5 Recent Reads I’ve Enjoyed

This summer, I hope to return to more regular book reviews and to kick us off, I’ve collected mini-reviews for 5 recent reads I’ve absolutely loved. They span a range of genres and topics – hopefully you’ll find a new book to love from my list!

All My Rage

By Sabaa Tahir

Genre: Young Adult – Contemporary

Lahore, Pakistan. Then.
Misbah is a dreamer and storyteller, newly married to Toufiq in an arranged match. After their young life is shaken by tragedy, they come to the United States and open the Clouds’ Rest Inn Motel, hoping for a new start.
Juniper, California. Now.
Salahudin and Noor are more than best friends; they are family. Growing up as outcasts in the small desert town of Juniper, California, they understand each other the way no one else does. Until The Fight, which destroys their bond with the swift fury of a star exploding.  
Now, Sal scrambles to run the family motel as his mother Misbah’s health fails and his grieving father loses himself to alcoholism. Noor, meanwhile, walks a harrowing tightrope: working at her wrathful uncle’s liquor store while hiding the fact that she’s applying to college so she can escape him—and Juniper—forever.
When Sal’s attempts to save the motel spiral out of control, he and Noor must ask themselves what friendship is worth—and what it takes to defeat the monsters in their pasts and the ones in their midst.  

Oh my God THIS book. I read it, and now I see why it has won all the awards and recognitions. It absolutely deserves them, every single one. This is a stunning book and I.Was.Not.Okay. when I finished it. Since then, I have been telling everyone I know who reads to read it. I haven’t read anything else by this author, but I think she’s a new auto-buy for me!


A Memory Called Empire

By Arkady Martine

Genre: Science Fiction

Ambassador Mahit Dzmare arrives in the center of the multi-system Teixcalaanli Empire only to discover that her predecessor, the previous ambassador from their small but fiercely independent mining Station, has died. But no one will admit that his death wasn’t an accident—or that Mahit might be next to die, during a time of political instability in the highest echelons of the imperial court.

Now, Mahit must discover who is behind the murder, rescue herself, and save her Station from Teixcalaan’s unceasing expansion—all while navigating an alien culture that is all too seductive, engaging in intrigues of her own, and hiding a deadly technological secret—one that might spell the end of her Station and her way of life—or rescue it from annihilation.

I actually read this book last year and it was one of my top two reads for 2022. The literature major in me loved every second of this book. When is the last time you’ve ever seen the word “scansion” printed in anything, let alone a work of fiction? This book definitely won’t appeal to everyone, but for those who do, it will strike every single chord you didn’t even you had. I’m looking forward to reading the sequel soon!


Empire of Silence

By Christopher Ruocchio

Genre: Science Fiction

It was not his war.

The galaxy remembers him as a hero: the man who burned every last alien Cielcin from the sky. They remember him as a monster: the devil who destroyed a sun, casually annihilating four billion human lives—even the Emperor himself—against Imperial orders.

But Hadrian was not a hero. He was not a monster. He was not even a soldier.

On the wrong planet, at the right time, for the best reasons, Hadrian Marlowe starts down a path that can only end in fire. He flees his father and a future as a torturer only to be left stranded on a strange, backwater world.

Forced to fight as a gladiator and navigate the intrigues of a foreign planetary court, Hadrian must fight a war he did not start, for an Empire he does not love, against an enemy he will never understand.

My other favorite read of 2022! Actually, it might be my FAVORITE read of the year. I picked this up while looking for a comp title for the book I’m going to query, and this book turned out to be EVERYTHING to me. I’ve read the second book in the series now, and I can honestly say this series is absolute perfection and appeals to me on so many levels. It’s space opera with strong overtures of fantasy. It’s brutal and deeply philosophical at the same time. It’s inventive, unique, rich, and all-around just breathtaking. I really want to meet the author before I think we would get along really well. Until then, I will have to content myself with the collector’s edition of this book that will be on its way once the Kickstarter campaign is fulfilled.


The Gilded Wolves

By Roshani Chokshi

Genre: Young Adult – Historical Fantasy

All eyes are on Paris where the Exposition Universelle World Fair is to be held. Hidden among the technological marvels and artistic creations on display is an item of unimaginable power—a Babel fragment that would enable those who wield it with magical Forging abilities over nature’s elements.

Séverin Montagnet-Alarie’s birthright was stolen from him. Now, to reclaim his rightful place among France’s elite, he must obtain the Babel fragment for the Order. It is a heist that will require the ingenuity and skills of those with nothing to lose and everything to gain: Enrique, a gifted historian and wordsmith, caught between two worlds; Zofia, a brilliant Forging artist and engineer, separated from her family; Hypnos, a rival aristocrat who needs an ally among the Order; Tristan, an extraordinary Forger raised at Séverin’s side, loyal to his adopted brother’s quest; and Laila, the mysterious dancer and espionage artist who stole Séverin’s heart in a moment of vulnerability he couldn’t afford.

But as the dangerous risks of their escapade surge, Séverin finds himself torn between his desire for revenge against all those who wronged him and the people he’s deliberately placing in harm’s way—including the woman he loves and fears to lose…

I have wanted to start this series for a long time, despite already owning this book. Let me tell you – it did not disappoint. It was everything I thought it would be and more. Luxurious, rich, and vivid with a cast of witty and diverse characters I loved. Simply magical. Can’t wait to dive into the sequel, which will take us to nineteenth-century Russia!



By Isabel Allende

Genre: Historical

Violeta comes into the world on a stormy day in 1920, the first girl in a family with five boisterous sons. From the start, her life is marked by extraordinary events, for the ripples of the Great War are still being felt, even as the Spanish flu arrives on the shores of her South American homeland almost at the moment of her birth.

Through her father’s prescience, the family will come through that crisis unscathed, only to face a new one as the Great Depression transforms the genteel city life she has known. Her family loses everything and is forced to retreat to a wild and beautiful but remote part of the country. There, she will come of age, and her first suitor will come calling.

She tells her story in the form of a letter to someone she loves above all others, recounting times of devastating heartbreak and passionate affairs, poverty and wealth, terrible loss and immense joy. Her life is shaped by some of the most important events of history: the fight for women’s rights, the rise and fall of tyrants, and ultimately not one, but two pandemics.

I read a bunch of Allende books around the time I graduated college. I liked them well enough but didn’t love them so never kept up with her new releases. Ten years later (gosh, that’s crazy), my bookclub picked a recent title of hers for our spring read. Violeta was interesting, riveting, and hard to put down. I really enjoyed how Allende bracketed her character’s life between two pandemics – the 1918 Flu and the Coronavirus. A very well-done entry in the historical fiction genre that manages to NOT be about World War II.


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