Shockingly, it’s nearly March—by this point, we hope your 2019 isn’t turning out to be a 20-whine-teen. The good news is that if the real world’s been getting you down, a book can always offer the pleasant escape you might be looking for. (Embarking on a 20-wine-teen might accomplish the same, but you won’t be smarter by the end of it.) Some of these reads timeless picks; some are out-of-this-world, and others may take you on a journey to find your better self. Whether your preference is historical fiction, YA fantasy, or lighthearted literary fiction, these books may not improve your whole year… but they’ll improve your day every minute you’re reading them. Let’s take a look.
Our Hot Pick:
In the aftermath of war, the hunter becomes the hunted…
Bold, reckless Nina Markova grows up on the icy edge of Soviet Russia, dreaming of flight and fearing nothing. When the tide of war sweeps over her homeland, she gambles everything to join the infamous Night Witches, an all-female night bomber regiment wreaking havoc on Hitler’s eastern front. But when she is downed behind enemy lines and thrown across the path of a lethal Nazi murderess known as the Huntress, Nina must use all her wits to survive.
British war correspondent Ian Graham has witnessed the horrors of war from Omaha Beach to the Nuremberg Trials. He abandons journalism after the war to become a Nazi hunter, yet one target eludes him: the Huntress. Fierce, disciplined Ian must join forces with brazen, cocksure Nina, the only witness to escape the Huntress alive. But a shared secret could derail their mission, unless Ian and Nina force themselves to confront it.
Seventeen-year-old Jordan McBride grows up in post WWII Boston, determined despite family opposition to become a photographer. At first delighted when her long-widowed father brings home a fiancée, Jordan grows increasingly disquieted by the soft-spoken German widow who seems to be hiding something. Armed only with her camera and her wits, Jordan delves into her new stepmother’s past and slowly realizes there are mysteries buried deep in her family. But Jordan’s search for the truth may threaten all she holds dear.
Kate Quinn is a New York Times and USA Today bestseller on a mission: to make history seem more engaging and personal, giving it the same life and humanity as the present we inhabit. Her renowned historical novel The Alice Network was a smash hit among readers, telling the entangled stories of a foreign female spy and an American socialite. We’re always thrilled to read about badass female war heroes, who are often underrepresented in historical fiction. Quinn delivers in hot new release The Huntress, giving us a full cast of dynamic women and their very real places in history. As a bonus, Quinn herself includes a lengthy author’s note explaining her creative choices and how the novel fits into historical context! No suspension of disbelief necessary—Quinn’s already done all the work for you. This brand-new release is sure to fly off shelves… so make sure you get it into straight onto your bookshelves.
Our Coffee Shop Read:
Sarai has lived and breathed nightmares since she was six years old. She believed she knew every horror and was beyond surprise. She was wrong.
In the wake of tragedy, neither Lazlo nor Sarai are who they were before. One a god, the other a ghost, they struggle to grasp the new boundaries of their selves as dark-minded Minya holds them hostage, intent on vengeance against Weep.
Lazlo faces an unthinkable choice—save the woman he loves, or everyone else?—while Sarai feels more helpless than ever. But is she? Sometimes, only the direst need can teach us our own depths, and Sarai, the Muse of Nightmares, has not yet discovered what she’s capable of.
As humans and godspawn reel in the aftermath of the citadel’s near fall, a new foe shatters their fragile hopes, and the mysteries of the Mesarthim are resurrected: Where did the gods come from, and why? What was done with thousands of children born in the citadel nursery? And most important of all, as forgotten doors are opened and new worlds revealed: Must heroes always slay monsters, or is it possible to save them instead?
Fans know Laini Taylor for her trademark pink hair… and her strikingly unique fantasy worlds. Best known for her Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy, Taylor’s name is as big as her bibliography: she’s served as a panelist for NYC’s own BookCon and has recently hosted a well-attended public talk with fellow YA superstar Angie Thomas. Muse of Nightmares is the second book in Taylor’s Strange the Dreamer series, which acquaints us with a war-orphan-slash-librarian, a legendary lost city, and the descendants of murdered gods. Despite preferring more ‘literary’ works throughout her adolescence, Taylor rediscovered her love of fantasy when she read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, making her both awesome and relatable. You may regret any personal misfortunes of 2019, but you won’t regret giving this one a try.
oUR dARK hORSE:
Professor Chandra is an expert at complex problems. There’s just one he can’t crack: the secret of happiness
In the moments after the bicycle accident, Professor Chandra doesn’t see his life flash before his eyes, but his life’s work.
He’s just narrowly missed out on the Nobel Prize (again) and even though he knows he should get straight back to his pie charts, his doctor has other ideas.
All this work. All this success. All this stress. It’s killing him. He needs to take a break, start enjoying himself. In short, says his doctor (who is from California), Professor Chandra should just follow his bliss.
He doesn’t know it yet, but Professor Chandra is about to embark on the trip of a lifetime.
Rajeev Balasubramanyam‘s Professor Chandra Follows His Bliss is a heartwarming and insightful tale of self-improvement. While the book may seem lighthearted and charming, it’s deeper than you may think—and that’s exactly why you should give it a try. Professor Chandra needs to realize what we could all stand to learn: that professional accomplishments can’t replace love, not the love we need from other people and not the love we need from ourselves. Being killed by a bike would be a pretty sad way to go, but it’s about time our egotistical and arrogant professor learns doing it alone is a far worse fate. According to Kirkus Reviews, “his journey to self-realization feels like the real thing,” and so we can learn by example.
All In-Text Images Via Amazon.