Good morning and welcome to our release week celebration of Mind Like A Diamond, our last release of 2021. What a wild year it has been for the Sword & Silk fam, but we made it through and we are so excited for Amanda's debut to finally be out in the world! Today Amanda is bringing you a curated reading list of books to set the mood for Mind Like A Diamond. See one you loved? You might fall head over heels for the world of Lisette. Or if you've already dove into Mind Like A Diamond and find yourself with a burgeoning book hangover, these could be the follow up reads for you.
Reads to Get You Pumped for Mind Like A Diamond
A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik
Lesson One of the Scholomance: Learning has never been this deadly.
A Deadly Education is set at Scholomance, a school for the magically gifted where failure means certain death (for real) — until one girl, El, begins to unlock its many secrets.
There are no teachers, no holidays, and no friendships, save strategic ones. Survival is more important than any letter grade, for the school won’t allow its students to leave until they graduate… or die! The rules are deceptively simple: Don’t walk the halls alone. And beware of the monsters who lurk everywhere.
El is uniquely prepared for the school’s dangers. She may be without allies, but she possesses a dark power strong enough to level mountains and wipe out millions. It would be easy enough for El to defeat the monsters that prowl the school. The problem? Her powerful dark magic might also kill all the other students.
If you connected with El, the snarky protagonist in the Scholomance series who hides her secrets with a tough sarcastic shell, you’ll love Lisette, too.
MIND LIKE A DIAMOND also shares a closed space thriller setting and the balance of horror and humor that makes A DEADLY EDUCATION a real page turner.
Sawkill Girls by Clare Legrand
Beware of the woods and the dark, dank deep. He’ll follow you home, and he won’t let you sleep.
Who are the Sawkill Girls?
Marion: the new girl. Awkward and plain, steady and dependable. Weighed down by tragedy and hungry for love she’s sure she’ll never find.
Zoey: the pariah. Luckless and lonely, hurting but hiding it. Aching with grief and dreaming of vanished girls. Maybe she’s broken—or maybe everyone else is.
Val: the queen bee. Gorgeous and privileged, ruthless and regal. Words like silk and eyes like knives, a heart made of secrets and a mouth full of lies.
Their stories come together on the island of Sawkill Rock, where gleaming horses graze in rolling pastures and cold waves crash against black cliffs. Where kids whisper the legend of an insidious monster at parties and around campfires.
Where girls have been disappearing for decades, stolen away by a ravenous evil no one has dared to fight… until now.
Fans of the lyrical writing and atmospheric settings of SAWKILL GIRLS will lose themselves reading MIND LIKE A DIAMOND. The books also share some themes including redemption arcs for morally gray characters and breaking generational curses.
The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert
Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the uncanny bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a cult-classic book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate, the Hazel Wood, Alice learns how bad her luck can really get: her mother is stolen away-by a figure who claims to come from the Hinterland, the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother's stories are set. Alice's only lead is the message her mother left behind: “Stay away from the Hazel Wood.”
Alice has long steered clear of her grandmother’s cultish fans. But now she has no choice but to ally with classmate Ellery Finch, a Hinterland superfan who may have his own reasons for wanting to help her. To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother's tales began―and where she might find out how her own story went so wrong.
While most YA focuses on romance, THE HAZEL WOOD is more about friendships, self-discovery, and secrets. If you appreciate stories about platonic relationships and personal growth, you’ll enjoy the message of MIND LIKE A DIAMOND.
Legendborn by Tracy Deonn
After her mother dies in an accident, sixteen-year-old Bree Matthews wants nothing to do with her family memories or childhood home. A residential program for bright high schoolers at UNC–Chapel Hill seems like the perfect escape—until Bree witnesses a magical attack her very first night on campus.
A flying demon feeding on human energies.
A secret society of so called “Legendborn” students that hunt the creatures down.
And a mysterious teenage mage who calls himself a “Merlin” and who attempts—and fails—to wipe Bree’s memory of everything she saw.
The mage’s failure unlocks Bree’s own unique magic and a buried memory with a hidden connection: the night her mother died, another Merlin was at the hospital. Now that Bree knows there’s more to her mother’s death than what’s on the police report, she’ll do whatever it takes to find out the truth, even if that means infiltrating the Legendborn as one of their initiates.
She recruits Nick, a self-exiled Legendborn with his own grudge against the group, and their reluctant partnership pulls them deeper into the society’s secrets—and closer to each other. But when the Legendborn reveal themselves as the descendants of King Arthur’s knights and explain that a magical war is coming, Bree has to decide how far she’ll go for the truth and whether she should use her magic to take the society down—or join the fight.
Readers who like their fantasy grounded in the real world, much like LEGENDBORN, will appreciate the balance struck by MIND LIKE A DIAMOND. Before moving to the magical Haunted House, the story explores New Orleans much as LEGENDBORN includes alluring descriptions of North Carolina.
The protagonist in LEGENDBORN, Bree, is also similar to Lisette in that they’re both layered, realistic characters who make some brave and some selfish choices.
The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
A Cinderella story with deadly stakes and thrilling twists.
Avery Grambs has a plan for a better future: survive high school, win a scholarship, and get out. But her fortunes change in an instant when billionaire Tobias Hawthorne dies and leaves Avery virtually his entire fortune. The catch? Avery has no idea why--or even who Tobias Hawthorne is. To receive her inheritance, Avery must move into sprawling, secret passage-filled Hawthorne House, where every room bears the old man's touch--and his love of puzzles, riddles, and codes.
Unfortunately for Avery, Hawthorne House is also occupied by the family that Tobias Hawthorne just dispossessed. This includes the four Hawthorne grandsons: dangerous, magnetic, brilliant boys who grew up with every expectation that one day, they would inherit billions. Heir apparent Grayson Hawthorne is convinced that Avery must be a con-woman, and he's determined to take her down. His brother, Jameson, views her as their grandfather's last hurrah: a twisted riddle, a puzzle to be solved. Caught in a world of wealth and privilege, with danger around every turn, Avery will have to play the game herself just to survive.
If the twists and turns of THE INHERITANCE GAMES kept you up reading way past bedtime, prepare for a long night with MIND LIKE A DIAMOND. While this Haunted House is more physical and mental challenges than riddles or puzzles, the life or death stakes result in an equally wild ride.