This week’s That Artsy Reader Girl topic was actually a bit harder than I was expecting, though I think that’s mostly because I kept fighting with myself on adjective vs adverb. I’m not a huge fan of grammar, if we’re being honest, and I’ve been called out on it a lot in my own writing, but if it sounds good and it makes sense, why does it also have to follow rules?

May the Best Man Win by ZR Ellor was one of the saviors of my disastrous Pride reads last year, and it definitely stood out as one of the best. I’ve been following Ellor on Twitter for a while now, and while I’m not using Twitter anymore, I’m so glad the platform introduced me to them, and I can’t wait to read more by them. I love the vibes of this cover + title, too, because it’s got such do it you won’t energy that’s threaded throughout the book, and it’s perfect.

A History of Wild Places is Shea Ernshaw’s newest release, and her first time writing in the adult age range! I really enjoyed this weird, mysterious book, and I honestly didn’t figure out the twist until right before it was happening. I can’t wait to read this again and be able to see everything with a different perspective. Wild is such a good way to describe both the setting and the content of this book, too.

My mom reads to a fifth grade class, and she’s about to crack into The Accidental Apprentice by Amanda Foody! She just finished up Rajana LaRocca’s two middle grade Shakespeare retellings, and I never thought I’d get her to read one book with magic, let alone two, so I’m really excited to see what she thinks of Foody’s adorable, wacky adventure. I love the word accidental to describe Barclay, too, because he’s not the type of person to do anything accidentally, and the wild adventure that he’s thrown on brings me so much joy watching him grow from it.

The covers for both books in this duology are fantastic, and both of them speak so well to what’s inside, but my goodness, Our Violent Ends by Chloe Gong really goes hard on the cover and somehow still doesn’t prepare you for what’s coming. Violent is truly the perfect way to describe the content of these books, both as it concerns with what is happening and how that violence effects both Juliette & Roma’s lives. It shapes their entire relationship, and the relationships around them, until they’re forced to become entirely different people just to survive the violence.

Broken Web by Lori M. Lee was such an unexpected find for me in this past year, and I can’t wait to see how this trilogy ends. (I think it’s a trilogy?) This is one of the few middle books that’s exceptional in a world of pretty subpar middle books, and I thoroughly enjoyed the story as it continued to grow and build upon itself in this second one. The titles of the first two are pretty literal, too, but I think it works in Lee’s favor! And it makes looking back on the warning of a broken web and feeling a little dumb, haha.

I didn’t end up reading Pepper’s Rules for Secret Sleuthing by Briana McDonald during Pride because there were too many other books, many of which were terrible, and I’m so sad that I didn’t read this until way later because it definitely would have saved my month. I really hope that McDonald writes another book in this universe because I don’t think I enjoyed anymore more than this sweet queer cast of characters solving mysteries together even when faced with great odds.

I realized pretty quickly that I could have just included all of Owen’s books, but I chose Little Thieves because it felt the most accurate. Sure, Fie is merciful, and she does try to make us think Tav is faithless, and there really isn’t anything little about Vanja, but she thieves in such little ways that have such massive impacts that it’s hilarious to me that Owen calls her a little thief.

Who, me? Continuing to find every opportunity possible to talk about Into the Dying Light by Katy Rose Pool? Yeah, obviously, duh. I really like the use of the word dying, too, because this is an end of times kind of book. If the characters don’t manage to come together and end the massacre of their people by literal gods, the light of their world will die, and the title has the perfect amount of gravity for what’s contained within.

Yes, I am also talking about The Lost Future of Pepperharrow by Natasha Pulley purely to talk about it because I totally could have found other books, but who would I be as a person without Mori & Thaniel? Lesser, that’s for sure, and the plot of this sequel was so unequivocally stellar that I’m still thinking about it, well over a year since I read it. The use of the word lost is also really nice (terrible, truthfully) because it can echo back to so many different characters, and it’s heartbreaking no matter who it is echoing back to.

The Haunting Season by Various introduced me to Bridget Collins, so it’s a forever fave for me even if I only went nuts about a couple of the stories in this. I’m also not convinced haunting is an adjective? It’s describing season, but it’s also a noun, and I don’t like English grammar, so I’m just going to say that this book is haunting, and you should definitely read it.

Posted by:Mary Drover

she/her | yoga teacher | Tibetan Buddhism | part-time witch | full-time author | astronaut in a previous life

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