My Top 10 Recommended Books – September 2023

10 Recommended Books/Book Series – as of September 2023

After carefully considering the two bookshelves of all the books I’ve read so far, I’ve compiled a list of the books I’d most recommend to others and why. Instead of ranking these books—since it’s so hard to decide—I’ve ordered them alphabetically by author last name.

Clare, Cassandra – The Mortal Instruments

Genre: YA contemporary supernatural fantasy.

The book follows teenaged Clary Fray and her discovery of the Shadow World as she realizes her potential as a Shadowhunter, someone who battles demons and keeps humans safe from harm. This series, starting with the book City of Bones, contains vampires, werewolves, fairies, and warlocks—all stemming from angels and demons in some way. It’s overall an enjoyable story, if a bit cliché, but does well for itself within its genre. I found the storyline quite enjoyable, even though I had to push my way through the second and third books. Warnings include demon-battling violence, implied incestuous feelings, murder, and, in later books, implicit underage sexual content (fade-to-black) and an attempted rape.

Related Review: The City of Bones

Collins, Suzanne – The Hunger Games

Genre: YA dystopian science fiction.

I specifically liked the first book and stand firm in my opinion that it could’ve been a standalone novel without the whole rebellion storyline of the later books—though they’re also okay. It follows teenaged Katniss Everdeen as she volunteers for the death-match known as the Hunger Games in place of her little sister, and how she and her District partner, Peeta, plan to survive. This whole book really showcases the dichotomy of the rich and powerful against the poor and oppressed. Warnings include death, violence, murder, oppression, and all that jazz, though it’s quite toned down for the teen and young adult audience.

Related Review: The Hunger Games

Fitzgerald, F. Scott – The Great Gatsby

Genre: Classic tragedy.

A book that I’ve read at least three times in my life and continue to enjoy. Taking place in the roaring ’20s, it follows Nick Carroway, who, after moving to a new house one summer, narrates the life of Jay Gatsby, his wealthy neighbour. It starts as a tragic romance and then becomes entangled with scandal, murder, mystery, and more until wrapping up in one tragic end. Warnings include cheating and intent to murder, but that’s it.

Related Review: The Great Gatsby

Holland, Sara – Everless

Genre: YA fantasy.

This two-book series was something that was recommended to me by a friend in my college book club. We read the first book as a group, and I liked it so much that I bought the second book as well. It takes place in a somewhat Victorian alternate world where time is money—quite literally. Time is extracted from blood and traded and taxed in coins; the rich have lived for centuries. Teenaged Jules Ember’s father is deep in debt, and to save him, she leaves to serve in the home of the wealthy aristocrats, the Gerlings. This book is somewhat of a dystopia, but no more than what our world is today; the rich get richer, and the poor get poorer. Warnings include deception and mild violence.

Related Review: [not available]

Hunter, C.C. – Shadow Falls

Genre: YA contemporary supernatural fantasy.

I was gifted this series in the seventh grade and must admit that it might’ve not been the best thing for a twelve-year-old. Still, I massively enjoyed this story that was filled with supernatural clichés. It follows Kylie Galen, a sixteen-year-old who is haunted by ghosts—literally. Her mother sends her away to Shadow Falls, which she believed was just a regular summer camp, but Kylie quickly discovers a supernatural world of vampires, werewolves, shapeshifters, witches, and fairies. Warnings include mild violence, swearing, and implied sexual content.

Related Review: [not available]

Jemisin, N.K. – The Broken Earth

Genre: Adult science fiction fantasy.

I fell in love with this series, though it’s for a much more mature audience than I typically read. It begins with the end of the world and follows forty-something-year-old Essun on her journey to murder her husband after he beat their three-year-old son to death. All the while, the world is ending around her in what is called the Fifth Season, caused by a massive volcanic Rift up north. This book is set in its own world, which somewhat incorporates modern-day buildings, but mostly feels Dark Ages-like due to primitive technology and transportation (mostly walking and wagons). Warnings include implied and explicit sexual content, violence, hateful bigotry, swearing, and abuse.

Related Review: The Fifth Season

Pratchett, Terry, and Neil Gaiman – Good Omens

Genre: Adult contemporary supernatural tragicomedy.

This book begins at the Beginning, but is mainly set in the ’90s, during which the Antichrist is set to destroy the world and mark the start of the war between Heaven and Hell. This is the story of an angel and a demon who try to prevent that from happening. It’s mostly comedy, sort of a romance, and a really entertaining and witty book, though it’s somewhat confusing at times. Warnings include swearing and maybe some mild violence because War; that’s it.

Related Review: Good Omens

Riordan, Rick – Percy Jackson

Genre: Middle-grade contemporary fantasy.

This is the story of twelve-year-old Percy Jackson, who finds out that he is the son of one of the Greek gods. His introduction into the hidden world is a violent one, with gods and monsters gunning for him, but he makes friends and allies along the way. Warnings include monster-fighting violence, Greek myths, and mentions of child abuse.

Related Review: The Lightning Thief

Rowling, J.K. – Harry Potter

Genre: Middle-grade contemporary fantasy.

Though I don’t agree with J.K. Rowling’s controversial views or statements, I can’t deny that the Harry Potter series is an amazing one. Starting with Harry’s eleventh birthday, he discovers the truth about all the weird things that have been happening around him all his life, and the reason he was sent to live with his unloving aunt and uncle. He attends Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry to learn to control his magic, but something darker is coming for him as a prophecy looms over his head. Warnings include magical racism, bigotry, and child abuse.

Related Review: [not available]

Stoker, Bram – Dracula

Genre: Classic supernatural horror.

This novel follows Dracula’s move to England, and the group that gets together endeavouring to stop him. It is told in a series of journal entries, voice recordings, and letters, all compiled as a record of the undead vampire known as Count Dracula. It’s a spooky and enjoyable story, especially because you, the reader, know that Dracula is a vampire, and exactly what’s going on, but the characters don’t know that. Because of this, the book is chock-full of dramatic irony and scenes where you’re just shaking your head in thrilled exasperation. Warnings include blood drinking, fear, and undead transformation—plus murder, if you think killing a vampire counts.

Related Review: Dracula

Comment below with a book you’d recommend and why.

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