The travel bug has bitten me again, so it’s now time to go around the world! Except with books, because this is still a book blog and I have SO MANY IDEAS for this. Now, this tag was created by Becca at Becca and Books and I was tagged by Kelly at Stellar Scrutiny maybe about four months ago, but as usual, I’m running late. 😛
Anyway, the rule is simple: choose a few countries and name your favourite book that takes place in that country. Here are my picks!
In this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.
But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.
There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.
An Ember in the Ashes! I’m not super familiar with Rome since I haven’t been there ever, but what’s in this book was pretty exciting to me. The world-building is pretty solid. 🙂
Lush with details from Chinese folklore, SERPENTINE tells the coming of age story of Skybright, a young girl who worries about her growing otherness. As she turns sixteen, Skybright notices troubling changes. By day, she is a companion and handmaid to the youngest daughter of a very wealthy family. But nighttime brings with it a darkness that not even daybreak can quell.
When her plight can no longer be denied, Skybright learns that despite a dark destiny, she must struggle to retain her sense of self – even as she falls in love for the first time. (less)
The blurb promises lush details of Chinese folklore, and I think Serpentine delivers! The fantasy isn’t super mind-blowing, but it’s very interesting, and it feels authentic.
Meet Don Tillman. Don is getting married. He just doesn’t know who to yet. But he has designed a very detailed questionnaire to help him find the perfect woman.
One thing he already knows, though, is that it’s not Rosie. Absolutely, completely, definitely not.
The Rosie Project is one of my favourite books ever and it’s set in Melbourne, which happens to be where I live and my favourite city in the whole world! GET TO IT, PEOPLE. It’s basically a romantic comedy with a male protagonist, which is actually really super rare. I mean, I haven’t read many of those… have you? (By which I mean if you have, please let me know the title because I’m totally down for that book!)
Kell is one of the last Travelers—rare magicians who choose a parallel universe to visit.
Grey London is dirty, boring, lacks magic, ruled by mad King George. Red London is where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London is ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. People fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. Once there was Black London—but no one speaks of that now.
Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell smuggles for those willing to pay for even a glimpse of a world they’ll never see. This dangerous hobby sets him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations.
Honestly, who can resist V. E. Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic? You don’t only get one London here… you get four. And they’re all so amazing and magical in their own special way. ❤
Germania, 1956. Over ten years since the Nazis won the war. 18-year-old Yael is part of the resistance, and she has just one mission: to kill Hitler. But first she’s got to get close enough to him to do it.
Experimented on during her time at Auschwitz, Yael has the unique ability to change her appearance at will. The only part of her which always remains are the five tattooed wolves on her arm; one for each of the people she’s lost. Using her abilities, she must transform into Adele Wolfe, Germany’s most famous female rider and winner of the legendary Axis Tour; an epic long distance motorcycle race from Berlin to Tokyo, where only the strongest (and wiliest) riders survive. If she can win this, she will be able to get close enough to kill the Fuhrer and change history forever.
Technically an alternate, kind of futuristic Germany, but I love Wolf by Wolf so much, I just had to.
Grace Wilde is running—from the multi-million dollar mansion her record producer father bought, the famous older brother who’s topped the country music charts five years in a row, and the mother who blames her for her brother’s breakdown. Grace escapes to the farthest place from home she can think of, a boarding school in Korea, hoping for a fresh start.
She wants nothing to do with music, but when her roommate Sophie’s twin brother Jason turns out to be the newest Korean pop music superstar, Grace is thrust back into the world of fame. She can’t stand Jason, whose celebrity status is only outmatched by his oversized ego, but they form a tenuous alliance for the sake of her friendship with Sophie. As the months go by and Grace adjusts to her new life in Korea, even she can’t deny the sparks flying between her and the KPOP idol.
Now, I actually do not recommend Hello, I Love You, but this book falls so closely into the realm of k-drama that if you can suspend disbelief, it might be right up your alley. It wasn’t my favourite by far — in fact I didn’t really enjoy it — but the main character goes into a boarding school in South Korea and falls in love with a k-pop star. 😛
Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of death and destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father’s kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran’s queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar’s wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire…
But Akaran has its own secrets—thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust?
The setting is strong with The Star-Touched Queen, and Chokshi did a really good job in imagining what a magical India would feel like. Highly recommended if you like retellings too; this one is of Hades and Persephone (and yes, of Greek mythology).
Seventeen-year-old Sahar has been in love with her best friend, Nasrin, since they were six. They’ve shared stolen kisses and romantic promises. But Iran is a dangerous place for two girls in love—Sahar and Nasrin could be beaten, imprisoned, even executed if their relationship came to light.
So they carry on in secret—until Nasrin’s parents announce that they’ve arranged for her marriage. Nasrin tries to persuade Sahar that they can go on as they have been, only now with new comforts provided by the decent, well-to-do doctor Nasrin will marry. Then Sahar discovers what seems like the perfect solution.
If You Could Be Mine is a solid, interesting diverse YA novel. It’s LGBT, set in Iran, and rife with difficult issues.
Naila’s conservative immigrant parents have always said the same thing: She may choose what to study, how to wear her hair, and what to be when she grows up—but they will choose her husband. Following their cultural tradition, they will plan an arranged marriage for her. And until then, dating—even friendship with a boy—is forbidden. When Naila breaks their rule by falling in love with Saif, her parents are livid.
Convinced she has forgotten who she truly is, they travel to Pakistan to visit relatives and explore their roots. But Naila’s vacation turns into a nightmare when she learns that plans have changed—her parents have found her a husband and they want her to marry him, now!
So… Written in the Stars is kind of the Murphy’s Law in YA fiction form. Intense, dramatic, and occasionally over-the-top, this book is all about that moment where things go from bad to worse when you just thought it wasn’t possible. Read it, y’all. There’s an arranged marriage here but it’s not the type that I like. D:
Japanese teenager, Sora, is diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). Lonely and isolated, Sora turns to the ancient wisdom of the samurai for guidance and comfort. But he also finds hope in the present; through the internet he finds friends that see him, not just his illness. This is a story of friendship and acceptance, and testing strength in an uncertain future.
The Last Leaves Falling is a sad, heartbreaking YA novel dealing with loss, grief and acceptance. The setting in this book feels authentic, and the language makes it seem like it’s translated as well–which may (or may not) be a good thing depending on how you look at it. 🙂
- Lauren @ Wonderless Reviews
- Maha @ Younicorn Reads
- Hilary @ Songs Wrote My Story
- Poulami @ Daydreaming Books
- Vivian @ Inked In Pages
- Kourtni @ Kourtni Reads
- Milana @ My Book Diary
- Karla @ Reads and Thoughts
- Izzi @ Ravenclaw Book Club
- Kelly @ Kelly’s Rambles
- Jill @ Rant and Rave About Books
Please feel free to not do the tag if you have or can’t be bothered. I might have gone totally overboard, but this was such a fun tag I couldn’t help myself! Thanks for reading, and happy Sunday! ❤