Category: Adventure

A Noble Masquerade, by Kristi Ann Hunter

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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.

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Stiletto, by Daniel O’Malley

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Another fantastic book about the British secret agency, The Checquy. Author O’Malley delights with his insight into government bureaucracy, his unexpected monsters, and the wonderful female friendship that is at the heart of the book. The Checquy is attempting to merge with its arch-enemies, and when one of its female soldiers is assigned to bodyguard one of the visiting Grafters, their mutual hostility is at war with their innate politeness to amusing results. You don’t have to have read book 1 to follow Stiletto, but it helps. I love this series with a fiery passion. For 18 and up, due to violence and disturbing supernatural manifestations.

Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

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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.

 

 

The Glittering Court, by Richelle Mead

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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.

Once a Soldier, by Mary Jo Putney

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Handsome Brit Will Masterson has fought against Napoleon and is ready to head back to England when he is sent to analyze the situation in a small (fictional) country that is open to invasion by roving bandits. While there he meets tall and opinionated Athena Markham, who has been working there as an aide to young princess Sofia.

While this novel has a couple of steamy scenes, but Putney is much more interested in the adventure of the historical era and the threats to her fictional nation. It makes for a nice slow-boil romance and some great supporting friendships that more than pass the Bechdel Test. Excellent read, for 18 and up.

 

Crooked Kingdom, by Leigh Bardugo

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While this concluding volume is not a heist story, like the first one, it is still filled with plot twists and surprises. Our gang of six teens return to fictional Ketterdam (think historical Amsterdam) with a mission to get what they are owed. But instead of conning a tourist (or pigeon), they are up against the wealthiest merchant in the city. Bardugo tells a ripping good yarn, and her world-building is like no other. There is terrifying violence in the story, so I recommend 17 and up.

Bruja, by Aileen Erin

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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.