts, novels, medical literature, and numerous interviews, she relates an often surprising narrative of lesbian life. “A key work…the point of reference from which all subsequent studies of 20th-century lesbian life in the United States will begin.”

In Masculinity and Sexuality in Modern Mexico, historians and anthropologists explain how evolving notions of the meaning and practice of manhood have shaped Mexican history. In essays that range from Texas to Oaxaca and from the 1880s to the present, contributors write about file clerks and movie stars, wealthy world travelers and ordinary people whose adventures were confined to a bar in the middle of town.

For author Qwo-Li Driskill, asegi provides a means by which to reread Cherokee history in order to listen for those stories rendered “strange” by colonial heteropatriarchy.

As the first full-length work of scholarship to develop a tribally specific Indigenous Queer or Two-Spirit critique, Asegi Stories examines gender and sexuality in Cherokee cultural memory, how they shape the present, and how they can influence the future.

Charity and Sylvia is the intimate history of their extraordinary forty-four year union. Drawing on an array of original documents including diaries, letters, and poetry, Cleves traces their lives in sharp detail. Providing an illuminating glimpse into a relationship that turns conventional notions of same-sex marriage on their head, and reveals early America to be a place both more diverse and more accommodating than modern society might imagine, Charity and Sylvia is a significant contribution to our limited knowledge of LGBT history in early America.

Ideas of masculinity and femininity become sharply defined in war-reliant societies, resulting in a presumed enmity between men and women. This so-called “battle of the sexes” is intensified by the use of misogyny to encourage men and boys to conform to the demands of masculinity. These are among Tom Digby’s fascinating insights shared in Love and War, which describes the making and manipulation of gender in militaristic societies and the sweeping consequences for men and women in their personal, romantic, sexual, and professional lives.

Since the defeat of the Nazi Third Reich and the end of its horrific eugenics policies, battles over the politics of life, sex, and death have continued and evolved. Dagmar Herzog documents how reproductive rights and disability rights, both latecomers to the postwar human rights canon, came to be seen as competing–with unexpected consequences.

As Christian leaders in the first through fifth centuries embraced ascetic interpretations of the Bible and practices of sexual renunciation, sexual slander–such as the accusations Paul leveled against wayward Gentiles in the New Testament–played a pivotal role in the formation of early Christian identity. In particular, the imagined construct of the lascivious, literal-minded Jew served as a convenient foil to the chaste Christian ideal. Susanna Drake examines representations of Jewish sexuality in early Christian writings that use accusations of carnality, fleshliness, bestiality, and licentiousness as strategies to differentiate the “spiritual” Christian from the “carnal” Jew.

Based on extensive archival work, Stormtrooper Families combines stormtrooper personnel records, Nazi Party autobiographies, published and unpublished memoirs, personal letters, court records, and police-surveillance records to paint a picture of the stormtrooper movement as an organic product of its local community, its web of interpersonal relationships, and its intensely emotional internal struggles. Extensive analysis of Nazi-era media across the political spectrum shows how the public debate over homosexuality proved just as important to political outcomes as did the actual presence of homosexuals in fascist and antifascist politics.

Happy Reading Darlings!

TTT | Bookish Memories 

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly topic hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week she provide a topic and you are free to use that topic and/or variations of that topic to make your top ten list. A full list of the weekly themes can be found here.

  1. I was around 7 or 8 when my family (grandparents included) and I went to the bookstore. (or the mall in general; I can only remember my grandpa and mom in this memory, and neither of them like each other, so I doubt it was just the 3 of us there). It was a Waldenbooks, so dating myself and it wasn’t very big but better then nothing. I went up to my mom wanting this book, and she told me to put it on my Christmas list. My grandpa turned to her and said you never deny a child a book and proceeded to buy the book for myself. Afterwards, he told me that anytime I wanted books to let him and grandma now and they’d send me a check for them (they didn’t live in the same town as we did). I don’t think he expected I would use it as much as I did, but they never complained and were always happy to hear about the books I wanted (and I was excited to tell them).
  2. I mean can I even call myself a reader/writer if I don’t mention the Scholastic book fairs at school!
  3. While I have my issues with the author of Harry Potter, it does still hold a special place in my heart. I was 7 when my grandparents bought me the boxed set of the first 4 books (the only ones out at the time). It was supposed to be a Christmas gift but they decided to give it to me a few weeks early because my sister had undergone scoliosis surgery and I apparently screamed bloody murder when I saw her after. No one had explained to 7/8 year old Darcy about what was going on. I remember unwrapping them and being so excited and continuing to be excited about them.
  4. Another Harry Potter memory is when the 6th book came out (Half-Blood Prince). It was published in the summer of 2005, and I would be in Vegas visiting my grandparents at the time (they lived in Vegas from 1997-2015 and my sister and I would visit them each summer). My grandma asked if I would like to go the the midnight release party that the Paseo Verde Library was putting on, as they were getting shipments of the book to sell as well as bookstores. I was super excited to go and dressed up as Hermione (my grandma went as Trelawney). It was a whole event with Quidditch races, games, surprises, readings, discussions, just a ton of fun. As soon as the book was in my hand, I, along with many other kids, found a spot on the ground in the library to start reading until our parents, grandparents, guardians told us we had to leave (the library was open for a special occasion and librarians want to go home too). I fell asleep on the couch reading the book!
  5. I’ve always been a pretty political active person and aware of issues that don’t always affect me. However, I remember reading Ten Thousand Lovers by Edeet Ravel and falling in love with the characters and story, as well as the culture and issues in the book. That was the moment that made me want to study and learn more about the Middle East and pushed me to minor (there wasn’t an option to major) in Arabic.
  6. Even though my thesis is probably considered more of a writing memory than a reading one, for an English literature master’s program it definitely involved a ton of reading. I was looking at the idea and place of home and how does that change, evolve, and present itself when you’re home is ravaged by war/terror/violence in Irish literature. The book that really sparked my interest in Irish literature and pursuing a focus on it was The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry; it was one of the books I focused on for a chapter in my thesis.
  7. One of my favorite professors in the English grad program was Dr. Moore and he just sparked my interest in American literature that hadn’t been their before. I loved reading and learning about the Black authors that are not usually focused on in typical American lit classes.
  8. Receiving my first ARC book was definitely a big moment for me. For years, I’ve always wondered what I needed to do to be able to read advanced copies and I never knew having a blog and keeping up with it counted till recently.
  9. I Wish You All the Best by Mason Deaver is one of my favorite books of all time and spoke to me as a nonbinary person. I just loved reading Ben’s story, and it really started my gender journey.
  10. The fact that this week (Thursday specifically) is when my last assignment for my master’s in library science is due, then I’m done with the program and will be graduating! I won’t actually attend graduation (sitting for 3-4 hours is not my idea of fun for only 2 seconds) but I’m so excited to finally have the degree to be a librarian. I’ve been sending out job applications and hopefully will hear back from someone soon. But I really hope to remain in collection development (academic libraries all the way) because I just love seeing what’s new and what people are interested in studying and learning.

TTT | Books to Read If You Love Red (Taylor’s Version) Album

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly topic hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week she provide a topic and you are free to use that topic and/or variations of that topic to make your top ten list. A full list of the weekly themes can be found here.

Have I been listening to Red on repeat since Friday? Maybe, but you can’t prove anything. Either way, here are books to read if you love X song from that album.

I have to pair Daisy Jones & the Six with Sad Beautiful Tragic. Not only does the story match with the song but the feel of the song matches it as well.

For The Very First Night, Malice by Heather Walter will leave with all the feels that this song does.

If you like Babe, then you should definitely read Malibu Rising! This song specifically makes me think of Nina and her husband’s (soon to be ex) relationship.

My mind immediately went to Call Me By Your Name for Red!

For Holy Ground, I actually went with Mrs. Dalloway because I think the story in the song matches really well with the time and reminiscing that Mrs. Dalloway (both book and character) goes through.

Yes, Jane Eyre does end up with Mr. Rochester but that doesn’t me I wanted her to end up with him. I still think this song applies for the book and relationship.

Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour just gives all the same feelings that I had when listening to Message in a Bottle. I know it’s probably about wanting someone back, but I think it also fits with first loves.

The feel of the song definitely doesn’t fit Pride and Prejudice but the song itself goes hand and hand with it. Especially the first 3/4 before Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth get together.

I legitimately could here Ari saying the words from Treacherous, which is why I paired it with Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe.

Probably not the relationship(s) per se, but the roller coaster of emotions this song goes through definitely fits with The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

Happy Reading Darlings!

TTT | Memorable Things Characters Have Said

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly topic hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week she provide a topic and you are free to use that topic and/or variations of that topic to make your top ten list. A full list of the weekly themes can be found here.

Well this past weekend has been pretty heavy for myself and my family, but we’re all trying our best and moving forward. Today’s Top Ten Tuesday is focused on memorable quotes characters have said.

Eventually, when those massive stars reach the end of their lives, they go out with a bang, a supernova so bright, so beautiful it drowns out all the other stars. And when they do, they throw out all those elements they created. That’s what we’re made of. We’ve got calcium in our bones and iron in our blood and nitrogen in our DNA . . . and all of that? It comes from those stars. We are literally made of stardust.

Written in the Stars by Alexandria Bellefleur

Kiss me, Hardy! Kiss me, quick!

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

The lives that ended that night mattered. It was a mistake for this city to try to forget, and it’s an even bigger one to pretend everything’s fine now. Black men and women are dying today for the same reasons they did in 1921. And we have to call that out, Rowan. Every single time.

Dreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham

I cannot conceive of a universe without you in it

Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

I cannot make speeches, Emma…If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more. But you know what I am. You hear nothing but truth from me. I have blamed you, and lectured you, and you have borne it as no other woman in England would have borne it.

Emma by Jane Austen

You wonder why I’m so uptight about entitle white culture? It’s not just that I live here half the time and see real poverty. It’s not just the snack baskets in first class. It’s because entitled white culture encourages those inside it to never look outside their own fucking worlds. We blow everything off because we’re so concerned with looking good we can’t just feel.

Dig by A.S. King

If you don’t understand, ask questions. If you’re uncomfortable about asking questions, say you are uncomfortable about asking questions and then ask anyway. It’s easy to tell when a question is coming from a good place. Then listen some more. Sometimes people just want to feel heard. Here’s to possibilities of friendship and connection and understanding.

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

If you want to know what a man is like take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by Some Woman

Oh, justice exists, maybe not the kind that happens in police stations and courtrooms, but it does exist. And when you really think about it, those words – good and bad, right and wrong – they don’t really matter in the real world. Who gets to decide what they mean: those people who just got it wrong and let Max walk free? No, I think we all get to decide what good and bad and right and wrong mean to us, not what we’re told to accept. You did nothing wrong. Don’t beat yourself up for other people’s mistakes.

Good Girl, Bad Blood by Holly Jackson

Happy Reading Darlings!