It’s that time already! Time for me to talk more about books.
For any new faces, hi! I’m Amanda! I live a very book-centric life. Outside of SBTB, I’m a bookseller and events coordinator (!!) at an indie bookstore in my area, as well as a reviewer and contributor to a few other book sites. I dole out a lot of romance recommendations, but I handsell a lot of other titles too.
Have you received any good book recs lately? Recommended any yourself? Tell me all about them!
A Deadly Inside Scoop
Who doesn’t want an ice-creamed themed cozy mystery to try? I am so fascinated by cozy mysteries and how many of them are tied to food. Anyone know of any deep dives on the connection because 10/10 would read!
This book kicks off a charming cozy mystery series set in an ice cream shop–with a fabulous cast of quirky characters.
Recent MBA grad Bronwyn Crewse has just taken over her family’s ice cream shop in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, and she’s going back to basics. Wyn is renovating Crewse Creamery to restore its former glory, and filling the menu with delicious, homemade ice cream flavors—many from her grandmother’s original recipes. But unexpected construction delays mean she misses the summer season, and the shop has a literal cold opening: the day she opens her doors an early first snow descends on the village and keeps the customers away.
To make matters worse, that evening, Wyn finds a body in the snow, and it turns out the dead man was a grifter with an old feud with the Crewse family. Soon, Wyn’s father is implicated in his death. It’s not easy to juggle a new-to-her business while solving a crime, but Wyn is determined to do it. With the help of her quirky best friends and her tight-knit family, she’ll catch the ice cold killer before she has a meltdown . . .
Comfort Me With Apples
If you’re like me and think that it’s never a bad time for weird, bizarro, creepy stuff, well hello! Come sit by me! Cat Valente is a master of genre, in my opinion, and I loved this eerie, unsettling allegorical novella.
Sophia was made for him. Her perfect husband. She can feel it in her bones. He is perfect. Their home together in Arcadia Gardens is perfect. Everything is perfect.
It’s just that he’s away so much. So often. He works so hard. She misses him. And he misses her. He says he does, so it must be true. He is the perfect husband and everything is perfect.
But sometimes Sophia wonders about things. Strange things. Dark things. The look on her husband’s face when he comes back from a long business trip. The questions he will not answer. The locked basement she is never allowed to enter. And whenever she asks the neighbors, they can’t quite meet her gaze…
But everything is perfect. Isn’t it?
Nine Nasty Words
Where my word nerds at?! I don’t read a ton of non-fiction, but one of the niche topics I love is the intersection of linguistics, history, and culture.
One of the preeminent linguists of our time examines the realms of language that are considered shocking and taboo in order to understand what imbues curse words with such power–and why we love them so much.
Profanity has always been a deliciously vibrant part of our lexicon, an integral part of being human. In fact, our ability to curse comes from a different part of the brain than other parts of speech–the urgency with which we say “f&*k!” is instead related to the instinct that tells us to flee from danger.
Language evolves with time, and so does what we consider profane or unspeakable. Nine Nasty Words is a rollicking examination of profanity, explored from every angle: historical, sociological, political, linguistic. In a particularly coarse moment, when the public discourse is shaped in part by once-shocking words, nothing could be timelier.
The View Was Exhausting
I get a lot of requests for romance novels or romance-centric books in hardcover and this has been one of my go-tos. Lots of tropes here – celebrity romance, fake dating, and friends to lovers!
Daisy Jones and the Six meets Crazy Rich Asians in this escapist, swoon-worthy debut novel of a famous actress embroiled in a fake tabloid romance, confronting the challenges of being a woman of color in Hollywood and the notion that she might actually be in love.
Faking a love story is a whole lot easier than being in love . . .
The world can see that international A-list actress Whitman (“Win”) Tagore and jet-setting playboy Leo Milanowski are made for each other. Their kisses start Twitter trends and their fights break the internet. From red carpet appearances to Met Gala mishaps, their on-again, off-again romance has titillated the public and the press for almost a decade. But it’s all a lie.
As a woman of color, Win knows the Hollywood deck is stacked against her, so she’s perfected the art of controlling her public persona. Whenever she nears scandal, she calls in Leo, with his endearingly reckless attitude, for a staged date. Each public display of affection shifts the headlines back in Win’s favor, and Leo uses the good press to draw attention away from his dysfunctional family.
But pretending to be in a passionate romance can only lead to one thing . . . trouble. So instead they settle for friendship, with a side of sky-rocketing chemistry. Except this time, on the French Riviera, something is off. A shocking secret in Leo’s past sets Win’s personal and professional lives on a catastrophic collision course. Behind the scenes of their yacht-trips and PDA, the world’s favorite couple is at each other’s throats. Now they must finally confront the many truths and lies of their relationship, and Win is forced to consider what is more important: a rising career, or a risky shot at real love?
THE VIEW WAS EXHAUSTING is a funny, whip-smart modern love story set against the backdrop of exotic locales and the realities of being a woman of color in a world run by men.