I gotta be real with you guys for a second. Things aren’t great over here. Yesterday, the MA governor issued a shelter-in-place order, which means my physical office is officially closed. I’m the only one that’s been going there anyway since I handle all the facilities, but even that’s at a halt now, and I’m really worried about my job. I sat down in the dark hallway and cried for several minutes yesterday because I’m so scared, and I don’t know what’s going to happen. I’ve been trying to keep the crisis talk to a minimum because I’m literally surrounded by it all day at work, but I also don’t want to just pretend everything is sunshine and daisies right now with me.
Anyway, that’s all, I’m staying afloat in contemporaries right now, and today’s post is probably perfect timing.
You know that book that you loved because you didn’t have to think too hard about it? It was the kind of mindless, numbing feeling you get when watching crappy reality TV or even just older cartoons. You can just sit back, relax, and let it take over your brain for a little bit. You know what I’m talking about. You’ve read at least one of them. And while this week’s That Artsy Reader Girl topic says to stick to one genre and build a list around those, I’m switching it. Here’s a list of all my favorite guilty pleasures! Most of these got four or five stars because sometimes you just gotta kick your feet up and have a good time. And if you want more, I discussed why I love guilty pleasures so much (and hate that term for them)!
Gosh, Zenith by Sasha Alsberg & Lindsay Cummings is an experience. I think a lot of the reason most everyone hated it was because they took it too seriously, and I was about 100 pages in when I realized this book was complete and utter nonsense, and from then on, I had an absolute blast. Nothing in this is particularly riveting, and I didn’t really have to use my brain a lot, but it was so fun, full of shoot ’em up moments, and just a wild ride from start to finish. I’m definitely reading the sequel.
Of course Shadowhunters is on this list, the entire universe is basically the definition of guilty pleasure. I first read City of Bones by Cassandra Clare back in who knows when, but the last book in the main TMI series was just about to come out when I binged the entire first five books in a month. I’ve since reread all of them much more slowly, and am currently working my way through everything else, and I plan on being a Shadowhunters until the end of time. It’s got literally every mythical creature you could possibly want, plus every cliche plot line ever, and badass characters who wear all black, so like? What more could you want?
I actually snorted out loud in the middle of a bookstore when I spotted When Life Gives You Demons by Jennifer Honeybourn. The title alone was going to convince me, but then that tagline? “High school is hard. Exorcising demons is harder.” SIGN ME THE HECK UP. This book is probably dumber than you’re expecting, and that’s saying a lot, and I love it to tiny little pieces.
I saw someone describe The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee as Gossip Girl set in the future, and while I’ve never seen Gossip Girl, I know the vibe, and yes yes yes, that is 100% what this book is. The tech/scifi aspect of it could literally be plucked right out, and this would still function as a day time soap opera, so the combination is even better. This is probably the most mindless out of all of these, and also probably the one I devoured the fastest.
I LOVE middle grade, and a lot of it is really heart-wrenching, but sometimes a MG book comes along that’s just silly, and that book for me is Pip Bartlett’s Guide to Magical Creatures by Jackson Pearce & Maggie Stiefvater. Sure, it does actually deal with topics like anxiety and found family, but it also contains a stressed af unicorn participating in a show, and like? Yes? Thank you, and more please?
The perfect description of Wicked Like a Wildfire by Lana Popovic is decadent. The inside perfectly matches the outside. There are more descriptions of food & clothes & useless magic than you’ve ever needed in your life, and I was both starving and felt like I was floating the entire time I read this duology. One of the MCs has magic that just involves making flowers look super pretty. Like, none of the magic has any purpose. It’s all about being beautiful. It’s ridiculous, and I love it.
The Shadow Queen by CJ Redwine is not necessarily mindless, but it also doesn’t require a whole ton of brain power. The whole series is full of fairytale retellings, and while there are really excellent twists in each one, they’re also pretty predictable, so I’m really only shocked that the seven dwarves are dragons, not that anything major is happening. They’re excellent books, though, and ones that I preorder religiously.
Carry On by Rainbow Rowell is was literally birthed out of fake fanfiction, and if that isn’t the most obvious form of a guilty pleasure, well?? I dunno what to tell you, but this series is fan service at its finest, and I am here for it. It’s so ridiculous that I’ve never once felt stressed or concerned or anything even mildly above super content, and we all need that kind of book in our lives.
Amber & Dusk by Lyra Selene is probably the least mindless out of all of these, but it’s also full of the most cliches & is probably the most predictable book I’ve ever read. It leans hard into those cliches in a way that celebrates them, and I love that so much, but it also doesn’t require a lot of thinking. This is just super enjoyable, and not much else, but did I gobble down the sequel as soon as I had my hands on it? You betcha!