Spring is very much upon us here in the UK – or at least, that’s what my hayfever tells me. And so, for readers like me who read whatever suits their mood, that subtle shift in reading taste may begin.
And for those who read the same sort of books all the time…well, here are some recommendations anyway!
Hold your arms out and be ready to add to your TBR pile, because I’m about to throw some recommended books your way.
Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life. Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood. The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows – everyone knows – that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia, all the things Agnieszka isn’t, and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her. But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose. Uprooted is a hugely imaginative, engrossing and vivid fantasy novel, inspired by folk and fairy tales by Naomi Novik, the author of the Temeraire series. It is perfect reading for fans of Robin Hobb and Trudi Canavan.
I read this one back in January and I remember thinking “this reminds me of Spring”. But I’ve no idea why, because it’s actually quite a dark story so…*shrugs*. Maybe just because it’s about woodland. I don’t know. But there’s woodland, there’s magic, it reads like folklore and I loved it!
BEFORE YOU ALL RUN AWAY THINKING “OH I’M NOT A FAN OF HISTORY” – 2 out of 3 of these aren’t actually about the time period. They’re mysteries, but set in an older time than now.
On a brisk autumn day in 1686, eighteen-year-old Nella Oortman arrives in Amsterdam to begin a new life as the wife of illustrious merchant trader Johannes Brandt. But her new home, while splendorous, is not welcoming. Johannes is kind yet distant, always locked in his study or at his warehouse office-leaving Nella alone with his sister, the sharp-tongued and forbidding Marin.
But Nella’s world changes when Johannes presents her with an extraordinary wedding gift: a cabinet-sized replica of their home. To furnish her gift, Nella engages the services of a miniaturist-an elusive and enigmatic artist whose tiny creations mirror their real-life counterparts in eerie and unexpected ways . . .
Johannes’ gift helps Nella to pierce the closed world of the Brandt household. But as she uncovers its unusual secrets, she begins to understand-and fear-the escalating dangers that await them all. In this repressively pious society where gold is worshipped second only to God, to be different is a threat to the moral fabric of society, and not even a man as rich as Johannes is safe. Only one person seems to see the fate that awaits them. Is the miniaturist the key to their salvation . . . or the architect of their destruction?
Now I read this one a while ago, so my memory isn’t too great with it. But, I do remember that this was one of those books that while reading, I was fascinated because really, it was quite bizarre. There was this odd whimsical feeling, paired with the setting of Amsterdam and the 17th century, and so it made my heart smile a little. Not for everyone, but it was definitely for me, and so I recommend.
Barcelona, 1945-just after the war, a great world city lies in shadow, nursing its wounds, and a boy named Daniel awakes on his eleventh birthday to find that he can no longer remember his mother’s face. To console his only child, Daniel’s widowed father, an antiquarian book dealer, initiates him into the secret of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, a library tended by Barcelona’s guild of rare-book dealers as a repository for books forgotten by the world, waiting for someone who will care about them again. Daniel’s father coaxes him to choose a volume from the spiraling labyrinth of shelves, one that, it is said, will have a special meaning for him. And Daniel so loves the novel he selects, The Shadow of the Wind by one Julian Carax, that he sets out to find the rest of Carax’s work. To his shock, he discovers that someone has been systematically destroying every copy of every book this author has written. In fact, he may have the last one in existence. Before Daniel knows it his seemingly innocent quest has opened a door into one of Barcelona’s darkest secrets, an epic story of murder, magic, madness and doomed love. And before long he realizes that if he doesn’t find out the truth about Julian Carax, he and those closest to him will suffer horribly.
So this is one of my favourite books, but I barely remember anything about it having read it 2 years ago. I’ll be taking my own recommendation, by re-reading this at some point this year. But I digress. Like the previous one, this is a historical fiction that isn’t actually about a set point in history, like you would often see World War books. No, again this is a mystery, and I was hooked the second I met this book. I really hope more people read it, barely anyone talks about it anymore!
Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the court of King Peleus and his perfect son Achilles. Despite their differences, Achilles befriends the shamed prince, and as they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine, their bond blossoms into something deeper – despite the displeasure of Achilles’s mother Thetis, a cruel sea goddess. But when word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, Achilles must go to war in distant Troy and fulfill his destiny. Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus goes with him, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they hold dear.
I know I’ve been a bit history heavy with this post, but I couldn’t think of another fantasy I would wholeheartedly recommend that I haven’t done before, so you’re getting another history one. Despite this one being a bit out of my depth when it comes to knowledge of the time period, it didn’t ruin my enjoyment at all and if anything, it’s inspired me to learn more about ancient history. Also, it’s the first book EVER that I’ve enjoyed while absolutely hating one of the main characters. So I have to recommend just for that impressive feat.
Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed.
Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this is a powerful and gripping YA novel about one girl’s struggle for justice.
You don’t even NEED me to recommend this book, because everyone and their mother, grandmother, aunt, uncle, cousin, dog and squirrel are talking about this. But you know how there’s just books you can’t leave off a recommendations list? This is one of those books. If by some bizarre disaster, you’ve not found yourself itching to read this book, I sincerely hope that this little paragraph of mine about grandmothers and squirrels has at least tempted you just a smidgen.
Steffi doesn’t talk, but she has so much to say.
Rhys can’t hear, but he can listen.
Their love isn’t a lightning strike, it’s the rumbling roll of thunder.
Steffi has been a selective mute for most of her life – she’s been silent for so long that she feels completely invisible. But Rhys, the new boy at school, sees her. He’s deaf, and her knowledge of basic sign language means that she’s assigned to look after him. To Rhys, it doesn’t matter that Steffi doesn’t talk, and as they find ways to communicate, Steffi finds that she does have a voice, and that she’s falling in love with the one person who makes her feel brave enough to use it.
From the bestselling author of Beautiful Broken Things comes a love story about the times when a whisper is as good as a shout.
One of the rare times I fall for a cutesy type book, but this just won my heart. I fell in love with this book almost immediately and sped right through. This is definitely one of those books you could take out to a nice park / flowery field / lakeside / beach and just read in one sitting.
So those are all the books I’m recommending for today!
I was going to include more genres, but didn’t want the post to be a mile long so I’ve prioritised the ones I really wanted to recommend.
Have you read any of these books? What did you think?
Are there any you’d recommend for me, after seeing the books on my list?
Let me know in the comments!
Until next time…
Come and visit me!