The Happy Place Five #9: Book Recs from Friends

10th May 2022

The Happy Place Five banner in dark blue rimmed in gold with a golden book and golden starsThe Happy Place 5 – take a Discord chat, throw a bunch of bookish people in there together to keep each other sane over the course of a pandemic, and voilà: a new monthly feature is born. On the first Wednesday each month, we will highlight our top five books for a certain topic or theme. You can find the posts of my fellow Happy Place readingrats linked below!


What would my bookshelves be without the recommendations of my friends? Well, much more empty for sure and my bank account would be quite happy as well! Not complaining, though! Because if it weren’t for books, I wouldn’t have any friends at all. Finding like-minded people, gushing about books, sharing reading tips, and doing more or less wild stuff because of literature (preferably with those friends) like cutting my long tresses to play a character on a fan film project or spending a night at the beginning of December at Leicester Square, London, to secure a good spot for a book to movie adaptation premiere, and the legendary 2013 Frankfurt Book Fair is an integral part of my life as a readingrat.

Like I said, there are so many books and friends I could mention here, it was hard to pick, so I decided to go waaaay back. And somehow this turned out more like a walk down memory lane than a proper rec list. But hey, you get nice anecdotes out of it:

The Flowing Queen
(Dark Reflections #1)
by Kai Meyer

I use the German cover for nostalgia but this series is also available in English. This rec is courtesy of Sarah, one of my best friends from high school – we grew apart later and I haven’t seen her since our graduation (I’m very shitty at making and keeping friends, it’s a miracle I have any). Back in the days, around 6th grade, she introduced me to this trilogy that became one of my all-time favourite series. I just love it so freaking much! I have reviews up for the first and second book at the moment, since I’m on a long-term reread … I’m kind of scared of reading the third book, though, since that one wrecked me both times I read it.

(Uralte Metropole [Ancient Metropolis] #1)
by Christoph Marzi

Ah yes, one of my all-time favourite covers and what’s between them is a variation of Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere full of interesting and endearing characters, a city under the city, magical beings and a very charming devil. At least that’s how I remember it, no idea if this holds up; I last read it 10 years ago. This one was a gift from Ria, one of the tight knit friends I made on our Fantasy Friends message board, friends that got me through puberty pretty much. We started losing touch a little when we all finished school and went on our different ways but the pandemic has done wonders to our friendship – seriously one of the best things that could come out of this shit! Ria and I actually wanted to write a book (series) together. We never got particularly far, but we had the greatest craic everrrrrr (non-greetings from Síne to Emily – seriously, get a life. Oh, sorry, forgot you’re already dead, har har).

As far as I know, this one’s unfortunately not available in English.

Artemis Fowl
(Artemis Fowl #1)
by Eoin Colfer

I really love this series even though I never managed to get past the fourth book, ahem. One day, I will! This one came as a rec from Daniel, the guy I had a crush on pretty much throughout school (well, in my defense, I wasn’t the only one. He was that popular guy everyone adored). We were friends in elementary school but once we switched to high school, we grew apart. Probably mostly because my personality changed drastically (I was the most extroverted child you can imagine and then turned into an anxious introvert, to this day I don’t know what happened) and we soon ran in different circles. I’m still a little sad that happened because I really liked talking about books with him.

The High Lord
(The Black Magician Trilogy #3)
by Trudi Canavan

WELL, FUCK YOU, SILVI! (No worries, she knows I mean this in the most endearing way possible … mostly). Silvi is another part of the Fantasy Friends and lo and behold, we did not get along at first – well, I was a total bitch bitching about. You did not want to get on the wrong side of 16/17 year old me. Somehow, we managed to get over this rather complicated start and became good friends – until she recommended that series to me, that is. It took her a single sentence – any guesses? Yep, of course a description of Akkarin would do the trick – to get me on board. I didn’t get what I wanted except I did because I like my books wrecking me. Like, I read this back in 2014 AND I’M STILL NOT OVER IT, OKAY?!

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City of Bones
(The Mortal Instruments #1)
by Cassandra Clare

Okay, I’m going there. Do I recommend this series? Uhhh, hmmm … back in my teens I would have (and I did make my friends and sister read them). Nowadays, probably not anymore but I still have a veeeery soft spot for it and the universe. Perfect guilty pleasure reads (methinks, I haven’t read one of those books in AGES, so take this with a grain of salt). So why did I put it up here? Because of the memories! Dearest Kari – our Fantasy Friends boss – recommended this series to me. I bought the first book and INHALED it. Twice in a couple of days (not quite literally a couple, I think, but very close to it). I immediately got the second book (I have a very faint memory of being in Munich at that time and not finding it in any book store, which had me so frustrated) and later on, Kari lent me her English copy of the third book. Oh, ye good ol’ times.

Five very different recs from five friends with varying degrees of recommendation from my side. Which books do you hold dear because they were recommended by friends? If you want some more input and inspiration, head over to the other Happy Place readingrats:


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