Whatcha Reading? February 2020 Edition, Part One

February 8, 2020

Cup of coffee and yarn for knitting on plaid with books close-upFebruary has arrived and we have books to discuss! Here’s what we’re currently reading:

Carrie: Mazes of Power, by my friend Juliette Wade! ( A | BN | K | AB ) It’s labelled as “sociological science fiction.” The focus is less on tech and more on social and political intrigue. Very good so far.

Shana: I’m digging into The Spies of Shilling Lane by Jennifer Ryan. ( A | BN | K | AB ) It’s a British cozy mystery set in WWII about an opinionated middle-aged woman searching for her missing (adult) daughter in London. I’m enjoying watching the heroine rediscover her sense of purpose and joy, but the chapters from the daughter’s point of view make her sound dangerously TSTL.

A Big Surprise for Valentine’s Day
A | BN | K | AB

Sneezy: I’ll be starting When the Body Says No this week by Gabor Mate. ( A | BN | K | AB ) It’s about the effects of unaddressed and continued stress and trauma on the body. I’m expecting it to be a heavy read, so I’ll cozying up with A Big Surprise for Valentine’s Day by Jackie Lau too.

Tara: Sneezy, I’m going to add that Gabor Mate to my list! I’m reading Burnout by Emily Nagoski and Amelia Nagoski ( A | BN | K | G | AB ) and that sounds like a perfect follow up. In more fun things, I’ve just started Nottingham by Anna Burke, which is an f/f rewrite of Robin Hood. Given how dark her first two books were, I’m expecting it to be kind of gritty.

Elyse: I just finished Mermaid Inn by Jenny Holiday. ( A | BN | K | AB ) I thought one of the big issues was resolved way too soon in the book and so it became a book mostly about two people dating.

A | BN | K | AB

Claudia: I’m starting The Winter Companion by Mimi Matthews, the fourth and I believe last in her Parish Orphans of Devon series. Hero has a brain injury that affects his speech and I’m curious to see how the author will portray it. It’s out on Feb. 11.

Lara: I’m in a reading slump at the moment, so I’m rereading The Ghost Riders of Ordebec by Fred Vargas. ( A | BN | K | AB ) She’s my go to author when I need the world to make sense again.

Catherine: I’ve been reading an ARC of Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing by Charlie Adhara, ( A | BN | K | AB ) and it’s simultaneously fun and also not holding my attention. Apparently it’s the fourth in a series, though it stands alone quite well. It’s a werewolf and his boyfriend going undercover at a couples retreat for werewolves in order to solve a missing persons case, so the premise is strong. I suspect the problem is me, not the book, since I’ve had a few ‘meh’ reads of late.

The Winter Companion
A | BN | K | AB

EllenM: I’m reading the Wolf of Oren-Yaro by KS Villoso, which I’m enjoying but it is definitely an intense read with a lot of violent fantasy politicking and scheming. I’m also currently reading Empire of Sand by Tasha Shuri ( A | BN | K | G | AB ) and I am only maybe a quarter through but I am LOVING IT!! It is also intense in a different (more emotional) way.

Sarah: I’m reading the newest Veronica Speedwell, which comes out in March. I’m doing a podcast interview with Deanna Raybourn soon, and so far, A Murderous Relation ( A | BN | K | AB ) is incredibly sticky in that I’m having trouble putting it down.

Kiki: I’m rereading Chaser by Kylie Scott! ( A | BN | K | AB ) It’s a bit of a comfort read for me and not too stressful and coming out of a reading slump that’s exactly what I want. Also rereading it has made me realize that I think I have a thing for books where the female protagonist is pregnant but not with the male protagonist’s baby? Which is maybe a little weird and definitely oddly specific but I think I can name a couple books that I liked where that was a theme.

The Wolf of Oren-Yaro
A | BN | K | AB

Also I just picked up Heart of Iron by Bec McMaster ( A | BN | K | G | AB ) from the library and I am VERY excited to start it.

Maya: I’m reading Painting Their Portraits in Winter by Myriam Gurba. ( A | BN | K | AB ) It’s a collection of short stories by the author, who I found by way of her extremely dope book review “Pendeja, You Ain’t Steinbeck: My Bronca with Fake-Ass Social Justice Literature” and her equally wonderful “My Taco Laughs At You: On Death Threats Aimed at Women of Color Who Don’t Fellate White Supremacy“. She’s been at the center of the #DignidadLiteraria activism, which arose in reaction to the publishing world showing how hard it will work (and how much money it will spend) to reward mediocrity in service of blindly reproducing racist tropes and narratives. Her prose is magic and the highest compliment I can give her is that she makes me want to strap on my brass knuckles and get to work. I’ll be reading her memoir Mean next!

EllenM: I LOVED her post on American Dirt! I’m going to add her books to my TBR right now!!

Maya: CW, Mean is about her experience growing up queer and brown and also about being raped by a serial rapist/killer. She participated in the investigation that eventually led to his incarceration. So not light reading, but I’m pretty confident in her ability to write a story filled with trauma that is not weighed down by it (if that makes any sense).

A | BN | K | AB

Sneezy: That makes perfect sense! I had similar feelings when I was reading I’m Afraid of Men by Vivek Shraya.

Maya: Ohhhhhhh and thank you Sneezy for initially sharing Myriam’s book review with us!

Sneezy: Lol no big! Happy to share!

I’ll be stacking her books into my TBR list, too!!

Aarya: I’m slowly reading Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey’s She Said. ( A | BN | K | AB ) Slowly because the subject matter enrages me. I have to break it up into chunks in order to properly process it. It was a KDD recently and the Weinstein trial is occurring right now. I also have Ronan Farrow’s Catch and Kill ( A | BN | K | AB ) on hold from the library; it won’t be available for another two months, but I’m excited to read it.

My romance reading is kinda sucking/miserable now so no news on that front. I hope I have more enthusiastic recs in the next Whatcha Reading.

Tell us what you’ve been reading!

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