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Epic Updates: May 23, 2022

Hello, Epic Insiders, and thank you for being a friend! (Brought to you by Jenn’s rewatch of Golden Girls.) Let’s get right into our main agenda.

What Are You Reading?

Happy Monday, reading friends!

I’m surprised to say that I haven’t finished Book Lovers yet, even though I’ve been liking it so far. I got caught up reading other things, and watching TV, if I’m being honest. One of the other books I had picked up to read was The Witches of Moonshyne Manor, which is about a coven of Five octogenarian witches, a magical heist, and a new danger that hangs overhead. It’s been getting “Golden Girls, but witches” comparisons, which is extremely up my alley, but I’ve been told it’s not quite that. Still fun, though! A few of us at Book Riot had a book club discussion around it, and I… hadn’t finished reading it *hangs head in shame.* But I still went and it was a fun discussion.

cover of Far from the Light of Heaven by Tade Thompson

I’ve also started Far From the Light of Heaven for an SFF Yeah podcast episode I’m recording later this week. In it, the colony ship Ragtime docks in the Lagos system after having traveled light years to bring 1,000 sleeping people to a new home. When Michelle Campion, a first mate, wakes up to find that some people on board have been murdered, she calls Rasheed Fin to find out how it happened. It’s basically a closed-room mystery set in space, so I’m here for it.

Finally, I read the latest chapter of Jujutsu Kaisen on the Shounen Jump app and it was pretty brutal. I’m still not sure how I feel about reading manga or comics one chapter at a time versus by volume. The cliffhangers have me pressed!

What have you been reading? Click through to add your list to the comments!

-Erica

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Epic Updates: May 16, 2022

Hello, Epic Insiders! May your books be plentiful and the right mix of escapist, engaging, and enlightening. No announcements this week, so let’s dive right in.

What Are You Reading?

Reading friends!

This weekend was… a lot. I hope everyone is doing okay with everything going on.

Book Lovers by Emily Henry cover

I did get some reading in towards the beginning of the weekend, somehow. I made a lot of progress with Book Lovers, which has some of the best banter between characters I’ve seen in a while. Case in point (remember, the main character is widely seen as being kind of cold):

“You seem pretty pleased with yourself,” he says, “for a woman who just found out she was the inspiration for Cruella de Vil.” I scowl at him. Charlie rolls his eyes. “Come on. I’ll buy you a martini. Or a puppy coat.”

A read! I’m also really liking how Nora and her sister Libby’s childhood is being unfolded. We’re seeing how differently Nora viewed their childhood struggles compared to Libby, and the issues they have in their sibling relationship are just starting to come to the surface. Sibling issues are an interesting addition to a romance for me, and I think a lot of what is in the book rings true for many. There’s also a bit of a mystery surrounding some of Libby’s behavior that I’m looking forward to getting to the bottom of.

As far as the other books I’ve mentioned, I haven’t made too much progress with Chinua Achebe’s Collected Poems , or The Children on the Hill, but did start and read all of the available chapters of Chainsaw Man by Tatsuki Fujimoto. It’s about a teen, Denji, whose dad died leaving him in debt to the yakuza. To pay it off, and stave off hunger, he works for them as a devil hunter. As a hunter, he kills “devils,” which are physical manifestations of what people fear. To save his life, he ends up needing to make a contract with his pet devil dog Pochita, which grants him strength and the ability to turn parts of his body into chainsaws. Yes, it is super on the nose and a little campy, but it was pretty enjoyable I think. It was a super wild ride and I’m curious to see how its adaptation will turn out since its release is so highly anticipated.

What have you been reading? Click through to add your reading list to the comments!

-Erica

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Insiders

Epic Updates: May 9, 2022

Hello, Epic Insiders! It’s another Monday, which means extra coffee, and another day, which means (always) more books! And speaking of…

What Are You Reading?

Book cover of Queen of the Tiles by Hanna Alkaf

So, I finished Queen of the Tiles and discussed it with Tirzah Price on this week’s Hey YA podcast. It was a fun look into Malaysian teen life and the drama of a Scrabble competition. Tirzah made a point of how the author managed to make a Scrabble competition seem intense and action-packed, and I agree! so much so, that I decided to start playing Scrabble myself. I had recently read about word game apps, and about Scrabble’s app, specifically, in a Book Riot article. It has been a bit of a humbling experience, but still a cute one.

My Libby hold for Chinua Achebe’s Collected Poems came through, so I just started that as well. I read Things Fall Apart at my father’s request years ago and really liked it. Like the novel, the poems are about everything Nigeria. From its original religion to philosophy, daily life, and interpersonal relationships. I’m digging it so far!

Then there’s the latest Jujutsu Kaisen chapter that came through on the Shounen Jump app. It was… confusing. It was explaining some character’s power that’s like playing pachinko or something and there was math. This entire arc has a different feel from the rest of the manga, so I’m interested to see how it will end.

Finally, I’ve started Book Lovers by Emily Henry, which has been really fun so far. It’s about a literary agent who is known as a shark for how cutthroat— but efficient— she is when representing her clients. It’s pretty funny and plays around with a lot of romance tropes in interesting ways. For one, the main character Nora is decidedly not a typical kind of romance heroine. She’s a platinum blonde who de-stresses with Peloton sessions and designer shoe shopping. You know those Lifetime movies where a big time city dweller comes to the small town to aid in some small business being absorbed into the larger corporation they work for, only to be charmed into finding love and a change of heart in the small town? Well, Nora is the girlfriend that was left in the city and gets dumped during the male character’s epiphany. Literally. She’s been dumped a few times for those reasons.

She goes on a retreat to a small town in the Carolinas with her pregnant younger sister to lessen the gap she’s been feeling between them, but once there, she realizes editor Charlie Lastra, her nemesis, is also there for some reason. She thinks to avoid him, but starts emailing him, and witty banter ensues.

That’s it for me! What have you been reading this week? Click through to add your reading list to the comments!

– Erica

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Insiders

Epic Updates: May 2, 2022

Happy Monday and Happy May, Epic Insiders! Here’s what we’ve got for you today:

Announcements

— Did you catch last week’s Behind the Scenes post where Cici shared her five favorite video games?

What Are You Reading?

Insiders! Excited to be sharing my reading with you all once again. We won’t talk about how half the year is almost gone *eep*.

Lately, a lot of my reading has been influenced by what I’ve been watching. Seeing that the Jujutsu Kaisen movie was out got me hype, so I rewatched season one of the anime for the third time (for real) as a sort of lead up to watching the movie. All of this was done only to find out that the showings of the movie that were nearest me didn’t have it dubbed in English. It’s hard for me to pay attention to what’s happening and read subtitles, but since I had been so excited to finally be past season one of the show, I took to reading the manga.

Cover of Jujutsu Kaisen Vol 1

If you’re unfamiliar, Jujutsu Kaisen is one of the most popular anime— with a similarly popular manga— in the U.S. right now. It follows teenager Yuji Itadori as he learns that there are things called curses that plague humanity. Still reeling from the loss of his grandfather, Yuji decides to save another high schooler and becomes possessed by the 1,000- year old king of curses, Sukuna, in the process.

Normally, I don’t really read shounen manga much because I assumed the black and white color palette would make it hard for me to follow the action. My impatience in wanting to know the rest of the story made me realize that I could actually mostly follow things. Having already seen how everything looks in motion from watching the show helped me when reading the manga, too, I think. So, I read all the volumes that are out so far. This eventually led me to reading the individual chapters as they get released on the Shounen Jump app, which offers some free chapters and charges only $1.99/month for a premium subscription. My only complaint about the individual chapters is that they don’t have the author’s side notes.

Book cover of Queen of the Tiles by Hanna Alkaf

A part from manga, I’ve been reading Queen of the Tiles for the Hey YA podcast. It’s a YA murder mystery set in Malaysia against the backdrop of a Scrabble competition. In other words, it has all the things. My cohost, Tirzah Price, and I invited listeners to read the book with us for a special book club episode and will be discussing listener comments on the book as well as our own thoughts. Should be fun!

Lastly, I also recently started a Frankenstein retelling, The Children on the Hill, which starts off with who I think is the monster planning to abduct someone. Color me intrigued!

What have y’all been reading? Click through to add your reading list to the comments!
Erica

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Insiders

Epic Updates: April 25, 2022

Happy Monday, Epic Insiders! How’s that pollen-in-the-face treating you? It’s another year of “allergies or COVID?” roulette, so pop a Claritin, and let’s get into our epic updates:

Announcements

— The winner for the Book Riot Podcast bonus episode poll was The Wayback Machine!

What Are You Reading?

Happy last Monday of April, Insiders fam! Join me in a collective gasp at the realization that this time next week <insert that meme here, you know the one>, it’s gonna be May. That means it’s time to wrap up my month sharing my reading life with y’all. Let’s get to it!

I finished Iron & Velvet by Alexis Hall and yo, what a rollicking good time. Vampires! Faerie! Sex demons! Bloodbaths and sexy times! Alexis Hall does funny dialogue so, so well. Whether it’s romance or mystery, human or paranormal, his books are just always a really fun and hilarious time.

Under Lock & Skeleton Key cover image

I was taking my time with The Rib King when my Libby loan expired! So I’m back on the hold list for that and moved on to Under Lock & Skeleton Key by Gigi Pandian in the meantime. I was going pick up a physical copy, but I was reminded that the audiobook is narrated by Soneela Nankani so audio was the way to go. It’s an homage to classic mysteries with all kinds of secret passageway/hidden room stuff and magic (as in magic tricks, not fantasy magic), plus Scottish folklore and Indian food. SO fun!

You already know: still working on Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness but I’m actually 75% of the way through! I took a break from Cackle by Rachel Harrison to do some work reading and started Café Con Lychee by Emery Lee. It’s about two young men who’ve always been at odds because their families own competing businesses: an Asian American café and a Puerto Rican bakery (sold!!!). Then a new fusion café in town threatens both of those enterprises, and they realize they need to join forces to win back their customers BUT ALSO FEELINGS. I just heart it so much. This one’s from the author of Meet Cute Diary which is also on my (ludicrously unmanageable) TBR.

Finally, I’m working on the audiobook of Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland by Patrick Radden Keefe. It’s been on my list for awhile but got bumped up this weekend after my 5th rewatch of Derry Girls, which reminded me that I’ve been meaning to read up on the history of The Troubles. It’s so far a very compelling read and I’m all of 4% in. It reads like fiction but it’s very much not. Also, thanks Derry Girls for once again making me say stuff like, “Catch yourself on!”

That’s it for me, folks. It’s been fun spending some time with y’all this month! One last time: what are you reading this week? Click through to add your reading list to the comments!

Till next time, stay bad & bookish.
Vanessa

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Insiders

Epic Updates: April 18, 2022

Happy Monday, Epic Insiders! We’re trying out a new email format. That Spring energy is getting us in the mood to try out new lewks. Do you like?

Announcements

— If you listen to the Book Riot Podcast, you might have already heard that the Book Riot Podcast now has a Patreon! Content between Insiders and Patreon will not overlap, however, we’ve gotten some feedback from folks that they can only join one. If that’s the case for you, we totally understand!

— Speaking of the Book Riot Podcast, it’s time to vote on the next bonus episode! Please get your vote in by April 24th.

What Are You Reading?

Greetings and happy Monday! I’m actually coming to you from the past since I’m putting this newsletter together a little earlier than usual on a Thursday. My powers of prediction tell me my reading on Monday will look a lot like my reading today, so here goes.

Book cover of Iron & Velvet

Still taking my time with The Rib King by Ladee Hubbard and also finally started Alexis Hall’s Iron & Velvet. It took no time at all for the vampires and sex demons to come out in the latter, this book is not messing around! I plan on keeping those audiobooks in my ears while I go on my walks and errands this weekend–I get a special kick out of listening to filthy romance content while inspecting the avocados at Trader Joe’s or whatever. Que naughty!

As for my next print read: thanks to a damaged shipment of books sent to Book Riot’s Portland offices, I now own a (defective, but so what?) copy of Cackle by Rachel Harrison. *insert evil laugh here* Helloooo, weekend read! It’s described as a darkly funny and frightening novel about a young woman learning how to take what she wants from a witch who may be too good to be true. If it’s witchy it just has to be read, those are the rules.

Still reading Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness, still don’t know if I’ll finish before my nephew (who is not yet four years old) goes off to college. I’m savoring it though and have really gotten comfortable with making a project out of my bedtime read. Which is a good thing, because I want to try and read The 1619 Project next. I was always going to read it, but all this book banning %#@! is making me bump it up to the top of my TBR out of spite.

And because I’ve almost always got a cozy mystery on deck, I’m going to go find a copy of Under Lock & Skeleton Key by Gigi Pandian this weekend. I’m a big fan of Pandian’s Accidental Alchemist series, and I’m sure I’ll love this book too! It has food, it has fancy architecture, it has secrets, and it’s an ode to the classic locked-room mysteries I love so much. Plus this comes with a Jamie Canavés cosign, so how could I not?

That’s what past, present, and future me are reading. What are you reading this week? Click through to add your reading list to the comments!

Stay bad & bookish!
Vanessa

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Insiders

Epic Update: April 11, 2022

Happy Monday, Epic Insiders! It took me a minute to thaw out from the mountain of snow that got dumped on me in Portland last night, but I made it to your inbox — whew! (I know, I know you East Coasters and Midwesterners aren’t so phased by an April snow, but the Book Riot staff here in Portland are feeling grumbly). Here’s what we’ve for you got this week:

— Vanessa is up for What Are You Reading? and, really, what more do you need from a post than Vanessa referring to Shakespeare as “ol’ Billy Shakes”?

Want to listen to this Epic Update in musical tone form? Check it out on Typatone here.

Stay musical,
Caitlin

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Epic Update: April 4, 2022

Happy April, Epic Insiders! Here’s what we’ve got for you this week:

— Vanessa is up for What Are You Reading?, celebrating some more space to read for pleasure by making a list of backlist reads.

— We’re starting a new quarter, so we’ve got a new vendor of bookish gifts for you to check out!

Finally, today through April 6th, Book Riot is matching donations to UNICEF’s relief efforts in Ukraine up to $5,000 USD.

Stay bookish,
Caitlin

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Epic Update: March 28, 2022

Happy Monday, Epic Insiders! We’re somehow already at the end of March, so here are this week’s epic updates to close out the month:

— We’ve got an Update on the Epic Group Read, so please be sure to check it out!

— I’m up on What Are You Reading?, enjoying some of my favorite genre: “good for her.”

For any of you who are fans of mnemonic devices, these suggestions for learning Morse Code are absolutely delightful.

Stay bookish,
Caitlin

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Insiders

Epic Update: March 21, 2022

Happy Monday, Epic Insiders! Spring is in the air and with it comes the urge to spring clean. The Book Riot contributor slack is buzzing with talk of cleaning out their bookshelves, selling and donating books, and slowly culling those unruly TBRs. Raise your hand if you’re feeling the urge too! Here are this weeks epic updates:

— I’m feeling the spring fever, but feeling resistant to reading about fevers in What Are You Reading?

— Did you catch last week’s Behind the Scenes with our new Sales Manager, John-Paul Vieira?

Finally, the season 3 trailer of Derry Girls came out, and I’m so ready!

Stay fresh,
Caitlin