11 Awesome Books to Read This August

Welcome back to the Nerdist Reading List. Each month I curate book recommendations that’ll delight, charm, and terrify. Basically, this is the place to find the best fantasy, sci-fi, horror, and romance books and comics to add to your books-to-read pile. To make things easier, each month will include a selection of already released books you can grab instantly. We also have new books you’ll definitely want to pre-order or add to your library holds. This month we’ve got a stack of unreal fantasy to help you escape the heat, as well as radical romance, family horror, and some magnificent manga to make your summer sing! 

Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation by Mo Xiang Tong Xiu – Available now
The cover for Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation shows two beautiful Chinese men standing in front of the moonlight
Seven Seas

Seeing as the third volume of this smash hit Danmei series comes out this month, we’re recommending that you catch up on the delightful fantasy romance. You might know Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation better by the title The Untamed, which is the popular live-action adaptation. Unlike that series though, here the romance between demonic cultivators Wei Wuxian and Lan Wangji is a key part of the story as they battle monsters and discover the shocking history that binds them. With volume three about to come out it’s time to catch up! 

Violet Made of Thorns by Gina Chen – Available July 26
The cover for Violet Made of Thornes shows a strange crown of thorns and roses behind the title
Delacorte Press

Lying and cheating has kept Violet alive in the cutthroat world of the court. Her prophecies aren’t all made up, but she can be somewhat… imaginative when she needs to be. But when she’s ordered to give a fake prophecy about the love life of the young Prince Cyrus, it sets off a chain of events that puts her and her kingdom in danger. This YA debut is an enchanting and action-packed fantasy that’ll keep you hooked until the very last page. 

Dauntless by Elisa A. Bonnin – Available August 2
The cover for Dauntless shows two young women standing looking at the reader angrily
Swoon Reads

This lush Filipino-inspired tale throws readers into a land of beasts and monsters. Seri knows one thing about the place she grew up: Beasts prowl the forests and hunt the People. That’s why Seri’s job as an assistant to a valiant hunter is so important. Or so she thinks. When she meets a Tsana everything changes. She can speak to the Beasts and Seri begins to question everything that she thought she knew as she grows closer to her enigmatic new friend. 

Alliana, Girl of Dragons by Julie Abe – Available August 2
The cover for Alliana Girl of Dragons shows a young Japanese girl riding a large green dragon through the sky
Little Brown Books for Young Readers

Julie Abe wrote one of our favorite novels in recent years, Eva Evergreen, Semi-Magical Witch. She’s back with her Japanese-inspired Cinderella reimagining Alliana, Girl of Dragons, and it’s just as magical. After the death of her loving grandmother, Alliana puts away her childish dreams of fairy tales, spun-sugar, and seeing the queen in the capital. Now she’s under the thumb of her cruel step-mother, until she meets a dragon and a witch who change her life. 

Blood Like Fate by Liselle Sambury – Available August 9
The cover for Blood Like Fate shows a young dark skinned Black girl wearing a white dress
Margaret K. McElderry Books

In the highly-anticipated sequel to Blood Like Magic, Liselle Sambury returns readers to the world of Voya Thomas. The aspiring witch may have gotten her wish but at what cost? Suddenly finding herself alone she embarks on a new stage of her journey. “Urban fantasy meets Afro-futurism” in this continuation of the radical coming of age tale, that focuses on a young woman trying to come to terms with the legacy of her family’s magic and living up to it. 

Daisy Darker by Alice Feeney – Available August 30
The cover for Daisy Darker shows a desolate house on a hill
Flatiron Books

There’s been a fair few takes on Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None of late. But Daisy Darker offers a truly unique twist on the tale. An estranged and damaged family visits the secluded ancestral nest to celebrate their matriarch’s birthday. But soon—as is always the way—they begin to die in gruesome fashion. Who’s killing them? And what dark secret is the motive? Filled with startling mystery, a truly shocking ending, and unputdownable family drama, Daisy Darker will surely become one of the most talked about books of the summer. 

Fake It Till You Bake It by Jamie Wesley – Available now
The cover for Fake it Til You Bake It shows a glamorous Black woman and a handsome Black man in an apron standing by the title
St. Martin’s Griffin

This unbelievably charming romance will sweep you off your feet and fill your stomach! Jada Townsend-Matthews has had a rough time of it. A reality tv show gone wrong leads to her working in a cult cupcake shop which makes unbelievably tasty treats. The only problem is the owner, a cranky professional football player named Donovan Dell. When the pair are wrongly coined as a couple they come up with a fake dating scheme to use it to their advantage. Perfect for fans of Talia Hibbert and Jasmine Guillory this is a tasty treat for romance readers. 

Aphrodite and the Duke by J.J. McAvoy – Available August 23
The cover for Aphrodite and the Duke shows a regal Black woman in a deep red dress looking at the reader

Regency romances are one of our favorite things here at Nerdist and J.J. McAvoy is here to deliver a delightful new entry to the canon. Aphrodite’s name has always felt like more of a blessing than a curse, even though her beauty is appreciated throughout the ton. She feels like it especially stings seeing as the love of her life left her for another woman. So why can’t she keep away from him when she’s called back to London to help her mother? Ex’s to enemies to lovers is the trope of the day here and it’s a delectable one, so make sure you pick this up. 

The Liminal Zone by Junji Ito – Available July 26
The cover for The Liminal Zone shows a young girl with two faces looking distraught
Viz Media

We’re huge Junji Ito fans here at Nerdist and this month Viz is blessing us with a new collection by horror’s greatest mangaka. Featuring four longer stories, The Liminal Zone once again throws readers into the author’s nightmarish world. From weeping women to suicide forests, Ito is at his best once again, offering up haunting and delectable horror stories for the discerning reader. Well done to Viz for publishing Ito’s gorgeous work in stunning releases like this. 

Rooster Fighter by Shū Sakuratani – Available August 16
The cover for Rooster Fighter shows a large illustration of a rooster's face
Viz Media

Viz continues its streak of putting out unique and expensive genre-bending manga, with this shonen series about a monster fighting rooster. In the vein of their recent smash hit Mashle, this story acts as both a fun-filled, action-packed adventure, and a meta-text on shonen stories. As giant creatures attack Japanese cities, the country only has one hope: a brave-hearted bird who will stand against them and shout his fearsome battle cry: Cock-a-Doodle-Do!

Top Stories
More by Rosie Knight
Trending Topics