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5 Fun, Digestible Book Titles for You to Binge This Winter Break

Lifestyle

It's winter break and you're cooped up inside your bedroom with a steaming cup of hot chocolate sitting on your nightstand. Snow is drifting outside your window, creating an unblemished white blanket on the ground. It's all perfect– except you're missing one thing: a good book in your hands! But you're just not sure what to read! Maybe you're just getting into reading or you've been stuck in an ongoing reading slump! Luckily, I'm here to recommend some of my favorite titles that will definitely make your break a bit warmer!

*Please check the trigger warnings for all the recommended books!

#1: Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim

Six Crimson Cranes is a retelling of the Grimms brothers' The Six Swans. The story follows 16-year-old Shiori'anma, the sole princess of Kiata, who harbors forbidden magic. When she loses control of her magic during her betrothal ceremony, Shiori also seizes the attention of her mysterious, distant stepmother, Raikama. Things go further south when Shiori discovers the true identity of her stepmother and is banished from the palace along with her brothers, who have been turned into cranes. Unable to speak, she must learn to control her magic and save her brothers to save her family and restore her kingdom.

First off, let me mention that gorgeous cover! Now, I know you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but it's impossible to take your eyes off something so beautiful! I absolutely adored everything about this book. Lim's storytelling is just as marvelous as the cover, adding a sweet romance and a strong female protagonist, creating a beautiful twist on a classic fairytale. She incorporates elements of Asian mythology into her stories and has made it onto my list of favorite authors! If you're looking for your fantasy book to devour, I highly recommend Six Crimson Cranes!

Buy Six Crimson Cranes through Amazon here!

#2: Circe by Madeline Miller

*Please check the trigger warnings for this book, as there is sexual assault depicted in the book.

Circe is a retelling of the Odyssey, but this time the main character isn't Odysseus– it's the enchantress Circe. Despite being the daughter of Helios, Circe is an outcast, who is mocked for her voice and for how naive she is. When it is discovered that Circe possesses the power of witchcraft, Zeus and the gods are threatened and banish her to spend eternity on an isolated island. Alone and away from the wrath of the gods, Circe develops her craft and encounters mythical heroes she could never have dreamed of. But as time passes on and danger grows, Circe realizes that she must choose between the gods who have always abandoned her or the humans whom Circe longs to be with.

One of the most notable things about this book is its writing. Miller has an enchanting style and her writing creates a vivid image of the beautiful, wild setting in which the story takes place. Miller truly has a knack for storytelling and incorporating valuable themes into her stories. I loved how she fleshed out Circe and how her writing style was both whimsical and immersing. This book is a gem. Overall, this is one of my favorite reads to date and I highly recommend it!

Take a look at Circe on Amazon here!

#3: These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong

*Check trigger warnings for this book because it depicts violence, gore, insects, self-harm, and suicide

These Violent Delights takes place in 1926 Shanghai, where two rival gangs– the White Flowers and the Scarlets– feud for power and control. 18-year-old Juliette Cai has returned from abroad to Shanghai as the heir of the Scarlet Gang, where she must forget her first love Roma Montagov, heir of the White Flowers. However, when whispers of a strange affliction start to spread and gangsters begin to rip out their own throats, Juliette and Roma must work together to discover what is tearing down their precious home.

This is one of my favorite retellings of Romeo and Juliet. I dare say it's even better than the original play (sorry Shakespeare)! This is an absolute treasure of a story, filled with brimming, tense rivalries, enemies-to-lovers, and a sweeping mystery. Gong puts important elements of the era into the story, creating not only a dazzling setting but also providing important messages to the audience about history. She crafts strong, lovable characters and mysteries you'll be dying to know the truth about. I loved everything about this book and I hope you choose to read it!

Check out These Violent Delights on Amazon here!

#4: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

*Check trigger warnings for this book as it depicts abuse, statutory rape, and homophobia

Step into the belly of Hollywood as Monique Grant, a nameless reporter, is asked to write the memoir of Evelyn Hugo! A mesmerizing screen queen, Evelyn's ready to tell the story of her stardom as well as the seven husbands she's had along the way. Watch as she rises from a nobody in Hell's Kitchen to the biggest name in the film industry. But as the story progresses further, Monique realizes this tale of forbidden love, fame, and fortune intertwines with hers in more ways than one.

I loved everything about this book. Evelyn Hugo always kept you on your toes, waiting to see what she would do next. I really enjoyed how this book incorporated issues with the film industry and did not sugarcoat any of the terrible things that happened. I also highly enjoyed Evelyn Hugo as a character– a strong, fierce, and ambitious soul. Reid creates a story filled with themes of identity, love, and the tragic price people must pay for the luxuries they want.

Check out the book on Amazon here!

#5: The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang

*Check the trigger warnings for this book as it depicts rape (recollected), murder, violence, mutilation, self-harm, racism, misogyny, bullying, drugs, war, human experimentation, animal cruelty, abuse (physical and verbal)

When Fang Runin scores exceptionally high on the Keju– a test administered to discover talented young individuals and sweep them off to prestigious academies– her life changes in ways she could never have foreseen. However, when Rin arrives at Sinegard, the greatest military academy in Nikan, she discovers not everyone there is ready to accept someone so different. Shunned away by her classmates, Rin discovers she has strange, innate powers and the potential to either destroy or save Nikan in the wake of the Third Poppy War.

I love The Poppy War. It is a beautiful, intricate story woven with fascinating Asian history, culture, and spirit. However, I have to say that this book was one of the most brutal stories I have ever read. Its depictions of war leave an unforgettable impression on the reader and brings the reader into a new understanding of war. Fang Runin has made her way into my list of all-time favorite characters simply due to her humanity and perseverance. The Poppy War is one of the stories where you are desperately clinging to every word and absorbing every scene. There is not a single tedious moment in this book. If I had a book that I wanted everyone to read, it would be The Poppy War.

Check out The Poppy War on Amazon here!

Laura Truong
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Laura is a Vietnamese high school sophomore whose love of writing stemmed from her love of reading. Some of her favorite books include The Poppy War and Vicious. Other than reading, Laura spends her time consuming copious amounts of dark chocolate and shopping for eccentric earrings.