Category: Uncategorized

Ask For It, by Sylvia Day

54488

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.

The Assassin’s Blade, by Sarah J. Maas

18243700

The prequels to this series are almost more intense than the series itself. The violence and sexual content makes this one 16 and up, despite how many of these are stocked in middle schools.

That said, these wonderful short stories cover all the referenced issues in the life of our heroine, a 16-year-old assassin, before Book 1. Almost uniformly bleak and/or disturbing, it sets up the tough world established in the core series.

Storming the Castle, by Eloisa James

9755367

A sweet and sexy follow-up to A Kiss at Midnight, this novella focuses on our handsome prince’s illegitimate brother. Wick is as charming as the prince, but his work in service and the factors around his birth make him ineligible for Lady Phillipa Damsen, who comes to the castle to serve as nursemaid to the infant prince. Can Wick find his way beyond his duty into love? For 18 and up.

 

A Clash of Kings, by George R. R. Martin

13253160

In this immersive second novel, the kingdom is unraveling, with multiple claimants to the Iron Throne, and war destroying high- and low-born alike. Again, Martin spares his characters nothing.

The depth of this book is remarkable. Martin’s multiple points of view take us across the kingdom; the collective story is utterly absorbing and the world-building is extraordinary. It is also exceptionally oppressive in tone, with rape and murder, death and betrayal around every corner. The collective impact of it left me exhausted and grateful for a brief reprieve before I wade into book three.

Knowing the darkness of these books, I held off on reading them for a long time; this is not high fantasy (as the young princess character and I like to imagine), but low fantasy, filled with piss and blood and filth. But there are many rewards: the political intrigue and backbiting, the chance to disappear into fully realized characters, and the discovery of a fantasy world that will always live in some corner of my mind.

Fire Touched, by Patricia Briggs

25776210

I enjoyed about this 9th Mercy Thompson novel, but it felt, in many ways, less epic than prior installments. So while many of the things I love about Mercy remained (her relationship with Adam the Alpha werewolf, the reappearance of the fae walking stick, and the progression of the overall plot), this was a quieter book.

Which I guess is fitting, since Mercy and Adam are solidly married, and some of what she has to wrangle has to do with how their relationship has grown and matured. They also face how the werewolves will interact with the fae who have retreated from the broader society.

Recommended for Mercy fans, but probably not the book to start the series with. For 18 and up.

The Dream-Maker’s Magic, by Sharon Shinn

97968

The final book in the Safe-Keepers trilogy is another stand-alone, though there are references to the earlier tales for those who notice them. Kellen’s mother insists that Kellen was born a boy, not a girl, so Kellen is raised as a boy. Then, when she’s 10 years old, she meets Gryffin, a boy who doesn’t care if she’s a boy or a girl, and who becomes her best friend. Another lyrical tale from Shinn, who sweeps us away into her world, and brings peace and joy in all she writes. Wonderful.

Burned, by P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast

This House of Night book takes off in a whole new direction after the shocking ending of Book 6. Stevie Rae tries to come to turns with both her role as High Priestess of the red fledglings and her role as the Imprinted partner of someone wholly inappropriate. We also see Heath as he tries to help Zoey, who is damaged almost beyond recognition. I’m really deeply engrossed in these books! For 16 and up.