Picking a TBR for a readathon can be hard, even when you are part of the winning team. That’s why I’m here today to help provide some book recommendations that will fit each challenge for Team Adventure. I’ll be sharing my personal picks for each challenge as well as providing 3 or 4 other recommendations. You might even see some past (and maybe even future) Books & Booze picks making an appearance!

Challenge 1: A Day at the Library – Read the group book

Book Cover for Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

This is obviously the challenge that will be satisfied by reading the group book: Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson. If you don’t have a copy that’s totally fine – your local library might! If you absolutely cannot find it then just try and pick another book where books or libraries play a prominent part, we’ll be pretty understanding don’t worry.


Challenge 2: Road Trip – Read a book that features a long journey

Book Cover for Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

My pick: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Listen, we never said it had to be a journey across land. Time travel counts here too. Though I suppose Claire does travel a pretty large distance over land as well, assuming that the first book sticks fairly close to season one of the show. I don’t normally watch show adaptations before I read the book, but after hearing about Outlander so much, I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity when Netflix added the first two seasons.


Book cover for The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkein

The Lord of the Rings series by J.R.R. Tolkein

One of the quintessential books that one thinks about when a literary journey is mentioned. I’m personally also including The Hobbit in this series though I know some people like to consider it a separate work within the same world. Either way, both Bilbo and and the Fellowship go on one of what perhaps might be the greatest literary journeys ever written. However, if you decide to read one of these I’d recommend trying to find another prompt that they fill as well! Tolkein’s writing can be a bit dense, so finishing this and 6 or so other books during the week of the readathon might not be possible. 


Book cover for A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Was I really expected to write a book recommendation list and not mention my favorite book? I hope not because that just wouldn’t be physically possible for me. This, like Outlander, has more of an ~interdimensional~ travel aspect to it than an actual long distance journey, but I like to think that all the London’s must be pretty far apart. If you’re into broody boys, murder girls, and tortured antiheros then this is absolutely the book for you. (Also just read it anyways. It’s my favorite book. I love it. Read it.)


Book cover for Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

This quintessential classic that served as the foundation for the excellent Disney movie Treasure Planet is a fairly short read which makes it perfect for the readathon. While it wasn’t my personal favorite read of the year, there’s pirates and hidden treasure and mutinies and it’s an overall action packed read. And hey, maybe it’ll be your bottle of rum even though it wasn’t mine.


Honorable Mentions: The Beholder by Anna Bright, Romanov by Nadine Brandes, Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young


Challenge 3: Sunny Days – Read a book with yellow on the cover

Book cover for King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo

My pick: King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo

I know that this cover is technically gold, but in my opinion, gold and yellow are the same color. If you’re involved in the YA community you’ll be well aware of the hype this book got when it came out in January of this year. And with good reason. Leigh has written 2 of the most beloved (in my opinion) YA series and this new duology focuses on the best (in my opinion) character from those 2 series, Nikolai Lantsov. I’m shocked that I haven’t found the time to pick this up yet, but I’m so excited to finally read it during the readathon.


Book cover for Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

This is a book that I did not, under any circumstances, expect to love as much as I did. With a fun and heartwarming story told through the narrative of emails and other interactions this is probably very near the top of my list of favorite reads this year. With the movie coming out just around the corner (starring Cate Blanchett no less) this is the perfect time to pick up this book.


Book cover for The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzie Lee

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

Another book without a ton of yellow on the cover but I can confidently say that all of the doodles are in fact yellow, and also that this is one of my favorite books. Gentleman’s Guide follows a 17th century bisexual(!!) aristocrat as he travels around Europe trying to get his life together, dealing with the feelings he has for his best friend, and getting into a whole lot of shenanigans on the way. It’s technically a standalone – though a spinoff has been made following his sister which I am dying to pick up – and an amazing adventure filled read for your readathon TBR.


Book cover for Circe by Madeline Miller

Circe by Madeline Miller

This is one that I personally haven’t found the time to read yet (Chris is most of the way through it though I think) but has been on my TBR ever since it came out. Maybe it’s part of growing up in the era of Percy Jackson but I am a HUGE sucker for mythology retellings, meaning that Circe is going to be right up my alley. A retelling of, you guessed it, Circe, I’ve seen so much raving about this book that I can’t wait to find the time to pick this one up!



Honorable Mentions: Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim, Grace and Fury by Tracy Bangheart, Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young


Challenge 4: Read a book set in a castle

Book cover of Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian

My pick: Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian

This is a book that I originally tried to pick up last summer and ended up setting down and forgetting about for over a year. Whoops. In this books defense I fully blame Winter by Marissa Meyer which drove me to a 6 month reading slump, which was the book I read right before attempting to pick it up. Then with the sequel coming out I kept putting it off. However, I’ve seen a bunch of people raving about this on bookstagram and I’m really looking forward to reading it in full. I enjoyed the 50 or so pages I did read, and can’t wait to get to know these characters better. 


Book cover of Bloodleaf by Crystal Smith

Bloodleaf by Crystal Smith

I read this book recently (May I think? That sounds right at least) and actually ended up loving it a lot more than I expected to. While it definitely leans more towards the standard YA Fantasy novel, something about Crystal Smith’s writing kept me engaged and I while there was one plot twist I saw coming a mile away, the rest of it kept me on my toes. I’m really looking forward to the sequel, Greythorne, which comes out in March and definitely recommend picking this one up whether for the readathon or just for fun!


Book cover of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J. K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

How can I make a list of books that take place in a castle and not mention the most iconic castle of all, Hogwarts. The reason that Sorcerer’s Stone makes the list and not any of the others simply because it was a Books and Booze episode. Personally my favorites are Chamber of Secrets and Prisoner of Azkaban, but really the whole series is iconic and a good time to reread. 


Really any high fantasy

Honestly I couldn’t narrow my third recommendation down. So many books take place in castles it’s insane. I’ll always be totally fine with this because I’m a HUGE sucker for any sort of books about royalty. Court intrigue and fancy dresses and politics will always be my cup of tea. So go forth and read wonderful books about castles and princesses and assassins or whatever. 


Honorable Mentions: Grace and Fury by Tracy Bangheart, Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas, Royals by Rachel Hawkins


Challenge 5: Read a book by an author you’ve never read before

Book cover of Pride by Ibi Zoboi

My pick: Pride by Ibi Zoboi

This is a book that came in one of my Owlcrate boxes (last October I think?) and I just haven’t gotten around to reading it yet. It’s a modern day Pride & Prejudice retelling and fairly short to boot, making it a perfect readathon pick for me. I haven’t read anything by Ibi Zoboi yet (obviously or I wouldn’t be able to pick it for this challenge) but I’m really excited, and have high hopes for this book!


This prompt is subjective

Personally I’m not really cut out to tell you what books are by authors you haven’t read before. This is the perfect opportunity to expand your reading horizons and pick up something in a genre you haven’t read before! Maybe even find a new favorite!


Challenge 6: Read a horror/thriller book

Book cover of Wilder Girls by Rory Power

My pick: Wilder Girls by Rory Power

This is by far one of my most anticipated releases of 2019 and I’m so pumped that I can use this readathon as an excuse to move it to the top of my TBR. This book has been described as a feminist, lesbian, modern day take on Lord of the Flies. I loved Lord of the Flies. I love books about feminist lesbians. I’m absolutely expecting to adore this book. Also yes this is being billed as a thriller so it absolutely does count for this challenge.


Book cover of Bird Box by Josh Malerman

Bird Box by Josh Malerman

Yea we all saw the Netflix Original Movie with Sandra Bullock but did you know it was originally based on a book? I didn’t, at least until I google searched thrillers to read for this readathon (hey honesty is the best policy right?). I could barely make it through the movie so this will definitely be an interesting read for me but I really do hope I can get around to it sometime in the near future. As scary as the movie was it was quite enjoyable.


Any novel by Stephen King

He’s frequently touted as the king of horror, so he makes perfect sense to be featured here. Right now I’m slowly chugging my way though one of his novels (I haven’t had a lot of time to read things that aren’t for Books and Booze ok?) but literally anything he’s written would fit this prompt. Just… maybe don’t pick up It? A book that’s over 1000 pages seems a bit ambitious to include for a readathon.


Book cover for Dracula by Bram Stoker

Dracula by Bram Stoker

A true horror classic. The OG vampire boy. Also another book that I’ve really been meaning to pick up and haven’t (there’s a theme with this genre). Honestly this is a pretty short book so if you’re looking to finally getting around to reading a true horror classic then this is the perfect opportunity. 


Honorable Mentions: You by Caroline Kepnes, The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn


Challenge 7: Read a book with an animal companion

Book cover for Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

My pick: Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

Ah Nevernight. A book that I keep seeing countless people, including my own roommate, rave about but just never gotten around to picking up. Maybe it was the sheer volume of footnotes that I saw when I thumbed through it that threw me off. Or maybe I just was never in the mood. Either way, with the final book in the series coming out in September (or Stabtember as Mr. Kristoff likes to call it) I’m determined to finally get around to reading this series. I believe that the main character Mia has a feline familiar called Mr. Kindly and if a familiar isn’t an animal companion then my name isn’t Ellie. 


Book cover for The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

I picked this up earlier this year at the request of one of my good friends and absolutely fell in love with the way that Patrick Ness writes. As arguably the best dystopian? Sci-fi? Whatever you want to categorize it as book that I’ve read lately I can’t help but recommend it here. Plus the animal companion in this book is the best boy, a talking dog named Manchee. 


Book Cover for Eragon by Christopher Paolini

Eragon by Christopher Paolini

This is THE book of my childhood reading. My paperback copy of Eragon literally looks like it’s been mauled by a dog or something but is somehow still holding itself together. With dragons and assassins and elven (I think she was elven, it’s been a while since I last reread the series ok?) princesses, this was everything my 11 year old heart could have wished for. The animal companion in this case is a dragon named Saphira and honestly if you presented my younger self with a magic genie and three wishes, she would have been the first thing I wished for. 


Book cover for Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Prachett

Another recent read that has become one of my all time favorites. I read this partly because of Books and Booze, and partly because I watched the show on Amazon and fell in love (I recently completed my eighth rewatch of it). The animal companion is a hellhound named Dog and while he plays a small role in the book, he’s still definitely an animal companion. If you like witty books with dry humor then this is the perfect choice for you. 


Honorable Mentions: Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman, Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi, Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake


So there you have it. A plethora of book recommendations at your fingertips. I hope you can find something that catches your eye, whether it be for the readathon or something you’ll get around to reading later. If you have any questions or ever want any more book recommendations be sure to hit me up on my social media, I’ll gladly take any opportunity I can to rave about books! Also if you’re looking for Team Relaxation book recommendations or just want more books to read then check out Chris’s post!

Until then,

Happy reading!

Ellie