100 books like Tart of Darkness

By Denise Swanson,

Here are 100 books that Tart of Darkness fans have personally recommended if you like Tart of Darkness. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Nice Girls Don't Date Dead Men

Ember Mae Author Of A Bane in the Neck

From my list on books with the found family motif.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was a Navy Brat for most of my childhood, moving from place to place every couple of years. It was hard, but my mom somehow always created a community around us of people that I could almost call my aunts and uncles. As an adult, I’ve also found people that I love like family, and created my own little group with my own people. It’s something that I write about in every single book I pen and I’m sure it will continue because I love when people find their people. It’s my favorite. 

Ember's book list on books with the found family motif

Ember Mae Why did Ember love this book?

So, this was one of the first ‘adult’ books I read as a younger twenty-something, and it had me laughing out loud all the time.

Jane is hilarious, down to earth, and a great character. The book is the first book in a series of four books that document Jane’s growth into a ‘grown-up’. Not only was the humor spot on (Molly Harper’s humor is usually spot on for me), but the narrator brought all the characters to life in such a way that I was dying to get back to the story anytime we had to stop listening (I was buddy reading with my mom and sister for the first read through).

I’ve read this book over a dozen times, and I really think it’s because as Jane goes through the transformation from human to vampire, she builds her own family around her that accepts her, loves her, and…

By Molly Harper,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Nice Girls Don't Date Dead Men as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


Following Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangs, the second in a hilarious, smart, sexy romantic series about an out-of-work librarian who is turned into a vampire.

With her best friend Zeb’s Titanic-themed wedding looming ahead, new vampire Jane Jameson struggles to develop her budding relationship with her enigmatic sire, Gabriel. It seems unfair that she’s expected to master undead dating while dealing with a groom heading for a nuptial nervous breakdown, his hostile werewolf in-laws, and the ugliest bridesmaid dress in the history of marriage.

Meanwhile, the passing of Jane’s future step-grandpa puts Grandma Ruthie back on the market. Her new…


Book cover of Second Hand Curses

Ember Mae Author Of A Bane in the Neck

From my list on books with the found family motif.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was a Navy Brat for most of my childhood, moving from place to place every couple of years. It was hard, but my mom somehow always created a community around us of people that I could almost call my aunts and uncles. As an adult, I’ve also found people that I love like family, and created my own little group with my own people. It’s something that I write about in every single book I pen and I’m sure it will continue because I love when people find their people. It’s my favorite. 

Ember's book list on books with the found family motif

Ember Mae Why did Ember love this book?

This book is every fairytale and classic story turned on its head.

I absolutely love the way the author weaves apparently unrelated adventures into an epic tale by the end. It also has a very strong found family feel to it. They’re mercenaries with rules, and they will fight you if you come after one of their own.

It’s amazing, and if you like audiobooks, I highly recommend listening to it; the voice actors are amazing.   

By Drew Hayes,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Second Hand Curses as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When your fairy godmother threatens to enslave you with a curse - when a malevolent piper solves your rat problem but steals your children - when you seek revenge on the prince who turned you into a frog - who can you turn to in your hour of need? The band of scoundrels known far and wide as the Bastard Champions - the swashbuckling trio who travel a world of legend, seeking adventure and righting wrongs - as long as there's enough gold to be earned. They are Jack, the seemingly unkillable leader whose ever-present grin belies a dark past;…


Book cover of Thirteenth Child

Ember Mae Author Of A Bane in the Neck

From my list on books with the found family motif.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was a Navy Brat for most of my childhood, moving from place to place every couple of years. It was hard, but my mom somehow always created a community around us of people that I could almost call my aunts and uncles. As an adult, I’ve also found people that I love like family, and created my own little group with my own people. It’s something that I write about in every single book I pen and I’m sure it will continue because I love when people find their people. It’s my favorite. 

Ember's book list on books with the found family motif

Ember Mae Why did Ember love this book?

This is a book that has stuck with me for over five years now.

The book is the first in the Frontier Magic Trilogy, and it’s fantastic. I loved the world-building, the twist on how magic worked and was taught. I also loved how her biological family thought she was a jinx, but her teachers and friends really believed in her and her magic.

Amanda Ronconi reads the books, too, so I highly recommend listening if you are into audiobooks. 

By Patricia C. Wrede,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Thirteenth Child 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?

Eff was born a thirteenth child. Her twin brother, Lan, is the seventh son of a seventh son. This means he's supposed to possess amazing talent - and she's supposed to bring only bad things to her family and her town. Undeterred, her family moves to the frontier, where her father will be a professor of magic at a school perilously close to the magical divide that separates settlers from the beasts of the wild. With wit and wonder, Patricia Wrede creates an alternative history of westward expansion that will delight fans of both J. K. Rowling and Laura Ingalls…


Book cover of The Wizards of Once: Twice Magic

Ember Mae Author Of A Bane in the Neck

From my list on books with the found family motif.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was a Navy Brat for most of my childhood, moving from place to place every couple of years. It was hard, but my mom somehow always created a community around us of people that I could almost call my aunts and uncles. As an adult, I’ve also found people that I love like family, and created my own little group with my own people. It’s something that I write about in every single book I pen and I’m sure it will continue because I love when people find their people. It’s my favorite. 

Ember's book list on books with the found family motif

Ember Mae Why did Ember love this book?

While this book is a middle-grade fantasy, I love it so much.

Two enemy clans working together to save their world from a threat bigger than either of them is great, but when you also make it so that each representative is an outcast, well, it’s that much better. Not only do these kids work together, facing fear and prejudices head-on, but they become their own family, and it’s oh-so magical.

I again recommend the audiobook, as it’s narrated by the great David Tennant (Barty Crouch Jr., Tenth Doctor on Doctor Who, and Crowley on Good Omens), so it is fantastic. 

By Cressida Cowell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Wizards of Once as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

The No.1 bestselling series from current Waterstones Children's Laureate and author of How To Train Your Dragon, Cressida Cowell. Enter a land of wizards, warriors, mythical creatures and powerful Magic in an exciting fantasy adventure.

Witches are creating havoc in the Wildwoods and danger lurks behind every tree trunk.

Wish is in possession of a powerful, Magic Spelling Book; Xar has a dangerous Witchstain on his hand. Together they can save the Wildwoods from the curse of the Witches but they are separated by the highest wall imaginable, and time is running out ...

It was unlikely that these heroes…


Book cover of I Only Read Murder

Kate Hilton Author Of Bury the Lead

From my list on amateur detective novels that keep you laughing while they keep you guessing.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve loved murder mysteries since childhood, and during the pandemic–when reading became a challenge–I returned to my first literary love, binging on one mystery series after another. Eventually, I decided to write one with my friend Elizabeth Renzetti. It’s been the most enjoyable writing experience either of us has had. I’ve written three other published novels, and I have a day job as a therapist (I like to think this helps with realistic characterization, but it also pays the bills). I write humor because I like to have fun at work, and I appreciate a good laugh when I’m reading.

Kate's book list on amateur detective novels that keep you laughing while they keep you guessing

Kate Hilton Why did Kate love this book?

I couldn’t help but root for Miranda Abbott, the hilariously self-absorbed heroine of I Only Read Murder. The formerly famous television star of the Pastor Fran crime-fighting series, Miranda’s path to redemption requires her to solve a real-life murder where all the suspects are members of an amateur theatrical society. I Only Read Murder is ridiculously entertaining, a very fun romp that takes full advantage of the cozy mystery tropes we all love. 

By Ian Ferguson, Will Ferguson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked I Only Read Murder as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“Strap in for a hilarious and satisfying ride.” —Terry Fallis, bestselling author of Operation Angus

A once-famous TV sleuth
An amateur theater production
An onstage murder
A town full of suspects…

Miranda Abbott, once known for the crime-solving, karate-chopping church pastor she played on network television, has hit hard times. She’s facing ruin when a mysterious postcard arrives, summoning her to Happy Rock, a small town in the Pacific Northwest. But when she gets there, nothing is what she expected.

In dire straits, she signs up for an amateur production at the Happy Rock Little Theater. On opening night, one…


Book cover of Red Queen

Bruce Borgos Author Of The Bitter Past

From my list on a protagonist who has extraordinary capabilities.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always loved peculiar heroes and heroines. Characters with strange gifts and an equal number of challenges. It started with Sherlock Holmes, whose mind fascinated me. As a child, I gravitated to the unnatural protagonist, Tarzan, in the Edgar Rice Burroughs novels and Bilbo Baggins in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. I was never a big fan of Superman, I preferred people who adapted quickly to new surroundings and could think on their feet. Once I began my writing career, I kept those protagonists in my mind. Four novels in, I do my best to capture their spirit and determination to overcome whatever lands in front of them.

Bruce's book list on a protagonist who has extraordinary capabilities

Bruce Borgos Why did Bruce love this book?

I loved this book because Antonia Scott might just be my favorite protagonist of all time.

She’s literally the most intelligent person in the world, with an I.Q. of over 200. She’s plagued by guilt and awkward social skills, but she has more crime-solving abilities than an entire police force. She’s Sherlock Holmes on steroids, with a hyper-intelligent sense of humor!

By Juan Gomez-Jurado,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Red Queen as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Now an Amazon Prime Original series, Red Queen is the first in Juan Gomez-Jurado's internationally bestselling thriller series, translated by Nick Caistor. Winner of the Cognac Prize 2022 with more than two million copies sold in Spain alone.

Sunday Times - Best Thriller Books of the Year

'A Spanish spin on The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo . . . A female Sherlock Holmes' - The Times

You've never met anyone like her . . .

Antonia Scott is special. Very special. She is not a policewoman or a lawyer. She has never wielded a weapon or carried a badge,…


Book cover of Why Didn't They Ask Evans?

Clare Broyles Author Of In Sunshine or in Shadow

From my list on spunky women in historical mayhem who nevertheless persisted.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been known to read a book a day, and I read widely: all the classics, mystery and suspense, science fiction, future fiction, and fantasy. My favorite novels in any genre take me to a place or time far away. My favorite characters are like hobbits; they are caught up in big adventures but fun to have a beer with and don’t take themselves too seriously. And all the protagonists in the novels I have chosen are women, because women my age have spent enough time reading about men who have adventures. 

Clare's book list on spunky women in historical mayhem who nevertheless persisted

Clare Broyles Why did Clare love this book?

This Agatha Christie doesn’t feature her famous Hercule Poirot or Miss Marple. Instead, it introduces a likable young couple, Bobby and Frankie, who fall into adventure by accident.

This book has the best one-line denouement of all mystery novels. It is a line that will give you chills when you read it. (Or re-read it. This mystery is so good that I have reread it many times in my life, and I get chills each time.)

One question ties the whole mystery together. As a mystery writer, I wish I could find that turning point question for each of my novels. But, alas, Agatha Christie was the queen. 

By Agatha Christie,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Why Didn't They Ask Evans? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When a man plunges down a cliff, two adventurous friends decide to find his killer...

While playing an erratic round of golf, Bobby Jones slices his ball over the edge of a cliff. His ball is lost, but on the rocks below he finds the crumpled body of a dying man. With his final breath the man opens his eyes and says, 'Why didn't they ask Evans?'

Haunted by these words, Bobby and his vivacious companion, Frankie, set out to solve a mystery that will bring them into mortal danger...


Book cover of Design for Dying

Laini Giles Author Of The Forgotten Flapper

From my list on capturing the magic of old Hollywood.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an old movie fan and a novelist who has been writing historical fiction about show business since 2010. As a stickler for detail, I use oodles of old Hollywood biographies and other research sources to learn everything I can about my subjects and weave as accurate a tale as I can. My Forgotten Actresses series is up to four books, with plenty more under construction. 

Laini's book list on capturing the magic of old Hollywood

Laini Giles Why did Laini love this book?

I gotta love any mystery that features costume mistress extraordinaire Edith Head as a detective! 

I love this book for the frothy, fun adventures (and, of course, the clothes!) of the plucky lady investigators, Lillian and Edith. 

Also, I loved meeting Bob Hope, director Preston Sturges, Barbara Stanwyck, and costume designer Travis Banton over the course of the book!

By Renee Patrick,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Design for Dying as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Los Angeles, 1937. Lillian Frost has traded dreams of stardom for security as a department store salesgirl . . . until she discovers she's a suspect in the murder of her former roommate, Ruby Carroll. Party girl Ruby died wearing a gown she stole from the wardrobe department at Paramount Pictures, domain of Edith Head.

Edith has yet to win the first of her eight Academy Awards; right now she's barely hanging on to her job, and a scandal is the last thing she needs. To clear Lillian's name and save Edith's career, the two women join forces.

Unraveling the…


Book cover of Bayou Book Thief

Libby Klein Author Of Class Reunions Are Murder

From my list on murder mysteries to make you laugh your butt off.

Why am I passionate about this?

I graduated from Lower Cape May Regional High School in the '80s. My classes revolved mostly around the culinary sciences and theater, with the occasional nap in Chemistry. I write culinary cozy mysteries from my Northern Virginia office while trying to keep my naughty cat off my keyboard. I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease that prevents me from eating gluten without exploding. I now create gluten-free goodies at home and include the recipes in my Cape May-based Poppy McAllister series. Most of my hobbies revolve around eating and travel, and eating while traveling. My secret powers include finding my way to any coffee shop anywhere in the world, even while blindfolded.

Libby's book list on murder mysteries to make you laugh your butt off

Libby Klein Why did Libby love this book?

Twenty-eight-year-old widow Ricki James leaves Los Angeles to start a new life in New Orleans after her showboating actor husband perishes doing a stupid internet stunt. The Big Easy is where she was born and adopted by the NICU nurse who cared for her after Ricki’s teen mother disappeared from the hospital.

Ricki’s dream comes true when she joins the quirky staff of Bon Vee Culinary House Museum, the spectacular former Garden District home of late bon vivant Genevieve “Vee” Charbonnet, the city’s legendary restauranteur. Ricki is excited about turning her avocation—collecting vintage cookbooks—into a vocation by launching the museum’s gift shop, Miss Vee’s Vintage Cookbooks and Kitchenware. Then she discovers that a box of donated vintage cookbooks contains the body of a cantankerous Bon Vee employee who was fired after being exposed as a book thief.

The skills Ricki has developed ferreting out hidden vintage treasures come in handy…

By Ellen Byron,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Bayou Book Thief as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A fantastic new cozy mystery series with a vintage flair from USA Today bestselling and Agatha Award–winning author Ellen Byron.

Twenty-eight-year-old widow Ricki James leaves Los Angeles to start a new life in New Orleans after her showboating actor husband perishes doing a stupid internet stunt. The Big Easy is where she was born and adopted by the NICU nurse who cared for her after Ricki’s teen mother disappeared from the hospital.
 
Ricki’s dream comes true when she joins the quirky staff of Bon Vee Culinary House Museum, the spectacular former Garden District home of late bon vivant Genevieve “Vee”…


Book cover of Class Reunions Are Murder

Paula Charles Author Of Hammers And Homicide

From my list on cozy mysteries with strong family ties.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a cozy mystery writer and reader who loves to suss out family dynamics in the books I’m devouring. My love of genealogy and turning family stories into fiction played a large role while writing my first book, Hammers and Homicide. Wherever my husband and I travel, we search for ancestors in ancient cemeteries and try to find out more about their stories. You’ll find a few of them between the pages of my books. I hope you’ll enjoy these books, all featuring some level of family ties, as much as I did! 

Paula's book list on cozy mysteries with strong family ties

Paula Charles Why did Paula love this book?

I can’t even tell you how much I love Aunt Ginny in Libby Klein’s Poppy McAllister Mystery series! She is an absolute hoot. While I love the whole series, the first introduction to Aunt Ginny in this book remains my favorite. 

Poppy is newly widowed and a grief-stricken disaster when she receives an invitation to her high school reunion. She heads home to Cape May and her eccentric Great Aunt Ginny’s house. As they do in cozy mysteries, a murder happens, and Poppy and Aunt Ginny are on the case.

Poppy and her aunt’s relationship, paired with Aunt Ginny’s crazy antics, always leaves me wiping tears of mirth out of my eyes. Such a fun read!

By Libby Klein,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Class Reunions Are Murder as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Fans of Jana DeLeon and Joanne Fluke will love Libby Klein! For fortysomething Poppy McAllister, taking a stroll down memory lane in Cape May, New Jersey, isn't just awkward--it's deadly.
 
Newly widowed and stuck in a middle-aged funk, Poppy has been running on cookies, infomercials, and one-sided chats with her cat for months. There's no way on earth she's attending her twenty-five-year class reunion--especially after receiving a very bizarre letter from Barbie, the popular cheerleader who taunted her all through high school. At least, not until Poppy's best friend practically drags her to the event . . .
 
Using the…


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