Book recs

This is a writing blog, so of course I was eventually gonna do some book recommendations. Here’s an A-Z list of my favorite books (not all of the letters of the alphabet have books, but I’ll come back and edit to add more if I think of any). These are where most of my writing inspiration comes from. The ones with stars next to them are my absolute top favorite ever in the whole world, and the rest are ones I just love. I’ll also add a little note if the series is LGBTQIA+ or has at least some representation.

Addicted To You/Calloway Sisters. By Krista and Becca Ritchie. I actually just finished reading this series for the first time. I read the very first one, Addicted To You, last year, but I didn’t get a chance to read the rest until last month. It’s a combination of two series, the Addicted trilogy and the Calloway Sisters series, because all the books intertwine and there’s a recommended reading order that you should read them in (you can find that reading order on the Ritchies’ website or if you Google it). So combined, there’s ten books in all. The Addicted trilogy is about two best friends, Lily and Loren, and Lily is a sex addict and Loren is an alcoholic. It’s about how they navigate their relationship with each other and their families. I really loved this series because I’ve never read anything about sex addiction before, and it’s portrayed in a way that makes me understand that it’s very real and probably should be given some more attention. It’s written in a way that’s not fetishized (though obviously there’s a lot of sex) but Lily’s journey through recovery is what it’s really about. The Calloway Sisters series is about Lily’s sisters, Rose and Daisy, and how they deal with their own personal relationships while supporting Lily and helping her and Loren through their addictions. The whole series takes place over a span of 13 years and the character development and the family dynamic between all of the characters is just beautiful. I got really, really emotional when I was reading the last few books.

****All For the Game. [LGBT] This is a trilogy by self-published author Nora Sakavic, also referred to as The Foxhole Court, which is the name of the first book. You can find it on Amazon but not in any bookstores, and you can follow Nora on Tumblr for some really cool extras from the world of the books! This series is honestly one of the best things I’ve ever read. It is a little dark, psychologically and mentally speaking, and I’ll issue a trigger warning for pretty much the whole series, but if you can stomach it, I highly recommend you read it. It’s about a guy named Neil Josten who comes from a twisted family of murderous mobsters and he’s a runaway who plays Exy (a fictional sport that’s like a mix of lacrosse and hockey, and the only sport I’ve ever loved). The series centers around the sports team he’s recruited for by a college, all mixed up in the mobster stuff, and it’s fantastic. It’s gay and there’s a slow burn relationship that’s so worth it in the end. Read it and then come talk to me about it.

All The Bright Places. By Jennifer Niven. I read this book for the first time only recently, and it tore my heart right out of my chest and threw it in the garbage disposal. The good stuff. It deals with mental illness in a very real way, and I wasn’t expecting to love it so much when I read it, but I do.

Amberlough. [LGBT] By Laura Elena Donnelly. Cabaret! Espionage! Danger, secrets, lies! I just recently read this book, and it is fantastic. The world-building is amazing, and it is written so damn well. It takes place in a fictional city called Amberlough in a country (I think probably modeled after Europe, and I get a 1920’s vibe) where political tensions are rising, and the main character is a government spy who’s sent on a mission and gets caught up in a dangerous fascist plot. He tries to protect his lover from being caught up in it too. His lover is a cabaret singer, and one of the other two main characters. The third main character is Cordelia, another performer in the cabaret. Every single character is fantastic, and this book is just so good. The ending made me scream but the author has confirmed that it will be a trilogy, and she’s currently working on the next two books!

Aristotle & Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. [LGBT] By Benjamin Alire Saenz. Two boys meet in 1980’s Texas and fall in love. It’s a really quick read, but a fantastic one. Great coming-of-age story (and the author is working on a sequel right now!)

Bear, Otter, and The Kid Chronicles. [LGBT] By TJ Klune. TJ is an LGBTQ+ author on Amazon that never fails to pack an emotional punch. This series in particular (4 books) is full of raw, powerful emotion, unbreakable bonds, and angsty romance. It takes place over a span of years and is focused on two brothers, Derrick and Tyson, who are abandoned by their mother and have to figure out how to live on their own. It’s about love and family and it warms my damn heart so much.

Beautiful Creatures. A four-book saga (with a prequel series) about witches set against a Southern Gothic backdrop, by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. I mostly love it because of the combination of the setting and the fantasy. There was a movie made from the first book, but I am unapologetically one of those people who will tell you to read the book first, so do that before you go looking for it. It’s disappointing as all book-to-movie adaptations usually are. The books are much better. (I will say this about the movie, though – I liked the casting. That’s about it.)

Captive Prince. [LGBT] A trilogy by Australian author C.S Pacat. Two rival princes, two enemy kingdoms, warfare and forbidden love. (A little steamy and sensual. This is definitely an 18+ series.)

Carry On. [LGBT] By Rainbow Rowell. If you like Harry Potter and you shipped Draco and Harry, read this. That’s all I’m gonna say.

Crank. Crank is the first book, but this is a series by Ellen Hopkins, one of my favorite authors. I just love the way she writes. This series is Crank and its sequel, Glass, and then a prequel novel, Fallout. Crank is about a girl who becomes a drug addict. I’m also gonna lump the rest of my favorite Hopkins novels in here: Burned and the sequel, Smoke, and Rumble (a standalone). Just check out Ellen Hopkins in general. She’s got way more, but these are my favorite.

Don’t Close Your Eyes. By Lisa McMann. It’s a trilogy (Wake, Fade, and Gone are the books) but Don’t Close Your Eyes is one big volume that has all of them. I discovered this book last year (I think?) and I was surprised at how much I loved it. The subject matter is really, really unique, about a girl named Janie who has the power to go inside people’s dreams.

(no books for E or F that I can think of right now)

Gone Girl. Gillian Flynn. Read it, watch the movie, they’re both fantastic. Murder and secrets. Ben Affleck. Good stuff.

Him/Us. [LGBT] by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy. This is my guilty pleasure series (it’s erotic, definitely 18+) about two hockey players who used to be best friends at summer camp, and they reunite in college and reconnect. I just love the characters.

The Host. By Stephenie Meyer. Yes, the Twilight author. But I unashamedly love this book. And the movie. Because I’m a sucker.

If I Stay/Where She Went. By Gayle Forman. I actually like the sequel, Where She Went, better than the first one. There was a movie of If I Stay (disappointing, as expected, but it still made me cry because I’m a sap). The first book is about a girl who falls into a coma, and it’s told through her perspective as well as the perspectives of people in her life. The second book is told from the perspective of her boyfriend years later.

I’ll Give You The Sun. [LGBT] By Jandy Nelson. A recent read, but one I fell in love with right away. Told from alternating perspectives of a brother and sister after their mother dies and how their relationship changes. Beautifully written.

*In the Company of Shadows. [LGBT] This is a self-published series by Santino and Ais that’s available for free download on their website. Not on Amazon, not in bookstores. Since it’s entirely self-published, it’s not written very well objectively speaking, but you can hardly notice because the characters and the world-building are so well done. It’s a post-apocalyptic series set in the future after World War 3, about a secret assassin agency and the spies who work there. And it’s gay. And steamy. 18+. Four books, plus a little epilogue novel.

Just Listen. Sarah Dessen. I haven’t read all of Sarah Dessen’s books, only two, but this is one of my old favorites and I’ll always have a soft spot for it. Girl meets boy, girl has a secret, boy is punk, musical themes.

(no books for K or L)

*Maximum Ride. This is the very first book series I ever fell deeply in love with. I’ve outgrown it a little as I’ve gotten older, but I’m always, always gonna have a special place in my heart for it. It’s a young adult sci-fi series by James Patterson, about a group of kids who have wings and can fly, and it follows their adventures as they try to save the world. The first three books are the best, in that they really encompass what the series is about. It kind of starts to go downhill after the third book (there are nine in all) but I mean I still love them all.

More Happy Than Not. [LGBT] By Adam Silvera. This book is heartbreaking. It emotionally drained me. Gay and sad. My favorite combination.

The Night Circus. By Erin Morgenstern. A circus comes to town at night. Magic and intrigue and danger. I’ve read this book like 2 or 3 times and I’ll definitely be reading it more than that.

Nightshade. [LGBT but not really because there’s only one couple and they’re not the main characters] This is a trilogy about werewolves by Andrea Cremer. Back when I was way into Twilight and The Vampire Diaries and the whole vampire/werewolf phenomenon (come on, we all had that stage) I picked this up. I like it because the werewolves are written in a totally different way than you’d think, and it’s all wrapped up in magic. There are no vampires, but there are demons and succubi. There’s three books and then a prequel series, but I’m not really a fan of the prequels as much as I am of the original trilogy. There’s also a follow-up novel to the first trilogy THAT ENDS WITH A CLIFFHANGER and it’s endlessly frustrating because the author is very vague about when or if she’s working on the next book. It’s been a few years.

Night World. Again, I read this back when I was way into vampires. I picked this up when I was an impressionable little kid, so I have a soft spot for it. Written by L.J Smith, the author who wrote The Vampire Diaries (which I also read until the books started getting ridiculous and terrible), but I like this series a lot better. There’s three volumes, each with three books in them, so that’s nine in all. All set in the same universe and all the characters connect with each other, which is why I really like it. There’s supposed to be a tenth and final book to finish out the series but it has literally been years (and I mean years because this series was originally published in the 90’s) and there has been little to no information about when or if that book will ever come out. It is one of the greatest frustrations of my life.

(no books for O)

Percy Jackson/Heroes of Olympus. Rick Riordan. Good old Uncle Rick. PJO is a series I first read when I was in middle school, and it’s stuck with me ever since. I’m always gonna love it. I am a sucker for Greek mythology. It’s hard to say whether I like the original Percy Jackson series or the prequel Heroes of Olympus series better. (It’s not an LGBT series, but there is Nico DiAngelo, and in the last few books of Heroes and Olympus and the prequel-prequel series, Trials of Apollo, there’s a little bit of rep.)

(no books for Q, poor Q)

*******The Raven Cycle. [LGBT] Lots of stars next to this one because I’m extra. This and All For the Game are easily my top two favorite book series in the entire world. This is by Maggie Stiefvater, also one of my favorite authors purely for the way she writes. She is really a master storyteller. The Raven Cycle is a four-book series (with a prequel trilogy in the works!!!!! AND A TV SHOW CURRENTLY IN DEVELOPMENT WHICH I AM CONSTANTLY WORRYING OVER) unlike anything I have ever read in my life. And I mean that. It’s entirely unique. It’s about a world of psychics, dreams, and magic, and four friends who forge a lifelong bond and all fall in love with each other, and there’s really nothing like it (that I’ve read so far). I love every single one of the main characters with all my heart. I’ve been cautiously optimistic about the TV show so far because I’ve wanted some sort of screen adaptation for this series for so so so long, and now that they’re finally doing it there’s so many chances to mess it up. I don’t know if I can handle it if they mess it up. I’m too fragile when it comes to this series.

The Realm of Possibility. [LGBT] By David Levithan. Such a great book. It’s a little book made up of chapters that each have to do with a different character, but all the characters connect in some way. It’s a coming-of-age story and it’s beautifully written.

The Scorpio Races. A standalone by Maggie Stiefvater, again unlike anything I’ve ever read, which is why she’s my favorite author. She just has a talent for creating entirely unique worlds. This book is about horses. Mystical water horses that attack people and are used for racing. I think I heard somewhere that a movie is in development for this one. I’m less invested in it than I am in the Raven Cycle TV show, but I will still pay good money to see this.

The Secret History. By Donna Tartt. I also like The Goldfinch by her, but not as much as TSH. I had to end up just skimming through the end of The Goldfinch because it just got too long and detailed. This one is still pretty detail-heavy, and it does drag on at times, but not enough that I ever want to stop reading. It’s about a group of Vermont college students majoring in Greek and Roman Classics who get together and murder people.

Shadow Falls. A campy YA series by C.C Hunter (and when I say campy I literally mean campy. It takes place at a summer camp). There’s vampires and werewolves in this one, but also witches, faeries and shapeshifters. It’s about a camp for supernatural teens to hone their abilities. It’s silly and cute and sappy, but it’s just fun. I’m a sucker for it. The main character is Kylie, and the series is five books, but then there’s a prequel trilogy focusing on Kylie’s camp roommate, and then another spinoff book for their other roommate. There’s also some little novellas sprinkled in between.

Shiver. Another series by Maggie. This is another one about werewolves, but like Nightshade, written in a different way than you’d expect. It’s one of my favorite takes on werewolves ever. It’s a trilogy, and then there’s a prequel novel. This was one of Maggie’s first series, so it’s older and I haven’t read it in a while, but it’ll always be in my heart.

*Six of Crows. [LGBT but not really until the second book] Oh boy. These books. Leigh Bardugo is a fantastic writer. Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom are the books, and they’re about a gang of six outcasts who hatch a plan to pull off the greatest heist of all time, set in probably one of my favorite fictional worlds ever. The first book is about the heist and the second is about the repercussions of it and the aftermath, and there are so many twists and turns. You don’t expect any of them and you would not believe what happens. It’s also written so well. The characters, the world, all of it. There are some beautiful lines in these books.

**The Song of Achilles. [LGBT] My favorite standalone novel, by Madeline Miller. The story of Achilles and Patroclus. Absolutely beautiful, I’ve read it probably like 5 times.

Sundays at Tiffany’s. By James Patterson. My favorite JP book besides the Maximum Ride series. More contemporary adult than it is for young adult, but it’s a little bit fantasy/magical realism, and I love it. It’s about a girl with an imaginary friend who turns out not to be imaginary. The story takes place over a span of years and follows the perspectives of the girl and the not-so-imaginary friend.

(none for T, U, V)

Wicked. By Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguie. This is a trilogy about witches, demons, possession and exorcisms. Dark magic and doomed love and all that fun stuff. I love it. I’ve read it a couple times.

We Are the Ants. [LGBT] By Shaun David Hutchinson. Great read, great storytelling. It’s kind of sci-fi but metaphorically sci-fi? Hard to describe, but definitely read it for yourself. It’s about a high school kid who gets abducted by aliens, and the aliens give him the choice to either save the world or let it be destroyed. Really well-written, and the conflict is great.

Wolfsong. [LGBT] By TJ Klune. Another werewolf book. Listen. I love werewolves. I like the way these wolves are written, too. It’s another racy one (because apparently it’s impossible to find LGBT books that aren’t smut) but it’s good. It can get a little weird, but it’s easy to get past, and the relationships are well-written. Once again, TJ Klune writes emotions so profoundly.

(none for X, Y or Z)

-These books are on this list because of how many times I’ve re-read all of them. If I read a book more than once, that usually means I love it. So I hold all of these books very close to my heart.-

 

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