April 2021 has been really stressful. Derek Chauvin‘s trial. The death of Daunte Wright. The Indianapolis shooting. Death of Ma’Khai Bryant. Political Crisis in Chad. The second wave of Coronavirus in India. With all of these happening within days of each other, we are just about done with this month. Our mental health, level of energy, and motivation have taken a serious toll. So I say, let’s grab a few books – many to celebrate AAPI Month – and let’s find refuge there!

Actually, before we start… do you want to listen to these instead? Put your earphones on and let those mellifluous voices transport you to other worlds? Get 2 audiobooks for the price of one when you sign up for Libro.fm, the first audiobook service that supports local bookstores! I will tell you more about this offer at the bottom, enjoy the recommendations now!

1. May the Best Man Win by ZR Ellor

May the Best Man Win by ZR Ellor
May the Best Man Win by ZR Ellor

Lukas Rivers, the ultimate football star and head of the Homecoming community, wants to stay away from the drama after his long-term girlfriend comes out as a transgender man.

While Lukas may want a calm year, Jeremy Harkiss isn’t the kind to stay quiet. He is fierce, unapologetic, and absolutely will not bow down to the outdated school administration. So instead, he makes some noise by openly challenges the ex-boyfriend for his title of Homecoming King. The message is clear: Jeremy Harkiss is here, and he is here to stay. But Lukas isn’t the kind to concede easily either.

This isn’t your typical enemy turned lover after stolen glances story. It is a rollercoaster of emotions that authentically represents the realities of transphobia, homophobia, and bullying. Amidst darkness and uncertainty, it is the story of Lukas and Jeremy’s journey to choose love in an uncaring society.

Get this book on The Tempest’s bookshop supporting local bookstores.

2. Misfit in Love by S.K. Ali  

Misfit in Love by S.K. Ali
Misfit in Love by S.K. Ali

FINALLY! After her emotions being all over the place in Saints and Misfits, Janna Yusuf is ready. She is so ready for a new, uncomplicated chapter of her life. She’s done with high school; her brother Muhammad is getting married and she’s happily in love with Nuah. Life’s good!

But plans and weddings never go well together. For no apparent reason, Janna’s dad is acting strange, the sweet and considerate Nuah is treating her differently and her mother MAY BE igniting things with an old flame? 

Chaos. Chaos. Chaos. Just when Jenna thought things couldn’t get more complicated, her misfit heart is back to its old ways again. Besides her family drama, she now has to deal with her heart fluttering for two newcomers – the dreamy Haytham and brooding Layth.

Yikes. Honestly girl, how do you plan on getting out of this mess?

Get this book on The Tempest’s bookshop supporting local bookstores.

3. Counting Down with You by Tashie Bhuiyan

Counting Down with You by Tashie Bhuiyan
Counting Down with You by Tashie Bhuiyan

Karina Ahmed is the ultimate good girl next door. Despite being far away from Bangladesh, she chooses to value her culture and traditions. This includes following her parent’s rule of focusing solely on her studies and NO DATING! At all. Ever. Well, you know Asian parents’ logic. She can date after marriage.

What happens when the school’s resident bad boy casually claims that Karina is his girlfriend. Tutoring him was already crossing a line, and now pretending to date him? With her parents away for a month, she agrees to this dating façade until they come back. But will she want to go back to normal? That’s the actual question. Any To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before vibes?

Counting Down With You is also our pick of the month for our Book Club – come read it with us!

Get this book on The Tempest’s bookshop supporting local bookstores.

4. The Soulmate Equation by Christian Lauren 

The Soulmate Equation by Christina Lauren
The Soulmate Equation by Christina Lauren

What would the world be like if we had a DNA-based matchmaking app? Take a minute. No, seriously, let that sink in. We are talking about guaranteed compatibility. That means no more wasting time on awkward first dates and weeks of adjusting period. Just instant connection and guaranteed chemistry. Forget signs, it’s time for the science behind finding your soulmate. (See what I did there?)

This is exactly what Jess Davis needed. She is a single mother and a statistical wizard with major trust issues. So, the only thing that could convince her to get back into the dating world was numbers. Because numbers don’t lie. Jess knows that. She knows she can trust them. But what happens when the app pairs her with Dr. River Pena, the stuck-up, stubborn, and annoyingly confident founder of the company? Maybe it’s just a glitch in the system? Or maybe it’s actually meant to be.

So, *channeling my inner nerd*  in research terminology, the question would be: to what extent will the accuracy of the soulmate equation be effectuated in reality?

With a constant dose of charm, humor, and romance, this book will definitely satisfy all your nerdy vibes.

Get this book on The Tempest’s bookshop supporting local bookstores.

Libro.fm

5. Hang the Moon by Alexandria Bellefleur

Hang the Moon
Hang the Moon by Alexandria Bellefleur

In a modern-day Ross and Rachel story with a How I Met Your Mother crossover, Brendon does everything in his power to show Annie that romance is evergreen and it is here to stay.

Brendon is a hopeless romantic and Annie is his sister’s best friend. While Annie remembered Brendon as her friend’s dorky older brother, Brendon’s childhood crush was… you know who it was! So, when Brendon finds out that Annie has given up on love, he plans on sweeping her off the feet by taking cues from all his favorite rom coms.

Read this charming sequel to Written in the Stars to find out if the infamous blue French horn and 2-minute date make a cameo.

Get this book on The Tempest’s bookshop supporting local bookstores.

6. Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating by Adiba Jaigirdar

Hani and Ishu's Guide to Fake Dating by Adiba Jaigirdar
Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating by Adiba Jaigirdar

“But like how can you be bisexual, if you only date guys?” is the first question Humaira “Hani” Khan was asked after she finally came out to her friends. Of all things, having her identity questioned and invalidated was not something she expected from her friends. This made her uncomfortable and anxious. And in panic, she blurted that she was dating Ishita “Ishu” Dey. A girl that was completely different from her and her friend group.

In a classic set up of opposites attract, Hani and Ishu are forced to deal with pressure from a strictly patriarchal society while struggling to own up to their identity.

Get this book on The Tempest’s bookshop supporting local bookstores.

7. Meet Cute Diary by Emery Lee

Meet Cute Diary by Emery Lee
Meet Cute Diary by Emery Lee

Remember Wattpad days? Hours of reading, writing, and swooning over fanfictions. Remember falling in love with fictional characters and thinking that you knew everything there was to know about love.

With a popular blog called Meet Cute Diary, Noah Ramirez was THE romance expert that posted a collection of trans stories. Slight problem, people thought they were based on Noah’s real life, and, well, he did not correct them. This blog was Noah’s way of stepping out of the closet. And the success of the blog made him feel loved, supported, and accepted. No harm, no foul, right? But things take a drastic turn when a troll exposes Noah’s blog as fiction.

For Noah, the only plausible way to save the Diary was to convince everyone that the stories were true. Enter Drew and begin staged romance. Problem solved.

OH WELL. If only things would be that easy. Like all of us, Noah has to find the hard way that dating in real life isn’t quite the same as finding love on paper.

Get this book on The Tempest’s bookshop supporting local bookstores.

8. Black Water Sisters by Zen Cho

Black Water Sister by Zen Cho
Black Water Sister by Zen Cho

A Zellennial queer heroine discovers her power in the urban mythical world of Malaysia of active spirits and meddling gods. Wow! Honestly, if that doesn’t make you want to read this book, I don’t know what will.

As a descendant of the mysterious deity called Black Water Sister, Jessamyn Teoh is pulled into the world of gods, ghosts, gangs, and tons of family secrets. From having to settle the score with a gang leader that has offended the gods to find a way to regain control of her body and destiny, Jess has a lot of issues to deal with. She is frustrated by the secrecy that surrounds her, tired of her grandmother’s spirit calling the shots, and unsure of what exactly she wants to do in life.

In a nutshell, a stressed Asian lesbian challenges god and establishes her own identity. Seriously, get this book right now!

Get this book on The Tempest’s bookshop supporting local bookstores.

9. Hush Little Baby by R.H. Herron

Hush Little Baby by R.H. Herron

Remember that lullaby, “Hush little baby don’t say a word, papa’s gonna buy you a mockingbird.” Now imagine this in a psychological thriller where a pregnant Jillian is seeing things she cannot explain.

Jillian Marsh’s life has been traumatic. She had to deal with different stages of struggles in her life. From a toxic upbringing in a religious zealot household to using alcohol as a coping mechanism. Gathering the courage to pull it together, starting a career, and finally finding love to having her partner cheating on her while she was expecting, Jillian has seen it all. She has survived it all. But what happens when unexplained things start happening in her house. And her only support system of friends can no longer be trusted.

Is Jillian imagining things or is she being manipulated? Should she stick to her instincts or should she work on her trust issues? With her career, personal life, and mental health at stake, Jillian’s entire life is once again hanging by a single thread. But this time, the only thing Jillian knows is that she will do anything to protect her baby. Anything.

Get this book on The Tempest’s bookshop supporting local bookstores.

10. The Betrayals by Bridget Collins

The Betrayals by Bridget Collins
The Betrayals by Bridget Collins

If everything in your life was based on a lie? Would you risk it all, to tell the truth?

After a failed political career, Léo Martin returns to the grand jeu: an arcane and mysterious context for the best and the brightest in the enchanting world of Montverre. Here he meets Claire Dryden. While he senses an odd connection with her, he’s sure that they have never met.

In a world where everyone has built their lives around lies and secrets, will Leo and Claire find the courage to tell their truth?

Get this book on The Tempest’s bookshop supporting local bookstores.

11. Some Girls Do by Jennifer Dugan

Some Girl Do
Some Girl Do by Jennifer Dugan

An unapologetic, proud, and openly queer elite track athlete Morgan instantly finds love in her new high school. In another classic case of oppositive attracts, Morgan is attracted to Ruby who competes in local beauty pageants and absolutely adores her 1970 Ford Torino.

While opposite personalities may attract, struggles in identities always complicate things. Morgan, after being kicked out of her Catholic school, wants a fresh start where she can be completely herself and date openly. But Ruby is not ready to come out. Especially with her overprotective mother constantly breathing down her neck.

With two girls on different pages of realities, will love be enough to conquer it all?

Get this book on The Tempest’s bookshop supporting local bookstores.

12. Arsenic and Adobo by Mila P. Manansala

Arsenic and Adobo
Arsenic and Adobo by Mila P. Manansal

Lila Macapagal’s life turns into a romcom tragedy when she returns home to deal with her horrible breakup. She’s asked to help out with Tita’s failing restaurant while a group of matchmaking aunties continue to scrutinize and set her up.

But with her twisted luck, instead of a happy ever after, Lila’s ex-boyfriend drops dead after a confrontation with her. With cops treating her as a primary suspect in the case and her shady landlord trying to kick her out of the place, Lila takes matters into her own hands. She decides to conduct her own investigation with an army of nosy aunty networks, her barista best friend, and her trusted Dachshund.

Get this book on The Tempest’s bookshop supporting local bookstores.

13. The Hunting Wives by May Cobb

The Hunting Wives by May Cobb
The Hunting Wives by May Cobb

Leaving her big-city Chicago life, Sophie O’Neill decides to settle down with her family in a small Texan town. While it was quiet and dreamy, Sophie is instantly bored and restless with her country life.

But everything changes when she meets Margot Banks, a socialite part of the elite clique known as the Hunting Wives. With martinis, unconventional parties, and late-night target practice, life was so much more exciting and thrilling in the countryside for Sophie.

But what happens when the body of a teenage girl is found in the woods where the Hunting Wives meet? Will the elite clique stick together, or will they turn against one another? Dragged into the mystery of murder investigation, will Sophie continue to enjoy the thrills of her country life or will she crave for the peace and calm she once despised?

Get this book on The Tempest’s bookshop supporting local bookstores.

14. People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry

People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry
People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry

Poppy and Alex are polar opposites. Poppy is outgoing, adventurous, and free-spirited. While Alex’s definition of fun is staying home and reading a book. And even though, they spend most of the year apart, they continue to be the best of friends. The secret behind this strong bond is an adventurous summer vacation every year!

With a cruel twist of fate, both of them are no longer on speaking terms. However, Poppy doesn’t want things to end so unresolved and all over the place. Simply parting ways is not an option. Therefore, to wrap it all up, she proposes to take one last vacation together and Alex surprisingly agrees.

In an attempt to fix it all, Poppy and Alex try to make the best of the situation. With nothing more to lose, will one of them finally address that one big truth they have been avoiding for years?

Seriously, what is it about vacations and their ability to just change the dynamics of seemingly everything around us?

Get this book on The Tempest’s bookshop supporting local bookstores.

15. Tokyo Even After by Emiko Jean 

2. Tokyo Even After by Emiko Jean
Tokyo Even After by Emiko Jean

Izumi Tanaka has always struggled with her identity. Being a Japanese American, raised by a single mother in a small, white neighborhood in California is not easy. No matter how much she tries to fit in, she will never be “American” enough.

Who is her father? Is Japan the place she really belongs? Hence, to resolve this constant state of identity crisis she faced, Izumi – or Izzy travels to Japan to get some much-needed answers.

Izzy’s life turns upside down when she finds out that her father is the Crown Prince of Japan. With the press watching her every move and conniving cousins constantly setting her up for failure, Izzy is left alone to venture through this world of traditions and customs in her unknown homeland.

Get this book on The Tempest’s bookshop supporting local bookstores.

16. Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry by Joya Goffney

Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry by Joya Goffney

Quinn keeps a list of everything. All the way from her bucket list to daily to-do tasks, everything is neatly compiled and categorized in her journal.

Writing things down is Quinn’s way of compartmentalizing things in life. And this is exactly how she chooses to deal with the fears too. By making a list and choosing NOT to deal with it. However, this is no longer an option when her journal goes missing and an anonymous post on Instagram blackmails her into facing seven of her greatest fears. In the quest of finding her journal and hiding her secrets, Quinn ends up finding the courage to accept her reality; honestly and unapologetically.

We even did a live event with author Joya Goffney, you can rewatch it here!

Get this book on The Tempest’s bookshop supporting local bookstores.

17. The Siren by Katherine St. John 

9.The Siren by Katherine St. John
The Siren by Katherine St. John

Megastar Cole Power assembles an iconic star cast to film The Siren on the beautiful Caribbean island of St. Genesis.  While the plot of the movie had already created quite a stir in Hollywood, that’s not the main attraction of the movie.

Three motivated women with their own set of agendas arrive on set. There is Stella, the ex-wife, with her first role as a lead actress after multiple episodes of public breakdowns. Then, there is Taylor, a fledgling producer, that is keen to regain her lost reputation after her scandalous last job. And as for Felicity, Stella’s new mysterious assistant, no one know what she really wants. All we know is that she’s up to something.

United against a common enemy, these women find themselves trapped on the island. But with everything at stake and backstabbing as the norm, the hurricane brewing offshore is the least of their concern.

Get this book on The Tempest’s bookshop supporting local bookstores.

18. Reset by Sarina Dahlan 

Reset by Sarina Dahlan 
Reset by Sarina Dahlan

Can you love someone you do not remember?

In the after-effects of the Last War, societies are divided into the utopia of Four Cities. Inspired by the Buddhist philosophy, everything is planned, controlled, and monitored in this reality. Therefore, in a process called tabula rasa, citizens undergo a customary memory wipe every four years to prevent mankind from destroying each other yet again.

In this context, Aris is a scientist that whole-heartedly embraces this process of tabula rasa. However, her world turns upside down when she finds out about the secret organization called ‘Dreamers’. In a world where names, lives, and moments are systematically destroyed, Aris ends up finding love with the leader of the organization.

With only weeks left before the memory wipe, how will Aris hold onto the memories of her emerging romance. Set in dystopia, this book will make you question everything you know to be true about the existential meaning of love.

Get this book on The Tempest’s bookshop supporting local bookstores.

19. A Sitting in St. James by Rita Williams Garcia

8.A Sitting in St. James by Rita Williams-Garcia
A Sitting in St. James by Rita Williams-Garcia

Set in 1860 Louisana, the award-winning author Rita Williams-Garcia holds the mirror up for the White Americans. In a way that merely states the realities of the plantation society, she asks people the simple question of: “What would your life be like without slavery?”

This is a book that is honest, real, and hence, heartbreaking at times. But it delicately showcases the reality of a community where racism has always been the norm.  This book will continue to haunt you long after you have read its last page. Especially if you draw parallels to the society we live in today.

Get this book on The Tempest’s bookshop supporting local bookstores.

20. Realm Breaker by Victoria Aveyard

Realm Breaker by Victoria Aveyard
Realm Breaker by Victoria Aveyard

If you are looking for another great fantasy trope with a large cast of characters, look no further.

With every character playing a part for a greater purpose, Aveyard brings together an incredible combination of personalities. A squire forced to choose between home and honor. An immortal avenging a broken promise. An assassin exiled and bloodthirsty. An ancient sorceress whose riddles hide an eerie foresight. A forger with a secret past. A bounty hunter with a score to settle. And a leader who is the last of an ancient lineage.

Together they stand against an invincible opponent that is determined to burn all kingdoms to ashes.

Get this book on The Tempest’s bookshop supporting local bookstores.

21. Rosaline Palmer Takes The Cake by Alexis Hall

Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake by Alexis Hall
Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake by Alexis Hall

Rosaline Palmer is a baker. Therefore, she truly believes that if plans are made, risks are measured and instructions are followed, there cannot be an unfavorable outcome in life, just like baking.

Following this recipe of life, Rosaline is keen on giving her daughter, Amelie, everything she deserves and then some more. So, in terms of finding a good father figure,  she knows beyond a doubt that Alain Pope is the right guy. He checks all the boxes by being suave, well-educated, and the perfect parent material. But what happens when it’s the shy electrician Harry Dobson that actually sweeps her off her feet.

Will Rosaline stick to the instruction manual or will she voluntarily choose the recipe for disaster?

Get this book on The Tempest’s bookshop supporting local bookstores.

22. The Marvelous Mirza Girls by Sheba Karim

The Marvelous Mirza Girls by Sheba Karim
The Marvelous Mirza Girls by Sheba Karim

Noreen and her mother travel back to New Delhi to process the grief of losing her aunt. After an exhausting year, Noreen sees things glass-half-full. So, excuse her, if she feels like nothing is going to happen in the world’s most polluted city.

Now, if there is one constant in the land of Bollywood, it’s the fact that romance is always in the air. From culture and architecture to songs and food, this is the place where people have grown up watching the cheesiest movies one can imagine and with hopes of having that guaranteed happily-ever-after in every story.

So, it’s no wonder that Noreen fell in love with Kabir when she was least expecting. But like every classic Bollywood movie, with romance comes drama. But what happens when Kabir and Noreen have to deal with the complicated questions in their relationship?

What does it mean to truly love someone? Should there be boundaries? Will love conquer all like every ending in the Bollywood movies or will reality set in?

Get this book on The Tempest’s bookshop supporting local bookstores.

23. It Goes Like This by Miel Moreland

6. It Goes Like This by Miel Moreland
It Goes Like This by Miel Moreland

You know that optimistic feeling we grow up with. That feeling where everything in life seems permanent, like nothing, is going to change? It’s not about being naïve. Rather, it’s about holding onto the hope that things will not change.

Eva, Celeste, Gina, and Steph grew up together believing that nothing could come between their friendship. They knew that together they were unstoppable. Their queer pop band, Moonlight Overthrow, was the best testament of that example. However, things turned sour when the band broke up while Eva and Celeste start their starry-eyed romance. Suddenly sides were taken, solo careers were launched and radio silence was the new reality in their lives.

Against all odds, fate gives them another chance. In an attempt to fundraise for their town, they come together to perform for one last time. As they struggle to come to terms with the fact that growing up doesn’t necessarily mean growing apart, will this girl band choose friendship over everything else, once again?

Get this book on The Tempest’s bookshop supporting local bookstores.

As promised, a note on the juicy audiobook offer:

Libro.fm is the first and only company that lets you purchase audiobooks directly from your favorite local bookstore. You can pick from more than 150,000 audiobooks, including best sellers. You’ll get the same audiobooks at the same price as the largest audiobook company out there (you know the name). But you’ll be part of a different story – one that supports community.

If you’re new to audiobooks, they’re the perfect way to get more books into your busy life. Listen during your commute, while doing chores, walking the dog, or just relaxing at home. All you need is a smartphone and the free Libro.fm app. If you already love audiobooks and don’t know what to listen to next, check out recommendations and curated lists from people who know audiobooks best: booksellers!

The Tempest special offer: get 2 audiobooks for the price of one ($14.99) with your first month of membership with code TheTempest. Offer only valid for new members in Canada and the U.S.

What are you waiting for? I know I cannot wait to get my hands on these books! But then again, I am pretty sure I’ll finish them all by the time May ends.

Let us know which books you pick and what you’re reading this month by tagging @TheTempestBooks on Instagram so we can feature you!

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  • Isha Mandal

    Isha is an intersectional feminist that actively wants to be part of the change she wants to see. She has diverse interests ranging from legal studies to poetry, literature to debating and public policy to photography. She loves travelling, binge-watching shows and exploring new ways to smash the patriarchy.


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