They Have War Balloons

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Amanda and Jenn discuss alternate history novels, more murder, culturally diverse romance, and more in this week’s episode of Get Booked.

This episode is sponsored by Novel Gazing, Saga Press, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, and Book Riot Insiders.

Subscribe to the podcast via RSS, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or Stitcher.


Sourdough by Robin Sloan (rec’d by Tara)

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara (TW for child abuse and child sexual assault, domestic violence, self-harm, suicide, drug use) (rec’d by Kelsey)

Melissa Brayden’s Soho Loft series and Seven Shores series, Ann McMan’s Jericho series, Lise Gold’s Compass series, and Harper Bliss’ Pink Bean (rec’d by Wynnde)

The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill, Free Food For Millionaires by Min Jin Lee, Cities of Salt by Abdul Rahman Munif, A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry, In the Eye of the Sun by Ahdaf Soueif (rec’d by Sibyl)


1. Hello Get Booked ladies!

I’m requesting for my mom, as her birthday is coming up in January. She is already burning through the books I curated for her for Christmas (The Silent Patient & The Turn of the Key). She loves mystery, crime, action, suspense books. She’d like books that are, “less psychological thriller-y, more murder-y”. I’ve been trying to find stand-alone books or the start of a series because she can never remember where she left off and too often says “I think I’ve read this one?”.

Examples of what she likes: Prey books by John Sandford, Stephanie Plum books by Janet Evanovich, authors Ruth Ware, Clive Cussler, James Patterson, Paula Hawkins, John Grisham, Mary Higgins Clark, etc. – as seen on the Goodreads account I’ve created for her

*No home invasions, no horror

Please help me find more murder-y books for my Mom (lol). Thanks! 🙂


2. Hi guys! I’m looking for a novel that is a real page-turner. The type of novel that gets you in bed early because you are so excited to find out what will happen within the following pages. Lately I’ve enjoyed Normal People, Conversations with Friends, and Little Fires Everywhere. I loved these books for their intriguing, complex characters and distinctive settings. Bonus points for a romance subplot and great character development. Thanks!


3. Looking for nonfiction books from authors of color, particularly in public policy, economics, business, tech, history, or sports.


4. Hi, I’m that guy looking for multiple recommendations. The first is for me, I generally read a lot of Sci-fi / fantasy, but I am open to branching out. Recent reads that I have really liked were Priory of the Orange Tree, the Goblin Emperor, and the Ruin of Kings. If you stay in SFF, please no NK Jemisin or Yoon Ha Lee as those are already in my tbr.

My other recommendation I am looking for is for my son in first grade. He is just getting into reading and I am looking for other options beside Magic Treehouse. He has really been enjoying a graphic novel series called stone rabbit which incorporates sci-fi fantasy elements and slapstick humor.

5. I’m a seventh grade student at Explorer Middle School and my English teacher is running out of recommendations for me in her classroom library. She highly recommended that I ask you guys for help finding a good book. I have listened to your podcast before and have read some of the novels you have recommended to other people. My favorite types of novels are mystery and realistic fiction. Some of my favorite books are, This Lie Will Kill You by Chelsea Pitcher, The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena and That’s Not What Happened by Kody Keplinger. I hope you can find a book or two that I will love to read.


6. Hello! I recently read and loved Courting Samira by Amal Awad and I am looking for something similar. So far, I have read Ayesha, At Last by Uzma Jalaluddin and Forbidden By Faith by Negeen Papehn I found these on your site and both are great, but a little too angst filled for what I’m looking for at the moment. What I loved about Courting Samira was that it was one of those reads where the author has created a world where you just don’t want to leave. It had a cozy and warm vibe with awesome side characters, and a believable and swoon worthy love interest. I loved that the main character was a devout Muslim and appreciated and loved her culture, but that wasn’t the focus of the book. It was simply about her going through her day to day as a 27 year looking for love, but also professional and personal fulfillment. Is there something out there that has a culturally diverse cast of characters and a fun and cozy romance?


7. When I think about the books that I’ve loved the most recently, I noticed that a few of them–The Neapolitan Novels, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, The Immortalists–can all loosely be described as books that follow a person or a small group of connected people throughout their lives, from childhood to old age or death, and probably make me cry a few times along the way. Can you point me toward more books like this? Bonus points for audiobooks, bonus points for authors and characters who are women, LGBT, and/or from any other underrepresented groups. Thanks!


Books Discussed

The Lost Man by Jane Harper

As Long As We Both Shall Live by JoAnn Chaney (tw: violence towards women & children, including imprisonment, rape, child abuse, domestic violence; suicide, graphic violence)

Girls Burn Brighter by Shobha Rao (TW rape, trafficking, child abuse)

The Plague of Doves by Louise Erdrich (tw: violence towards women and children, lynching)

The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander

What Truth Sounds Like by Michael Eric Dyson

Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke

Everfair by Nisi Shawl (tw: racism and violence)

You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott

Penance by Kanae Minato (tw: harm to children)

Unmarriageable by Soniah Kamal

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

The Tenth Muse by Catherine Chung

Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo (tw: domestic violence, child abuse, rape)