Give Me a Topic, Get a Recommendation

I have been seeing this come up on my FYP for TikTok for the last week or so. Mainly from Barnes & Noble employees. One of them goes up to their co-workers with slips of paper, and whatever is on that slip the employee has to recommend a book. So, I thought I would do the same thing. Only instead of asking co-workers, I asked those on my Discord server. I might make this a series, so leave your “tropes” or “topics” in the comments and they might get featured in the next one of these.

So, here were the tropes or topics that I got…

LGBT+ Representation

The first book that came to mind for this was Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas. This book focuses on Yadriel, a transgender male, who can see ghosts. When Julian, a boy who goes to his school, appears in the graveyard as a ghost the two of them have to figure out what happened to Julian as well as the missing members of Yadriel’s community before the Day of the Dead. As the two grow closer in their investigation, feelings grow between the two. I thought it had a great representation of how they handled Yadriel’s transgender identity. It also wasn’t rosy and peachy either, as not all of Yadriel’s family was fully on board with the transformation. And you got to see that develop and change as the story progressed to one of acceptance.

Spicy YA

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas is like a gateway book into spice. While it is the second book in the series, this one feels way more like the true beginning with the first book being a sequel. You have a lot of sexual tension between the two main characters before they ultimately get together. The main spicy chapters happened in Chapters 42 (Court of Nightmares), 48 (One Bed in the Hotel Room), and 55 (Soup, Paint, and Cabin Scene). Most people talk about Chapter 55 being the spiciest, but I much prefer Chapters 42 or 48 as there’s more tension even if things don’t go all the way between Feyre and Rhysand. Mostly as they still haven’t admitted to one another completely how they feel, but are starting to give into those feelings towards each other.

Too Many Emotions

Oh, there are so many books I could pick for this. A lot of Sarah J. Maas books come to mind, but I decided since there’s already one Sarah J. Maas entry in this I would go with another. That being: Heartless Sky by Caroline Peckham and Susanne Valenti. It’s the seventh novel in Zodiac Academy and I don’t think there was a single second that I wasn’t feeling my heart being ripped out. Cursed Fates also fits the bill, but there were some happy emotions in that. While Heartless Sky has some of those moments, it’s mostly covered by the weight of everything else happening. I won’t spoil it, but my goodness that book is a rollercoaster and a knife to the heart.

No Sleeping

A book I could not put down and ended up staying up all night to read was These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong. It is a Romeo and Juliet re-telling that takes place in 1920s Shanghai, when not only is there gang violence but the political climate is changing as well. Not to mention there is a bug creature that forces the two heirs: Juliette Cai and Roma Montagov, to work together in order to save their city, family, and gang. I seriously loved this book and its sequel. It’s such a good take on Romeo and Juliet while still telling its own tale. You have more of a sense of the tension between the two families, and motivations for things aren’t questionable or rushed. Plus it sets up the spin-off series, that Chloe Gong is releasing in September 2022, which takes place in the 1930s following some of the characters we met in this series.

First Time Fantasy

I decided to go with the first book that got me into fantasy, which is The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. I wouldn’t call this an adult fantasy book, or a book to dip your toes into the waters of fantasy by any means. But this is the book that I didn’t initially love when we were forced to read it in the fifth grade, as I could barely understand most words. Like I knew them, but I couldn’t pronounce them or spell them. I didn’t get into reading until the seventh grade when I re-picked up this book along with the others in a combined novel. I don’t know what it was about that time trying to read it, but I went from not reading any books that weren’t school assigned to reading for fun almost obsessively. And that’s thanks to this series, after that, I read any fantasy book I could get my hands on.

Into Space, We Go

Alright, I will not claim this book is completely well written, or that it’s the best thing under the planet of the sun. I would not rate these books high as I would with the others mentioned in this post. I rated them between 3 and 3.25 stars if I remember correctly yet I read literally every single one of them and then some. I’m referring to Ice Planet Barbarians by Ruby Dixon. It’s a sci-fi smut novel, but the first book is more focused on the sci-fi side of things, to begin with. The group of women are abducted into space and left on a frozen planet. Their only means of survival are joining a tribe of aliens by getting a parasite that can keep them alive on the planet, but it also decides who ends up in relationships and forces reproduction. They decide to stay on the planet, and since then there have been multiple series that were spun off in this universe including Icehome, The Corsairs, Risdaverse (I haven’t read these), and Fireblood Dragons. Though the last one takes place on what remains of Earth.

Monsters Galore

So, this book doesn’t so much have monsters as it has demons, which are very similar in some regards. Legendborn by Tracy Deonn, tells the tale of Bree, who discovers that demons are a very real thing that reincarnated members of Arthur’s round table are sworn to fight against. Bree not only joins the recruitment process but learns that the group is connected with her mother’s death and that not all is as it appears. It is a fantastic read. If you like the concept of Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare (which I almost picked for this) but weren’t a fan of the two almost incest plotlines, then this book is for you. As it has similar vibes to fighting demons in secrecy, without the problems of Mortal Instruments. Though Infernal Devices and Dark Artifices also fight into this category too and are great reads.

Got any topics you would like me to give a recommendation for, let me know in the comments. Also, what would you pick for each of these?

Love ya,

Mae Polzine

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