“She Reads asked me to write a list of five books that I love and want to tell you all about and I thought, “No problem, that’s easy, I love recommending books!” Apparently, I still don’t know myself that well – coming up with a list of books I love and think everyone else should read is easy, narrowing that list down to only five was impossible. So I give you a list of 13 books I love so much that I’ll drop everything to talk about them.” This is what Jasmine Guillory reads:

32 Candles by Ernessa T. Carter

This book is a very fun rom-com with lots of callbacks to one of my favorite movies as a teen, Sixteen Candles. The characters deal with real issues, and it’s a joy to see them resolved in a wonderful way.

The Wangs vs. The World by Jade Chang

I love road trip books, and I love books about complicated families and how all of the members of the family deal with one another, so this book was basically written just for me. A real riches-to-rags story about a rich family who lost everything during the recession, and how that experience affects them all, with many funny and touching moments.

Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert

I love this book’s portrayal of a non-traditional and very tightly knit family, it’s a love letter to Los Angeles and the nuanced discussion of mental illness. It stayed with me for days after reading it.

An Extraordinary Union by Alyssa Cole

I think it’s impossible to read this fantastic book in any less than two days; it’s full of romance and adventure and my heart was in my throat for the last 30 pages.

A Night to Surrender by Tessa Dare

Two strong personalities collide in this hilarious and sexy historical romance, but the star of this book is Spindle Cove, the almost all-female enclave that the heroine lives in, and the hero stumbles upon. It made me remember fondly my times living in an environment like this, and wish there were more Spindle Coves out there for all of us.

We Are Never Meeting in Real Life by Samantha Irby

This collection of essays is absorbing, touching, and laugh-out-loud funny. And I’m not just saying that: I laughed so hard in one scene – a scene about the author’s parent’s ashes, no less – that I almost blacked out.

Destiny’s Embrace by Beverly Jenkins

If you’ve never read a Beverly Jenkins book, you’re in for a treat, and if you’ve read them all, I bet you can’t wait to re-read them. This is the first book of hers I read, and is my most beloved one. It’s a sweeping historical romance set in California, with so many characters I adored.

The Devil In Winter by Lisa Kleypas

I am a sucker for a marriage by convenience plot, and this book is my favorite of all of the ones I’ve read. I love how being married to one another changes both Evie and Sebastian – it makes them both more comfortable in their own skin and able to recognize their faults and insecurities. I’ve read it approximately one zillion times.

Acute Reactions by Ruby Lang

I adore this book. Two driven people accidentally fall in love, and their relationship had conflicts that made sense to me, and I cheered for them the whole way. Plus, the setting in Portland made me want to plan a trip there immediately.

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

This book left me spellbound. It’s an extraordinary novel about family, struggle, identity, discrimination, love of all kinds and what that means to people, and I want more than just a book club on this book, I wish I could take a college class to discuss it.

The Summer of Jordi Perez (And the Best Burger in Los Angeles) by Amy Spalding

This fun, happy, girl/girl, teen rom-com is as colorful and charming as its cover. The struggles about appearance, family and who they are that these girls go through together resonated with me so much, and I’m twice the age of the main character. Also: you’ll really crave a burger while reading this book.

The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson

This is quite simply one of the best books I’ve ever read. It’s about the Great Migration of Black Americans who left the South for the North and West, and it taught me so much about America, and also so much about myself.

Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson

This book is about the friendship between four black girls in a changing Brooklyn in the 1970s. I loved the description of girlhood and family and friendship so much that I read the entire book in one sitting.

Pick up Jasmine’s debut novel The Wedding Date!

(feature image by Andrea Scher)