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I have always loved mythological creatures, but I think too many YA paranormal books focus on four creatures: vampires, werewolves, angels and fairies. So with the help of my followers (really they did all the work, I just wrote down the books into categories), I have compiled a list of books with underrated mythological creatures. Just to clarify, I haven’t read most of these books.

So if you like:


Sea Change by Aimee Friedman

Siren by Tricia Rayburn

Fathomless by Jackson Pearce

Forgive My Fins by Tera Lynn Childs

Of Poseidon by Anna Banks

Teeth by Hannah Moskowitz

Ingo by Helen Dunmore

Sirena by Donna Jo Napoli

Ascension by Kara Dalkey

Deep Blue by Jennifer Donnelly

Lost Voices by Sarah Porter

Wake by Amanda Hocking  

The Tail of Emily Windsnap by Liz Kessler

Tangled Tides by Karen Amanda Hooper

Tempest Rising by Tracey Deebs

Lies Beneath series by Anne Greenwood

The Siren by Kiers Cass

Daughters of the Sea by Kathryn Lasky


Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

A Wounded Name by Dot Hutchison (A retelling of Hamlet)

Shades of London by Maureen Johnson

The Riddles of Epsilon by Christine Morton-Shaw

The Hollow by Jessica Verday

Shade by Jeri Smith Ready

Hereafter by Tara Hudson

Ruined by Paula Morris


The Darkest Powers trilogy by Kelley Armstrong

Sabriel, Lirael, and Abhorsen (a trilogy) by Garth Nix

Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride

The Johannes Cabal series by Jonathan L. Howard 


Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

Personal Demonsby Lisa Desrochers

Demon Lexicon series by Sarah Rees Brennan


My Soul To Take by Rachel Vincent

Sidhe’s Call by Christy G. Thomas 

The Banshee Initiate by Kelly Matsuura


Runemarks by Joanne Harris

The Goblin Wood by Hilari Bell

The Hollow Kingdom by Clare B. Dunkle


The Monstrumologist series by Rick Yancey

Pretty Monsters by Kelly Link


Eon by Alison Goodman

The Dragon of Trelian by Michelle Knudsen 

Enchanted Forrest series by Patricia C. Wrede

Soul Colector:

The Collector by Victoria Scott

Water horses:

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater


Other by Karen Kincy


Firelightby Sophie Jordan

Talon by Julie Kagawa


Rampant by Diana Peterfreund

The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle 

Greek mythology:

Oh. My. Gods. by Tera Lynn Childs

Pegasus by Robin McKinley

Antigoddess by Kendare Blake

The Devil:

Between the Devil & the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke

Different creatures:

Darkness Becomes Her by Kelly Keaton

Enchanted Ivy by Sarah Beth Durst

Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff

Beautiful Decay by Sylvia Lewis

The Changelings by Elle Casey


Mesmerized by Julia Crane and Talia Jager

Egyptian mythology:

The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White


Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor


The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud


The Darkness Rising trilogy by Kelley Armstrong

Trickster gods and demons:

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge (A retelling of Beauty and the Beast)

Original mythology:

Books of Great Alta series by Jane Yolen


As You Wish by Jackson Pearce


Seven Tears into the Sea by Terri Farley

Half Human by Bruce Coville


The Madison Avery series by Kim Harrison

Polynesian mythology:

Wildefire by Karsten Knight


The Nightmare Affair  by Mindee Arnett

More dragon books(not all are Kid Friendly)

Temeraire/His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik

Dragon Riders of Pern by Anne & Tom McCaffrey (Adult)

Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini

Age of Fire by E.E. Knight

Dragon Keeper Chronicles/Chiril Chronicles by Donita K Paul

The Dragon Kin by G A Akin (Adult)

Dragon Knights by Bianca D’Arc (Adult)

Dragon Slippers by Jessica Day George

Dragons in our Midst by Brian Davis 

Earthsea by Ursula K. le Guin

The Last Dragon Chronicles by Chris D’Lacey

The Pit Dragon Chronicles by Jane Yolen

The Prophecy of the Dragons by Diana Metz

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

Wings of Fire by Tui T. Sutherland

Dragon’s Bait by Vivian Vande Velde

New Spin on Mythology

Everworld by K.A. Applegate

Original Mythos

Inkheart Trillogy by Cornelia Caroline Funke

Tortall by Tamora Pierce

Greek Mythos

Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan

Egyptian Mythos

Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordan

English/Celtic Mythos

Lost Years of Merlin by T. A. Barron

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

The Spiderwick Chronicles by Holly Black & Tony Diterlizzi

Talking Animals/Animal Mythos

Redwall by Brian Jacques

Wolves of Beyond by Kathryn Lasky

Guardians of Ga’Hool by Kathryn Lasky

Silverwing by Kenneth Oppel

Warriors by Erin Hunter

Survivors by Erin Hunter

Watership Down by Richard Adams

I’ve read most of these or am in the process of reading them. Hope this helps others who follow me find something good to read.

So many additions! Thank you so much!

The Companion Quartet by Julia Golding is also really great for a wide variety of mythical creatures, especially the lesser known ones. Plus it explores the problems mythical creatures would face in modern society (sirens angry about oil rigs!! hedgerow dryads being poisoned by agricultural fertilisers!!! pegasi crashing into wind turbines!!!!!!!), so what more could you want.
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Absolutely!   Here’s a short list of some of our favs:

Otherbound by Corrine Duyvis - bisexual sci-fi/fantasyProxy by Alex London - gay sci-fi dystopian Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith - bisexual sci-fi/horrorThe Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson - bisexual sci-fi/dystopianAdaptation and Inheritance by Malinda Lo - bisexual sci-fiPantomime and Shadowplay by Laura Lam - trans/intersex steampunk fantasyThe Stars Change by Mary Anne Mohanraj - all kinda queer sci-fiSaga by Brian K. Vaughan - all kinda queer sci-fi graphic novel seriesLove In The Time of Global Warming by Francesca Lia Block - all kinda queer sci-fi mythology retellingBeyond the Binary: Genderqueer and Sexually Fluid Speculative Fiction edited by Brit Mandelo - won last year’s Bisexual Book Award in speculative fiction. 
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And now a book list in response to hella-stabtacular looking for titles that are in some way about feminism, feminist history, or feature feminist leads.

First off, everyone should know about the Amelia Bloomer Project, a group that is part of the Feminist Task Force of the Social Responsibilities Round Table of the American Library Association.  They produce yearly lists, and they are all worth looking at for more titles to read on this theme.

But here are my personal recommendations, with a mix of history and female characters I think fit the bill.  As always, click on the title to request it.

The Tyrant’s Daughter by J. C. Carleson

This recent title popped to mind as it is a thoughtful and intricate look at how a young woman navigates her own power in complicated circumstances.  Laila has been sent to the US after her father, a dictator in an unnamed country, is assassinated.  She’s well aware that neither she nor her little brother (the heir) are necessarily here to stay. Her new situation is freeing, but her old life keeps getting its hooks back in. Her family’s political clout keep her of interest to the CIA and factions back home.  Laila is a fascinating, clever character who faces many hard decisions about herself, her background, her new social circle, and her potential as a power player.

Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger

This series is, on one hand, a delightfully witty romp set in an alternate universe Victorian England where vampires and werewolves are important parts of society and when proper society girls go to finishing school to learn manners and spycraft.  On the other hand, lead Sophronia and her peers are all excellent examples of “strong female characters” who survive through their smarts as much as their awareness of the latest fashion. Solid proof that being girly doesn’t mean you aren’t also smart, strong, and a force to be reckoned with.

Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant by Tony Cliff

Delilah Dirk is one of my favorite heroines out there starring in her own Indiana Jones-esque adventure stories.  Tony Cliff has dreamt up a lead who’s many things at once: world-traveler, thrill-seeker, thief, and expert swordswoman.  This is just the first installment of her adventures with her companion, the weary but loyal Selim, but more is on the way, and it’s gorgeously drawn and full of wit.

The Loud Silence of Francine Green by Karen Cushman

There are a number of titles on this look that evoke different eras of women’s history, and in this case Cushman takes a look at post-WWII US and in particular the rise of the anti-Communist red scare and the evolution of the Black List.  I admire titles that find a way in to larger issues like this one without getting too preachy.

Ask the Passengers by A. S. King

With the full acknowledgement that I am a fan of all of A. S. King’s books, this one stands out for this list because of the way the main character, Astrid, refuses to let anyone define her.  This is her story of becoming certain enough of her own mind to to allow some labels to be applied but not all and not without her permission.  I appreciate the message that figuring out who you are is an always challenging, never certain mission in life.  We surprise ourselves, and Astrid’s ability to stand up to people who keep insisting on putting her in their safely defined boxes is refreshing and messy.

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart

I particularly love this title because it’s following a character, Frankie, who has never really given much thought to gender imbalances and expectations as she discovers just how much those imbalances impact her life.  I love how much this book is an awakening of sorts, and that once you see the issues surrounding gender expectations and limits, it’s impossible to unsee them.  It’s also full of awesome pranks.

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

Melina Marchetta is a master of writing damaged but resilient characters, and my first introduction to her brand of fiery, stubborn, and fierce leading ladies was Taylor in Jellicoe Road.  This is a beautifully written book dealing with a number of tough topics — addiction, broken families, death, long-kept secrets — and Taylor’s voice and attitude make it all the more vibrant and true.  Also, if you like audiobooks, or might like to try one, this is a great one to hear (the Australian accent and slang especially.)

Bread and Roses Too by Katherine Paterson

Many women, especially immigrant and lower class women, found their voices through the labor strikes of the late 19th and early 20th century.  Katherine Paterson has become a go-to author for looking at life and struggles at the mills of Lowell and further afield, and in particular looking at the roles of women in these fights.  Bread and Roses Too is a more recent addition to her look at these women, but both it and Lyddie are well worth a read.

Flygirl by Sherri Smith

I include this excellent historical title for a number of reasons: Ida Mae is a rock solid lead, and her desire to fly both before and during World War II is infectious.  The fact that she is light skinned and can pass for white gives her access to her dream of joining the war effort as one of the Women Air Service Pilots, but it is also an ongoing and increasingly difficult choice.  This is a part of history not many folks know, and in particular it highlights how race and gender issues combine to complicate women’s lives.

A Mad, Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller

Most students of feminism at least know the stories behind early suffrage, and the eloquence and friendship of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, but I fear a lot of folks skim over the later years in the US that led to the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920.  This book centers on the fight for suffrage in England, a few years earlier around 1910, and introduces readers to the struggles that later directly influenced tactics used in the US. 
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Love Shakespeare, love these remixed Shakespeare stories.
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I got two lines of information about the female character, after which she dismisses her own history as uninteresting. Then she spent the rest of the chapter telling us, in detail, about the backstories of the two male characters and their interaction. Both of whom had already been crowding her out.

And that was when I shut the book, tossed it over my shoulder, and moved on.

Most sci-fi these days is written in third-person limited view, which has its uses. It lets you feel more intimately connected with the viewpoint character without going full first-person-present-tense, which I know some readers really don’t like. It lets you play little plot tension games with who knows what information. These are all fun things, because it makes the interior life of the character a strong part of the story.

The problem is, some writers (mostly cis men, I am both sorry and unsurprised to report) seem to have a difficult time coming up with a rich interior life to give their female characters when they’re writing in this mode.
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If you’re craving some amazing representations of queerness in fantasy, than look no farther than the three titles below. Each in their own way contain queer characters with rich, inner lives without resorting to any of the known queer tragic tropes, while also racing through beautiful, complex worlds, both inner and outer, of fantasy and magic.
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Carrie Fisher meant a great deal to a lot of people, especially to women who, like me, struggle with mental health and also grew up with Princess Leia as one of our best female pop culture icons. Her death rocked many of us to our core, and what is better for grieving than getting lost in a book? I’ve divided these books by theme–they’re all fiction. (For non-fiction book recommendations, check out Katie’s post.)
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Review originally posted on The Lesbrary.

Fantasy literature is rife with ‘clever thief’ protagonists for the vicarious entertainment of the virtuous, like Bilbo Baggins, but most of them are not even female, let alone lesbians. Swan’s Braid and other Tales of Terizan by Tanya Huff gives us the wily but honorable Terizan, who waltzes away from the first story in her collection with the affection of a female mercenary with whom she maintains a casual romance for the remainder of the book. Most of Terizan’s adventures aren’t love stories, but “capers”–she gets assignments from the Thieves’ Guild, which she joined pretty much for their health insurance plan (“the guild takes care of its own,” and she’s worried about what would happen if she ever got more seriously hurt during one of her falls from a mark’s window. It’s that kind of book.)

The plots themselves are pretty clever, with inflection points and twists and rising action and punch lines, reminding me of Maurice Leblanc’s dashing gentleman burglar Arsène Lupin, only in a fantasy setting with a lesbian heroine. Whether Terizan’s adversary is a ghost, a wizard, a prince, or the cult of an upstart goddess, reading about her besting them was satisfying and not stressful at all because they’re written in that “good old fashioned fun” way, not grimdark.

The prose is easy to follow, with the occasional evocative bit like “[…]sales pitches as wilted as the vegetables[…]” Huff’s worldbuilding is unobtrusive and “generic fantasy” enough to be pretty easy to understand, yet with enough originality that I didn’t feel like I was reading homage or parody. And I really can’t say enough good things about how relaxing it is to read a story about a woman Doing Things in a shady underworld without having to fear gendered violence. The villains in this book are mostly men, but their offensives and defenses against Terizan never include a sexual element.

I love so much about what Terizan’s stories have and don’t have. Her best friend is a bisexual male sex worker, her adventures aren’t gendered (in other words, she gets to interact with her fictional universe pretty much the way male characters usually get to), and her three bosses at the Guild are a man, a woman, and someone who “could be either or neither” whose gender is never further discussed. These days things like this are becoming easier to find in SFF, at least if you’re like me and play Heimdahl with indie LGBT publishing, but this particular story was written in the NINETIES. So I quietly hold this up to those who go around leaving skeptical, ossified reviews on fiction with nonbinary characters.

I would love to see these done in graphic novel form.

(Warning for the word ‘whore’ used a few times; I think it was only said by the sex worker character but I can’t actually remember and I returned my eBook to the library already.)

Tanya Huff is pure spun gold. I love her books so, so much. (also, her. She’s as charming in person as her books are on the page.) 

My favourite series will always be the Blood books - aka, What If Henry Fitzroy, bastard son of Henry VIII, didn’t die in the 1500s. What If he was actually a bisexual vampire romance novelist living in Toronto in the 1990s? And What If the curmudgeonly private eye he ends up helping (as supernatural critters do) was a woman with a progressive disability? 

The books have some dark moments, but they’re not GrimDark, and you know that things will come out all right in the end. They’re also wonderfully funny, and Vicki is one of my favourite protagonists of all time. 

Seriously. Start with Blood Price and do not look back. 
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When I was just a babygay, I passionately identified as both queer and bookish, but I had not yet considered the intersection between the two. It was one conversation with my mom that set me on a lifelong path of queer women reading, it went like this:

“Danika, have you read Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown?”
“No, what’s that?”
“And you call yourself a lesbian.”

That back-and-forth opened the door to a whole world of stories in which women could love women. At first, I thought there were dozens of these books. When I couldn’t find many, I started a book blog with the “humble” goal of reading “everything lesbian.” Six years later, that idea is laughable. There are way more lesbian and bi women books out there than I could possibly read in my lifetime, and although I want there to be even more, I am profoundly grateful for the many, many we do have. It’s easy to think that only a handful of LGBTQ books exist: the ones that are recommended over and over by mainstream book media as their token Pride examples. Happily, that’s not true. There are queer books in every genre, for every reader.

A 100 book list can’t possibly contain the multitudes of queer women books worth reading out there! I tried to make this an example of the diversity of lesbian and bi women books out there, but it does come with my own bias. For example, I don’t read much romance (yet), so there aren’t many romance titles on this list. I included some of the classics, but also titles that are my personal favourites, but are lesser-known and might be new to you.


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