“In the year that Summer stayed too long, the heat lay upon the prairie with the weight of a corpse.”
First line in The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo
Hi, guys. Today I wanted to talk about the kind of books I usually love: books with a great atmosphere. It’s the kind of books where the author manages to create a certain feeling or mood with the reader through the description of elements in the book. Some authors are true masters of this kind of writing style so today I wanted so share some of my favorite books from those said authors. Let’s get into them.
The book that prompted this post because I wanted an excuse to talk about it some more. Morgenstern creates an atmosphere that is magical, wintery, and warm. On top of that, she managed to make me feel that sense of belonging and hominess that comes from reading about other readers.
In Circe, Madeline Miller tells the story of Circe from The Odyssey, but let’s us see everything from Circe’s perspective. That gives us an empowering and atmospheric read with magic and nature at the core. As a reader, we are forced to feel Circe’s loneliness and insecurity as she tries to find her place in the world of Gods and mythological creatures.
The Language of Thorns is a collection of fairy tales from Bardugo’s Grisha Verse but you don’t need to have read anything else before picking this one up. These stories perfectly capture that sinister mood and moralising tone of traditional fairy tales. The physical version of this book also has stunning artwork that will draw you into the stories and their atmosphere even more.
A classic children’s book with a very popular movie that explores the wonders of a child’s imagination. The atmospheric part of this book is especially prevalent when we’re experiencing this imaginary land of Fantastica.
A large part of The Binding takes place in the countryside where we follow a boy and his family. There is a certain calmness to this book which is evident in the writing style. When romance enters the story, that calmness is mixed with love and makes this book such a beautiful read.
As you can probably tell from the title, this is a perfect trilogy if you’re looking for a wintery atmosphere. Arden is great at conveying cold in this one so that you will be freezing just as much as the character while reading it (well probably not, but still). These books are also heavily inspired by Russian folklore which makes the atmosphere have this sort of fairy tale-esque sort of feeling to it.
Those were 6 books that I think have such a great atmosphere. In general, I would recommend the authors’ other works too if you want more books to read. I’ve just picked my favorite ones from each. Do you love these kinds of books, too? Do you know of any other books with a great atmosphere? Let me know in the comments.
“I didn’t know how long I had been in the King’s prison.”
First line in The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner
Hi, guys and thanks for stopping by this post. I recently finished the fifth and last published book in The Queen’s Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner, Thick as Thieves. I can now for sure say that it is in my top 10 of all time favorite series, and I therefore want more people to read it, of course.
It’s far from what I would call a popular series, but whenever I see a review for it, it always seems to be positive. Hence why I thought to take this opportunity to create some awareness about these amazing books. As the title says, I’ll try to highlight the specific reasons why I think you should read this series. First a little overview of the series:
The Thief – published in 1996
The Queen of Attolia – published in 2000
The King of Attolia – published in 2006
A Conspiracy of Kings – published in 2010
Thick as Thieves – published in 2017
Return of the Thief – expected publication: August 25th 2020
The king’s scholar, the magus, believes he knows the site of an ancient treasure. To attain it for his king, he needs a skillful thief, and he selects Gen from the king’s prison. The magus is interested only in the thief’s abilities.
What Gen is interested in is anyone’s guess. Their journey toward the treasure is both dangerous and difficult, lightened only imperceptibly by the tales they tell of the old gods and goddesses
Now onto all the reason why you should start reading this series.
This series is filled with characters you can’t help but fall in love with. They will capture your heart with their strong sense of morality and their unbreakable friendships.
Even though we follow a different main character in almost all of the books, Turner will always draw you in and make you invested in the certain character. They each have their own struggles. Turner is amazing at making you see the character’s point of view and thereby understand them. The character development across all the books is realistic and beautiful, so you can’t help but root for them. They are certainly characters you can get behind even though they aren’t perfect. There are also so many characters in this series that I just want to give a hug so bad.
If you’re the kind of reader who hates those cliffhanger endings that are just there to make you pre-order the next book, this is definitely a series for you. Each book essentially works as a standalone with its own set up and conclusion. It gives you the opportunity to take your time with the series and just read a book once in a while when you’re in the mood. Cliffhangers can often make you feel like you need to rush through a series just to know how it ends. At least that happens to me quite often. The Queen’s Thief is a nice divergence from that trend.
I just want to be clear: Even though I said they work as standalones, you still have to read them in publication order unless you want to be spoiled.
Mindblowing Plot Twists
The plot twists you find in The Queen’s Thief are the mind-boggling, life-altering, fall-out-of-your-chair kind of plot twists, and if that doesn’t convince you to read it, I don’t know what will. It’s the kind of plot twists that affect the entire book. You can tell it’s there all throughout the story. There’s something that don’t add up. There’s something you don’t know.
Turner even gives you the clues to figure these things out on your own, but personally I haven’t even been close to guessing where the story was going. It really takes an amazing writer to be able to do these kinds of plot twists.
We all have 1,000 books on our TBRs so you might be hesitant to add a six-book fantasy series to that giant mountain. I say, don’t worry about that because these books are super short. At least when you look at the standard for other fantasy books. Most of the books in this series are about 350 pages long (a little longer or shorter depending on the edition). With the first book, we’re even down to 280 pages.
Rich World Building
It’s the kind of series that starts off in a small corner of its fantasy world and with each book you get to learn more and more about the world. And I don’t mean just geographically. The amazing world building also include cultural, religious and political differences between each area. Turner has really taken her time to develop each area, and it’s wonderful to learn more with every book. It’s all very intricate.
I especially think this is a series for you if you enjoy very political fantasy books, because that is really where these books shine. Everything is so well thoughtout and there’s never a dull moment.
A Wholly Unique YA Fantasy Series
I promise you that you have never read anything like this before. I have to keep reminding myself that this is YA because it bears so little resemblance to those somewhat generic YA fantasy books you see nowadays. The Queen’s Thief almost feels like classic fantasy in its writing style and characterization. Don’t worry about coming across a page long description of a tree though, although you often find that in classic fantasy. That’s not what I mean when I call it classic fantasy. It’s just less modern with everything it does.
Mind you, the first book was published in 1996 when this resurgence we see in YA hadn’t started yet. However, the later books kept the tone of the first so don’t be afraid to suddenly have a love triangle thrown in your face.
Finally, I just want to say that of course, this series isn’t for everyone. If you consider yourself to be a 100% plot-driven reader, I think you might find this a bit boring. It’s a highly character-driven series although each book does have a plot. It just doesn’t come into play before the end of each book.
I also want to point out the first book in the series is the worst. A lot of people don’t like that one, me included, but I urge to pick up the second book even if that happens. If you find the things above intriguing, I promise you that it’s worth it to continue.
I really hope I peaked your interest about The Queen’s Thief with this post. Let me know if you intend to read it. If you’ve already read it, tell me if there’s some highlight I missed that you really love about these books.
” The two men appeared out of nowhere, a few yards apart in the narrow, moonlit lane.”
First line in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling
I’m back with the final post in the series of recommending books based on Hogwarts houses and we’ve made it to Slytherin. In case you missed the first three here are Gryffindor, Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw.
you’ve never read Harry Potter and don’t know anything about those houses with
weird names, here are a few characteristics of a typical Slytherin:
justify the means
The Diviners by Libba Bray
fiction series with a paranormal twist. I’m recommending this for Slytherins
specifically because of the main character in the first book, Evie O’Neill.
She’s so ambitious. She knows what she wants and she’s doing (almost) whatever
is necessary to get it. That ends justify her means is also a very prevalent
theme for her, so I think other Slytherins will love her as a main character.
Half Bad by Sally Green
fantasy story in which we follow Nathan who is what I would call morally gray.
It’s the type of story you would expect the heroic Gryffindor to lead, so I
really like that Nathan is so flawed. Throughout the book he displays a high
level of self-preservation and doesn’t really care about people that aren’t
close to him (and that’s very few). He just wants to live his life in peace and
not waste his time saving the world.
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Now that we
are on the topic of morally gray characters, is there anyone grayer than Kaz
Brekker? He’s leaning heavily towards black in my mind but that is also his
charm. In general, this duology screams Slytherin. Our group of characters has
to perform the most impossible heist, and they all have different reasons for
wanting to partake. Very few of those reasons are honorable but instead serve
the characters’ own ambitions. Through this heist we also see some impressive
leadership skills from Kaz, so he really is a true Slytherin.
Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson
seem like an odd choice but hear me out. The Mistborn trilogy is a fantasy series
that takes place in a world where the villain won and now everyone is
miserable. A group of highly peculiar individuals are trying to overthrow him,
and it is this particular group that I think Slytherins will love. They are
very resourceful, and when they eventually hit a bump in the road, they use
their intelligence to solve the problem. The level of ambition within the group
is also astounding considering they are trying to overthrow a ruler who has
held this position for a thousand years. And yes, he is also immortal. No big
A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin
A very well-known character-focused story taking place in the fantastical land of Westeros. If you want morally gray characters, this is a series for you. There are very few truly ‘good guys’ in Martin’s world because so many of them are driven by their ambitions and their need to look out for themselves first. They use every resource in their disposal to get what they want. If they aren’t resourceful, they’ll make sure to change that. If you enjoyed reading about unlikeable characters, you need to pick up A Song of Ice and Fire. I know that I found myself loving to hate these amazingly well thought out characters.
“It was nearing midnight and the Prime Minister was sitting along in his office, reading a long memo that was slipping through his brain without leaving the slightest trace of meaning behind “
First line in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J. K. Rowling
I’m back with the third post in this series of Hogwarts House Recommendations. This one is about Ravenclaw. I’ve previously done posts about Gryffindor and Hufflepuff.
you’ve never read Harry Potter and don’t know anything about those houses with
weird names, here are a few characteristics of a typical Ravenclaw:
out 5 books in which the main characters exhibit some of those traits. In that
sense, this is a list of recommendations if you want to read books about Ravenclaws.
You don’t need to be a Ravenclaw yourself. As I see it, one’s personality and
one’s reading tastes don’t necessarily match in that way. But let’s get onto
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
contemporary romance novel might not seem like the most obvious choice for a
Ravenclaw recommendation. However, I believe Ravenclaw will appreciate Don
Tillman’s rational and logical way of solving problems. Everything in his life
is categorized and researched to give him the ideal living conditions. This
means that he of course has come up with the most efficient way to find the
perfect woman: The Wife Project. That is a such a Ravenclaw thing to do.
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
This is a
retelling of The Jungle Book with a horror twist. Bod grows up in a graveyard
after his entire family is murdered. He miraculously escapes, and is brought up
by the ghosts of the graveyard. Bod is curious about a lot of things and
actively seeks out answers to his many questions. He’s not someone who will
settle for half-truths, and this craving for knowledge makes him a Ravenclaw to
me. Later in the book, he also uses creativity and quick thinking to get
himself out of sticky situations.
The Magicians by Lev Grossman
fantasy novel in which a good part of the story takes place at a school. Yes,
they are learning magic, and it’s highlighted how difficult this magic is. It’s
not just saying a spell and waving a wand. The magic in The Magicians is more
intellectual and complicated than that, and I think a Ravenclaw would
appreciate this unique twist to a magic system. Several of the characters also
exhibit a definite need to learn.
There is no excuse for them not to do perfect magic and let’s just say that
lesser magicians are beneath them. They might sound horrible when described
like that, but it’s really just confidence in the best way.
Radio Silence by Alice Oseman
Silence, we follow Frances whose entire life revolves around academic
achievement. She’s doing everything in her power to get into the best
university because that is the ultimate goal in life, right? Frances is very
smart but she is also so many other things (like Ravenclaws). In this book we
see her struggle with the pressure from society to “do well in school” and what
that has actually done to her life.
The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
story with a Ravenclaw protagonist in Kvothe. In the book, Kvothe is telling
his life story to a chronicler because apparently, Kvothe is a very famous and
interesting person. We just don’t know why. Throughout his life, Kvothe is
shown to have an immense craving for
knowledge. There’s even a university involved which he is willing to fight
himself into. He also has a bit of an arrogant streak to him but he’s still
very capable and able to fend for himself.
Those were the 5 recommendations for Ravenclaw. The last one missing is Slytherin so look forward to that.
“The villagers of Little Hangleton still called it ‘the Riddle House,’ even though it had been many years since the Riddle family had lived there.”
First line in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling
Last week I posted my recommendations for Gryffindor and as I’m doing this alphabetically, we’ve made it to Hufflepuff. I identify as a Hufflepuff myself so I was naturally very excited for this one. In case you’ve never read Harry Potter and don’t know anything about those houses with weird names, here are a few characteristics of a typical Hufflepuff:
out 5 books in which the main characters exhibit some of those traits. In that
sense, this is a list of recommendations if you want to read books about Hufflepuffs.
You don’t need to be a Hufflepuff yourself. As I see it, one’s personality and
one’s reading tastes don’t necessarily match in that way. But let’s get onto
The Queen’s Thief by Megan Whalen Turner
If you ask
me to name the series with the most loyal friendships, I will forever mention
The Queen’s Thief. There are so many good friendships in this one and so many
of the scenes makes me want to cry from the softness. They go to great lengths
to help and support each other and that is the definition of a Hufflepuff to
me. Not every character is a Hufflepuff but I still think that the feeling of
these books will appeal to Hufflepuffs.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen
many Hufflepuffs are wallflowers (and I mean that in a very positive way). They
are observants and don’t need to be at the center of attention, which is a
trait you often see at the other houses. I also think The Perks of Being a
Wallflower is a Hufflepuff book because it’s a very slow character-driven story
about Charlie who’s not exactly the best at anything. He doesn’t strive to be
but instead focuses on his relationship with his friends.
Circe by Madeline Miller
Circe is probably
the biggest Hufflepuff I’ve ever read about and I love her. She wasn’t born to
be the heroine of any story. She’s not powerful. She’s not beautiful so she is
shunned because what is she actually good for? She’s the character that wasn’t
born for greatness but had to work hard to get what she wants. Throughout the
book she displays a great deal of other Hufflepuff characteristics but I really
think you should read it and see for yourself.
The Binding by Bridget Collins
case, I wouldn’t say that the main characters are Hufflepuffs, but the
atmosphere of the book just gives me Hufflepuff vibes. It’s about finding
yourself (and Hufflepuffs are great finders lol) and accepting who you are. And
it has a fantasy element relating to books! I won’t spoil it for you but it
creates a very cool setting for the characters to maneuver in. I also believe
that Hufflepuffs will find the relationships between these characters very endearing.
I know I did at least.
Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
Carry On is the rewritten Harry Potter that you didn’t know you needed. I’ll almost say you have to have read Harry Potter before reading this although it’s not a requirement of course. You just won’t get all the hilarious references. I’ve included it on this list because I often see people describing this as “if Harry Potter was a Hufflepuff” and that is just too accurate. Simon Snow is the Chosen One but he’s very bad at it. His wand doesn’t work and he’s all kinds of unlucky, but he’s still expected to beat the bad guy. As a true Hufflepuff, Simon isn’t the best at anything, but he cares deeply for his friends (and also someone who’s not his friend yet).
I hope you found this interesting and maybe added something to your TBR. Let me know if you did or if you’ve already read some of them. The next house will be Ravenclaw so look forward to that.
“Harry Potter was a highly unusual boy in many ways.”
First line in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling
probably know, this is in no way an original idea of mine. Recommending books
based on people’s Hogwarts House is a very popular thing and as a true
Potterhead, I need to do it. I’m starting with Gryffindor, and in case you’ve
never read Harry Potter and don’t know anything about those houses with weird
names, here are a few characteristics of a typical Gryffindor:
A strong urge to fight for
what is right
I’ve picked out 5 books in which the main characters exhibit some of those traits. In that sense, this is a list of recommendations if you want to read books about Gryffindors. You don’t need to be a Gryffindor yourself. As I see it, one’s personality and one’s reading tastes don’t necessarily match in that way. But let’s get onto the books.
All for the Game by Nora Sakavic
This is a very odd series that mixes a fictional sport called Exy with the mob. We follow Neil Josten as he joins an Exy team at Palmetto State University all while he’s on the run from some very scary people. The Exy team is really the main reason why I think this is a book fit for Gryffindor. They are willing to do whatever they can to win and that includes picking each other up and making the tough decisions. Something about the team just makes me think about the Gryffindor Quidditch team in book 3. Neil is also very protective of his teammates and is willing to sacrifice himself if he has to. That’s something a Gryffindor would do in my opinion.
The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
A very slow paced and atmospheric book about Vasilisa (Vasya) and her family. The story takes place in Russia in the 14th century but it’s a fantasy and therefore incorporates a lot of Russian folklore into the story. Vasya is very much a Gryffindor in my mind. She’s daring and adventurous which sometimes leads to recklessness but she manages to handle the situations. When her family is threatened, she doesn’t hesitate in her effort the save them.
Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
Salt to the Sea is a book about a group of refugees hoping to find safety during World War II. The group is a mix of people that didn’t know one another before the War but end up fighting together to survive bombs and difficult soldiers. There are so many Gryffindors in that group, and they portray all of the best qualities of that house. Especially one of the characters shows immense bravery to help a member of the group. It’s also a hard-hitting book with important themes and I can’t recommend it enough.
Chaos Walking by Patrick Ness
The main character of the Chaos Walking trilogy, Todd, is that perfect example of a Gryffindor who’s very brave and headstrong but seems to have left their brain at home. Well, you can’t have everything. One of the traits I really like in Todd is his determination to defend himself and not just turn the other cheek even when he should. He’s also very confident in himself which just signifies a true Gryffindor to me. The trilogy itself is one of my absolute favorites because it deals with some themes surrounding gender and also because it has the craziest villain.
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Another book set during World War II although this is a quite popular one. We’re in Germany and follow Liesel who’s just moved in with her foster family. Throughout the book, Liesel shows many of the classic Gryffindor characteristics. She can be very determined and doesn’t back away from a challenge or a fight. Also, when her mind is set, she is willing to take risks to get what she wants. On top of that, she goes to great lengths to help her friends and family in any way she can. She’s really an amazing female protagonist.
This was actually kind of difficult. I feel like some of these books also work for other houses but I decided that Gryffindor was the best fit. I’d love to know if you agree or not if you’ve read any of them.
That was one down and three to go. I’ve decided to do these posts alphabetically so the next one will be about Hufflepuff (my own house!) so look forward to that.
“I may have found a solution to the Wife Problem.”
First line in The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
Welcome to my first attempt at recommending some books. I’ve scoured my
‘Read’-shelf on Goodreads to find books that I think are perfect to read during
the summer. Just a heads up: I hear a lot of people saying that they can’t read
fantasy during the summer but that’s not me. Fantasy is an all-year genre. That
of course means that I’ve compiled a list with some different genres and tried
to find some quick, light, funny reads to get you through the summer.
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
contemporary romance (yes, we’re starting with the obvious) and the funniest
book I’ve ever read. The socially challenged genetics professor, Don Tilman, is
approached by the woman Rosie Jarman who needs his help to find her biological
father. At the same time, Don is working towards his own goal: finding a wife. This
he tackles the same way he would any work-related issue. That means statistics,
facts and a stringent logical approach.
The Rosie Project is a book that actually made me laugh out loud several times (just so you know if you’re going to read it in public). It’s very short so it’s a quick read. I actually believe it’s a series, but I’ve only read this one. Just in case you want more.
YA story about the best friend group to ever exist. Blue Sargent is from a
family of clairvoyants but Blue herself isn’t a psychic. However, she finds out
that the boy Gansey is going to die within a year and she will either love him
or kill him. She soon finds herself meeting Gansey and his odd mix of friends
who are on a mission of their own: to find the sleeping Welsh king Glendower.
This series just feels like summer to me. Not because it’s set in summer (not all of it) but because it has so many nice scenes that underlines the strong friendship this group has. Hanging out with friends is something I connect with summer so if you still want to read fantasy in your summer vacation, I think The Raven Cycle is the perfect choice.
retelling with a twist of romance that is so beautifully written I want to cry.
This is a retelling of the lives of Achilles and Patroclus who participated in
the Trojan War. We follow the perspective of Patroclus who as a young boy is
exiled from his home and sent to live at the court of King Peleus, Achilles
Miller’s writing. It’s so slow and sensual that I can’t help but be completely
lost in her stories. She just draws you in. I also really appreciated that you
can tell that she knows all this mythology stuff.
Summer is a time for love stories and this is a grand one. So, if you’re sick of the never-ending line of contemporary romances, you should read A Song of Achilles.
contemporary with a pinch of paranormal. The story spans across a single
summer’s day in the life of Adam Thorn. During the day he crosses paths with
both family, friends and (ex)boyfriends while seeking release for all the
problems that are weighing him down.
An incredibly short book that I personally really enjoyed reading. It’s thought-provoking and just feels very real. Patrick Ness really manages to capture the essence of these problems that many teenagers have to go through today. It’s a little more of a serious contemporary but it’s still set in the summer time. This is more for you if you’re looking for a read that portrays summer as the hopeful time of year. The one that gives you hope and confidence about the new school/work year.
A YA urban
fantasy with a great magic system. In Nathan’s world there are two types of witches:
White and Black. The Black witches are seen as evil (think Slytherin) and
therefore oppressed and hunted. Nathan is half White and half Black and his
father is the evilest Black witch to ever exist. That means that Nathan’s life
is more than a little difficult. This story shows Nathan trying to figure out
who he is and whose side he’s actually on in the coming clash between White and
I feel like this is the kind of book that people either love or hate. I absolutely love it. It’s been a while, but I remember really loving Nathan as a character. He’s very gray and so many things have happened to him, so this grayness is believable. The writing style is a bit unusual I would say without revealing too much, but it’s a very fast read. The chapters are super short so if you really want to, this book can be read in a day at the beach.