The best book about morally gray woman in dark fantasy

Who am I?

I’ve always been a huge fan of fantasy books, especially ones that focus on women protagonists. Morally gray protagonists are the most interesting because they straddle the line between hero and villain, often making questionable choices to achieve a goal. I like to write characters who struggle with mental health issues because so often it can be overlooked in a fantasy story in favor of the bigger plot at hand. Women struggling with mental health, who are single mothers, those with disabilities, and those who have long been poorly represented in fiction are characters I like to read and write about.


I wrote...

The Assassin of Grins and Secrets

By K.E. Andrews,

Book cover of The Assassin of Grins and Secrets

What is my book about?

Once the infamous assassin who killed with a smile, Serein now waits for death in the fighting pits of the Harpy's Chest. She has fought tooth and nail to survive, but now her luck has run out. When the prince of Sarddon seeks her out with an offer of freedom if she serves as his guard, she must decide whether to work for those who ravaged her homeland or die.

In a land of hot sands and dying magic, old enemies stand between Serein and her freedom. She plays the game of secrets, knowing one wrong step could end her life. As the shadows of her past catch up with her, she has to choose between pursuing vengeance and protecting a secret only she knows. 

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Seven Blades in Black

K.E. Andrews Why did I love this book?

The book is filled to the brim with powerful descriptions and enough sass to fill an ocean. You’ll fall in love with Sal, even though she’s rough around the edges and has revenge pulsing in her veins. Each page has lines that make you stop and sit with them in order for them to sink in, and when they do, they follow you around for days. Sykes brings Sal and her world alive with vivid writing that is just *chef’s kiss*. It holds its own against Game of Thrones, the works of Sanderson, and Robert Jordan. If you like morally gray characters and gritty fantasy, this is the book for you. 

By Sam Sykes,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Seven Blades in Black as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Acclaimed author Sam Sykes returns with a brilliant new epic fantasy that introduces an unforgettable outcast mage caught between two warring empires.

Her magic was stolen. She was left for dead.

Betrayed by those she trusts most and her magic ripped from her, all Sal the Cacophony has left is her name, her story, and the weapon she used to carve both. But she has a will stronger than magic, and knows exactly where to go.

The Scar, a land torn between powerful empires, where rogue mages go to disappear, disgraced soldiers go to die and Sal went with a…


Book cover of This Here Flesh: Spirituality, Liberation, and the Stories That Make Us

K.E. Andrews Why did I love this book?

I normally don’t read personal essays, but from the moment I cracked open this book, I was sucked in by the lyrical words. Each chapter had something I could personally relate to and brought me to tears. Riley weaves so much emotion into every sentence, highlighting very personal struggles and generational pain in such a poignant way that you have to slow down to savor every word. This is by far my favorite nonfiction book.

By Cole Arthur Riley,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked This Here Flesh as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • In her stunning debut, the creator of Black Liturgies weaves stories from three generations of her family alongside contemplative reflections to discover the “necessary rituals” that connect us with our belonging, dignity, and liberation.

“This is the kind of book that makes you different when you’re done.”—Ashley C. Ford, New York Times bestselling author of Somebody’s Daughter

“Reaches deep beneath the surface of words unspoken, wounds unhealed, and secrets untempered to break them open in order for fresh light to break through.”—Morgan Jerkins, New York Times bestselling author of This Will Be My Undoing and…


Book cover of The Ones We're Meant to Find

K.E. Andrews Why did I love this book?

The cover drew me in with its soft yet powerful art that at first reminded me of a Studio Ghibli movie but was so much more than that. He beautifully captures the voices of two sisters trying to find each other in a world that is decaying and is pushing morally-sound science to ensure humanity’s survival. Mystery upon mystery is peeled back with each chapter and I had no idea what to expect until I got to the end. The plot twist was one of the best I’ve read in a long time. What drew me in the most was that this sci-fi book focuses on the relationship of sisters trying to get back to each other. 

By Joan He,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Ones We're Meant to Find as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
Perfect for fans of Marie Lu and E. Lockhart, The Ones We're Meant to Find is a twisty YA sci-fi that follows the story of two sisters, separated by an ocean, desperately trying to find each other in a climate-ravaged future.
Cee has been trapped on an abandoned island for three years without any recollection of how she arrived, or memories from her life prior. All she knows is that somewhere out there, beyond the horizon, she has a sister named Kay, and it's up to Cee to cross the ocean and find her.…


Book cover of The Cat Who Saved Books

K.E. Andrews Why did I love this book?

When I first saw this book, I was intrigued by the promise of magical cats and books. This story is light yet had some deep themes and poses questions about the true purpose of books and our relationship to them. It has all the hallmarks of a contemporary anime that is short and easy to read, especially if you’re used to diving into thick fantasy books. There were so many quirky moments in the book that felt like a mixture of Alice in Wonderland meets Howl’s Moving Castle. It’s the kind of book you can curl up with while you sip tea and pet a cat.

By Sosuke Natsukawa, Louise Heal Kawai (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Cat Who Saved Books as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Cat Who Saved Books is a heart-warming story about finding courage, caring for others - and the tremendous power of books.

Grandpa used to say it all the time: 'books have tremendous power'. But what is that power really?

Natsuki Books was a tiny second-hand bookshop on the edge of town. Inside, towering shelves reached the ceiling, every one crammed full of wonderful books. Rintaro Natsuki loved this space that his grandfather had created. He spent many happy hours there, reading whatever he liked. It was the perfect refuge for a boy who tended to be something of a…


Book cover of Iron Widow

K.E. Andrews Why did I love this book?

I seem to have a thing for morally gray characters, especially women, in fantasy and sci-fi. Iron Widow combines Chinese mythology with giant mech technology in a powerful combination that makes you want to finish the book as quickly as possible so you can know how it ends. Fans of Pacific Rim will enjoy this book because it has giant monsters and form-changing mechs in a life and death war. 

By Xiran Jay Zhao,

Why should I read it?

13 authors picked Iron Widow as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

An instant #1 New York Times bestseller!

Pacific Rim meets The Handmaid's Tale in this blend of Chinese history and mecha science fiction for YA readers.

The boys of Huaxia dream of pairing up with girls to pilot Chrysalises, giant transforming robots that can battle the mecha aliens that lurk beyond the Great Wall. It doesn't matter that the girls often die from the mental strain.
 
When 18-year-old Zetian offers herself up as a concubine-pilot, it's to assassinate the ace male pilot responsible for her sister's death. But she gets her vengeance in a way nobody expected—she kills him through…


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A Last Serenade for Billy Bonney

By Mark Warren,

Book cover of A Last Serenade for Billy Bonney

Mark Warren Author Of Indigo Heaven

New book alert!

Who am I?

Author Composer Archer Teacher Grateful

Mark's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

In this deeply researched novel of America's most celebrated outlaw, Mark Warren sheds light on the human side of Billy the Kid and reveals the intimate stories of the lesser-known players in his legendary life of crime. Warren's fictional composer and Santa Fe journalist, John Blessing, is assigned to report on a jailed prisoner who calls himself "Willima H. Bonney," but what begins as a formal interview evolves into an unexpected relationship and a self-examination of Blessing's own cultured, city values.

After the Kid's death, Blessing embarks on a journey to find Billy's comrades and acquaintances - those who loved the Kid... and others who despised him. Ride along with John Blessing as he unravels one of Western history's most fascinating enigmas.

A Last Serenade for Billy Bonney

By Mark Warren,

What is this book about?

In this deeply researched novel of America's most celebrated outlaw, Mark Warren sheds light on the human side of Billy the Kid, and reveals the intimate stories of the lesser-known players in his legendary life of crime. Warren's fictional composer and Santa Fe journalist, John Blessing, is assigned to report on a jailed prisoner who calls himself "William H. Bonney," but what begins as a formal interview evolves into an unexpected relationship and a self-examination of Blessing's own cultured, city values.

After the Kid's death, Blessing embarks on a journey to find Billy's comrades and acquaintances - those who loved…


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