My younger sister Andi is a big reader (not quite at my crazy levels, but she reads a lot), but she doesn’t stay as attuned to new releases, so she comes to me for recommendations a lot. Not to brag too much, but I do a pretty good job for her if I do say so myself! I know her reading tastes pretty well, so she’s found a lot of new favorites from me. Anyways, she recently asked me for a new batch of recommendations, but she’s terrible at keeping track of them, so I figured I’d put a blog post together specifically for her and share it with everyone!
Some things to note about my sister’s reading preferences: she’s really into science fiction and fantasy, so that’s what a lot of my recs are for her. And she listens to a lot of audiobooks, so I try to recommend things that I’ve heard are good on audio, though that’s not always a priority. She enjoys a good romance in her fiction books, but doesn’t pick up a ton of straight up romance, though she tends to enjoy it when I bully her into finally reading some. She also reads a lot of more outdoorsy nonfiction and some business nonfiction, but I am not an outdoor person at all and don’t read much business nonfiction, so I have no recs for her there. She tends to do a good job of picking those out on her own!
Also, for context, some things I’ve recommended to my sister that she’s loved include The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang, Polaris Rising by Jessie Mihalik, Kill the Queen by Jennifer Estep, Red Rising by Pierce Brown, Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzie Lee, Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel, Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse, and Red Sister by Mark Lawrence. Oh, and we’re both massive fans of Sarah J. Maas and Leigh Bardugo!
So one of the series I think my sister will really enjoy is the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews. I think it has a lot of the fantasy elements that she really enjoys, plus the romance that eventually builds between Kate and Curran is great, so I think she’ll enjoy that a lot. Plus she’s always read a lot more urban fantasy than me, and she loves mythology-inspired books as much as I do, so I think this is right up her ally. Plus it’s a ten-book series, so she’ll have lots to keep her busy if she decides to listen to them on audio! (For the record, I have no idea how the audio production is, but I think it’s probably worth my sister giving them a shot, maybe listening to a sample or getting them from the library.)
Honestly, while we’re at it, I think she’d really enjoy the Hidden Legacy books by Ilona Andrews. I think she might prefer Kate Daniels because it has more mythology and action and less romance, but you never know. It’s an excellent series.
I also think Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri and Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson will really be her thing. The plot of Empire of Sand is kind of hard to describe, so I guess she’d just have to know that it’s a Mughal India-inspired fantasy and take my word for it, but Sorcery of Thorns features a girl who wants to be a librarian in a world where books are alive, so it kind of sells itself.
While we’re talking about library fantasies, it took me a while to get into, but I really enjoyed Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine and think my sister would like it, too. She’d probably even wind up finishing the whole series before me! This five-book series also follows a protagonist seeking to become a librarian, but in this world, it’s illegal to own personal copies of books. Instead, people have a Codex where they can read any book they want — basically a magical kindle. The first book got off to a slow start, but I was pretty hooked by the end and can’t wait to see where the rest of the series goes.
Oh, and it’s not out yet, but I’m pretty sure both my sister and I are going to love Deal with the Devil by Kit Rocha. The series name is Mercenary Librarians, and I think that’s kind of all you need to know. It’s not out until May, though, so we have a bit of a wait for this one!
Another fantasy I think my sister would really like is A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I wound up enjoying this YA Beauty and the Beast retelling, and since my sister is a big fan of fairy tale retellings, I’m sure she’d really like it, too.
Andi also really needs to read The Queen’s Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner. She’s lucky I’m recommending this series now when the last book is due out later this year! I love these books and think they feel like really classic, timeless fantasies heavily inspired by Greek culture and mythology, and I’m sure she’ll love them, too!
Speaking to my sister’s love of audiobooks, I would recommend she listen to The Diviners by Libba Bray, which is narrated by January LaVoy. This is a historical fantasy set in 1920s New York City in which certain people, known as diviners, have magical powers. It’s a bit creepy and super atmospheric, and while the audiobooks were too long for me to keep going in that format, I think my sister would love LaVoy’s narration. She really did an amazing job!
I haven’t read this yet, but I’ve been hearing such great things about The Poppy War by RF Kuang, and I think my sister will really like that series, too. Same for Jade City by Fonda Lee. I actually don’t know an awful lot about either of them, but I keep hearing such great things from people who have similar tastes in fantasy to me, so I’m really excited to pick them up and think my sister will like them, too.
I’m not as confident about these, but a few books at the top of my fantasy TBR are Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, The Bird King by G. Willow Wilson, and A Conspiracy of Whispers by Ada Harper. They all sound really good and I think I’m going to really like them, and if I do, I’m sure my sister will. But I’m not quite as confident in these three as I am in The Poppy War and Jade City.
I know I said I wasn’t going to recommend nonfiction, but I don’t think my sister has read Bad Blood by John Carreyrou yet, and she needs to! It’s such a wild story, I’m sure she’ll be as enthralled as me. Plus the audiobook, while nothing special, is totally adequate, so she could power through it on her next long drive. Oh, and while we’re at it, she should read The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. I know she likes a lot of psychology/sociology books, and this one looks at how habits work and how businesses take advantage of that, and it was such an interesting read. I know she’ll like it.
And as a blanket recommendation for pretty much all white people, my sister should totally pick up White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard to Talk to White People About Racism by Robin DiAngelo. I think there’s a lot to learn from this book and that it’s incredibly important for more people to pick up.
For contemporary romance, I think my sister should definitely read The Bride Test by Helen Hoang, which I liked about as much as The Kiss Quotient, so I think she will, too. And if she hasn’t read The Hating Game by Sally Thorne, I think she’ll find that one as fun as I did. It’s a hate-to-love office romance that’s just a fun read. And if she’s really feeling the romcom contemporary romances, I would recommend she give Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston a try. It’s such a fun setup, featuring the fictional son of America’s first female president and one of the children of the Queen of England, and I think she’ll fly right through it.
And I want to push her to read a historical romance and would recommend The Wallflower Wager by Tessa Dare. Dare is one of my favorite authors, and her historicals are super fun. I especially loved the parrot in The Wallflower Wager and think my sister would enjoy it as much as I did.
If I’m counting right, that’s a total of 21 books for my sister to check out, and that’s not even including sequels! If we counted those, I think the number would be a lot closer to 50. For some reason I suspect that’s going to keep her pretty busy for a while! Plus I’m sure I’ll think up a whole host of other books for her to read as soon as this post goes live, because of course.
Have you read any of these books? Where would you recommend that my sister start first? Do you have any others you’d add to this list? Let me know in the comments!