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Favorite book releases of 2019: 12/14/19
As the year winds down it's time to make lists of the best things experienced. I do things a little differently by posting lists of favorites. I'll start off with a list of my favorite new releases regardless of genre or age.
Rather than do a top ten, I'm sharing twelve, a favorite from each month of reading and reviewing.
The Bride Test by Helen Hoang
The Bride Test by Helen Hoang is the second in the Bride Quotient series. It's not exactly a sequel, but Stella and Michael do make appearances. Instead this is the tale of My and Khai. She works as a janitor in Vietnam — the only job a single mother with an American father can find — and he's a Bay Area CPA. My is recruited by Khai's mother who wants to find a bride for him and she believes My is the woman for the job.
Butterfly Yellow by Thanhha Lai
Butterfly Yellow by Thanhha Lai is set during 1981 in Amarillo Texas. It's told from alternating points of view. Hằng is an eighteen year old refugee from Việt Nam on a quest to find her younger brother. Leroy is an eighteen year old wannabe cowboy who has a good ear for understanding Hằng's English and the desire to help her out.
Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee
Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee is a middle grade science fiction fantasy space opera romp that is infused with Korean lore. Min lives with her mother and her aunties on a frontier planet, Jinju. They are all fox spirits but per her mother's wishes, she doesn't use her shapeshifting abilities or her ability to Charm except when absolutely necessary. Now the family has gotten word that eldest son Jun has deserted his post a space cruiser.
Fearless Mary by Tami Charles and Claire Almon
Fearless Mary by Tami Charles and Claire Almon is a picture book biography of Mary Fields, a former slave who in her sixties, began a career mail carrier on the star route. The book is set in Cascade, Montana in 1895.
Finding Dorothy by Elizabeth Letts
Finding Dorothy by Elizabeth Letts is primarily the story of Maud Baum consulting at MGM during the filming of The Wizard of Oz (1938). There are also extended flashbacks of her life with L. Frank Baum that serve to contextualize her opinions on the studio's adaptation of the film.
The Great Unknowable End by Kathryn Ormsbee
The Great Unknowable End by Kathryn Ormsbee is set in the summer of 1977 in Slater, Kansas. It's told from two points of view. There's Stella who lives in Slater, and there's Galliard who was born and raised in Red Sun, the nearby hippie commune.
If It Makes You Happy by Claire Kann
If It Makes You Happy by Claire Kann is an LGBTA YA romance set in a pair of small towns that brings to mind the set up of The Good Witch with the diversity problem fixed.
My Fate According to the Butterfly by Gail D. Villanueva
My Fate According to the Butterfly by Gail D. Villanueva is set in Quezon City, Metro Manilla, Philippines. Sabrina or Sab for short sees a huge black swallowtail, which can be a portent of death. She's convinced she will die before her mother returns home from her business trip. She decides to use the butterfly as a sign that she needs to fix her family before it's too late.
Past Perfect Life by Elizabeth Eulberg
Past Perfect Life by Elizabeth Eulberg is about a horrible secret that's revealed after Ally Smith tries to apply to college. The application process is a grueling process, but she doesn't expect to learn that she's not who she thinks she is. Nor does she expect her father to be arrested or a long dead mother to turn out alive and living in Florida.
The Revolution of Birdie Randolph by Brandy Colbert
The Revolution of Birdie Randolph by Brandy Colbert is set in Chicago during the summer time. Dove "Birdie" Randolph life will be turned upside down by the arrival of her mother's sister.
We Cast a Shadow by Maurice Carlos Ruffin
The audiobook of We Cast a Shadow by Maurice Carlos Ruffin, performed by Dion Graham, was been part of my artist experience for the first half of this year. Every time I painted, I had it on in the background. As I listened to it in chunks over such a long period of time, my impressions of this speculative fiction, near future satire might seem disjointed.
The Weight of Our Sky by Hanna Alkaf
The Weight of Our Sky by Hanna Alkaf begins with an author's note with a list of trigger warnings and a brief description of the historical context. Read it first. She warns of "graphic violence, death, racism, OCD, and anxiety triggers." And all those things are there. Much of it is real — in that it is experienced first hand by the protagonist, and some of it isn't. That which isn't is the product of her OCD and anxiety, which she has personified as a djinn.
Comment #1: Tuesday, December 17, 2019 at 07:23:16
The Great Unknowable End sounds fascinating. I'm always taken with stories set in communes.
Comment #2: Tuesday, December 17, 2019 at 13:09:00
It was. I hope give it a read.
Comment #3: Monday, December 23, 2019 at 14:19:13
I love the look and sound of Butterfly Yellow. Great list of books for the year!
Comment #4: Tuesday, December 24, 2019 at 21:10:00
It's a great book. I hope you read it.