2019 Reading
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TitleAuthorPublishedGenreDiverse Author*YA?Liked? DNF > OK > Good >ExcellentMonth ReadFirst Time Reading this Author*Diverse Author = At least one of: not white, straight, CIS, abled, neurotypical.
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The Bollywood BrideSonali Dev2015Contemporary RomanceAOCGood. It gets very dark and psychologically messy, but love wins in the end. Very much enjoyed all the delicious food, details about the Indian wedding, and loving family dynamics. There was so much tenderness to balance the MC's inner darkness.

Diversity watch: POC cast, mental illness.
TW: Suicidal inclinations
JanuaryY
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A Distant HeartSonali Dev2017Contemporary RomanceAOCGood. Solid conclusion to this series, wrapping up loose ends and happy endings for all.

Diversity watch: POC cast.
JanuaryY
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The One You Fight ForRoni Loren2019Contemporary RomanceExcellent. Roni is one of my insta-buy authors. I was bawling through the last half of this one. As usual it left me feeling like my problems were a little less heavy. There is so much compassion woven in to this storyline about forgiveness. It's writen with a great deal of sensitivity.

Diversity watch: Taryn is a biracial black woman.
January
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Rebel of the SandsAlwyn Hamilton2015FantasyYGood. It's a western/middle eastern fantasy mash-up that's action packed and reads as smoothly as butter on toast. The world itself has a lot of grim GOT style rape threat/violence, but the main character goes through a very hopeful arc thanks to love and friendship. This is not grimdark.

Diversity watch: POC cast. I can't speak to the accuracy of representation in this series.
JanuaryY
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Traitor to the ThroneAlwyn Hamilton2017FantasyYExcellent as a sequel! A masterclass on how to create a sympathetic enemy, and made me question the assumptions/alliances set up in book 1. The palace setting was an unexpected but refreshing change, and Amani is definitely a fish out of water. Some character returns/reveals were excellent twists. Shazad remains my favorite and Sam is growing on me.

Diversity watch: POC cast. One amputee.
JanuaryY
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When You Find MePJ Vernon2018Psychological ThrillerYGood for fans of Gillian Flynn and dark psychological thrillers. It's got a great southern gothic vibe going on.

Diversity watch: POV character detective Nina is black.
TW: Sexual assault of minors (off page).
JanuaryY
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An Earl Like YouCaroline Linden2018Regency RomancePerfectly OK if you enjoy sweet regency romance, and a good hearted underdog winning over the hearts of biased people. A bit predictable but still enjoyable.

Diversity watch: Zero diversity.
JanuaryY
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Day of the DutchessSarah MacLean2017Regency RomanceGood. I enjoy regency romance most when the characters involved are older, and have more worldly experience. This is a juicy second chance romance full of love, hate, divorce, and complicated motivations. My only minor quibble is that it felt like MacLean was using a couple of chapters to set up her next few books in this one. (Understandable as it is the last in a triolgy).

Diversity watch: one Samoan character briefly appears as a background extra.
January
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Blood Water PaintJoy McCullough2018Historical, PoetryYExcellent. It's a book in verse! From the first few poems I knew this story would destroy me. It is a story about a the historical figure Artemisia Gentileschi and her very public rape trial. The entire book is about dealing with the aftermath of sexual assault and the struggle to find your own power / a voice. It's a book full of rage, but rage can be cathartic.

Diversity watch: Unsure if you can count biblical Susanna and Judith?
TW: Rape (off page)
JanuaryY
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The Gilded WolvesRoshani Chokshi2019FantasyAOCYExcellent! It's a gilded age treasure hunt! This story has Roshani's signature sumptous prose and gorgeous visuals, but it's also a lot more humorous than her previous YA. The characters on the thieving team are each distinct and unusual. I particularly <3 it for the Filipino representation. There's Tagalog in this book! HOLY SHIT.

Diversity watch: POC cast, Jewish, bisexual, autistic rep. A++. A finger to anyone who says that POC cannot exist in fiction set in western historical settings.
January
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WildcardMarie Lu2019Science FictionAOCYExcellent! It picks up about a minute after where Warcross ended, and though it's been a while, Lu cleverly weaves in enough backstory so that it's easy to remember what's happened. The pacing is intense, with not a moment to spare, and so many twists I could never predict what would happen from chapter to chapter. It was one of the most perfect conclusions to a series I've ever read. My heart. Lu is so talented her skill at writing makes me weep.

Diversity watch: POC cast, LGBTQ+ characters, one character in a wheelchair. A++
January
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Never Judge a Lady by her CoverSarah MacLean2014Regency RomanceGood. A regency where the main character is a criminal mastermind/mogul out to get what she wants? I'm in. The love interest was perfect for her, just as smart and noble despite his lack of a title. A strong book for MacLean.

Diversity watch: two black (mentioned only once) security guards. Better than zero like most regency romance I suppose. Clearly a small effort was made.
January
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Kingdom of the Blazing PheonixJulie Dao2018FantasyAOCYGood. I was happy to see how snow white fit into the retelling. It's a treasure hunt that tests Jade's integrity.

Diversity watch: It's a histocial China inspired fantasy. A dwarf is the love interest.
February
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It Takes TwoJenny Holiday2018Contemporary RomanceGood. It falls more into the romcom territory than my personal preference, but I still enjoyed the read. Two lawyers with history between them realizing they're in love, but fighting it all the way. Bonus points for being set in Toronto.

Diversity watch: Wendy, the MC is Chinese.
FebruaryY
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One and OnlyJenny Holiday2018Contemporary RomanceGood. Same comments as above. This is the first in the series, so I wanted to know what came before, even though it's not strictly necessary. It's a misunderstood bad boy + geek author pairing which was very cute. But really? Another author as a MC in a novel? Getting tired of the self-insertion, authors!

Diversity watch: Jane is a size 12 and still considered sexy as hell. (It's not very plus sized, still it's nice to see love for curves in romance). Her best friend is Chinese, but it isn't really mentioned in this novel.
February
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Grumpy Fake BoyfriendJackie Lau2018Contemporary RomanceAOCDNF. The writing style annoyed me, and also the wish fulfilment (author as a protagonist again). FebruaryY
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Kingdom of CopperS. A. Chakraborty2019FantasyFebruary
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Muse of NightmaresLaini Taylor2018FantasyYExcellent! A fitting conclusion to the duology. I'm sad to see Lazlo and Sarai go, but maybe there will be more? Taylor is a master at intercharacter tension / conflict + creating sympathy. It's beautiful, and magical, and tragic. Ultimately a book about dealing with scars of the past and healing.February
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CirceMadeline Miller2018Hisorical FantasyY
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The Love and Lies of Rukhsana AliSabina Khan2019ContemporaryAOCY
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King of ScarsLeigh Bardugo2019FantasyYY
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