Month: November 2016

Alpha Divided, by Aileen Erin


Tessa’s conflict between her werewolf and witch sides comes to a head, as the local coven demands she be returned to them to head the coven. Great tension and action in this one, as the story rockets forward. Much fun – still for 16 and up.


A Court of Mist and Fury, by Sarah J. Maas


This stunning second novel is even more powerful than the first, with reveals about the first book that make me want to read it again. Our heroine, Feyre, is deeply changed after the events of the first book, and her post-traumatic stress sends the first ripples of stress through her relationship with the High Fae lord she loves. Simply a scorcher of a story, but for 18 and up, due to very explicit sex scenes (much more so than the first book.) Heck, I’ve read adult romance novels that weren’t this graphic. NOT a YA book.


Six of Crows, by Leigh Bardugo


A terrific heist novel, related only tangentially to Bardugo’s earlier trilogy. When a merchant wants to shut down a new drug that could literally change the world, he calls on the Dregs, a gang from the wrong side of town led by a scrappy and powerful 17-year-old named Kaz. As in any good heist story, Kaz assembles his idiosyncratic team of six, and as they proceed with their plan, we learn more about each of these teens and their traumatic childhoods. This is a twisty and intricate plot, and kudos to Bardugo for making each step in the plan as clear as she does.

In this as in Bardugo’s prior trilogy, her world-building has echos from Amsterdam, from Finland, and from Russia. There is no room for Anglo-centrists in this world. You will want to snap up the next book instantly – this is not a stand-alone. Recommended for 16 and up for violence and childhood trauma.

Becoming Alpha, by Aileen Erin


This nice YA paranormal romance reminded me of the Morganville Vampire series, but with werewolves instead. A fun popcorn romance, in which Tessa gets sentenced to, for her, the worst high school ever for her senior year, and falls for the cutest guy. Some great characterizations here (I really liked Tessa’s roommate) and there is room for them all to grow.

Great fun for the 16 and up crowd.



How to Dazzle a Duke, by Claudia Dain


This was a bodice-ripper, but it was handled differently than most. An arch, very humorous tone was maintained throughout, and the entire first section takes place in one continuous scene, which was very well done. It is not as steamy as most, but our prim and forthright heroine, Penelope Prestwick, is perfectly lovely in her determination to marry a duke. Her intention to marry a specific duke even though she has caught the attention of another one, makes for many comic interludes. For 18 and up.

Come the Spring, by Julie Garwood


I loved the first book in this series, but the short stories that followed were hit or miss, so I had my fingers crossed for this final book, focusing on Cole, the fastest draw among the brothers, who is often mistaken for a gunslinger. In this novel he joins with a U.S. Marshal to run down a murderous gang of bank robbers. The search for the criminals and the protection of a witness to their crimes leads him to meet Jessica, a young mom who is one of three women targeted as a possible witness. There is more than one romance in the book (including a steamy scene), but much of the story is about crime-fighting in the vividly drawn Wild West. I enjoyed this very much, though I would have loved more time with Cole’s family, whom we met in the first novel. For 18 and up.

Dirty Trick, by Christine Bell


I’m not usually a contemporary romance fan, but this one was okay. Trick (see what she did with the title?) has crushed on Grace since he first met her, but she has rightly seen him as a player, so has kept him in the friend zone. When a costume party comes up, Trick decides to see if he can get her attention in disguise and break through her walls. There are some super-steamy scenes in this one, but I’m not invested enough in these characters to continue on. For 18 and up.

The Clayborne Brides, by Julie Garwood


I was very hopeful after my love for For the Roses, that these follow-up short stories would have the warmth and love I’d found in that book. But of the three stories here, only the first one brought me the same measure of contentment. The other two seem less fully formed, and by the final one, the heroine is so “damsel in distress” that it was infuriating. There is also the issue that the final story is about people of color, yet their skin tone is utterly incidental to the story rather than deepening the historical story the author can tell. Only for die-hard fans of the first book, 18 and up.