Month: October 2016

Heir of Fire, by Sarah J. Maas

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Still rereading my way up to the newly released fifth book:

This third book of the series takes a very different tack, as Celaena leaves the castle for the first time to discover her heritage and, perhaps, claim her birthright. Challenged to fight in new ways by the Fae Rowan, she will re-learn all she knew. Terrific writing continues here – can’t wait for book four! For 16 and up due to violence and terror.
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Magic Binds, by Ilona Andrews

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Wow! The best one in this series for quite a while, though I have enjoyed them all. Atlanta mercenary Kate Daniels just wants to live her life: marry her boyfriend, get her PI agency going, fight the occasional monster. But she is the daughter of the greatest evil the planet has ever seen, and she will have to face him sooner rather than later. This novel just explodes across the pages, and it incorporates all the characters we’ve come to care about. A wonderful celebration of all that is great and good in the Kate Daniels novels: adventure, romance, negotiation, and assorted badassery. A fantastic read – 18 and up.

The Golden Braid, by Melanie Dickerson

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A wonderful (and Christian) retelling of the Rapunzel story, set solidly in a German town in the middle of the Holy Roman Empire. Rapunzel and her adopted mother live a solitary life, and Mother has filled Rapunzel’s head with suspicions about men and the evil they represent. Yet Rapunzel’s natural joy and curiosity keep her from becoming as embittered as her mother, and, at 19, she is still hopeful she will find the right man for her. Sir Gerek rides unexpectedly into their lives, and Rapunzel may have to choose between following her dreams or following her mother’s path. Highly recommended for 16 and up, due to a deeply disturbing mother-figure.

When a Scot Ties the Knot, by Tessa Dare

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A very nearly perfect historical romance, one that features a heroine who doesn’t see her own worth, and a hero with his heart so deeply buried he’s forgotten he has one. This one almost made me weep from satisfaction and creates a genuine feeling of all is right with the world (which is why we read romances, amiright?).

Our heroine, at 16, made up a relationship to cover her painful shyness, and, a decade later, her chickens come home to roost, as all good lies do. An absolute joy, for 18 and up.

Ask For It, by Sylvia Day

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It is very difficult, as a writer, to convey “I must have you,” and make it sound romantic, rather than creepy. This novel falls squarely on the creepy side. Marcus is obsessed to the point of rapist/stalker, and, sadly, Elizabeth is all “he turns me on so it’s okay that he treats me this way.” I also hesitate to call this historical fiction, for all that it’s set in 1770, because it has some substantial anachronisms. Period language seems to go out the window in the interest of writing steamier scenes. I won’t read the next in this series. For 18 and up.

Chasing Power, by Sarah Beth Durst

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This present-day YA took me quite a while to get into, but perseverance pays off. Sixteen-year-old Kayla is telekinetic, and uses her power (against her mother’s wishes), to steal money and valuables out of retail stores. But when a cute boy suddenly notices what she is doing, she is pulled into an epic quest that will challenge truths she has known all her life. A good read for ages 14 and up.

Never Love a Highlander, by Maya Banks

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This final book in the trilogy picks up exactly where the second left off. To save his clan, Caelen has agreed to marry a woman he doesn’t know and to become Laird of a new clan. His new bride, Rionna, is a warrior in her own right, but Caelen wants to put her firmly in the “Be a Lady” box, whether that’s who she is or not. Author Banks takes this conflict in interesting directions, and I enjoyed the ride enormously. Another steamy read, for 18 and up.

Cleopatra’s Daughter, by Michelle Moran

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This historical fiction is a fascinating look into the worlds of Egypt and Rome and the height of their power, but it feels like a strange cross between YA and adult literature. The prose seems targeted at a YA audience, and our lead character goes from age 10 to age 15 during the book. Yet much of the story is understandably bleak and violent, as were humanity’s short brutal lives in the era. We spend time in the vicious Circus Maximum, watch slaves being crucified, discuss abandoned infants eaten by wolves, and assorted other period horrors. So I’m guessing the targeted age is high school – maybe 14 and up.

That said, we root for Selene and her brother to overcome the tragedy that has scarred their lives, and the period detail is immersive and fascinating. If this is your interest area, I recommend it.