9 Books That Will Give You The Feels

When I am reading a book, my number one requirement is to feel something – whether it is for a romance, excitement for the plot or a sense of place. I need to get some kind of emotion for what I am reading. It is why I love young adult books so much. However, as you may know, there’s lots of feels to be found in the pages of fiction aimed at adults and somehow I have a talent for sussing this out. I liked the 9 books below well enough and thankfully they all made me feel SOMETHING.

When I am reading a book, my number one requirement is to feel something - whether it is for a romance, excitement for the plot or a sense of place. I need to get some kind of emotion for what I am reading.

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A Spear Of Summer Grass by Deanna Raybourn is honestly probably my least favorite of her books. I guess reading a 2013 release with a 2019 mindset will lead to that sort of feeling sometimes. You might be wondering why I read such a backlist book — it is because I have this summer mission to read and review 30 outstanding Netgalley queue books. So, I borrowed this one from the library with the expectation that I would love it. After all, I had yet to meet a Raybourn book that I did not love.

Set in 1923 Colonial Kenya, A Spear Of Summer Grass details the story of Delilah Drummond who is exiled to Africa after scandal involving one of her marriages erupts. Delilah is not prim. She’s not proper. In fact, she really has some loose morals. At heart, she’s a good person though. Anyways, while in Africa with her cousin Dodo, she meets other local white people as well as Africans and there’s some drama including murder. I would say that it was really hard to turn off my 2019 mindset and outlook.

Delilah is a white savior character. And like, it kind of seems like all of the Black characters are simple people and not complex. It’s like they are painted with a paternalistic paint brush. I don’t know if that’s on purpose because the book is from the point of view of a white colonist. It just feels weird and uncomfortable to read in 2019, is all.

The romance and chemistry between Delilah and Ryder are excellent though. I liked that they’re both a little bit wild and unconventional. It’s blatantly obvious that they’re going to hook up. No taming involved though, which is different but a good thing. Also, some vulnerability between the two which was great to read.

It should probably also be noted that there’s lots of hook ups among the white colonists and it is super casual. I did find myself wondering how no one got pregnant. Also at one point is a weird sort of “party” and some use of IV drugs. I was not at all expecting or prepared for that. So yeah, this book really gets scandalous.

Set in 1923 Colonial Kenya, A Spear Of Summer Grass details the story of Delilah Drummond who is exiled to Africa after scandal involving one of her marriages erupts.

Aside from all this, Raybourn really makes Kenya sound absolutely breathtaking. I appreciated her skill in describing setting and scenery. There’s a true sense of place in A Spear Of Summer Grass. However, despite these strengths, there’s just too much re: interactions between the colonists and how they’re paternalistic for me to say THIS IS A MUST READ. It’s hit or miss, I think.


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The Veronica Speedwell series is SO much fun to read. It’s got one of the slowest burns and some interesting mysteries that don’t exactly take up all of the story. A Dangerous Collaboration is the fourth book in Deanna Raybourn’s Veronica Speedwell series and definitely nudges the needle a little bit more in the direction of the Stoker-Veronica ship. Honestly, this was quite an enjoyable read. I am finding that I am really starting to enjoy the Speedwell books almost as much as the Lady Julia books.

In A Dangerous Collaboration Veronica joins Stoker’s brother on a trip to an island in hopes of catching the Glasswing Butterfly and bringing it back for the Vivarium. However, in order to look legit and to get the invite to stay with the Romillys, Veronica has to pose as Tiberius (Stoker’s brother)’s fiance. Naturally, Stoker ends up going on the trip too. While there, Veronica and Stoker get drawn into solving the mystery of a bride who went missing years ago and the outcome of her fate. At the same time though, they’re in this weird holding pattern with their feelings.

Naturally, I ate this book up. I love love love a good slow burn. And well, we’ve yet to get very far with the main ship in this book. But ya’ll the progress made towards the end is perfect. Actually, the ending of this book was perfect. There’s a satisfying resolution. We get the door opened enough that we know the focus of the next book. AND THERE’S SOME ACTION IN THE FEELINGS DEPARTMENT. I’d say go for this series if you like intrepid heroines and historical mysteries.


The Veronica Speedwell series is SO much fun to read. It's got one of the slowest burns and some interesting mysteries that don't exactly take up all of the story. A Dangerous Collaboration is the fourth book in Deanna Raybourn's Veronica Speedwell series and definitely nudges the needle a little bit more in the direction of the Stoker-Veronica ship.

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At this point, I think I just really need to read up the rest of the Ann Aguirre books on my shelf. I know that no matter what genre she’s writing, I am going to enjoy reading. The Shape Of My Heart is a New Adult contemporary book that is the last of the 2B trilogy. However, you do not need to read the other books in the trilogy to appreciate your time with this. In fact, it has been like 5 years since I read the other two books in the trilogy and felt just fine. Granted, I remembered basically nothing about the other two books.

The Shape Of My Heart is the story of Courtney and Max. It opens with Courtney accompanying Max to his grandfather’s funeral back home on Rhode Island, I think it was. The trip is tough for Max because he became estranged from his family at 16 after an accident that left his little brother in a wheelchair. Anyways, Courtney serves as emotional support and good friend. She also realizes that maybe she has feelings for Max. The two kind of fight their feelings on the trip and then go back to being apartment mates. Eventually, they can’t fight the feelings anymore and end up together.

Both have a history. Courtney dated this guy who died when she was 17. She has a hard time letting people get close to her. Max is estranged from his family, as I already mentioned. His father is an alcoholic and his mom died when giving birth to his little brother. So, yeah, lots of history on both ends to overcome. And so, this is a story about building trust and communication. But also, about breaking down the barriers to love.

It is a somewhat quick read. Although, I did not really inhale this one like I did the other two 2B books. I still appreciate the time I spent with it. This book provided me with a nice distraction, a cute relationship and some entertainment during a very stressful week. So, I am grateful for The Shape Of My Heart.


At this point, I think I just really need to read up the rest of the Ann Aguirre books on my shelf. I know that no matter what genre she's writing, I am going to enjoy reading. The Shape Of My Heart is a New Adult contemporary book that is the last of the 2B trilogy. However, you do not need to read the other books in the trilogy to appreciate your time with this.

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Flight Season by Marie Marquadt kind of wowed me out of left field. So, first things first, I would totally classify this book as New Adult as all the main characters except for Angel are college aged. This book is a spectacular quiet little read about grief, life, and moving forward. I really, truly enjoyed my time with it and am a little surprised to see how under the radar it is.

Flight Season has three main point of view characters. There is Vivi who is a student at Yale. She is doing a summer internship in the cardiology ICU ward at the hospital and must get a good mark on her internship or will end up failing out. Also, Vivi’s father died kind of recently which is the cause behind her not so great grades.

TJ is a nursing assistant in the same department as Vivi. He works at a Brazilian steakhouse owned by his family and is hoping to finish up a nursing degree. He saw Vivi on her worst night and so carries a bad impression of her. Then there’s Angel who is an undocumented immigrant experiencing heart issues in the ICU. He’s basically the problem patient. So it becomes part of Vivi and TJ’s job to hone in on his care. He really bonds with and likes Vivi though.

So, okay, this book has these different interwoven threads that are fantastic. And also, Vivi’s chapters all start with birds that she has observed and it is beautiful — especially the bird illustrations. But yeah, how everything connects and comes together and how it resolves is heartbreaking and beautiful and well, timely. Timely in the theme of undocumented refugees that is. If you have the chance, check this book out. It’s well written and so moving. I highly recommend Flight Season.


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The Yankee Widow by Linda Lael Miller is a sweeping historical book set during the Battle of Gettysburg in the Civil War. I had craving for historical fiction and this book totally delivered. While it was a little bit slower than I would have hoped, it met basically all my needs at the time I read it. This is the kind of book you pick up when you have a stretch of time to really absorb the words and the setting.

Miller’s The Yankee Window is about a young woman named Caroline who lives on a farm in Gettysburg with her daughter Rachel as well as their hired man, Enoch. Her husband Jacob is fighting for the Union. Unfortunately, he is gravely wounded at Chancellorsville and so, Caroline goes to him and brings his body back which sort of kicks off a chain of events culminating in the battle of Gettysburg and then a Confederate soldier, Bridger Winslow, recovering at her home as a favor to Union Captain Rogan McBride. The two men, FYI, are interested in marrying Caroline. Meanwhile, there’s also a pregnant runaway slave named Jubie who is hiding out on Caroline’s farm as well.

While there are two love stories in The Yankee Widow, what is best is the relationships between all the different characters – romantic and non-romantic. I thought that Caroline was an excellent mother. I also loved how feminist her grandmother is (she helps with nursing the different soldiers). In addition, there’s the friendship between Enoch and Caroline which is sweet. Enoch’s character is very three dimensional and just, interesting. I thought he was written with a lot of respect in mind. Also, the way this book ends is perfect and just wraps everything up so well. I’d certainly say give this book a read and be transported to an important time in American history.


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Taste Of Darkness by Maria V. Snyder is the conclusion to Snyder’s Healer trilogy and friends, I think maybe I might have had a different experience with this book had I chosen to read it closer to the previous two books in this trilogy. This book follows what happens when Avry and Kerrick are separated as well as all the different factions getting ready for the final battle. As it has been about six years since I read the second book in the series, I had no idea what was going on for the most part. I figured out somethings from context clues, but my advice to you all is to read this trilogy closer together to enhance your level of appreciation.

While I can’t really speak to character growth from book to book because I don’t have much of a recollection of the two previous books, I can certainly speak for plotting, pacing, and world building. I kind of felt like this book was a little bit slow paced and it seemed like there was a lot of waiting around for something to happen. I mean, first Kerrick up and leaves and we’re waiting to find out his fate. Then we’re waiting around to figure out what to do about Cellina and Tohon and the Skeleton King, but also Estrid. For me, the plot just didn’t feel all that cohesive. I am sure loose threads were wrapped up, but I can’t even remember most of the threads to begin with.

That being said, a Maria V. Snyder book where I felt a little lost as a reader is still better than NO Maria V. Snyder books. I enjoyed the interaction between all the characters. The friendships were fun to read about — especially the “monkeys.” I also liked Avry’s mentorship of Flea and the ongoing joke of “Thank the Flea.”Also, there’s a lot of adult situations which Avry and Kerrick, so don’t confuse this for a YA book, I’d probably put this in NA/adult fiction. On the whole, I did really like reading this book but definitely wish I had taken the time to re-read or at least refresh myself before diving in to finish up Taste Of Darkness and the Healer trilogy.


Taste Of Darkness by Maria V. Snyder is the conclusion to Snyder's Healer trilogy and friends, I think maybe I might have had a different experience with this book had I chosen to read it closer to the previous two books in this trilogy.

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The Most Beautiful Woman In Florence by Alyssa Palombo certainly does scratch that historical fiction itch. Fans of The Girl With The Pearl Earring will definitely enjoy sinking right into this book. I appreciated how it brought the Medicis as well as Botticelli to life for me.

The Most Beautiful Woman In Florence is set during the Renaissance, of course. It is about Simonetta Vespuci – the young woman who was the muse for Botticelli’s The Birth Of Venus. The book starts out with Simonetta in Genoa with her family, then she marries Marco Vespucci in Florence. There, she charms her way into the social circle of the Medicis. She’s at this dinner where she meets Sandro Botticelli and he decides he wants to paint her. And well, that’s really the gist of how Simonetta becomes a muse.

What happens next is a lot of posing and the building of this rather intense attraction between Simonetta and Botticelli (which although these are both real people, it’s hard to know for certain if this actually happened in history. Based upon the author’s note at the end, I think Palombo makes a good argument for it.

Read this book for a tale of forbidden romance set against the Renaissance and a look into a woman who might as well be a historical footnote.

Read this book for a tale of forbidden romance set against the Renaissance and a look into a woman who might as well be a historical footnote.


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I have been a long time Juliet Marillier fan – as in I can remember picking up Daughter Of The Forest my junior year of high school 16 years ago and just falling head over heels with it and devouring several more of her books. So as you can probably guess I was SO excited to get my hands on Harp Of Kings. This book is the first in her new Warrior Bards series.

The Harp Of Kings follows three point of view characters – Liobhan and Brocc who are sister and brother and another character, Dau. Liobhan and Brocc are exceptional musicians and are fighting to win a place among the Swan Island elite warriors. Dau is also fighting to gain a place among these warriors. The three are called into a mission while training. They must help find what is called the Harp Of Kings prior to Midsummer where it is ritual that the new king will have coronation. The harp which is otherworldly will be played and so that’s how the people accept their new king.

There is a bit of fairy involvement. Dau acts as a person who is mute. Liobhan and Brocc are taking on the role of traveling musicians. All is not as it should be or seems in the kingdom. The back cover seems to promise a romance, but honestly, there’s really only hints – especially at one for Liobhan. Brocc has much more moments than she does.

Honestly, Harp Of Kings wasn’t quite what I thought it would be. The pacing was really slow and it took me forever to get through it. I didn’t really connect with any of the characters. And okay, I was bored a lot while reading. I’d say this one isn’t my favorite of Marillier’s books, but I’ll still be back for the sequel because I do have some curiosity regarding what happens next.


I was SO excited to get my hands on Harp Of Kings. This book is the first in her new Warrior Bards series. 

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It’s always a little bit strange but also fun when an author turns their words to a different genre. You walk into the book with all these expectations from previous books you’ve read by the author. Then you’re either disappointed or surprised when it is totally different from those expectations. Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo is absolutely different from her Grisha books and that’s alright. I think you need to walk into this book with your eyes wide open and your expectations adjusted.

Ninth House is the story of Alex “Galaxy” Stern, a twenty year old freshman at Yale. Alex has a trauma history as well as a history of drug use. When she is found in the midst of a multiple homicide scene, she’s given the chance to go to Yale with a full ride. The catch is that she must serve Lethe, a secret society that basically watches and maintains the safety of the other societies magical rites. So this book follows Alex’s first year at Yale as she learns her Lethe tasks – as she is the “Dante” of the society under this guy named Darlington who is the “Virgil” of the society. Unfortunately, things go sideways.

We encounter some real gritty rituals. There are a few scenes that will turn your stomach. Also, there are ghosts who play a heavy role. Amidst the supernatural is an exploration of power and privilege as well as justice. Alex is a heroine who takes no crap. She is kind of hard to like and relate to at moments, but I think that’s the point. There’s twists and turns and surprises galore. I do think that Ninth House is a bit dense and literary as compared to the Grisha books. However, if you liked Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, I think you’ll like this book – only it is much more gritty. I got a similar feeling while reading Ninth House.


Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo is absolutely different from her Grisha books and that's alright. I think you need to walk into this book with your eyes wide open and your expectations adjusted.

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April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.

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About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.

Comments

  1. I haven’t read any of these yet (and didn’t recognize most of the authors, either), but I’ve already added a few to my TBR. If they’re determined to give me the feels, bring it on 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  2. Awesome! Thanks for this list – I am going to send this article to my mom as she adores these types of books and I can never seem to refer her ones she hasn’t read yet.

  3. Awesome list April! While my list of “books to read” is always growing, I don’t know if I can afford to add all of these yet, so I think if I’m going to choose I think “The heart of Kings” speaks to me the most as I’ve just finished the GOT series and am looking to keep on the fantasy trend.

    Thanks for sharing!
    Cooper Samp recently posted..The Naloxone GuideMy Profile

  4. Yeah for Flight Season being on your list. Marquardt is so underrated. I have adored all her books

  5. Wow… lots going on in this post.

  6. I found Ninth House at a thrift store the other day, and I’m really looking forward to starting it! I added a few of the others to my TBR, so thanks for feeding the TBR Monster! 😉

    Lindsi @ Do You Dog-ear?
    Lindsi recently posted..The Sunday Post [41] + Batch of Books GiveawayMy Profile

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