Five Bingeworthy Fantasy Series to Read This Summer

boneWhat’s better than finding a good book? Finding a book that is part of a really strong, consistent series. Knowing you can lose yourself in that world for weeks or months as you gallop through book after book.

If you’re looking for that kind of read this spring or summer, here’s five good recommendations. These are all mature fantasy series that have a strong narrative from beginning to end (as opposed to really excellent series like Her Royal Spyness, which have the same set of characters but not necessarily a continuous storyline.)

  1. The Tawny Man trilogy by Robin Hobb – A slow-starting, but totally worth it, series about a 30-something man who has retreated into the forest to live in anonymity. He possesses a rare combination of magical skills and slowly is called back into service for his kingdom. This is a continuation of the Farseer trilogy, but I picked up with Fool’s Errand, no problem.
  2. The Tamir Triad by Lynn Flewelling – A princess trades places with her twin brother at birth by use of magic, to hide her true self until she can come into her own as future Queen. A beautiful story about gender and identity.
  3. Graceling by Kristin Cashore – Katsa was born with a special skill, or Grace, for killing. In service as the king’s assassin, she learns the true nature of her gift and finds friendship and her true place in the world. This was remarkable as YA for avoiding stupid love triangles and focusing instead on a strong female protagonist.
  4. All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness – A scholar in Oxford’s Bodleian Library finds a long-lost and magical manuscript that has the potential to unite – or undo – a complicated secret underworld of daemons, vampires and witches. For some reason this series reminds me of Outlander, if only in scope and romantic awesomeness.
  5. Small Change by Jo Walton – in an alternate 1949, postwar Britain has an uneasy truce with the Nazis and is feeling their influence. A few heroes fight to rescue Jews, homosexuals, and other ‘undesirables’ from persecution, and maybe save British society from themselves at the same time.

Readers: Now I need a new bingeworthy series for summer. What are some of your favorites?

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I Read in 2014

toptentuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is an original meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Head over there to see more lists like this one!

 

My list, I’m afraid, is in no particular order. I loved all of these books like children – individually and with no favorites.

nk_wwHow to Run with a Naked Werewolf by Molly Harper (2013)

Molly Harper is definitely one of my favorite light-reading authors, mostly for her deliciously snarky humor. This Alaskan werewolf romance is one of her best offerings yet.

 

 

farthingFarthing by Jo Walton (2006)

If you’ve never read alternate history fantasy, this is a great place to start. It’s set in a post WWII Britain where “Peace In Our Time” really lasted… at a price. Now the government is friendly with the victorious German Nazis, and Jews, homosexuals, and other “undesirables” fear for their lives. Farthing is the first book in a loosely related trilogy.

 

rithmatistThe Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson (2013)

Although such comparisons are usually shallow, unfair, or both, I’m going to describe this to you like I did to my girlfriends with reading children: Harry Potter. With magic math.

 

 

w_girlsThe Wicked Girls by Alex Marwood (2008)

This is the “not my usual” pick on this list – I don’t normally read crime. This one really worked for me, though – strong characterization, an unusual setting, and a mystery I couldn’t figure out. I originally got the recommendation from A Work In Progress, and so her review is linked above.

3tenses Take Three Tenses: A Fugue in Time by Rumer Godden (1945)

This short, somewhat stylized novel explores the life of a house over 100 years. Although it was written in 1945, I also found it to be very modern in the way it examined women’s roles in society.

wildroseA Wilder Rose by Susan Wittig Albert (2013)

What was the relationship between Laura Ingalls Wilder and her author daughter, Rose? This book is a fictionalized account of the years after Rose returned from Albania and settled down (or didn’t) to working with her mother on the Little House books. Albert does an amazing job of capturing Rose’s voice and filling in some missing years in these fascinating womens’ lives.

 bloodflowersThe Blood of Flowers by Anita Amirezzvani (2007)

This unusual piece of historical fiction is about a Persian village girl who dreams of working as a rugmaker in the big city. The story line of finding your place in a world that is not always friendly to women was so true that it resonated with me as a current-day woman engineer in heavy industry. There’s also some light romance and intrigue, and the setting is absolutely wonderful: richly and lovingly detailed seventeenth-century Persia.

imageMy Salinger Year Joanna Rakoff (2014)

This memoir successfully opens a window into another life & another world: in this case, mid-90’s  literary New York. Like most window-gazing, this book will satisfy your inner book-nerd voyeur.

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wisp

Wisp of a Thing by Alex Bledsoe (2014)

Although you could easily read it as a standalone book, Wisp of a Thing is the second installment in Bledsoe’s rural fantasy series about the Tufa, a mysterious group of people — or ?? — living in the hills in Tennesee. The books are infused with music and Appalachia and magic, and are the most wonderful antidote to too much urban fantasy.

ench_starsEnchantress from the Stars  by Sylvia Engdahl (1970)

Sylvia Engdahl gives us both fantasy and science fiction in this classic YA novel: a story of three brothers who try to slay a dragon with the help of an enchantress and a sorcerer, and science fiction about three anthropologists from an advanced race of humans that travel to a less developed planet to help the locals resist colonization.

 

Readers: What were the best books you read in 2014?

Library Loot: The Old and the New

 

librarylootnew 

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by The Captive Reader and Silly Little Mischief that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries

 

Only two books this week: The first is a new release from Jo Walton, My Real Children. I have a serious author-crush on Jo Walton, and so I’m really excited about this one. The second is Imperial Woman, by Pearl S. Buck, published in 1956.  She’s known for The Good Earth, of course, and I loved it, but have never read any of her other books. 

 impwom myreal

What loot did you bring home this week?

 

Library Loot

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Linda from Silly Little Mischief that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library.

Love this idea… especially since I always feel like I’m getting away with loot when I leave the library. This week, I made off with:

hapenny mercy sun

 

Ha’penny by Jo Walton: I have an author-crush on Jo Walton. If you don’t know who that is, please go read her blog and her Nebula and Hugo award winning book Among Others, and then come back here.

Night Broken by Patricia Briggs: I win! I think I’m the first one to get this waitlisted new release from the library.

Equal of the Sun by Anita Amirezzvani: I’ve started volunteering as a shelf reader at the library. Starting in the A’s, I ran across this book that was on my to-read list a couple of years ago, and later forgotten. Historical fiction about a strong-willed Iranian princess in the same time period as the Elizabethan era – yum. I can’t wait to see what turns up in the B’s.