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It’s hard to admit, but readers of That’s Normal, I need some help. Out of all of the books that exist in this world, I can’t find a single one that I want to read. I just finished some amazing books (Dating You/Hating You by Christina Lauren and The Bronze Horseman Trilogy by Paulina Simons) and I think I’m a little ruined for other books right now, but being the type of person who reads as
my only a hobby and also reads to fall asleep, I can’t just give up now.
So I’m sending out the bat signal and asking you guys for your recommendations. Before you start sending over recs willy-nilly, I need to lay out some ground rules for the type of reader I am. Please consider the following guidelines before you hit send on your comment. And since there’s always room for error, I’ve included some notable exceptions, examples, or elucidations for of these rules. Alliteration is fun!
If it’s not part of a series, I’m not interested. I could say it’s because I want a book with characters and a plot I can really sink into, but in reality, it’s because I have issues with letting go. Blame reading Harry Potter at a young age for this. I get way too attached and can’t handle when things end before I’m ready for them to. I don’t want the book to end when they get together or when the threat is gone, I want it to end when they’re dead and even then it might be too soon. Why not continue to whatever afterlife they have? My ideal book is part of a series that has at least 6 follow-ups.
Grudging Exceptions: The Hating Game by Sally Thorne (This book needs at least a sequel. I need more Joshua and Lucy.), the aforementioned Dating You/Hating You by Christina Lauren (While I liked Evie and Carter, I’m ok with the ending – not saying I wouldn’t read a sequel), and any comedy-related autobiography. I have a soft spot for books written by some of my lady idols, for example, Yes, Please by Amy Poehler (audiobook is a must for this one) or Bossypants by Tina Fey.
Due to student loans and an incurable addiction to Chipotle, I am poor. Therefore, I’m a sucker for a cheap book. I live for my Goodreads deals of the day emails and I’ve definitely read some cheesy freebie books thanks to Bookbub. This is probably my most breakable rule because I have no self-control, but please don’t blow my monthly budget with your recs. I’m all for that romance book you read on your Kindle so no one would see the cover and judge you because those books are usually pretty cheap. I want books I can get through my library, books that are part of Amazon’s Prime Reading, or ones that you’re willing to lend to me on my promise that I would never steal a book because I’m a firm believer that it should be punishable by jail time. There was a time when I would only read physical books, but that high horse attitude passed quickly when I found out ebooks were like half the cost. As the bumper sticker on my mom’s car reads, if it’s for free it’s for me.
Cheap Books I Would Recommend: The Gaming the System series by Brenna Aubrey was a surprise cheap find that I really enjoyed (6 books and counting!), The Thin Love series by Eden Butler, or The Perfect Game series by J. Sterling. These were all accidental discoveries due to the fact that they were free on Amazon and had pretty good ratings on Goodreads.
Despite that sweet, sweet 90s lyric I just referenced, I am a YA at heart. Which can be quite embarrassing at the library when I’m the only 25-year-old in there actually looking at books with all the 14-year-olds stealing the wifi after school (Poll: is 25 still YA? Then why are all the characters 17?). Hence why I prefer a good ebook.
But, to get the books, we must power through. And it’s all worth it for a good fantasy book with a 17-year-0ld kicking ass. Brings me back to my ass-kicking days that never happened. What I’m trying to say is give me fantasy or give me death (I definitely don’t mean that literally). Books are meant to be an escape and I want to escape to somewhere fake – preferably a dystopian world where a delightful young woman is showing everyone else how it’s done. Throw in a dash of young love and a foe who just won’t go away and I’m in my happy place. So if you know of any YA dreamworlds I can get lost in that we’ve missed here at That’s Normal, lay ’em on me.
That’s What I Like: A Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J. Maas (or anything by this goddess. I already proclaimed my love for her here), The Shadow and Bones series by Leigh Bardugo, or The Wrath and The Dawn series by Renee Ahdieh. You can check out my aptly named “Badass Lady Books” shelf on Goodreads for more examples.
I know I said give me fantasy or give me death, but I take it back. If I can’t get fantasy, give me romance. Lots and lots of romance. I’m not interested in a book if there isn’t at least one sex scene. It doesn’t necessarily have to be graphic, but
it should be I wouldn’t say no to it…So save the tame books for someone else.
There’s nothing like reading a lighthearted romance book where you know they’ll get together in the end. Those books are my comfort food since conflict makes me squirm. Yes, they can fight about that time he didn’t tell her that thing that he should’ve told her immediately, but instead waited a month to admit which therefore escalated things to unrealistic proportions, but we all know they get past it in the end and love wins. Isn’t that a world we all want to live in? If you don’t feel that way, throw in a dash of historical fiction and you’ll get some real conflict. War will do that to a couple.
Books That Prove Romance Isn’t Dead: The Beautiful/The Maddox Brothers series by Jamie McGuire, The Cocktail series by Alice Clayton, The Wild Seasons Series by Christina Lauren (can you tell we like them here?!), and of course we can’t forget some O.G. loves like Outlander or The Bronze Horseman. (which admittedly I was late to the game on considering I just finished it last week but it’s a That’s Normal fixture for a reason!)
Grudging Non-Graphic Exceptions: The To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before series by Jenny Han (incredibly charming, no sex because hey, it’s a personal choice), Attachments by Rainbow Rowell (anything by her really), and Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. If that book doesn’t break your heart, you are dead.
So, now that the guidelines are in, what do you got for me?? I have a reading challenge to beat so there’s no time to waste. No recommendation is too crazy; if I don’t like it we can just get into a rousing debate that I’m sure I’ll lose because of my previously stated aversion to conflict. You read That’s Normal so we already know you have good taste.