August TBR: The Royal Readathon Sidekicks Edition

Title in black on white above pictures of the classic non-human disney sidekicks

It’s time for another Royal Readathon, this time inspired by the sidekicks. Hosted by Becca (thebeccafowell) and Liv (Magical book blogger), if you want to find out more about the readathon, click here.

Some of these prompts were really hard, so there’s been a fair bit of manipulating and letting the prompts cover things vaguely similar!


Prompt: A book under 300 pages
Book cover for THE NINTH SORCERESS: title in cartouche below cards in an elaborate swirl

Finding a book under 300 pages here in London was surprisingly hard. I have actually read a lot of books under 300 pages this year, but that’s rather cleared my shelves of them (and all my remaining MG are now just over!) In order to fulfil this prompt, I’ve had to dive onto my kindle for short stories.

THE EIGHTH SORCERESS, by Bonnie Wynne, is the prequel short story to The Price of Magic series (the first book, cover pictured here, is called THE NINTH SORCERESS). I have the first two books sitting on my kindle, mostly bought as cover buys. Hopefully reading the prequel short story should lead to me reading those two books ahead of the release of the third.


Prompt: A book with a dragon
Book cover for THE BATTLE FOR ROAR: title in gold on clouds with dragon above and two kids below

The blurb for THE BATTLE FOR ROAR, by Jenny McLachlan, the third and final book in the Roar series, doesn’t say very much. However, there’s a dragon on the cover, which really ought to imply that there are dragons in the book!

I love this MG series that basically asks “what if the magical realm and imaginary friends that you had as a child were real?” Arthur and Rose find out their magical realm of Roar is very much real, in the first book, when their Grandfather is kidnapped by the villain they’d invented way back, and the series follows their various adventures in Roar.


Prompt: A book with music

As far as I am aware, not a single unread book on my shelves contains a musician main character, or focuses on music. I may well be proved wrong as I read, but right now, I’m not aware of any, so we’re going to side-step this prompt a tad!

If I can recall The Raven Cycle correctly, there was often music being played in the background – particularly when driving. So, let’s hope that CALL DOWN THE HAWK, by Maggie Stiefvater, contains that too to just about let it qualify! I really need to read this book, as it’s now one of the books with the dubious honour of sitting on my shelves unread the longest (over 18 months.)

Gus Gus

Prompt: A cheesy book
Book cover for CHOSEN: red head girl holds crossbow in blue wood

What constitutes cheesy? Cringeworthy and sappy? Literal cheese involved in the story? Neither are particularly books I strive to read, so let’s pretend it means nostalgic!

CHOSEN, by Kiersten White, is the sequel to SLAYER, her Buffy-verse duology. I’ve never watched Buffy, but I know that it’s a nostalgic feeling series for others. Look, it’s a tricky prompt, OK?

I was surprised how much I enjoyed SLAYER, given it’s paranormal and contemporary(ish) fantasy – two sub-genres I’m rarely a big fan of. However, I did read it three years ago, so I am a little nervous to see how my tastes have changed.


Prompt: A children's book
Book cover for SECRETS OF THE STARS: title in white on a green pagoda-like entrance with a ship visible through it

THE SHIP OF SHADOWS was a great MG read I was introduced to last year thanks to a blog tour. The sequel, SECRETS OF THE STARS, by Maria Kuzniar, has recently released, and I’m excited for another high-seas adventure with the all-female crew.

Aleja and her crewmates are on a quest for a lost map, but the clues are confusing and turn up dead ends more often than not. To make matters worse, someone’s trying to contact Aleja in visions and the ship is in unfamiliar waters as they travel to the other side of the world.

Hei Hei

Prompt: A book with comedy
Book cover for HOLLOWPOX THE HUNT FOR MORRIGAN CROW: title in yellow above a girl in a big coat currounded by swirling magic

Another really hard prompt, as funny books tend not to be my thing either! My sense of humour often doesn’t translate well to books – relies a lot on timing. However, I often find myself giggling along to MG, so time to put another MG on this list.

HOLLOWPOX THE HUNT FOR MORRIGAN CROW, by Jessica Townsend, is the third book in the Morrigan Crow series. It’s a series that bursts with imagination, where the world can be be described as “if you can imagined something odd happening, it will but will be treated as completely ordinary.”


Prompt: A book with a colourful front cover
Book cover for THE THEFT OF SUNLIGHT: title in white on the outline of a girl's back surrounded by geometric doorway

THE THEFT OF SUNLIGHT, by Intisar Khanani, is the first book in the companion duology to her debut, THORN. THORN was originally a self-published book that was then picked up by a publisher, re-edited, and given a much bigger release.

Unlike THORN, I’m pretty sure THE THEFT OF SUNLIGHT isn’t a retelling (THORN retells the Goose Girl), and I don’t know much about it other than it has a new protagonist. But, I really enjoyed THORN, and the covers for these books are so stunning that one really doesn’t need much excuse to pick them up.


Prompt: A book with greed
Book cover for GILDED CAGE: title in black on white above a gold cage

Another quite tricky prompt, though it seems strange that this one is so hard. Most characters want something, and greedy villains are very commonplace. However, nothing is jumping off my shelves as being about greed, so time for a little lateral thinking!

GILDED CAGE, by Vic James, is the first in a fantasy-leaning dystopia trilogy. Most dystopias tend to echo our current societal set up where those at the top have way too much and those at the bottom not enough, which is nothing short of greed by those who make, exploit, influence, and then break the rules.


Prompt: A book with death
Book cover for WE LIE WITH DEATH: title in white on orange clouds above a pencil-drawn army

Finally a prompt I don’t need to manipulate to fulfil! I mean, you can’t be more literal than a book with death in the title!

WE LIE WITH DEATH, by Devin Madson, is the second in her Reborn Empire series. I read the first book, WE RIDE THE STORM, last autumn, and have the second and third book (WE CRY FOR BLOOD) on my shelves. I enjoyed WE RIDE THE STORM well enough, especially considering I wasn’t well at the time, but I felt it was a series that I needed to read several instalments of in one go to really get into it, hence I’ve waited for the third book to be released before continuing.


Prompt: A book with mythology
Book cover for HALF SICK OF SHADOWS: title in gold on a dark green silhouette of a woman with a sword

HALF SICK OF SHADOWS, by Laura Sebastian, is a feminist Arthurian retelling focusing on Elaine, Lady of Shallot. It’s one of my most anticipated books this year, and I’m so glad it’s finally on it’s way (yay, imports from the US!)

I don’t usually get along with Arthurian retellings, as the way I was brought up on them makes the physical landscape as much a character as the sentient beings, which I rarely see in books. However, the format of this book has me intrigued – past tense for flashbacks, present tense for the main story, and future tense for the visions. I imagine it’s a pretty tricky style to get right, but I am intrigued to see it attempted.

What books are you hoping to read this August?

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