2020 Reads: February

1. Chosen by Kiersten White

Chosen is the second installment of the Slayer series. As a hardcore Buffy fan, no parallel universe exists in which I wasn't gonna read this. However, I never anticipated enjoying it this much. The author’s knowledge of the show and its follow-up graphic novels shines in her dialogue and references. She remains faithful to what's come before, while staking her own unique mark on the Buffyverse. As much as I love all the cameo's from well-known Buffyverse characters, I'm heavily invested in newbie Slayer, Athena "Nina" Jamison-Smythe, and her squad of Slayerette's in training (I mean, who doesn't love Doug?). It's witty, charming, well plotted and I wish there were more to come, but this is it for now. Side-note: as a gay Irishman, I love the fact that it's set in Ireland and features multiple queer characters (Rhys & Cillian are hella-cute.)

2. Infinity Son by Adam Silvera

An urban fantasy featuring magical creatures, queer heroes, and a rip your heart out ending... This book was made for me. Thank you, Adam Silvera. Two brothers, Emil and Brighton Rey, are thrust into a magical war between those who were born with powers (Celestials) and those who steal it by killing magical creatures (Specters). The brother’s relationship is put to the test when one is chosen and the other isn't. Power doesn't always gravitate towards those who want it most. I absolutely adore this world. It's like the author took a bunch of my favorite things and threw them into a blender. I'm still processing that ending... Book two can't come quick enough. I need more!

3. Wonder Woman by Mike Deodato & William Messner-Loeb

I loved this 90s gem. I mean, come on... 90s female superheroes are kinda my jam. This volume collects Mike Deodato & William Messner-Loeb's entire run with the Amazon princess (All 15 issues). Its highlight is the epic Contest storyline, in which Queen Hippolyta demands that Diana give up her ambassadorship as Wonder Woman. A second contest is held to choose a new Amazonian champion. Shockingly, Diana is bested, and Artemis becomes the new Wonder Woman. But what made the Queen turn against her daughter? And how long will Artemis hold on to her new title? Find out all this and more in this awesome collection. I'll undoubtedly read this one again and again.

4. Percy Jackson and the Olympians #2: Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan

Can I please become a demigod and attend Camp Half-Blood? In the second installment of this beloved series, Percy, Annabeth, Clarisse & Tyson (Percy's Cyclops half-brother) must journey through the Sea of Monsters in order to retrieve the Golden Fleece and save Camp Half-Blood from a mysterious new threat. I adored the first book, but I have to say, on this rare occasion, the sequel was even better. I am a Rick Riordan convert and can't wait to devour everything he's ever written. These wisecracking adventures are full of action, mystery, and drama. I'm hooked.

5. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

The Bell Jar is another modern classic I'd been meaning to read forever. This semi-autobiographical masterpiece not only provides a fascinating insight into Plath's life and mental health struggles, it also takes a darkly comedic look at society in the 1950's. It was originally published under a pseudonym in 1963, just a few weeks before her suicide. It's a real shame this is Sylvia Plath's only novel because it is superb. I can't wait to reread all her poetry once I'm finished. "Because wherever I sat - on the deck of a ship or at a street café in Paris or Bangkok - I would be sitting under the same glass bell jar, stewing in my own sour air." - Sylvia Plath

Pick of the Month: The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath (Another no-brainer. You can’t compete with the classics.)