Everybody in this fast-paced, anxious world occasionally needs a break. Escapist fiction helps reset our brain, giving us a chance to process the stress of the world and to come back ready to fight. I know it helps my anxious brain. These seven escapist science fiction and fantasy books are some of my favorites to hand-sell at Oblong Books & Music in Rhinebeck, NY. They’ll bring you genuine joy among the chaos.
Hidden in New York City is a magical world and a competition that can reshape the universe. The only problem? Magic is fading . . . except in Sydney, a woman new to the game, and determined to win. A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC meets THE MAGICIANS in this incredible fantasy. Women who literally claw their way out of the shadows are my jam—I was fascinated from start to finish!
“A remarkable writer.” —Neil Gaiman, bestselling author of American Gods
An Alex Award Winner
There is a dark secret that is hiding at the heart of New York City and diminishing the city’s magicians’ power in this fantasy thriller by acclaimed author Kat Howard.
In New York City, magic controls everything. But the power of magic is fading. No one knows what is happening, except for Sydney—a new, rare magician with incredible power that has been unmatched in decades, and she may be the only person who is able to stop the darkness that is weakening the magic. But Sydney doesn’t want to help the system, she wants to destroy it.
Sydney comes from the House of Shadows, which controls the magic with the help of sacrifices from magicians.
Alexia Tarabotti is a soulless spinster—literally. After accidentally killing a vampire with her preternatural abilities, she gets roped into an investigation spearheaded by Lord Maccon. He’s a frustrating, messy, gorgeous werewolf . . . and he has no idea why vampires are on the loose in London. Can they figure out what’s going on before she loses yet another plate of treacle tart? This steampunk paranormal romance is an absolute riot—a hilarious, clever adventure that will please both romance readers and fantasy fans.
Isobel is an expert painter, beloved by the fey folk for her Craft—but when she paints mortal sorrow into the autumn prince’s eyes, he forces her to stand trial for her crime. But a strange magic is at work in the feylands, and Isobel’s Craft may be the key to saving both the fey folk and her life. I tore through this book, stopping only to squeal excitedly over emotional passages or fret over Isobel’s potential doom. What a delight! (What a debut!) Perfect for both new fans of YA fantasy and those looking to rekindle their love of the genre.
An instant New York Times bestseller!
An Indie Next Top 10 Pick
A Parents’ Choice Silver Honor Winner
“A funny, action-packed, and sweet romance.” —School Library Journal (starred review)
“A phenomenal read.” —RT Book Reviews
A skilled painter must stand up to the ancient power of the faerie courts—even as she falls in love with a faerie prince—in this gorgeous bestseller that’s “an ideal pick for fans of Holly Black, Maggie Stiefvater, and Laini Taylor” (Publishers Weekly, starred review).
Isobel is an artistic prodigy with a dangerous set of clients: the sinister fair folk, immortal creatures who cannot bake bread or put a pen to paper without crumbling to dust. They crave human Craft with a terrible thirst, and Isobel’s paintings are highly prized. But when she receives her first royal patron—Rook, the autumn prince—she makes a terrible mistake. She paints mortal sorrow in his eyes—a weakness that could cost him his life.
Furious, Rook spirits her away to his kingdom to stand trial for her crime. But something is seriously wrong in his world, and they are attacked from every side. With Isobel and Rook depending on each other for survival, their alliance blossoms into trust, then love—and that love violates the fair folks’ ruthless laws. Now both of their lives are forfeit, unless Isobel can use her skill as an artist to fight the fairy courts. Because secretly, her Craft represents a threat the fair folk have never faced in all the millennia of their unchanging lives: for the first time, her portraits have the power to make them feel.
What happens when a by-the-book caseworker investigates a magical orphanage full of children who could, potentially, destroy the world? Chaos, accidents, and—just maybe—a change of mind and heart. THE HOUSE IN THE CERULEAN SEA is a gem of a book. Both heartwarming and delightful, this will bring you genuine joy in a world that can forget the importance of kindness. It’s especially great for fans of Good Omens and Seanan McGuire’s Wayward Children series.
N. K. Jemisin is a sci-fi and fantasy powerhouse, and her short story collection is no exception. Starting with the Hugo-award winning “The City Born Great,” about a street kid interacting with the very soul of New York City, this short story collection takes the ball and runs with it to the finish line. Gorgeous and fun.
Nova Huang loans out spell books at her grandmother’s New England bookstore—and studies from them, too. When she runs into her childhood crush battling a horse demon in the woods, her skill as a witch comes in handy. But can she keep her refound love as dark forces pursue him? If your aesthetic is cottagecore, or if you’re just looking for a sweet magical story to take you away for the afternoon, then MOONCAKES is the graphic novel for you.
"This sweet, spellbinding story will appeal to fans of magic and romance." — School Library Journal (starred review)
A story of love and demons, family and witchcraft. Nova Huang knows more about magic than your average teen witch. She works at her grandmothers’ bookshop, where she helps them loan out spell books and investigate any supernatural occurrences in their New England town. One fateful night, she follows reports of a white wolf into the woods, and she comes across the unexpected: her childhood crush, Tam Lang, battling a horse demon in the woods. As a werewolf, Tam has been wandering from place to place for years, unable to call any townhome. Pursued by dark forces eager to claim the magic of wolves and out of options, Tam turns to Nova for help. Their latent feelings are rekindled against the backdrop of witchcraft, untested magic, occult rituals, and family ties both new and old in this enchanting tale of self-discovery.
Evie knows how to handle the mood swings of Aveda Jupiter, her best friend and San Francisco’s resident demon-fighting superhero. It’s what makes her a great assistant, and she prides herself on her job. But when Aveda becomes injured and talks Evie into pretending to be Aveda, Evie discovers that her own emotions are harder to handle, especially when her own superpowers are stronger than her boss’s. If you want cupcakes possessed by demons, witty superhero banter, a plethora of complicated and beautiful female friendships, and a rather sexy scientist, HEROINE COMPLEX is the right book for you.
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