Recent Reads | Fantasy in all flavours

Mini Reviews

Hello, my lovely lemons! 🍋 In a twist I wasn’t expecting, after months of reading slumps March has seen me reading furiously. And fantasy has been the name of the game. Mostly it hasn’t even been intentional – my TBR Jar has been doing the choosing, and I’ve been adding in a few books in on the side. Regardless, when I looked back there has been a definite theme with my reading this month.

And it’s a welcome one! Fantasy, in its various shapes and forms, has been the foundation of my reading for as long as I can remember. So, when I’m coming out of a slump, it really feels like home. So, let’s take a look at the lovely stories I’ve been getting stuck into! There’s graphic novels, urban, romantic, high, YA, and Adult fantasy, and some magical realism thrown in for good measure.

Vampire Blood Drive by Mira Ong Chua

Vampire Blood Drive by Mira Ong Chua

This was a fun, cute, and sexy graphic novel, which I got from a Kickstarter I backed last year. It follows Bunny, a girl starting college in a new town, and Velvet, the butch vampire she meets when she signs up for the blood drive. The art was gorgeous, the story lovely, and it was just very sapphic. More please!

I’ve Been Killing Slimes for 300 Years and Maxed Out My Level, Vol. 2 by Kisetsu Morita, Yusuke Shiba, & Benio

I’ve Been Killing Slimes for 300 Years and Maxed Out My Level Manga Volume 2

After my success with Vampire Blood Drive I decided maybe comics and manga were the way to go to pull me out of the slump. I own 4 volumes of this manga, and it’s just a really fun and lighthearted fantasy so I decided to carry on with it. Essentially, it follows Azusa, an immortal witch who just wants to live a quiet life, but accidentally became the most powerful person in the world. The series follows her and the found family she collects along the way as she tries to avoid adventure at all costs!

The Thief Who Pulled on Trouble’s Braids (Amra Thetys #1) by Michael McClung

The Thief Who Pulled on Trouble’s Braids by Michael McC

This book is the first in an indie fantasy series, and it follows thief Amra Thetys and the scrapes she gets herself into. Of all the books I read this month, this was probably my least favourite. It’s barely 200 pages and it took me nearly 3 weeks to read. It wasn’t bad, but it didn’t grab me the way I was hoping it would. Especially considering it had been on my TBR for 4 years… A rather middle-of-the-road 3 stars.

🍋 The Oldest Books on my TBR List | These books are gathering virtual dust

Rebel of the Sands (Rebel of the Sands #1) by Alwyn Hamilton

Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

After the disappointment with Trouble’s Braids I was a bit worried when the next book out of my TBR Jar was another title from my Oldest Books post. And yet! I flew threw this one, with exactly the reaction I was hoping for when I compiled my list of longest-anticipated books. This was a fun, fast-paced YA fantasy following a gunslinging girl on an adventure across the desert. It had all the classic ingredients of a YA fantasy – the charming love interest, the escape from a small town life to find adventure, and of course a bit of magic thrown in along the way. Upon finishing I immediately ordered the rest of the trilogy.

A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2) by Sarah J Maas

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

Well, the one thing I have to say about this book is: everyone was right. The second book in this series is SO much better than the first. I do love a big found family friendship group in books, and this book certainly delivered on that. And yes, predictably, I loved Rhysand.

Dark and Deepest Red by Anna-Marie McLemore

Dark and Deepest Red by Anna-Marie McLemore

I very much enjoy McLemore’s writing, but I do feel I have to pace myself with their books. Magical realism isn’t really my genre, and poetic prose isn’t really my go-to writing style. I certainly enjoy it when I read it, but you won’t catch me doing a binge anytime soon. I’d been so excited for this, as it’s a retelling of one of my favourite fairytales: The Red Shoes. Unfortunately I did struggle with reading this one. It flips back and forth 500 years every few pages, and while it was necessary for the story I found it a little jarring. For a little break I put the book down to read something of a different style, then came back and finished this almost in one sitting.

Demon Magic and a Martini (The Guild Codex: Spellbound #4) by Annette Marie

Demon Magic and a Martini by Annette Marie

I am so in love with this series. It’s a fresh, fun, fast-paced urban fantasy with a really loveable cast of characters. There’s action, there’s humour, and (my favourite) a brilliant central friendship group! The series follows human Tori, after she accidentally takes on the job as a bartender in a magical guild. Expect lots of supernatural hijinks, the problems that come with having three supermodel-attractive best friends, and a no-nonsense sassy bartender.

Air Awakens (Air Awakens #1) by Elise Kova

It had been so long since I read the first book in this series I was no longer able to continue with it. Which was an issue, because book two Fire Falling made an appearance on my Oldest Books list. So of course the only sensible thing to do was reread it! And in a rare twist I wasn’t expecting, I liked this even better than the first time I read it. It’s absolutely packed with fantasy tropes, all done in a really fun and enjoyable way. I was totally into it, including (and especially) the brooding potential love interest Prince Aldrik.

The Unbroken (Magic of the Lost #1) by C. L. Clark

The Unbroken by C. L.

And we’ve reached the end of my list! I haven’t started this book yet, but it was the next title out of my TBR Jar and I wanted to show how the fantasy theme is continuing off into the future. This is a chunky paperback that promises lesbians, so I’m all in.

Taming Demons for Beginners (The Guild Codex: Demonized #1) by Annette Marie

Taming Demons for Beginners by Annette Marie

So, in between me drafting and publishing this post (which was barely a couple days), I managed to start and finish another fantasy book. In a single day. This is a spin-off series in the Guild Codex universe, and it has all the same goodness, with some brilliant new characters. See: Robin, the shy bookworm who’s feeding homebaked cookies to the demon in her family’s shady basement. And seriously, I read this whole book in a day. I can’t give a better review than that.

Well, this is the closest I’ve come to doing a review post in a while! Long-form reviews are not my forte (though I swear they used to be, I’m not sure when that happened), but I certainly have a lot of fun recapping what I’ve been reading with you all. I don’t do objective reviews – I do thoughts and feelings and ”did this make me laugh” and ”did I love the characters”. And that’s totally okay! I am fine with that way of doing things. There are plenty of people out there who will write huge reviews breaking down books into their component parts and assessing the quality of them. They’re good at that, and I’m good at… whatever it is I do. There’s room for everyone.

Also, this post may be me admitting that while I told you all sci-fi was my favourite genre, I think deep down it was urban fantasy all along.

Have you read any good fantasy books lately? What’s your favourite genre? Let me know in the comments!

Love and lemons, Abi

5 thoughts on “Recent Reads | Fantasy in all flavours

  1. Loved seeing your recent read, especially as a fellow Fantasy lover 🥰 I’m glad that you liked A Court of Mist and Fury, I also thought that it was so much better than the first book and really got me invested! I haven’t read Air Awakens, but this reminds me that I need to continue Kova’s Alchemists of Loom series 😄

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m glad March was a successful reading month. It is always nice when you escape a reading slump!! 🤣 I wasn’t familiar with Vampire Blood Drive but it sounds soo good. Glad you enjoyed it, I’ll have to check it out!
    I have been meaning to read Anna-Marie McLemore’s books for a while… their writing prose does sound very poetic. Sometimes it works for me but sometimes it doesn’t. Finger crossed! Lakelore sounds great though!
    I really hope you enjoy The Unbroken. I am hoping to pick it up soon! 😍 Happy Reading! 💛💛

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, escaping a slump feels so good! Ooh, I hope you enjoy it – it was a really fun, short read!

      This is only the second McLemore book I’ve read but their writing style is so distinctive. It’s not super flowery, but everything seems to have a little element of magic added to it. I hope it works for you!
      Thank you! 💖

      Liked by 1 person

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