bookish lists

Books Not Set in the UK or US


Hoohoo, friends of the blade.

Ever since I started reading books in English, the books I consume are set about 90% in the UK or US. Maybe more. I’m always happy when I read a book that is set in any other place in the world, especially when it’s written by a local author. If you feel the same, continue reading this post for a list of books that aren’t set in the UK or US. The list will have German & English books.

in den buntesten farbenIn den buntesten Farben by Marius Schaefers
Germany, NA romance, only released in German

Philipps Herz ist gebrochen, wieder einmal. Er scheint einfach kein Händchen für die Liebe zu haben – oder klappt es nur nie, weil er trans* ist? Vielleicht liegt es aber auch an Ali, dem Jungen, an den er seit Jahren immer wieder denkt. Kurzerhand beschließt Philipp, die Geschichte mit seinem mysteriösen Internet-Freund von damals endlich abzuhaken. Dazu muss er bloß herausfinden, wieso dieser plötzlich wie vom Erdboden verschwunden ist. Bei seiner Suche im sächsischen Pirna begegnet Philipp dem rebellischen Timon mit den bunten Haaren, der ihn nicht nur sofort in seinen Bann zieht, sondern außerdem eine Verbindung zu Ali zu haben scheint …

Ein tolles, queeres Buch, das in Deutschland spielt und zwei trans* Protagonisten hat, die wunderbar vielschichtig sind und beide auf ihre eigene Art sympathisch.

the red palaceThe Red Palace by June Hur
Joseon / Korea, historical crime

Joseon (Korea), 1758. There are few options available to illegitimate daughters in the capital city, but through hard work and study, eighteen-year-old Hyeon has earned a position as a palace nurse. All she wants is to keep her head down, do a good job, and perhaps finally win her estranged father’s approval.
But Hyeon is suddenly thrust into the dark and dangerous world of court politics when someone murders four women in a single night, and the prime suspect is Hyeon’s closest friend and mentor. Determined to prove her beloved teacher’s innocence, Hyeon launches her own secret investigation.
In her hunt for the truth, she encounters Eojin, a young police inspector also searching for the killer. When evidence begins to point to the Crown Prince himself as the murderer, Hyeon and Eojin must work together to search the darkest corners of the palace to uncover the deadly secrets behind the bloodshed.

This was such a fantastic book that captured me from the very beginning. It has a mystery that makes you turn page after page after page, royals you have to be wary of, a dash of romance and quite a lot of action.

an escape to provenceAn Escape to Provence by Sophie Claire
France, romance

Where there’s a will, can love find a way?
When cynical divorce lawyer Daisy Jackson unexpectedly inherits a ramshackle farmhouse in Provence, she sets off for the French countryside to oversee renovations herself.
But Gabriel Laforet has other ideas. A local builder with ties to the property, Gabriel is determined to see Daisy off and preserve the characterful, charming farmhouse – which, but for a missing will, he knows is rightfully his.
When the two meet, it’s clear they couldn’t be more different: Gabriel has lived in the small country village all his life; Daisy is a city girl whose career means everything. He is laid-back and messy; she is used to being in control. As they begin to work together, sparks fly. Yet they’re inexplicably drawn to each other and, in the heat of the Provence sun, secrets begin to spill. Perhaps Daisy can trust him with her carefully guarded heart after all?
But Gabriel is still searching for the missing will that proves the farmhouse belongs to him – and in doing so, risks upturning everything he and Daisy have started to build together . . .

While this isn’t my favourite book of all time, I definitely adored the romance. And the descriptions of Provence. It was very easy to feel the hot, dry air and smell the lavender and rosemary and feel the soil. The atmosphere of this book was just wonderful! Read my full review here.

tokyo ever afterTokyo Ever After by Emiko Jean
Japan, YA contemporary romance

Izumi Tanaka has lived an uneventful seventeen years in her small town, keenly aware of all the ways in which her family is different from most of her classmates’. But then Izumi discovers a clue to her previously unknown father’s identity . . . and he’s none other than the Crown Prince of Japan.
Soon she’s traveling overseas to meet the father she never knew and discover the country she’s only dreamed of. But being a princess isn’t all ball gowns and tiaras. There are conniving cousins, a hungry press, a scowling but handsome bodyguard who just might be her soulmate, and thousands of years of tradition and customs to learn practically overnight. Izzy soon finds herself caught between worlds, and between versions of herself—back home, she was never “American” enough, and in Japan, she must prove she’s “Japanese” enough. Will Izumi crumble under the weight of the crown, or will she live out her fairytale, happily ever after?

Tokyo Ever After was so much fun! It had the fun and the drama of someone finding out they’re royalty. It has the complicated family, the somewhat forbidden romance, the cool friend group and a wonderful protagonist. I enjoyed this one a lot!

not your typeNot Your Type by Alicia Zett
Germany / Italy, NA romance

Die zwanzigjährige Studentin Marie ist in ihren stillen Kommilitonen Fynn verliebt, und auch Fynn empfindet für Marie mehr, als er sich selbst eingestehen will. Denn eigentlich lässt Fynn niemanden an sich heran: Keiner soll wissen, dass er trans ist. Einen wie ihn kann man nicht lieben, meint er. Doch dann finden sich Fynn und Marie unversehens mit einigen Freunden auf einem Roadtrip nach Italien wieder. Langsam kommen die beiden einander näher, das Mittelmeer als Ziel vor Augen. Jetzt muss Fynn sich entscheiden, wie viel er Marie anvertrauen kann, ohne sie für immer zu verlieren …

Leider war das Buch überhaupt nicht mein Fall. Ich mochte beide Protagonist*innen nicht besonders und ihre Beziehung war für mich leider auch nicht unbedingt nachvollziehbar. Auch die Nebencharaktere konnten leider nichts mehr retten.

away with the penguinsAway with the Penguins by Hazel Prior
Antarctica, contemporary fiction

Veronica McCreedy lives in a mansion by the sea. She loves a nice cup of Darjeeling tea whilst watching a good wildlife documentary. And she’s never seen without her ruby-red lipstick.
Although these days Veronica is rarely seen by anyone because, at 85, her days are spent mostly at home, alone.
She can be found either collecting litter from the beach (‘people who litter the countryside should be shot’), trying to locate her glasses (‘someone must have moved them’) or shouting  instructions to her assistant, Eileen (‘Eileen, door!’).
Veronica doesn’t have family or friends nearby. Not that she knows about, anyway . . . And she has no idea where she’s going to leave her considerable wealth when she dies.

This was such a sweet book! Veronica isn’t a likeable protagonist and neither is her grandchild but with their quirks they still manage to get into the reader’s heart. Add to that the academic aspect of the story and the penguins and you get a wonderful story full of heart and warmth and growth. I enjoyed this so much! Read my German review of Away with the Penguins here.

the little swiss ski chaletThe Little Swiss Ski Chalet by Julie Caplin
Switzerland, romance

It’s time to pack your bags and head to the breathtaking, snow-covered peaks of the Swiss Alps for velvety hot chocolates, delicious cheeses and a gorgeous love story…
Food technician Mina has always believed that chocolate will solve everything – and it’s just what she needs when her latest relationship mishap goes viral!
So with her bags packed and a new determination to sort her life out, Minna decides to drown her sorrows with the best hot chocolate in the world at her godmother’s cosy Swiss chalet. Chocolate: yes. Romance: no. Until she has a run in on an Alpine train with a mysterious but oh-so-gorgeous stranger…

Everything about this book radiated warmth. It’s the perfect book to cosy up during cold winter days with a hot beverage. The story is very sweet, the romance cute and I loved the characters and their dynamics. I also enjoyed the food aspect a lot and loved reading about swiss cakes.

salt to the seaSalt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
Poland, historical fiction

War-torn Germany. Four young people. Four dark secrets.
They come from different lands but each of them is hunted, and haunted, by tragedy, lies … and war.
As thousands of refugees flock to the coast, desperate to escape the advancing Red Army, the paths of four young people converge. All are hoping to board the Wilhelm Gustloff, a ship that promises safety and freedom.
Yet not all promises can be kept.

I often avoid books about World War II. But I still decided to pick this up and I’m so glad I did. The short chapters really capture the haunting, desperate atmosphere, they capture the most prominent emotions of the protagonists and their most immediate desires and hopes. The brutality of war is described mostly through the atmosphere and the tension all around. This book was fantastic, made me ache and cry. Read my review for Salt to the Sea here.

she who became the sunShe Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan
China, historical fantasy

In a famine-stricken village on a dusty yellow plain, two children are given two fates. A boy, greatness. A girl, nothingness…
In 1345, China lies under harsh Mongol rule. For the starving peasants of the Central Plains, greatness is something found only in stories. When the Zhu family’s eighth-born son, Zhu Chongba, is given a fate of greatness, everyone is mystified as to how it will come to pass. The fate of nothingness received by the family’s clever and capable second daughter, on the other hand, is only as expected.
When a bandit attack orphans the two children, though, it is Zhu Chongba who succumbs to despair and dies. Desperate to escape her own fated death, the girl uses her brother’s identity to enter a monastery as a young male novice. There, propelled by her burning desire to survive, Zhu learns she is capable of doing whatever it takes, no matter how callous, to stay hidden from her fate.
After her sanctuary is destroyed for supporting the rebellion against Mongol rule, Zhu uses takes the chance to claim another future altogether: her brother’s abandoned greatness.

A fantastic, thought-through story with attention to detail and character development, I absolutely enjoyed this book!

the marvelous mirza girlsThe Marvelous Mirza Girls by Sheba Karim

To cure her post–senior year slump, made worse by the loss of her aunt Sonia, Noreen is ready to follow her mom on a gap year trip to New Delhi, hoping India can lessen her grief and bring her voice back.
In the world’s most polluted city, Noreen soon meets kind, handsome Kabir, who introduces her to the wonders of this magical, complicated place. With Kabir’s help—plus Bollywood celebrities, fourteenth-century ruins, karaoke parties, and Sufi saints—Noreen begins to rediscover her joyful voice.
But when a family scandal erupts, Noreen and Kabir must face complicated questions in their own relationship: What does it mean to truly stand by someone—and what are the boundaries of love?

I really enjoyed this book! I liked how the characters were written and how their grief was portrayed, I also liked Noreen’s journey through New Delhi and to herself. And Kabir was just really sweet as well! Read my full review of The Marvelous Mirza Girls here.

these violent delightsThese Violent Delights by Chloe Gong
China, YA historical fantasy

The year is 1926, and Shanghai hums to the tune of debauchery.
A blood feud between two gangs runs the streets red, leaving the city helpless in the grip of chaos. At the heart of it all is eighteen-year-old Juliette Cai, a former flapper who has returned to assume her role as the proud heir of the Scarlet Gang-a network of criminals far above the law. Their only rivals in power are the White Flowers, who have fought the Scarlets for generations. And behind every move is their heir, Roma Montagov, Juliette’s first love…and first betrayal.
But when gangsters on both sides show signs of instability culminating in clawing their own throats out, the people start to whisper. Of a contagion, a madness. Of a monster in the shadows. As the deaths stack up, Juliette and Roma must set their guns-and grudges-aside and work together, for if they can’t stop this mayhem, then there will be no city left for either to rule.

I loved this so much! I loved the action scenes and the enemies to lovers with a shared past aspect, I loved the spin on Romeo & Juliet and I just loved the characters so, so much! Read my full review of These Violent Delights here.

the falling in love montageThe Falling in Love Montage by Ciara Smyth
Ireland, YA contemporary romance

Saoirse doesn’t believe in love at first sight or happy endings. If they were real, her mother would still be able to remember her name and not in a care home with early onset dementia. A condition that Saoirse may one day turn out to have inherited. So she’s not looking for a relationship. She doesn’t see the point in igniting any romantic sparks if she’s bound to burn out.
But after a chance encounter at an end-of-term house party, Saoirse is about to break her own rules. For a girl with one blue freckle, an irresistible sense of mischief, and a passion for rom-coms.
Unbothered by Saoirse’s no-relationships rulebook, Ruby proposes a loophole: They don’t need true love to have one summer of fun, complete with every cliché, rom-com montage-worthy date they can dream up—and a binding agreement to end their romance come fall. It would be the perfect plan, if they weren’t forgetting one thing about the Falling in Love Montage: when it’s over, the characters actually fall in love… for real.

I loved the mix of sweet & funny and seriousness in this book a lot. It felt light while still discussing family problems, illnesses and the characters’ fears and hopes and dreams. I really enjoyed the whole atmosphere of the book as well as the wonderful characters.

last tang standingLast Tang Standing by Lauren Ho
Singapore, contemporary fiction / chicklit

At thirty-three, Andrea Tang is living the dream: She has a successful career as a lawyer, a posh condo, and a clutch of fun-loving friends who are always in the know about Singapore’s hottest clubs. All she has to do is make law partner, and her life will be perfect. And if she’s about to become the lone unmarried member of her generation in the Tang clan–a disappointment her meddling Chinese-Malaysian family won’t let her forget–well, she doesn’t need a man to complete her.
Yet when a chance encounter with charming, wealthy entrepreneur Eric Deng offers her a glimpse of an exciting, limitless future, Andrea decides to give Mr. Right-for-her-family a chance. Too bad Suresh Aditparan, her office rival and the last man her family would approve of, keeps throwing a wrench in her plans. Now Andrea can’t help but wonder: In the endless tug-of-war between pleasing others and pleasing herself, is there room for everyone to win?

This book was a lot of fun. I enjoyed the family dynamics a lot, as well as Andrea’s will to find her own way despite everything happening around her.

little black birdLittle Black Bird by Anna Kirchner
Poland, urban fantasy

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 fulfill its destiny, the magical world will be forever changed.

I loved this book so much! All the myths and legends from slavic folklore, the wonderful characters trying to find their places in the world and also finding each other, the fast pace of the book and the amazing descriptions of Polish places was such a good combo! Read my full review of Little Black Bird here.

talking to alaskaTalking to Alaska by Anna Woltz
Netherlands, MG contemporary

It only takes one day at their new school for Parker and Sven to become mortal enemies. Parker’s had a terrible summer and just wants to be invisible, while Sven is desperate to make an impression and be known as anything other than “that boy with epilepsy.”
When Parker discovers her beloved dog Alaska – who she had to give away last year – now belongs to Sven, she’s determined to steal Alaska back. Of course, that’s easier said than done…

I liked this book so much! It’s such a wonderful, tender book about acceptance and friendship and love in all its facettes. It has a cute dog, some drama, teenagers being angry but also full of hope and want, amazing family dynamics. A short, amazing story! Read my full review of Talking to Alaska here.

aix marks the spotAix Marks the Spot by Sarah Anderson
France, YA contemporary romance

Jamie has been dreaming of this summer forever: of road trips and intensive art camps, of meeting cute boys with her best friend Jazz. What she didn’t count on was the car accident.
Exiled away from her family as her mother slowly learns to walk again, Jamie is sent to Provence and trapped in an isolated home with the French grandmother she has never met, the guilt of having almost killed her parents, and no Wi-Fi. Enough to drive a girl mad. That is, until, she finds an old letter from her father, the starting point in a treasure hunt that spans across cities and time itself. Somehow, she knows that the treasure is the key to putting her shattered family back together and that whatever lies at the end has the power to fix everything.
Armed only with a high-school-level of French and a map of train lines, she must enlist the aid of Valentin, a handsome local who’s willing to translate. To save her family, she has castle ruins to find and sea cliffs to climb; falling for her translator wasn’t part of her plan…

I love books set in southern France, the place of my heart! While I wasn’t always the biggest fan of the characters, I loved the descriptions of the setting and the atmosphere. I loved visiting places with the characters and seeing Jamie’s journey through her anger and grief and self accusations. Read my full review of Aix Marks the Spot here.

when you get the chanceWhen You Get the Chance by Robin Stevenson & Tom Ryan
Canada, YA contemporary

As kids, Mark and his cousin Talia spent many happy summers together at the family cottage in Ontario, but a fight between their parents put an end to the annual event. Living on opposite coasts – Mark in Halifax and Talia in Victoria – they haven’t seen each other in years. When their grandfather dies unexpectedly, Mark and Talia find themselves reunited at the cottage once again, cleaning it out while the family decides what to do with it.
Mark and Talia are both queer, but they soon realize that’s about all they have in common, other than the fact that they’d both prefer to be in Toronto. Talia is desperate to see her high school sweetheart Erin, who’s barely been in touch since leaving to spend the summer working at a coffee shop in the Gay Village. Mark, on the other hand, is just looking for some fun, and Toronto Pride seems like the perfect place to find it.
When a series of complications throws everything up in the air, Mark and Talia – with Mark’s little sister Paige in tow – decide to hit the road for Toronto. With a bit of luck, and some help from a series of unexpected new friends, they might just make it to the big city and find what they’re looking for. That is, if they can figure out how to start seeing things through each other’s eyes.

Some of the characters annoyed the hell out of me, but I still loved their journeys. Their grief and anger and want for more, their want for a place in the world that feels like theirs. I loved how their struggles were portrayed and how they dealt with them. Read my full review of When You Get the Chance here.

avocado blissAvocado Bliss by Candace Robinson & Gerardo Delgadillo
Mexico, YA romance

Dacre Vinson has spent the majority of his life in quite the predicament—even the surf and his books can’t erase his Type 1 diabetes. But when Dacre’s family moves to a new Mexican town, an eccentric girl obsessed with trees offers him a job on the spot, leading to what could be the perfect distraction from his problems.
Salbatora Tames has one true love, her avocado farm. Her family constantly nudges her to be more social, but Sal much prefers the dirt, the sun, and the solitude. Besides, trees listen better than people do.
For Sal and Dacre, their job won’t stay easy breezy for long, not when an avocado delivery to Palenque, Mexico pops up on their radar. Together, they embark on a road trip across the jungle, where they form a tighter bond. However, as obstacles arise, their new-found troubles may lead to more woes than bliss.

I loved Salbatora and Dacre and how different they were from each other, but how well they fit with each other despite the obstacles in their way. I just loved their journey and what they have to go through, the humor and the drama and the action. It was such a good book! Read my full review of Avocado Bliss here.

loveboat taipeiLoveboat, Taipei by Abigail Hing Wen
Taiwan, YA romance

When eighteen-year-old Ever Wong’s parents send her from Ohio to Taiwan to study Mandarin for the summer, she finds herself thrust among the very over-achieving kids her parents have always wanted her to be, including Rick Woo, the Yale-bound prodigy profiled in the Chinese newspapers since they were nine—and her parents’ yardstick for her never-measuring-up life.
Unbeknownst to her parents, however, the program is actually an infamous teen meet-market nicknamed Loveboat, where the kids are more into clubbing than calligraphy and drinking snake-blood sake than touring sacred shrines.
Free for the first time, Ever sets out to break all her parents’ uber-strict rules—but how far can she go before she breaks her own heart?

I loved how dramatic this book was and how each character was more dramatic then the previous one. I loved exploring the surroundings with them and testing their limits. This was such a fun book, that also dealt with complicated families, mental health and each character’s wants and needs.

my sister teh serial killerMy Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
Nigeria, crime

When Korede’s dinner is interrupted one night by a distress call from her sister, Ayoola, she knows what’s expected of her: bleach, rubber gloves, nerves of steel and a strong stomach. This’ll be the third boyfriend Ayoola’s dispatched in, quote, self-defence and the third mess that her lethal little sibling has left Korede to clear away. She should probably go to the police for the good of the menfolk of Nigeria, but she loves her sister and, as they say, family always comes first. Until, that is, Ayoola starts dating the doctor where Korede works as a nurse. Korede’s long been in love with him, and isn’t prepared to see him wind up with a knife in his back: but to save one would mean sacrificing the other…

This book was so confusing and I was pretty annoyed by the characters even though I understand where their motivations came from. I still couldn’t stop reading.

the lady rogueThe Lady Rogue by Jenn Bennett
Romania, YA historical fantasy

Traveling with her treasure-hunting father has always been a dream for Theodora. She’s read every book in his library, has an impressive knowledge of the world’s most sought-after relics, and has all the ambition in the world. What she doesn’t have is her father’s permission. That honor goes to her father’s nineteen-year-old protégé—and once-upon-a-time love of Theodora’s life—Huck Gallagher, while Theodora is left to sit alone in her hotel in Istanbul.
Until Huck arrives from an expedition without her father and enlists Theodora’s help in rescuing him. Armed with her father’s travel journal, the reluctant duo learns that her father had been digging up information on a legendary and magical ring that once belonged to Vlad the Impaler—more widely known as Dracula—and that it just might be the key to finding him.
Journeying into Romania, Theodora and Huck embark on a captivating adventure through Gothic villages and dark castles in the misty Carpathian Mountains to recover the notorious ring. But they aren’t the only ones who are searching for it. A secretive and dangerous occult society with a powerful link to Vlad the Impaler himself is hunting for it, too. And they will go to any lengths—including murder—to possess it.

Typical Jenn Bennett humor and wit, action and adventure in Romania. Unfortunately it fell a bit flat for me.

the gilded wolvesThe Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi
France, historical fantasy

It’s 1889. The city is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. Here, no one keeps tabs on dark truths better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. When the elite, ever-powerful Order of Babel coerces him to help them on a mission, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance.
To hunt down the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin calls upon a band of unlikely experts: An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian banished from his home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in arms if not blood.
Together, they will join Séverin as he explores the dark, glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the course of history-but only if they can stay alive.

I love the entire series so much! The group dynamics and secrets and love between them, the jokes and the life of a secret magical society in dazzling Paris on the turn of the century. Gorgeously written, too!

somewhere only we knowSomewhere Only We Know by Maurene Goo
Hong Kong, YA romance

10 00 p.m.: Lucky is the biggest K-pop star on the scene, and she’s just performed her hit song “Heartbeat” in Hong Kong to thousands of adoring fans. She’s about to debut on The Tonight Show in America, hopefully a breakout performance for her career. But right now? She’s in her fancy hotel, trying to fall asleep but dying for a hamburger.
11 00 p.m.: Jack is sneaking into a fancy hotel, on assignment for his tabloid job that he keeps secret from his parents. On his way out of the hotel, he runs into a girl wearing slippers, a girl who is single-mindedly determined to find a hamburger. She looks kind of familiar. She’s very cute. He’s maybe curious.
12:00 a.m.: Nothing will ever be the same.

This was such a fun, light read which I enjoyed very much. It’s food heavy which I always enjoy and has really great characters whom I loved!

the brid kingThe Bird Kind by G. Willow Wilson
Spain, historical fantasy

Hassan has a secret-he can draw maps of places he’s never seen and bend the shape of reality. When representatives of the newly formed Spanish monarchy arrive to negotiate the sultan’s surrender, Fatima befriends one of the women, not realizing that she will see Hassan’s gift as sorcery and a threat to Christian Spanish rule. With their freedoms at stake, what will Fatima risk to save Hassan and escape the palace walls?

The atmosphere of this book was beautiful and while the pacing was slow, it felt like a calm river passing by and even though everything went to shit somehow, it still had this atmosphere. It’s hard to describe but this is a weird, beautiful book.

wicked like a wildfireWicked Like a Wildfire by Lana Popovic
Montenegro, YA contemporary fantasy

All the women in Iris and Malina’s family have the unique magical ability or “gleam” to manipulate beauty. Iris sees flowers as fractals and turns her kaleidoscope visions into glasswork, while Malina interprets moods as music. But their mother has strict rules to keep their gifts a secret, even in their secluded sea-side town. Iris and Malina are not allowed to share their magic with anyone, and above all, they are forbidden from falling in love.
But when their mother is mysteriously attacked, the sisters will have to unearth the truth behind the quiet lives their mother has built for them. They will discover a wicked curse that haunts their family line—but will they find that the very magic that bonds them together is destined to tear them apart forever?

This was gorgeous prose with such an interesting magic system and family constellations.

and i darkenAnd I Darken by Kiersten White
Romania / Turkey, historical

No one expects a princess to be brutal. And Lada Dragwlya likes it that way. Ever since she and her gentle younger brother, Radu, were wrenched from their homeland of Wallachia and abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman courts, Lada has known that being ruthless is the key to survival. She and Radu are doomed to act as pawns in a vicious game, an unseen sword hovering over their every move. For the lineage that makes them special also makes them targets.
Lada despises the Ottomans and bides her time, planning her vengeance for the day when she can return to Wallachia and claim her birthright. Radu longs only for a place where he feels safe. And when they meet Mehmed, the defiant and lonely son of the sultan, Radu feels that he’s made a true friend—and Lada wonders if she’s finally found someone worthy of her passion.
But Mehmed is heir to the very empire that Lada has sworn to fight against—and that Radu now considers home. Together, Lada, Radu, and Mehmed form a toxic triangle that strains the bonds of love and loyalty to the breaking point.

What a wild ride, I love my angry, unapologetic girl Lada and sweet, sweet Radu. One of my favourites!

the miniaturistThe Miniaturist by Jessie Burton
Netherlands, historical fantasy

On a brisk autumn day in 1686, eighteen-year-old Nella Oortman arrives in Amsterdam to begin a new life as the wife of illustrious merchant trader Johannes Brandt. But her new home, while splendorous, is not welcoming. Johannes is kind yet distant, always locked in his study or at his warehouse office-leaving Nella alone with his sister, the sharp-tongued and forbidding Marin.
But Nella’s world changes when Johannes presents her with an extraordinary wedding gift: a cabinet-sized replica of their home. To furnish her gift, Nella engages the services of a miniaturist-an elusive and enigmatic artist whose tiny creations mirror their real-life counterparts in eerie and unexpected ways . . .
Johannes’ gift helps Nella to pierce the closed world of the Brandt household. But as she uncovers its unusual secrets, she begins to understand-and fear-the escalating dangers that await them all. In this repressively pious society where gold is worshipped second only to God, to be different is a threat to the moral fabric of society, and not even a man as rich as Johannes is safe. Only one person seems to see the fate that awaits them. Is the miniaturist the key to their salvation . . . or the architect of their destruction?

What the fuck did I read there? This was a brilliantly written book that left me with so many questions and uneasy feelings but I loved it!

daughter of smoke and boneDaughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Czech Republic, urban fantasy

Around the world, black hand prints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.
In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grows dangerously low.
And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherworldly war.
Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”, she speaks many languages – not all of them human – and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.
When beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

One of my favourites, this has a wonderful friendship, complicated romance and a cool concept of magic and rebirth.

That’s it for now with the books not set in the UK or US. There are many more, of course and I’d absolutely love to read more!


Have you read any of these? Which books not set in the UK or US have you read or plan to read? Is there a place you’d love to see in a book?

Until next time,


  1. ahh I LOVED this so much!! these violent delights is one of my all time favorites, and I’ve been meaning to read the red palace for SO LONG- can’t wait to check it out!!

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