I’m sorry if I’ve been wiped out from the surface of the ‘verse for weeks. I just had to do… things¹ but at least I’m here now to talk about books, scream about dragons and make your bank accounts suffer with my book recommendations. You know, the usual fire-breathing things.
¹necromancy, feeding the dragons and midterm examinations
What better way is there to celebrate my comeback but to add another book to your TBR army??? Yeah you can thank me later. Thank you to Shealea @shutupshealea and Caffeine Book Tours for making me a part of this blog tour! I’ll leave the blog tour schedule so be sure to check out more posts from other bloggers down below.
Today’s featured book is a fast-paced standalone which I consider to be one of the greatest blessings in the world™ because THERE JUST AREN’T ENOUGH FANTASY STANDALONES. I love reading series but standalones have a different magic altogether. All those plot twists,character development, and blood in just one book? I’m here for them, chum.
Now, I’m going to give you 5 fantasy standalone book recommendations! If you’ve read them, good. If you haven’t read them yet, I suggest you engrave these books into your brain because they’re too great for you to miss. You NEED to meet my favorite children. THE WORLD DEMANDS IT OF YOU.
5 FANTASY STANDALONES THAT WILL COMPLETE YOUR LIFE
This standalone inspired from Japanese folklore needs to be given all the attention. It has monsters, murderous magical rooms, political intrigue, and a female protagonist who can topple kingdoms. This book brought back memories of me being a full-on trash for anime. This deserves an anime adaptation, okay?? My soul won’t rest until this book gets the justice it deserves.
I love this Little Mermaid retelling so much my heart is bursting. It (quite literally) stole my heart with its murderous sirens, vicious mermaids, and pirate princes. To Kill A Kingdom is the kind of page-turner that will entrance you like a siren’s song. This is a must-read for lovers of fantasy and fans of tales told across treacherous seas.
If you want an atmospheric read that will transport you to places unknown, Spinning Silver is perfect for you. This is a Rumplestiltskin retelling (by now it’s obvious that I love retellings) and though it can be confusing at times, you can’t help but be entranced by Naomi Novik’s words. It’s straight out from a fairytale, chums. The female protagonists in this book are also very formidable and awe-inspiring. Spinning Silver spits on female stereotypes and I love it so much because of that.
If you haven’t heard of me screaming about this book yet, you definitely need to get your ears checked. I consider The Afterlife of Holly Chase as one of the best books I have ever read and I CAN’T RECOMMEND IT ENOUGH. It’s a retelling of A Christmas Carol that is both funny and heartbreaking. It’s also full of plot twists and takeaway lessons. Plus all the feels. THE FEELS, I TELL YOU. You’ll drown in them for sure. READ THIS BOOK NOW.
And now the highlight of the day…
This fast-paced YA fantasy sounds really interesting indeed with its promise of murder, political intrigue and romance. Kingdom Cold seems to be a book that will attack you with feelings until you’re too weak to even say “dragons”. IT’S ALSO CURRENTLY AVAILABLE FOR $0.99 ON AMAZON KINDLE. Y’all need to grab this opportunity while it lasts. Thank me later.
Dying wasn’t my intention. Yet there I lay, ravenous—twelve hours into my hunger strike, certain I was already slipping away. The moans of my stomach howled for me to submit to the trays of food of every variety within an arm’s reach. I swallowed a gulp of nectarous air, heavy with the aroma of my favorite dishes, as the servants marched them in one by one. My mother was not relenting, but neither was I. As I lay dying, I didn’t observe my life flash before my eyes, but rather the few hours that led me to this desperate act— and ultimately to my untimely demise.
“Married? To who?” I seethed. It didn’t even matter. “Married!”
My mom, Queen of Besmium, let out a breathy sigh. “Honestly, Charlotte, can we skip the theatrics?”
I rushed closer to her. “I’m only sixteen. You said I’d have more time, until eighteen at least.”
She crossed her arms. “And you would feel differently about marriage in two years?”
I opened my mouth to speak, but nothing came out. Tears stung my eyes. I clenched my jaw, rage pulsing through me. Was this a punishment? Everyone knew I would make a terrible queen. I wasn’t cut out for rules or duty. My parents were never able to conceive another child, so they gave in to the fact it would have to be me. Married off for an alliance. “No. I won’t do it,” I said.
“I wasn’t asking your permission.” Her gaze cut into my resolve but I refused to surrender the modicum of freedom I had.
“I won’t say ‘I do’,” I said, locking my knees to keep them from shaking. Marriage? Even the word repulsed me. It sat at the back of my throat and I choked on it.
She stepped forward and leaned her face close to mine, her voice almost a whisper. “Could you be any more selfish?”
I swallowed back a wave of tears.
“Drethen marches closer every day,” she said. “Without this alliance—”
I succumbed to sobs, melting like a wax candle at the end of a banquet.
This seemed to please my mother to no end. She watched my anguish, her eyebrow slightly raised. She did this after all her victories. Certainly, this was revenge for my disobedience. After what felt like one hundred years of silence she continued, answering the question I couldn’t bring myself to ask.
“The Prince of Vires. Prince Young.”
I choked. “The Eastern Statue? Did you know that’s what they call him? They say he never smiles.”
“Be grateful he’s only a year older than you.”
Her words hung in the silence like a thick fog, but instead of obscuring my vision, my mother had exposed herself. Her marriage had been arranged as well, and it was no secret that father was twenty years her senior. She pursed her lips as if she could somehow suck the words back. I studied her face but she spun away, taking her leave with poised, deliberate steps before I could respond, and left me there with the news.
I walked like the undead to my bedroom and collapsed on the floor. Milly, my lady-in-waiting, appeared.
“Corset off. “Milly rushed over, her small hands unlacing my corset with quick, decisive movements. From behind me, all I could see of her was an occasional wisp of her summery hair. When she finished, she dropped down in front of me, as if my morbid energy was draining her.
“Prince of Vires,” I said as I buried my face in my hands.
She leaned forward, awaiting more information, as I remained motionless. Her eyes widened. “Marriage? But you’re only sixteen.”
I sat up and gave a hard nod, shaking a few of my dark curls from their pins. We sat there in silence. Each drape, chandelier, and ornately decorated vase screamed the same thing: my life wasn’t mine.
I strained to remember him. I’d met Prince Young once. Dark hair and dark, almond-shaped eyes that curved in at the corners… But his face—I couldn’t really recall it. I could only remember the feeling of him. He’d seemed so serious and miserable, even more so than the stuffy, political vultures that circled court. I hadn’t given him a single thought since we met—until now. Now, all I could think about was his cold, heartless stature and a lifetime without laughter.
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Have you read Kingdom Cold? Is it in your TBR? What are your favorite fantasy standalones?