Book Recommendations – 3 Fierce Reads

This post has migrated from my now defunct Facebook page. It was originally published November 20, 2018.

I’ve begun reading for the annual Sirens reading challenge, and their theme for 2019 is Heroes. The three books I want to recommend you pick up ASAP are from the “Optional” portion of that reading challenge list, and are as follows:

  1. Blade So Black – L. L. McKinney
  2. The Epic Crush of Genie Lo – F. C. Yee
  3. The Girl with the Red Balloon – Katherine Locke

Fair warning, the first two have sequels in the works (actually, I think Locke’s does too, but I believe the sequel to hers is set in the same universe with new characters, so…yes, now you know).

Why am I recommending these books? So glad you asked.

A Blade So Black : This was billed as Alice in Wonderland meets Buffy. Having read Carroll’s original work, I’ll admit, I’m not a fan of Alice in Wonderland. I like the movies and most things that have been inspired by Carroll’s work, but his actual book? No so much. BUT I’m a huge Buffy fan. So let me go further into how this was described to me – Alice in Wonderland mixed with Buffy set in modern Atlanta, GA, and the protagonist is a black teenage girl. YES! I’m there so hard. And let me tell you, this bad-ass book did not disappoint. Take my money for book 2 already. Seriously.

So why did I love it? For one, it’s described exactly as is, and was a delight to read. It’s got a quick, fun pace, the protagonist is quick-witted and funny. And this imagined Wonderland was fascinating to me. I wanted to know more. I wanted to figure it all out. Except I didn’t want to figure it all out, because that’s a book turn off for me. And I didn’t figure it all out, which is why this book is on my recommendation list. It kept me guessing and entertained and managed to do all that while talking about current events that are important and need to be discussed.

The Epic Crush of Genie Lo: The tag line on the cover of this book nearly kept me from reading it. Seriously. But then I read the synopsis and was hooked. You might notice a trend that I like books with kiss-ass women. Genie Lo is awesome, and I don’t want to talk about her too much because I hate spoilers, but she’s manages to have a determined conviction in what she’s doing while also being a confused teenager, and I love that. Reading about her taking out demons in the Bay Area as it essentially becomes a Hell Mouth made me want to hit the gym and become a bad-ass myself.

The Girl with the Red Balloon : A girl in modern day Berlin finds a red balloon that transports her back to 1980’s Berlin when the wall still divided the city. This book had the potential to be horribly depressing, which is why kept picking it up and then putting it back down before ever opening to the first page. But then…then I took that leap and I’m SO GLAD I did. I can assure you that this book is brilliant, and while not without sadness, it’s also full of hope and good feelings. You won’t regret reading this book. Don’t let fear of a potentially sad read keep you from this book. I won’t lie and say it’s not sad in parts. It is. But it’s also happy.

My favorite line from it (and man, this won’t help me convince you this isn’t a depressing read) :

“Europe has more than enough ghosts. Choosing to be a ghost is disrespectful to all the real ghosts.”

-The Girl with the Red Balloon by Katherine Locke

As someone who has struggled with anxiety and depression, and who knows too many others who struggle with the same, this quote struck me to the core. Anyway, all three of these books are wonderful. Go forth and read!

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