The blue sword book cover

The blue sword

Robin McKinley

Young Adult, Fantasy

Harry, bored with her sheltered life in the remote orange-growing colony of Daria, discovers magic in herself when she is kidnapped by a native king with mysterious powers.

Amanda's picture

Added by Amanda

Tess of the road book cover

Tess of the road

Rachel Hartman

Young Adult, Fantasy

In the medieval kingdom of Goredd, women are expected to be ladies, men are their protectors, and dragons can be whomever they choose. Tess speaks out of turn, has wild ideas, and can't seem to keep out of trouble. When Tess's family decides the only path for her is a nunnery, she chooses a different path for herself. She cuts her hair, pulls on her boots, and sets out on a journey. The open road is a map to somewhere else-- a life where she might belong.

Amanda's picture

A very complex, poignant, lovely book about mental illness, grief, and healing, all set in a fantastical world. -Amanda

Queen Victoria's book of spells book cover

Queen Victoria's book of spells

Fiction, Fantasy

""Gaslamp Fantasy," or historical fantasy set in a magical version of the nineteenth century, has long been popular with readers and writers alike. A number of wonderful fantasy novels, including Stardust by Neil Gaiman, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke, and The Prestige by Christopher Priest, owe their inspiration to works by nineteenth-century writers ranging from Jane Austen, the Brontë's, and George Meredith to Charles Dickens, Anthony Trollope, and William Morris. And, of course, the entire steampunk genre and subculture owes more than a little to literature inspired by this period. Queen Victoria's Book of Spells is an anthology for everyone who loves these works of neo-Victorian fiction, and wishes to explore the wide variety of ways that modern fantasists are using nineteenth-century settings, characters, and themes. These approaches stretch from steampunk fiction to the Austen-and-Trollope inspired works that some critics call Fantasy of Manners, all of which fit under the larger umbrella of Gaslamp Fantasy. The result is eighteen stories by experts from the fantasy, horror, mainstream, and young adult fields, including both bestselling writers and exciting new talents such as Elizabeth Bear, James Blaylock, Jeffrey Ford, Ellen Kushner, Tanith Lee, Gregory Maguire, Delia Sherman, and Catherynne M. Valente, who present a bewitching vision of a nineteenth century invested (or cursed!) with magic"--

Amanda's picture

This book of short stories was my first introduction to the world of Gaslamp Fantasy--historical fantasy set in a magical version of the 19th century--and I was immediately in love. The stories are all magnificent, well-written, and fun to read. -Amanda

Burn for me book cover

Burn for me

Ilona Andrews


While searching for Adam Pierce, who can set anyone and anything on fire, private investigator Nevada Baylor is kidnapped by Connor "Mad" Rogan, a billionaire with dark powers who is also searching for Pierce and needs her help.

Melody's picture

If you judged a book by its cover, this would would taste like a plastic but romantic cheese. Ilona Andrews is such a beloved writer (duo) in the urban fantasy world, they don't need attractive book design! Their books will sell despite the cheese. I listened to this audiobook series out of turn and regret it after finishing the explosiveness that was Book 1, Burn for Me. I had complained that Book 2 (White Hot) was a little too action packed. Book 1 would have set up that action nicely. This book reminded me of superhero movies--lots of high powered magic and muscle. And that muscle? Apparently the book designer took that to heart, giving the hero a 6-pack so tight it required extra shading in the tendinous intersection. LOL. Who was the art editor that cried "more shadow!" But back to Book 1. Burn for Me began and ended with well developed characters in addition to all that action. I couldn't wait to revisit Book 2 so I can move on to Book 3 (Wildfire). -Melody

The giver book cover

The giver

Lois Lowry


Given his lifetime assignment at the Ceremony of Twelve, Jonas becomes the receiver of memories shared by only one other in his community and discovers the terrible truth about the society in which he lives.

Kara's picture

An amazing book by Lois Lowry that stayed with me for a long time after I finished reading it. -Kara

Harry Potter and the sorcerer's stone book cover

Harry Potter and the sorcerer's stone

J. K Rowling


Rescued from the outrageous neglect of his aunt and uncle, a young boy with a great destiny proves his worth while attending Hogwarts School for Wizards and Witches. This is the first Hary Potter book.

Kara's picture

I first heard about the Harry Potter books from Iowa's First Lady, Christie Vilsack during a Community Reading Month talk in about 1998. It's twenty years later the Harry Potter books are still very popular (and are some of my favorites). -Kara

The lion, the witch and the wardrobe : a story for children book cover

The lion, the witch and the wardrobe : a story for children

C. S. (Clive Staples) Lewis


Four English school children find their way through the back of a wardrobe into the magic land of Narnia and assist Aslan, the golden lion, to triumph over the White Witch, who has cursed the land with eternal winter.

Kara's picture

I read most of the Chronicles of Narnia sitting in my awesome tree house - it was the best place to read when I was a kid. -Kara

Circe : a novel book cover

Circe : a novel

Madeline Miller

FICTION Miller Madeline
Fiction, Fantasy

Follows Circe, the banished witch daughter of Helios, as she hones her powers and interacts with famous mythological beings before a conflict with one of the most vengeful Olympians forces her to choose between the worlds of the gods and mortals.

Anne M's picture

Another great read from Madeline Miller, author of "The Song of Achilles." To me this book goes beyond telling a new side to an old story--it really brings Circe, her back story and motivations--to life. If you enjoy Greek mythology or just looking for a great summer read, pick up "Circe." -Anne M

Akata warrior book cover

Akata warrior

Nnedi Okorafor

Young Adult, Fantasy

Now stronger, feistier, and a bit older, Sunny Nwazue, along with her friends from the the Leopard Society, travel through worlds, both visible and invisible, to the mysterious town of Osisi, where they fight in a climactic battle to save humanity.

Amanda's picture

Sunny is a young witch just coming into her power in Nigeria. This book is even better than the first book in the series, Akata Witch, because now Sunny is comfortable among the Leopard People (witches and wizards) and doesn't have to learn the basics of her new world. Now, she gets to spend more time doing serious, amazing magic. I can't wait for the 3rd book! -Amanda

Practical magic book cover

Practical magic

Alice Hoffman

FICTION Hoffman, Alice
Fiction, Fantasy, Romance

Amanda's picture

Alice Hoffman writes so richly and beautifully--I could live in her prose for days. This book was published long before The Rules of Magic, and the two are wonderful companion pieces, but also stand alone just fine. Read this book for witches, romance, sisterhood, and strong women coming together to save each other. -Amanda