Tag Archives: Fantasy

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Enjoyed That Weren’t My Typical Read

TTT 1.0

For those who don’t know, Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature created by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week, they post a new theme and everyone is invited to join in! (Note: all book cover images in this post link to that book’s Goodreads page.)

Today’s Theme: Ten Books I Enjoyed That Weren’t My Typical Genre

This week’s theme was really hard for me, and if I weren’t already making an effort to read more broadly, this would be a serious kick in the pants for me! I had to cheat a lot with this list, and most of my “atypical” genres aren’t really all that atypical – most of them are just romance sub-genres I tend to avoid. That being said, most of the ways I want to expand my reading focus on exploring different cultures and perspectives rather than genres, and I’m okay with that, at least for now. So with that out of the way, here are my top ten!

Young Adult

Illuminae (The Illuminae Files, #1)  Nice Dragons Finish Last (Heartstrikers, #1)  Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda  The Wrath and the Dawn (The Wrath and the Dawn, #1)

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff – Science Fiction is one genre that I feel like I should love, but I can rarely get into. I definitely did not have that problem with Illuminae. The fascinating format and action-packed plot kept me racing through the story and I finished it in a couple sittings!

Nice Dragons Finish Last by Rachel Aaron – I’ve reviewed both this book and it’s sequel, so you may have seen them on here before. It’s genre-nonconformity makes this series hard to describe to others, and I was initially hesitant to pick it up, but I’m so glad I did!

Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli – I can be a little wary of YA Contemporary, but more than that, I almost never read books from the perspective of one male main character. This is definitely something I’d like to change!

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh – I adored this book, and retellings/YA romance aren’t exactly a stretch for me. I’m including this one because it’s also a more diverse YA novel, taking place in historical Persia and having been written by a woman with a mixed-race heritage. We absolutely need more diverse perspectives!

Adult

Venetia  Fortune's Pawn (Paradox, #1)  Hard to Be Good (Hard Ink, #3.5)  A Spear of Summer Grass  Silver Lining

Venetia by Georgette Heyer – I usually shy away from purely historical romances, despite being a lover of Jane Austen. This is largely because I often run into historically accurate context (like discrimination and xenophobia) that detract from my enjoyment of the romance. I didn’t encounter that in Venetia, though it does crop up occasionally in other Heyer novels.

Fortune’s Pawn by Rachel Bach – Here’s another Sci Fi! Just like I mentioned with Illuminae, this one was seriously action-packed, and it sucked me into the story.

Hard To Be Good by Laura Kaye – This novella was my first M/M romance, and I loved it 🙂 I was already a big fan of Kaye’s work, so I was more than willing to step out of my box for this one. It’s a good thing, too, because I discovered a new sub-genre to enjoy!

A Spear of Summer Grass by Deanna Raybourn – Here’s another Historical Romance. This one did have a couple cringe-worthy historical scenarios, but the African setting was vibrant and engaging, and the story was fascinating.

Silver Lining by Maggie Osborne – I have to admit, I only picked this American western historical romance up because it was a book club pick. I won’t be reaching out for the genre again any time soon, but I can say that Silver Lining made me laugh, and I’m really glad I gave it a shot.

Top of my TBR

Akata Witch (Akata Witch, #1)

Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor – For my tenth pick, I’m going with another diverse book that’s on the top of my TBR pile! This is a YA Fantasy taking place in Nigeria, and the blerb sounds fantastic 😀

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Which books shook things up for you? Link your own Top Ten Tuesday in the comments!

Series Review: Servants of the Fate by Sarah Fine

Marked (Servants of Fate, #1)  Claimed (Servants of Fate, #2)  Fated (Servants of Fate, #3)

Servants of the Fate by Sarah Fine
Marked: 4 of 5 stars
Claimed: 4 of 5 stars
Fated: 5 of 5 stars

Series Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

She laid her cool palms over the backs of his hands. “You’re making this so hard.”

“Good. We’re almost there, then.” He ducked his head until they were nose to nose. “My plan is to make it impossible.”

Servants of the Fate is an adult paranormal/urban fantasy trilogy, with a hefty dose of Greek mythology thrown in. Each book follows a Ferry sibling, a long-living descendant of a family that ferries souls into the afterlife after they die. The setting is post-apocalyptic Boston, and due to environmental disasters, it has been transformed into a dangerous network of canals (think Venice). The world is a fascinating blend of dystopian/urban dangers, the surviving modern technology, and mythological beings – namely ferrymen, Keres, Moros, and the Fates.

Each novel features its own main couple, with their own romance, but the overarching trilogy plot is also compelling, and everything comes together excitingly in Fated.

I really enjoyed this series! It has a blend of both YA and Adult themes that add up to a winning combination for me. As with Fine’s Guards of the Shadowlands trilogy, I was hooked within the first couple of chapters, and I raced through the whole series in less than a week. It helps that I had a great time reading them, and I was always dying to know what would happen next, even without cliffhangers.

Recommendation: Read this if you are a fan of YA urban fantasy with some sexy times thrown in, especially if you’re intrigued by Greek mythology!

Minute Review: Cupcakes, Trinkets, and Other Deadly Magic by Meghan Ciana Doidge

Cupcakes, Trinkets, and Other Deadly Magic (The Dowser, #1)
Cupcakes, Trinkets, and Other Deadly Magic by Meghan Ciana Doidge (The Dowser, Book 1)
My Rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

I quickly fell into the peaceful rhythm of baking, my hands moving and mixing while my mind and eyes were on the next ingredient. I was a particular fan of icing, sometimes piling it high enough to double the height of the cupcake. My grandmother often dropped in when I was baking–as I still did five out of seven days a week. She said watching me bake was like watching an adept witch work a spell. Flattery will get you treats from me every time.

I don’t think I would have picked this one up if it hadn’t been one of my February book club picks, but I’m glad that I did. While I wouldn’t call it a new favorite, the story was quick, some of the characters were intriguing, and it gave me a MASSIVE craving for cupcakes (which I immediately satisfied by making a batch all for myself). While the story was pretty simplistic, I think more depth comes in the later books.

Recommendation: Read this if you enjoy lighthearted urban fantasy, devil-may-care heroines that are still growing into their boots, or stories in which food wins the award for best supporting character.

The most important recommendation of all: READ THIS WITH CUPCAKES ON HAND!

The Friday 56: The Tropic of Serpents by Marie Brennan

Friday56

The Friday 56 is a book meme hosted by Freda’s Voice, and the participation rules couldn’t be simpler. You just pick any book you want, flip to page 56 (or 56% for e-readers), and choose a non-spoilery sentence or two to share with the world.

The Tropic of Serpents (Memoir by Lady Trent, #2)
The Tropic of Serpents by Marie Brennan (Memoir by Lady Trent, Book 2)
From page 56:

“I have not kidnapped her, my lord,” I said, covering my nervousness with irritation.

Do you have your own Friday 56? Let me know in the comments!

Minute Review: Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal

Shades of Milk and Honey (Glamourist Histories, #1)
Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal (Glamourist Histories, Book 1)
My Rating: 4 of 5 stars

The room had vanished, its walls replaced entirely by arching trees; the ceiling, a sky overhead which shimmered with the light of stars and the moon. The trees rustled in response to a conjured breeze, which carried with it hints of jasmine and the pleasant, spicy scent of loam.

This is a sweet, quick romance, full of the imagery of a Regency English countryside, and I really enjoyed it. The hint of fantasy added a flair to the usual Austen-esque themes without turning it into a full-fledged fantasy novel.

Recommendation: Read this if you are intrigued by the idea of Regency romance with a touch of fantasy, or if you’re curious about the artistic possibilities of folding glamours.

The Friday 56: The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg

Friday56

The Friday 56 is a book meme hosted by Freda’s Voice, and the participation rules couldn’t be simpler. You just pick any book you want, flip to page 56 (or 56% for e-readers), and choose a non-spoilery sentence or two to share with the world.

The Paper Magician (The Paper Magician Trilogy, #1)
The Paper Magician
by Charlie N. Holmberg (The Paper Magician Trilogy, Book 1)

From page 56:

Fennel had taken to adventuring downstairs, and Ceony had shoved Jonto’s inanimate bones into a closet in the office and left him there. Now the place seemed… lifeless.

I really enjoyed this book, and it seemed like the perfect Friday 56 pick for this overcast day. Do you have your own Friday 56? Let me know in the comments!

Minute Review: One Good Dragon Deserves Another by Rachel Aaron

One Good Dragon Deserves Another (Heartstrikers, #2)One Good Dragon Deserves Another by Rachel Aaron (Heartstrikers, Book 2)
My Rating: 5 of 5 stars

“This isn’t a game, you know.”

“Of course it’s a game,” the seer said, walking back over to the couch where Marci was standing over Amelia. “Everything’s a game, Julius. It has to be. Life is whimsical, random, and cruel, but a game is something you can win.”

This is a great second in series! It was longer, but read very quickly, and everything was explored in more depth: the characters and relationships, world building, and the magic system. The end result was a great story that had me falling in love with the series even more, and I am dying for Book 3, which isn’t due to come out until the middle of this year.

Recommendation: If you’re a fan of Harry Potter, you should give this series a try starting with Book 1 (Nice Dragons Finish Last). It’s dragons instead of magicians, but the vivid story and amazing character dynamics remind me so much of when I read HP for the first time.