Book recommendations are always helpful for those stuck in a rut, so I decided to do my own post about my favourite books/series. Most of these are Young Adult novels, and that’s just because the world that these authors create are so diverse, detailed, exciting, and often challenge conventions that people seem to just accept. There is something unique about all of these books and have stuck with me ever since I first cracked them open.
I’m going to list them in no particular order, since I’ve tried to do so before and I just couldn’t. It’s like choosing your favourite child!
1. Darkest Powers Trilogy by Kelley Armstrong
I bought these books on a whim when I found them online and thought the premise sounded cool; I was in a paranormal faze but had gotten sick of the vampire element. It’s the first story (aside from Harry Potter) that truly stayed with me. Chloe Saunders is a 15 year old girl whose life gets turned around the day she sees her first ghost. Deemed mentality ill, Chloe is sent to a group home. Though at first it seems as if it is just like any other home, secrets surround her and slowly she comes to realise that she might not be the only one there who shouldn’t be.
My favourite has to be the second one for all the development that occurs throughout, and how we finally get right into the supernatural element and Chloe exploring her powers. It has the perfect harmony of the supernatural, science, mystery and a romance that isn’t shoved in your face and produced one of my favourite couples to date.
2. The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
I have spoken about the first book, Cinder, on my blog before and how much I love it. The rest of the series is no different. Each adds a new fairy tale inspired character to Linh Cinder’s story, starting with Scarlet and Wolf (Red Riding Hood or as some people pointed out they could be Beauty and the Beast), Cress and Thorne (Rapunzel) and finally Winter and Jacin (Snow White). All of these characters are wonderfully developed, widely diverse and integrate perfectly with each other. Thought the plot is amazing I think I love these books so much because of the characters that Meyer has created, they are reason enough to read them.
When cyborg Linh Cinder meets Prince Kai, she has no idea that it’ll start to unravel a sequence of events that will put her at the heart of the conflict against the Lunar Queen, Levana. With powers that can manipulate what people see and do the Queen seems up stoppable, but Cinder comes to realise she’s not as helpless as people would believe her to be. Combining fairy tales with a futuristic setting, humour and danger, these books easily make my top ten.
3. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardigo
I had heard the hype around Bardigo’s Grisha Trilogy for a while and never got round to reading them, but I couldn’t ignore how intriguing Six of Crows sounded. Fantasy universe? Check. Morally grey characters who are equally lovable? Check. An impossible heist? CHECK! This book is so clever, I could never predict what was going to happen and even thought some of the characters (Kaz) did some pretty disturbing stuff you can’t help but love them.
When Kaz, criminal mastermind, is approached by Jan Van Eck to help break into the most secure location in their world and make him richer than he ever could of dreamed of he doesn’t hesitate. He assembles a team that all has their own reasons for wanting the reward money and their own pasts to hide. It’s hard to describe this novel because there is so much detail hidden within.
4. A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab
I did not expect to love this book as much as I did, V. E. Schwab made such a captivating and fabulous world that I literally could not put this book down. Both because of the plot and the amazing characters. Kell is an antari, one of the last magicians with the ability to travel between worlds. From his home in Red London filled with magic, to Grey London where it is lacking, to the savage starving White London where people will do anything for magic.Then there’s Black London, a world that was ravaged by magic and blocked off from the rest of the parallel worlds. This book is filled with magic, thieves, danger and even a splash of humour to balance it out.
I’m a sucker for good characters with fun and interest relationships, and Kell, Lila and Rhy might be some of the best I’ve read so far. A total must read for lovers of fantasy, adventure and just general good literature.
5. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
I had to put this one the list, it’s my favourite classic novel and the only one I’ve willing read again after studying it for my A Levels. It is the ultimate from Enemies to Friends to Lovers novel, and who doesn’t love that trope? Most people of course know that story of Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy so I don’t think I really need to say what it’s about to much.
There’s complex family relationships, an intriguing romance, lies, betrayal, drama (though I’m sure Lydia running away with a man would’ve been more dramatic in the 1800s, whereas nowadays… not so much). The characters grow and develop in a believing way, Lizzie lets go of her prejudices and learns that things aren’t always as they appear and Darcy learns not be so proud and that saying how you hate a girls family is not the way to propose. I just love this novel.
6. Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
Another novel that I’ve reviewed, but this is probably my favourite fantasy novel so it deserves a place on this list. There’s dragons that can take the form of humans, conflict, fun friendships and a subtle but sweet romance.The prose of this book is flawless, Hartman writes like no one else I’ve read and the musical element in the story creates some truly beautiful moments.
Dragons and humans have been living in peace for 40 years, or they are supposed to have been but relations are still uneasy between them. Humans are scared, dragons see humans and they’re emotions are frivolous and Seraphina is stuck in the middle of it all, hiding her half-dragon identity. But when problems between the two races start to grow, Seraphina finds herself in the middle of the investigation to find out just who is trying to break the treaty, and all without anyone finding out her true nature.
7. Penryn and the End of Days by Susan Ee
I read this series while on holiday last year and devoured them within 3 days; granted they’re not overly long but they don’t need to be. Penryn lives in a post-apocalyptic world where angels have destroyed her life as she knew it, she only had one motivation – protect her wheelchair bound sister Paige. And when Paige is taken by the angels, she is determined to get her back even if that means teaming up with one of them. Penryn is dragged into a conflict and a cover up that had affected the whole world, and for some reason people think she’s the saviour that will rid the world of angels.
This series has one of the most kick-ass, sassy female protagonists that I’ve ever come across. Penryn is loyal, knows how to fight and brave, though she’s still a young girl and of course often wonders about her love interest. However this isn’t a bad thing, their relationship is built up in such a way it adds to the story rather than distracts from it. The book is dark, brings up a few deep questions about what makes a human and shows the real gritty world post-apocalypse. I couldn’t put down this fast paced series.
8. Just Listen by Sarah Dessen
This is my favourite non-fantasy novel. It was the first Dessen novel I read and it’s still by far my favourite. This coming of age story has a range of interesting characters that are probably some of Dessen’s best. It’s about truth, facing up to the fact you don’t have to do everything alone, healing and the relationships we build. It’s a easy read that I still enjoy even now.
Annabel Greene used to be popular, until the summer when everything changed, now she’s friendless, quiet and can’t get through confrontations with her ex-best friend Sophie and Sophie’s boyfriend without hurling. Annabel is finally pulled out of her lonely shell by starting up an unexpected friendship with resident angry boy Owen Armstrong. Though there’s somethings she needs to face before she can finally move on.
9. Finding Sky (Benedict Brother’s Trilogy) by Joss Stirling
English-born Sky can’t remember her childhood and anything she does she pushes away. She is determined to make a new life in Colorado with her adoptive parents, instead she gets on the bad side of the school bad boy Zed Benedict, and sometimes she thinks she can hear him talking in her mind. Until after one encounter Zed’s claiming he can see the future and that she has powers too.. and that she’s his other half – his soulfinder. Sky is thrust into a world she does know and is forced to face her hidden past as she is pushed to the centre of a dark conflict. She either has to accept her powers or run away, and she’s not sure she’d brave enough for either.
This trilogy follows a different Benedict brother finding his soulfinder in each book, they’re fun, sweet, romantic with enough of a dangerous edge to keep things interesting. Finding Sky is definitely my favourite, but each pairing in these books are captivating.
10. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstren
I heard of this book a lot before I decided to read it, and I’m so glad I did! The Night Circus is about an unusual circus that turns up unannounced filled with wonders that never fail to captivate it’s audience – wonders created by magic. But behind the curtains a fierce competition is happening between 2 illusionists for whom everything hangs in the balance, for only one will be left standing when the game is up. Neither Marco nor Celia want to be part of the game anymore and prefer to work together, but they are not in control of the game and their actions risk the lives of everyone they love and everything they hold dear.
This book is so beautiful. The prose was captivating and the circus so well written even I want to go! Though it took me a moment to fully understand what was going on as book does not go chronologically, once I did I was hooked. Magical, dangerous and mysterious. I think it might be time for a reread.
When I was taken the photos I couldn’t not include this one, the tales that inspired so many of my favourite fairy tales. This copy is just beautiful and it’s always great to read the originals.