Month: February 2016

Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake, by Sarah MacLean


Terrific bodice-ripper about an “on the shelf” spinster (at 28) who decides there is no point in being sedate and respectable anymore, and the rogue whom she recruits to help her break out of her shell. Wonderful set-pieces ensue as Lady Calpurnia sneaks into a men’s club, smokes cheroot, and and visits a tavern for the first time. Great fun, for 18 and up.


The Spy Princess, by Sherwood Smith


I found this story of a pre-teen girl who participates in a national revolt slow going (it took me three weeks to get through it), but my 13-year-old loved it. It has going for it a strong heroine, fun adventures, and a sense of peril when needed, but I found its world-building short on detail and its transitions too abrupt. For 12 and up.

The Queen in Winter, by Clare Delacroix, Sharon Shinn, Lynn Kurland, and Sarah Monette


An excellent short story collection by four women writers. These lovely fantasy tales all touch upon the title theme but take it in different directions. In Kurland’s story, a kidnapped princess can never return home if she follows the man she loves; in Shinn’s story, a follow-up to a brief scene from her Twelve Houses series, a young mother of a magical child relies on her sister to keep her and the baby safe; Delacroix’s tale is a feminist retelling of The Snow Queen, beautifully done with a modern twist; and in Monette’s story a swordswoman for hire has to solve a murder in which she’s the most likely suspect. Four wonderful reads.

The Thirteenth House, by Sharon Shinn


Another ravishingly lovely book by Sharon Shinn, this continues the story begun in Mystic and Rider. While suspicions of a revolt roil the kingdom, shapeshifter Kirra goes at the king’s request to rescue the regent, Romar Brendyn. Little does she know that meeting Romar will make her question everything she thinks she knows about how she lives her life. A terrific fantasy novel about adults who make tough choices, how their friends respond to those choices, and how our choices affect the lives of those around us. A book to get lost in, for adults and mature teens.

No Good Duke Goes Unpunished, by Sarah MacLean


The third disgraced hero who runs London’s exclusive gambling den is Temple, known as the Killer Duke for a murder in his youth. When he meets a woman from his past, his only thought is to gain revenge on her. But their arrangement quickly sours as they both question their feelings from past and present. Another sexy book in this series, which a kicker of a reveal at the end. For 18 and up.

Written in Red, by Anne Bishop


Another gorgeous round of world-building from Anne Bishop. Her worlds are so fully realized that it is a pleasure to spend time in them. In this story, a damaged girl fleeing from unknown horrors arrives in a shopping center run by Others, led by werewolf Simon Wolfgard. Our heroine, Meg, applies for a posted job as the center’s Human Liaison. From this intriguing beginning, Bishop spins a story of a self-contained community that slowly begins to trust a human being. Where that trust takes them makes for a remarkable, immersive tale. Recommended for 16 and up due to violence.