First off, itâ€™s truly painful to only pick five novels. How on
earth am I supposed to do that? There are so many lovelies out there, and I just want to
snuggle them all. From stories that sparked inspiration for my own work, Kingdom of Exiles, to
just plain amazing conceptsâ€¦ Sheesh. This is so hard! But, as I must follow the rules, Iâ€™ll only
bend them slightly by admitting the following: I feel like Harry Potter is a given. It completely
and totally shaped my childhood, but since thatâ€™s on an echelon all its own, Iâ€™ll go ahead and
pick my top five fantasy novels to date (in no particular order) that get shelved next to JK
Rowling for me.
Okay, ripping the band-aid off in 3â€¦2â€¦1â€¦
- A Court of
Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Mass
Okay, so that really should say, A Court of Mist and Fury
, but as thatâ€™s the second book in the series, youâ€™ll have to start with ACOTR. Now,
thatâ€™s not to say ACOTR isnâ€™t amazing. I canâ€™t remember if I devoured this story in one sitting
or not, but I do recall my husband trying to talk to me, and me consequently sequestering
myself in another room just to get away from potential conversation (sorry, hon). Seriously,
Feyre and Rhysand are life. I love the world Sarah created, from the magic down to the unique
territories and characters. I love how initially I was a Tamlin fan, and then she expertly turned
that on its head and made me fall in love all over again with Rhysand. I reread this series all the
time, especially when Iâ€™m in a funk with the romance between my own characters.
- A Promise of
Fire by Amanda Bouchet
Everything about this book (and the entire series) makes my
heart swoon. This is the first book I remember picking up that was specifically categorized as
â€śfantasy romance,â€ť and it made me realize that my stories had a place out there. Cat and
Griffin are fantastic. Sheâ€™s feisty and has a mind of her own, which I love, and heâ€™s an alpha
male to his core. They complement each other so well, and I particularly love how their
relationship develops throughout the series. I canâ€™t get enough of these two (and the entire
cast, for that matter). This is another one Iâ€™ll reread basically at the drop of a hat.
- Song of Blood and Stone by L. Penelope
This fantasy romance is a recent find for me, and I could not
be happier to have picked up this amazing story. Iâ€™ll be the first person to admit that anything
other than long-form writing isnâ€™t a strong suit for me. So to see how Leslie expertly wove in
fables? Be still my beating heart. I love the lore she created and the beautiful worldbuilding.
And the characters? Pfff. To die for. I particularly love how Jasminda grew into this awesome
heroine. She rises above her own internal conflicts to embrace who she is, and itâ€™s just so
lovely. And if Jack wants to make me the queen of his kingdom, you wonâ€™t find me
- Six of
Crows by Leigh Bardugo
The moment I met Kaz and Inej, I was hooked. Kaz is
everything I want in a hero: cunning, intelligent, unique. His quirks are what make him so
compelling, and Inej is just a total badass. When she tells Kaz what she wants, all or nothing, I
got chills. Thatâ€™s the kind of female character I can get behind. Not to mention, the entire cast
is so wonderfully developed that I believed in every single sequence of eventsâ€”the way they
interacted, the choices they made. Plus, the heist plot? Letâ€™s just say it sparked my drive to
write a heist novel of my own, and that may or may not be a work-in-progress as we speak. I
plead the fifth.
- The Wicked King by Holly Black
Okay, so I broke my rule â€“ I went with the second book here
instead of the first, The Cruel Prince.
Probably because I read them both back to back in the span
of a few days, so to me, theyâ€™re like one giant story. And let me tell youâ€¦ I have never, in my
entire life, been more enraged in the best kind of way at the ending of The Wicked King
Why? Because Holly Black is just a phenomenal writer, and the cliffhanger is so delicious I
canâ€™t even stand it. The Queen of
cannot get here soon enough, because
I NEED to know how Jude and Cardan resolve their massive issues. While the romance in this
one isnâ€™t the driving plot, I absolutely love how it plays into their conflicts, and I will forever
aspire to create a situation as masterful as this one.
So, there you have it! Those are my current top five fantasy
novels. In case it wasnâ€™t obvious, a dash of romance is a plus for me. These authors are all so
inspiring to me, and in some way or another, theyâ€™ve all influenced my writing career. I can only
hope theyâ€™d enjoy Kingdom of Exiles
as much as Iâ€™ve enjoyed their work! Â
The Beast Charmer #1
Fantastic Beasts meets Assassinâ€™s Creed in this epic,
gripping fantasy romance from debut author Maxym M. Martineau
Exiled beast charmer Leena Edenfrell is in deep trouble. Empty pockets forced her to sell her
beloved magical beasts on the black marketâ€”an offense punishable by deathâ€”and now
there's a price on her head. With the realm's most talented murderer-for-hire nipping at her
heels, Leena makes him an offer he can't refuse: powerful mythical creatures in exchange for
If only it were that simple. Unbeknownst to Leena, the undying ones are bound by magic to
complete their contracts, and Noc cannot risk his brotherhood of assassins...not even to save
the woman he can no longer live without.
Romance Paranormal | Fantasy [Sourcebooks Casablanca, On Sale:
June 25, 2019, Mass Market Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9781492689386 / eISBN:
characters, creative world-building, and a plot that is literally to die for...
Maxym M. Martineau
is a staff writer and editor by day, and a fantasy romance author
by night. When sheâ€™s not getting heated over broken hearts, she enjoys playing video games,
sipping a well-made margarita, binge-watching television shows, competing in just about any
sport, and of course, reading.
Following her passion, Maxym earned her bachelorâ€™s degree in English Literature from Arizona
State University. Sheâ€™s a member of Romance Writers of America, and currently lives in
Arizona with her husband and their dogs.
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