The Best World War I Books

A little over a century ago, the Great War broke out Sarajevo, when Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie were shot to death. From there, nations began declaring war and the struggle that ensued from 1914-1918 became one of the most horrific and widespread wars to date. It was the first conflict where modern technology such as airplanes and chemical weapons were used, redefining humanity’s concept of war. It’s impossible to understand such a monumental event with simply one book, so we’ve rounded up a list of the best World War I books, fiction and nonfiction, that you must read.

Note: Most books about WWI are written by white people. Publishing still needs to improve upon diversity and inclusion in this subgenre.

No Man’s Land: The Trailblazing Women Who Ran Britain’s Most Extraordinary Military Hospital During World War I by Wendy Moore

In this riveting nonfiction book, Moore tells the story of Drs. Flora Murray and Louisa Garrett Anderson, who set up a hospital in a luxury hotel in Paris in 1914, and were so successful treating wounded soldiers that they were asked to establish a hospital in London, forever changing how female doctors practiced and helping numerous patients.

Open Fire by Amber Lough

Set in Russia in 1917, Katya isn’t certain of her political beliefs, but she knows that she wants Russia to win the war against Germany. She enlists in the country’s first female battalion, and begins training–but there’s no way for her to fully comprehend the realities of war until she’s sent to battle.

A Hobbit, a Wardrobe, and a Great War: How J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis Rediscovered Faith, Friendship, and Heroism in the Cataclysm of 1914-1918 by Jospeh Loconte

WWI is known for inspiring a generation of literature centered around humanity and the cruelties of war–for many of these writers, it symbolized a loss of faith. But for others, the opposite was true. Luminaries Tolkien and Lewis both served in WWI, and what they survived deepened their faith and led them to create some of the greatest works of fantasy literature in the English canon.

The Winter Soldier by Daniel Mason

Lucius is a medical student in Vienna when war breaks out, and he enlists to become a battlefield medic, driven by ideals of saving lives with surgery. But when he arrives at his outpost, he finds that he’s the only doctor in a forsaken place where men are sick and dying and only a mysterious nurse has stayed to help him treat patients. And their lives are forever changed when Lucius chooses to treat a stranger.

Radium Girls: The Dark Stories of America’s Shining Women by Kate Moore

Although this book isn’t directly about WWI, the events of this nonfiction account were largely spurred on due to war efforts. When Marie Curie discovered radium, it was seen as a miracle element. Factories employed women to paint watch faces with radium so soldiers could read them in the trenches…but then the factory women began to fall ill and die in rapid numbers, launching an investigation into the true destructive nature of radium.

The Lost Roses by Martha Hall Kelly

In this novel, American Eliza is fast friends with Sofya, a cousin to the Romanovs. She visits Russia with Sofya’s family in 1914, just as war is breaking out, and quickly finds that Russia is no longer safe for her. She escapes back to the United States while Sofya’s family retreats to the countryside, and Eliza begins to fear the worst when Sofya’s letters stop, even as she continues to help Russian emigres find safe haven in New York.

George, Nicholas and Wilhelm: Three Royal Cousins and the Road to World War I by Miranda Carter

What few people realize is that in the early years of the twentieth century, Russia, Germany, and England were all ruled by a trio of cousins, descended from Queen Victoria. This book looks at their parallel lives, upbringings, and years ruling to help readers understand their part in one of the most devastating wars of the century.

Last Christmas in Paris by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb

In 1914, Evie waves her brother and his best friend Thomas off as they head to war, and the three make naive plans to meet in Paris for Christmas. As the war years stretch out, Evie and Thomas exchange letters, but have very different war experiences. Fifty years later, Thomas returns to Paris to fulfill a long ago promise, and finds one more letter waiting for him…

The Great Rescue: American Heroes, an Iconic Ship, and the Race to Save Europe in WWI by Peter Hernon

When war broke out in 1914, a German luxury liner was interned in New York Harbor and wasn’t permitted to sail back to Europe. When the U.S. entered the war, the Navy seized the ship and refurbished and renamed is the USS Leviathan, where it would go on to become one of the most feared and wanted ships on the Atlantic.

A Bend in the Stars by Rachel Barenbaum

Miri is studying to become a surgeon and her brother is a brilliant physicist when war breaks out in 1914. Although they’ve been brought up by their grandmother to distrust authority and always be ready to run, they hesitate at news of unrest, and then Miri’s brother and fiancé disappear, forcing her to risk her life during a solar eclipse to find out what happened to them.

War Fever: Boston, Baseball, and America in the Shadow of the Great War by Randy Roberts and Johnny Smith

If you want to understand what America was like in 1918, a time of war, illness, and uncertainty, then you need to pick up this book that looks at the lives of three men living in Boston at the time–a German conductor, a Harvard Law graduate, and Babe Ruth.

The End of Innocence by Allegra Jordan

Based on the true story of a controversial World War I memorial at Harvard University, the book is about Helen, a young woman at Harvard-Radcliffe who meets a British playboy and his German cousin and becomes fast friends with them. But when both cousins must go home to find on opposite sides of the war, Helen must take her own stand for what’s right.

The Great and Holy War: How World War I Became a Religious Crusade by Philip Jenkins

In this book, historian Philip Jenkins examines the religious influences that worked hand in hand with the political factors influencing WWI, and how the war affected modern Christianity, Judaism, and Islam–giving rise to more genocide and terror later on in the century. including Nazism and the Holocaust.

The Victory Garden by Rhys Bowen

When Emily’s Australian fiancee is sent to the front, she wants to do more for the war effort, and so she becomes a land girl, tending the fields on an all-but-forgotten estate. It’s there that she discovers books written by a mysterious medicine woman that help her understand nature and the land–all which prove to be her saving grace when disaster strikes.

Pandemic 1918 by Catharine Arnold

It’s impossible to study World War I without understanding how the Spanish influenza pandemic affected the war efforts. In this book, Arnold looks at how the influenza spread between troops and civilians alike, and how the medical community was unable to respond adequately due to being stretched thin thanks to the war.

Find more World War I books

Looking for more great nonfiction books? We’ve got recommendations for the best nonfiction book subscription services, and the best history book subscriptions boxes. Or, sign up for TBR: Tailored Book Recommendations! TBR is a personalized book recommendation service that sends you books you’ll love to read.

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15 Cute LGBT Books to Lift Your Spirits

For so long, whenever books starring queer characters were published, they were often focused on queer suffering or complicated coming out narratives. Those stories are very important, but the emotional weight can take a toll, too. Luckily for us, there are so many cute LGBT books on  shelves now that readers have more options. LGBT YA books in particular have been delivering cute, heartwarming, and funny queer stories for a few years, and we’re happy to showcase a variety of recent and upcoming cute LGBT books that will make you happy!

Late to the Party by Kelly Quindlen

Codi Teller is looking forward to a summer with her best friends Maritza and JaKory. All three of them are queer, and are itching for romance and adventures, but Codi isn’t quite brave enough to go with Maritza and JaKory to a stranger’s party…but then she ends up showing up late to bail out her drunk friends, and meets Ricky. Ricky is also gay, and they strike up a friendship that surprises and delights Codi, especially when he introduces her to his own friend group and she finds acceptance and a new crush. But Codi doesn’t tell Maritza and JaKory about any of it. This is a feel-good summer book about friendship, relationships, and community.

The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune

Linus is a rule-following, by-the-book auditor at the Department in Charge of Magical Youth, so he is sent to a mysterious island with the highest level security clearance to determine if the orphanage and the children who live there are safe. Upon arrival, Linus finds that these magical children are not like the others that he’s encountered, and neither is their caretaker, Arthur. With only a month to observe, Linus must determine whether or not they have the power to bring about the end of the world–and finds a loving, if unconventional family.

The Summer of Jordi Perez (and the best burger in Los Angeles) by Amy Spalding

What’s cuter than a rom-com? This is a delightful romantic book about Abby, who is so excited to have landed her dream internship at a size-inclusive clothing boutique in LA. She’s less enthused about having to share her internship with Jordi Perez, who isn’t so fashion forward, but is a whiz behind the camera. Plus, she has to compete with Jordi for a job at the end of the summer…which becomes difficult when Abby begins falling for her!

Stay Gold by Tobly McSmith

Pony wants to enjoy senior year without having to deal with all the attention he got for being trans at his last school. Georgia is a cheerleader who is starting to explore what kind of person she wants to be when high school is over but has sworn off dating in the meantime. When the two of them meet, sparks fly and they find themselves drawn to each other despite their own vows to be single.

Something to Talk About by Meryl WIlsner

Jo is a successful Hollywood show runner who stirs up some gossip when she makes her assistant Emma laugh while the two are on the red carpet. Suddenly the paparazzi are all over them, claiming that they’re a secret couple. As Jo and Emma try to deflect attention, they find that they’re supportive of each other like no one else…and maybe those insinuations aren’t so far from the truth.

This Is Kind of an Epic Love Story by Kacen Callender

Nathan doesn’t believe in epic love, especially not after his dad died and his mom hasn’t been able to pull herself together. But his best friend is determined to find Nathan the perfect guy. And then Ollie, Nathan’s childhood friend moves back and Nathan is very interested…but he has to clear up a years-old mix-up if he can ever hope to be with Ollie.

Tell Me How You Really Feel by Aminah Mae Safi

Rachel and Sana have been enemies since freshman year, and now with one month left in high school, a miscommunication puts them together for a final project that could make or break Rachel’s future. Despite past animosity, the two of them must find a way to work together, and as they do so, they find that maybe they don’t hate one another after all. This is an excellent and fun f/f romance with Gilmore Girls vibes.

Red White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

Alex became a media sensation when his mom was elected president of the United States, and the people love him. But when the public learns that Alex isn’t so friendly with Henry, a British prince, relations between the two countries fizzle. They’re thrown together for a staged reconciliation that the media eats up–but Alex finds that he likes Henry more than he expected to, and as they begin to fall for another,

You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson

Liz has never felt like she truly fits in in her small town, but she’s looking forward to college when she can escape. Then her funding falls through, and she has to find a new plan. That’s when she realizes that she has to become prom queen–and snag the scholarship that comes with the title. But when Liz becomes friends with Mack, who is also running for queen, her plan is complicated by falling for the competition.

George by Alex Gino

Although it’s difficult to find novels about transgender characters that don’t deal with sad or tragic events, this book is pretty cute and winds up being overall uplifting. It’s about George, who knows in her heart she’s a girl, but doesn’t know how to tell the world. When she confides in her best friend, Kelly, they come up with a plan to get George to star as Charlotte in the class production of Charlotte’s Web–because once everyone has seen the George can play Charlotte, they’ll recognize her true self.

Only Mostly Devastated by Sophie Gonzales

Will and Ollie have the perfect summer fling before Ollie returns home…only for a family emergency to send him moving across the country and into a new school at the last minute. And who should attend this school but Will. Except, he’s not the same Will Ollie knew this summer. He’s closeted. And kind of a jerk. Ollie decides to wash his hands of Will, but Will seems to be everywhere he turns, and Ollie is left deciding whether or not he’s willing to take another chance with a guy who has his own complicated issues.

Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker and Wendy Xu

Nova is a witch, happily apprenticed to her grandmother. She spends her time working in her grandmother’s bookshop and monitoring magical activity in her community. On her patrols, she runs into a werewolf who turns out to be Tam, Nova’s childhood best friend . Delighted, Nova takes Tam home, and learns that they’re destined to face the horse demon….but they don’t know how to defeat it. Nova insists on helping Tam, and as they research how to fight the demon, they begin to fall in love with one another. But Tam’s past is about to come knocking. This is a delightful graphic novel, beautifully illustrated with the perfect amount of magic.

Date Me, Bryson Keller by Kevin van Whye

When Bryson Keller takes a dare to date someone new each week–the first person to ask him out each Monday–everyone thinks it’s just a big joke. Then, Kai asks Bryson out, and he agrees. And the more Kai gets to know Bryson, the more he falls for him…but Bryson is straight, and Kai doesn’t want to get hurt. But perhaps Bryson isn’t as straight as he once thought.

I Wish You All the Best by Mason Deaver

Although this book isn’t without its heartbreak, it’s a triumphant and romantic story about Ben, who is kicked out of the house when they come out as nonbinary and must move in with their estranged sister. As they start a new school and attempt to fly under the radar, not coming out to anyone there, Ben meets Nathan, who befriends them and looks out for them. But as the school year progresses, Ben’s feelings deepen and they have to find out if they want to take a chance on coming out to Nathan.

The Lotterys Plus One by Emma Donoghue

This delightful middle grade novel is about one big unconventional family living in a Victorian house in Toronto. When a gay couple and a lesbian couple win the lottery, they decide to share their earnings and coparent their children. Nine-year-old Sumac is a thoughtful, sensitive middle child who is forced to give up her room when one of her dad’s fathers comes to stay with them–and he isn’t entirely comfortable with their lifestyle. Although this book deals with big issues, it’s a delightful update on the family story genre.

Find more cute LGBT books!

Want more great cute LGBT books? We’ve got you covered! And if you’re looking for customized book recommendations, check out TBR: Tailored Book Recommendations. TBR is a personalized book recommendation service that takes into account your personal reading tastes, then offers you handpicked recommendations.

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New True Crime Books in 2020

If you can’t get enough of real-life crime and drama, good news! This is a fantastic year for new true crime books 2020, and we’ve got a list of 15 must-reads for you! From historical serial killers to wildlife smugglers, the murder of environmental activists to true crime anthologies, there’s something here for every crime reader!

Note: The true crime genre is still not nearly diverse as it ought to be–something we hope publishing is working to address!

Historical True Crime

America’s First Female Serial Killer: Jane Toppan and the Making of a Monster by Mary Kay McBrayer

In this book, McBrayer tells the story of Jane Toppan, an Irish American nurse who was abandoned as a child, adopted by a wealthy family and then rejected by them, and then became a nurse who would go on to be known as the country’s first female serial killer.

Race Against Time: A Reporter Reopens the Unsolved Murder Cases of the Civil Rights Era by Jerry Mitchell

In 1964, three Civil Rights workers were murdered by the Ku Klux Klan, and although the identity of those Klan members were an open secret, it took forty-one years for justice to be served. This is the story of how the Mississippi Burning case was brought to justice through the tireless efforts of a journalist.

American Sherlock: Murder, Forensics, and the Birth of American CSI by Kate Winkler Dawson

For fans of The Poisoner’s Handbook, pick up this book about Edward Oscar Heinrich, a California scientist in the 1930’s who would go on to solve thousands of cases thanks to his analysis of forensic evidence, a science that he helped pioneer.

Nonviolent True Crime

The Falcon Thief: A True Tale of Adventure, Treachery, and the Hunt for the Perfect Bird by Joshua Hammer

For fans of The Feather Thief, pick up this account of Jeffrey Lendrum, a smuggler who was wanted for traveling throughout the world stealing rare raptor eggs and endangering entire species, and the detectives who brought him to justice.

The Scientist and the Spy: A True Story of China, the FBI, and Industrial Espionage by Mara Hvistendahl

This fascinating account starts in 2011, when three Chinese men were arrested in Iowa for trespassing on a corn field owned by Monsanto, and quickly spiraled into a global counterintelligence investigation against the Chinese government. 

True Crime for Our Times

The Third Rainbow Girl: The Long Life of a Double Murder in Appalachia by Emma Copley Eisenburg

In 1980 West Virginia, Vicki Durian and Nancy Santomero were brutally murdered while hitchhiking to a Rainbow Festival. For years, their murderer went unidentified, although people in the nearby communities were certain they knew who the killer was. Emma spent years in the area, investigating this crime and examining the effects of the murders on the community.

Broken Faith: Inside the Word of Faith Fellowship, One of America’s Most Dangerous Cults by Mitch Weiss and Holbrook Mohr

This book explores the Word of Faith Fellowship, a cult led by Jane Whaley, who started gathering followers in 1979. This book follows not only her rise in popularity and the bizarre and oppressive rules to enforces on her followers, but the traumatic experience one family went through trying to escape.

Yellow Bird: Oil, Murder, and a Woman’s Search for Justice in Indian Country by Sierra Crane Murdoch

Lissa Yellow Bird, a resident of Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in North Dakota, became increasingly concerned when she returned home in 2009 to find her tribe and her home dramatically altered by the oil boom. She became even more worried when a young oil worker disappeared from his worksite, and no one seemed overly concerned. This is a fascinating look at a woman’s obsessive search for truth.

Magnetized: Conversations with a Serial Killer by Carlos Busqued and Samuel Rutter

Over the course of a week in 1982, Ricardo Melogno murdered four taxi drivers in Buenos Aires in cold blood, for seemingly no reason. He was arrested and imprisoned, where he remains to this day despite serving out his sentence. Carlos Busqued began visiting Melogno in prison thirty years later, talking to him about his life and eventually, the crimes. The result is this book, which shows readers a glimpse at the life of a killer.

Relentless Pursuit: My Fight for the Victims of Jeffrey Epstein by Bradley J. Edwards with Brittany Henderson

Bradley J. Edwards, a lawyer, reveals how he first met a woman who was one of Jeffrey Epstein’s victims, and how he went on to represent her and many other victims in his pursuit to take down Epstein–and how Epstein’s team tried to outrun and intimidate him at every turn.

Unspeakable Acts: True Tales of Crime, Murder, Deceit, and Obsession by Sarah Weinman

The author of The Real Lolita has collected thirteen of the best (short) true crime accounts in this anthology, picking viral pieces such as “Dee Dee Wanted Her Daughter to Be Sick” by Michelle Dean and other original pieces that explore the best writers in the true crime genre.

Who Killed Berta Cáceres?: The Murder of an Indigenous Defender and the Race to Save the Planet by Nina Lakhani

Berta Cáceres was a Honduran and indigenous environmental activist who worked hard to protect the land and her people’s rights–but that made very unpopular in the government’s eyes. Months after winning the world’s most prestigious prize for environmental activism, she was murdered, and Lakhani investigates who is behind the crime in this true account.

Find more new true crime books

Are you interested in more mysteries and new true crime books? We’ve got recommendations for the best mystery book recommendations for book clubs!

Or, sign up for TBR: Tailored Book Recommendations! TBR is a personalized book recommendation service that sends you books you’ll love. Here’s how it works: Simply fill out the reader survey and let us know what you want more of–such as new true crime books 2020–and what you’re not keen on. Then, an expert Biblioligist will read your responses and recommend three books just for you. Receive your recommendation letter via email in about two weeks, or opt to receive your recommendations as brand new hardcovers from our partner, Print: A Bookstore in Portland, ME in about three to four weeks. 

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Adult Fairy Tales for the Young at Heart

Just because you’re a grown up doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy fairy tales–after all, some of those stories weren’t exactly told with young audiences in mind. We’ve rounded up a list of fifteen adult fairy tales, dark fairy tales, and fairy tale retellings that are perfect for losing yourself in. Here we go!

How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse by K. Eason

If you like fairy tales with humor and a bit of space exploration, pick up this hilarious book that plays with fairy tale conventions. Rory Thorne thought she was going to inherit her father’s throne, and his interplanetary consortium, but then he was assassinated and her baby brother was born, and now she’s been sent to marry a far-off prince. When she arrives, she learns that an evil regent is bent on taking all of her future husband’s power, and she has to go rescue the prince before it’s too late.

White As Milk, Red as Blood: The Forgotten Fairy Tales of Franz Xaver von Schönwerth by Franz Xaver von Schönwerth, Willow Dawson, and Shelley Tanaka

Franz Xaver von Schönwerth was, like the Brothers Grimm, a man keenly interested in folk tales and fairy tales of Bavaria and traveled throughout the region in the 1850’s to collect stories, faithfully recording them without editorializing. His manuscripts were rediscovered in a German archive, and have now been translated to English for the first time, revealing darker tales and interesting twists on gender, magic, and violence. This illustrated edition is definitely not for kids–but adults will find it deliciously dark.

Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado

In this dark and magical collection of short stories, Machado spins original tales about romance, lust, longing, and the lengths people go to possess one another. From a wife who wears a ribbon around her neck to a boutique full of beautiful dresses in a world where girls are fading into nothingness, this strange collection is full of original fairy tales for a new generation.

Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi

This is a retelling of Snow White, set in the mid 20th century New England and told from the point of view of Boy, who marries a widower with a beautiful daughter named Snow, and finds herself thrown off kilter when the birth of her own daughter reveals that her husband’s family has been passing as white. Boy banishes Snow, but as Snow grows older, her curiosity about her stepmother leads to their reunion.

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

Vasilisa grew up listening to the old stories and following the old traditions. She’s the youngest child, the only girl, and she has a special touch with the nature and creatures that around her home in the deep Russian north. But when a new stepmother from Moscow arrives, she declares that Vasilisa’s practices are paganism and forbids her from continuing, putting the entire village’s lives at peril as a new darkness closes in.

Uprooted by Naomi Novik

In the valley, Agnieszka knows happiness and a simple life. But at the edge of the valley is a woods brimming with darkness, and the only thing holding it back is a wizard known as the Dragon. In return for his help, he demands that the villagers send him one young woman once every ten years. Agnieszka is worried her best friend will be chosen–but that’s not who the Dragon picks.

The Starlit World edited by Navah Wolfe and Dominic Parisien

In this anthology, some of the best sci-fi and fantasy writers have retold numerous fairy tales, giving them a modern twist. These retold stories range from western, sci-fi, and even dystopian genres, and are penned by Charlie Jane Anders, Aliette de Bodard, Amal El-mohtar, Jeffrey Ford, Max Gladstone, Theodora Goss, Daryl Gregory, Kat Howard, Stephen Graham Jones, Margo Lanagan, Marjorie Liu, Seanan McGuire, Garth Nix, Naomi Novik, Sofia Samatar, Karin Tidbeck, Catherynne M. Valente, and Genevieve Valentine.

The Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo

In this historical tale inspired by folk tales and legends, Ji Lin is working as a dance hall girl when one of her customers slips something strange and gruesome in her pocket. Ren is a houseboy looking to fulfill his master’s dying wish: that his body be reunited with his finger, severed years earlier. As Red and Ji Lin’s paths cross, a tiger lurks in the night.

The Seventh Bride by T Kingfisher

When Rhea, a peasant, is proposed to by Lord Craven, she can’t say no. But she knows there’s something off about him, which is confirmed when she is whisked away to his remote manor, and she learns that he’s been married six times already. She refuses to become his seventh bride, but first Lord Craven gives her a series of impossible tests to solve before dawn–or she shall lose her freedom forever.

There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbor’s Baby: Scary Fairy Tales by Ludmilla Petrushevskaya and Keith Gessen

Written by one of Russia’s most prominent authors, this collection of scary and short fairy tales is in the tradition of Gogol and Edgar Allan Poe. They feature bleak and humorous stories of Russian people living under the Soviet government, with unexpected twists of magic and violence. This book is not for the faint of heart!

The Changeling by Victor LaValle

Apollo Kagwa’s father disappeared when he was a young child, leaving behind unanswered questions and a mysterious box of books. When Apollo becomes a father himself, he and his wife Emma struggle with the sleepless nights and hardships of caring for a newborn, but then Emma begins acting very odd before she vanishes altogether with their son, leading Apollo on an epic quest to find his family.

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

Set in Alaska in 1920, this book is about Jack and Mabel, a homesteading couple who are desperately lonely and wish for a child of their own, and one day build a little girl out of snow. The next day, their snow child is gone, replaced by a real child who exists in the winter woods on her own. Jack and Mabel come to love her life a daughter, but they soon uncover her secrets.

The Midnight Robber by Nalo Hopkinson

Set during Carnival on a Carribean-settled planet, the Robber Queen is a legend that Tan-Tan adores. But when her father commits a horrific crime, she finds herself in a foreign and terrifying landscape, and she must become her own hero in order to save herself.

The Merry Spinster by Daniel M. Ortberg (previously published as Mallory Ortberg)

This collection of short stories reimagines children’s tales and fairy tales as new stories for modern adults, feminist, mischievous and wrought with psychological horror. The tales are adapted from Ortberg’s popular column on The Toast, “Children’s Stories made Horrific.”

Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Casiopea lives with her horrid family in 1920’s Mexico, cleaning and enduring abuse until one day she opens a mysterious box and accidentally unleashes the Mayan god of death. He immediately enlists Casiopea’s help in reclaiming his throne, and she has no choice to follow on a wild adventure that will take her far from home.

Find more adult fairy tales

Looking for more great adult fairy tales and fantasy books? Check out the best fantasy book subscription services! Or, simply sign up for TBR: Tailored Book Recommendations! TBR is a personalized book recommendation service that send you books you’ll love to read.

Here’s how it works: Simply fill out the reader survey and let us know what you want more of–such as fairy tales for adults–and what you’re not keen on. Then, an expert Biblioligist will read your responses and recommend three books just for you. Receive your recommendation letter via email in about two weeks, or opt to receive your recommendations as brand new hardcovers from our partner, Print: A Bookstore in Portland, ME in about three to four weeks. 

Learn more and sign up now!

The Best Funny Sci-fi Books

If you love your science fiction with a heaping side of humor, then you’ve come to the right place! Many people immediately think of Douglas Adams when they think of funny sci-fi books, but there are so many more light-hearted sci-fi books out there that deserve a wide audience, beyond The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy! We’ve rounded up fifteen of the best newer and upcoming funny sci-fi books that should be on your radar! 

Chilling Effect by Valerie Vladez

Captain Eva Innocente runs a cargo ship that ferries goods across the universe, and she captains the best crew she could ask for. But when a shady corporation kidnaps her sister and demands an impossible ransom, she must scramble to raise the fund–and the harder it gets, the more she lies, alienating her loyal crew.

All Systems Red by Martha Waters

In this novella, an android meant to accompany humans and look to their safety on interplanetary missions has somehow become sentient, hacked its own system to gain control of its actions, and privately refers to itself as “Murderbot.” Murderbot can’t stand humans, and just wants to be left alone…but when a crew on a nearby mission goes missing, Murderbot will have to join its humans to help find them.

Redshirts by John Scalzi

Andrew has just been assigned to the Intrepid, a ship that conducts deep-space exploratory missions and is run by legendary senior crew members. He thinks it’s the perfect opportunity to learn from the best, but then he realizes that someone always dies on these away missions, and it’s never the senior crew members…

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Ezra and Kady have just broken up when an evil corporation attacks their planet and sends them and many others fleeing their galaxy, looking for refuge. Now they have to work together (awkward) to not only outrun their enemy, but also discover who their enemy is working for, and how to stop them. This is the first in a hilarious, action-packed trilogy.

How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe by Charles Yu

In this meta novel, Yu tells the story of a Minor Universe, where people use time travel to hop around and change their own timelines to make their lives better. It’s Yu’s job to save them from themselves, and work as a time travel technician. After all, his dad invented time travel and then disappeared–but the key to finding him might be in a book he left behind: How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe.

Space Opera by Catherynne M. Valente

In this hilarious novel, the Metagalactic Grand Prix is an event of the universe, where sentient species must compete to prove their worth and sentience–and if they fail, their entire race is exterminated. This year, humanity has been discovered and where they expected a competition of military strength and diplomacy, they instead find that they need to send an emissary to help them win what is essentially a beauty pageant and talent show rolled into one.

Warcross by Marie Lu

Warcross is an online international gaming sensation, and Emika works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who make illegal bets. When desperation drives her to do a little illegal hacking of her own, she accidentally goes viral…and then is hired by the gam designer to figure out who has fixed the upcoming world championship. This is a fast-paced book with some excellent dark humor.

The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

Have you ever wondered what was going on with the “normal” people in the background of speculative stories about the chosen ones? In this satirical and experimental novel, Ness tells the stories of the normal people who live alongside and go to school with the extraordinary chosen ones who are superheroes fighting villains, evil, and the supernatural, and what life is like for someone who might be very ordinary–but no less important.

Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

Gideon is an indentured servant of the Ninth House who has been planning her escape for a long time–only to be pissed off when her nemesis, Harrowhark, botches it at the last minute. Harrow has a proposal: Accompany her on a strange mission to compete against representatives from the other houses for a chance at eternal life. If they lose, Gideon can go her own way. Sure, why not? But Gideon has no idea just how dangerous this mission is going to be.

How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse by K. Eason

In this fairy tale and sci-fi mashup, Rory Thorne always thought she’d inherit her father’s throne (and his interplanetary consortium) but when he’s assassinated and her little brother is born, she finds herself betrothed to a rather weak prince galaxies away. She arrives right in the middle of a thick plot to overthrow her future husband, and must outsmart some sly villains and rescue a prince.

The Last Human by Zack Jordan

Sarya is the last human, and she’s got to remain vigilant in order to protect her secret identity. It doesn’t really give her a lot of time to ponder why humanity was deemed too dangerous to exist, but when a bounty hunter discovers her secret, Sara must go on the run with an unlikely crew to get to the bottom of why humanity disappeared.

Polaris Rising by Jessie Mihalick

Ada has grown up in relative privilege and power, but she’s really nothing more than a political pawn. She ran away from home when her father tried to arrange her marriage and managed two years of freedom before she was caught and thrown into prison with Marcus, nicknamed the Devil for his nefarious deeds. When a chance at escape comes, Ada will have to decide if she wants to risk taking it with Marcus–or face her father.

Super Extra Grande by Yoss

In this Cuban sci-fi tale, Dr. Sangan is a veterinary specialist whose patients are extremely large and complex aliens. When one swallows two ambassadors, causing political turmoil, Dr. Sangan is called in to find and rescue them–even as he has feelings for both of them!

Gate Crashers by Patrick S. Tomlinson

For fans of first contact stories, pick up this book about the crew of the Magellan (Maggie for short) who discovers a large alien structure and are determined to tow it back to Earth to study–but bring a lot of trouble down on themselves when they discover that the aliens are rather fond of this particular structure and like it just where it is.

The AI Who Loved Me by Alyssa Cole

Trinity is a government researcher working from home and trying to recover from a traumatic event when she meets Li Wei, the hot nephew of her neighbor whose odd but endearing behavior catches her notice. Then Trinity discovers the truth–Li Wei is an A.I. whose objective is to learn how to become human. She’s happy to help, but the more she helps, the more Trinity finds herself falling for Li Wei. This is a mostly lighthearted romance with some excellent moments of humor.

Find more funny sci-fi books

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The Best Found Family YA Books

Sometimes you’re born into a family, and sometimes you have to create your own. That becomes even more apparent as soon as we come of age and define our own values, which are sometimes separate from those that raised us–or as we discover a family when we don’t have any nearby. These 15 YA books showcase some of the best examples of found family across genres, so if you’ve ever felt alone, pick up one of these books for a bit of comfort-reading.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

In this found family fantasy book, six strangers are assembled because of their particular talents, with one very important mission: pull off a heist against a hostile foreign nation. Although these six young people are from very different walks of life, they must learn how to trust and depend on one another if they’re to make it through alive.

Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor

Sunny is caught between worlds–she’s Nigerian, albino, and she doesn’t feel like she belongs anywhere, until she discovers that she possesses magical powers, and must join three other students with magic to track down a dangerous criminal who is ready to turn on them. If you like the found-family aspect of Harry Potter, you definitely need to pick up this book!

The Good Luck Girls by Charlotte Nicole Davis

In this western-inspired fantasy, five young women are living in a “welcome house” when one of them kills a bad man, and they all must go on the run in order to survive. With no one to rely on by themselves, and no destination save rumors of a safe haven that might not even exist, they must battle human and inhuman monsters in order to survive.

The Dengenerates by J. Albert Mann

Four abandoned young women in 1928 Boston find each other in one of the worst possible place–a school for “feebleminded” girls where they’ve all been imprisoned. London is the newest inmate, and she quickly falls in with Maxine, Rose, and Alice. They have each other’s backs and look out for one another, but London is determined to run away. But the longer she stays, the harder it is to abandon her friends, and she must find a way for all of them to escape.

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

In this first book in the Wayward Children series, Nancy tumbled out of our world and into another…but then she came back. Lost and confused, she’s sent to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children, a school for kids who’ve gone to other worlds but come back, and need help adjusting. Throughout the series, an eclectic group of teens find comfort in each other, and look for their lost worlds along the way.

Lumberjanes by Noelle Stevenson, Shannon Watters, Grace Ellis, and Brooke A. Allen

Jo, April, Mal, Ripley, and Molly are five BFF’s living in Cabin Roanoke at their summer camp for “hardcore lady types” where strange happenings and supernatural occurrences are the norm. Throughout their numerous hijinks and misadventures, they never forget what’s most important–friendship to the max. This is a fun comics series about friends who are as close as family!

Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson

In this first in a trilogy, Lee has a secret: she can sense when gold is near. At the dawn of the Gold Rush, she finds her parents killed and must go on the run to California in order to stay one step ahead of their killer. Joined by her best friend, she and the rest of their company headed west form a tight bond as they outrun danger, and Lee tries to hide her gift in order to protect her new family–but using it may be the only way to keep them all alive.

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

If you like high-stakes found family fantasy books, pick up this excellent magical book set in Paris in 1889. Séverin Montagnet-Alarie is a wealthy hotelier who is offered a chance to to track down a dark artifact in exchange for his true inheritance. And so he assembled a team of unlikely people to assist him, and together they uncover dark secrets.

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Blue has always been told she’s destined to kill the boy she falls in love with, but that always seemed like a distant worry until she meets Gansey, Ronan, Adam, and Noah: the Raven Boys. They’re on a mission, led by Gansey, to find a lost Welsh king, and Blue joins them, not knowing what dangers await them. This series is as much about Blue finding the Raven Boys as it is about  the Raven Boys finding each other.

Dress Codes for Small Towns by Courtney Stevens

Billie lives in a small town where she feels like an outcast as the preacher’s daughter…but at least she has her solid group of friends: Woods, Mash, Davey, Fifty, and Janie Lee. But when Janie Lee confesses that she’s got a crush on Woods, Billie realizes that she does, too…and she also likes Janie Lee. This is a complicated book about friendship, family, and small town living, with a solid friend group at its heart.

Illuminae Files by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

In this action-packed sci-fi series, a group of teens in a tucked-away corner of the galaxy find themselves thrown together when a shady corporation attacks an illegal mining operation on a small planet. Out of necessity and tragedy, this unlikely group must learn how to trust each other and take care of each other as they fight to outmaneuver their enemies.

On a Sunbeam by Tillie Walden

In this stunning and dreamy graphic novel, two timelines play out: In the present, Mia is the newest member of tight-knit crew of restorers, whose job is to break down and repurpose abandoned space stations throughout the galaxy. But Mia is haunted by her past. When she was at a space station boarding school years earlier, she made a friend who disappeared one night. Mia wants to find her, no matter the danger–and her newfound family might be able to help.

Mariam Sharma Hits the Road by Sheba Karim

In this road trip adventure, Mariam is excited to spend her summer after freshman year of college reconnecting and hanging out with her two best friends, Ghazala and Umar. But when Ghazala does something that makes her parents furious, the three decide to skip town and hit the road for New Orleans for a formative trip that has them reconsidering family and appreciative of the people you choose in your life.

Seafire by Natalie C. Parker

Caledonia Styx has no one after a warlord kills her family. She builds a new life for herself aboard the Mors Navis, where she captains a crew of others who are orphaned and abandoned. But when her best friend is nearly killed, only to be saved by a defector looking to join them, Caledonia must decide if she’s willing to risk her found family for revenge.

Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson

When Mila Flores’s best friend dies, she’s devastated–and no way does she believe for a single second that Riley died by suicide. So she performs a ritual to bring Riley back–and she ends up bringing back two high school mean girls as well. Now the four of them must band together and rely on each other in order to figure out who really killed all three of them–and Mila must figure out how to open herself up to new friendships and possibilities. 

Looking for more excellent YA book recommendations? We’ve got you covered. And if you’re hoping for more recommendations on specific topics, such as found family YA books,  check out TBR: Tailored Book Recommendations. TBR is a great service that offers quarterly personalized book recommendations based on what you want to read more of. All you have to do to get started is fill out our reader survey, and then you’ll be matched with an expert Bibliologist who will hand-pick three books just for you, and write you a recommendation letter. Receive your recommendation letter via email in about two weeks, or you can opt to receive your letter and your recommended books from our partner, Print: A Bookstore in Portland, ME in 3-4 weeks! Learn more and get started today!

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous Book Club Questions

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong is the moving story of a young man known as Little Dog, written as a letter addressed to his illiterate Vietnamese mother. It reveals a family history that begins in Vietnam and moves to the United States when he is just a child, where he comes of age living with a single mother and his grandmother in Connecticut. Through excavating his history and revisiting various moments of his youth, Little Dog reveals parts of himself that his mother has never known, working up to an emotional climax. 

This acclaimed novel was on the longlist for the National Book Award, the Carnegie Award, and the PEN/Hemingway Award for a first novel. It was shortlisted for Center for Fiction First Novel Prize and won the New England Book Award for fiction, among many other accolades. It’s no surprise that with a novel as acclaimed as this, it’s chosen left and right for book club discussions. We’ve rounded up a list of On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous book club questions, discussion prompts, and themes to help you prepare for your next book club meeting!

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous book club questions

Did you know anything about this book before you picked it up? What surprised you, if anything?

Discuss the meaning and significance behind Little Dog’s name. Do you believe that the reasoning behind naming him Little Dog has had the desire effect?

What do you think the value is in writing a letter to someone who won’t or can’t read it?

What were some of your favorite lines or metaphors in this book?

What are your thoughts on Vuong’s writing style? Did you find it accessible, or too overwhelming? Does knowing that Vuong is also a poet affect your perception of his prose?

In what ways did Little Dog’s grandmother’s and mother’s trauma affect their relationships, both with each other and Little Dog? How did it affect Little Dog’s childhood? Do you think that Little Dog’s mother’s actions are redeemable?

Discuss the concept of inherited family trauma. Do you think understanding your family’s past and their traumatic experiences helps to understand them, love them better?

Compare and contrast Little Dog’s relationship with his mother and grandmother with his relationship with Trevor.

Discuss how Trevor and Little Dog connect–both emotionally and physically. What it is about Trevor that appeals to Little Dog?

At one point, Little Dog says, “Let no one mistake us for the fruit of violence — but rather, that violence, having passed through the fruit, failed to spoil it.” Do you agree with this perspective? 

This book is heavy on the gorgeous language, but light on plot. Did that work for you? Why or why not?

Towards the end of the book, Little Dog notes that although his book is about death, it’s also about life–discuss how life and death are interconnected, like two heads on the same coin, in this book.

Why do you think Little Dog wrote this letter? Was it more for his mother, or for himself?

Ocean Vuong has published a book of poetry in addition to this novel–are you interested in reading it? Would you read another novel by Vuong?

Discuss the significance of the title, and the line in the book that inspires it. Do you think the title is fitting for this book?

Vuong’s work touches upon many themes: Family history and trauma, race, class, privilege, masculinity, addiction, the nature of love, and physical connection. What themes appealed to you the most as a reader? What themes do you think Vuong explored well? Is there a theme you wish he’d spent more time on?

Find your next book club read

If your book club is looking for more great books to read, then check out our guide to the best book club books of 2020! Looking for more literary fiction? We’ve got you covered there too.

And if you’re still looking for more amazing literary fiction titles perfectly suited to your reading tastes, check out TBR: Tailored Book Recommendations! TBR is a quarterly personalized book subscription service that puts you in control of what you want to receive. Simply fill out the reader survey and let us know your favorite books, genres, and what you’re not so fond of. You can even request recommendations in certain genres and categories (such as literary fiction for book clubs, or books like On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous), and drop in a link to your Goodreads profile! Then, you’ll be matched with an expert Bibliologist who will brainstorm three books, just for you! They’ll write you a recommendation letter, and you can choose to receive your recommendations either via email, or with three new hardcover books that show up in the mail from our partner, Print: A Bookstore in Portland, ME! The emailed recommendation letter is great for readers who enjoy ebooks and audiobooks or are library power users, and the hardcover level is perfect for anyone who enjoys getting brand new books in the mail. Learn more and get started today!

New Romance Books to TBR in 2020

Another year means another great landslide of swoon-worthy romance novels that you’ll want to get your hands on ASAP! If you’re a big-time romance reader, you might already know about the new Jasmine Guillory and Sarah MacLean books hitting shelves this year, but here are 10 more great new romance books coming in 2020 that you’ll want on your radar!

If I Never Met You by Mhairi McFarlane

Laurie is devastated when her partner breaks up with her, and what’s worse is that they work at the same law firm, and she sees him every day…and is one of the first to hear that his new girlfriend is pregnant. Laurie needs a new boyfriend, like, yesterday. Then she’s trapped in an elevator with Jamie, the office playboy. A plan hatches, and as the two enter into a fake relationship with specific goals and an end date in mind, Laurie finds it’s a lot of fun–but she definitely can’t fall for him for real!

Girl Gone Viral by Alisha Rai

It was just an innocent, pleasant conversation between two strangers, but when Katrina discovers that her exchange with a guy at a coffee shop was live-tweeted and has gone viral, suddenly everyone is looking for her and shipping her with a perfect stranger. This is no good, as Katrina is still recovering from a traumatic past and doesn’t want to be found. Enter her bodyguard, who offers his family farm as a refuge. It’s there that Katrina discovers that maybe love isn’t so far out of reach.

Beach Read by Emily Henry

Augustus and January are both novelists, but they couldn’t be more different. He writes literary fiction, she writes romances. Both are stuck in a rut and each other’s neighbors for the summer, and so they make a pact that they’ll change up their writing styles. Augustus will write something happy, and January will write something serious, and they’ll help each other along the way…and try not to fall in love.

Something to Talk About by Meryl Wilsner

When Jo, a Hollywood producer, makes her assistant Emma laugh at a red carpet event, the tabloids go wild and assume the two are a couple. Suddenly, they’re being stalked by paparazzi and treated differently by coworkers, which is a weird feeling since there’s definitely nothing romantic between Jo and Emma. And yet, as this experience causes them to open up to each other, they can’t deny a spark of something that might be real…

Recipe for Persuasion by Sonali Dev

In this second book in the Raje family series, Ashna is a chef who’s off her game. She decides to join the cast of the reality TV show Cooking with the Stars to prove she’s got what it takes, but she’s completely shocked when the celebrity she’s paired up with is none other than the soccer star who ghosted her years earlier. They both want to prove that they’re over each other, but that might not be completely true.

Two Rogues Make a Right by Cat Sebastian

Will has been searching for Martin, his oldest friend gone missing, for ages, and when he finally finds him in a weakened state, living in an old attic, he whisks him away to the countryside to nurse him back to health. Martin is grateful for the rescue, but torn about how Will now insists on waiting on him hand and foot. Martin knows they can never build a life together and doesn’t want Will to waste his time…but with a little time, patience, and ingenuity, they find that maybe the life they’ve always dreamed of is possible.

Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert

Dani is a busy PhD student who doesn’t have time to get burned by romance again–all she wants is a nice friends with benefits situation. When a fire drill does sideways and she’s rescued by former rugby player turned security guard Zafir, it seems like she’s found the perfect candidate. But then their rescue goes viral and Zafir begs her to pretend they’re dating, to help his charity gain publicity, and how can Dani say no? The only problem is, Zafir definitely wants to be more than friends…and Dani might want that, too.

The Care and Feeding of Waspish Widows by Olivia Waite

When Agatha finds that her warehouse is infested by bees, it’s only the latest in a long line of disastrous events that could send her printing business toppling into ruin. But when a beautiful beekeeper named Penelope comes to her rescue, Agatha finds herself falling. The only problem is that Penelope’s husband has recently resurfaced, and Penelope feels caught between social classes, the woman she loves, and the man she’s indebted to in this historical romance.

A Rogue of One’s Own by Evie Dunmore

Head back to Victorian England at the heart of the suffragist movement in this second book in the League of Extraordinary Women series! Lady Lucie and her band of suffragists have raised enough money to take over a major London publishing house, and they’ve got big plans to publish materials to sway Parliament to their cause. Enter Lord Ballentine, a man who is willing to give Lucie what she wants…for a price. As Lucie tries to outmaneuver him, she also tries to resist falling for him.

How to Catch a Queen by Alyssa Cole

Shanti has an arranged marriage, and her new husband is Sanyu, the new king of Njaza. While she is surprised to find chemistry with her new partner, she’s disappointed that no one in her new nation is willing to listen to an outsider, even with Sanyu’s full support. And when tensions rise and Shanti goes on the run, Sanyu must unite his country and find his queen before she’s lost to them forever.

Are you looking for more great new romance books and new releases? Sign up for TBR: Tailored Book Recommendations. TBR is a personalized book recommendation service that takes into account what you want to read more of. Simply fill out our reader survey, indicate what you want to read more of (such as new romance novels!), and you’ll be matched with an expert Bibliologist who will recommend books just for you. Choose to get your recommendations via email (perfect for the library power-user or ebook reader), or choose to receive your recommendations as brand-new hardcovers from our partner, Print: A Bookstore in Portland, ME! Learn more and get signed up, and check out more resources for keeping up with new romance releases!

15 of the Best Funny Fantasy Books

Do you like a hearty dose of laughter along with your magical creatures? While some people may not head to fantasy novels for the laughs, there are a whole bunch of fantastical and funny fantasy books out there that provide some escapism and comic relief. We rounded up fifteen of the funniest fantasy books that go beyond masters like Terry Pratchett and Jasper Fforde–so get ready to fall down a rabbit hole of laughter and magic!

The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune

Linus Baker works in the Department in Charge of Magical Youth, and his latest assignment is rather odd: He must travel to Arthur Parnassus’s orphanage and evaluate six children to determine what the chances are that they’ll bring about the end of the world. But when Linus arrives, it’s clear that Arthur is safeguarding some pretty big secrets about these children, and will do whatever it takes to keep them safe.

Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

This book is a bananpants mix of sci-fi and fantasy with a dash of horror thrown in for good measure, and it’s hilarious. Set on an abandoned space station, Gideon is a sword-fighting cavalier sworn to protect her worst enemy as she uses necromancy to figure out how to win the emperor’s competition. The winners get immortal life, but it’s not an easy prize to obtain, especially when the murders begin. This book has a strong voice, and is the start of a trilogy!

Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

Elisabeth is a Librarian’s apprentice at one of her kingdom’s Great Libraries, and she loves her job protecting innocent people from evil grimoires. But when a grimoire escapes one night, wreaking havoc, Elisabeth is blamed and must align herself with a notorious sorcerer and his demon servant in order to clear her name. This is a lively and humorous fantasy standalone with high stakes.

The Order of the Pale Moon Reflected on Water by Zen Cho

In this delightful novella, a nun joins a gang of bandits, horrifying them all by the impropriety of it. But she’s got nowhere else to turn to–religious persecution in their land has rendered her homeless. But when she discovers that the bandits have in their possession very important religious relics, she highjacks their mission, with unexpected results.

Soulless by Gail Carriger

All of Gail Carriger’s Victorian steampunk novels populated with vampires and werewolves are hysterically funny, but you might as well start out with her debut novel and the first in the Parasol Protectorate series. Lady Alexia Tarrabotti is a spinster, and she’s soulless–her touch renders immortal mortal. For that reason she’s feared, but when someone tries to kill her, she must work with a brooding werewolf earl in order to get to the bottom of the mystery. It’s one of the best funny fantasy books with a touch of romance.

My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows

In this hilarious romp, England’s history is rewritten and given a light fantasy makeover. Lady Jane Grey is about to be married to a stranger named Gifford, who is secretly Eðian–that is, he turns into a horse during the day, and reverts to human form at night. Throw in a young King Edward who is sick and dying but determined to have his first kiss before he goes, and you have the makings for an outrageous adventure. This is also the first in a series!

SuperMutant Magic Academy by Jillian Tamaki

In this fantasy graphic novel (originally serialized online), Masha attends a boarding school for witches and mutants, where normal teenage hijinks play out alongside some magical misadventures. Meanwhile, Masha has a hugely unrequited crush on Wendy, a cute girl with cat ears. Tamaki gives us a glimpse at a wide cast of eclectic characters in this funny and heartfelt book.

Senlin Ascends by Josiah Bancroft

Newlyweds Thomas and Marya Senlin have chosen to honeymoon at the Tower of Babel, a marvelous wonder that contains many, many stories and ringdoms that are sometimes friendly, sometimes hostile, almost all exciting. But when the couple gets separated shortly after arriving, Thomas must ascend through the chaos to find his new wife.

The Blacksmith Queen by G.A. Aiken

Keeley is a blacksmith who doesn’t pay much mind to the old king’s passing and a prophecy declaring that the new sovereign will be a queen to usurp the kingdom’s princes. War is good for her business. But she has to start caring when she discovers that the prophesied queen is her younger sister, and a band of mountain warriors are determined to see her on the throne!

Temper by Nicky Drayden

In an alternate South Africa, two twin brothers live very different lives. Auben has six vices branded on his arm for the world to see, and that means fewer opportunities for a good life. He’s only a bit resentful of his twin Kasim, who has only one vice and goes to a better school. Auben always keeps everyone entertained, at least. But when he begins hearing voices encouraging him to give into his vices, it’s clear that demons are tempting him, and if he cracks, his entire world could come tumbling down.

Heroine Complex by Sarah Kuhn

In this first book in a superhero trilogy, Evie is the assistant to her childhood friend and the city’s biggest superheroine–who also turns out to be a bit of a diva. Evie’s good at handling her and staying in the background, but when she has to pose as her boss one night, her big secret is revealed: She has powers, too. And this revelation is about to put her and her little sister in danger.

Kill the Farm Boy by Delilah S. Dawson and Kevin Hearne

If you’re a fan of The Princess Bride, then you need to pick up this zany tale of a farm boy who is a chosen one…but he finds that his tale is anything but conventional as he goes off to rescue a princess in a tower and gets more than he bargained for. This is a hilarious parody of funny fantasy books and chosen one stories, with an eclectic cast of characters.

Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho

In Zen Cho’s witty debut novel, Zacharias Wythe is the Sorcerer Royal of the Unnatural Philosophers, tasked with overseeing that all magic in England is kept in balance. But when magic drains away, he goes to the edges of fairyland to discover the cause–and meets a young woman with formidable powers that he won’t soon forget.

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Simon Snow and his roommate Baz are mortal enemies. Simon is the Chosen One, and Baz is evil, but they have their routines and when Baz doesn’t show up for school, Simon is concerned. Especially since there’s a monster running around who looks exactly like Simon, his girlfriend’s just broken up with him, and the end of the world is nigh…but Baz is probably fine, right?

The Hike by Drew Magary

Ben is just an ordinary guy who decides to stretch his legs and go on a hike in between meetings on his business trip. But when he takes a certain path, it becomes apparent that he’s no longer in his own reality, but a bizarre fantasy land–and there’s no turning back. The only way out is through, and Ben must track down the Producer, who created this world, in order to find a way to get home to his family.

Looking for more excellent funny fantasy books? Check out TBR: Tailored Book Recommendations. TBR is a great service that offers quarterly personalized book recommendations based on what you want to read more of. All you have to do to get started is fill out our reader survey and indicate what you want to read more of–such as funny fantasy and sci-fi books–and then you’ll be matched with an expert Bibliologist who will hand-pick three books just for you, and write you a recommendation letter. Receive your recommendation letter via email in about two weeks, or you can opt to receive your letter and your recommended books from our partner, Print: A Bookstore in Portland, ME in three to four weeks! Learn more and get started today!

The Best Christian Allegory Books

Readers of Christian fiction books are oftentimes on the prowl for novels that also function as Christian allegories. What is an allegory you ask? In fiction, an allegory is a story that can be interpreted as having a deeper moral or religious message. Christian allegory novels are books whose plots oftentimes mirror lessons that can be found in the Bible, or reflect the story of Jesus. The most famous example of this is The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan, published in 1678–but luckily there are more recent titles for you to explore! If you’re curious about Christian allegory books, here are some good books and series that we recommend, perfect for your next book club or Bible study!

Note: Unfortunately, the books published in this genre are by white authors and many are male authors. This is an area of publishing that needs to be promoting more diverse voices.

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

Perhaps one of the most famous Christian allegory series around, the Chronicles of Narnia are beloved by generations of kids and adults alike. They tell the story of a magical land called Narnia, from its creation until its end, and of its ruler Aslan, a lion who mirrors the role of Jesus. In the most famous book in the series, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Aslan sacrifices himself before the Winter Queen in order to save the Pevensie children, and then is raised from the dead to defeat evil–like Jesus.

The Archives of Anthropos series by John White

This is another Christian allegory fantasy series originally written with kids in mind, but appealing to adult readers as well–and the perfect follow up to the Chronicles of Narnia series. The six-book series is a portal fantasy about three children who are mysteriously transported from their uncle’s attic to a magical land where they must help restore an imprisoned king to his rightful throne. The first book to be published in the series is The Tower of Geburah, but if you want to start with the series chronologically, pick up The Sword Bearer.

Hinds’ Feet on High Places by Hannah Hunnard

In the style of The Pilgrim’s Progress, this 1955 allegorical novel is a classic for Christian women. It follows the journey of Much Afraid, who must leave her fearful and unbelieving family to travel up a mountain and begin her spiritual journey seeking God. It’s meant to model the journey of someone going from unbeliever to new follower to established follower of God, learning and deepening her relationship with her Shepherd while accompanied by  her companions Sorrow and Suffering. This novel is also the basis of many devotionals.

Kingdom’s Dawn series by Chuck Black

If medieval fantasy is more your speed, then pick up this fantasy series about Leinad and Tess, two young people living in  under the fearful Lord Fairos. Leinad is a farm boy with a talent for sword fighting, which comes in handy when he meets Tess, a girl living in slavery, and together they must find a way to free their people–but once they do, they’re face with even more challenges. This six-book series mirrors many of the tales and parables from the Old Testament.

Prophet by R.J. Larson

Ela Roeh of Parne is seventeen, impatient, and often hot-headed. But more than that, she’s a girl, and she can’t understand why her Creator would call her to be a prophet–prophets are always men. But callings cannot be ignored, and when she takes up the Vinewood Branch, she’s sent to a war-torn land to try and bring the Creator’s word and peace to the people, only to enter into a partnership with an ambassador with his own ideas of a truce, where she’s tested even further.

The Baggage Handler by David Rawlings

In this contemporary novel, three people find that their suitcases are nowhere to be found when they arrive at the baggage claim. A mother, a businessman, and an artist are directed to a mysterious place where they meet the enigmatic baggage handler, and learn more about the baggage they’re carrying, both literally and figuratively.

Want to discover more book club picks? We have some recommendations for you!

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