Hello! It’s that time of the month again and boy do I have some amazing book recommendations for you out of my reads last month. I managed to read 13 books in March and, although I loved a huge portion of them, there were three that really stood out to me. Two were fantasy books that are perfect for book lovers and nerds alike and the last was a contemporary heist story that I couldn’t put down. Every one of the below is filled with brilliantly written characters, all are set in the world we know and love, but some have fantasy worlds bleeding in and others deal with some hard hitting topics. As usual, I have linked to my reviews, as well as highlighting some of my favourite quotes from the books.
For his entire life, Charley Sutherland has concealed a magical ability he can’t quite control: he can bring characters from books into the real world. His older brother, Rob – a young lawyer with an utterly normal life – hopes that this strange family secret will disappear with disuse, and he will be discharged from his duty of protecting Charley and the real world from each other.
But then, literary characters start causing trouble in their city, making threats about destroying the world, and for once, it isn’t Charley’s doing. There’s someone else out there who shares his powers and it’s up to Charley and a reluctant Rob to stop them – before anyone gets to The End.
“You’re here. Ready for some breaking and entering?” “Hopefully just entering,” Charley said. He must have seen my face. “Not breaking.” “Oh, something’s bound to break tonight,” Millie returned. “A law. A window. The foundations of reality.” “The day,” Charley suggested with a smile. “That will break. Eventually.” Me. I didn’t say it, but I thought it. I was going to break.
“My brother, who used to be afraid to jump into the deep end of a swimming pool, was suddenly in his element. And I didn’t know how to get him out of it before he drowned.”
“It called to me, the way it called to the others. And… you know when you read a book, sometimes, and you suddenly realise that you’ve been missing something your whole life, and you weren’t even aware, and all at once you’ve found it and are just a little bit more whole?”
Jack Corman is failing at life. Jobless, jaded and facing the threat of eviction, he’s also reeling from the death of his father, one-time film director Bob Corman. Back in the eighties, Bob poured his heart and soul into the creation of his 1986 puppet fantasy The Shadow Glass, but the film flopped on release and Bob was never the same again.
In the wake of Bob’s death, Jack returns to his decaying childhood home, where he is confronted with the impossible — the puppet heroes from The Shadow Glass are alive, and they need his help. Tipped into a desperate quest to save the world from the more nefarious of his father’s creations, Jack teams up with an excitable fanboy and a spiky studio exec to navigate the labyrinth of his father’s legacy and ignite a Shadow Glass resurgence that could, finally, do Bob proud.
“A story only kept going if people remembered it, if they lived it over and over again. If it was forgotten, it evaporated. Ceased to exist.”
“This wasn’t about using nostalgia as a shield, it was about celebrating the things that defined them, the characters that spoke to their heart’s truth, the things that made them different and unique and powerful in their own special way. It united them.”
“One Kettu is worth a thousand armies, if she has courage deep and blade sharp.”
Portrait of a Thief
History is told by the conquerors. Across the Western world, museums display the spoils of war, of conquest, of colonialism: priceless pieces of art looted from other countries, kept even now.
Will Chen plans to steal them back.
A senior at Harvard, Will fits comfortably in his carefully curated roles: a perfect student, an art history major and sometimes artist, the eldest son who has always been his parents’ American Dream. But when a mysterious Chinese benefactor reaches out with an impossible—and illegal—job offer, Will finds himself something else as well: the leader of a heist to steal back five priceless Chinese sculptures, looted from Beijing centuries ago.
His crew is every heist archetype one can imagine—or at least, the closest he can get. A con artist: Irene Chen, a public policy major at Duke who can talk her way out of anything. A thief: Daniel Liang, a premed student with steady hands just as capable of lockpicking as suturing. A getaway driver: Lily Wu, an engineering major who races cars in her free time. A hacker: Alex Huang, an MIT dropout turned Silicon Valley software engineer. Each member of his crew has their own complicated relationship with China and the identity they’ve cultivated as Chinese Americans, but when Will asks, none of them can turn him down.
Because if they succeed? They earn fifty million dollars—and a chance to make history. But if they fail, it will mean not just the loss of everything they’ve dreamed for themselves but yet another thwarted attempt to take back what colonialism has stolen.
“And you?” Alex asked. “Why are you here?”
Irene knew how this should have gone. The same reason you are, she should have said, because Irene had spent her whole life learning how to be liked, the effect of a carefully chosen word or a smile shared like a secret. She had learned it from Will first, who did not even notice he was doing it, how easily the world gave way for him, and then the rest had been all her own. Twenty years, and Irene knew the truth was whatever she wanted to make of it.”
“Will had always known history was told by the conquerors. And yet it was another thing entirely to be here, surrounded by all that had been taken years ago, as the tour guide spoke of diplomatic gifts and priceless
treasures as if this country had not promised China a truce and then burned the Old Summer Palace to the ground. The Second Opium War had only ended in 1860. Once, he had thought it very far away. It did not feel that way now.”
“All parents leave their own scars. Were the ones who have to heal from them.”
What do you think? Have I convinced you to add any of the above to your TBR’s? Or have you already read any of them? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.