Hoohoo, friends of the blade!
On 23rd August, it was my 26th birthday! I had a wonderful day with my family and closest friends, sweating during the summer draught, not reading much but eating much cake. But since talking about books was of course happening as well as looking at my bookshelves, here is a little post of 26 books that shaped my life so far.
Let’s start at the beginning: children’s books I enjoyed a lot and that had some kind of impact on me, then look further and have a look at what books shaped me in some way until now…
Where did the tree house come from?
Before Jack and Annie can find out, the mysterious tree house whisks them to the prehistoric past. Now they have to figure out how to get home. Can they do it before dark . . . or will they become a dinosaur’s dinner?
I loved the entire Magic Tree House series so much! As a child I was obsessed with dinosaurs and this first book of time travel and meeting dinosaurs, having a cool adventure really caught me. I especially loved this instalment, but the ancient Egypt one was among my favourites as well. Those books gave me so many ideas and showed me new things to discover and also really want my own tree house.
The very first Famous Five adventure, featuring Julian, Dick, Anne, not forgetting tomboy George and her beloved dog, Timmy! There’s a shipwreck off Kirrin Island! But where is the treasure? The Famous Five are on the trail – looking for clues – but they’re not alone! Someone else has got the same idea. Time is running out for the Famous Five, who will follow the clues and get to the treasure first?
Famous Five! I loved them all. The adventure, the family dynamics, and especially the dog, Tim. George always was somewhat of an idol for me, I loved her. And I named one of my favourite stuffed animals after Tim. I just loved these ordinary yet extraordinary children solving crimes and saving the day again and again. I desperately wanted to be a part of a group like that.
Percy Jackson is a good kid, but he can’t seem to focus on his schoolwork or control his temper. And lately, being away at boarding school is only getting worse – Percy could have sworn his pre-algebra teacher turned into a monster and tried to kill him. When Percy’s mom finds out, she knows it’s time that he knew the truth about where he came from, and that he go to the one place he’ll be safe. She sends Percy to Camp Half Blood, a summer camp for demigods (on Long Island), where he learns that the father he never knew is Poseidon, God of the Sea. Soon a mystery unfolds and together with his friends—one a satyr and the other the demigod daughter of Athena – Percy sets out on a quest across the United States to reach the gates of the Underworld (located in a recording studio in Hollywood) and prevent a catastrophic war between the gods.
Percy Jackson & the Olympians and basically the whole universe made by Rick Riordan is so, so dear to me. Not only does the book have adventure and many jokes, it also has such a beautiful focus on friendship, on different kinds of strength, on family by blood and choice. Then, of course, there’s the aspect of Greek mythology which I loved and still love. And since this is also the favourite series of one of my closest friends, this just brought us closer together.
When Eragon finds a polished blue stone in the forest, he thinks it is the lucky discovery of a poor farm boy; perhaps it will buy his family meat for the winter. But when the stone brings a dragon hatchling, Eragon soon realizes he has stumbled upon a legacy nearly as old as the Empire itself.
Overnight his simple life is shattered, and he is thrust into a perilous new world of destiny, magic, and power. With only an ancient sword and the advice of an old storyteller for guidance, Eragon and the fledgling dragon must navigate the dangerous terrain and dark enemies of an Empire ruled by a king whose evil knows no bounds.
Can Eragon take up the mantle of the legendary Dragon Riders? The fate of the Empire may rest in his hands.
I was obsessed with this series for so, so long! I fell in love with Eragon and Saphira, I felt with them and felt their pain and their hope. I read them so fast, and lending them from my uncle, I was standing in front of his door demanding the next one and he wasn’t even halfway through it. And because everyone else was reading the Inheritance Cycle back then, everyone was also obsessed with it, talking about it, speculating about it. Ah, good times.
One cruel night, Meggie’s father reads aloud from a book called INKHEART- and an evil ruler escapes the boundaries of fiction and lands in their living room. Suddenly, Meggie is smack in the middle of the kind of adventure she has only read about in books. Meggie must learn to harness the magic that has conjured this nightmare. For only she can change the course of the story that has changed her life forever.
I know I say this a lot, but I was OBSESSED with the Inkworld series. I think it was the first book about books I read and I realized I love books in all forms, I love to read them and also when characters IN books love books. And then there was Dustfinger (I hope he is called that in English) who was my first fictional crush. And then there are Meggie and Mo and their love for each other, the beautiful imagination building this story, the characters and their flaws and functions, their motivations. Just the whole series is stunning and I definitely need to reread it!
Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit who enjoys a comfortable, unambitious life, rarely traveling any farther than his pantry or cellar. But his contentment is disturbed when the wizard Gandalf and a company of dwarves arrive on his doorstep one day to whisk him away on an adventure. They have launched a plot to raid the treasure hoard guarded by Smaug the Magnificent, a large and very dangerous dragon.
Bilbo reluctantly joins their quest, unaware that on his journey to the Lonely Mountain he will encounter both a magic ring and a frightening creature known as Gollum.
This was the only book I really, truly enjoyed in school. I read it during a time I didn’t feel to good and it gave me so much comfort and joy. It also introduced me to the works of Tolkien which by now are some of my favourites. It feels like home and love and a warm blanket. I still love The Hobbit so, so much.
When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder― much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It’s hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing―not even a smear of blood―to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?
This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It’s also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know…
I lent this book from a cousin’s friend who loved this a lot. I wasn’t sure what to expect and then City of Bones introduced me to YA urban fantasy and a new love was born. I binged this series, then had to wait for the last two books to release and it was pure torture. I’m still thankful for this friend for lending me her copies even though she barely new me.
About three things I was absolutely positive.
First, Edward was a vampire.
Second, there was a part of him—and I didn’t know how dominant that part might be—that thirsted for my blood.
And third, I was unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him.
Listen, I was a basic bitch. I still am, but anyways. My cousin and I were absolutely, positively in love with Twilight. We didn’t join the big hype in the sense that we were team someone or completely obsessed with it, but we still loved it to bits and saw the films and read the books and yes, we also wrote fanfiction.
In the dark, filthy salt mines of Endovier, an eighteen-year-old girl is serving a life sentence. She is a trained assassin, the best of her kind, but she made a fatal mistake: she got caught.
Young Captain Westfall offers her a deal: her freedom in return for one huge sacrifice. Celaena must represent the prince in a to-the-death tournament—fighting the most gifted thieves and assassins in the land. Live or die, Celaena will be free. Win or lose, she is about to discover her true destiny. But will her assassin’s heart be melted?
I’m sorry but I cannot do a list like this without Throne of Glass. I loved these books so, so much. Well, my love for them frizzled out the longer the series got, but the first three? My god, I was more than obsessed. I read these books during another difficult, weird time in my life and this time, they were my comfort. They brought me love and fun and swords and introduced me to YA high fantasy.
Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.
Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.
Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.
I read this around the same time as Throne of Glass and I immediately fell in love with the world and its characters. Especially the Darkling. Shadow and Bone brought me joy and comfort and I could and can talk about it for hours upon hours without end.
All along the Mediterranean coast, the Roman empire’s richest citizens are relaxing in their luxurious villas, enjoying the last days of summer. The world’s largest navy lies peacefully at anchor in Misenum. The tourists are spending their money in the seaside resorts of Baiae, Herculaneum, and Pompeii.
But the carefree lifestyle and gorgeous weather belie an impending cataclysm, and only one man is worried. The young engineer Marcus Attilius Primus has just taken charge of the Aqua Augusta, the enormous aqueduct that brings fresh water to a quarter of a million people in nine towns around the Bay of Naples. His predecessor has disappeared. Springs are failing for the first time in generations. And now there is a crisis on the Augusta’s sixty-mile main line—somewhere to the north of Pompeii, on the slopes of Mount Vesuvius.
Attilius—decent, practical, and incorruptible—promises Pliny, the famous scholar who commands the navy, that he can repair the aqueduct before the reservoir runs dry. His plan is to travel to Pompeii and put together an expedition, then head out to the place where he believes the fault lies. But Pompeii proves to be a corrupt and violent town, and Attilius soon discovers that there are powerful forces at work—both natural and man-made—threatening to destroy him.
I’ve been fascinated by volcanoes my whole life. But I somehow forgot them about them a little bit. Then I read this book and my fascination was awoken again. The power of our planet is so enormous, what it can do for us and how it is a danger as well. I loved this story of a catastrophe, of the people’s ignorance, of knowledge and fear, of hope and pain. I’m still thinking about it, years after I read it.
Since his mother’s death six years ago, Carter Kane has been living out of a suitcase, traveling the globe with his father, the brilliant Egyptologist, Dr. Julius Kane. But while Carter’s been homeschooled, his younger sister, Sadie, has been living with their grandparents in London. Sadie has just what Carter wants—school friends and a chance at a “normal” life. But Carter has just what Sadie longs for—time with their father. After six years of living apart, the siblings have almost nothing in common. Until now.
On Christmas Eve, Sadie and Carter are reunited when their father brings them to the British Museum, with a promise that he’s going to “make things right.” But all does not go according to plan: Carter and Sadie watch as Julius summons a mysterious figure, who quickly banishes their father and causes a fiery explosion.
Soon Carter and Sadie discover that the gods of Ancient Egypt are waking, and the worst of them—Set—has a frightening scheme. To save their father, they must embark on a dangerous journey—a quest that brings them ever closer to the truth about their family and its links to the House of Life, a secret order that has existed since the time of the pharaohs.
We’re back with Rick Riordan. We’re entering the Ancient Egypt era that I still haven’t left yet. I read this book after my last year of school, during kind of uncertain times. Then I read in a study guide that egyptology was a thing you could actually study and without really thinking about it further, I decided to study ancient Egypt. I haven’t regretted it a minute and while I’ve always been fascinated by ancient Egypt, The Kane Chronicles were what ultimately gave me the push to do something I want.
Charlie likes to stand out. She’s a vlogger and actress promoting her first movie at SupaCon, and this is her chance to show fans she’s over her public breakup with co-star Reese Ryan. When internet-famous cool-girl actress Alyssa Huntington arrives as a surprise guest, it seems Charlie’s long-time crush on her isn’t as one-sided as she thought.
Taylor likes to blend in. Her brain is wired differently, making her fear change. And there’s one thing in her life she knows will never change: her friendship with her best guy friend Jamie—no matter how much she may secretly want it to. But when she hears about a fan contest for her favorite fandom, she starts to rethink her rules on playing it safe.
This book had so much I loved. It had fandoms and conventions, characters with anxiety, queer characters,… It was also one of the first books I read where queerness was so present and it was a bit of a revelation for me. Seeing a bisexual girl there on the page, being proud of who she is… it made something click in me. This story means incredibly much to me on a very personal level.
Frances Janvier spends most of her time studying. Everyone knows Aled Last as that quiet boy who gets straight As. You probably think that they are going to fall in love or something. Since he is a boy and she is a girl. They don’t. They make a podcast. In a world determined to shut them up, knock them down, and set them on a cookie cutter life path, Frances and Aled struggle to find their voices over the course of one life-changing year.
Will they have the courage to show everyone who they really are? Or will they be met with radio silence?
This book speaks to me on a level I can’t truly explain. Something within it simply resonates with me. There’s the power of friendship there, the love of found family and the portrayal of different types of (by blood related) families. There’s pain, issues of mental health, there’s warmth and love. Radio Silence is very dear to me.
Alice Alexis Queensmeadow 12 rates three things most important: Mother, who wouldn’t miss her; magic and color, which seem to elude her; and Father, who always loved her. Father disappeared from Ferenwood with only a ruler, almost three years ago. But she will have to travel through the mythical, dangerous land of Furthermore, where down can be up, paper is alive, and left can be both right and very, very wrong. Her only companion is Oliver whose own magic is based in lies and deceit. Alice must first find herself—and hold fast to the magic of love in the face of loss.
This book is very special. In a world full of colours, a girl completely devoid of colours is born. She’s different, not accepted into her community and so goes on a quest to find her magic. I loved this story of finding yourself and proving yourself and of colourful magic and most importantly: friendship. It’s stunningly written, imaginative and I loved the story so much!
Master and Commander is the first of Patrick O’Brian’s now famous Aubrey/Maturin novels, regarded by many as the greatest series of historical novels ever written. It establishes the friendship between Captain Jack Aubrey RN and Stephen Maturin, who becomes his secretive ship’s surgeon and an intelligence agent. It contains all the action and excitement which could possibly be hoped for in a historical novel, but it also displays the qualities which have put O’Brian far ahead of any of his competitors: his depiction of the detail of life aboard a Nelsonic man-of-war, of weapons, food, conversation and ambience, of the landscape and of the sea.
I was introduced to the Aubrey/Maturin series by my boyfriend. He loves them dearly and made me read book one quite early into our relationship and I immediately took a liking to it. I loved the storytelling and the characters, the mixture of humor and history, fiction and reality. I definitely understand why my boyfriend loves the books so much and I’m glad that I like them as well.
Magic is dying out, but it will not disappear without a fight.
Wiktoria is a seventeen year old with a secret: she has psychic powers. Her uncontrollable telekinesis hurts her and others, setting fires and throwing objects in the air, no matter how hard she tries to hold it back. All she wants to have is a peaceful, average life, but it’s difficult when you’ve been cursed to destroy the magical world.
Her carefully maintained facade of normality starts to unravel when she’s hunted down by local sorcerers and their Guardian, and accused of unleashing banished demons back into the human realm. When a murder shakes up the magical community, everyone agrees that the only way to save the world is to kill Wiktoria.
Her only ally is a boy who can read her mind, shares her dreams and makes her question her sexuality. Together, they face mythical creatures and uncover ancient legends, and they soon realize that there is no such thing as simply good or evil. Whether they break the curse or allow it to fulfil its destiny, the magical world will be forever changed.
I’ve been talking to the author for years now and I loved seeing her progress. Like, I’m proud of her and I admire her so much. And it’s set on Europe and not in an English speaking country but in Poland. It’s the first book I’ve ever read that is set in Poland and I loved it so much, the folklore and queerness and the actionfilled plot. It’s a very exciting book with tender, quiet moments and characters finding themselves. I’m loving this book so much! Read my review here.
Circe is the daughter of Helios, the sun god, and Perse, a beautiful naiad. Yet from the moment of her birth, she is an outsider in her father’s halls, where the laughter of gossiping gods resounds. Named after a hawk for her yellow eyes and strange voice, she is mocked by her siblings – until her beloved brother Aeëtes is born.
Yet after her sister Pasiphae marries King Midas of Crete, Aeëtes is whisked away to rule his own island. More isolated than ever, Circe, who has never been divine enough for her family, becomes increasingly drawn to mortals – and when she meets Glaucus, a handsome young fisherman, she is captivated. Yet gods mingle with humans, and meddle with fate, at their peril.
Yes, we see a woman doing her thing despite what life has dealt her. I loved this strong, powerful tale of love and loss and compassion and it’s also one of the most beautifully written books in existence. One of my favourites that has been with me for so long.
It is a dark time for clairvoyants. Scion is in league with the Rephaim, an extraordinarily powerful, otherworldly race that intends to make humans its slaves.
In an unprecedented feat of bravery, Paige Mahoney has succeeded in leading a mass break-out from the brutal camp, Sheol I, where she and other clairvoyants were systematically imprisoned.
Paige is desperate to reach the safety of the London underworld, but the ruthless leader of the Rephaim, Nashira Sargas, is not likely to let her escape so easily…
The Bone Season was “just some book” when I first read it. I enjoyed it but was confused by it and I wasn’t even sure I wanted to read the second book in the series. But then I did and I’m so, so glad I did because it has become one of my favourite series of all time. I love the world building, the action, the characters and their struggles, the fight for what’s good. My heart is full with this series and I LOVE it SO MUCH.
Everyone in the universe knows his name. Everyone in the universe fears him. But no one realizes that notorious outlaw Ia Cōcha is a seventeen-year-old girl.
A criminal mastermind and unrivaled pilot, Ia has spent her life terrorizing the Olympus Commonwealth, the imperialist nation that destroyed her home. When the Commonwealth captures her and her true identity is exposed, they see Ia’s age and talent as an opportunity: by forcing her to serve them, they will prove that no one is beyond their control.
Soon, Ia is trapped at the Commonwealth’s military academy, desperately plotting her escape. But new acquaintances—including Brinn, a seemingly average student with a closely-held secret, and their charming Flight Master, Knives—cause Ia to question her own alliances. Can she find a way to escape the Commonwealth’s clutches before these bonds deepen?
Probably my favourite scifi novel of all time, it has so much I love in a story: complex characters, banter, enemies to friends, space, complicated families, academia,… I’m here for all of that and Maura Milan has done such a good job here because I enjoyed every second of this book and the second instalment as well! Read my review here.
Zafira is the Hunter, disguising herself as a man when she braves the cursed forest of the Arz to feed her people. Nasir is the Prince of Death, assassinating those foolish enough to defy his autocratic father, the sultan. If Zafira was exposed as a girl, all of her achievements would be rejected; if Nasir displayed his compassion, his father would punish him in the most brutal of ways. Both Zafira and Nasir are legends in the kingdom of Arawiya–but neither wants to be.
War is brewing, and the Arz sweeps closer with each passing day, engulfing the land in shadow. When Zafira embarks on a quest to uncover a lost artifact that can restore magic to her suffering world and stop the Arz, Nasir is sent by the sultan on a similar mission: retrieve the artifact and kill the Hunter. But an ancient evil stirs as their journey unfolds–and the prize they seek may pose a threat greater than either can imagine.
This book is such a lush, beautiful and enjoyable read but that alone isn’t what makes me love it so much. I was in the street team for WHTF and I found friends, my creativity could run free, and I connect it with so much positivity in my own life. Read my review here.
• Can give you the solution to any of your relationship woes―for a fee.
• Uses her power for good. Most of the time.
• Really cannot stand Alexander Brougham.
• Has maybe not the best judgement when it comes to her best friend, Brooke…who is in love with someone else.
• Does not appreciate being blackmailed.
However, when Brougham catches her in the act of collecting letters from locker 89―out of which she’s been running her questionably legal, anonymous relationship advice service―that’s exactly what happens. In exchange for keeping her secret, Darcy begrudgingly agrees to become his personal dating coach―at a generous hourly rate, at least. The goal? To help him win his ex-girlfriend back.
Darcy has a good reason to keep her identity secret. If word gets out that she’s behind the locker, some things she’s not proud of will come to light, and there’s a good chance Brooke will never speak to her again.
Okay, so all she has to do is help an entitled, bratty, (annoyingly hot) guy win over a girl who’s already fallen for him once? What could go wrong?
If I had to pick “the” book, it would be this one. This story slapped me in the face and resonated so deeply within me. Not only does it have amazing, wonderful characters, it has flawed characters that aren’t sure of themselves yet. They still learn and the process they go through, especially Darcy, just hit home very hard. The way bisexuality and queerness in general is handled in the story was just so good and I can’t stress enough how much this book means to me because of that. Read my review here.
Ophelia Rojas knows what she likes: her best friends, Cuban food, rose-gardening, and boys – way too many boys. Her friends and parents make fun of her endless stream of crushes, but Ophelia is a romantic at heart. She couldn’t change, even if she wanted to.
So when she finds herself thinking more about cute, quiet Talia Sanchez than the loss of a perfect prom with her ex-boyfriend, seeds of doubt take root in Ophelia’s firm image of herself. Add to that the impending end of high school and the fracturing of her once-solid friend group, and things are spiraling a little out of control. But the course of love-and sexuality-never did run smooth. As her secrets begin to unravel, Ophelia must make a choice between clinging to the fantasy version of herself she’s always imagined or upending everyone’s expectations to rediscover who she really is, after all.
Queer friendship. Discovering who you are. Embracing yourself and accepting who you are. That’s the essence of the book and I loved how it all was written. I loved the journey Ophelia goes through. I loved the roses and the friends and the wonderful talks. This book feels like a hug from a friend.
Neil Josten is the newest addition to the Palmetto State University Exy team. He’s short, he’s fast, he’s got a ton of potential—and he’s the runaway son of the murderous crime lord known as The Butcher.
Signing a contract with the PSU Foxes is the last thing a guy like Neil should do. The team is high profile and he doesn’t need sports crews broadcasting pictures of his face around the nation. His lies will hold up only so long under this kind of scrutiny and the truth will get him killed.
But Neil’s not the only one with secrets on the team. One of Neil’s new teammates is a friend from his old life, and Neil can’t walk away from him a second time. Neil has survived the last eight years by running. Maybe he’s finally found someone and something worth fighting for.
When I tell you I’ve been obsessed with this for months. Years? And the obsession simply doesn’t subside? I’ve reread the entire All For the Game series several times and I just love it so much. It’s dark, it’s really fucking weird but I love it so incredibly much. I can’t express how much but it’s a lot.
Raised in isolation and home-schooled by her strict grandparents, the only experience Birdie has had of the outside world is through her favourite crime books.
But everything changes when she takes a summer job working the night shift at a historic Seattle hotel. There she meets Daniel Aoki, the hotel’s charismatic driver, and together they stumble upon a real-life mystery: a famous reclusive writer—never before seen in public—is secretly meeting someone at the hotel.
To uncover the writer’s puzzling identity, Birdie must come out of her shell, and in doing so, realize that the most confounding mystery of all may just be her growing feelings for Daniel.
I love Jenn Bennett’s books. But I liked this one especially because of one of the topics it discussed: narcolepsy. It’s a relatively rare disease but one I know well unfortunately. I liked how the book dealt with it and I liked the rest of the book as well and it stayed with me ever since. Read my full review here.
Working as a wench ― i.e. waitress ― at a cheesy medieval-themed restaurant in the Chicago suburbs, Kit Sweetly dreams of being a knight like her brother. She has the moves, is capable on a horse, and desperately needs the raise that comes with knighthood, so she can help her mom pay the mortgage and hold a spot at her dream college.
Company policy allows only guys to be knights. So when Kit takes her brother’s place and reveals her identity at the end of the show, she rockets into internet fame and a whole lot of trouble with the management. But the Girl Knight won’t go down without a fight. As other wenches join her quest, a protest forms. In a joust before Castle executives, they’ll prove that gender restrictions should stay medieval―if they don’t get fired first.
I loved this book to pieces. I was in the street team for this as well and it was so much fun again! And the author is such a sweet person as well. And then of course there is the feminist story of modern knights, there are pool noodle fights, there are sweet kisses and complicated family situations. I adored everything about this book. Read my review here.
And these are the 26 books that shaped me somehow. There are more, of course, but those are some of the important ones.
What books shaped you? Which books can you prominently remember reading in your childhood?
Until next time,