Welcome to the brand spanking new Nerdist Reading List! Each month I’ll be curating 10 book recommendations that delight, charm, and terrify me. Basically, this is the place to find the best fantasy, sci-fi, horror, and romance books and comics to add to your to-read pile. To make things easier, each month will include a radical selection of already-released books you can grab instantly and other new books you’ll definitely want to pre-order or add to your library card. This month we’re diving into our books-to-read recommendations with magical tea-steeping fantasy, geeky romance, cozy comic books, Marvel heroes, and even some spooky satanic panic. There’s something for everyone!
Fantasy/Sci-Fi Books to Read
Blood Scion by Deborah Falaye – March 8
Inspired by Yoruba-Nigerian mythology, Blood Scion is a searing fantasy about legacy, family, and freedom. Falaye crafts a beautifully drawn world where Sloane, a Scion—descendant of Orisha gods—hides her innate powers from the maniacal ruling class known as the Lucis. Brutal and bracing, this stands as a truly exhilarating entry into the fantasy canon. Sloane just wants to survive, keeping her grandfather safe and her powers under wraps. But when she’s conscripted into the Lucis’ army at the age of 15, she realizes that maybe she can infiltrate her enemies from the inside…
The Kaiju Preservation Society by John Scalzi – March 15
Set during the recent pandemic, this joyous monster romp centers on Jamie Gray. Stuck as a delivery driver struggling to keep afloat, everything changes when they accept a job from a friend. Heading out on location for “animal rights organization” seems like the break Jamie needs. But these creatures aren’t from our world. Literally. This multiversal monster sci-fi is the reading equivalent of a popcorn movie in the best way. Adventurous, exciting, and full of massive Kaiju, there’s a lot of fun to be had when you dive into The Kaiju Preservation Society. You’ll definitely want to put this one on your books-to-read list.
A Magic Steeped in Poison by Judy I. Lin – March 29
Enter the cutthroat world of magical tea-making in this dynamic and engaging fantasy. Ning is a magician studying the art of tea under her mother. But with her family in danger, she ventures to the capital city of Jiā for a contest to find the court’s new shennong-shi. Immersive, gripping, and utterly fantastical, this marks the first entry into Lin’s The Book of Tea duology. There’s nothing quite like this intricate tale of court intrigue. Lin crafts a beautiful, terrifying, and majestic world where the ancient art of tea-making is at the heart of magic, power, and survival.
Romance Books to Read
I’m So (Not) Over You by Kosoko Jackson – Available Now!
When Kian Andrews gets an urgent text from his ex, Hudson Rivers, he feels more than a little surprised. The pair haven’t spoken in months and suddenly they’re reuniting. Alas, this is not the profound love declaration Kian was hoping for. Instead, Hudson wants them to pretend to date while his parents are in town. This swoony, charming, and utterly delightful novel starts with one of the most iconic romance tropes—fake dating—and only gets better from there. Jackson writes the kind of addictive love story that’ll keep you turning pages all night long. We couldn’t be more excited to add this title to our March book recommendations.
Right Where I Left You by Julian Winters – March 15
We recently chatted with author Julian Winters about this absolute gem of a book. Isaac and Diego are best friends. Isaac loves comics to the point of obsession. For Diego, life’s all about video games. As the pair embark on a long hot summer together, they begin to explore life, love, and friendship through the lens of fandom. Winters imbues every page with a passion for stories, comics, games, and more. The author crafts fictional fandoms you’ll want to be a part of and a messy, relatable best-friends-to-lovers story that every reader will root for. If you are looking for a book to read that is pure delight, look no further!
Horror/Thriller Books to Read
Devil House by John Darnielle – Available Now
Though this was a January release, this is our first column of the year and it’s so brilliant I had to include it on March’s horror books to-read list. When a true-crime author moves into a house where a Satanic Panic era murder took place hoping to write his next big book, he quickly becomes consumed with his own role in telling the tragic stories he’s crafted a career from. Unexpected and powerful, this is the kind of weighty, thoughtful horror that sits heavy in your belly. This is an endlessly readable book about the power of stories, the responsibility we have in telling them, and the state of true crime today.
The Book of Cold Cases by Simone St. James – March 15
We’re huge fans of Simone St. James here at Nerdist. Her insightful and atmospheric thrillers blend horror and crime perfectly. After devouring The Sundown Motel and The Broken Girls, we couldn’t wait for The Book of Cold Cases. In her newest chiller, St. James introduces us to Shea Collins, a true-crime blogger who gets the chance of a lifetime when she crosses paths with Beth, a woman acquitted of the brutal murders of two men. But Beth isn’t everything she seems and her foreboding mansion might be hiding deeper secrets of its own.
Comics/Manga/Graphic Novels to Read
Chef’s Kiss by Jarrett Melendez, Danica Brine, Hank Jones, Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou – March 1
Now that spring has almost sprung, it’s the perfect time for a little romance. While we have two great prose picks in that genre above, we also have a delightful romantic comic on the menu too. Ben has big literary dreams that seem further away than ever after college. Failing to land the job he hoped for, he soon finds work in a kitchen. It’s a world away from what he thought he wanted, but it’s not half bad… especially working with Liam, the handsome chef he can’t stop thinking about. Chef’s Kiss is a sumptuous and delectable read. We definitely rank it high in our book recommendations to you.
Captain Carter #1 by Jamie McKelvie and Marika Cresta – March 9
Jamie McKelvie is one of the most influential comic book creators of our generation. Now McKelvie is bringing those impressive chops to the comic book debut of Captain Carter. The alt-universe version of Peggy Carter was first introduced in Disney+‘s What If…? series. This is definitely a great book to read for fans of that character. Because in the new five-issue miniseries, written by McKelvie with art by Marika Cresta, Captain Carter joins the Marvel Universe proper. The story is a high-stakes one where Carter will come to terms with being a woman out of time. Now living in the modern age, she has to decipher friend from foe and find her footing.
Isla to Island by Alexis Castellanos – March 15
It feels extremely rare to find a wordless comic. And it becomes even more special when it’s a historical comic about immigration and the Cuban experience. In Isla to Island, Castellanos uses her vibrant and thoughtful cartooning to tell the story of Marisol. Sent by her parents to New York for her own safety, Marisol is alone in a brand new place that couldn’t be further from the world and people that she loves. While her life in Cuba was colorful and warm, Brooklyn feels cold and lonely until she begins to rediscover her new home through her own heritage.
March’s Book Recommendations
There you have it, those are our book recommendations for you this March. From thoughtful horror novels to fluffy kitchen romances, we hope our list had something for you. We’ll share more book recommendations in April. But in the meanwhile, we hope you dive into our pile of must-read books (and add them to your bookshelf.) As we like to say, there’s always more room for more new books.