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Read This Book

Read This Book…

Welcome to Read This Book, a newsletter where I recommend one book that should absolutely be put at the top of your TBR pile. Recommended books will vary across genre and age category and include shiny new books, older books you may have missed, and some classics I suggest finally getting around to. Make space for another pile of books on your floor, because here we go!

Looking to elevate your reading life? Tailored Book Recommendations is here to help with handpicked recommendations. Tell the Bibliologists at Tailored Book Recommendations about what you love and what you don’t. You can get your recommendations via email or receive hardcovers or paperbacks in the mail. And with quarterly or annual plans available, TBR has something for every budget. Plans start at just $18! Subscribe today.

Today’s pick is a regency era second-chance romance featuring straight Black characters to fit that Bridgerton-shaped hole in your heart.

Book cover of Aphrodite and the Duke by J. J. McAvoy

Aphrodite and the Duke by J. J. McAvoy

Aphrodite Du Bell feels incredibly burdened by her name: it’s a lot to live up to. Though she is incredibly beautiful and talented, she feels pressure to constantly be the most beautiful, the most talented, and the most everything. Being named after the goddess of love and beauty is a lot to ask of someone. She loves to walk about the gardens, and her mother thinks she loves to read a bit too much. Aphrodite is part of a big family of five siblings, and they are all very loving and close to each other.

Aphrodite is 22 and unmarried. She had every intention of marrying her childhood friend, Evander Eagleman, the Duke of Everely. As far as she knew, he had every intention of marrying her as well. During the season of her coming out (four years prior to the start of this book), she turned down every offer from every suitor, as she expected Evander to show up and ask for her hand. She waited and waited and he never showed. In fact, the next she heard was that he had gotten married to someone else. It is now the next eldest daughter’s turn for her coming out, and the family has insisted that Aphrodite go to London for the season with everyone to show support for her sister Hathor, who is just a giant ball of anxiety. Coincidentally, Evander has a younger sister, Verity, who is also coming out this season, and on top of that, Evander’s wife just passed away. The likelihood of Aphrodite and Evander crossing paths is incredibly high. The family is torn on this whole situation. Aphrodite’s mother, who is also Evander’s godmother, is depending on them running into each other and making up and getting married. Damon, Aphrodite’s older brother, is very much against it and does not want his sister to get hurt yet again.

While Evander is the Duke of an estate, he and Verity have had multiple traumatic experiences growing up due to their careless, abusive, and now deceased father and the father’s second wife, who was his mistress and not from their circles. This book went to some places that I did not expect it to go, and it’s told from multiple viewpoints. There is definitely sex on the page, which is both steamy and charming. While there is some trauma talked about in the book, it isn’t racism-based trauma, and racism is hardly a theme in this book, if at all. Content warnings for physical and verbal abuse, including child abuse, discussion of suicide, and violence.


That’s it for now, book-lovers!

Patricia

Find me on Book Riot, the All the Books podcast, Bluesky, and Instagram.

Find more books by subscribing to Book Riot Newsletters.

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Read This Book

Read This Book…

Welcome to Read this Book, a newsletter where I recommend one book that needs to jump onto your TBR pile! Sometimes these books are brand new releases that I don’t want you to miss, while others are some of my backlist favorites. This week, let’s talk about one of the most devastating (in the best possible way) books that I’ve read this year.

Looking to elevate your reading life? Tailored Book Recommendations is here to help with handpicked recommendations. Tell the Bibliologists at Tailored Book Recommendations about what you love and what you don’t. You can get your recommendations via email or receive hardcovers or paperbacks in the mail. And with quarterly or annual plans available, TBR has something for every budget. Plans start at just $18! Subscribe today.

a graphic of the cover of All the World Beside by Garrard Conley

All the World Beside by Garrard Conley

I first discovered Garrard Conley through his bestselling memoir Boy Erased, which was made into a movie starring Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe. Boy Erased follows his experience when his parents learn that he’s gay and send him to conversion therapy. Now Conley is back, but this time with his debut novel.

All the World Beside follows two men, minister Nathaniel Whitfield and physician Arthur Lyman, living in Puritan New England in the early 18th century. When Nathaniel and Arthur begin their affair, they never expected their relationship to turn into an all-encompassing force that consumes them and their families.

Nathaniel is a preacher from England who has created his own community in the new world that he calls Cana. There he and his followers wait for an “Awakening” that will prove that their community is truly blessed by God, that they have found the one true way, that they are chosen by God.

Conley delves into ideas around faith and belief, and what it means to truly believe in the love of God. But you don’t have to be a Christian or even a person of any faith to appreciate the multiple layers that Conley weaves into this novel. The universal ideas of love and connection in the face of a ridiculous number of obstacles make this novel accessible to just about any kind of reader.

Pete Cross performs the audiobook edition of the novel, creating this quiet, intimate sort of listening experience that makes you feel as if you are right there, part of the community watching Nathaniel and Arthur risk everything for their relationship.


That’s it for this week! You can find me over on my substack Winchester Ave, over on Instagram @kdwinchester, on TikTok @kendrawinchester, or on my podcast Read Appalachia. As always, feel free to drop me a line at kendra.d.winchester@gmail.com. For even MORE bookish content, you can find my articles over on Book Riot.

Happy reading, Friends!

~ Kendra

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Read This Book

Read This Book…

Welcome to Read This Book, a newsletter where I recommend one book that should absolutely be put at the top of your TBR pile. Recommended books will vary across genre and age category and include shiny new books, older books you may have missed, and some classics I suggest finally getting around to. Make space for another pile of books on your floor, because here we go!

Looking to elevate your reading life? Tailored Book Recommendations is here to help with handpicked recommendations. Tell the Bibliologists at Tailored Book Recommendations about what you love and what you don’t. You can get your recommendations via email or receive hardcovers or paperbacks in the mail. And with quarterly or annual plans available, TBR has something for every budget. Plans start at just $18! Subscribe today.

Today’s pick is a small but mighty nonfiction comic book on a subject that is important for everyone to know, especially for and even beyond its human sexuality applications.

Book cover of A Quick & Easy Guide to Consent by Isabella Rotman & colors by Luke B. Howard

A Quick & Easy Guide to Consent by Isabella Rotman, with colors by Luke B. Howard

I am a huge fan of the Quick & Easy Guides put out by Limerence Press. They are unintimidating, clear, concise, and fairly inexpensive, so they aren’t only good, impactful reads, but they may also be easy to buy extra copies to give to others. I definitely did that with the Quick & Easy Guide to They/Them Pronouns as well as the one on Queer & Trans Identities.

As it says in the title, this installment is about consent — specifically consent in sex, relationships, and other physical contact. The information in this book is far from the often common and sometimes oversimplified “no means no” advice. This book focuses on and reinforces enthusiastic, informed, active consent, also referred to as “yes means yes.” Affirmative consent means that whatever the people involved are doing, they are all truly interested in doing it. This framework focuses on people wanting to do something and not just willing to do something.

Our guide through this book is Sargent Yes Means Yes from the Consent Cavalry. They are witty and charming and I would venture to say that this book is probably more explicit consent training than most people get. One of the most important things is that this book is really positive. It’s less about danger around every corner and more about how consent is not only good and necessary, but getting and giving consent can also be fun and sexy in itself.

This book doesn’t really cover laws, because laws vary and are dependent on many things, such as time and geographic location. This book does, however, make it very clear that consent is for all gender identities, and the people drawn in this comic are diverse with regard to race, gender, and orientation. Sexual violence is definitely discussed, but there are no visual depictions or graphic descriptions.

If you are thinking to yourself, “How can there be a whole entire book, even a small book, on consent?” then it might be in your best interest to read this book!


That’s it for now, book-lovers!

Patricia

Find me on Book Riot, the All the Books podcast, Bluesky, and Instagram.

Find more books by subscribing to Book Riot Newsletters.

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Read This Book

Read This Book…

Welcome to Read This Book, your go-to newsletter if you’re looking to expand your TBR pile. Each week, I’ll recommend a book I think is an absolute must-read. Some will be new releases, some will be old favorites, and the books will vary in genre and subject matter every time. I hope you’re ready to get reading!

Looking to elevate your reading life? Tailored Book Recommendations is here to help with handpicked recommendations. Tell the Bibliologists at Tailored Book Recommendations about what you love and what you don’t. You can get your recommendations via email or receive hardcovers or paperbacks in the mail. And with quarterly or annual plans available, TBR has something for every budget. Plans start at just $18! Subscribe today.

I’m going to be fully transparent with all of you. March was not an easy month for me. I needed comfort reads, full stop, to get me through the tougher times this month. Does this book seem like it would be a comfort read? Absolutely not. But did it relax me? Somehow. Let me explain.

diavola book cover

Diavola by Jennifer Thorne

The Pace family is taking their annual vacation, and this year they’re headed to Montepurso, Italy, where they’ve booked a stay at the beautiful, remote Villa Taccola. The weather is gorgeous. The views are incredible. The food is next level. The wine is flowing all day long. And the locals seem pretty nice. There are even a few neighborhood kids for the young ones to play with. Truly, it would be the ideal vacation…if not for a couple of major issues.

For one, there’s the family dynamics. The Pace family, just like every other family, has their issues. Anna and Benny are twins, but they’re not on the same page. Anna feels like she’s constantly ostracized by the rest of the family for her life choices, and Benny is so go-with-the-flow that he refuses to stick up for her. Meanwhile, their older sister, Nicole, is super controlling and wants to plan every moment of their trip down to the minute. No one else is allowed to say anything about it, and her husband and her two kids are so used to it that they just reinforce her behavior. Then there’s their judgmental mother. And their father just refuses to talk about anything. It’s a weird group of personalities that end up clashing at every turn.

But that’s not all. The Pace family is also contending with supernatural forces in Villa Taccola. Whenever they leave the villa, they come home to strange surprises, like bugs everywhere and furniture overturned. Someone is lurking behind Anna, breathing on her neck when her back is turned, and maybe even licking her? Oh, and those kids Nicole’s daughters have been playing with? They might actually be ghosts. There’s a strange tower in the villa that’s locked away and hidden, but everyone keeps hearing scratching noises on the other side of the door. The villagers try to warn the Paces that something is wrong with that house, but most importantly, they must not open that tower.

This book was such a wild ride that kicked off immediately from page one and then relentlessly delivered scares all the way to the last paragraph. But somehow, Diavola also fit in a lot more. I know this isn’t supposed to be an ideal vacation or anything, but wow, all of the beautiful writing about Italy made me want to go really bad. It felt like a little escape from my really bad month, reading about the food, the wine, the locales, the museums. This book was also really funny! Terrible family vacations are incredibly relatable to everyone, right? You kind of have to laugh at just how bad this particular family vacation is, from start to finish. Funny and engaging family drama, compelling travel writing, and a scary story: this book really has it all.


Happy weekend reading, book fans! Feel free to follow me on Instagram @emandhercat, and check out my other newsletters, The Fright Stuff and Book Radar!

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Read This Book

Read This Book…

Welcome to Read this Book, a newsletter where I recommend one book that needs to jump onto your TBR pile! Sometimes these books are brand new releases that I don’t want you to miss, while others are some of my backlist favorites. This week, let’s talk about the most recent winner of the National Book Award for Nonfiction.

Looking to elevate your reading life? Tailored Book Recommendations is here to help with handpicked recommendations. Tell the Bibliologists at Tailored Book Recommendations about what you love and what you don’t. You can get your recommendations via email or receive hardcovers or paperbacks in the mail. And with quarterly or annual plans available, TBR has something for every budget. Plans start at just $18! Subscribe today.

a graphic of the cover of The Rediscovery of America by Dr. Ned Blackhawk

The Rediscovery of America by Dr. Ned Blackhawk

In the fall of 2023, Dr. Ned Blackhawk won the National Book Award for his nonfiction The Rediscovery of America, a history of North America that intentionally centers the perspective of Indigenous Peoples.

From the colonialism of New Spain to Native American Sovereignty in the Cold War Era, Dr. Blackhawk details the major events that impacted the lives of Native peoples. As readers, we receive a macro-level look at the major movements of Indigenous groups, including their cultures, politics, and economic strategies. Dr. Blackhawk also notes what non-Indigenous scholars have often missed or underappreciated in their works that center colonialist perspectives of the United States.

Dr. Blackhawk’s work reinforces that Indigenous history cannot be ignored; it’s an integral part of the fabric of America’s existence. Every chapter of The Rediscovery of America could be a book — or many books — on its own. But it’s not meant to be an end-all-be-all history. Dr. Blackhawk provides us with a summary, a starting place for the study of Indigenous histories on Turtle Island. And with its extensive notes and annotations, The Rediscovery of America gives readers even more resources to study in the future.

The audiobook edition, performed by Jason Grasl, was recently released, making this much-needed history available and more accessible to a wider audience. With his performance, Grasl maintains listeners’ attention through every chapter, making this nonfiction book feel like a page-turner.

Well-researched, detailed, and deeply impactful, The Rediscovery of America is a must-read for any history lover.


That’s it for this week! You can find me over on my substack Winchester Ave, over on Instagram @kdwinchester, on TikTok @kendrawinchester, or on my podcast Read Appalachia. As always, feel free to drop me a line at kendra.d.winchester@gmail.com. For even MORE bookish content, you can find my articles over on Book Riot.

Happy reading, Friends!

~ Kendra

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Read This Book

Read This Book…

Welcome to Read This Book, a newsletter where I recommend one book that should absolutely be put at the top of your TBR pile. Recommended books will vary across genre and age category and include shiny new books, older books you may have missed, and some classics I suggest finally getting around to. Make space for another pile of books on your floor because here we go!

Want to make your book club the best club? Sign up for our In the Club newsletter. In the Club will deliver recommendations for the best books to discuss in your book clubs. From buzzy new releases to brilliant throwbacks, the books highlighted in this newsletter will drive your book club discussions. We’ll also share some book club-friendly recipes and interesting bookish updates from all over. If you become a paid subscriber, you get even more recommendations, plus community features. In other words, we’ll keep you well-met, well-read, and well-fed. Sign up today!

Today’s pick might be my favorite nonfiction I’ve read this year. If you’re the kind of person who would have a mug that says, “I’m silently correcting your grammar,” then this one’s for you.

Book cover of Says Who?: A Kinder, Funner Usage Guide for Everyone Who Cares About Words by Anne Curzan, Ph.D.

Says Who?: A Kinder, Funner Usage Guide for Everyone Who Cares About Words by Anne Curzan, Ph.D.

I had so much fun reading this book, and I think it is a necessary read for those of us who tend to be grammandos: people who like to correct other people’s grammar and judge them by it. This book has helped me unlearn a lot of things about grammar and punctuation that I had practically embodied as part of my identity. In this book, she encourages us to turn away from the grammando part of ourselves and instead embrace our inner wordie, who is curious about language and fascinated by the ways in which language evolves and changes over time.

One of the things I love about this book is the kindness the author exudes. Her curious tone makes this book so approachable, which is something that books about grammar and punctuation rarely are. So many of us grammandos can be too firm on grammar rules when in reality, spoken language is different from formal written language, and also, many grammar and punctuation rules fall to pieces depending on the situation.

She digs into things that many people hold to be true, like the idea that “ain’t” isn’t a word and the idea that double-negatives are always incorrect. She writes specifically about the word irregardless, which is an absolutely delicious chapter. Dr. Curzan also talks about how current usage of the word “literally” adopts the definition of “figuratively,” and that’s okay. We know what people mean, even if they say it in a way that would make Strunk and White cry. One of my favorite chapters is on the pronunciation of “ask” as “aks,” and that is something that has had me unpacking some internalized white supremacy for years. I’m amazed at how many of our current grammar and punctuation rules can be traced back to “One guy liked it this particular way and wrote it in a grammar book.”

This is a definite must-read for anyone who cares about words.


That’s it for now, book-lovers!

Patricia

Find me on Book Riot, the All the Books podcast, Bluesky, and Instagram.

Find more books by subscribing to Book Riot Newsletters.

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Read This Book

Read This Book…

Welcome to Read This Book, your go-to newsletter if you’re looking to expand your TBR pile. Each week, I’ll recommend a book I think is an absolute must-read. Some will be new releases, some will be old favorites, and the books will vary in genre and subject matter every time. I hope you’re ready to get reading!

Want to make your book club the best club? Sign up for our In the Club newsletter. In the Club will deliver recommendations for the best books to discuss in your book clubs. From buzzy new releases to brilliant throwbacks, the books highlighted in this newsletter will drive your book club discussions. We’ll also share some book club-friendly recipes and interesting bookish updates from all over. If you become a paid subscriber, you get even more recommendations, plus community features. In other words, we’ll keep you well-met, well-read, and well-fed. Sign up today!

Are you up for a little bit of fun this Friday? Because I think after the dark, twisty, and kinda depressing book I recommended last Friday, it’s time for something a little more fun. If you’re on board, let’s do this.

the daydreams book cover

The Daydreams by Laura Hankin

I’ll be honest, I hopped into this book thinking it was going to give me big The OC vibes. I was super excited about that, especially because I just did a big rewatch of all four seasons. Instead, The Daydreams is more like High School Musical, which I was not mad about at all. If you love early 2000s pop culture, especially early 2000s TV, I think you’ll love this book. This one is also perfect for fans of Daisy Jones and the Six.

Back in 2004 (which was 20 years ago, OMG), a little TV series called The Daydreams launched four young actors into superstardom. There was Summer, the innocent girl next door and the biggest rising star of the show; there was Noah, the leading man, and Summer’s love interest, both on and off the screen; Kat was the show’s villain (think Sharpay, and I promise this will be my last High School Musical reference); and Liana was the best friend. Every week on the show, the foursome would sing and dance and act out a story that bled into their real lives. The world ate up every moment of it. Then, on their live finale, everything fell apart.

Since then, Summer, Noah, Kat, and Liana have all gone in different directions. Noah is an A-list actor. Kat left showbiz to become a successful lawyer. Liana married a famous athlete. And then there’s Summer…whose life following the series has been a bit of a trainwreck.

With everyone hungry for 2000s nostalgia these days, it’s no surprise that the fans begin clamoring for a The Daydreams reunion special. Each of the former stars has their own reasons for agreeing to do the special. But there was also a reason everything became so disastrous all those years ago. Will this reunion be the big moment that heals all of those former wounds? Or will this only dig up old secrets and open up old wounds?

You’ve never seen The Daydreams, obviously. It isn’t a real show. But after you read this book, you’ll feel nostalgic about a show that never existed. From the first to the final page, this book was just such a fun experience. It’s like watching the best 2000s teen show while reading the juiciest celebrity gossip while also catching up with an old friend (or four). I hope you’ll love it as much as I did!


Happy weekend reading, book fans! Feel free to follow me on Instagram @emandhercat, and check out my other newsletters, The Fright Stuff and Book Radar!

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Read This Book

Read This Book…

Welcome to Read this Book, a newsletter where I recommend one book that needs to jump onto your TBR pile! Sometimes these books are brand new releases that I don’t want you to miss, while others are some of my backlist favorites. This week, I’m featuring a recent release about an author’s experience of grief after she loses her best friend.

a graphic of the cover of Grief Is for People by Sloane Crosley

Grief Is for People by Sloane Crosley

Sloane Crosley met her best friend Russell when he hired her to work as a publicist for a well-known paperback imprint at a major publishing house. At first, their relationship was awkward — strange, even. But eventually, Russell became her best friend. Sloane remembers how she would visit Russell and his partner at their country house outside the city. She remembers long, boozy lunches full of office gossip and scandal. But when Russell dies by suicide, her whole life feels like it’s been turned upside down.

Around the same time Russell dies, Crosley’s apartment is broken into, and several expensive pieces of jewelry are stolen. She somehow feels that if she finds a way to recover at least some of the jewelry, she’ll be okay. These two events — Russell’s death and the robbery — become inextricably twisted together in Crosley’s mind, impacting the way she grieves for her friend.

Crosley’s grief doesn’t make sense to her. She keeps pausing, wondering if this is how she should be feeling. She keeps asking, how do you process a friend’s death when they were the one who chose to end their life? Why does she care about jewelry that she didn’t even really like anyway? Why does everything in her life feel so wrong now?

Crosley lays out her messy grief process on the page. She doesn’t have all of the answers. She’s not even going to pretend to. Instead, she’s honest about the ups and downs of grief, the highs and the lows of it. Crosley structures her book around the stages of grief, but if anything, her memoir proves that the process of grief is never that straightforward.

Want to make your book club the best club? Sign up for our In the Club newsletter. In the Club will deliver recommendations for the best books to discuss in your book clubs. From buzzy new releases to brilliant throwbacks, the books highlighted in this newsletter will drive your book club discussions. We’ll also share some book club-friendly recipes and interesting bookish updates from all over. If you become a paid subscriber, you get even more recommendations, plus community features. In other words, we’ll keep you well-met, well-read, and well-fed. Sign up today!


That’s it for this week! You can find me over on my substack Winchester Ave, over on Instagram @kdwinchester, on TikTok @kendrawinchester, or on my podcast Read Appalachia. As always, feel free to drop me a line at kendra.d.winchester@gmail.com. For even MORE bookish content, you can find my articles over on Book Riot.

Happy reading, Friends!

~ Kendra

Categories
Read This Book

Read This Book…

Welcome to Read This Book, a newsletter where I recommend one book that should absolutely be put at the top of your TBR pile. Recommended books will vary across genre and age category, including shiny new books, older books you may have missed, and some classics I suggest finally getting around to. Make space for another pile of books on your floor, because here we go!

Want to make your book club the best club? Sign up for our In the Club newsletter. In the Club will deliver recommendations for the best books to discuss in your book clubs. From buzzy new releases to brilliant throwbacks, the books highlighted in this newsletter will drive your book club discussions. We’ll also share some book club-friendly recipes and interesting bookish updates from all over. If you become a paid subscriber, you get even more recommendations, plus community features. In other words, we’ll keep you well-met, well-read, and well-fed. Sign up today!

Today’s pick is a translated graphic novel from a Spanish comic artist.

Book cover of Us with an illustration of two pink women with flowers in their hair leaning their foreheads together and smiling with their eyes closed

Us by Sara Soler, lettering by Joamette Gil, and translated by Silvia Perea Labayen

This graphic novel is a memoir about a very specific time in the author’s life. It is the story about when her girlfriend, Diana, came out as trans and how they navigated their relationship and her transition together. They decide to share their story so that folks can have some insight into one version of the reality of transitioning. Every trans person has a different story and so, Sara and Diana are sharing theirs.

I am completely biased in my love for this graphic novel because so much of it mirrors my and my wife’s experience. Yes, of course there are difficult things to deal with, like coming out to folks (for both of us!) who may not be as accepting as hoped for. There’s misogyny and transmisogyny and transphobia and homophobia and all the things that can scare people into staying in the closet. What this comic also captures, though, is some of the absolute joy that occurs as well. The joy that happens when your girlfriend tries on gender-affirming clothing. The happy surprise when grandparents understand more than you had expected them to. The warmth that happens when some of your close friends embrace you both fully as your authentic selves. There is also the awkwardness of coming out to various people. It’s never “one-and-done.”

The comic is written from not only a place of sharing, but also offers educational bits on transgender folks and transitioning. It’s a really good example of what can happen in some relationships, especially when the people involved want to stay together. It can take a lot of learning, unlearning, and inner work that some people aren’t prepared for or aren’t interested in doing.

It is an absolutely lovely comic that doesn’t shy away from the hard stuff while also highlighting the good stuff. There’s always more good stuff than expected, and it’s really important to keep that at the forefront.


That’s it for now, book-lovers!

Patricia

Find me on Book Riot, the All the Books podcast, Bluesky, and Instagram.

Find more books by subscribing to Book Riot Newsletters.

Categories
Read This Book

Read This Book…

Welcome to Read This Book, your go-to newsletter if you’re looking to expand your TBR pile. Each week, I’ll recommend a book I think is an absolute must-read. Some will be new releases, some will be old favorites, and the books will vary in genre and subject matter every time. I hope you’re ready to get reading!

This one has been on my TBR for quite a while, and I don’t know what took me so long to get around to it, because it’s really hitting all the marks for me. It’s a quick read. It’s a horror novel that’s really about grief. There’s a haunted (?) Siri-like home device. That’s what I knew about this book before I read it. Seriously, I don’t know what kept me away. Anyway, I am so glad I finally got around to it, because this book truly delivered. If you’ve also been thinking about reading this one for a while, do it. And if you’ve never heard of this one before, you should also just read it.

OMG, but what book is it, you ask? Okay, I’m getting to it. Here we go.

this thing between us book cover

This Thing Between Us by Gus Moreno

This Thing Between Us is a little book. Almost square in shape and only 272 pages. But there’s a lot going on within these pages, and this cosmic horror really packs a punch. Just look at that cover. You know something wild is going to happen to these people. And every time you think you have a handle on where this story is going, it takes a big left turn and goes somewhere weirder. Are you in?

When married couple Vera and Thiago buy an Itza — the “world’s most advanced smart speaker!” — for their new condo, Thiago isn’t fully committed to the new contraption. Vera, however, just had to have it. After all, with all of the weird things happening in their home, she thought a high-tech home device would bring them a little joy. [Narrator: It didn’t bring them any joy.]

Instead, with the Itza in their home, things get weirder. Strange packages start showing up at their door, and the Itza plays eerie music and projects strange lights on the wall in the middle of the night. Thiago can’t help but wonder…is the Itza trying to send them some kind of message? Is the house trying to talk to them through their new speaker?

But before Thiago and Vera have a chance to explore the strange happening in their house further, Vera unexpectedly dies, leaving Thiago behind to pick up the pieces and unravel the mysteries of their condo and their demonic Itza all by himself. When things become too intense for Thiago to bear, he does the only thing he can think to do: escape the city and find solace in a secluded cabin in Colorado. But there is no escaping the evil that tore apart his life back in Chicago. It follows him everywhere, and it is slowly causing him to unravel.

This Thing Between Us is such a bone-chilling horror novel featuring imagery that is truly the stuff of nightmares. But this book is also such an intense, emotional exploration of grief. I found myself underlining giant passages from this novel, lines about grief, loss, and love that I will hold close to my heart for the rest of time. The story is told from Thiago’s perspective, as if he is telling the story to his late wife, Vera. In this way, the story gives insight into this marriage even after Vera’s death, and the reader is given an intimate look at how the loss of Vera has lasting effects on Thiago’s psyche.

Just talking about this book makes me want to read it for a second time and get haunted by this strange story all over again. I gave this one five very enthusiastic stars, and I think you’ll love it too.

Want to make your book club the best club? Sign up for our In the Club newsletter. In the Club will deliver recommendations for the best books to discuss in your book clubs. From buzzy new releases to brilliant throwbacks, the books highlighted in this newsletter will drive your book club discussions. We’ll also share some book club-friendly recipes and interesting bookish updates from all over. If you become a paid subscriber, you get even more recommendations, plus community features. In other words, we’ll keep you well-met, well-read, and well-fed. Sign up today!


Happy weekend reading, book fans! Feel free to follow me on Instagram @emandhercat, and check out my other newsletters, The Fright Stuff and Book Radar!

<3 Emily