Each month, we ask our bloggers to share the best thing they’ve read (or things, plural, if our bloggers declare a tie ’cause they just can’t choose). It doesn’t have to be a new book, as evidenced below; just something that made the month sparkle a bit more.
Without further ado, here’s the installment for November 2013 (and if you’ve missed any, be sure to check out past recs via the Related Posts section at the bottom of the post):
Because We Belong by Beth Kery is not only the best book I've read recently, it's one of the best books I've read this year. It's beautifully written. A stark, poignant love story that just rips your heart out. The romance is all there, but it's definitely not an easy read. The emotion just pours off the page, and you can't help but feel. I loved it. I normally dislike first-person point of view, but Because We Belong is so good it didn't even register. Also, all the romance and closure that I wanted in Because You Are Mine is here. All thumbs up.
Other people have called TL Costa’s Playing Tyler a modern take on War Games and that’s right, except there’s a deeper, more personal layer to Costa’s book you don’t get in the movie. Once you get past the basic conceit which seems common to these plots—that the fate of thousands rests in the hands of jittery, basically clueless teenagers—it’s great. The story’s told in first person, alternating Tyler and Ani, the two main teenaged characters. Their voices are distinct and effective and Tyler’s ADHD is well-drawn. The story is gripping and moves fast—and is poignant. There’s a chilling vision of a global military-industrial complex, a touching portrait of a dysfunctional family…. and a sweet little romance too. Costa just won USA Best Book Award for Young Adult Fiction and they made the fabulous choice.
David Levithan's Two Boys Kissing is certainly the most attention grabbing book I've read in November. It's a Young Adult title and more romantic than a romance, telling the story of several teenaged boys (one of whom is transgendered) as they navigate being gay and finding love in today's world. Meanwhile, our Greek Chorus of narrators contrast this with their own experience of growing up gay in past generations. It's both heartbreaking and uplifting, showing how far we've come and how far we still have to go, before love is equal and free.
One Night with the Laird, #2 in The Scottish Brides series by Nicola Cornick
When I read Nicola Cornick's The Lady and the Laird, the first in her Scottish Brides series, there was a character who really intrigued me, Lady Mairi MacLeod. She's a widow with a wicked tongue and a sophisticated way of regarding the world. Luckily, she's the heroine of of One Night with the Laird, a book I ripped through this November. Man, or should I say, rake about town Jack Rutherford is invited to spend a night with a mysterious woman. No surprise, his lady's identity does not remain a secret forever and the book evolves into a passionate unveiling of their many disguises. Cornick is a talented, consistent writer and I like escaping into her world. Lastly, the Scottish Brides series has an undercurrent of mystery that I really enjoy.
Anne Bishop’s Written in Red was a fantastic book that turns traditional worldbuilding on its head, and offers compelling characters that are true to their natures—and their natures can be unpleasant—but you nonetheless end up rooting for them. The heroine, Meg, is a literal babe in the woods. She doesn’t know how to function in any kind of society, everything is new to her, but that also means she doesn’t have preconceptions of what certain types of creatures should be like. That makes her distinctive in a world full of prejudice. As I was reading, I couldn’t believe how good the book was, and it kept getting better, and I was totally immersed in the world, and now can’t wait for the second book in the series.