Recommendations Book Tag!

Hey, everyone! I was tagged by Sarah @ Suits of Stories to do this tag. It’s been a little while since my last book tag, and I’m super excited to dive into this one!


  • Tag the creator, Ally @ Ally Writes Things
  • Give at least one recommendation for each of the prompts below
  • If you don’t have a recommendation, talk about a book you want to read
  • Tag your friends!

a book about friendship

I reviewed this graphic novel here for my 2021 A to Z Reading Challenge, and rated it 5/5 stars. It’s an absolutely breathtaking foray into magical realism, and puts the friendship of two queer women at center stage. Lou and Bea learning to trust each other was beautiful to read, and I loved to see how they started learning to address their individual traumas via their adventure with Diamond, the cat.

Are You Listening? by Tillie Walden

a translated book

Imagine an urban fantasy novel (which is actually more like a collection of three novellas rolled into one book) about a tenuous peace between the forces of Light and the forces of Darkness… set in late 1990s Moscow, since this book is translated from Russian. I discovered this book as an adolescent, and it’s stood the test of time as my reading tastes have changed over the past decade — I still like it! I feel obligated to say, however, that only the first 2-3 books in the series are worth reading; past that, it becomes clear that Lukyanenko is just trying to make money and doesn’t care about the quality of the narrative.

Night Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko

a diverse romance

This adult romance is #2 in The Brown Sisters series, but can be read as a standalone. You can read my full review here, but suffice to say Danika is Black, bisexual, and pagan, while Zafir is Muslim. To date, Take a Hint, Dani Brown is the “most” diverse romance I’ve read, though I feel kind of uneasy saying that — diversity isn’t a competition for authors to win by having their characters check off the largest number of boxes, nor one for readers to amass points by reading the “most” diverse books. However, aside from diversity, Take a Hint, Dani Brown is one heck of a fun romance with plenty of humor and heart to balance out the steaminess. I’d recommend it to literally anyone looking for a good adult romance.

Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert

a fast-paced book

This choice is kind of a given, but I enjoyed Six of Crows a great deal (you can read my full review here). There were certainly quiet moments in the narrative, but they were definitely moments and even then, there was always something happening. The pressure never lets off, not even at the ending.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

a nonfiction other than a memoir

A Swim in a Pond in the Rain is the collected wisdom of George Saunders, a professor at Syracuse University in New York, who teaches his MFA students how to analyze classic Russian short stories. This book is a version of that class, featuring literature from Chekhov, Gogol, Tolstoy, and Turgenev.

(From the synopsis) In his introduction, Saunders writes, “We’re going to enter seven fastidiously constructed scale models of the world, made for a specific purpose that our time doesn’t fully endorse but that these writers accepted implicitly as the aim of art — namely, to ask the big questions, questions like, How are we supposed to be living down here? What were we put here to accomplish? What should we value? What is truth, anyway, and how might we recognize it?” He approaches the stories technically yet accessibly, and through them explains how narrative functions; why we stay immersed in a story and why we resist it; and the bedrock virtues a writer must foster.

A Swim in a Pond in the Rain: In Which Four Russians Give a Masterclass on Writing, Reading, and Life by George Saunders

an underrated memoir

I was introduced to this book by one of my university professors, actually, who had the whole class read an excerpted essay on American poverty in preparation for writing an essay on income inequality. The essay was very, very good and I ended up reading the entire book on Scribd. To summarize: Barbara Ehrenreich decided to write a report on how it’s next to impossible for one person, even with zero dependents, to support herself and preserve her mental well-being with a job paying 6 or 7 USD per hour (the book was written in 1998) by doing it herself. She uprooted herself from her comfortable life and lived in several different US states, finding the cheapest lodging available and working minimum wage. She really draws back the curtain on what it feels like to live in constant financial stress and physical pain in America. I grew up as a comfortably middle-class kid, and Ehrenreich’s book was the first time I had to really confront and realize my privilege.

Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America by Barbara Ehrenreich

a book with fewer than 10,000 ratings on goodreads

I’ve been gifted this book by the author! The Sword in the Street is about a gay swordsman trying to unravel a magical conundrum as he works out a healthy relationship with his autistic scholar boyfriend. As I create this post, it has less than 50 ratings on goodreads.

The Sword in the Street by C. M. Caplan

a book with an LGBTQA+ protagonist

You can read my review of this book here. This is actually the sequel to Darius the Great is Not Okay. Darius is still gay in the first book, but it isn’t touched on at all until we reach this second book in the series. I really loved Darius and how he breaks so many stereotypes about being not only a teenage boy but being a gay teenage boy, and it was really heartening to see how he grew as a character.

Darius the Great Deserves Better by Adib Khorram

a book by a trans or nonbinary author

I found out about The Witch King from Adri @ Perpetual Pages (link leads to the YouTube review) and Adri completely sold me on this book. Wyatt, the protagonist, is a messy trans guy struggling with his trauma, and tries to escape his engagement to the fairy prince by leaving the fairy world for the human world and transitioning. Unfortunately, his betrothed, Emyr, tracks him down, and in spite of Wyatt striking a bargain with “the enemy” he re-ignites his love with Emyr and realizes he has to make a choice: does he help his people, or pursue his own freedom?

The Witch King by H. E. Edgmon

a book with 500+ pages

More like 800+ pages! To Sleep in a Sea of Stars is the longest book I’ve read in 2021, and I enjoyed it. You can read my review here, but suffice to say, while I didn’t find this the most original sci-fi novel out there, it was still warmly comfortable in its familiarity without being stagnant. This is another action-packed volume, so those 800+ pages don’t drag at all.

To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini

a short story collection

The short stories of the Roman soldier Vettius and his merchant friend, Dama, have appeared in various magazines before being collected into this one, action-packed volume. Sadly, Vettius and His Friends is now out of print, but I was lucky that my dad (a big David Drake fan) has kept a copy for as long as I can remember. Vettius and Dama are set in a richly-researched, late-Empire time period, but their adventures are fantastical. They travel the breadth of the Empire, confronting ancient snake gods, trolls, giant sharks, and the undead.

Vettius and His Friends by David Drake

a book you want everyone to read

Y’all, this was my absolute favorite book of 2020. I cannot stress enough how much I needed to read this. I didn’t gush about this book adequately in my review (which is one of the first reviews I posted on this blog!) but suffice to say, Samantha Allen (a trans woman) visits a bunch of deeply conservative US states, finding queer communities and queer hope where she had been unable to find community as a struggling, pre-transition Mormon youth.

Real Queer America: LGBT Stories from Red States by Samanatha Allen

And that’s that! I really enjoyed this book tag, and I tag anyone who wants to do it 😉

10 thoughts on “Recommendations Book Tag!

Add yours

  1. This is such a fun tag!! Are You Listening really sounds like something I would enjoy – adding it to my TBR!!


    1. Night Watch is an interesting snapshot of late 1990s Russian urban life and mentality, and I really loved the twist in the first story. I can’t wait to hear your thoughts when you get around to reading it!

      Liked by 1 person

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