An absolutely terrific Regency romance for all ages. Such a wonderful blend of adventure, chemistry and sheer fun that I didn’t even miss the steamy bits. Lady Miranda is used to writing her thoughts in the form of a letter to her older brother’s best friends, whom she has never met. When one of the those letters is suddenly posted by her husband’s new valet, chaos ensues.
This was remarkably good, and the central love story is deeply satisfying. Miranda is an older, unwed sister to a beautiful younger sister, and her insecurities and frustrations about remaining ladylike make her wonderful to read. Highly recommended, for 16 and up.
This is another dark YA dystopia, this one set in a bleak world divided into the Reds and Silvers, where the reds (who bleed red blood) are the underlass to the Silvers, who bleed silver blood and have special powers. When Mare, our heroine, a teen girl slated for conscription into the ongoing war, is swept abruptly in the Silver world, she suddenly has the potential to make extraordinary change.
This has wonderful world building, but the unrelenting grimness becomes oppressive well before the end of the book. That said, it still kept me frantically turning pages as the plot drove forward with some truly terrifying political intrigue. For 16 and up for violence.
This was slow getting started for me, but the payoff was worth the persistence. Lirael is now working fulltime to banish the Dead and dispose of Free Magic creatures, and her story intertwines with that of Ferin, who has a critical message from her people for Lirael. Nix continues to create new challenges for his heroines, and it makes for a fascinating read. For 16 and up.
Cassandra Clare begins a new Shadowhunters series, and she is in top form. Without the burden of exposition that slowed her first series, and back in the present-day, unlike her second series, she introduces us to new characters and the plot takes off from there. Fighter Emma Carstairs nearly storms off the page, and her best friend and fellow fighter Julian is well-drawn also, as a young man who has shouldered too much responsibility for too long.
Y’all know I am not a fan of fictional teenagers meeting and falling for someone they will love forever, but Clare’s tales are compelling enough that I roll with it. Recommended for 16 and up for (non-graphic) teen sex and some rock-n-roll violence.
Our heroine is a countess in a fictional country who risks being betrothed to a man she despises. Her solution sends her on an adventure she could never have imagined to the other side of her world. This book had some echoes of The Selection, but I thought it took us in a very different direction, one much more filled with adventure and with a romance that carries danger and risk to both partners. I liked our heroine’s growth over the course of the novel, and her independence is hard-fought. I know there is more to this series, but this one is nicely self-contained. For 16 and up.
Kestrel is a 17-year-old general’s daughter, and the path before her is clear. She can join the military or get married. And she doesn’t want to do either. So when she buys a slave, a native of their conquered land, she doesn’t expect to find a third path, but she does. And that choice changes everything, as her understanding of what it means to be conquered pulls her the opposite direction from her duty to her father.
This book did not go where I expected it to, instead, it pulled me in multiple directions as surely as the story does its lead character. This is not a stand-alone; it will propel you into the next book. For age 16 and up for now. (One of my pet peeves in when early books are appropriate for a certain age, then later books in that series are definitely NOT appropriate. Looking at you, Sarah J. Maas!)
This Christian romance is set in the lumber camps of forested 1883 Michigan. Lily has arrived in Harrison, Michigan to check this town’s brothels, liberate who she can, and free her sister, who has disappeared into sexual slavery. She never expects to meet Connell, a local businessman who has kept himself pure, as she has.
What I liked about this novel was the genuine history of the era’s lumber camps, which eviscerated the forests of an area and moved on, and the taverns and brothels which sprang up to service the “shanty boys” who worked as lumberjacks. The lead romance is fine, and both characters do mature and grow over the course of the novel. For fans of this genre only, 16 and up.
In a change from the first three books in the series, this one focuses on Claudia (pronounced Cloud-ia), a witch or bruja, who is the cousin to our heroine of the first three novels. Claudia is the de facto leader of a small group of witches who have left their black-magic coven, and she has to figure out how to free them from their blood oaths to their former leader. A fun read and it’s nice to have the focus on magic in this one. For 16 and up.