Hey, everyone! Welcome back to another ABC Book Challenge post. I decided to do this to add more variety to the blog and also because it looked incredibly fun (and so far, it is!). Once again, thank you to Sofii @A Book. A Thought. for introducing this tag to me, and for her support. You should definitely check out her blog if you haven’t already!
Here’s the challenge: Every week, I’ll have a post sharing my most favorite titles as well as those on my current TBR list that start with the corresponding letter. (For weird letters like Q, X, and Z, I might have to bend the rules a little and just have those letters somewhere in the title, but we’ll see.)
This week is the letter C!
Favorite Titles That Start with “C”
A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn is such a fun detective story with two quick-witted protagonists, one a lady detective named Veronica, the other a surly natural historian named Stoker. With a backdrop of Victorian London, readers are taken through the beginning of many mysteries: a murder, Veronica’s true lineage, and Stoker’s mysterious past, all with a slow-burning romance developing between the two colleagues. It’s a swell time, particularly for those who want to dip their feet into a light mystery series before diving into some of the heavier stuff. I just can’t resist that snappy dialogue and the enjoyable characters. It’s why I speed-read through the first three books of the series and eagerly await the fourth. [Review]
A Convenient Hatred: The History of Antisemitism by Phyllis Goldstein is a book that will always be in my house. Always. It was introduced to me in my Holocaust History class in college, where it quickly became the foundation to understanding the psychology behind the Holocaust and how it was able to take place. As the title implies, this book traces the history of antisemitism all the way from the advent of the Jewish religion to the present day, chronicling the diaspora of the Jewish people, how unfounded rumors and superstition often led to their persecution, and why antisemitism persists today. It’s a book I cannot recommend enough, especially to those who struggle with the questions, “How did Hitler do it? How did he brainwash an entire country and his neighbors that Jewish people needed to be exterminated?” In short, he didn’t—brainwash them, I mean. This book explains the rest.
Caraval by Stephanie Garber is one of my dear, magical realism babies. I was swept away by the Caraval performance like Scarlett was, torn between the reminder of “It’s only a game” and the nagging suspicion, But is it really? I admit that the whole marriage plot Scarlett’s running away from got to be a bit too dramatic, but not enough to take away from the very real danger and enjoyable romance that did take place. I also really came to love Tella, which I didn’t think I would. And then there’s Legend. Oh, boy, Legend. I really need to read that next book.
Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo has no peer except for the first book in its duology, Six of Crows. The fact that I can’t even tell you which is my favorite of the two should tell you something. Kaz, Inej, Nina, Matthias, Jesper, Wylan—I love you all, and I would fight and kill and die for each and every one of you. You are all valid, and so are your ships, and no, I will not acknowledge that One Thing That Happened even though it made me cry at work! This is a perfect book and duology, go read it!
The Cruel Prince by Holly Black is phenomenal. It is a book written for and by the Slytherin House, with this Slytherin’s full endorsement, which is exactly what I want and need out of a mortal vs. fae story. Jude is one of my favorite protagonists of all time, and the roller coaster of emotion I went on with Cardan was truly unexpected and deeply enjoyable. Also, that hate-love… That delicious hate-love. Thank you, Holly Black, for never being afraid to Go There. I love you and your work, and this is one of my all-time favorite “Would Take With Me Through the Apocalypse” books! [Review]
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas is also one of my all-time favorite mortal vs. fae stories. A Beauty and the Beast retelling set in a mythical world where the human and fae lands are divided by a magical border and centuries of war and slavery, this was bound to be the backdrop of an amazing story and it was! I loved Feyre, Tamlin, Alis, and Lucien with my whole heart and soul. I loved Rhysand and his cruelty, his darkness; he absolutely is a favorite book crush, but just here. I loved how much mystery and intrigue with fae politics and other lands this book introduced, and the way Feyre was caught between it all, showing against all odds the strength that comes with mortality. Too bad SJM completely ruined everything with the rest of the books in the series, which is why I don’t acknowledge them. Wait, she wrote more books? No, you must be mistaken. It would’ve been so nice if she’d continued this series, but she definitely did not. Shame.
Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel by James Luceno is some of Star Wars politics at its absolute best. Ever wonder how the devastating laser weapon of the Death Star actually got built? Enter Orson Krennic and Galen Erso, manipulator and manipulated, each of them caught in the middle of the Clone Wars. When Krennic rescues Galen and his family from Separatist capture, the Erso family finds themselves deeply in Krennic’s debt, and the web he weaves around them, Galen in particular, is just brilliant. How was Galen to know his altruistic energy research would be put to use by Krennic in much deadlier ways, and how does Galen protect himself and his family when he discovers the truth? This book is the reason why the actual film Rogue One was such a hugely regrettable disappointment to me; there’s just no matching what Luceno did with these characters, which was actually something.
Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese opened me up to not just contemporary literature, but foreign contemporary literature. Spanning the 1960s and 1970s Ethiopia and 1980s America, this book follows twin brothers Marion and Shiva Stone, the result of a union between an Indian nun and a British surgeon at a mission hospital. This book is a tribute of medical innovation and how one must make do with what one has in Ethiopia as it’s on the verge of revolution. It’s also about family, love, and betrayal, and how these things always come full circle. Cutting for Stone is truly a journey, one that’s stuck with me well beyond when it was first given me to read in my final English seminar.
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller is completely satirical and absurd, and despite my entire high school class hating it, I love it wholeheartedly. Something about it just spoke to me. Maybe it was the humor. Captain Yossarian’s constant antics to be sent home from World War II, a character seriously called Major Major Major Major, the fast-as-a-whip dialogue. Maybe it was the cyclical narrative, as opposed to the typical linear narrative I was so fascinated by. Maybe it was because my dad was undergoing lung cancer surgery, and I needed something, anything, to help me cope and keep the uncertainty from crushing me, and this just so happened to be the next book my class was reading. Regardless of the reason, I love Catch-22, and I won’t hear a bad word against it.
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins was and still is my favorite book out of the Hunger Games trilogy—even despite my favorite character dying. (I love you, Cinna.) This was the book that just had everything. The Peeta/Katniss/Gale triangle in full throttle. Haymitch’s backstory and his time in the games unveiled. The pissed off victors and their many “fuck you’s” to President Snow and the Capital. The revolution coming together and the people’s defiance and remembrance of Rue. The best arena set-up by far. (Mel, you sound like a Capitalist. I know, but I loved it, okay? It was a fantastic set-up. A clock! It was a clock!) And then that heart-stopping last line: There is no District 12. Yeah, I still get chills.
Books on My TBR List That Start with “C”
And so it goes…
Which of my favorites have you read that you loved? Are there any on my TBR list you’d recommend become a priority for me, stat? Let me know!
Photo Credit: Paul Schafer