Ten Fantasy Books for Contemporary Lovers

Welcome!

For anyone that knows me, contemporary is my favorite genre to read. Something about finding the magic within my own world makes me warm inside. Reading to me is all about exploring. When I read outside of my genre, however, stories pleasantly surprise me. My favorite genre to dive into is fantasy! This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is a genre freebie, so I thought I would share a few of my favorite fantasy books as a contemporary lover!

serpent and dove by shelby mahurin

Serpent and Dove by Shelby Mahurin cover

Bound as one to love, honor, or burn.

Two years ago, Louise le Blanc fled her coven and took shelter in the city of Cesarine, forsaking all magic and living off whatever she could steal. There, witches like Lou are hunted. They are feared. And they are burned.

Sworn to the Church as a Chasseur, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle: thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. His path was never meant to cross with Lou’s, but a wicked stunt forces them into an impossible union—holy matrimony.

The war between witches and Church is an ancient one, and Lou’s most dangerous enemies bring a fate worse than fire. Unable to ignore her growing feelings, yet powerless to change what she is, a choice must be made.

And love makes fools of us all.

this savage song by victoria schwab

This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab cover

There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters. In this dark urban fantasy from author Victoria Schwaba young woman and a young man must choose whether to become heroes or villains—and friends or enemies—with the future of their home at stake. The first of two books.

Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives.

falling kingdoms by morgan rhodes

Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes cover

In the three kingdoms of Mytica, magic has long been forgotten. And while hard-won peace has reigned for centuries, a deadly unrest now simmers below the surface.

As the rulers of each kingdom grapple for power, the lives of their subjects are brutally transformed… and four key players, royals and rebels alike, find their fates forever intertwined. Cleo, Jonas, Lucia, and Magnus are caught in a dizzying world of treacherous betrayals, shocking murders, secret alliances, and even unforeseen love.

The only outcome that’s certain is that kingdoms will fall. Who will emerge triumphant when all they know has collapsed?

It’s the eve of war…. Choose your side.

Princess: Raised in pampered luxury, Cleo must now embark on a rough and treacherous journey into enemy territory in search of magic long thought extinct.

Rebel: Jonas, enraged at injustice, lashes out against the forces of oppression that have kept his country cruelly impoverished. To his shock, he finds himself the leader of a people’s revolution centuries in the making.

Sorceress: Lucia, adopted at birth into the royal family, discovers the truth about her past—and the supernatural legacy she is destined to wield.

Heir: Bred for aggression and trained to conquer, firstborn son Magnus begins to realize that the heart can be more lethal than the sword….

daughter of smoke and bone by laini taylor

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor cover

Around the world, black hand prints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grows dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherworldly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”, she speaks many languages – not all of them human – and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

house of salt and sorrows by erin a. craig

House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A Craig cover

In a manor by the sea, twelve sisters are cursed.

Annaleigh lives a sheltered life at Highmoor, a manor by the sea, with her sisters, their father, and stepmother. Once they were twelve, but loneliness fills the grand halls now that four of the girls’ lives have been cut short. Each death was more tragic than the last—the plague, a plummeting fall, a drowning, a slippery plunge—and there are whispers throughout the surrounding villages that the family is cursed by the gods.

Disturbed by a series of ghostly visions, Annaleigh becomes increasingly suspicious that the deaths were no accidents. Her sisters have been sneaking out every night to attend glittering balls, dancing until dawn in silk gowns and shimmering slippers, and Annaleigh isn’t sure whether to try to stop them or to join their forbidden trysts. Because who—or what—are they really dancing with?

When Annaleigh’s involvement with a mysterious stranger who has secrets of his own intensifies, it’s a race to unravel the darkness that has fallen over her family—before it claims her next.

the cruel prince by holly black

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black cover

Of course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.

And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.

Jude was seven when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

As Jude becomes more deeply embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, she discovers her own capacity for trickery and bloodshed. But as betrayal threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.

four dead queens by astrid scholte

Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte cover

Seventeen-year-old Keralie Corrington may seem harmless, but in fact, she’s one of Quadara’s most skilled thieves and a liar. Varin, on the other hand, is an honest, upstanding citizen of Quadara’s most enlightened region, Eonia. Varin runs afoul of Keralie when she steals a package from him, putting his life in danger. When Varin attempts to retrieve the package, he and Keralie find themselves entangled in a conspiracy that leaves all four of Quadara’s queens dead.

With no other choices and on the run from Keralie’s former employer, the two decide to join forces, endeavoring to discover who has killed the queens and save their own lives in the process. When their reluctant partnership blooms into a tenuous romance, they must overcome their own dark secrets in hopes of a future together that seemed impossible just days before. But first they have to stay alive and untangle the secrets behind the nation’s four dead queens.

An enthralling fast-paced murder mystery where competing agendas collide with deadly consequences, Four Dead Queens heralds the arrival of an exciting new YA talent.

clockwork angel by cassandra clare

clockwork angel by cassandra clare cover

The year is 1878. Tessa Gray descends into London’s dark supernatural underworld in search of her missing brother. She soon discovers that her only allies are the demon-slaying Shadowhunters—including Will and Jem, the mysterious boys she is attracted to. Soon they find themselves up against the Pandemonium Club, a secret organization of vampires, demons, warlocks, and humans. Equipped with a magical army of unstoppable clockwork creatures, the Club is out to rule the British Empire, and only Tessa and her allies can stop them…

enchantee by gita trelease

Enchantee by Gita Trelease cover

Paris in 1789 is a labyrinth of twisted streets, filled with beggars, thieves, revolutionaries—and magicians…

When smallpox kills her parents, Camille Durbonne must find a way to provide for her frail, naive sister while managing her volatile brother. Relying on petty magic—la magie ordinaire—Camille painstakingly transforms scraps of metal into money to buy the food and medicine they need. But when the coins won’t hold their shape and her brother disappears with the family’s savings, Camille must pursue a richer, more dangerous mark: the glittering court of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.

With dark magic forbidden by her mother, Camille transforms herself into the ‘Baroness de la Fontaine’ and is swept up into life at the Palace of Versailles, where aristocrats both fear and hunger for la magie. There, she gambles at cards, desperate to have enough to keep herself and her sister safe. Yet the longer she stays at court, the more difficult it becomes to reconcile her resentment of the nobles with the enchantments of Versailles. And when she returns to Paris, Camille meets a handsome young balloonist—who dares her to hope that love and liberty may both be possible.

But la magie has its costs. And when Camille loses control of her secrets, the game she’s playing turns deadly. Then revolution erupts, and she must choose—love or loyalty, democracy or aristocracy, freedom or magic—before Paris burns… 

the hazel wood by melissa albert

The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert cover

Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the uncanny bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a cult-classic book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate, the Hazel Wood, Alice learns how bad her luck can really get: her mother is stolen away-by a figure who claims to come from the Hinterland, the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother’s stories are set. Alice’s only lead is the message her mother left behind: “Stay away from the Hazel Wood.”

Alice has long steered clear of her grandmother’s cultish fans. But now she has no choice but to ally with classmate Ellery Finch, a Hinterland superfan who may have his own reasons for wanting to help her. To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother’s tales began―and where she might find out how her own story went so wrong.

Which genre makes you step outside your comfort zone? Do you have a favorite fantasy book to recommend? Let me know in the comments!

xo,

Charley

Twelve Book Recs from Twelve Friends

Welcome!

A week or so ago, I asked for book recommendations on Instagram from my followers and close book friends. I saw the trend floating around and decided to jump aboard. I got such a great variety of book recommendations, though, that I wanted to share them with you! Definitely go check out the Instagram accounts, too, since they are full of great people.

january: A Thousand Perfect Notes by C.G. Drews

recommended by @hanneasinhannah

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I have been following Cait, better known online as Paper Fury, for a few years now. When she released A Thousand Perfect Notes, I immediately added her books to my TBR. Somewhere along the line, I forgot to ever order her books on Book Depository (since they’re published in the UK, not the US). When I got this request in, I was ecstatic. Now I’m patiently waiting for the book to actually come in the mail. It will probably become a February read, though, due to mailing times.

february: Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George

recommended by @emilee_helen

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I’ve been friends with Emilee for nearly five years now, and she has been relentlessly recommending this book to me. Well, this year will be the year I finally read Princess of the Midnight Ball. It just so happens that Emilee’s birthday is in February, so I’m excited to read this during her birthday month.

march: Blood Water Paint by Joy McCullough

recommended by @primroseandclover

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I have never heard of Blood Water Paint, so I’m excited that Abi from Primrose and Clover recommended this book for me. It seems like it will be the perfect book to devour during spring break.

april: Clean Getaway by Nic Stone

recommended by @gryffindorbooksofficial

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I read Dear Martin by Nic Stone in 2019 as part of my Young Adult Literature course, so I’m excited to read something new by her. I put this book later in the year in order to try to get it from the library since the book came out January 2020.

may: Throw Like A Girl by Sarah Hennings

recommended by @booklovinjean

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I’m not typically a sports contemporary reader, but I already had this book added to my radar for 2020 releases. I can’t wait to read this book to kick off summer and maybe even fall a little in love with football while I’m at it. Who knows what could happen?

june: Becoming by Michelle Obama

recommended by @bookncatsncoffee

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Yes, I know I am way behind in reading this book. I know once I pick it up, I will not be able to set it down. I’m debating on whether or not to listen to the audiobook of Becoming since Michelle Obama narrates the book herself. I can’t wait to finally knock this one off my TBR!

july: Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson

recommended by @eviethebookdragon

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I talked about Evie’s passion for Peter and the Starcatchers in my ‘Welcome to My Bookshelf‘ post earlier this week. When I saw a hardcover copy in pretty fantastic condition at my local Goodwill, I knew I had to snag it for such a great price. I can’t wait to stare at this book on my shelves until July.

august: By The Book by Amanda Sellet

recommended by @heidi.hill

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I’m reading this book later in the year in order to give myself some time to pick it up from the library. Heidi is an absolute gem, though, and we have pretty similar taste in books. When I asked her for a recommendation, I knew I would get a fantastic read. I haven’t read nearly enough books with characters who love literature, so I can’t wait to jump into this romance.

september: Love Her Wild by Atticus

recommended by @plottingertwist

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Atticus’ poems have been on my TBR for a long time, and I am so glad that Hannah recommended his anthology for me. I feel like I will love his poems. One of my other bookstagram friends, Holly, also absolutely loves his poems and shares snippets on Instagram all the time.

october: With The Fire On High by Elizabeth Acevedo

recommended by @littlemissbookends

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I bought this book in Barnes and Noble’s last Book Haul Blowout sale for 50% off. I love Elizabeth Acevedo’s Poet X audio, and the hardcover edition of With the Fire on High has the most gorgeous naked cover I own. I knew I had to buy this. But when Callie recommended this for me? I was ecstatic! I can’t wait to finally read an unread book on my shelf.

november: Immortals of Meluha by Amish Tripathi

recommended by @thewordyhabitat

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Sumedha is such a dear blogging friend of mine, so I knew I had to get a recommendation from her. I could not be more excited to move outside of my comfort zone of reading and read a book from a non-American author. Amish Tripathi is a renowned Indian author, so I can’t wait to dive into his world that so many others already love.

december: Eragon by Christopher Paolini

recommended by @abby.m.a.r.t.i.n

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I am definitely behind with this series, but I am typically struggle with reading books about animals, dragons specifically. But… this book is my best friend Abby’s absolute favorite ever. Abby has been wanting me to read this book since our friendship started back in eighth grade. I’m pretty sure my opinion about this book will make or break our friendship, though.

Do you have any books that you loved from a friend’s recommendation? Do you have any movies you think I should watch this year? Let me know in the comments!

xo,

Charley

Favorite Trope // Because Everyone Has One

All the time I see people complaining about tropes on Twitter, but let’s be honest for a second. If you picked up a book and saw a specific trope, you would read it like there’s no tomorrow. Even Paper Fury admits to having some tropes she enjoys.

Don’t know what a trope is? It can be referred to as an overdone plot device. For example, a love triangle is probably the most overdone plot device. Personally, I have only seen it done well once which was in Cassandra Clare’s Infernal Devices trilogy with Jem, Tessa, and Will. A love triangle is not the only trope. (Refer back to Paper Fury’s post for more examples.) A simple Google search results in many (usually frustrated) bloggers discussing the types of tropes often seen in YA books.

Tropes aren’t just for YA books either. They happen everywhere. For instance, I can pretty much plot out what will happen in any Nicholas Sparks book I have read with the character relationships. And tropes aren’t just for one “age-group” of reading. Love triangles can be seen across all bookshelves. My favorite trope can be found across many bookshelves.

Which brings us to the point of all these words: my favorite trope. We all have one that we love to read (even if it’s super predictable). I love a well-done hate-to-love trope. There is a fine line between these two passions and trying to find out where the line is makes me more invested into the story. Sometimes a love triangle can sneak into this trope, so beware if that’s not your thing.

My favorite example of this trope is and forever will be Tahereh Mafi’s Shatter Me series. If you haven’t read this series you may want to skip this paragraph for spoilers. Or stop reading this post and go to the nearest library/bookstore to pick up a copy of Shatter Me. This series begins with the best villain to ever roam pages. I will admit that I was a fan of Adam and Juliette to begin with. AND THEN AARON WARNER CAME ONTO THE SCENE. Juliette and Warner’s relationship literally began with her wanting to kill him and then they end up being in a romantic relationship. These books confirmed my love for this trope.

Okay, it’s safe to read the post spoiler-free now. Continuing on with examples of my favorite trope:

So many books (or movies and TV shows) have the hate-to-love trope in the plot. These are just some of my favorite examples.

Remember: just because someone else in the book community may not like a trope doesn’t mean you have to dismiss it or feel guilty for loving it. Own what you love and spread it around. 


What’s your favorite trope? Do you have a good example of your trope for a recommendation? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

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20 Questions Book Tag

This tag was created by buydebook over on Goodreads, and I was tagged by the wonderful The Wordy Habitat! Let’s jump right on in!

1. How many books is too many books in a book series?

I feel like a long series can be done well, but normally I find book series to get weird around the fifth book in. If you can keep me past that, you may just be able to keep me for the rest of the series. I think the longest series I ever read was Morganville Vampires by Rachel Caine, but even then I stopped at book eight. (Apparently it’s still going on through book 15.) I tend to read more trilogies or four book series.

2. How do you feel about cliffhangers?

As a reader, I hate them. As a writer, I love them.

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3. Hardcover or paperback?

I know a lot of people say hardcover, but I think they can get too visibly damaged too quickly. I love paperbacks because I can carry them around in my bag easily. Plus, I can hold them with one hand better than I can with a hardcover.

4. Favorite book

Ha ha ha… good one.

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5. Least favorite book

I should probably choose something other than The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, right? I did some digging through my Goodreads’ shelves and found this gem: Burn for Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian. I simply could not stop comparing this book to Mean Girls the entire time, which is basically what my review of it was. Check out the link above if you want to see. 

6. Love triangles, yes or no?

Most people would say no right away. But here’s the thing: they can be done well. Probably one of the most popular love triangles written would have to be Jem-Will-Tessa from Cassandra Clare’s The Infernal Devices trilogy. I fell in love with both of the guys and saw how they complemented Tessa in different ways.

7. The most recent book you just couldn’t finish

I’ll put The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in here. Sometimes I feel like a broken record, you know?

8. A book you’re currently reading

Well, I’m supposed to be reading a few books right now for review. Instead, I’m watching Netflix movies and writing blog posts.

But I am a few chapters (exactly two) How You Ruined My Life by Jeff Strand thanks to Sourcebooks Fire and NetGalley. It seems like a fun read!

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9. Last book you recommend to someone

The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang because of how adorable it is. Seriously, if you haven’t read it yet, go to the library and pick it up now!

The Prince and the Dressmaker

10. Oldest book you’ve read

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen is the oldest which I fell in love with. I still need to read some of her other books, but I don’t know which one to read!

11. Newest book you’ve read

Does it count if the book isn’t out yet? I have a few ARCs that I’ve been reading lately for blog tours, but I think the newest published book that I read would have to be The Prince and the Dressmaker.

12. Favorite author

I have more than a few auto-buy authors lined up:

  • Sarah Dessen
  • Maureen Johnson
  • Amy Reichert
  • Katie Cotugno
  • Nicholas Sparks
  • Jodi Lynn Anderson
  • Laini Taylor
  • Nicola Yoon
  • Francine Rivers

I think I have a few more, but it’s so hard to choose just one! This is why I’m so freaking poor. (Help me and buy me a coffee through ko-fi!)

13. Buying books or borrowing books

Growing up, I always borrowed books from the library. And then I got a job at a bookstore. The majority of my paychecks went straight to buying books. Now I have a nice stockpile that I’m trying to work through (to no avail) before buying more books or heading to the library.

14. A book you dislike that everyone else seem to love

The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee had a lot of hype from its publisher and on my feeds. But I had several issues with the story and characters. I simply do not understand the continued interest.

15. Bookmarks or dog-ears

I have developed from someone who used to dog-ear books into someone who always uses bookmarks. I tried once after I had started using bookmarks to dog-ear a book and couldn’t stand the feeling of the page crinkling under my hand. It was terrible.

16. A book you can always re-read

I have re-read few books in my life. The lucky few were:

  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Thanks to college.)
  • Let It Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle

But I’m trying to figure something out for some summer re-reads.

17. Can you read while hearing music?

All the time. I tend to read when I’m around people (like in a living room or in my dorm room) so I use the music as a way to tune others out. You have to train your mind to not hear the music, kind of. 

18. One POV or multiple POVs

I have rarely read multiple POVs done correctly (Falling Kingdoms does it wonderfully.) but sometimes one POV can be boring. I prefer two POVs which is usually what I end up writing for stories.

19. Do you read a book in one sitting or over multiple days?

I do both, but I would definitely prefer to sit and finish a book in a day. Reading a book over multiple days can make the story feel stilted to me.

20. One book you read because of the cover

  • The Thousandth Floor
  • The Hazel Wood
  • One of Us Is Lying
  • When Dimple Met Rishi

The list can continue because most of the books I pick up are because the cover caught my eye. It can definitely be hit-and-miss for a good read though. I recommend reading the synopsis before buying a book.

 

This is typically the part of the post where I would tag people, but I’m going to tag EVERYONE! If you want to do the tag (because it’s super fun) then do it!


What do you think of my answers? See any similar responses? Let me know in the comments! Also let me know if you decide to do the tag, so I can check out your post!

the miss charley signature