If you hadn’t heard, I am co-hosting a readathon in June called Once Upon a Readathon: Treasure Island Edition! I am co-captain of Team Djinn, so you are going to see a lot of djinn-related books on my tbr, which is great because I have realized I have never been let down by a djinn book. This readathon is really conducive to mood reading. You get 100 points for just reading a book and there are ways to get bonus points for your team, such as by reading a book that features your team mascot, reading a book by a BIPOC or LGBTQIA+ author, and/or reading a book with a water setting. You can also attack other teams by reading books that feature their mascot! So I am hoping to read books that fit a bunch of those categories in June. I know I will not get to all of these so I am thinking of this more as June hopefuls!
The City of Brass
Nahri has never believed in magic. Certainly, she has power; on the streets of 18th century Cairo, she’s a con woman of unsurpassed talent. But she knows better than anyone that the trade she uses to get by—palm readings, zars, healings—are all tricks, sleights of hand, learned skills; a means to the delightful end of swindling Ottoman nobles.
But when Nahri accidentally summons an equally sly, darkly mysterious djinn warrior to her side during one of her cons, she’s forced to accept that the magical world she thought only existed in childhood stories is real. For the warrior tells her a new tale: across hot, windswept sands teeming with creatures of fire, and rivers where the mythical marid sleep; past ruins of once-magnificent human metropolises, and mountains where the circling hawks are not what they seem, lies Daevabad, the legendary city of brass, a city to which Nahri is irrevocably bound.
In that city, behind gilded brass walls laced with enchantments, behind the six gates of the six djinn tribes, old resentments are simmering. And when Nahri decides to enter this world, she learns that true power is fierce and brutal. That magic cannot shield her from the dangerous web of court politics. That even the cleverest of schemes can have deadly consequences.
After all, there is a reason they say be careful what you wish for…
The City of Brass has been on my radar for years and I recently bought a copy, so I am thrilled to have an excuse to read it! I have been catching up on series lately, so I don’t feel too bad about starting some new ones. I will say that I soft DNFed The Adventures of Amina al-Sirafi but I have been told that this series is quite different. For all the hype this book gets, I know so little about it! The City of Brass is also on Kindle Unlimited if you are interested, which is something I just discovered.
The Stardust Thief
Neither here nor there, but long ago…
Loulie al-Nazari is the Midnight Merchant: a criminal who, with the help of her jinn bodyguard, hunts and sells illegal magic. When she saves the life of a cowardly prince, she draws the attention of his powerful father, the sultan, who blackmails her into finding an ancient lamp that has the power to revive the barren land—at the cost of sacrificing all jinn.
With no choice but to obey or be executed, Loulie journeys with the sultan’s oldest son to find the artifact. Aided by her bodyguard, who has secrets of his own, they must survive ghoul attacks, outwit a vengeful jinn queen, and confront a malicious killer from Loulie’s past. And, in a world where story is reality and illusion is truth, Loulie will discover that everything—her enemy, her magic, even her own past—is not what it seems, and she must decide who she will become in this new reality.
Inspired by stories from One Thousand and One Nights, The Stardust Thief weaves the gripping tale of a legendary smuggler, a cowardly prince, and a dangerous quest across the desert to find a legendary, magical lamp.
I have a stunning edition of The Stardust Thief from Fairyloot that I have been meaning to read for ages! I have been wanting to read more books with desert settings, so this is perfect. I love the idea of a One Thousand and One Nights retelling and I am always here for a magic lamp.
The first book in an epic fantasy series for fans of Sabaa Tahir, Hafsah Faizal and Elizabeth Lim, set in an Arabian-inspired land. Raised to protect her nation from the monsters lurking in the sands, seventeen-year-old Imani must fight to find her brother whose betrayal is now their greatest threat.
In the hidden desert city of Qalia, secret spice magic awakens affinities in those who drink the misra tea. With an affinity for iron, seventeen-year-old Imani wields a dagger like no other warrior, garnering her the reputation as the next greatest Shield for battling the dangerous djinn, ghouls, and other monsters that lurk in the sands beyond city limits.
Her reputation has been overshadowed, however, by her brother who tarnished the family name after he was discovered stealing their nation’s coveted spice – a tell-tale sign of magical obsession. He disappeared soon after, believed to have died beyond the Forbidden Wastes, and leaving Imani reeling with both betrayal and grief.
But when Imani uncovers evidence her brother may be alive and spreading their nation’s magic beyond the desert, she strikes a deal with the Council to find him and bring him back to Qalia before he can reveal the city’s location. Accompanied by Qayn, a roguish but handsome djinni, and Taha, a powerful beastseer whose magical talents are matched only by his arrogance, they set out on their mission.
Imani will soon discover there are many secrets that lie beyond the Forbidden Wastes – and in her own heart – but will she find her brother before his betrayals endanger the fate of all of Qalia?
In this epic and action-packed fantasy, one young heroine navigates the treacherous road between protecting the ones you love and staying loyal to the place you call home.
Fairyloot is pulling through with all of the stunning editions of djinn books that my heart could desire! I think the edition I have of Spice Road is the prettiest book I own and I am so excited to read it. This is YA, so I am hoping that it will read quickly and I am so intrigued by the magic system and the use of spices.
This Woven Kingdom
Clashing empires, forbidden romance, and a long-forgotten queen destined to save her people—bestselling author Tahereh Mafi’s first in an epic, romantic trilogy inspired by Persian mythology.
To all the world, Alizeh is a disposable servant, not the long-lost heir to an ancient Jinn kingdom forced to hide in plain sight.
The crown prince, Kamran, has heard the prophecies foretelling the death of his king. But he could never have imagined that the servant girl with the strange eyes, the girl he can’t put out of his mind, would one day soon uproot his kingdom—and the world.
Perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo, Tomi Adeyemi, and Sabaa Tahir, this is the explosive first book in a new fantasy trilogy from the New York Times bestselling and National Book Award-nominated author Tahereh Mafi.
This Woven Kingdom is another YA fantasy and I believe it leans towards fantasy romance. The main character is the long-lost heir to a jinn kingdom and I just love the sound of that! This series gets a lot of love, so I hope I can get to it.
The Djinn Falls in Love and Other Stories
A fascinating collection of new and classic tales of the fearsome Djinn, from bestselling, award-winning and breakthrough international writers.
Imagine a world filled with fierce, fiery beings, hiding in our shadows, in our dreams, under our skins. Eavesdropping and exploring; savaging our bodies, saving our souls. They are monsters, saviours, victims, childhood friends.
Some have called them genies: these are the Djinn. And they are everywhere. On street corners, behind the wheel of a taxi, in the chorus, between the pages of books. Every language has a word for them. Every culture knows their traditions. Every religion, every history has them hiding in their dark places. There is no part of the world that does not know them.
They are the Djinn. They are among us.
With stories from: Nnedi Okorafor, Neil Gaiman, Helene Wecker, Amal El-Mohtar, Catherine King, Claire North, E.J. Swift, Hermes (trans. Robin Moger), Jamal Mahjoub, James Smythe, J.Y. Yang, Kamila Shamsie, Kirsty Logan, K.J. Parker, Kuzhali Manickavel, Maria Dahvana Headley, Monica Byrne, Saad Hossein, Sami Shah, Sophia Al-Maria and Usman Malik.
I thought that it would be fun to read an anthology that features djinn! The Djinn Falls in Love is perfect for that and it features some authors I absolutely adore, including Helene Wecker who wrote my favourite djinn novel- The Golem and the Jinni.
A Dead Djinn in Cairo
Egypt, 1912. In an alternate Cairo infused with the otherworldly, the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities investigate disturbances between the mortal and the (possibly) divine. What starts off as an odd suicide case for Special Investigator Fatma el-Sha’arawi leads her through the city’s underbelly as she encounters rampaging ghouls, saucy assassins, clockwork angels, and plot that could unravel time itself.
A Dead Djinn in Cairo is the first novelette in D. Djeli Clark’s Dead Djinn Universe! It is under 50 pages, which is nice because so many of the djinn books on my TBR are around 500 pages so I will need some shorter reads. I have had my eye on this series for a while and I finally read my first book from Clark a couple of months ago and cannot wait to read more!
The Haunting of Tram Car 015
The Haunting of Tram Car 015 returns to the alternate Cairo of Clark’s short fiction, where humans live and work alongside otherworldly beings; the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities handles the issues that can arise between the magical and the mundane. Senior Agent Hamed al-Nasr shows his new partner Agent Onsi the ropes of investigation when they are called to subdue a dangerous, possessed tram car. What starts off as a simple matter of exorcism, however, becomes more complicated as the origins of the demon inside are revealed.
The Haunting of Tram Car 015 is the next story in the Dead Djinn Universe and this one is novella length! I am not sure I will get to the full length novel in the series in June, but I am looking forward to dipping my toe into the world.
Meet Me at the Lake
Fern Brookbanks has wasted far too much of her adult life thinking about Will Baxter. She spent just twenty-four hours in her early twenties with the aggravatingly attractive, idealistic artist, a chance encounter that spiraled into a daylong adventure in Toronto. The timing was wrong, but their connection was undeniable: they shared every secret, every dream, and made a pact to meet one year later. Fern showed up. Will didn’t.
At thirty-two, Fern’s life doesn’t look at all how she once imagined it would. Instead of living in the city, Fern’s back home, running her mother’s Muskoka lakeside resort–something she vowed never to do. The place is in disarray, her ex-boyfriend’s the manager, and Fern doesn’t know where to begin.
She needs a plan–a lifeline. To her surprise, it comes in the form of Will, who arrives nine years too late, with a suitcase in tow and an offer to help on his lips. Will may be the only person who understands what Fern’s going through. But how could she possibly trust this expensive-suit wearing mirage who seems nothing like the young man she met all those years ago. Will is hiding something, and Fern’s not sure she wants to know what it is.
But ten years ago, Will Baxter rescued Fern. Can she do the same for him?
Meet Me at the Lake was released in May but I have been saving it for June because it is perfect for the readathon and I know I will get through it quickly. There is something so nostalgic about Carley Fortune’s romances and they feel so true to what summer is like in Canada. I will say I have seen mixed things but the same was true for Every Summer After and I thought that was a messy good time.
That Summer Feeling
Turns out you’re never too old for a summer camp romance. Or a change of heart. When a divorced woman attends a sleepaway camp for adults only, she reconnects with a man from her past–only to catch feelings for his sister instead.
Garland Moore used to believe in magic, the power of optimism, and signs from the universe. Then her husband surprised her with divorce papers over Valentine’s Day dinner. Now Garland isn’t sure what to believe anymore, except that she’s clearly never meant to love again. When new friends invite her to spend a week at their reopened sleepaway camp, she and her sister decide it’s an opportunity to enjoy the kind of summer getaway they never had as kids. If Garland still believed in signs, this would sure seem like one. Summer camp is a chance to let go of her past and start fresh.
Nestled into the picturesque Blue Ridge Mountains, Camp Carl Cove provides the exact escape Garland always dreamed of, until she runs into Mason–the man she had a premonition about after one brief meeting years ago. No matter how she tries to run, the universe appears determined to bring love back into Garland’s life. She even ends up rooming with Mason’s sister Stevie, a vibrant former park ranger who is as charming as she is competitive. The more time Garland spends with Stevie, the more the signs confuse her. The stars are aligning in a way Garland never could have predicted.
Amid camp tournaments and moonlit dances, Garland continues to be pulled toward the beautiful blonde outdoorswoman who makes her laugh and swoon. Summer camp doesn’t last forever, but if Garland can learn to trust her heart, the love she finds there just might.
I am in love with the idea of adult summer camp! That Summer Feeling has the ultimate summer vibes and I am so excited about it. It is also sapphic and I have heard it has strong found family vibes. I am just hoping for all of the sweet summer camp moments you might expect to find in a YA novel but with adults. So cute!
Harriet and Wyn have been the perfect couple since they met in college—they go together like salt and pepper, honey and tea, lobster and rolls. Except, now—for reasons they’re still not discussing—they don’t.
They broke up six months ago. And still haven’t told their best friends.
Which is how they find themselves sharing the largest bedroom at the Maine cottage that has been their friend group’s yearly getaway for the last decade. Their annual respite from the world, where for one vibrant, blue week they leave behind their daily lives; have copious amounts of cheese, wine, and seafood; and soak up the salty coastal air with the people who understand them most.
Only this year, Harriet and Wyn are lying through their teeth while trying not to notice how desperately they still want each other. Because the cottage is for sale and this is the last week they’ll all have together in this place. They can’t stand to break their friends’ hearts, and so they’ll play their parts. Harriet will be the driven surgical resident who never starts a fight, and Wyn will be the laid-back charmer who never lets the cracks show. It’s a flawless plan (if you look at it from a great distance and through a pair of sunscreen-smeared sunglasses). After years of being in love, how hard can it be to fake it for one week… in front of those who know you best?
A couple who broke up months ago make a pact to pretend to still be together for their annual weeklong vacation with their best friends in this glittering and wise new novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Emily Henry.
I have only read one book by Emily Henry and I didn’t love it, so I was not sure if I would read Happy Place. Then I was given an ALC from Libro.fm and this readathon came up, so I figured why not? I do like fake dating and the fact that it is also a second chance adds a twist. This will determine whether or not Emily Henry is for me!
El Diablo is in the details in this Latinx pirate fantasy starring a transmasculine nonbinary teen with a mission of revenge, redemption, and revolution.
On Mar León-de la Rosa’s 16th birthday, el Diablo comes calling. Mar is a transmasculine nonbinary teen pirate hiding a magical ability to manipulate fire and ice. But their magic isn’t enough to reverse a wicked bargain made by their father and now el Diablo has come to collect his payment: the soul of Mar’s father and the entire crew of their ship.
When Mar is miraculously rescued by the sole remaining pirate crew in the Caribbean, el Diablo returns to give them a choice: give up your soul to save your father by the Harvest Moon or never see him again. The task is impossible–Mar refuses to make a bargain and there’s no way their magic is any match for el Diablo. Then, Mar finds the most unlikely allies: Bas, an infuriatingly arrogant and handsome pirate — and the captain’s son; and Dami, a genderfluid demonio whose motives are never quite clear. For the first time in their life, Mar may have the courage to use their magic. It could be their only redemption — or it could mean certain death.
I had to find a book to attack Team Pirates and I thought that The Wicked Bargain would be perfect! I haven’t had the best luck with pirate stories, but I have a good feeling about this one. The main character is a transmacs nonbinary teen pirate with magical abilities who is on a revenge mission. Yes, please!
When Oceans Rise
Submerged in a toxic relationship and disconnected from everyone, she turns to the sea to decide her fate. Its decision? Toss her to the sea witch.
Seventeen-year-old Malaya is cursed. In her family, every girl’s first love ends in death after falling for someone evil. Good thing Malaya’s dream guy isn’t monstrous.
Except the curse is real and preventing Malaya from noticing how much he has gaslit and isolated her until she can’t be saved. With no other options, the sea witch is the only one to help her. Bartering her voice for a new life where she and her abusive boyfriend never met, Malaya accidentally swaps places with an alternate timeline version of herself who didn’t make her mistakes. As she tries to undo the switch, the sea witch uses Malaya’s voice to unleash Filipino mythological creatures into the worlds.
Can a champion, an alternate timeline sister, and Malaya fight these beasts and stop the sea witch before she destroys both timelines?
I know a lot of us will be watching the new live action Little Mermaid in June and I will be looking for retellings, so When Oceans Rise looks perfect for that! I am intrigued by the fact that this is a Filipino take on the tale and I cannot wait to meet Robin Alvarez’s version of the sea witch.
The Mermaid, The Witch, and the Sea
A desperate orphan turned pirate and a rebellious imperial daughter find a connection on the high seas in a world divided by colonialism and threaded with magic.
Aboard the pirate ship Dove, Flora the girl takes on the identity of Florian the man to earn the respect and protection of the crew. For Flora, former starving urchin, the brutal life of a pirate is about survival: don’t trust, don’t stick out, and don’t feel. But on this voyage, as the pirates prepare to sell their unsuspecting passengers into slavery, Flora is drawn to the Lady Evelyn Hasegawa, who is en route to a dreaded arranged marriage with her own casket in tow. Flora doesn’t expect to be taken under Evelyn’s wing, and Evelyn doesn’t expect to find such a deep bond with the pirate Florian.
Soon the unlikely pair set in motion a wild escape that will free a captured mermaid (coveted for her blood, which causes men to have visions and lose memories) and involve the mysterious Pirate Supreme, an opportunistic witch, and the all-encompassing Sea itself.
There are both pirates and mermaids in The Mermaid, the Witch and the Sea, so I will be able to attachk two teams at once! I have heard that this almost reads like a fairytale, which is something I am always looking for.
The Salt Grows Heavy
From USA Today bestselling author Cassandra Khaw comes The Salt Grows Heavy, a razor-sharp and bewitching fairytale of discovering the darkness in the world, and the darkness within oneself.
You may think you know how the fairytale goes: a mermaid comes to shore and weds the prince. But what the fables forget is that mermaids have teeth. And now, her daughters have devoured the kingdom and burned it to ashes.
On the run, the mermaid is joined by a mysterious plague doctor with a darkness of their own. Deep in the eerie, snow-crusted forest, the pair stumble upon a village of ageless children who thirst for blood, and the three ‘saints’ who control them.
The mermaid and her doctor must embrace the cruellest parts of their true nature if they hope to survive.
Ever since I read Into the Drowning Deep, killer mermaids are all I want to read about! The Salt Grows Heavy sounds like something I will love and it is just over 100 pages. I have heard it is super grotesque and that is what I am looking for!
In the vein of The Pisces and The Vegetarian, Chlorine is a debut novel that blurs the line between a literary coming-of-age narrative and a dark unsettling horror tale, told from an adult perspective on the trials and tribulations of growing up in a society that puts pressure on young women and their bodies… a powerful, relevant novel of immigration, sapphic longing, and fierce, defiant becoming.
Ren Yu is a swimmer. Her daily life starts and ends with the pool. Her teammates are her only friends. Her coach, her guiding light. If she swims well enough, she will be scouted, get a scholarship, go to a good school. Her parents will love her. Her coach will be kind to her. She will have a good life.
But these are human concerns. These are the concerns of those confined to land, those with legs. Ren grew up on stories of creatures of the deep, of the oceans and the rivers. Ones that called sailors to their doom. Ones that dragged them down and drowned them. Ones that feasted on their flesh. Ones of the creature that she’s always longed to become: mermaid.
Ren aches to be in the water. She dreams of the scent of chlorine–the feel of it on her skin. And she will do anything she can to make a life for herself where she can be free. No matter the pain. No matter what anyone else thinks. No matter how much blood she has to spill.
I am here for all of the mermaid horrors we have been getting lately! Chlorine seems to lean more toward literary and I think it is going to be on the quieter side but I am so intrigued.
No light. No air. No escape.
Hundreds of feet beneath the ocean’s surface, a graveyard waits…
Years ago, the SS Arcadia vanished without a trace during a routine voyage. Though a strange, garbled emergency message was broadcast, neither the ship nor any of its crew could be found. Sixty years later, its wreck has finally been discovered more than three hundred miles from its intended course…a silent graveyard deep beneath the ocean’s surface, eagerly waiting for the first sign of life.
Cove and her dive team have been granted permission to explore the Arcadia’s rusting hull. Their purpose is straightforward: examine the wreck, film everything, and, if possible, uncover how and why the supposedly unsinkable ship vanished.
But the Arcadia has not yet had its fill of death, and something dark and hungry watches from below. With limited oxygen and the ship slowly closing in around them, Cove and her team will have to fight their way free of the unspeakable horror now desperate to claim them.
Because once they’re trapped beneath the ocean’s waves, there’s no going back.
I have read one other book by Darcy Coates and liked it but didn’t love it, but I still have a good feeling about her and that I will find some gems in her backlist. I think From Below has the potential to become a favourite horror because I am so into the idea of underwater horror and I have been told by a few people they think I will love this one!
Lying in the Deep
A juicy mystery of jealousy, love, and betrayal set on a Semester at Sea-inspired cruise ship, with a diverse cast of delightfully suspicious characters who’ll leave you guessing with every jaw-dropping twist.
After being jilted by her ex-boyfriend and best friend, Jade couldn’t be more ready to embark on the adventure of a lifetime—11 countries in 4 months, all from the luxurious Campus on Board ship—and to wedge an entire globe between her and the people who broke her heart.
But when Jade discovers the backstabbing couple are also setting sail, her obsession with them grows and festers, leading to a shocking murder. And as their friends begin to drop like flies, Jade and her new crush must race to clear her name and find the killer they’re trapped at sea with….before anyone else winds up in body bags.
I have been saving Lying in the Deep to read during this readathon. I am now realizing that I did this with a lot of books which has made my TBR for June way too big but here we are. This sounds like a bit of a slasher novel set on the sea and that is all I want to read right now!
When Lana and her father return to their seaside hometown to help clear the debris of a storm, the last thing she expects is to discover a colony of Aquicorns—magical seahorse-like residents of the coral reef. As she explores the damaged town and the fabled undersea palace, Lana learns that while she cannot always count on adults to be the guardians she needs, she herself is capable of finding the strength to protect both the ocean, and her own happiness.
It wouldn’t be a readathon without a graphic novel and how perfect does Aquicorn look? It is so cute and the fact that it is on Kindle Unlimited is a bonus.
There are also a ton of buddy reads happening on the Discord that I am tempted by, so maybe I will get to a couple of those as well. I know that this is a lot, I am just so excited!