Tag Archives: author spotlight

AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: T. KINGFISHER

So, it’s been a hot minute since I’ve done one of these. I thought I’d fall right back into it with one of my favorite authors: T. Kingfisher. I just adore how she writes — sarcastic, self-aware, and hilarious. She’s mostly in the fantasy genre, though she does write horror (that I do not read, because I like sleeping at night without any lights on, thank you.) If you’re ever looking for short books (most of hers fall into the under 300 pages category) that will make you laugh and lighten your heart a little, I highly recommend her fantasy work. Her heroines are usually around 30 years of age, and they’re all hilarious in their own ways. Plus there’s usually some form of animal as a companion, which is always one of my favorite tropes.

By the way, if you aren’t following Ursula on Twitter, you’re really missing out.

T. KINGFISHER aka URSULA VERNON

  • WHAT’S SHE KNOWN FOR? Sarcastic heroines, fantastical worlds with a bit of scare in them, and wildly hilarious banter
  • HOW MANY BOOKS HAVE I READ BY HER? Eight, but she’s written way more than that
  • WHAT GENRES DOES SHE WRITE? Fantasy, mostly, but she also dips her toes quite frequently into the horror genre.
  • WHERE CAN WE FIND HER? Twitter | Her website

“I fear that I am not the best possible person for this, but I am the best possible person available at this time, which is much the same thing.”
― T. Kingfisher, Paladin’s Grace

The book cover for Swordheart by T. Kingfisher

SWORDHEART

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Halla is a housekeeper who has suddenly inherited her great-uncle’s estate… and, unfortunately, his relatives. Sarkis is an immortal swordsman trapped in a prison of enchanted steel. When Halla draws the sword that imprisons him, Sarkis finds himself attempting to defend his new wielder against everything from bandits and roving inquisitors to her own in-laws… and the sword itself may prove to be the greatest threat of all. 

WHY DID I LOVE SWORDHEART?

Swordheart was my first foray into T. Kingfisher’s writing. Someone on /r/fantasy had suggested her work to me as a refreshing take on the fantasy genre. How right they were. None of Kingfisher’s work (that I’ve read, anyway) takes itself too seriously, and that is one of the reasons I love it so much. Swordheart is a prime example of this — a man is stuck a sword, and the heroine needs to figure out how to get him unstuck and how to save herself from awful family members. There’s a scene in which everyone discusses what happens to Sarkis’s pee once he goes back into the sword that made me laugh so hard I was crying.

  • CW: Death, suicide attempt, sexual content, confinement
the cover for a compilation of The Mistborn Series by Brandon Sanderson

THE SAINT OF STEEL SERIES

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Stephen’s god died on the longest day of the year…

Three years later, Stephen is a broken paladin, living only for the chance to be useful before he dies. But all that changes when he encounters a fugitive named Grace in an alley and witnesses an assassination attempt gone wrong. Now the pair must navigate a web of treachery, beset on all sides by spies and poisoners, while a cryptic killer stalks one step behind…

From the Hugo and Nebula Award winning author of Swordheart and The Twisted Ones comes a saga of murder, magic, and love on the far side of despair.

WHY DID I LOVE THE SAINT OF STEEL SERIES?

The Saint of Steel Series is another entry into Kingfisher’s fantasy romance books. These books are both hilarious, and slightly terrifying. It’s the overarching plot that makes them terrifying, in case you were wondering. You’ll see if you dive into them. ANYWAY — all three books feature different paladins as the main character, but these aren’t standalone novels. You’ll need to read all three to get the conclusion to the overarching plot I mentioned before. They’re 100% worth the slight scares bc the romance and banter in these books is top notch. My absolute favorite book of the bunch is Paladin’s Strength, which just like Swordheart, has scenes that make me laugh so hard I cry a little.

  • HOW MANY BOOKS IN THE SERIES? At the moment, there are three: Paladin’s Grace, Paladin’s Strength, Paladin’s Hope, but I believe she has at least two more planned.
  • WHAT BOOK DO I START WITH? Paladin’s Grace
  • CW: Confinement, murder, domestic abuse, emotional abuse, panic attacks, body horror
the book cover for The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson

THE CLOCKTAUR WAR SERIES

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A paladin, an assassin, a forger, and a scholar ride out of town. It’s not the start of a joke, but rather an espionage mission with deadly serious stakes. T. Kingfisher’s new novel begins the tale of a murderous band of criminals (and a scholar), thrown together in an attempt to unravel the secret of the Clockwork Boys, mechanical soldiers from a neighboring kingdom that promise ruin to the Dowager’s city.

If they succeed, rewards and pardons await, but that requires a long journey through enemy territory, directly into the capital. It also requires them to refrain from killing each other along the way! At turns darkly comic and touching, Clockwork Boys puts together a broken group of people trying to make the most of the rest of their lives as they drive forward on their suicide mission.

WHY DID I LOVE THE CLOCKTAUR WAR SERIES?

I have no idea how to describe this book other than it is entirely fantastical, fun, totally hilarious ride. There’s extremely dark moments, but this is a wildly unique fantasy duology that I can’t recommend enough. The villains of the piece are a clockwork army, if that tells you anything. This was released as two parts, so they’re not really individual novels rather than one big one that got split into two. Either way, you gotta give this one a go.

  • HOW MANY BOOKS IN THE SERIES? Two: Clockwork Boys and The Wonder Engine.
  • WHAT BOOK DO I START WITH? Clockwork Boys
  • CW: Violence, animal death, death, sexism, body horror
the book cover for Nettle & Bone by T. Kingfisher

NETTLE & BONE

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After years of seeing her sisters suffer at the hands of an abusive prince, Marra—the shy, convent-raised, third-born daughter—has finally realized that no one is coming to their rescue. No one, except for Marra herself.

Seeking help from a powerful gravewitch, Marra is offered the tools to kill a prince—if she can complete three impossible tasks. But, as is the way in tales of princes, witches, and daughters, the impossible is only the beginning.

On her quest, Marra is joined by the gravewitch, a reluctant fairy godmother, a strapping former knight, and a chicken possessed by a demon. Together, the five of them intend to be the hand that closes around the throat of the prince and frees Marra’s family and their kingdom from its tyrannous ruler at last.

WHY DID I LOVE NETTLE & BONE?

This is the first traditionally published work of Kingfisher’s that I’ve read, and honestly, it’s just as good as her self-published stuff. Nettle & Bone is a questing novel — Marra, the main character — sets off on a journey to save her sister from a terribly abusive husband. The only problem is — her sister’s husband is the Prince. You can read my full review of this book right here. Long story short — this is a wild ride, with laughs, amazing characters, and the feel of a classic fairy tale.

  • CW: Domestic abuse, pregnancy, miscarriage, child death, death, physical abuse
the book cover for What Moves the Dead by T Kingfisher

WHAT MOVES THE DEAD

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From the award-winning author of The Twisted Ones comes a gripping and atmospheric retelling of Edgar Allan Poe’s classic “The Fall of the House of Usher.”

When Alex Easton, a retired soldier, receives word that their childhood friend Madeline Usher is dying, they race to the ancestral home of the Ushers in the remote countryside of Ruritania.

What they find there is a nightmare of fungal growths and possessed wildlife, surrounding a dark, pulsing lake. Madeline sleepwalks and speaks in strange voices at night, and her brother Roderick is consumed with a mysterious malady of the nerves.

Aided by a redoubtable British mycologist and a baffled American doctor, Alex must unravel the secret of the House of Usher before it consumes them all.

WHY DID I LOVE WHAT MOVES THE DEAD?

Soooo, What Moves the Dead was my first adventure into Kingfisher’s horror work. I’m a big whimp, but I really enjoyed this book. You can read my full review for this one here. The characters, just like always, are what made this book work for me. That, and the slowly creeping dread running through the entire book. You can guess what’s happening, you can see it go right before your eyes, but once you get to the reveal, its just UGH. Ugh ugh ugh. So good. And gross.

  • CW:  Body horror, animal death, death, off-page suicide

I know you all are tired of me singing T. Kingfisher’s praises, but I really do hope that you’ll pick up one of her books because of this post. I can’t recommend them enough, especially if you’re looking for something brief between other reads that will make you laugh. Have you read any of these? Are you adding any to your TBR? Let me know!

AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: BRANDON SANDERSON

Hi everyone — I hope your Friday is going well! My next spotlight is one of my absolute favorite authors, Brandon Sanderson. I’ve read almost all his adult work that he’s published. I will auto-buy just about anything from him. Don’t need to read the synopsis, it’s a Sanderson. PUT IT IN THE CART, I say.

There’s only one series by him that I just was not into, and I’m fairly certain it was because he wrote it in first person POV, and because I just wasn’t into the topic. (It’s his Reckoners series. I read the first one, but did not go back for more.) And yes — Sanderson primarily writes series — usually at least three books long. Regardless, if you haven’t read a Brandon Sanderson book, you are missing out on one of the best modern fantasy authors out there.

BRANDON SANDERSON

  • WHAT’S HE KNOWN FOR? Wildly original complex magic systems, vast gorgeous worlds, and characters that will stand the test of time
  • HOW MANY BOOKS HAVE I READ BY HIM? Fourteen, but he’s written…a lot more than that. He seriously does not stop writing. Sanderson recently came out with a Kickstarter so he could self-publish the four books he’d written in the last two years.
  • WHAT GENRES DOES HE WRITE? Fantasy, usually, but he’s got a few sci-fi series as well.
  • WHERE CAN WE FIND HIM? Twitter | His website

“The purpose of a storyteller is not to tell you how to think, but to give you questions to think upon.”
― Brandon Sanderson, The Way of Kings

WHAT IS THE COSMERE?

“The cosmere is a fictional shared universe where several of Sanderson’s books take place. As a result, books set in the cosmere share a single cosmology and underlying rules of magic, and some characters from one world will make appearances on other worlds. Despite the connections, Sanderson has remained clear that one does not need any knowledge of the broader cosmere to read, understand, or enjoy books that take place in the cosmere.”

Credit for the explanation goes to The Coppermind Sanderson wiki..

THE STORMLIGHT ARCHIVE

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The book cover for The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson

Roshar is a world of stone and storms. Uncanny tempests of incredible power sweep across the rocky terrain so frequently that they have shaped ecology and civilization alike. Animals hide in shells, trees pull in branches, and grass retracts into the soilless ground. Cities are built only where the topography offers shelter.

It has been centuries since the fall of the ten consecrated orders known as the Knights Radiant, but their Shardblades and Shardplate remain: mystical swords and suits of armor that transform ordinary men into near-invincible warriors. Men trade kingdoms for Shardblades. Wars were fought for them, and won by them.

One such war rages on a ruined landscape called the Shattered Plains. There, Kaladin, who traded his medical apprenticeship for a spear to protect his little brother, has been reduced to slavery. In a war that makes no sense, where ten armies fight separately against a single foe, he struggles to save his men and to fathom the leaders who consider them expendable.

Brightlord Dalinar Kholin commands one of those other armies. Like his brother, the late king, he is fascinated by an ancient text called The Way of Kings. Troubled by over-powering visions of ancient times and the Knights Radiant, he has begun to doubt his own sanity.

Across the ocean, an untried young woman named Shallan seeks to train under an eminent scholar and notorious heretic, Dalinar’s niece, Jasnah. Though she genuinely loves learning, Shallan’s motives are less than pure. As she plans a daring theft, her research for Jasnah hints at secrets of the Knights Radiant and the true cause of the war.

WHY DID I LOVE THE STORMLIGHT ARCHIVE?

The Stormlight Archive is one of the most wildly original epic fantasy series out there right now. Not to mention each book is super chunky, so I know have the ability to really sink my teeth into each volume and know I’m going to be here for awhile. I love Sanderson’s characters in these books — each one has their own vast storyline, with fascinating backstories. Kaladin Stormblessed, one of the main characters, has an amazing arc that I cannot wait to continue reading about. Not to mention, I love seeing the familiar characters from across the cosmere in Roshar.

  • HOW MANY BOOKS IN THE SERIES? There are currently four books published, but there are ten books planned for the entire series. Books 1 – 5 will be a complete story, and books 6 – 10 will also be a complete story.
  • WHAT BOOK DO I START WITH? The Way of Kings
  • CW: Slavery, violence, suicidal thoughts, child death, death

THE MISTBORN SAGA — PART 1

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the cover for a compilation of The Mistborn Series by Brandon Sanderson

For a thousand years the ash fell and no flowers bloomed. For a thousand years the Skaa slaved in misery and lived in fear. For a thousand years the Lord Ruler, the “Sliver of Infinity,” reigned with absolute power and ultimate terror, divinely invincible. Then, when hope was so long lost that not even its memory remained, a terribly scarred, heart-broken half-Skaa rediscovered it in the depths of the Lord Ruler’s most hellish prison. Kelsier “snapped” and found in himself the powers of a Mistborn. A brilliant thief and natural leader, he turned his talents to the ultimate caper, with the Lord Ruler himself as the mark.

Kelsier recruited the underworld’s elite, the smartest and most trustworthy allomancers, each of whom shares one of his many powers, and all of whom relish a high-stakes challenge. Then Kelsier reveals his ultimate dream, not just the greatest heist in history, but the downfall of the divine despot.

But even with the best criminal crew ever assembled, Kel’s plan looks more like the ultimate long shot, until luck brings a ragged girl named Vin into his life. Like him, she’s a half-Skaa orphan, but she’s lived a much harsher life. Vin has learned to expect betrayal from everyone she meets. She will have to learn trust if Kel is to help her master powers of which she never dreamed.

WHY DID I LOVE THE MISTBORN SAGA PART ONE?

The first part of the Mistborn saga is one of the best complete stories I have ever read in my entire life. The story wraps up so neatly, so wonderfully satisfying that this is a series you will see me shout about forever. There is a fantastic female lead, Vin, who is amazingly written. The magic system — allomancy — is so unique that I’m still excited about it. This is another cosmere series, so if you look closely, you’ll see familiar characters from other Sanderson books, too! If you’ve never read a Sanderson book before, I’d start with this series right here.

  • HOW MANY BOOKS IN THE SERIES? In part one, there are three books: The Final Empire, The Well of Ascension, and The Hero of Ages
  • WHAT BOOK DO I START WITH? The Final Empire
  • CW: Violence, death, slavery, child abuse, physical abuse

THE MISTBORN SAGA — PART 2

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the book cover for The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson

Three hundred years after the events of the Mistborn trilogy, Scadrial is now on the verge of modernity, with railroads to supplement the canals, electric lighting in the streets and the homes of the wealthy, and the first steel-framed skyscrapers racing for the clouds.

Kelsier, Vin, Elend, Sazed, Spook, and the rest are now part of history—or religion. Yet even as science and technology are reaching new heights, the old magics of Allomancy and Feruchemy continue to play a role in this reborn world. Out in the frontier lands known as the Roughs, they are crucial tools for the brave men and women attempting to establish order and justice.

One such is Waxillium Ladrian, a rare Twinborn who can Push on metals with his Allomancy and use Feruchemy to become lighter or heavier at will.

After twenty years in the Roughs, Wax has been forced by family tragedy to return to the metropolis of Elendel. Now he must reluctantly put away his guns and assume the duties and dignity incumbent upon the head of a noble house. Or so he thinks, until he learns the hard way that the mansions and elegant tree-lined streets of the city can be even more dangerous than the dusty plains of the Roughs.

WHY DID I LOVE THE MISTBORN SAGA PART TWO?

I don’t know that I’ve ever read a series like this one before — where one part is set in one time, and the next much later? (Yes, I know prequels are a thing, but that’s not what this is…) The closest thing I can think of is how Avatar: The Last Airbender went from Aang to Korra — the technology changed, society changed, etc. Such is the case between Part 1 and Part 2 of the Mistborn Saga. ANYWAY — Wax and Wayne are hilarious together. This series is definitely one of Sanderson’s funniest, though the overall themes of these books aren’t humorous. Again, this is a cosmere entry, so look closely!

  • HOW MANY BOOKS IN THE SERIES? Four: The Alloy of Law, Shadows of Self, The Bands of Mourning, and The Lost Metal. The Lost Metal comes out this fall.
  • WHAT BOOK DO I START WITH? The Alloy of Law
  • CW: Gun violence, death, violence, kidnapping, fire, body horror

WARBREAKER

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Warbreaker is the story of two sisters, who happen to be princesses, the God King one of them has to marry, the lesser god who doesn’t like his job, and the immortal who’s still trying to undo the mistakes he made hundreds of years ago.

Their world is one in which those who die in glory return as gods to live confined to a pantheon in Hallandren’s capital city and where a power known as BioChromatic magic is based on an essence known as breath that can only be collected one unit at a time from individual people.

By using breath and drawing upon the color in everyday objects, all manner of miracles and mischief can be accomplished. It will take considerable quantities of each to resolve all the challenges facing Vivenna and Siri, princesses of Idris; Susebron the God King; Lightsong, reluctant god of bravery, and mysterious Vasher, the Warbreaker.

WHY DID I LOVE WARBREAKER?

Not going to lie to you, I put off reading this book for a long time before I finally picked it up. (Why? I have no idea.) I am so sorry I took so long to read Warbreaker because I absolutely love the magic system. Not to mention that Lightsong is a fantastic character. Plus there’s a talking sword, and I’m a sucker for talking inanimate objects. I actually have a review of Warbreaker up here. This is yet another entry into the cosemere universe — a couple of big characters from this book end up in Rhythm of War, the latest entry into the Stormlight Archive.

  • HOW MANY BOOKS IN THE SERIES? One — this is a standalone at the moment. Sanderson plans to write more in this series eventually.
  • CW: Violence, death, murder, war, religious bigotry, body horror

ELANTRIS

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the book cover for The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson

Elantris was the capital of Arelon: gigantic, beautiful, literally radiant, filled with benevolent beings who used their powerful magical abilities for the benefit of all. Yet each of these demigods was once an ordinary person until touched by the mysterious transforming power of the Shaod. Ten years ago, without warning, the magic failed. Elantrians became wizened, leper-like, powerless creatures, and Elantris itself dark, filthy, and crumbling.

Arelon’s new capital, Kae, crouches in the shadow of Elantris. Princess Sarene of Teod arrives for a marriage of state with Crown Prince Raoden, hoping—based on their correspondence—to also find love. She finds instead that Raoden has died and she is considered his widow. Both Teod and Arelon are under threat as the last remaining holdouts against the imperial ambitions of the ruthless religious fanatics of Fjordell. So Sarene decides to use her new status to counter the machinations of Hrathen, a Fjordell high priest who has come to Kae to convert Arelon and claim it for his emperor and his god.

But neither Sarene nor Hrathen suspect the truth about Prince Raoden. Stricken by the same curse that ruined Elantris, Raoden was secretly exiled by his father to the dark city. His struggle to help the wretches trapped there begins a series of events that will bring hope to Arelon, and perhaps reveal the secret of Elantris itself.

WHY DID I LOVE ELANTRIS?

It’s been more than a few years since I picked Elantris up, but I do remember really enjoying this book. I do have to warn you that this is Sanderson’s debut novel, so it feels a little rougher around the edges compared to his more recent work. That doesn’t, however, detract from the story at all. It’s another amazingly unique world, with a creative magic system at the heart of it. And just like all the other books I’ve mentioned, this is a cosmere entry.

  • HOW MANY BOOKS IN THE SERIES? One — just like Warbreaker, this is a standalone at the moment. Sanderson does plan to write more in this series.
  • CW: Death, body horror, murder, genocide, violence, confinement

ARCANUM UNBOUNDED: THE COSMERE COLLECTION

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Brandon Sanderson creates worlds, and those worlds are linked. His universe spans the Stormlight Archive, the Mistborn series the tales of Elantris, and others, comprising a unique constellation of vividly imagined realms known as the Cosmere.

Now for the first time anywhere, stories representing each of these planets, and their fully realized and distinct magic systems, have been collected in a single spectacular volume. Arcanum Unbounded: The Cosmere Collection brings together tales spanning the known limits of Sanderson’s universe–including the never-before-published Edgedancer, a thrilling new novella of the Stormlight Archive–along with charts, illustrations, notes…and secrets.

The Cosmere Collection encompasses six worlds in all, explored across nine astonishing works of short fiction: Sel (“The Hope of Elantris” and The Emperor’s Soul); Scadrial (“The Eleventh Metal,” “Allomancer Jak and the Pits of Eltania, Episodes Twenty-eight Through Thirty,” and Mistborn: Secret History); Taldain (“White Sand”); Threnody (“Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell”); First of the Sun (“Sixth of the Dusk”); and Roshar (Edgedancer).

These exciting tales will catapult you onto an unprecedented journey across a cosmos only Brandon Sanderson could have envisioned. Arcanum Unbounded: The Cosmere Collection is an indispensible volume no Sanderson fan can do without. 

WHY DID I LOVE THE ARCANUM UNBOUNDED?

There isn’t a main storyline within Arcanum Unbounded — it’s all short stories set within the cosmere. What is cool, though, is that you get a deeper understanding of how everything works, almost “behind the scenes,” if you will. Of the short stories featured within this collection, I really enjoyed the stories set on Scadrial — the Mistborn world. Any glimpse of that world will have my interest, really. I should also mention that this is not a good place to start with Sanderson, as you will understand basically nothing.

  • HOW MANY BOOKS IN THE SERIES? One, but as this is a collection of all his short stories set in the Cosmere, I imagine there will probably be a part two eventually.
  • CW: Death, violence, gore

Now that I’m done blabbering on about how much I love Sanderson’s work, what’s your favorite Sanderson book? (If you can’t tell, mine is all three of the Mistborn Saga, part 1). Who’s your favorite Sanderson character? (Personally, I’m torn between Kaladin and Wit/Hoid.) Let me know in the comments below!

AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: VE SCHWAB

Today, I’m trying a new type of post out for you guys. — a spotlight on one of my favorite authors! I plan to give a quick little run down of the author and their work, and then I’ll list my favorite books by them that I’ve read!

To start us off, I’m going with VE SCHWAB. She is an auto-buy author for me, and has been since I first read the Shades of Magic series. I’ve read most of her work, and honestly? I’ve loved all but one of her books that I’ve read! (Gallant was slightly disappointing.) What books by her I haven’t read, I already own. I just need to sit down and get into them! Onto the post, then!

V.E. SCHWAB aka VICTORIA SCHWAB

  • WHAT’S SHE KNOWN FOR? Dark, incredibly lush stories that tend to feel like old-school fairy tales
  • HOW MANY BOOKS HAVE I READ BY HER? Eight, but she’s written over 20 books for all different ages.
  • WHAT GENRES DOES SHE WRITE? Typically fantasy, but has dipped her toes into sci-fi as well.
  • WHERE CAN WE FIND HER? Twitter | Instagram | Her website

“I’d rather die on an adventure than live standing still.”
― V.E. Schwab, A Darker Shade of Magic

A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC

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the book cover for A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab

Kell is one of the last Antari—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black.

Kell was raised in Arnes—Red London—and officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see.

Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.

After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.

Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to stay alive.

WHY DID I LOVE THE SHADES OF MAGIC SERIES? 

This is one of the first modern fantasy series that I picked up back when I first started getting back into reading a whole lot. It’s an incredibly unique take on the genre — there are multiple different worlds layered on top of one another and only certain magicians can travel between them. Kell is a fantastic protagonist, but my heart belongs to Lila Bard and her absolute need to discover more about magic and the world Kell comes from. There is a satisfying ending to the series, but Schwab left it open enough that she could dip right back into this world. And, as far as I know, she is planning to do so!

  • HOW MANY BOOKS IN THE SERIES? 3
  • CW: Blood, violence, death, sexual assault

VICIOUS

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Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.

Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end?

In Vicious, V. E. Schwab brings to life a gritty comic-book-style world in vivid prose: a world where gaining superpowers doesn’t automatically lead to heroism, and a time when allegiances are called into question.

WHY DID I LOVE VICIOUS? 

You know how superheroes have been literally everywhere since Iron Man came out in 2008? (A quick aside here — I adore the Marvel universe.) This is Schwab’s take on superheroes. This is a dark, modern story bent on revenge, on being the most powerful, and what happens when you give a terrible person the ability to do amazing things. There are some extremely memorable characters in this series, but I don’t want to spoil who or what they are!

  • HOW MANY BOOKS IN THE SERIES? 3 in the main series, but only 2 are out right now. There is a graphic novel series set in the same universe, however.
  • CW: Death, violence, gun violence, animal death

THE INVISIBLE LIFE OF ADDIE LARUE

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the book cover for The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab

France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.

Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world.

But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore and he remembers her name. 

WHY DID I LOVE THE INVISIBLE LIFE OF ADDIE LARUE? 

 This is really the first book I waited for anxiously since the last Harry Potter book came out. I think it might even be the first book I preordered since then, too. Hmm. ANYWAY — I longed for Addie the second Schwab announced it. It was everything I wanted, but I was still left wanting more at the end. This is a haunting tale about a girl who can never be remembered. Schwab’s writing is so good you can taste Addie’s loneliness.

  • HOW MANY BOOKS IN THE SERIES? This is a standalone book.
  • CW: Suicidal thoughts, suicide attempt, death, sexual content, mental illness

THE NEAR WITCH

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The Near Witch is only an old story told to frighten children.

If the wind calls at night, you must not listen. The wind is lonely, and always looking for company.

And there are no strangers in the town of Near.

These are the truths that Lexi has heard all her life.

But when an actual stranger-a boy who seems to fade like smoke-appears outside her home on the moor at night, she knows that at least one of these sayings is no longer true.

The next night, the children of Near start disappearing from their beds, and the mysterious boy falls under suspicion. Still, he insists on helping Lexi search for them. Something tells her she can trust him.

As the hunt for the children intensifies, so does Lexi’s need to know-about the witch that just might be more than a bedtime story, about the wind that seems to speak through the walls at night, and about the history of this nameless boy.

WHY DID I LOVE THE NEAR WITCH? 

I picked this one up while on maternity leave, because it was shorter, a standalone, and because I hadn’t read it yet. Kinda not-great reasons, but who cares. This book is a fairy tale. You know the old-school, don’t-do-this type of stories? Yeah. That’s The Near Witch. This is Schwab’s debut so it might feel slightly rougher than her newer works, but it’s absolutely worth the read. The romance in this one is melt-in-your-mouth sweet, with the innocence of childhood.

  • HOW MANY BOOKS IN THE SERIES? This is a standalone book.
  • CW: Kidnapping, self harm, confinement, death, child abuse, death of parent, blood, animal death, fire

What’s your favorite VE Schwab book that you’ve ever read? Are any of these on your TBR? And, finally, do you have any suggestions for other authors you would like to see me spotlight? Keep in mind I’d like to stick to authors who have more than a couple of books out.