Avatarathon Announcement

Themed readathons are my jam. I join practically every single one I come across because I just can’t help myself. I also fairly recently watched Avatar: The Last Airbender for the first time and absolutely loved it, so I thought it would be fun to combine the two and host an Avatar-themed readathon!

Avatarathon is a month-long readathon running from March 1st to 31st 2020. Sign-ups open today and you can find the link for that below! Book tracking will open on March 1st and you will find the link for that on the Twitter account here. You can also find all relevant information and images in this Google folder.

New Project (23)

There are 4 teams based on the 4 nations, each with its own group book and specific set of challenges. One book can count for one challenge, and each challenge is worth 10 points, with the group book being worth 20 points.

There is also a readathon wide group book! If you read The Rise of Kyoshi by F.C. Yee with us you get an extra 10 points!

Teams & Challenges

air nomads

Air Nomads

APPA: Read a book with an animal sidekick
MOMO: Read a short book or a book of short stories
MONK GYATSO: Read a book in a genre you usually don’t
AANG: Read the group book (Air Awakens by Elise Kova)

earth kingdom

Earth Kingdom

TOPH: Read a book with a disabled character
SUKI: Read a book with a weapon on the cover
LONG FENG: Read a book with politics
KYOSHI: Read the group book (The Beast Player by Nahoko Uehashi)

fire nation

Fire Nation

ZUKO: Read a book with a redemption arc
AZULA: Read a book with a female lead
UNCLE IROH: Read a book with a mentor figure
ROKU: Read the group book (An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir)

water tribe

Water Tribe

SOKKA: Read a book with a romance
KATARA: Read a book with a found family
PRINCESS YUE: Read a book with royalty
KURUK: Read the group book (Lalani of the Distant Sea by Erin Entrada Kelly)

❤️💛💚💙 SIGN UP HERE! 💙💚💛❤️

Top 20 to Read in 2020

     I’ve never made a post or list like this before, not for any serious reason but just because I’d never thought of it. This year however, I have lots of books I want to get to before sequels come out, or just books that I was really excited to read in 2019 but didn’t get to thanks to my slump! I’m hoping that by making this list I’m more likely to actually get around to reading these books, if for no other reason than just so I can say I did. 

     Because there’s 20 books on this list, and I don’t want this post to be several miles long, I’m only going to be talking about some of them, mostly the ones I actually have something specific to say about them. This means most of the ones I’m reading to try and get ready for the sequel to come out will be included in my list down below!

     Without further ado, let’s talk about some books!

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38769727._sy475_Mammoth by Jill Baguchinsky

I first heard about Mammoth on a podcast shortly before its’ release, and I was instantly into the concept. At the time I was really weird about the concept of reading contemporary for reasons we won’t get into at this time, but now that I’m not being a dingdong I really want to get to it. I wanted to be a palaeontologist when I was younger, so it’ll be interesting to see how close this book compares to what 5-year-old Sage imagined it would be like on a dig site.

31944679In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan

This is one of my boyfriend’s all-time favourite books, so, of course, I have to read it. I’ve also heard great things from other people as well, but it’s not really a huge hit in the book community which can be fun. Also, of course, it’s gay as fuck and I’ll read anything with a bisexual protagonist

8694389Deathless by Catherine Valente

I’ve wanted to read Deathless for quite a while, but it’s hard to get your hands on a hardcover copy and I prefer hardcover over everything. I did read Space Opera just after it came out in 2018 and absolutely loved it, which just made me want to read this one more since the premise of it sounds amazing to me.

35271238A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole

This will be my first foray into adult romance, a genre I’ve not so much avoided as not had much interest in until now. I’m can’t remember how I learned about Cole’s Reluctant Royals series, but all the books sound like they’re exactly up my alley. Diverse rom-coms for the win!

17332218Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson

The fourth book in The Stormlight Archive comes out this November, and I really want to be caught up by the time this happens. That means I need to read both book 2 (Words of Radiance) and book 3 (Oathbringer) by then, which is a combined total of 2335 pages. It’s a tall order, but I think i’ve given myself plenty of time to get there.

36952596Blanca & Roja by Anna-Marie McLemore

I really want this year to be the year I catch up with Anna-Marie McLemore releases (I’m currently 3 behind) and I’m starting with Blanca & Roja because it’s the one I’m currently most excited for. Swan Lake retellings are some of my favourites, and I’m down for any retelling that’s queer, so this book seems like the perfect combination of those 2 things!

29904219Not Your Sidekick by C.B. Lee

I started reading the audiobook of Not Your Sidekick, and I was immensely enjoying it! Then I faded out of listening to audiobooks. So I’ve decided I’m going to get myself a physical copy and actually finish it this year! You can’t go wrong with queer superheros.

30653843._sy475_Radio Silence by Alice Oseman

This is a classic young adult contemporary, and since I’m trying to read more of that this year I figure I can’t go wrong with this one. I’m a tad weary about Oseman ever since the Loveless debacle last year, but from what I know this story doesn’t feature any aromantic characters, only asexual ones so it should be okay!

 

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Other Books I Want to Get to

New Project

New Project (1)

Pondathon TBR

Pondathon: The Quiet Pond's story-driven readathon. Image: Two swords with vines wrapped around it frame the words 'Pondathon', with three little forest sprites sitting on top. One forest sprite has a leaf on its head, the middle has twigs for horns, and the right has a mushroom on its head.

What is the Pondathon?

The Pondathon is a co-operative and story-driven readathon hosted and run by CW from The Quiet Pond. The aim of the Pondathon is to read books and collect points to protect the friends over at The Quiet Pond from the encroaching malevolent forces that threaten our friends in the forest.

Have fun participating in the Pondathon readathon by joining one of five teams, each with a unique way to collect points and signing up! You can also follow the story of the Pondathon as it unfolds, and participants can also complete ‘side quests’ during the readathon to collect extra points. The readathon takes place from January 24th 2020 to March 7th 2020. More information about the readathon can be found here.

Information about Joining the Pondathon

  1. To join the Pondathon, simply sign up anytime between January 18th 2020 to March 5th 2020.
  2. Choose a team, create your own animal character for the Pondathon and create a character card!
  3. Create a blog post, bookstagram post, booktube video, Twitter thread, or whatever medium you wish, with ‘#Pondathon’ in the title or your tweet. Share the character you have created and your character card!
  4. Link back to this post so that others can find this readathon and join in.

Share your updates on your blog/bookstagram/booktube and social media. You are more than welcome to tag @thequietpond or @artfromafriend on Twitter or Instagram in all your updates! We’d love to see all of the beautiful and awesome characters that you create!

My Pond Character

sir_koiry

This lil dude (as I was affectionately referring to him before I’d picked out a name) is Sir Koiry, a knight of the pond! Sir Koiry has always had a protective streak that extends to his younger sister Koitherine, as well as the pond and all of its inhabitants, and while he hates the circumstances he’s proud to protect the pond.

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My Pondathon TBR

I’ve decided, as of roughly 30 seconds ago, that I’m going to use this readathon to inspire me to finish some series! I’m also doing CW’s Start-On-Your-Shelf-Athon and since I’m on #TeamXiaolong I think completing series will work out great!

25174874Forest of Ruin by Kelley Armstrong

This is probably the finale I’ve owned the longest, and I’m still not sure why I haven’t gotten around to it yet. I thoroughly enjoyed books one and two, so I’m excited to jump into the last one!

27188596War Storm by Victoria Aveyard

Unlike the previous, I can tell you exactly why I haven’t gotten around to War Strom. It’s bloody massive, clocking in at around 700 pages, and I’ve heard plenty of mixed reviews, even from people that loved the first 3. It makes me nervous, to say the least, but I’d like to wrap this series up so here we are.

35391237._sy475_Five Dark Fates by Kendare Blake

I really just don’t want Three Dark Crowns to be over. So much so that I broke my tradition of reading the series on Thanksgiving weekend because I didn’t want to be done with it. Now that it’s past I’m a little upset with myself over it, but I’m excited to see how my three favourite queens fare.

26839798Undying by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

I was supposed to buddy read this with my roommate, but that was in the midst of my late-2019 reading slump so suffice to say it didn’t happen. She really enjoyed it, so I have pretty high expectations and I’m pumped to see if they’re met. I’m also pumped to see my nerd son kick some ass.

13188676Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi

I’m not even sure I like this series, and I am sure I’m not going to be reading any of the other three books after reading reviews from people I trust, but I already own this, and I hate leaving things unfinished. 

35274032._sy475_Ruse by Cindy Pon

Similar to Five Dark Fates, I have yet to pick up Ruse because I don’t want the series to be over. I read Want early last year and absolutely loved it, promptly preordered Ruse and then refused to read it until (hopefully) now!

13638131The Unbound by Victoria Schwab

If I finish this then I am but one book away from being entirely caught up with Schwab releases, just in time for her to release more. I know many people who would commit murder for this series and these characters, so I’m trusting them to no lead me astray but convincing me to read this book even though it’s supposed to be book 2 out of 3 instead of a finale.

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Are you joining the Pondathon? Do we have any of the same books on our TBRs? Let me know!

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Most Anticipated Releases of 2020

It’s a brand new year which means there’s a buttload of new releases coming out that I can’t wait to get my little gay hands on. In the spirit of this, I’ve gathered a list of my top 10 most anticipated releases of 2020!

Like last year this list is organized by release date! Unlike last year I’m actually publishing this before a majority of the books on it are released. Yay for lack of procrastination. I also didn’t sort out debuts this year, no particular reason I just didn’t want to make two of the exact same post! Anyway, without further ado, here are the 2020 releases I’m most excited for.

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44804083Come Tumbling Down by Seanan McGuire (January 7th)

I started reading the first Wayward Children book on January 10th last year and had caught up by February. The wait for this book has been absolutely excruciating, but I’m incredibly excited to revisit these worlds (plural because it’s a portal fantasy, obviously). 

38124119._sy475_Deathless Divide by Justina Ireland (February 4th)

Dread Nation was one of my favourite books of 2018, so suffice to say the release date of Deathless Divide was something I’ve been waiting for for quite a while. I love absolutely everything about this series from the characters to the plot to the world-building, and I’m really excited to see where Ireland takes it in this next, and I believe final, instalment.

40522814Docile by K.M Szpara (March 3rd)

This is definitely my most anticipated standalone release of 2020. I’ve mentioned before that I’m a huge fan of dystopia as a genre, especially diverse dystopias and this sounds like the sort of adult dystopia I’ve always wanted. A hard look at the unethicality of immense wealth wrapped up in a rainbow ribbon.

42302727._sy475_Bonds of Brass by Emily Skrutskie (April 7th)

Gays! In! Space! I’m always hungry for queer science fiction, and Skrutskie seems determined to fill that void. Have you seen the list of tropes in this book? No? Well here you go. Now you’re just as excited for this book as I am.

36601937._sy475_Ghost Squad by Claribel A. Ortega (April 7th)

This book has a cover that’s just a picture of a cat. Need I say more? Yes? Okay well how about the fact that’s been described as Coco meets Stranger Things and a little bit of Ghostbusters? As a fan of all things ghost-y I’m over the moon excited for this book, and am totally ready to dedicate an entire day to devouring it.

46676540Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas (June 9th)

Similar to dystopias, I love that paranormal is careening into a comeback stuffed full of diversity. Cemetery Boys has a trans masc protagonist, and I’m fully prepared to cry about it at any given moment when I read this book.

45554589._sy475_Forest of Souls by Lori M. Lee (June 23d)

YA….. needs more spider symbolism. It’s time for snakes to move over, their day is over. Forest of Souls is purported to be good for fans of Susan Dennard and Naomi Novik, both of whom have written books I thoroughly enjoyed. I’m also excited to see how Lee ties in the background of the main character as a spy because I think that could go in a lot of interesting directions!

42374300._sy475_The Crow Rider by Kalyn Josephson (July 7th)

If you missed the memo I absolutely adored The Storm Crow, and I would do pretty much anything to get my hands on an arc of the sequel. YA fantasy has long been missing good mental health representation, and Josephson’s series has a delightful heroine that visibly struggles with her depression in a real, relatable way. It was a refreshing change, and I’m pumped to see it continue.

The Silvered Serpents by Roshani Chokshi (September 22nd)

I am so absolutely ready for more historical math nerds on my bookshelf. The Gilded Wolves was another one of my favourite books of 2019, and Roshani Chokshi is one of my all-time favourite authors, so I can’t imagine this book disappointing me. I love the 19th-century setting, and I love the way Chokshi has weaved it with her world-building.

The Burning God by R.F. Kuang (November 17th)

This book is going to kill me. I can already feel it. Kuang is going to murder me with her words and I’m going to love every single second of it. This quickly became one of my favourite series, and I’m absolutely not ready for it to end, even if I trust R.F. Kuang to give this cast of dumbasses the endings they deserve. 

Special shoutout to These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong, which should have been on this list but doesn’t have a release day, so I wasn’t sure where to put it!

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And that’s it! What 2020 releases are you most excited for? Are any the same as mine? Let me know!

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2020 Reading Goals

It’s been a while since I’ve used this blog (primarily because I haven’t finished a book since mid-October) so I thought this would be a good way to get back into it! I’m doing a few different challenges this year and I wanted one place to talk about them altogether. 

In addition to the goals below, I have a smaller, personal goal to read at least 5 books that aren’t science fiction or fantasy. That probably doesn’t seem like much, but considering last year the number of non-SFF I read was 3 (which was a raise from 2018 when I read 0), its a big leap for me.

I’ll be keeping track of my 2020 reading progress through this twitter thread, in addition to my spreadsheet and Goodreads goal!

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Goodreads Goal

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Last year I set my GR goal at 80 books and I fell short, by a quite a bit, so I pared it back a little this year! I’ve set me 2020 goal as 70 books, which I think is totally manageable for me providing I don’t fall into another reading slump like I did at the end of 2019.

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Year of the Asian Reading Challenge 2020

I loved participating in the YARC2019 challenge, so I’m very excited to join again!! You can find out more info about YARC2020 here or here or here or here! (I recommend checking out all 4 blogs because they’re all fantastic.) This year I’ll be running a twitter thread because I forgot to update the post I made last year and I think (read: hope) I’ll be more consistent this way! 

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Last year I made a TBR of 15 books, and even though I read 11 a few of them weren’t on the TBR so this year I’m restricting my list to 10 books in hopes that I’ll read all of the ones on my list this time.

 

  • The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh
  • Five Dark Fates by Kendare Blake
  • Wintersong by S. Jae Jones
  • Ruse by Cindy Pon
  • Aru Shah and the Song of Death by Roshani Chokshi
  • Seven Deadly Shadows by Courtney Alameda & Valynne E. Maetani
  • The Dragon Egg Princess by Ellen Oh
  • Forest of Souls by Lori M Lee
  • The Silvered Serpents by Roshani Chokshi
  • The Burning God by R.F. Kuang

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Start-On-Your-Shelf-Athon

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(Image credit to CW @ The Quiet Pond)

Start-On-Your-Shelf-Athon is a year-long readathon dedicated to reading the books you already own! You can find out more info on CW’s blog here!

This is a great big heavy sigh, my pals. I have 99 unread books including ebooks. That is just so fucking many. It’s roughly 35% of the total amount of books I own, which I suppose isn’t too bad, but I’d really like to get that number down to below 15%. That means I roughly need to read 5 owned books a month, and I think that’s pretty doable for me. 

I’m obviously not going to sit here and list all 99 books because a) we’d be here for a while and b) this post would be a literal mile long but I can assure you a list exists, and it’s long enough to wrap around a city block. I’ll also be utilizing a twitter thread for this, so feel free to take a look at that if you’re interested to know what books I’m knocking off my TBR.

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And that’s it! My reading goals for 2020. What are some goals you’ve set for yourself this year? Are there any books you’re dying to get to? Let me know!!

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Enemies to Lovers and F/F Fantasy: a Match Made in Heaven

Crier’s War by Nina Valera

crier's warYoung adult, fantasy
HarperTeen, October 1st 2019
e-Arc, 448 pages

After the War of Kinds ravaged the kingdom of Rabu, the Automae, designed to be the playthings of royals, usurped their owners’ estates and bent the human race to their will.

Now Ayla, a human servant rising in the ranks at the House of the Sovereign, dreams of avenging her family’s death…by killing the sovereign’s daughter, Lady Crier.

Crier was Made to be beautiful, flawless, and to carry on her father’s legacy. But that was before her betrothal to the enigmatic Scyre Kinok, before she discovered her father isn’t the benevolent king she once admired, and most importantly, before she met Ayla.

Now, with growing human unrest across the land, pressures from a foreign queen, and an evil new leader on the rise, Crier and Ayla find there may be only one path to love: war.

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Blog Tour Information

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First of all I’d like to give a big thank you to Karina @ Afire Pages and HarperTeen for the opportunity to join this blog tour! I recieved an ARC in return for my participation, but of course that didn’t affect my opinions at all. You can find more infortmation about the tour on Karina’s blog here!

You can also enter this giveaway for the chance to win your own copy of Crier’s War (open international).

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My Review

5 stars

5 stars

I’ve been excited about Crier’s War for a really long time. If this book was a recipe it would have all my favourite ingredients, and unlike the time 6-year-old me tried to make cookies with no supervision, it turned out splendidly. There are so many things done spectacularly well in this book that I barely know where to start talking about all of them.

Let’s start with the thing that absolutely blew me away, and with this book that’s the writing. Oh, boy, does Valera know how to string words together to make pretty sentences. It wasn’t quite lyrical, it flowed like water over rocks but it had a sharp edge to it that could cut deep, especially during scenes of intense emotion. Her descriptions were so vivid that it almost felt like you were there, watching it all happen with your own two eyes.

Which, considering this books plot, would probably not be a very safe place to be! I really enjoyed the direction this story took, it felt very no holds barred and exciting. I’m notoriously bad at picking out plot twists, so I definitely found myself surprised more than most people would be, but I do think Valera does a really good job of revealing information in ways that don’t make you want to scream at the characters for being oblivious.

I’m a huge fan of dual POV, and it is executed brilliantly here. I enjoyed reading from both Crier and Ayla’s perspective, although I didn’t know it was going to be 2 POVs until I started reading. The side characters weren’t necessarily as fleshed out as they could have been, but since a majority of the story focuses on Crier and Ayla I understand why they weren’t.

Personally, I enjoyed different things about each of the two characters. I liked Ayla’s rebellion story, I’m a big sucker for revolutions and I really like the way Valera gave her her own personal vendetta, rather than the typical “teenage girl wants to save her country.” Ayla has personal goals that sometimes aligned with the revolution, but I like the fact that they didn’t always.

Crier on the other hand was a much more court politics type storyline (something else I am also a sucker for), and watching her navigate through everything that was thrown at her was fascinating. I’m really interested to see where her character goes, because I think there’s two pretty obvious paths for her and they’re both very exciting.

The relationship in Crier’s War was so fucking good, y’all. This is the kind of enemies to lovers that makes you wish you had an enemy just so you could fall in love with them. The development between Crier and Ayla felt so organic to me, it never felt forced. You watched them grow to care about each other even when they probably shouldn’t. It was beautifully written, and I’m so excited to get more of them in future installments.

I only have one gripe with this book and that’s with Benjy. Not the character himself, I actually quite liked him, but about his relationship with Ayla. The male best friend being in love with the female main character is such an overdone trope, especially when said main character has exactly 1 friend. It annoyed me when it was done in Red Queen, and The Grisha Trilogy and Twilight. The only notable exception is The Hunger Games but that’s mostly because I do not like Peeta one bit, and I don’t see why it was necessary here. Ayla asserts from the beginning that it’s not an option.

All in all, I absolutely adored this book. If you’re looking for a read that will keep you entertained and guess until the very last page then this is the book for you.

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F/F Fantasy Recommendations

Do you love F/F content? Do you want more in fantasy? Then I’ve got the list for you!

In honour of Crier’s War I’ve collected a list of 6 YA fantasy novels with main female/female romances. I haven’t read all of these (although this month is dedicated to F/F and spooky books on my TBR) but I can vouch that they all feature F/F ships. In addition, most of them are second world fantasy with 1 exception and 1 semi-exception, so you’ll find lots of good fantasy content too!

of fire and stars.pngOf Fire & Stars by Audrey Coulthurst

I absolutely love Of Fire & Stars. It’s got such a classic YA fantasy feel to it, buy significantly gayer. Denna and Mare are one of my favourite fictional couples, and I think their relationship develops so organically and they have so much chemistry. Plus, the sequel just recently came out so there’s more to sink your teeth into.

ice massacreIce Massacre by Tiana Warner

If you liked Crier’s War and you want more F/F enemies to lovers Ice Massacre is where to go. It has a side helping of childhood best friends to lovers (yes, same relationship as the enemies) and it also has mermaids. This is one on my TBR for this month, but it comes highly recommended by people I trust.

girls made of snow and glassGirls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust

I can already hear my friends yelling at me for not having read this yet, but it’s also on my October TBR. This is a gay feminist retelling of Snow White, which honestly is probably enough to sell you but if it isn’t then just look at the cover. Girls Made of Snow and Glass also explores a complex mother-daughter relationship, something you don’t see a lot of in YA.

girls of paper and fire.pngGirls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan

I read Girls of Paper and Fire earlier this year and absolutely adored it. It was everything I wanted and more, and the relationship between Lei and Wren was so so good. They’re both strong characters with their own flaws and I’m incredibly excited to see more of them in the next installment.

labyrinth lostLabyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova

Labyrinth Lost is the aforementioned semi-exception to the second world rule. While the book starts in the modern world, a good portion of the plot takes place in an alternate world. This book also sort of has a love triangle, so if you’re looking for classic YA tropes turned on their head then this is a good place to start.

these witches don't burnThese Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling

These Witches Don’t Burn is the urban fantasy book I’ve included and it’s another one that I’m planning on reading this month! It has a lot of fun things that are very exciting for a YA book, include a good ole fashioned Working With Your Ex trope, something that I absolutely cannot get enough of.

 

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Florida Man Reads a Good Book

Florida Man headlines are some of the most ridiculous, and ridiculously entertaining, things you’ll see on the internet. So I decided to collect some that made me think of fictional characters, and recommend books based on them

If you want to read more about why we get all these crazy headlines out of Florida you can look here! It’s a really interesting read if you’re into that type of thing, but if not you could just read one of these books instead!

Credit for all of these headlines goes to @FloridaMan_ on Twitter!

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the black veinsKatia Darkholme – The Black Veins by Ashia Monet (review)

This was actually the headline that sparked this whole idea and I still think it’s one of the funniest ones. The Black Veins is a YA urban fantasy novel that I very highly recommend checking out if you haven’t already. It’s witty and exciting and everything you could ever want in book.

of fire and starsThandillion – Of Fire & Stars by AudreyCoulthurst

Thandillion is actually a pretty minor character in Of Fire & Stars since the main plot follows his sister and bethrothed uncovering a conspiracy and falling in love. It’s an action packed YA fantasy novel, and the sequel just came out earlier this year so there’s more for you to dig into if you like the first one as much as I did.

the bone witch.pngTea Pahlavi – The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

The Bone Witch is a fairly recent read for me, despite being out since 2017 so I’m a little behind on the hype train but better late than never, right? If you like slower fantasies this is a can’t miss YA novel. Honestly, even if you’re a little cautious of slower fantasies The Bone Witch is still well worth picking up.

red white & royal blueNora Holleran – Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston (review)

It’s hard for a math nerd like myself to find characters to relate to, so when I saw this tweet I knew I had to mention Nora. Red, White & Royal Blue is an adult contemporary *insert faux gasp here* that absolutely caputred my heart when I read it earlier this year.

1stdLazlo Strange – Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor (review)

I didn’t actually like Strange the Dreamer very much, but this headline captured one of the main characters so well I couldn’t pass it up. This is another YA fantasy novel, a common theme in this post, and it’s also on the slow side but unlike The Bone WitchStrange the Dreamer doesn’t have very many action scenes, it’s a much more studious type of slow.

three dark crownsQueen Katharine – Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

Three Dark Crowns is one of my all time favourite series and this headline… basically sums up the basis of the plot but I picked Katharine for the character to relate this too because she felt like the most like to just stab one of her sisters. This is a very political young adult fantasy, weaved alongside a unique magic system and dynamic characters that make you root from them even if your morals say you shouldn’t.

the bear and the nightingaleSasha Petrovich – The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

I actually had a few characters in mind for this headline but I decided to go with Sasha because I don’t think I’ve ever recommended this book. The Bear and the Nightingale is an adult historical fantasy set in 14th century Russia, and it reads like the best fairytale. If you liked the setting of Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone then this is one to pick up.

undead girl gangMila Flores – Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson

I really just need everyone to read this book honestly. Undead Girl Gang is a young adult urban fantasy novel that has witches and zombies and girls kicking ass. It’s fun while also tackling serious topics like grief, and it’s one of my favourite standalones I’ve ever read.

the hobbitBilbo Baggins – The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

This one practically wrote itself honestly. Like this is literally the plot to this book. I also don’t think I really need to sell anyone on Tolkien, if you don’t have any interest in reading The Hobbit then I highly doubt anything I say is going to change that. Nonethless this is the only book on this list that’s sort of middle grade, at least that’s where it’s most often shelved, and I did enjoy it a lot more than the Lord of the Rings series.