Discussion: In Defense of Instalove

discussion

A few weeks ago, Fierce Reads proposed an interesting question for the Twitterverse to answer… and for me the answer wasn’t easy! 

There’s a lot of animosity and instant negative reactions towards tropes like love triangles and instalove, especially because I think a lot of us have been inundated with both of these concept and/or seen them done errmmm… not well (to put it nicely) too many times. I know that when I hear a book has a love triangle or instalove, I instantly brace myself, preparing for impending doom BUT I don’t always think that’s a fair snap judgement.

It was really interesting to see the answers to this tweet and I was actually surprised to see SO many answers filled with rage about instalove! When it’s done poorly or clumsily, I’m not a fan of it either, but I don’t think it’s something to be counted out, especially when reading YA (come on. I know I suffered from instalove when I was a teenager). I feel like instalove is a term that can encompass more than just the negative instances so I was surprised to see so many reactions!

Okay, story time. I personally consider the way that I met my husband to be a bit insta-lovey. I went to a party with my friend (she had to convince me a little to be honest haha!) and I met Shane there. We instantly hit it off and he even scheduled his plans just to come out and see me if our groups of friends were getting together. He changed his entire opinion of marriage after we started dating (before we officially even started dating, actually). He never wanted to get married and here we are! On our way to our 1st anniversary.

I guess what I’m saying is that for me, it depends on how instalove is written. Do I believe in LOVE at first sight? No. You can’t LOVE someone instantly BUT I do believe in a genuine connection upon first meeting and an instant attraction which is a ridiculously good assistance to falling in love quickly. I could read several books that could be deemed instalove based on a definition and never consider them to be instalove because the relationship just felt natural. I think we just notice when instalove isn’t written as well that sticks out in our brains, giving the concept a generally bad connotation! When it’s written well, I don’t even notice it. I just call it love!

Which is worse for you — instalove or love triangles? Do you think instalove can be written well? If so, what are some great examples?

Book Bloggers and Books Tag!

The BOOK BLOGGERS AND BOOKS tag is a fun tag created by Kaitlin at Reading Is My Treasure! The gist of it is to share some book bloggers who are advocates of series —  basically when I think of X series, I think of this person. I remember we had a Twitter conversation about this a while back and I love that a tag exists for it, so I wanted to play along too! (Even though I wasn’t directly tagged. REBEL.)

Alyssa @ Books Take You Places
THE GRAVEYARD BOOK (and any Neil Gaiman), THE WIZARD OF OZ, SEVENWATERS

      

Alyssa introduced me to Neil Gaiman (well, not personally. His books.) and I fell in love with THE GRAVEYARD BOOK! I’ve read a few others and really enjoyed them and can’t wait to read many more! I also immediately think of her whenever I see Juliet Marillier or the Sevenwaters series! Alyssa is also a life-long Oz collector so naturally those books are “hers” too!

Amy @ Tripping Over Books
THE SCORPIO RACES and THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE

        

I will always think of Amy whenever I think of THE SCORPIO RACES! I’ve listened to it twice on audio now and yes, it’s so worth being one of her favorite books! I know how much she loves it so she always pops into my head whenever I hear/see things about the book! I also know she’s a collector and advocate of THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE (and I’ve even bought her a book for her collection)!

Andi @ Andi’s ABCs
ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS, LOOP

        

Tons of us love ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS but have YOU read it 11 times? (Or is it twelve now, Andi?) Andi is the biggest ANNA fan I have ever met! Have you seen her collection!? It’s amazing! She’s also the person who introduced me to LOOP by Karen Akins! (I promise I will read that copy of TWIST you loaned me… months ago… I promise!)

Alexa @ Alexa Loves Books
THRONE OF GLASS, SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY

        

I always think of Alexa as an advocate for THRONE OF GLASS and SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY! I know how much she loves these series and these two adorable BFF authors (seriously. I ship their friendship) and I’ll always associate these series with her and vice versa!

Katie @ The Polished Page Turners & Kristina @ Gone Pecan
ANY RAINBOW ROWELL BOOKS

         

The two biggest Rainbow Rowell fans I know are Katie and Kristina! They both have amazing collections and a strong dedication to the books, to Rainbow, and collecting all Rainbow-related things!


I’m tagging all my lovely friends who I just mentioned to play along if they so desire!
Do YOU have any books or series that make you think of someone? An advocate or fan? I tag you too!

The Accident Season – Moira Fowley-Doyle

The Accident Season – Moira Fowley-DoyleTitle: The Accident Season by Moira Fowley-Doyle
Publishing Info: August 18, 2015 by Penguin
Source: Publisher
Genres: Paranormal, Magical Realism, Mystery/Thriller, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: July 21, 2015

Every October Cara and her family become inexplicably and unavoidably accident-prone. Some years it's bad, like the season when her father died, and some years it's just a lot of cuts and scrapes. This accident season—when Cara, her ex-stepbrother, Sam, and her best friend, Bea, are 17—is going to be a bad one. But not for the reasons they think.Cara is about to learn that not all the scars left by the accident season are physical: There's a long-hidden family secret underneath the bumps and bruises. This is the year Cara will finally fall desperately in love, when she'll start discovering the painful truth about the adults in her life, and when she'll uncover the dark origins of the accident season—whether she's ready or not.

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THE ACCIDENT SEASON was a really interesting and unique read for me! My first impressions were that it reminded me of books like PAPER VALENTINE, WE WERE LIARS, and UNSPOKEN and yet it was a book that really stood all on its own. The spooky and romantic atmosphere really brought the book to life and there were some really excellent moments all throughout!

I really loved the concept of “The Accident Season” itself. Every October, Cara and her family suffer countless accidents and injuries — even deaths — and Cara doesn’t really know why it happens. The question remains throughout the book and yes, the ending does provide an answer (thankfully)! The whole concept of it was just so interesting and shocking and curious and I really loved the answer as to why these things were happening and why they were only happening to Cara and her family.

I also really enjoyed the overlying theme of secrets. One character, Elsie, runs a “secrets booth” at school (which turns into a school project every year) so people drop their anonymous secrets there but each character in THE ACCIDENT SEASON is concealing a secret of their own and it was just so interesting to not only see those secrets revealed but also how they all tied into the main story line.  The structure was just great and I really appreciate how cohesive the story was.

I had a bit of struggle in the middle, though, I’ll admit. I was hooked from the beginning by the atmosphere and mystery presented to me but I feel like I got a bit lost in the second third of the book. My interest waned a bit — possibly when the story began to focus more on the characters than the mystery? — but it didn’t last too long because I easily fell back into that excited rhythm once all of the pieces started falling into place.

Overall, I really enjoyed THE ACCIDENT SEASON and it was a delightfully intriguing and spooky read. The book takes place during October (and Halloween) so it’s the perfect book to pick up during the Halloween season too! I can’t wait to hear the responses from fellow readers on this one!

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“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

THE ACCIDENT SEASON gr updates

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Cara // Character Obsessions: Family, Elsie, secrets, romance, answers.
I really liked Cara a lot! She reminded me of a few other great heroines and I was definitely interested in her story. I liked that she felt like a good balance of normal teenager and concerned sleuth once she started investigating the weird goings-on. I didn’t always love her decisions BUT I also think that’s what made her more realistic!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Spooky vibes. I really loved the whole feel of this book! I’m not a horror person by any means so I love books like this where it’s spooky and a little scary but not enough to make me run away screaming! The atmosphere was dark and suspicious and it only made me want to read more!
Left Me Wanting More: Mystery in the middle. I felt a bit of a lull in the middle of the book when it dipped more into the character’s story lines rather than the mystery. It wasn’t that I disliked getting to know the characters better but I felt like the mystery sort of stopped for a while and it had been a great momentum that paused.

Addiction Rating
Read it!

This was a really interesting read and I sort of wish I had read it around Halloween time! BUT now I can recommend it to everyone else for a great spooky or Halloween read!

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BOOKS LIKE THE ACCIDENT SEASON

(Click the cover to see my review!)

PAPER VALENTINE     UNSPOKEN

Discussion: On Going in Blind

 

discussion

Very recently, I’ve started a few books — namely ARMADA and THE ACCIDENT SEASON — having totally forgotten what they’re about before I started them so the idea came to me to share a little piece of my reading habits: going into books (mostly) blind. 

I’m sort of a “read a synopsis once and done” kind of girl. Usually when I’m adding books to Goodreads or my TBR or my bookshelves, I read the synopsis (of course) to see if I’m interested and then don’t really read it again… maybe ever. It seems like a silly thing to do, right? I bet you’re wondering how I can possibly know what I want to read if I don’t know what a book is about, but that’s the beauty of being both a mood reader and an obsessive Goodreads shelver — I don’t really have to!

By the time a book lands on my Goodreads shelves, I already know that I’m interested in reading it. If I obtain a copy of it, I mark it accordingly so I know it’s available for me to read and each book that I add to my shelves, I put on a different shelf according to genre. Sometimes I’m a liiiittle bit off if the description is vague but mostly I can place what sort of feel it might have. This is where my mood reading comes into play: by the time I’m ready to pick up a new book, I’m picking based on what I feel like reading so I usually choose based on genre, whether that’s browsing my Goodreads shelves or staring at the ones in my home. However I decide to pick a book, one thing is for sure — I don’t pick it based on synopsis.

I usually don’t read the blurb again until after I finish a book (or during if I’m starting to feel like the book is taking a weird turn) or when I start writing my review. It may seem crazy to some but I love going into books blind. Why, you ask? Because I love discovering every little surprise and secret the way the author intended. I know that sometimes blurbs or synopses have to include some minor plot points in order to get that hook out to readers to get them interested so I like to totally forget the specifics of a blurb by the time I pick up a book to read!

It may not seem like much but I’ve discovered big surprises within the first quarter of a book which can often times be given away because that’s the first big twist in a story to get the reader invested in the book… But if I’m familiar with the blurb and then go to pick up the book, that’s no longer a surprise for me. It may not seem like a big deal but I find a book so much more enjoyable when I’m able to discover those things for myself. Big twists and surprises really enhance my reading experience and I often bump up ratings because of a good twist at the end of a book or a surprising moment that I just really didn’t see coming.

Of course, going in blind does have its drawbacks sometimes. I can think of a couple books where I forgot exactly what the synopsis said (like I usually do) but then missed clues to the actual feel/genre (I thought the book was sci-fi, for example, and it was much more dystopian) or hints about a genre-changing twist (from mystery to straight-up paranormal). Those sorts of surprises aren’t the greatest because then I have to totally reassess the book that I’m reading and I feel disappointed because the book wasn’t what I thought it was. The happy news is that A) that doesn’t happen to me often and B) if the book really was going well for me, those surprises would have flowed naturally and I would have been okay with the change instead of them feeling totally out of place.

Thankfully, I haven’t had many bad or frustrating experiences but not fully knowing every detail about a book’s plot before I start it. Going in blind almost always enhances my reading experience because I’m a TOTAL spoiler-avoider and even those little twists make a big difference!


How about you? Do you ever go into books blind or do you like to be fully prepared before you pick up a book? Does mood reading help you decide or do you usually pick based by a book’s description?

Book and a Beverage Author Edition | Amber Lough

Book and a Beverage

Welcome back to BOOK AND A BEVERAGE!

It’s been a while since I’ve hosted an author edition of Book and a Beverage but I am SO excited to be getting back into the swing of things! I had an overwhelmingly wonderful response from authors who were interested in participating so keep an eye out for even more author posts within the next few months!

Give a big welcome to author AMBER LOUGH!

author

Name: Amber Lough
You know her best as the author of… THE FIRE WISH (7/22/14), THE BLIND WISH (7/28/15)

       

THE FIRE WISH: Amazon // Goodreads
THE BLIND WISH: Amazon // Goodreads

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READING

What are you reading? I’m usually reading one novel and one non-fiction book at a time. Right now, I’m reading AN EMBER IN THE ASHES by Sabaa Tahir and THEY FOUGHT FOR THE amber lough book and a beverageMOTHERLAND, by Laurie S. Stoff. Oh! And LOOK WHO’S BACK, by Timur Vermes.
What’s important that we should know about this book? Most of you have heard of Tahir’s book, so I’ll focus on Stoff’s non-fiction book. It’s about Russia’s women soldiers in WWI, particularly about the women-only brigades. It’s amazing, and is the focus of my current WIP.
What are your top three books you would recommend to other people? 1. ROSE UNDER FIRE, by Elizabeth Wein. (Yes, CODE NAME VERITY is more shocking, but I really loved Rose. And living in Germany, I think of what she went through often.) 2. THE DARK IS RISING, by Susan Cooper (The ENTIRE series, really.) 3. ISLAND OF BLUE DOLPHINS, by Scott O’Dell (It was the first real novel I read as a kid, and it seeped into my bones.)

WRITING

What can you tell us about your current work in progress? It’s set in Russia, during WWI, and is about the 1st Russian Women’s Battalion of Death. It’s dark, light, heavy, and fun.
Are you a pantser or a plotter? I used to be a pantser, but I have since seen the error of my ways. However, I do make things up as I go along, and weave them into my plan.
Do you have a favorite spot to read/write? My Kleingarten. In Germany, many people have little gardens, like Russian dachas, with a vegetable patch, flowers, and a small cabin that are part of a larger garden community. My garden is currently my favorite place to be, writing or not.

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What are you drinking? Earl Grey tea, with milk and sugar. It’s currently a bit cold.
What’s your favorite thing to drink while reading/writing?
If I don’t have fresh coffee around (like now), I make a pot of tea. I am that interesting.

thoughtprovoking

Which character from a book would you say you’re most like? Who would be your literary BFF? I have absolutely no idea who I am like. All of them and none of them? But I would want Anne Shirley to be my BFF.
If you had one subplot or minor character that could go off on its own tangent, who or what would it be? From THE BLIND WISH, I would focus on Rahela’s flying carpet, and her relationship with Shirin, as they fly around saving other girls.


 Thank you so much to Amber Lough for being a part of Book and a Beverage today!
Her first book in the Jinni Wars, THE FIRE WISH, is out now and book two, THE BLIND WISH, releases in just a couple days on 7/28/15!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

amber_dawn_lough_colorAmber Lough lives with her physicist husband and their two kids in Lower Saxony, Germany.
As a child, Amber moved about every two years and spent much of it overseas in Cuba, Japan, and Bahrain. She attended High School in North Charleston, South Carolina and studied Russian at Saint Louis University in Missouri before heading into the Air Force. She was an Intelligence Officer stationed in San Diego, and travelled the Pacific for her job. She also spent about 8 months in Baghdad, Iraq. After having her first child, she left the Air Force to begin writing full-time.
Amber is represented by Laura Rennert of Andrea Brown Literary Agency.
Visit Amber over at The Fourteenery and The Hanging Gardens where she contributes with other YA authors.

Website // Twitter // Goodreads // Tumblr

Mini-Review: Black Heart (Curse Workers #3) – Holly Black

Mini-Review: Black Heart (Curse Workers #3) – Holly BlackTitle: Black Heart (Curse Workers #3) by Holly Black
Publishing Info: April 3, 2012 by Simon and Schuster
Source: Audible
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: July 6, 2015
Related Posts: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, White Cat (Curse Workers #1), Red Glove (Curse Workers #2)

Cassel Sharpe has the most deadly ability of all. With one touch, he can transform any object - including a person - into something else entirely. And that makes him a wanted man. The Feds are willing to forgive all his past crimes if he'll only leave his con artist family behind and go straight. But why does going straight feel so crooked?
For one thing, it means being on the opposite side of the law from Lila, the girl he loves. She's the daughter of a mob boss and getting ready to join the family business herself. Though Cassel is pretty sure she can never love him back, he can't stop obsessing over her. Which would be bad enough, even if her father wasn't keeping Cassel's mother prisoner in a posh apartment and threatening not to let her leave until she returns the priceless diamond she scammed off him years ago. Too bad she can't remember where she put it.
The Feds say they need Cassel to get rid of a powerful man who is spinning dangerously out of control. But if they want Cassel to use his unique talent to hurt people, what separates the good guys from the bad ones? Or is everyone just out to con him?
Time is running out, and all Cassel's magic and cleverness might not be enough to save him. With no easy answers and no one he can trust, love might be the most dangerous gamble of all.

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Just a mini-review today for BLACK HEART! I finished Holly Black’s Curse Worker series and really enjoyed it all throughout, but I sat down to write my review for BLACK HEART and found myself at a loss for words! Really, it’s just a bit of a recap of the whole series, a lot of which I said in my RED GLOVE review:

  • I really love the overall tone of these books! I don’t know if I’d call Cassel and anti-hero but I DO love how he’s not all “good guy”. There are definitely many shades of gray when it comes to doing the morally right thing and what exactly it means to be “right” (Legal? Illegal? Right for his family? Right for his friends? Right for himself?) and I loved that the answer wasn’t always clear!
  • Magic + mobsters = so much fun. I’m don’t think I’ve read many books with a mobster story line (most crime-family themes have been in passing in the books I’ve read) but this one was fun! I really liked how that played into the entire plot and involved Cassel’s family and therefore ended up pulling him into it.
  • I really enjoyed the magical elements of this book too! It was interesting that the Curse Workers really got pushed into crime families and it was more organized crime than vigilante justice or individual villains. And that it was hard to identify someone as a Curse Worker unless you witnessed them using their powers or that you were wearing an amulet that broke after they tried to curse you! It was a great take on the concept that really made it more urban fantasy rather than paranormal.

Overall, the series had some really interesting twists that I enjoyed BUT I also thought there was room for a few more twists. I really enjoyed everything from start to finish, though! I constantly loved the feel of the books and couldn’t praise that enough throughout my reads and reviews. The audio was a ton of fun with Jesse Eisenberg narrating and it’s one I’d recommend for a fun, snarky, and a little bit of a dark read!

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“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

black heart gr updates

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BOOKS LIKE BLACK HEART

(Click the cover to see my review!)

THE COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN     POSSESS

If You Liked… Harry Potter!

12 BOOKS TO READ
IF YOU LIKED HARRY POTTER

I’ve done a few of these “If You Liked…” guides now and I figured it was finally time to put together a recommendation list for people who have read and loved Harry Potter! I always see recommendation lists around on the internet (especially on Pinterest!) and it seems like the same suggestions over and over again, many of which consist of middle grade books geared towards the younger readers who have maybe just read Harry Potter for the first time. Don’t get me wrong — that’s not a bad thing. I love that those recommendations are out there and clearly I’m all for adults reading whatever books and “age range” they want to (I AM a advocate of YA after all) but still I’m not much of a middle grade reader and the recommendations that I keep seeing seem to be more middle grade fantasy series.  I wanted to come up with some new recommendations too — recommendations geared more towards the adults who grew up with Harry Potter and are looking for new series to fall in love with (which is why you won’t see any Percy Jackson on my list)! Harry Potter is SUCH a big fandom and was really big part of people’s childhoods and still held dear in their adult lives, so my suggestions included in this post are books and series that I think life-long Harry Potter fans will be able to fall in love with and get (almost) just as invested in! These are some of my biggest fandoms, favorite characters, and most amazing fantasy worlds. If you grew up loving Harry Potter and are looking for a new book or series to become invested in, I hope you’ll find some of that same magic in these books!


if you liked harry potter


IF YOU LIKED HARRY POTTER…

Try… SHADOW AND BONE by Leigh Bardugo.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon

Aside from Harry Potter, The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo was one of the first fantasy series I really got into. I was never a big Lord of the Rings person and besides HP, I hadn’t really read much fantasy so I THOUGHT I wasn’t a fan. Once I started SHADOW AND BONE, I fell head over heels for the books and the genre! Leigh Bardugo is an amazing writing and the magic system and amazing fantasy world in this series are so well done! I’ve become wholly invested AND all three books are already out in case you want to read the whole series back to back to back! Plus, there’s an excellent school for magic in here!

Try… MISTBORN by Brandon Sanderson.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon

MISTBORN was one of the first adult fantasy series I really fell in love with… and let me tell you, I could NOT put these books down. Despite their length (not TOO bad. Depending on the version you’re reading, about 550-600 pages), I totally inhaled them and ended up reading the second and third books back-to-back because I just couldn’t stop! The magic system is really interesting and the characters are just wonderful. I like to think of this as a sort of “crossover” in between YA and adult because one of the main characters, Vin,  is in her late teens and the other characters are all adults. (They even released a new edition of the book under Tor Teen when it was originally published as adult, so even the publishers are spanning both YA and adult.) She learns the ropes of the magical rules and properties and really starts to come into her own throughout the series. I included this as a recommendation because I immediately became hooked on learning how all of the magical properties worked and totally immersed myself into this fandom right away!

Try… THE NAME OF THE WIND by Patrick Rothfuss.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon

Technically THE NAME OF THE WIND is also adult, but I like to think of it as another “crossover”. The book starts with the young life of main character Kvothe and the first and second books mainly span his time as an adolescent and young adult. The book spends most of its time in the University where Kvothe learns many skills and much magical prowess, but it also cuts back to the present day of the books where he’s now an adult. These books are amazing. Also quite long but each word is totally worth it. I absolutely love Kvothe and have become SO invested in him and his story! This is another fantasy recommendation I included for its fandom — I’m so deeply invested in this books and I’m obsessed with watching for updates about when the third book will be out!

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1)Try… THRONE OF GLASS by Sarah J. Maas.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon

You may have seen news and flails for THRONE OF GLASS flying around (especially if you’re diving in head first into the book community!) and let me tell you, the obsessed fans are totally spot on with the praise for this fandom! The Throne of Glass series has grown to be so entertaining, detailed, unique, and fascinating. Admittedly, book one is actually my least favorite of the series but not because it’s not as good — it does a lot of setting up for the rest of the series (a six book series in all (seven if you include the bind-up of novellas) with book four set to release in September 2015) and I just think the series really takes off from THRONE OF GLASS! The characters, the plot, the magic — everything really grows so immensely and this series is so exciting! It’s another really big fandom out there right now and you can read the first three books and join us in flailing and trying to wait patiently for the rest of the series!

Try… THE LIES OF LOCKE LAMORA by Scott Lynch.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon

THE LIES OF LOCKE LAMORA is definitely an adult recommendation (please don’t give this to your kids. LOTS of cursing) and oh boy, is it just a BLAST to read. This definitely felt like adult fantasy mixed with Ocean’s 11 and I just loved it. The characters are hilarious and also incredibly clever. Combined with the subtle magical elements (that end up playing a larger role in future books) and a picturesque fantasy world, THE LIES OF LOCKE LAMORA is a book I think adult fans would enjoy! I had no idea what I was getting into when I started this series and now I can’t stop reading them! Another series I just totally devoured until I was left waiting for the next book to be published.

Try… SERAPHINA by Rachel Hartman.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon

SERAPHINA had a really great feel for me. It was the same sort of magical presence that I felt with Harry Potter and books like SHADOW AND BONE — the content isn’t necessarily similar but I was easily able to fall into this world and allow myself to get swept away by these characters and this story line. Seraphina is the title character who lives in a world where dragons live among the people… and can take human form. It’s an unsettling time in the human/dragon history and the events that take place in SERAPHINA were really just exciting and lovely and emotional to witness!

Try… CINDER by Marissa Meyer.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon
CINDER is the first book in The Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer and oh, guys… it’s one of my favorite series of ALL TIME. It’s definitely more sci-fi than fantasy (though there is some magic involved, though it’s more scientifically-based) but it’s another one where this fandom just totally swept me away. Each book gets better and better (though CINDER is great from the beginning) and the layers of characters and layers of plot build with each book. This got me into some light sci-fi (the author said herself that she pulled inspiration from Star Wars and Sailor Moon) combined with fairy tale retellings and the result is positively addicting. The last book in the series, WINTER, releases November 2015 and I cannot tell you how much I’m anticipating its release!


Try… THE NIGHT CIRCUS by Erin Morgenstern.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon
THE NIGHT CIRCUS is a bit more like the magic in Harry Potter — real-life magicians who have actual magical powers. THE NIGHT CIRCUS chronicles two magicians in particular and includes some stunning imagery, wonderful magic, and a heart-aching romance. If I had to pick one recommendation that really felt SIMILAR to Harry Potter, this would be the one! It lacks the magical school and full-on wizarding community, but it feels more like an adult take on the magical world as it is within the non-magical realm.

Try… THE STORYSPINNER by Becky Wallace.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon
I’m recommending THE STORYSPINNER because it was one of those books that just left me with a feeling after I had finished, much like the emotional connections I have to Harry Potter. I had finished the book and I just couldn’t stop thinking about it. I had really becoming emotionally invested in the characters and also in each of the respective relationships. The plot set-up was excellent and the magical elements were introduced enough to see that there would be so much more in the books to come that I was so anxious to learn even more! THE STORYSPINNER was just released in March 2015 so we’ve got a lot more time to spend with this series!

Try… THE RAVEN BOYS by Maggie Stiefvater.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon
THE RAVEN BOYS isn’t so much fantasy as the other recommendations on this list are (you’ll find more magical realism/paranormal/mythology), but I had to include it because along with Harry Potter, The Lunar Chronicles, and The Grisha Trilogy, this is one of my TOP TOP TOP fandoms. I just re-read THE RAVEN BOYS in preparation to do a series re-read before the last book in the series, THE RAVEN KING, comes out in 2016 and I fell in love all over again, much like I do each time I read Harry Potter. I’d say where HP has a strong world and plot that sweeps readers away, THE RAVEN BOYS accomplishes the same thing on an emotional level and I cannot recommend this series enough!

Try… DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE by Laini Taylor.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon
DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE is a little bit of a different kind of magic, focusing more on an on-going war between angels and chimaera. I liked it for a Harry Potter recommendation here for its completely separate world. Only people with knowledge of Eretz (that’s the realm in which the seraphim and chimaera live) know how to enter or are allowed to go there, though the seraphim and chimaera have also been seen in the human world within the book. It’s a magical story, a love story, and an incredibly powerful tale of an epic war within a magical community. The writing was gorgeous and the story so powerful.

Try… STEELHEART by Brandon Sanderson.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon
STEELHEART is another book by Brandon Sanderson (see MISTBORN above) but it’s also very different. This is a bit more sci-fi than fantasy, I’d say (we’re dealing with superheroes here… or supervillains, rather) but I liked it for fans of Harry Potter because of its overall feel. Main character David provides a lot of comic relief and I just loved his relationships with the other characters of the book. It reminded me of the friendship of the “Golden Trio” (though David’s a bit of a mix of Harry and Ron in most ways) and although the subject matters don’t directly align, I think the feel and topic would be great for HP fans!


So what do YOU think? Which books would you recommend for fans of Harry Potter? I was going more for the adults who have grown up with the series like I did, but I’m always looking for any recommendations or read alikes when it comes to HP! Would you second any of my picks?

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