Reading Challenge: The Book Carousel

Often when the six of us are chatting about the blog, we’ll think up some ideas for cool posts and challenges that we’d like to do. Now, most of these never come to fruition. Maybe that’s because the idea was thought up at 4am and was pretty terrible, or maybe that’s because there just isn’t enough time to do it justice.

This time around though, we think we nailed it.

Kop came up with an idea that quickly developed into what we’re going to describe now — the Book Carousel.

The Challenge

The idea behind the Book Carousel is fairly simple. You start with a close group of friends — which in this case was the five of us, and Hiu — and you put each of your names into a hat. Everyone picks out a name from the hat, and their job is now to recommend a book (via a third party to keep everything secret!) to that person.

Essentially, this is Secret Santa for book recommendations.

The idea is that everyone recommends a book to one other person in the circle, with their tastes in mind. This way, everyone gets a personally-tailored recommendation, and there’s a sense of camaraderie because you’re all in it together.

Our Books

We’ve already gone ahead with our recommendations, with the help of Coffee (from the amazing CoffeeArchives blog) who anonymously allocated each of our recs. We’re planning to review each of these in the near future, and our books and our reactions to them are as follows:

The book recommended to me was Prayers in Steel by Michael McClung. I was only vaguely aware of the existence of this book, to be honest. I’d known of Michael’s The Thief Who Pulled on Trouble’s Braids, which of course is the first-ever winner of Mark Lawrence’s SPFBO, and I’m obviously familiar with Michael through our interactions with Sigil Independent. It’s a short book, and I’ve actually already had the time to read it between receiving the recommendation and this post being published, so I’ll have a review up shortly!

Who do I think recommended me this book? Well, I’m pretty sure I know who it is… but that would be telling, wouldn’t it?


I was recommended Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho! It’s a Fantasy of Manners, which is always up my street; I’m 10% in and as expected am enjoying it a lot so far. The fact that I’m very loud about FoM being one of my favourite genres makes it a bit harder to figure out who it’s from, but I’ve narrowed it down to two people based on process of elimination. …I’m bad at guessing y’all.


It was me. I recommended all of the books. My recommendation was Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson. I’ve read one of her books before–The Crown of Embers–and liked it a lot. This is one I keep hearing good things about, so I’m excited to get to it. I run a YA bookclub on r/Fantasy and am pretty vocal about YA with the other blog members. I think I know who rec’d this to me, but I’ll keep that to myself for now. (:


I was recommended The Last Unicorn by Peter S Beagle. It’s about a unicorn who worries she’s the last of her kind, so she sets out on a journey to find the rest of the unicorns. I’m looking forward to reading it (I mean, unicorns!). This could have been recommended by anyone so I have no clue who did it. I’ll just have to wait and find out!


I was recommended The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee, which is a YA historical and romance fantasy about a troubled young British noble and the misadventures he finds himself in during his Grand Tour. I immediately knew who recommended that particular book that’s pretty much tailored to my tastes; it was already on my TBR but I’m very glad the Carousel pushed it up as a priority reading. I have already finished it and the review should be up this week.


I was recommended Forests of Serre by Patricia A. McKillip. It looks like a fairytale about a dude who got lost in the woods or something. It’s kind of hard to tell from the blurb, so I’ll get back to you once I’ve actually read it. I’ve already worked out who recommended me this book, but I’m not going to tell you. 😛

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