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Book Recommendations to Get You Through the Pandemic

We know the world is scary right now. The news is filled with warnings and grim statistics, grocery stores are chaotic (at best), and we're all being told to socially distance ourselves from our friends and families—or even shelter in place. Maybe you're self-quarantining, out of precaution or medical necessity.

Whatever you're going through right now, Anya and I wanted to let you know that we're here for you. We're all in this together, and it's more important than ever to practice kindness, both to yourself and to others. Take breaks from reading the news, limit the amount of time you spend checking your social media feeds, and don't forget to breathe!

For all the writers (and other creatives) out there, remember to be patient with yourselves. Some people may find comfort by diving into their work, using their own stories as an escape, whereas others may find themselves unable to write due to the stress and anxiety of our current situation. If you're in this latter category, go easy on yourself! Give yourself permission to wait until you have the mental space and energy to devote to your stories.

We're lucky to live in a time when we have so many options for communicating from afar, tools we can use to stay connected. It's important to remember that you are not alone. Make sure you keep in touch with friends and family you may not be able to see in person right now. If you can, get some fresh air (even if this just means opening a window). Do something that makes you laugh. Remember that this is temporary.

Personally, when I'm feeling overwhelmed and need to escape the real world for a little while, I turn to books. I bet many of you do, too. So Anya and I thought we would recommend some of our recent favorites for you.

Jennifer's recommendations:
  • Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston — This was my favorite book of 2019, and I've been recommending it to everyone I know. It's a queer romance set in an alternate 2020 where a woman is president and coronavirus doesn't exist. As if that isn't enough, it's also laugh-out-loud funny.
  • Witchmark by C.L. Polk — Another favorite of 2019, and another queer romance! This one is for the fantasy lovers. If the world and the magic don't leave you entranced, Polk's writing will. And book two just came out, so you don't have to wait for the sequel!
  • The Princess Bride by William Goldman — This one isn't new, by any means, but it's a perfect blend of humor and nostalgia that's sure to relieve some stress. If you loved the movie, you'll love the book. And—and I don't say this lightly—the book really is even better than the movie!
Anya's recommendations:
  • Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert — A lovely contemporary romance, this story thoughtfully showcases life with a chronic illness, as well as the immense emotional impact of how others treat us, all while never losing sight of its uplifting core story and delivering on the promised HEA.
  • Uglies by Scott Westerfeld — I read this series many years ago, and in fact Westerfeld has now published two books in a derivative series set years later in the same world (Impostors). But I remember loving this fun, meaningful YA dystopian series about a world where every 16-year-old goes from regular "Ugly" human to joining the always happy, bubbly "Pretties." Planning to give this one a reread myself!
  • One Good Earl Deserves a Lover by Sarah MacLean — For the historical romance lovers in the crowd, this one delivers. A heroine who's aware she isn't quite like everyone else, a considerate, sexy, tortured hero, and some incredibly hot sex scenes make this romance a perfect escape.
We'd love to hear any recommendations you have! And if you've read any of these, let us know what you thought of them. Above all, stay healthy!

Warm regards,
Jennifer and Anya

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