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Hi all!

So, I currently struggle with a burn out and I am refinding my love for reading after years of only reading for study/work.

Anyway, I have been a bit out of the loop regarding fiction so I am looking for recommendations! Mythology, witchcraft, a touch of magic (that sounds vague but something like my guilty pleasure Nora Roberts' Island of the three sisters trilogy) and especially female centered.

I am not a big fan of completely new worlds like LOTR, and books with heavy sexual parts as it often feels like I'm reading the authors sexual fantasies.

Thank you in advance!

Hi all! So, I currently struggle with a burn out and I am refinding my love for reading after years of only reading for study/work. Anyway, I have been a bit out of the loop regarding fiction so I am looking for recommendations! Mythology, witchcraft, a touch of magic (that sounds vague but something like my guilty pleasure Nora Roberts' Island of the three sisters trilogy) and especially female centered. I am not a big fan of completely new worlds like LOTR, and books with heavy sexual parts as it often feels like I'm reading the authors sexual fantasies. Thank you in advance!

29 comments

Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman is good if you enjoy magical realism/sisterhood/witches.

Ah, yes! I loved that one! The prequels are in my to read list. Thanks!

The Mists of Avalon is a classic that seems to fit the bill, although maybe get a used copy and don't read up on the author if you want to enjoy it.

Funny you mention it, that was in my mind while writing this as I read it years ago and loved the tv series (or film, I think I saw it as a series).

Yeah, I know what you mean with the author.

Oh! Also! The Wandering Unicorn, written from the perspective of Melusine, magic realism style.

Naomi Novik is wonderful - "Spinning Silver" & "Uprooted" are both kind of dark and mysterious fairytales. "A Deadly Education" & "The Last Graduate" are more young adult, but a clever take on the school of magic trope.

You also might like Mercedes Lackey's Elementals series.

I have just recently read all of these books! Uprooted is a favorite and I have reread it several times, and I loved Spinning Silver. OP I would also reccomend "Perfectly Preventable Deaths" if you're in a YA mood- about two sisters who move to a tiny village in Ireland and witchy stuff happens- just a touch of magic nothing too fantastical. Oh I also liked the "Grave Mercy" series- very focused on friendship and sisterhood again with mild fantasy elements (which develop through the series).

I was going to suggest Uprooted. I think I read it three times. I have Christian Bale in my head as the Dragon if the ever make it a movie. Some of the writing is so beautifuland evocative I cried reading it. I will check out Spinning Silver.

Discworld Witches are my favourite. They can each be standalones.

Hahaha, I've read Terry Pratchett's books over and over again. :D

[–] Zamiel 3 points Edited

Maybe Leonora Carrington's The Hearing Trumpet. It's about a 90+ year old woman who gets shipped off to an old folks' home where things get progressively more magical. Subverts patriarchal religion and the holy grail narrative along the way. I found it very understatedly witty too.

[–] scriptcrone 1 points Edited

The Black Chalice by Marie Jakober, which is set in the aftermath of the Crusades, in an imagined part of Germany.

Tanya Huff's Summon the Keeper and sequels, set in Ontario, Canada, which contains an earnest young witch trying to do her best, her snarky cat, the equally snarky hole to hell in the basement of the house she has been summoned to, her snarky and powerful sister, and the thoroughly decent young man who gets drawn into all of it.

Also by Tanya Huff, The Enchantment Emporium, and sequels, a trilogy set in Calgary, Canada, about a very strange family of magic users, run by older women, whose power and existence derive from the encounter between an ancestress and a horned god. More sex in that one. Also selkies, the kraken, and dragons.

This subgenre is my jam, and other have given many recommendations for recent books, so I'm going to recommend some old favorites.

The Perilous Gard by Elizabeth Marie Pope is an older book set in Elizabethan England that is a loose retelling of Tam Lin. The protagonist is matter-of-fact and slightly caustic, and I love her for it.

Robin McKinley's older books include some great fairytale retellings. She's done two different versions of beauty and the beast, but my favorite is probably her sleeping beauty retelling, Spindle's End. Her stories often involve great descriptions of everyday routines and details, and Spindle's End contains many interesting interpersonal relationships between women.

Nina Kiriki Hoffman's A Fistful of Sky is a contemporary fantasy novel where the college-age protagonist explores her identity as a member of a complicated and magically gifted family.

If you want fantasy romances, Sharon Shinn is a master of the craft. Her older Samaria series is good, and so is her more political epic fantasy series Twelve Houses. Her series Elemental Energies is more YA but also good. Her books often take place in worlds which have different religions, festivals, or magic in them, and her worldbuilding is at the perfect level of detail for me: enough to be intrigued, but not so much as to become overwhelming.

[–] Mafdet [OP] 1 points Edited

Thank you! Will definitely look them up!

Edit: forget a word.

Oh, and I know that half of the books/series I recommended are in secondary worlds, but it's a little tricky to think of books set in our world which feature romance and fantasy but aren't too explicit, or too detailed on "this is how our vampires work". I'll try to think of more examples, but I'd encourage you to try the secondary world books I recommended whenever you're in the mood for that because they're definitely not too heavy on the world building. For something more similar to Nora Roberts, you could check out Lisa Kleypas's Friday Harbor series?

Ah, yeah, I know what you mean, thanks. It was more that I can't really keep my attention at the moment with LOTR style books. And I know I get frustrated when I'm constantly flipping pages back to figure out who or what this or that is. :D

No, I haven't heard of the Friday Harbor series, will look those up too!

Let me know if you end up reading anything I recommended and want more ideas, because I could go on all day :)

Happy reading! I started rediscovering reading for fun a few years ago and it's been tons of fun.

Ah yes, those two were already on my list of must read. Currently not available at the library, I think they're quite popular. Thanks!

I think you should read Katherine Kerr's Deverry books (if you can find them). Daggerspell/Darkspell/Dragonspell/Dawnspell are the core four.

Plot synopsis: In a medieval kingdom where reincarnation is a reality Galrion, a minor prince, Done His Woman (Brangwen) Wrong due to pride and condescension. When his fault leads to her death, he vows never to rest until he's put it right. Now he has to wander the world for centuries as she is reincarnated over and over again, while he tries to help her fulfil her true destiny.

Magic. Very female-centered including some highly-based powerful middle-aged noblewomen. Yes, some quite confronting sex but it's all very plot-relevant. Invented world but heavily informed by a solid knowledge of real medieval history

Also:

Among Others (Jo Walton). I may have recommended it here before. Urban fantasy set in Wales. A teenage girl deals with the aftermath of her twin sister's death, caused by their magic-wielding mother.

I have not read the All Souls trilogy, but I just finished watching A Discovery of Witches which is based on All Souls and now it is on my summer reading list.

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