This is the place for book reviews and book-related round-ups or lists. I read all sorts of things, but book reviews here will mostly be of the science fiction, fantasy, YA, historical fiction, or contemporary fiction variety. My reviews are based on a) how much I enjoyed reading a book and b) the quality of the writing; there is not an exact balance or recipe for how I come up with my final rating, but those are the points I consider. Also, I read a LOT more books than I do full reviews on, so if you want the full rundown of activity, find me on Goodreads. You can also check out my list of Recommended Reads.
I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately (who, me?) and wanted to catch you up on some of the highlights. Here’s what I’ve enjoyed recently:
Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye.
A Gothic retelling of Jane Eyre, this novel follows the protagonist through similar life events: an uncaring aunt, abusive schoolmaster, refuge in a country house as a governess with a brooding master. There is one big difference, though – this Jane has escaped each horrid circumstance by killing her tormentor, leaving a trail of bodies behind her. Is she truly wicked, or a victim fighting back against cruelty? Will she unravel the mystery of her new home and find love, or will her past catch up with her? This was a wildly good read, entertaining and evocative of the literature it’s based off of. There’s a good bit of mystery, a good bit of romance, and a few unexpected bits. If you’re a fan of the original Jane Eyre, and murder mysteries, give this a go.
The Dowser Series by Meghan Ciana Doidge.
Jade is a half-witch who just wants to run her bakery in peace. Her particular magic talent, though, is rare. When black magic, vampires and werewolves descend on her town, she finds herself right in the middle of it. And wondering what the non-witch half of her might be. This is a 6-book series that follows Jade through discovering who she is, dealing with some horrible stuff, and coming into her own. The books are all pretty short (in fact, books 1-3 could’ve been condensed into 1 book, and the same for books 4-6), and light, easy reads. The story is entertaining, and Jade is likable enough to keep you caring. I did get a little tired of some of the books’ gimmicks (overload on details about cupcakes, chocolate and shoes) and certain plot points were VERY predictable, but not enough to stop me reading. There’s good banter, plenty of romance, and a fun new twist on dragons. Overall, an enjoyable series. If you like urban fantasy with some sexy times, give this a go.
The Tainted Accords by Kelly St. Clare.
What do you get when two opposite worlds (one of fire, one of ice) loathe one another but depend on each other for survival? A very tenuous peace. When Olina (princess of the fire world) unexpectedly befriends Kedrick (prince of the ice world) during a peace delegation, she has no idea the events she’s about to set in motion. This 4-book series centers on Olina- her history with her mother, the secret behind her veil, her journey to independence and identity, and (of course) the fate of the two worlds. It’s got something for everyone: romance, adventure, intrigue, danger, mystery and some surprises thrown in for good measure. While Olina occasionally annoyed me with her reactions to certain situations, it was in line with her character and history. The supporting characters are really well done. The banter is excellent. The world-builing is unique, and the dichotomy it sets up between the two cultures is interesting. While the covers might lead you to believe there is magic, there is not. This is a fantasy in the sense of fictional worlds. But if you like YA with resistance plotlines and slow-growth romance, give this series a try.
Bonus: this whole series available for free through Kindle Unlimited, if you have that.
Never say I don’t read enough women authors and women protagonists. 😆
What have you been reading lately?