The best uplit books sprinkled with speculative magic

Caron Mckinlay Author Of The Storytellers
By Caron Mckinlay

Who am I?

I’ve been fascinated by time travel and speculative stories since I was a child. I grew up with The Tomorrow People and then later was captivated by Sapphire and Steel. While I love reading most genres and have a book blog and book column in the local press, I feel speculative fiction has just that little extra edge. It answers that clichéd question what if? And transports you into magical visions of slightly different worlds. I hope you enjoy the books on this list as much as I have. And perhaps, one day, The Storytellers might appear on someone else’s. What a joy that would be! 


I wrote...

The Storytellers

By Caron Mckinlay,

Book cover of The Storytellers

What is my book about?

An unforgettable story of love cloaked in mystery and sprinkled with magic. Trapped between life and the afterlife, three women meet and share their stories while discovering the truth about the men in their lives.

 Suspended in an eerie state of limbo, a man called the Gatekeeper tells Nikki, Ronnie, and Mrs. Hawthorne they are on the cusp of entering the afterlife—but only if the women can persuade him that in their earthly lives, they knew the meaning of love. Fragments of their memories return, plunging them back into their pasts, and forcing them to face the desires, disappointments, addictions, lies, and obsessions they battled in life. But before time runs out, will they find the answer to the ultimate question: what is love?

The books I picked & why

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The Time Traveler's Wife

By Audrey Niffenegger,

Book cover of The Time Traveler's Wife

Why this book?

This is the book I wish I’d written. It is beautiful and haunting. I was given this years ago as a Christmas gift at work and from its book cover judged it badly. So, it lay unloved for months to come. But wow. When I started to read those first few pages, I was mesmerized by the love story, the premise, and the beautiful writing hidden inside. Once, I missed my stop on the tube because I was so engrossed in it and was late for work. But since my boss had been the one to gift it, I got off lightly. I can still feel all those emotions from reading the last chapter. Tears silently slid down my face as an emptiness overcame me at the experience ending. I would love one day to write something that touched people the way this book moved me.


Space Hopper

By Fisher Helen,

Book cover of Space Hopper

Why this book?

I lost my mother, gosh, about twenty years ago and the idea of being able to time travel back and see her once more is irresistible. What makes this book even more special is that she goes back and meets her mother as an adult at a time when she would have been a child. She even meets her younger self. How amazing would that be? It raised so many thoughts in my mind. What would I tell my younger self, and would there be a way to save my own mother’s life? It’s both a fascinating concept and compelling story. I think anyone who has lost a parent will resonate with its beauty. The ending itself truly took my breath away. 


The Life We Almost Had

By Amelia Henley,

Book cover of The Life We Almost Had

Why this book?

This book is heartbreaking and magical. I thought at first it was a romance novel, but a speculative twist took me by surprise. I became enthralled in those chapters not wanting to leave them. Not quite believing the brilliance of the premise. My daughter had gone through a very similar situation, so every emotion felt raw, and I completely engaged with Anna’s dilemma. How could she choose what to do? I tentatively told my daughter about it and after reading it, she agreed it was amazing too. The ending, which brought me to tears, is hopeful and poignant. It is such a unique story, but I won’t spoil it by mentioning the theme portrayed in it. 


The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

By V.E. Schwab,

Book cover of The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

Why this book?

I’ve always been obsessed with wanting to be immortal. I guess that’s my fear of dying. But the only choices that seemed available to me were vampire, and I don’t fancy drinking blood—I don’t even like black pudding—or bathing in ceremonial blue fire and that didn’t turn out well for Ayesha when she aged 2000 years in minutes. 

So, imagine my delight to meet Addie LaRue who makes a deal with the devil. However, the price she pays for her immortality is that she is forgotten by the world. Could I live with that? A rash decision has me shouting yes but as the narrative continues, I realized the ramifications. Another heartbreaking book but one that highlights the love and hope that is always present in humanity. Would I still say yes after reading it? Perhaps.


It Was Always You

By Emma Cooper,

Book cover of It Was Always You

Why this book?

The author is like a magician weaving a spell with her words. How she managed to make me care so much for the three characters in her book is beyond my comprehension. And my goodness did I care! I fell in love with Cole and Will. Adored them.....and crazily so.....equally. As a debut author I was astounded at her skill.

And of course, I was fascinated by the time travel and being able to go back and tell my younger self something. How many things would I change in my life if I had the chance? Too many to mention. We all have regrets. If only is a huge regret itself. 


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in time travel, magic-supernatural, and immortality?

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