Gays, Guns, Galaxies, and More: The January Reading Wrap-Up

Hey, y’all! Welcome back to the Raccoon Awards, where I crown myself the queen of all bookish knowledge and send down founts of wisdom to you, my gentle readers. Today we’re breaking from the usual review script to tell you what I read, DNF’ed, and planned to read but didn’t get to this month. I’d like to start doing this at the end of every month, so y’all can get an overview of what I’ve been looking at. Let’s get hippity-dippity-hopping. If it’s a book I reviewed, I’ll link it, and if it’s available for purchase/preorder, I’ll link to the bookstore I work at (no purchase required but I really love when my bosses text me going “uhh why are people preordering this?” I’m jus sayin).

First, books I finished:

Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers comes out February 23th and can be preordered here. This truly might be the best contemporary romance I’ve ever read, and I… honestly thought I wrote a review for it but apparently I didn’t? IT’S SO GOOD. It’s about Grace Porter, a young woman who thought she had a fool-proof plan on getting through life, but then it falls apart and leaves her in a gaping existential crisis. While this is going on, she goes to Las Vegas and accidentally drunk-marries Yuki, a poetic girl who runs a podcast for the lonely. This read like Nayyirah Waheed or Rupi Kaur taking a crack at writing romance and I really, really loved it.

The Gun by Fuminori Nakamura is an existential thriller about someone who stumbles upon a suicide, steals the gun, and becomes increasingly obsessed with using it. It’s weird, it’s dark, and I could not put it down. I devoured it in one night. This is an older title, and I think it might actually be out of print, unfortunately.

The Thief by Funimori Nakamura is another existential thriller, but this one is about a petty thief who gets involved with a philosophic gangster in Tokyo. Can he save himself? Like The Gun, it was weird, dark, gritty, and I read it in one sitting. It’s also an older title that I don’t think it currently in print, sadly.

The Last Watch by JS Dewes soars into shelves near you on April 20th and is available for preorder here. My full review is here but to tl;dr: the universe is collapsing and it’s up to one ill-equipped Sentinel ship to fix it. There’s a lot of science, but it’s easy to understand. This is a book I can’t wait to chuck at customers once its on shelves.

Summer Sons by Lee Mandelo isn’t out until September 28th, but the preorder link is live here. I also wrote my longest review to date about SS and it is here. Basically, this is a queer southern Gothic horror novel that’s a cross between The Sound and the Fury and The Fast and the Furious. After Andrew’s best friend dies in mysterious circumstances, Andrew’s journey to find out what happened leads him to an underworld of cutthroat academia and hot boys with fast cars. He might also have to grapple with how to put a murderous spirit to rest and what his true sexual identity is. This was hands-down the best book I’ve read this month, and is arguably one of the best books I’ll read this year. It’ll take a lot to top this.

The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo debuts on June 1st and can be preordered here. I wrote a review about it here. This is the Great Gatsby remake you need, with a queer Viet Jordan Baker and a bisexual Nick and Gatsby. Paper magic, real demons, and glaring xenophobia highlight the main themes of the original, and the prose is incredibly rich and captivating. I truly love this book.

Winter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell wraps up the books I finished this month. It comes out next Tuesday and can be ordered here. I plan to write a review for it, but haven’t done so yet. This book is AMAZING! It’s bascially Red White and Royal blue but in space and with a potential coup. I shipped the two main characters soooo much. This book is great.

So, that’s what I read. Now let’s talk about books I meant to read and didn’t get to for whatever reason:

The Conductors by Nicole Glover
Haunted Hibiscus by Laura Childs
Pariah by W Michael Gear
Cherry by Nico Walker (reread)
Over the Woodard Wall by A Deborah Baker (Seanan Mcguire)

And finally, let’s talk about books I started and didn’t finish. I don’t like to smear books in any way, so next to each title, I’ll only put “content” or “mood” to indicate whether it was my reaction to something in the book or just me being finnicky. In chronological order of DNF:

The Widow Queen by Elzbieta Cherezinka: content
We Could be Heroes by Mike Chen: mood
The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu: mood
Echo Wife by Sarah Gailey: mood/content (I’m not the right audience for this)
Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner: content (again, I’m not the target audience)

How’d I do? 8 books finished, 5 I didn’t get to, and 5 I DNF’ed…. oops. Hey, there’s always more hope for February. Have you read any of these books, or heard about them? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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