Recommendations · Tags

Themed Book Recommendations

Today we’re talking about some recommendations! Thank you Ritz @ Living, Loving and Reading for tagging me. It took me a while, but I’m finally doing it and I’m very excited about it, it’s always great to gush about some of my favourites!


  • Tag Ally @ Ally Writes Things
  • Give at least one recommendation for each of the prompts below
  • If you don’t have a recommendation, talk about a book you want to read
  • Tag your friends

A book about friendship

Haikyuu!!, Vol. 1 by Haruichi Furudate

Well, well, well, if it isn’t the most self-indulgent recommendation I’ve given on this blog so far. But truly, haikyuu is one of the best stories about friendship I’ve read—and watched—so I couldn’t pass on the opportunity to recommend it. If you’re not one to read manga, I recommend giving the anime a shot!

Ever since he saw the legendary player known as “the Little Giant” compete at the national volleyball finals, Shoyo Hinata has been aiming to be the best volleyball player ever! Who says you need to be tall to play volleyball when you can jump higher than anyone else?

A translated book

The Seventh Day by Yu Hua

I, funnily enough, came across this book because of kpop—one member of a group mentioned it. It’s not something I would’ve picked out on my own, but I ended up enjoying it!

Yang Fei was born on a moving train. Lost by his mother, adopted by a young switchman, raised with simplicity and love, he is utterly unprepared for the tempestuous changes that await him and his country. As a young man, he searches for a place to belong in a nation that is ceaselessly reinventing itself, but he remains on the edges of society. At age forty-one, he meets an accidental and unceremonious death. Lacking the money for a burial plot, he must roam the afterworld aimlessly, without rest. Over the course of seven days, he encounters the souls of the people he’s lost.

A diverse romance

Her Royal Highness by Rachel Hawkins

An “enemies” to lovers sapphic romance. What’s not to like? This was extremely fun to read, and it was a very cute story, so I definitely recommend it.

Millie Quint is devastated when she discovers that her sort-of-best friend/sort-of-girlfriend has been kissing someone else. And because Millie cannot stand the thought of confronting her ex every day, she decides to apply for scholarships to boarding schools . . . the farther from Houston the better.

Millie can’t believe her luck when she’s accepted into one of the world’s most exclusive schools, located in the rolling highlands of Scotland. The only problem: Mille’s roommate Flora is a total princess. She’s also an actual princess. Of Scotland.

At first, the girls can barely stand each other–Flora is both high-class and high-key–but before Millie knows it, she has another sort-of-best-friend/sort-of-girlfriend. Even though Princess Flora could be a new chapter in her love life, Millie knows the chances of happily ever afters are slim . . . after all, real life isn’t a fairy tale . . . or is it?

A fast-paced book

If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio

The intrigue—and the fact that I read this during a blackout—made me fly through this. If you like dark academia, I think you’ll enjoy this book. The snobbery and queerness are perfectly balanced, which in my opinion is what makes a perfect DA read, heh.

Oliver Marks has just served ten years for a murder he may or may not have committed. On the day of his release, he is greeted by the detective who put him in prison. Detective Colborne is retiring, and he wants to know what really happened a decade before.

As a young actor at an elite conservatory, Oliver noticed that his talented classmates seem to play the same characters onstage and off – villain, hero, temptress – though he was always a supporting role. But when the teachers change the casting, a good-natured rivalry turns ugly, and the plays spill dangerously over into real life.

When tragedy strikes, one of the seven friends is found dead. The rest face their greatest acting challenge yet: convincing the police, and themselves, that they are blameless…

A nonfiction other than a memoir

Essential Pre-Raphaelites by Lucinda Hawksley

I’m the worse at reading nonfiction—especially if it’s not a memoir—but I got this book semi-recently and I’m excited to dive into it. This features a collection of some of the most well-known paintings by the Pre-Raphaelites. It’s a very complete introduction to this movement and some of its more famous artists.

In 1848 a group of seven disillusioned artists, comprising the Rossettis, John Everett Millais, William Holman Hunt, Frederic Stephens, Thomas Wooner, and James Collinson, formed the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. Initially they were ridiculed in the art world for their pretension and subject matter, but ten years after their foundation no self-respecting Victorian would admit to being ignorant of Pre-Raphaelite art.

The movement later began to change direction as new influences were brought to bear on the group; Dante Gabriel Rossetti came to the fore alongside artists such as Walter Howell Deverell and Edward Burne-Jones, as well as William Morris, the founding father of the Arts and Crafts movement. Essential Pre-Raphaelitesexamines the work of the movement, its loosely affiliated personalities, diverse subject matter, and profound effect on nineteenth-and twentieth-century art.

An underrated memoir

Lizzie Siddal: The Tragedy of a Pre-Raphaelite Supermodel by Lucinda Hawksley

Whoops, another book on the same topic, by the same author. Perhaps a bit of a niche choice, but totally worth a shot. This memoir is a fantastic introduction to the Pre-Raphaelites as a whole and a good depiction of Lizzie Siddal’s tragic life.

Saved from the drudgery of a working-class existence by a young Pre- Raphaelite artist, Lizzie Siddal rose to become one of the most famous faces in Victorian Britain and a pivotal figure of London’s artistic world, until tragically ending her life in 1862.

A book with fewer than 10,000 ratings on Goodreads

People Kill People by Ellen Hopkins

I picked this up on a whim because I saw Emma @ EmmmaBooks discuss it, and I truly enjoyed it. This book centers around gun violence and it’s quite hard to read at times, so do check the trigger warnings beforehand.

A gun is sold in the classifieds after killing a spouse, bought by a teenager for needed protection. But which was it? Each has the incentive to pick up a gun, to fire it. Was it Rand or Cami, married teenagers with a young son? Was it Silas or Ashlyn, members of a white supremacist youth organization? Daniel, who fears retaliation because of his race, who possessively clings to Grace, the love of his life? Or Noelle, who lost everything after a devastating accident, and has sunk quietly into depression?

One tense week brings all six people into close contact in a town wrought with political and personal tensions. Someone will fire. And someone will die. But who?

A book with an LGBTQ+ protagonist

Loveless by Alice Oseman

Considering this is what I mostly read, this was hard to pick. I have an entire bookshelf on Goodreads dedicated to lgbt+ books, in case you’re interested. I ended up choosing Loveless because it has an asexual protagonist, something that is not as common when we talk about lgbt+ representation.

Georgia has never been in love, never kissed anyone, never even had a crush – but as a fanfic-obsessed romantic she’s sure she’ll find her person one day.

As she starts university with her best friends, Pip and Jason, in a whole new town far from home, Georgia’s ready to find romance, and with her outgoing roommate on her side and a place in the Shakespeare Society, her ‘teenage dream’ is in sight.

But when her romance plan wreaks havoc amongst her friends, Georgia ends up in her own comedy of errors, and she starts to question why love seems so easy for other people but not for her. With new terms thrown at her – asexual, aromantic – Georgia is more uncertain about her feelings than ever.

A book by a trans or non-binary author

I Wish You All the Best by Mason Deaver

I had pretty high expectations for this book, and it still managed to surpass them. I definitely will be picking up more books by this author.

When Ben De Backer comes out to their parents as nonbinary, they’re thrown out of their house and forced to move in with their estranged older sister, Hannah, and her husband, Thomas, whom Ben has never even met. Struggling with an anxiety disorder compounded by their parents’ rejection, they come out only to Hannah, Thomas, and their therapist and try to keep a low profile in a new school.

But Ben’s attempts to survive the last half of senior year unnoticed are thwarted when Nathan Allan, a funny and charismatic student, decides to take Ben under his wing. As Ben and Nathan’s friendship grows, their feelings for each other begin to change, and what started as a disastrous turn of events looks like it might just be a chance to start a happier new life.

A book with more than 500 pages

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

I think this is a pretty well-known book, but I still hadn’t talked about it here. This book is 100% a character-study, which lucky for me, are my favourites—hence my blog name. Not only that, but this is also a dark academia staple, and probably what gives this genre its name and its characteristics.

Under the influence of their charismatic classics professor, a group of clever, eccentric misfits at an elite New England college discover a way of thinking and living that is a world away from the humdrum existence of their contemporaries. But when they go beyond the boundaries of normal morality they slip gradually from obsession to corruption and betrayal, and at last—inexorably—into evil.

A short story collection

Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods by Rick Riordan

This was hard to pick, because I don’t usually read short story collections. However, I think this book provides a fun way to learn more about Greek mythology.

“A publisher in New York asked me to write down what I know about the Greek gods, and I was like, Can we do this anonymously? Because I don’t need the Olympians mad at me again. But if it helps you to know your Greek gods, and survive an encounter with them if they ever show up in your face, then I guess writing all this down will be my good deed for the week.”

So begins Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods, in which the son of Poseidon adds his own magic—and sarcastic asides—to the classics. He explains how the world was created, then gives readers his personal take on a who’s who of ancients, from Apollo to Zeus. Percy does not hold back.

A book you want everyone to read

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

This has been my number one favourite book for years—now it shares that title with The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo—so it’s really no surprise that I want everyone to read it. I’ve probably recommended it to every single reader friend I’ve made over the years, and I’d say 97% of them have absolutely adored it.

Greece in the age of Heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the kingdom of Phthia. Here he is nobody, just another unwanted boy living in the shadow of King Peleus and his golden son, Achilles.

Achilles, “best of all the Greeks,” is everything Patroclus is not—strong, beautiful, the child of a goddess—and by all rights their paths should never cross. Yet one day, Achilles takes the shamed prince under his wing and soon their tentative connection gives way to a steadfast friendship. As they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine, their bond blossoms into something far deeper—despite the displeasure of Achilles’ mother Thetis, a cruel sea goddess with a hatred of mortals.

Fate is never far from the heels of Achilles. When word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, the men of Greece are called upon to lay siege to Troy in her name. Seduced by the promise of a glorious destiny, Achilles joins their cause. Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus follows Achilles into war, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they have learned, everything they hold dear. And that, before he is ready, he will be forced to surrender his friend to the hands of Fate.

I tag:

I’ve tried to make sure you’ve not already done this tag. Also, no pressure to do it if you don’t feel like it, but I’d love to read your answers!

19 thoughts on “Themed Book Recommendations

  1. HER ROYAL HIGHNESS YAAASSS! I loved that book so incredibly much. And I swear to be the only person who didn’t enjoy If We Were Villains, I am alone on this island.

    Love this tag and enjoyed reading your answers! One of these days I’ll read Song of Achilles…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I really enjoyed reading this post Maria! Having loved The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt I definitely need to pick up The Secret History soon, I enjoy character centric books so it sounds right up my street. Song of Achilles is one of my favourite books too!!! 📚❤️ X x x

    Liked by 1 person

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