5 Recent Reads I Loved

April 20, 2018

2018 so far has been a rewarding reading year. I've dabbled in fiction, non-fiction, memoirs, poetry and essays, and although I am crazy behind on my Goodreads reading challenge, I have plenty of recommendations that I'm positively dying to share! In no particular order, here are five books that I've read in the past two months which I would definitely recommend to anyone looking to cosy up with a good read. Enjoy!

1. 'An American Marriage' by Tayari Jones
Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. Roy is arrested and sentenced to twelve years for a crime Celestial knows he didn’t commit. Though fiercely independent, Celestial finds herself bereft and unmoored, taking comfort in Andre, her childhood friend, and best man at their wedding. As Roy’s time in prison passes, she is unable to hold on to the love that has been her center. After five years, Roy’s conviction is suddenly overturned, and he returns to Atlanta ready to resume their life together. 
WHY I WOULD RECOMMEND THIS BOOK: I have too many feelings about 'An American Marriage'. As a piece of Adult fiction, this was so unlike most of the young adult books that I read but it was definitely such a rewarding step outside of my usual lane. The writing was so captivating and crisp, the product of a skilled and experienced writer. The characters in this novel were so complex and flawed, and the particular situation they found themselves in was so fascinating and difficult to imagine - despite it sadly being the reality for quite a few black American families. I loved the premise of the plot but my heart was broken so many times during the story. It's worth it though. I rated 'An American Marriage' 4.5/5 Stars.

2. 'Children of Blood and Bone' by Tomi Adeyemi
Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zelie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls. But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were targeted and killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope. Now, Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good. Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers—and her growing feelings for the enemy.
WHY I WOULD RECOMMEND THIS BOOK: A better question would be 'why wouldn't I recommend this book?' It is literally the most epic book YA fantasy has seen in ages, I am in a constant state of awe and appreciation over 'Children of Blood and Bone' and it's creator Tomi Adeyemi. To see why exactly I LOVED this book and who I would fancast for its future film adaptation, click here

3. 'Body Positive Power' by Megan Jayne Crabbe
We've been convinced that happiness is something that only comes once we hit that goal weight, get those washboard abs, shrink ourselves down and change every part of ourselves. We believe that our bodies are the problem, but the truth is that our bodies are not the problem. How we've been taught to see them is the problem... it's time for us all to stop believing the lies, and take our power back. Megan's body image issues began when she was five years old. She spent her childhood chasing thinness, and at fourteen found herself spiralling into anorexia. After recovery, she spent years dieting, binging, losing and gaining weight. Then she found body positivity, quit dieting, and finally escaped the cult of thin. Now she's determined to let as many people as possible know the truth: that we are all good enough as we are. If you're tired of being at war with your body, then this book is for you. With her inimitable flair, whip-smart wit and kickass attitude, Megan argues for a new way of seeing ourselves, and a world where every body is celebrated. Where there is no such thing as a ‘bikini body diet’ and 97% of women don’t hate the way they look. 

WHY I WOULD RECOMMEND THIS BOOK: I don't really know how to begin discussing this book. All I can say is that THIS BOOK WILL CHANGE EVERYTHING YOU THOUGHT WAS TRUE, IT WILL LITERALLY CHANGE YOUR LIFE FOR THE BETTER!! KNOWLEDGE IS POWER! EVERYONE SHOULD READ AND SHARE THIS BOOK IMMEDIATELY, IT IS DETRIMENTAL. I'll be discussing this book in an upcoming post on 'Body Positivity' in the coming weeks so stay tuned for a more coherent explanation. Just trust me on this one. I rated 'Body Positive Power' 5/5 Stars.

4. 'A Little Something Different' by Sandy Hall
Lea and Gabe are in the same creative writing class. They get the same pop culture references, order the same Chinese food, and hang out in the same places. Unfortunately, Lea is reserved, Gabe has issues, and despite their initial mutual crush, it looks like they are never going to work things out. But somehow even when nothing is going on, something is happening between them, and everyone can see it. Their creative writing teacher pushes them together. The baristas at the local Starbucks watch their relationship like a TV show. Their bus driver tells his wife about them. The waitress at the diner automatically seats them together. Even the squirrel who lives on the college green believes in their relationship.
WHY I WOULD RECOMMEND THIS BOOK: 'A Little Something Different' was a random book I stumbled upon at the library one day and on a whim, decided to borrow. It was one of the first reads I had enjoyed in a while, that I had no prior knowledge of. Usually what I read is influenced by hype, it's release date, publishers or the blogging community, but this was completely different. Much to my surprise, I ended up absolutely loving this book! It is so unique and unlike any other young adult contemporary romance I've seen before. Sandy Hall actually chose to write this love story from fourteen different viewpoints, none of which were the perspectives of love interests Lea and Gabe (meaning we didn't often hear from them directly). You'd think this would create some sort of disconnect between the reader and the main characters, but if anything, it allowed us to examine them intimately from the outside in. Honestly, the best way to describe this book is this: "it's the story of different people and objects witnessing two clueless young adults awkwardly (and it truly is awkward) fall in love with each other and shipping them hardcore, trying to give their OTP a helpful nudge here and there." Basically, it's everything! I have such a soft spot for this pure, innocent and fluffy novel. I rated  'Something Different' 4.5/5 Stars.

5. 'Heart Talk' by Cleo Wade
True to her hugely popular Instagram account, Cleo Wade brings her moving life lessons to Heart Talk, an inspiring, accessible, and spiritual book of wisdom for the new generation. Featuring over one hundred and twenty of Cleo’s original poems, mantras, and affirmations, including fan favourites and never before seen ones, this book is a daily pep talk to keep you feeling empowered and motivated. With relatable, practical, and digestible advice, including “Hearts break. That’s how the magic gets in,” and “Baby, you are the strongest flower that ever grew, remember that when the weather changes,” this is a portable, replenishing pause for your daily life. Keep Heart Talk by your bedside table or in your bag for an empowering boost of spiritual adrenaline that can help you discover and unlock what is blocking you from thriving emotionally and spiritually.
WHY I WOULD RECOMMEND THIS BOOK: Cleo Wade is the mother, sister, friend, and auntie you wish you had. I'm positive that she'd be nothing short of a fairy godmother! Articulate, loving, and empowering, her debut poetry collection involves a series of positive affirmations dedicated to growth, healing, and kindness. It's a short and simple read but it contains many powerful truths worthy of a re-read. I rated 'Heart Talk' 4/5 stars.

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