fantasy literature

Back when I was a studying biology, I noticed that a lot of anatomical terms sound like they come straight from Middle Earth. So, to celebrate the release of the last Hobbit film, I’ve created this INCREDIBLY nerdy quiz.

Do these words and phrases refer to parts of the human body, or reference people and places from J. R. R. Tolkien’s work?

  1. Antrum of Highmore
  2. Crypt of Morgagni
  3. Caves of Androth
  4. Lobelia
  5. Loop of Henle
  6. Scapha
  7. Great Vein of Galen
  8. Halls of Mandos
  9. Groin
  10. Gap of Calenardhon
  11. Macewen’s Triangle
  12. Canal of Schlemm
  13. Gerontius
  14. Islets of Langerhans
  15. Meckel’s Cave
  16. Chamber of Mazarbul

You shall not pass.

The female authors aren’t hiding...

Why is this still a thing? I just saw yet another article trying to recommend a few female authors as though they’re some rare species. The suggestions turned out to be just as boring as every other list: Rowling, Austen, Rowling, Bronte, Rowling.

I don’t know why people keep struggling to come up with 5 amazing female authors (or even making these lists. Like whyyy). So let me now walk over to my bookshelf and rattle off some names of my favorite modern female authors… (also, enjoy my attempt to break my endless “YA fantasy” books into groups). 

If you’re searching for that super elusive book written by a woman, try:


  • Veronica Roth
  • Lauren Oliver
  • Kristin Cashore
  • Veronica Rossi
  • Beth Revis
  • Marie Lu
  • Tahereh Mafi
  • Suzanne Collins
  • Susan Ee
  • Suzanne Young
  • Jennifer Wilson
  • Amy Engel


  • Samantha Shannon
  • Evelyn Skye
  • A.C. Gaughen
  • Jessica Khoury
  • Alwyn Hamilton
  • Marissa Meyer
  • Heidi Heilig
  • Libba Bray
  • Leslye Walton
  • Janet Lee Carey
  • Jennifer McGowan
  • Diana Peterfreund
  • JK Rowling
  • Janet B. Taylor
  • Laini Taylor
  • Robin LaFevers
  • Erin Morgenstern
  • Kendare Blake
  • Amie Kaufman
  • Kerstin Gier
  • Kiersten White
  • Melanie Dickerson
  • Melissa Landers
  • KM Shea
  • Alison Goodman
  • Elizabeth May
  • Kiera Cass
  • Renee Ahdieh
  • Marion Zimmer Bradley
  • Alexandra Bracken
  • Romina Russell
  • Deborah Harkness
  • Diana Gabaldon
  • Madeline Miller
  • Julie Eshbaugh

High Fantasy

  • Sarah J Maas
  • Maria V. Snyder
  • Mary E. Pearson
  • Sara B. Larson
  • Jennifer A. Nielsen
  • Shannon Hale
  • Stephanie Garber
  • Diana Wynne Jones
  • Stacey Jay
  • Erin Summerill
  • Leigh Barudgo
  • Hannah West
  • Sabaa Tahir
  • Victoria Aveyard
  • Rosamund Hodge
  • Melina Marchetta
  • Rae Carson
  • Naomi Novik
  • Susan Dennard
  • Wendy Higgins
  • V.E. Schwab
  • Gail Carson Levine
  • CJ Redwine
  • Katherine Roberts
  • Sara Raasch
  • Erika Johansen
  • Rachel Hartman
  • Juliet Marillier
  • Livia Blackburne
  • Sophie Jordan
  • Tamora Pierce
  • Sandra Waugh
  • Marie Rutkoski
  • Elise Kova
  • Angie Sage
  • Amy Tintera
  • Sarah Fine
  • Jodi Meadows
  • Cinda Williams Chima
  • Morgan Rhodes
  • Sherry Thomas
  • Danielle L. Jensen
  • Colleen Oakes
  • Melissa Grey
  • Sarah Ahiers
  • Lori M. Lee
  • Roshani Chokshi

Modern Fantasy

  • Cassandra Clare
  • Rachel Hawkins
  • Stephanie Meyer
  • Jennifer L. Armentrout
  • Kami Garcia
  • Claudia Gray
  • Julie Kagawa
  • Maggie Stiefvater
  • Kaitlin Bevis
  • Aimee Carter
  • Holly Black
  • Cynthia Hand
  • Richelle Mead
  • Temple West
  • Alex Flinn
  • Kresley Cole
  • Josephine Angelini
  • Lisa Maxwell
  • Zoraida Cordova


  • Rainbow Rowell
  • Jenny Han
  • Morgan Matson
  • Sarah Dessen
  • Kasie West
  • Jennifer Longo
  • Anna Breslaw
  • Sonya Mukherjee
  • Huntley Fitzpatrick
  • Melissa Keil
  • Brodi Ashton
  • Jennifer Niven
  • Katherine Catmull
  • Miranda Kenneally
  • Eileen Cook
  • Sandy Hall
  • Jenn Marie Thorne
  • Sarah Strohmeyer
  • Stephanie Perkins
  • Danika Stone
  • Elizabeth Eulberg
  • Jandy Nelson
  • Carolyn Mackler
  • Ali Novak
  • Ann Brashares
  • Tamara Ireland Stone
  • Gwenda Bond
  • Stacey Lee
  • Nina LaCour

(Sorry to Leigh Bird Dog and anyone else whose name autocorrect couldn’t deal with if I didn’t catch it).

These are just the books I happened to glance at, so feel free to add! And then maybe this can stop being a thing…

YA Fairy Tale Retellings

I’ve had several people ask for some YA retelling book recommendations, so here are a few of each! I marked my favorites with an asterisk:


Snow White

Beauty & the Beast

Sleeping Beauty


The Twelve Dancing Princesses

Peter Pan

Aladdin/1,001 Nights

Red Riding Hood

Hansel & Gretel: Sweetly by Jackson Pearce

The Little Mermaid: Mermaid by Carolyn Turgeon

The Frog Prince: 

Rumpelstiltskin: A Curse Dark as Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce

The Snow Queen

Perhaps the greatest faculty our minds possess is the ability to cope with pain. Classic thinking teaches us of the four doors of the mind, which everyone moves through according to their need.

First is the door of sleep. Sleep offers us a retreat from the world and all its pain. Sleep marks passing time, giving us distance from the things that have hurt us. When a person is wounded they will often fall unconscious. Similarly, someone who hears traumatic news will often swoon or faint. This is the mind’s way of protecting itself from pain by stepping through the first door.

Second is the door of forgetting. Some wounds are too deep to heal, or too deep to heal quickly. In addition, many memories are simply painful, and there is no healing to be done. The saying ‘time heals all wounds’ is false. Time heals most wounds. The rest are hidden behind this door.

Third is the door of madness. There are times when the mind is dealt such a blow it hides itself in insanity. While this may not seem beneficial, it is. There are times when reality is nothing but pain, and to escape that pain the mind must leave reality behind.

Last is the door of death. The final resort. Nothing can hurt us after we are dead, or so we have been told.


We might have mentioned before how much we love science fiction, and the fact that this year’s summer reading theme is Science. Actually: Science!! It needs an exclamation point. 

So, we’ve put together a really, really, incredibly huge booklist (working title? The Hive) for fans of science and fantasy fiction - and we added a little something extra, since, if you’re anything like us, when you love reading a genre, you love to watch films and shows, and play video games, in that same genre. 

And if you’re playing Reading Bingo this summer with us for Summer Reading - or if you’re planning to take part in our Summer Fling (With a Book)! matchmaking program - then these books will definitely see you through summer and beyond!

Personally, if I were going to write a romantic fantasy setting, I’d do an end-run around the cognitive dissonance between “progressive politics!” and “yay monarchy!” by supposing that the nation in question underwent a semi-peaceful transition to elected leaders and simply retained the old titles and their associated pomp, converting them into elected positions.

So you’d still have barons and counts (and the occasional marquis for flavour), and they’d still have fancy robes and palatial estates and whatnot, but it’d all be based on popular elections - something like the Canadian parliamentary system, say: five year terms, no term limits, and a single national election covering all titled positions at the end of each term, with each individual domain’s subjects voting for their own local ruler.

The elected nobles would then form a national legislative body, and nominate a king or queen from among their own number. The monarch would wield supreme executive power, but have no particular legislative authority (save for their single vote by virtue of their elected rank, of course).

Dukes/duchesses and princes/princesses, meanwhile, would have no relation to parentage, but would be the titles given to the heads of various government ministries appointed by the monarch. The rules for whether any given ministry has a prince/princess or a duke/duchess at its head would be arcane and deeply rooted in historical precedent; they’d all have fancy pseudo-Latin monikers, of course, but in plain English it’d be totally possible to be appointed as, say, the Prince of Public Sanitation. (It’s more prestigious than you’d think!)

A noble who retired or was voted out (or dismissed by the monarch, in the case of princesses et al.) would retain the generic title of Lord or Lady So-and-so; the title would carry no particular authority, but a certain amount of social cachet. The spouses of current and former elected nobles would likewise be styled Lord or Lady, but their children would not be.

And finally, in keeping with romantic fantasy’s recurring theme of magical contrivances rendering implausible forms of government feasible, the votes for each national election would be collected and tallied by an armada of incorruptible enchanted woodland creatures, thus ensuring that no fraud or overt manipulation can ever take place.