10 Nonfiction Books about Tolkien and His Works If You Don’t Know Where to Start

Every year on March 25, the anniversary of the Downfall of Sauron, the Tolkien Society hosts Tolkien Reading Day. This year’s theme selected by the Tolkien Society is Travel and Adventure. The primary goal is to promote the reading of the works of J.R R. Tolkien! To celebrate, Pages Unbound will be hosting two weeks of Tolkien-related posts. In addition to our own thoughts, we will be featuring some guest posts!

Are you a J.R.R. Tolkien fan looking to branch out from reading his fiction to reading books about his books? Or perhaps a casual reader of Tolkien scholarship looking for some more reading suggestions? Here are 10 books to get you started.

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This is an obvious one for many avid Tolkien fans, but if you are just getting started about Tolkien and his works, you definitely want to read his letters! Topics range from answers to questions his fans sent about Middle-earth to his Catholic faith, and his personal life. It’s hard to find another book about Tolkien that doesn’t cite his letters!

2. Tolkien’s World from A to Z: The Complete Guide to Middle-earth by Robert Foster

As noted, it’s a reference guide. Very complete. Often recommended by people who take studying Tolkien seriously. You won’t be reading it cover to cover, but you will probably discover lots of information you didn’t know!

3. The Atlas of Middle-earth by Karen Wynn Fonstad

You get hundreds of maps of Middle-earth, focused on various events in Tolkien’s writing, and covering geography mentioned in the First, Second, and Third Ages! While it’s probably not a book you’ll just read through, it’s fun to glance through it, and it’s a great guide to have on hand while reading Tolkien’s work.

4. The Nature of Middle-earth by J.R.R. Tolkien and Carl F Hostetter

Nature of Middle-earth book cover

As Krysta notes in her review, this is a great book for anyone who really wants to dig into the minutia of Middle-earth and find the answers to pressing (or not so pressing) questions: “The Nature of Middle-Earth is not for the casual Tolkien fan, but rather for the reader who wants to know literally everything about Tolkien’s work, his process, and his musings. This collection is indeed more scholarly than otherwise, presenting multiple drafts of Tolkien working out his thoughts along with copious end notes, as well as a description of what each manuscript looks like–what kind of paper it was written on, with what kind of pen, in what kind of handwriting.”

5. The Road to Middle-earth by Tom Shippey

A classic book in the world of Tolkien studies, The Road to Middle-earth is definitely one you will want to check out! It has had a couple updates and continues to be praised by Tolkien scholars. If you read a lot about Tolkien, you will certainly see numerous references to it and Shippey’s work in general.

6. The Worlds of J. R. R. Tolkien: The Places That Inspired Middle-earth by John Garth

John Garth is a must-read author when it comes to Tolkien! Krysta has already recommended his book Tolkien and the Great War, so here I recommend his latest, The Worlds of J.R.R. Tolkien, which talks about Tolkien’s own travel, reading, and experiences to get at what places might have been the real-life inspiration for things in his fiction.

7. Tolkien, Race and Cultural History: From Fairies to Hobbits by Dimitra Fimi

I have not yet read this one personally because, well, the price, but it is consistently recommended by people well-versed in Tolkien studies if you want to read about race in Tolkien!

8. Tolkien and Alterity edited by Christopher Vaccaro and Yvette Kisor

Tolkien and Alterity book cover

Another book on, uh, obviously Tolkien and alterity. Fimi’s work is more widely praised, but this is a collection of essays from various contributors, so you can pick and choose what sounds interesting to you. The book description says: “. Each essay takes as its central position the idea that how Tolkien responds to that which is different, to that which is ‘Other,’ serves as a register of his ethics and moral philosophy. In the aggregate, they provide evidence of Tolkien’s acceptance of alterity.”

9. Perilous and Fair: Women in the Works and Life of J.R.R. Tolkien ed. by Janet Brennan Croft and Leslie A. Donovan

This essay collection is essential reading for anyone who loves Tolkien, and it will provide some eye-opening arguments for anyone who thinks Tolkien’s women are flat or his portrayals are sexist. The authors consistently offer evidence that while, of course, Tolkien would not have held the views of a 21st-century feminist, the women in his books are nuanced and powerful and generally subvert gender expectations rather than fulfill them. Tolkien was also a champion of women academics in his personal life, and we have no evidence to suggest he didn’t like or respect women.

10. A Fan’s Guide to Neo-Sindarin: A Textbook for the Elvish of Middle-earth by Fiona Jallings

I have not read this one myself (I, sadly, do not know how to speak or read Elvish, though many people assume I do). But I have seen it recommended by people I trust as a fantastic book to get if you want to learn Elvish (or, rather, Neo-Sindarin). It is apparently more accurate than The Languages of Tolkien’s Middle-Earth: A Complete Guide to All Fourteen of the Languages Tolkien Invented by Ruth S. Noe, which you will probably see come up in searches if you start looking into books to learn Elvish.

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Bonus: Coming December 2023

Pity, Power, and Tolkien’s Ring: To Rule the Fate of Many by Thomas P. Hillman

I’ve followed Tom’s blog and Twitter for several years, so I am looking forward to this book!

(No official description of the book is available yet.)


11 of My Favorite Middle Grade Books

Favorite Middle Grade Books

Choosing only a few middle grade books that are my favorites was really difficult! To help, I did not include classics like Anne of Green Gables or Little Women. So, instead, here are some more recent middle grade reads that have, in turn, caused me wonder, made me laugh, and moved me profoundly.

Amari and the Night Brothers by B. B. Alston

Amari and the Night Brothers is a gripping fantasy adventure sure to enchant fans from the very first pages. Amari’s brother has gone missing and, though everyone is convinced he is gone for good, Amari is determined to find him. Then she receives a mysterious suitcase inviting her to interview for a supernatural society–the same one her brother secretly worked for. Amari seizes her chance to find her brother, but, if she wants to stay at the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs she will first have to pass three trials–not easy when she unwittingly possesses illegal magic. Readers who adore high fantasy involving magical schools, supernatural creatures, and plenty of mystery will love Amari and the Night Brothers.

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New Kid by Jerry Craft

New Kid

New Kid is a brilliant, compelling graphic novel about the struggles of middle school–especially when one is attending a new school.  Jordan Banks really wants to attend art school, but his mother is adamant he attend a fancy prep school instead.  The school boasts little diversity and Jordan faces microaggressions everyday, along with the more general difficulties facing a seventh grader.  Author and illustrator Jerry Craft chronicles it all with warm understanding–and just the right touch of humor.

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Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

Ella Enchanted stands out among retellings of “Cinderella” both for its original premise and its fully-realized world.  Levine takes the question of why Cinderella would submit to so much abuse from her step-relatives and answers it by suggesting that perhaps she literally had no choice.  From there, the book explores the nature of free will and the gift of choice.  The resulting drama plays out across a richly detailed world peopled with unforgettable characters from the ogres who can seduce their victims to cook themselves to the giants who prove friendlier than readers might expect.  Readers will find themselves, like Ella, enchanted.

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The Two Princesses of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine

The Two Princesses of Bamarre introduces readers to a magical world full of specters, fairies, wizards, and dragons.  It is a world full of adventures waiting to happen–but the protagonist Princess Addie knows that adventures often contain pain and sorrow.  Her instinctive understanding of the cost that quests can take imparts to the book a subtle richness and depth not often found in middle grade fantasy.

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A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd

A Snicker of Magic is one of those rare, wonderful books that seems to defy description, being possessed of a vitality and a heart that cannot be transmitted through a review but rather must be experienced firsthand.  Exuberant, uplifting, fresh, and unexpected, it shines with a, dare I say, magic all its own.  Real, lovable characters; a feel-good message; and an intriguing plot all combine to create the perfect story–the kind that transports you to a place you would love to call your own.

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Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger

On some level, I recognize that this book is a little ridiculous. And yet, I am invested in this story. Sophie may read like a Mary Sue, her excess of love interests may be laughable, and the amount of sparkles is absurd. But there is still something utterly winning about a book that is so bad it’s good. I only wish the rest of the series had lived up to this one.

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The Tea Dragon Society by K. O’Neill

O’Neill’s gentle story lines, measured pacing, and whimsically beautiful worlds make her work feel a little like a Hayao Miyazaki film.  She imagines a world where people are kind, all are welcomed, and inclusiveness is a matter of fact.  The drama comes, not from villainy, but rather from misunderstandings, doubt, and fear.  This is the drama of a life, where things that may seem small to some–finding one’s place in the community, learning what one wants to be when grown up–are acknowledged to be big things indeed.   All this combines to make a story filled with wonder, beauty, and hope–the kind of story that invites the reader to sink into it and rest.

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The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

The Mysterious Benedict Society is, ultimately, a celebration of the things that make us unique and the friendships that make us strong. It says that we all need people to love and support us, and that we can go find those people if the ones currently in our lives are not kind. It says that hope and love always triumph in the end. This book is a delight and comfort, one that I return to again and again.

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Lockwood & Co. Series by Jonathan Stroud

The Screaming Staircase is a thrilling start to a new series sure to delight fans not only of Jonathan Stroud and but also of middle-grade fantasy and urban fantasy.  Fast-paced and full of action, it draws readers into its richly-drawn world so tightly that they may not want to leave.

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Nevermoor series by Jessica Townsend

Nevermoor The Trials of Morrigan Crow

Jessica Townsend’s Nevermoor series has enchanted and delighted me right from the start, and I can easily see these books becoming children’s fantasy classics. Book one introduces readers to Morrigan Crow, a young girl who has been told all her life that she is cursed and must die on her eleventh birthday. Instead, however, a bold and brilliant man named Jupiter North arrives, chased by hell-hounds, to whisk her away to the magical world of Nevermoor. The catch is, Morrigan is not meant to be there at all. To stay, she will have to earn a place in the prestigious Wundrous Society, comprised of members who each possess a remarkable talent. But Morrigan does not believe she has any talent at all.

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The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making possesses a magical charm all its own.  Full of quirks, whimsy, and a lot heart, it grabs readers from the beginning with its evident desire to transport them along with September to the world of Faerie.  And what a world it is.  Far from the safe, comfortable land of candy and sparkles some might expect, Fairyland is rife with danger and the unexpected, hearkening back to traditional tales where an encounter with the fey folk would leave a person changed forever.  September, however, is young–as our sly narrator likes to remind us–and apt to heartlessness.  She does not yet understand the cost her journey may exact and watching her journey carelessly onward full of her innocence broke my own heart just a little.

10 Books If You Like The Baby-Sitters Club

10 Books If You Like the Baby-Sitters Club

Do you love the Baby-Sitters Club graphic novels? Looking for more books about middle school, friendship, and identity? Check out these ten recommendations for fans of the Baby-Sitters Club!

Best Babysitters Ever by Carol Cara

Twelve-year-old Malia Twiggs is inspired by the Baby-Sitters Club books to start her own babysitting business. How hard can it be, right? Well…a lot harder than she thought! (Note: Not a graphic novel.)

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Awkward by Svetlana Chmakova

Awkward Graphic Novel Book Cover

On her first day at her new school, Penelope (Peppi) Torres pushes a boy so she will not be labelled his nerdy girlfriend.  But soon she discovers that Jaime may be just the friend she needs.  Can she overcome her embarrassment to apologize?  And can the two them find a way to unite their opposing clubs–art and science?  One thing is certain.  Middle school is never dull.

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Swim Team by Johnnie Christmas

Bree cannot wait to start at her new school, Enith Brigitha, and join the Math Club. But then she learns that the only elective still open is Swimming 101–and Bree can’t swim. With the help of her elderly neighbor Etta, however, Bree takes the plunge and even joins the school swim team. The Mighty Manatees are counting on her and her teammates to bring home the State Championship, and save the pool from being sold for a smoothie shop. But the team is having growing pains, and if they cannot work together outside the pool, they may not be able to work together in the pool.

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The Secret of Danger Point by Kim Dwinell

Secret of Danger Point

Sam and Jade’s friendship has felt a little off lately. Jade keeps giggling over boys, which annoys Sam. And now Sam can see ghosts–and Jade thinks she might be losing it. The ghosts want Sam to help save their home. But what can one girl do?

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Twins by Varian Johnson


Maureen and Francine Carter are entering the sixth grade, and things are changing. Francine wants to be called “Fran,” she keeps disappearing after school to hang out with her new friends, and she doesn’t want to share all her classes with Maureen. Then she runs for student council president–but Maureen decides to run, too. Can their sisterly bond withstand the competition?

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Sweet Valley Twins by Francine Pascal

Sweet Valley Twins

Elizabeth and Jessica have always done everything together, but middle school threatens to tear them apart. While Elizabeth wants to join the school newspaper, Jessica is more interested in joining the popular girls in the Unicorn Club–even if that means earning her entry by playing cruel pranks on the other students. Will the twins be able to find their separate ways and remain best friends forever?

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The Tryout by Christina Soontornvat and Joanna Cacao

The Tryout

As a Thai American, Christina has never really felt like she fits in her small Texas town. Then, she sees the middle school cheerleaders. They are everything she is not, but wishes she were. So, along with her best friend, she decides to join the squad. But that means performing a tryout in front of the entire school! Join Christina as she gives her all to the competition.

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Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy by Rey Terciero and Bre Indigo

Meg Jo Beth and Amy Graphic Novel Book Cover

The March sisters are facing a Christmas without presents as their mom works late shifts as a nurse and their father serves overseas.  But they soon realize that others have it worse than they do, and that there is still plenty in life to appreciate.  Together, they will face whatever life throws at them and come out stronger.  A graphic novel retelling of Little Women set in modern-day New York City.

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Anne of West Philly by Ivy Noelle Weir & Myisha Haynes

Siblings Matthew and Marilla decide to foster a teenage girl for the first time–and upbeat Anne Shirley immediately makes a place for herself in their West Philadelphia home. She makes friends with Diana, joins the robotics club, and soon is enrolled in STEM competition with her rival Gilbert. But can West Philly be Anne’s home forever?

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Go with the Flow by Lily Williams

Abby, Brit, Christine, and Sasha are sophomores at Hazelton High and they are tired of the tampon/pad dispensers always being empty. If the school can afford new football uniforms, they can stock the restrooms with free menstrual products. They are on a mission to destigmatize periods. But not all of them are as enthusiastic as their leader and, when she goes too far for the cause, their friendship is in jeopardy.

15 of My Favorite Reads of 2022

Choosing the best reads of any year is no easy feat! However, below are 15 titles that particularly resonated with me in 2022. What were some of your favorite reads?

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Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie

Death on the Nile is one of of Agatha Christie’s finest works, a masterpiece of characterization as well as a truly clever mystery.  Fans of the genre will delight in the plot’s intricacies and red herrings, its myriad of suspects and potential solutions. I have read a number of Christie’s mysteries this year, but this one really stands out.

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Swim Team by Johnnie Christmas

Swim Team is the perfect middle grade graphic novel! With an endearing protagonist, relatable middle school experiences, and fun look at the trials and triumphs of competing on the school swim team, this book takes the classic tale of friendship growing pains and makes it feel fresh.

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Cuckoo Song by Frances Hardinge

Cuckoo Song will enthrall readers with its deeply atmospheric world, its dark suspense, its twists and its turns. But it will also capture them with its complex characters and beautiful prose. Frances Hardinge always delivers an exception story–Cuckoo Song is no exception.

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The Unbelievable Gwenpool by Christopher Hastings, et al

I was not expecting to enjoy Gwenpool as much as I did, but I enjoyed the dark humor, as well as the questions the book raises about the nature of comic books, what they teach us about right and wrong, and how those lessons can shape us.

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All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot

 Herriot brings such warmth and humor to his memories of vet practice in the 1930s, that even the difficulties of his profession seem minor when compared to the joy it brings both him and the people (and animals) he helps. Reading his stories feels like tucking into bed with a warm cup of cocoa on a fall evening–cozy, comforting, and altogether perfect!

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Gilded by Marissa Meyer

Gilded is a wonderfully atmosphere fantasy that blends darkness and romance to create a tale that feels so immersive, readers will never want to leave. Based on the fairy tale “Rumpelstiltskin,” the book quickly makes the story its own, adding in elements of the Wild Hunt, as well as an original mythology that includes gods and their curses and their gifts. Anyone who enjoys a highly inventive fairy tale retelling is sure to fall in love with Marissa Meyer’s Gilded.

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Frizzy by Claribel A. Ortega and Rose Bousamra

Frizzy is a must-read for fans of middle grade graphic novels. It is written with sensitivity and insight. And, though it is sometimes hard to read, it ends with a hopeful message that things can change and all hair is beautiful.

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The Dark Queens by Shelley Puhak

Shelley Puhak’s The Dark Queens is one of the most riveting books I have read this year–and one of the most fascinating nonfiction books I have ever read. This narrative nonfiction delves deep into history to recover the stories of female power and leadership that later generations wished to erase. The result is a story so wild, it rivals fiction in its sheer scope of intrigue, wickedness, and just plain weirdness. A recommended read to all who enjoy medieval history or even fiction set in medieval-esque worlds.

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All American Boys by Jason Reynolds & Brendan Kiely

A powerful and timely YA book about police brutality that will leave readers haunted. Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely take turns narrating the story from the perspective of a Black student and a white student from the same school, each responding to the incident differently. The students change throughout the story–and the story will leave readers changed, too.

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The Tryout by Christina Soontornvat and Joanna Cacao

Filled with heart and humor, The Tryout chronicles Christina’s attempts to join the middle school cheerleading team, so she can finally feel like she belongs. Although graphic novels dealing with friendship drama and middle school hierarchies have been trending for years, Soontornvat’s story still feels fresh. She brings to her story not only great sympathy and insight into the desire for acceptance, but also a knowing sense that parts of her story were funny (even if they were not at the time) and that her experience helped her grow (even when things did not turn out the way she wanted). The Tryout is a triumph, a title that is on my personal list of the best middle grade graphic novels.

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Graywaren by Maggie Stiefvater

Stiefvater brings the Dreamer Trilogy to a satisfying conclusion as the stakes are raised, the danger intensifies, and the world starts to change. The sheer inventiveness of Stiefvater’s world, combined with her emotional insight into her characters, makes this trilogy feel not only fresh and original, but also like a wonder to read.

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The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien

Published in the 1950s, J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings has become the touchstone of high fantasy. But, for me, Tolkien’s underlying philosophy sets his legendarium apart.  The book implicitly believes in the goodness of people and that good will always conquer evil. It is this belief that keeps me returning to Tolkien’s world.

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Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Code Name Verity is one of those rare, sparkling books that seems to come only a few times in a lifetime. It is the type of story that feels so real, so intimate, that it hardly seems it could be fiction. The type of story that is so original, it takes the breath away. The type of story that possibly an author gets only once. Long after I’ve finished the book, Code Name Verity continues to haunt me.

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Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein

Rose Under Fire is a heartbreaking book, one that blends unimaginable horrors with the light of friendship and the strength of human resilience. It is a hard book to read, but an important one.

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Tidesong by Wendy Xu

Tidesong is a gentle fantasy reminiscent of a Studio Ghibli film. Young witch-in-training Sophie longs to prove herself, but her self doubt gets in the way of her ability to take direction. As a result, she creates a magical mishap that nearly results in disaster for both humans and dragons. The plot is simple, but also fast paced, so young readers can feel like they experienced a lot of action and growth in a short time.

My 7 Most Anticipated 2023 Releases

What books am I looking forward to reading in 2023? Here’s a mix of adult, middle grade, and young adult selections! Click on the titles to go to the Goodreads page.

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A Curse for True Love (Once Upon a Broken Heart #3) by Stephanie Garber

Currently no official cover or description, just this teaser: “Two villains do battle for the heart of one girl in A CURSE FOR TRUE LOVE, the deadly conclusion of the #1 NEW YORK TIMES bestselling Once Upon A Broken Heart trilogy.”

No One Leaves the Castle by Christopher Healy

Agatha Christie meets the Brothers Grimm in an unexpected, hilarious, and wholly original new fantasy-mystery from the beloved author of The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom.

The Lilac. The bard songs say that she’s the world’s most fearsome bounty hunter. That there’s no criminal she can’t catch, no mystery she can’t solve.

None of that is true. Yet.

In reality, the Lilac is just a kid, and the bard who wrote all that is her best friend, Dulcinetta. But the Lilac has set her goals on becoming the best bounty hunter in the Thirteen Kingdoms—and when a priceless artifact goes missing from the home of famed monster hunter Baron Angbar, the Lilac and Netta are eager to apprehend the thief and make a name for themselves.

But when their investigation brings them to a dinner party at Castle Angbar, and they meet the Angbar family and their servants and guests—an unsavory group of nobles, mages, and assorted creatures, each more shady than the last—the Lilac begins to wonder if the reward is worth the trouble.

And that’s before the dead body is discovered.

Now everyone is magically sealed inside the castle—and there is a murderer among them. If the Lilac wants to make it out with her reputation intact, it’s going to be up to her to figure out who the killer is. But everyone in the castle—even the Lilac herself—has secrets to hide, and as the walls literally start to close in around them, the Lilac worries that her first job as a bounty hunter may be her last. . . .

You Should Have Told Me book cover

You Should Have Told Me by Leah Konen

A devoted father. A loving partner. A suspect for murder…

When Janie’s boyfriend Max doesn’t come home one night, she’s doesn’t know what to do. Why would he leave her and their baby daughter, with no explanation?

Then the police turn up, asking questions about the body of a woman found outside a local bar.

They want to know where Max was last night. Where Max is now – but Janie has no idea.

They want answers, but Janie only has questions.

She loves Max more than anything. But did she ever really know him at all?

And if he’s capable of disappearing, could he be capable of murder too?

Hailey and the Dragon by Lauren Magaziner

Case Closed author Lauren Magaziner and artist Mirelle Ortega return for the second installment in the highly illustrated middle grade fantasy series full of action, adventure, friendship, and mythical creatures.

After Pairing Day didn’t go as planned for the Mythics—Marina, Hailey, Kit, Ember, and Pippa—they embrace their journey to find their Mythies and save Terrafamilar. Hailey has always known she was destined for adventure, and after watching Marina and Ember unite with their mythical animal familiars, she’s more than ready to embark on her quest.

Buzzing with excitement and running full speed ahead, Hailey is still adjusting to being part of a team. She’s used to leading the charge on her own, but now she has four other girls she can count on—and she’ll need them on this journey.

Golden Jumpsuit is after the Mythics, and she might have allies all over Terrafamiliar. How will Hailey and the Mythics figure out who to trust when they’re still working on trusting each other? The fate of Terrafamiliar is in their hands.

The Davenports by Krystal Marquis

The Davenports are one of the few Black families of immense wealth and status in a changing United States, their fortune made through the entrepreneurship of William Davenport, a formerly enslaved man who founded the Davenport Carriage Company years ago. Now it’s 1910, and the Davenports live surrounded by servants, crystal chandeliers, and endless parties, finding their way and finding love—even where they’re not supposed to.

There is Olivia, the beautiful elder Davenport daughter, ready to do her duty by getting married . . . until she meets the charismatic civil rights leader Washington DeWight and sparks fly. The younger daughter, Helen, is more interested in fixing cars than falling in love—unless it’s with her sister’s suitor. Amy-Rose, the childhood friend turned maid to the Davenport sisters, dreams of opening her own business—and marrying the one man she could never be with, Olivia and Helen’s brother, John. But Olivia’s best friend, Ruby, also has her sights set on John Davenport, though she can’t seem to keep his interest . . . until family pressure has her scheming to win his heart, just as someone else wins hers.

Inspired by the real-life story of the Patterson family, The Davenports is the tale of four determined and passionate young Black women discovering the courage to steer their own path in life—and love.

The Battle of Maldon: Together with the Homecoming of Beohtnoth by J.R.R. Tolkien, Ed. by Peter Grybauskas

First ever standalone edition of one of J.R.R. Tolkien’s most important poetic dramas, that explores timely themes such as the nature of heroism and chivalry during war, and which features unpublished and never-before-seen texts and drafts.

In 991 AD, vikings attacked an Anglo-Saxon defence-force led by their duke, Beorhtnoth, resulting in brutal fighting along the banks of the river Blackwater, near Maldon in Essex. The attack is widely considered one of the defining conflicts of tenth-century England, due to it being immortalised in the poem, The Battle of Maldon.

Written shortly after the battle, the poem now survives only as a 325-line fragment, but its value to today is incalculable, not just as an heroic tale but in vividly expressing the lost language of our ancestors and celebrating ideals of loyalty and friendship.

J.R.R. Tolkien considered The Battle of Maldon ‘the last surviving fragment of ancient English heroic minstrelsy’. It would inspire him to compose, during the 1930s, his own dramatic verse-dialogue, The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth Beorhthelm’s Son, which imagines the aftermath of the great battle when two of Beorhtnoth’s retainers come to retrieve their duke’s body.

Leading Tolkien scholar, Peter Grybauskas, presents for the very first time J.R.R. Tolkien’s own prose translation of The Battle of Maldon together with the definitive treatment of The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth and its accompanying essays; also included and never before published is Tolkien’s bravura lecture, ‘The Tradition of Versification in Old English’, a wide-ranging essay on the nature of poetic tradition. Illuminated with insightful notes and commentary, he has produced a definitive critical edition of these works, and argues compellingly that, Beowulf excepted, The Battle of Maldon may well have been ‘the Old English poem that most influenced Tolkien’s fiction’, most dramatically within the pages of The Lord of the Rings.

Silverborn: The Mystery of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend

Morrigan Crow is ready for a new adventure. In Silverborn: The Mystery of Morrigan Crow, we will travel to places in Nevermoor that we’ve never seen, we’ll meet people from Morrigan’s past who will be very important in untangling the mystery of who she is … as she sides with someone very dangerous to learn more of the Wundrous Arts.


5 Books I Have Given as Holiday Gifts that the Recipients Loved

We all know how hard gifting books can be. Even though books are AMAZING, it can be hard to pick a book that matches someone else’s taste or that they . . . actually get around to reading. Here are some books I have given as gifts in the past that the recipients read AND got back to me to tell me how much they liked them. Maybe this will inspire your gift-giving!

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1. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone. . . .

A convict with a thirst for revenge

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager

A runaway with a privileged past

A spy known as the Wraith

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes

Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

2. Thorn by Intisar Khanani

A princess with two futures. A destiny all her own.

Between her cruel family and the contempt she faces at court, Princess Alyrra has always longed to escape the confines of her royal life. But when she’s betrothed to the powerful prince Kestrin, Alyrra embarks on a journey to his land with little hope for a better future.

When a mysterious and terrifying sorceress robs Alyrra of both her identity and her role as princess, Alyrra seizes the opportunity to start a new life for herself as a goose girl.

But Alyrra soon finds that Kestrin is not what she expected. The more Alyrra learns of this new kingdom, the pain and suffering its people endure, as well as the danger facing Kestrin from the sorceress herself, the more she knows she can’t remain the goose girl forever.

With the fate of the kingdom at stake, Alyrra is caught between two worlds and ultimately must decide who she is, and what she stands for.

Includes The Bone Knife, a bonus short story set in the world of Thorn.

Invisible Women Book Cover

3. Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed by Men by Caroline Criado Perez

Imagine a world where your phone is too big for your hand, where your doctor prescribes a drug that is wrong for your body, where in a car accident you are 47% more likely to be seriously injured, where every week the countless hours of work you do are not recognised or valued. If any of this sounds familiar, chances are that you’re a woman.

Invisible Women shows us how, in a world largely built for and by men, we are systematically ignoring half the population. It exposes the gender data gap – a gap in our knowledge that is at the root of perpetual, systemic discrimination against women, and that has created a pervasive but invisible bias with a profound effect on women’s lives.

Award-winning campaigner and writer Caroline Criado Perez brings together for the first time an impressive range of case studies, stories and new research from across the world that illustrate the hidden ways in which women are forgotten, and the impact this has on their health and well-being. From government policy and medical research, to technology, workplaces, urban planning and the media, Invisible Women reveals the biased data that excludes women. In making the case for change, this powerful and provocative book will make you see the world anew.

Witch Wars

4. Witch Wars by Sibeal Pounder

When Fran the Fabulous Fairy turns up in Tiga Whicabim’s shed to tell her she’s a witch, Tiga doesn’t believe her. Or at least not until Fran points out that TIGA WHICABIM is actually an anagram of I AM A BIG WITCH . . . and takes Tiga through the drainpipes to compete in a challenge to crown the next Top Witch of Ritzy City. No one expects a witch from ‘above the pipes’ to be a serious contender, but soon Tiga and her new best friend, Peggy Pigwiggle, are at the head of the pack! Does one of them have what it takes to win?

There will be spells. There will be shrunken heads. But most of all, there will be serious shoe envy. Perfect for fans of Sarah Mlynowski’s Whatever After series and filled with hilarious black-and-white illustrations, delectable dresses, and ridiculous riddles, Witch Wars is whimsical, magical fun!

5. The Dark Queens: The Bloody Rivalry that Forged the Medieval World by Shelley Puhak

The remarkable, little-known story of two trailblazing women in the Early Middle Ages who wielded immense power, only to be vilified for daring to rule.

Brunhild was a Spanish princess, raised to be married off for the sake of alliance-building. Her sister-in-law Fredegund started out as a lowly palace slave. And yet—in the 6th-century Merovingian Empire, where women were excluded from noble succession and royal politics was a blood sport—these two iron-willed strategists reigned over vast realms for decades, changing the face of Europe.

The two queens commanded armies and negotiated with kings and popes. They formed coalitions and broke them, mothered children and lost them. They fought a years-long civil war—against each other. With ingenuity and skill, they battled to stay alive in the game of statecraft, and in the process laid the foundations of what would one day be Charlemagne’s empire. Yet after Brunhild and Fredegund’s deaths—one gentle, the other horrific—their stories were rewritten, their names consigned to slander and legend.

In The Dark Queens, award-winning writer Shelley Puhak sets the record straight. She resurrects two very real women in all their complexity, painting a richly detailed portrait of an unfamiliar time and striking at the roots of some of our culture’s stubbornest myths about female power. The Dark Queens offers proof that the relationships between women can transform the world.


12 (More) YA Books Perfect for Younger Teens

YA Books Perfect for Younger Teens

Are you looking for a young adult novel for a tween or younger teen? Check out some of these books that are rich in character, storytelling, and world building but that aren’t incredibly dark or overly sexy. And, of course, readers of any age can enjoy them (a lot are my favorites, and I’m an adult!).

Our first list with lower YA recommendations, 15 YA Books for Younger Teens, can be viewed here.

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Queen of the Tiles Book Cover

Queen of the Tiles by Hanna Alkaf

13 points
noun: a person or thing that precipitates an event or change

When Najwa Bakri walks into her first Scrabble competition since her best friend’s death, it’s with the intention to heal and move on with her life. Perhaps it wasn’t the best idea to choose the very same competition where said best friend, Trina Low, died. It might be even though Najwa’s trying to change, she’s not ready to give up Trina just yet.

But the same can’t be said for all the other competitors. With Trina, the Scrabble Queen herself, gone, the throne is empty, and her friends are eager to be the next reigning champion. All’s fair in love and Scrabble, but all bets are off when Trina’s formerly inactive Instagram starts posting again, with cryptic messages suggesting that maybe Trina’s death wasn’t as straightforward as everyone thought. And maybe someone at the competition had something to do with it.

As secrets are revealed and the true colors of her friends are shown, it’s up to Najwa to find out who’s behind these mysterious posts—not just to save Trina’s memory, but to save herself.

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Duels and Deception

Duels and Deception by Cindy Anstey

Miss Lydia Whitfield, heiress to the family fortune, has her future entirely planned out. She will run the family estate until she marries the man of her late father’s choosing, and then she will spend the rest of her days as a devoted wife. Confident in those arrangements, Lydia has tasked her young law clerk, Mr. Robert Newton, to begin drawing up the marriage contracts. Everything is going according to plan.

Until Lydia—and Robert along with her—is kidnapped. Someone is after her fortune and won’t hesitate to destroy her reputation to get it. With Robert’s help, Lydia strives to keep her family’s good name intact and expose whoever is behind the devious plot. But as their investigation delves deeper and their affections for each other grow, Lydia starts to wonder whether her carefully planned future is in fact what she truly wants…

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Princess of the Midnight Ball

Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day Geory

Galen is a young soldier returning from war; Rose is one of twelve princesses condemned to dance each night for the King Under Stone. Together Galen and Rose will search for a way to break the curse that forces the princesses to dance at the midnight balls. All they need is one invisibility cloak, a black wool chain knit with enchanted silver needles, and that most critical ingredient of all—true love—to conquer their foes in the dark halls below. But malevolent forces are working against them above ground as well, and as cruel as the King Under Stone has seemed, his wrath is mere irritation compared to the evil that awaits Galen and Rose in the brighter world above.

Captivating from start to finish, Jessica Day George’s take on the Grimms’ tale The Twelve Dancing Princesses demonstrates yet again her mastery at spinning something entirely fresh out of a story you thought you knew.

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Thorn by Intisar Khanani

Thorn by Intisar Khanani

A princess with two futures. A destiny all her own.

Between her cruel family and the contempt she faces at court, Princess Alyrra has always longed to escape the confines of her royal life. But when she’s betrothed to the powerful prince Kestrin, Alyrra embarks on a journey to his land with little hope for a better future.

When a mysterious and terrifying sorceress robs Alyrra of both her identity and her role as princess, Alyrra seizes the opportunity to start a new life for herself as a goose girl.

But Alyrra soon finds that Kestrin is not what she expected. The more Alyrra learns of this new kingdom, the pain and suffering its people endure, as well as the danger facing Kestrin from the sorceress herself, the more she knows she can’t remain the goose girl forever.

With the fate of the kingdom at stake, Alyrra is caught between two worlds and ultimately must decide who she is, and what she stands for.

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Spin the Dawn

Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim

Maia Tamarin dreams of becoming the greatest tailor in the land, but as a girl, the best she can hope for is to marry well. When a royal messenger summons her ailing father, once a tailor of renown, to court, Maia poses as a boy and takes his place. She knows her life is forfeit if her secret is discovered, but she’ll take that risk to achieve her dream and save her family from ruin. There’s just one catch: Maia is one of twelve tailors vying for the job.

Backstabbing and lies run rampant as the tailors compete in challenges to prove their artistry and skill. Maia’s task is further complicated when she draws the attention of the court magician, Edan, whose piercing eyes seem to see straight through her disguise.

And nothing could have prepared her for the final challenge: to sew three magic gowns for the emperor’s reluctant bride-to-be, from the laughter of the sun, the tears of the moon, and the blood of stars. With this impossible task before her, she embarks on a journey to the far reaches of the kingdom, seeking the sun, the moon, and the stars, and finding more than she ever could have imagined.

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The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen

In a discontent kingdom, civil war is brewing. To unify the divided people, Conner, a nobleman of the court, devises a cunning plan to find an impersonator of the king’s long-lost son and install him as a puppet prince. Four orphans are recruited to compete for the role, including a defiant boy named Sage. Sage knows that Conner’s motives are more than questionable, yet his life balances on a sword’s point—he must be chosen to play the prince or he will certainly be killed. But Sage’s rivals have their own agendas as well.

As Sage moves from a rundown orphanage to Conner’s sumptuous palace, layer upon layer of treachery and deceit unfold, until finally, a truth is revealed that, in the end, may very well prove more dangerous than all of the lies taken together.

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Geekerella by Ashley Poston

Part romance, part love letter to nerd culture, and all totally adorbs, Geekerella is a fairy tale for anyone who believes in the magic of fandom. Geek girl Elle Wittimer lives and breathes Starfield, the classic sci-fi series she grew up watching with her late father. So when she sees a cosplay contest for a new Starfield movie, she has to enter. The prize? An invitation to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball, and a meet-and-greet with the actor slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor in the reboot. With savings from her gig at the Magic Pumpkin food truck (and her dad’s old costume), Elle’s determined to win…unless her stepsisters get there first.

Teen actor Darien Freeman used to live for cons—before he was famous. Now they’re nothing but autographs and awkward meet-and-greets. Playing Carmindor is all he’s ever wanted, but the Starfield fandom has written him off as just another dumb heartthrob. As ExcelsiCon draws near, Darien feels more and more like a fake—until he meets a girl who shows him otherwise.

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Pumpkinheads By Rainbow Rowell and Faith Erin Hicks

Deja and Josiah are seasonal best friends.

Every autumn, all through high school, they’ve worked together at the best pumpkin patch in the whole wide world. (Not many people know that the best pumpkin patch in the whole wide world is in Omaha, Nebraska, but it definitely is.) They say good-bye every Halloween, and they’re reunited every September 1.

But this Halloween is different—Josiah and Deja are finally seniors, and this is their last season at the pumpkin patch. Their last shift together. Their last good-bye.

Josiah’s ready to spend the whole night feeling melancholy about it. Deja isn’t ready to let him. She’s got a plan: What if—instead of moping and the usual slinging lima beans down at the Succotash Hut—they went out with a bang? They could see all the sights! Taste all the snacks! And Josiah could finally talk to that cute girl he’s been mooning over for three years . . .

What if their last shift was an adventure?

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Skyward by Brandon Sanderson

Skyward by Brandon Sanderson

Defeated, crushed, and driven almost to extinction, the remnants of the human race are trapped on a planet that is constantly attacked by mysterious alien starfighters. Spensa, a teenage girl living among them, longs to be a pilot. When she discovers the wreckage of an ancient ship, she realizes this dream might be possible—assuming she can repair the ship, navigate flight school, and (perhaps most importantly) persuade the strange machine to help her. Because this ship, uniquely, appears to have a soul.

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Uglies book cover

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

Tally is about to turn sixteen, and she can’t wait. In just a few weeks she’ll have the operation that will turn her from a repellent ugly into a stunning pretty. And as a pretty, she’ll be catapulted into a high-tech paradise where her only job is to have fun.

But Tally’s new friend Shay isn’t sure she wants to become a pretty. When Shay runs away, Tally learns about a whole new side of the pretty world—and it isn’t very pretty. The authorities offer Tally a choice: find her friend and turn her in, or never turn pretty at all. Tally’s choice will change her world forever….

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The Fifth Wave book cover

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother-or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

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The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?

15 YA Books Perfect for Summer

15 YA Books Perfect for Summer

Looking for a summer read? The one that makes you think of days on the beach, travel to foreign countries, or life-changing road trips? Below are 15 YA books that give that perfect summer feeling!

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Alex, Approximately

Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett

Bailey Rydell’s crush is a fellow classic film buff who goes by the name of Alex online. Then Bailey moves across the country to Alex’s California hometown. But Bailey is an evader. Hesitant to tell Alex that she could be living down the street, Bailey determines to try to find Alex herself first. But then Porter happens. Porter is annoying. But also incredibly handsome. And maybe a little funny. Soon Bailey finds herself falling and she wonders if this is fair to Alex. What she doesn’t know is that Porter and Alex are the same person.

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Hurricane Summer

Hurricane Summer by Asha Bromfield

All Tilla wants is her father to love her, but every year he returns to his true love–Jamaica. Then her mother tells Tilla she will be spending the summer on the island. And Tilla begins to unravel the secrets of her family’s past.

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One True Loves by Elise Bryant

Lenore is heading to NYU in the fall, but without having declared a major. Her family insists she needs to have it all figured out, but sometimes Lenore thinks that isn’t possible. Then she meets the charming Alex Lee while on a Mediterranean cruise. And Alex is the type with a ten-year plan. Could it be the one thing Lenore can predict is love?

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The Rest of the Story

The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen

Emma Saylor’s mother died when she was ten. Now, she is going to spend the summer with her mother’s family at North Lake. What she did not know is that North Lake is divided into two worlds–the lower-class world where her mother grew up and the upper-class resort where her dad spent his summers. But fortunately a boy named Roo is there to help her put the pieces of her family together.

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How Moon Fuentez Fell in Love with the Universe by Raquel Vasquez Gilliland

Moon believes she is destined to fade into the background as the camerawoman for her twin sister, a social media star. Then she takes a job as the merch girl on a summer tour bus full of influencers. She initially hates her bunkmate Santiago, but soon begins to question if this might be the summer when everything for her changes.

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A Love Hate Thing

A Love Hate Thing by Whitney D. Grandison

Nandy lives in the wealthy coastal town of Pacific Hills where she has spent years crafting her perfect image. Then she learns that her parents are taking in a teen boy who was shot on the streets of Lindenwood. And Nandy has a feeling that her perfect image is about to be smashed. But anger and resentment just might turn into love.

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The Summer I Turned Pretty

The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

Isabel, known as Belly, experiences first love and heartbreak during one summer as two boys vie for her attention.

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We Were Liars Book Cover

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Every summer, Cady and her cousins go to their grandfather’s private island to spend the summer. Then one year, Cady is found lying on the beach, a hit to her head. And she can’t remember anything.

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This Might Get Awkward by Kara McDowell

Seventeen-year-old Gemma has social anxiety, and can’t even speak to her crush Beau. Then the popular kids at school somehow end up having a party on her solitary beach–and Beau asks her to pretend they are close. After Beau falls out of a boat and becomes unconscious, though, everyone assumes that Gemma is Beau’s girlfriend. Soon, Gemma is too deep into the lie to find a way out.

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When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

Dimple has put school behind her after graduation, but she is excited about attending a summer program for web developers.  Little does she know that her parents are still planning to find her the perfect Indian husband: Rishi Patel is attending the same camp.

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A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow by Laura Taylor Namey

Lila had her plans for after graduation all figured out–until her family sends her to spend three months in England with family. At first, nothing about England seems satisfactory, until Lila meets Orion Maxwell, a teashop clerk. Orion appoints himself as Lila’s personal tour guide, and soon Lila is falling in love with more than England.

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Beauty and the Besharam by Lillie Vale

After her nemesis Ian Juan witnesses Kavya’s ugly breakup with her boyfriend, she plans to spend the summer after junior year working part time playing princess roles for children’s parties. Unfortunately, not only is she cast as Ariel instead of her beloved Belle, but Ian is going to be her Prince Eric for the summer! Tired of the two fighting, their friends design a series of competitions for Ian and Kavya. But soon, rivalry starts to turn to attraction.

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The Summer of Broken Rules by K. L. Wathers

Meredith Fox goes to Martha’s Vineyard every year for the summer. But this will be the first year since the death of her sister. Fortunately, her cousins is having a huge wedding and the family will be playing the ultimate game of Assassin. Meredith’s target for distraction? A very cute groomsman.

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Love and Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch

Love and Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch

Before Lina’s mother dies, she insists that Lina go to live with her old friend Howard in Italy.  Somehow she forgot to tell Lina what her grandmother does–that Howard is really her father.  Lina doesn’t want to live with a man she barely knows.  And she certainly doesn’t want to stay in Italy, even if it is beautiful.  But then she receives her mother’s old journal and she’s suddenly experiencing Florence for the first time along with her mom.  As Lina continues to read, however, things don’t seem to be adding up.  Why did her mom leave Italy?  And who is Howard, anyway?

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Sunkissed by Kasie West

Avery is not having the best summer. Her best friend betrayed her, and her parents have dragged her and her sister off to camp. But then she notices the mysterious and charming Brookes–who happens to be off-limits.

What YA books would you recommend for summer?

5 Books I Read Because of Other Book Bloggers

As part of the 2022 Support Book Bloggers Challenge, I am completing July’s task: write a post about books you read because of other bloggers (either specific bloggers or because of the book blogging community as a whole). Read more about the challenge or join us by clicking here.

I am excluding books I read because Krysta made me, even though she is technically a book blogger, but maybe that is a topic for another post.

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Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

I was not going to read this book. I read Shadow and Bone and thought it was fine but unremarkable and didn’t see myself reading more of Bardugo’s work. But the book blogosphere ultimately convinced me Six of Crows was special, and they were right! This is a masterpiece of a book and deserves all the hype.

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This was a recommendation from Stephanie @ Chasm of Books. Stephanie loves this pirate adventure–and the rest of the series. While I didn’t fall in love with it myself, I thought it was a fun read.

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The Alchemist

Michael @ My Comic Relief talks about The Alchemist a lot, so I decided I should check it out, too! I don’t know that I found it life-changing, the way many readers seem to, but I did think it’s interesting. And, as a bonus, it’s a pretty quick read.

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A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Another instance where I read the author’s debut, thought it was fine, but didn’t envision myself reading more of her work. However, the book blogosphere was so hyped up about this that I gave it a chance after winning some books in a giveaway. I read the original trilogy and enjoyed it, but I also think that this is now officially enough Maas for me.

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Daughter of the Moon Goddess by Sue Lynn Tan

I can’t point to a specific blogger who recommended this: I just know the book community, once again, picked a winner as a whole when they hyped this one up. I am definitely looking forward to the sequel!


39 of Nancy Drew’s Talents

A List of 39 of Nancy Drew's Talents

Nancy Drew seems to be able to do it all! But have you ever wondered exactly how many skills she has? We read the first 56 Nancy Drew mysteries to create this informal count of Nancy’s many–and varied–talents!

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She can change a tire. (1)

She is an excellent swimmer. (3)

She’s good at tennis. (3)

She was first in her skin diving class. (4)

She can knit. (5)

She is a “skillful rider” on horseback. (5)

She is a great diver. (10)

She is an expert at sailing. (14)

She is good at golf. (15)

She can tap dance. (16)

She knows Morse code. (16)

She has a limited knowledge of ASL fingerspelling. (17)

She’s good at Ping-Pong. (17)

She is a talented sketch artist. (19)

She can read music and play the piano. (21)

She can read Middle English. (22)

She can read French and speak French. (23 and 32)

She plans to take a ceramics class. (26)

She likes to water ski. (28)

She won a novice skier’s competition. (29)

She can ice skate well enough to be in an exhibition with professional skaters. (29)

She knows some ventriloquism. (31)

She can do trick riding well enough to join the circus. (31)

She can do ballet. (32)

She can do rhythmic dance. (32)

She mentions a chance to practice her German (though she does not actually use it in the book). (33)

She wins a prize for Togo at the dog show. (36)

She participates in a water ballet. (37)

She can dance (couples dancing on the dance floor). (37)

She is a swift runner who can vault fences. (39)

She is a wonderful actress. (39)

She learns to play the bagpipes. (41)

She goes scuba diving. (42)

She can sing very well. (45)

She can do first aid like mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. (49)

She can cook. (49)

She can play the guitar. (52)

She can speak Spanish (though in another book, only Ned can!) (52)

She learns to fly a plane. (53)

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Even though Nancy is revealed to have at least 39 talents in the first 56 books alone, I fully expected her to have more! At least one new talent per book! Undoubtedly I missed some, or perhaps overlooked some talents the books take as a given for nice, domestic women (cooking, sewing, etc.). But, still, if Nancy can learn to trick ride professionally in a matter of weeks, I think she could pick up a few more skills!

What do you think? Is Nancy Drew as talented as you remember?