Novellas are the perfect medium for Christmas themed stories: perfect to read in one sitting under a blanket on a gray day. That said, I think I would have gladly read a full length novel about Ryan and Winter and their roller-coaster week before Christmas. BITTERSWEET CHRISTMAS featured characters that got you invested quickly and kept you hooked until the end.
Motherhood is complex. Your body changes, your identity changes. THE END WE START FROM takes these overwhelming changes and throws in an apocalyptic event for good measure. The story starts as the unnamed narrator, with her husband and friends, prepares for a water birth. In the first few pages the prose is purple, drenched in metaphor rather than conveying the narrator’s frame of mind. It’s not until the narrator gives birth and goes to her in-laws that the story really starts.
I was so disappointed by the second half of this book that I only kept reading out of disbelief that a book with such a promising start had taken such a weird turn for the terrible. ELEMENTAL MATING began with an intelligent protagonist, living in Africa, doing her thing. By the end of the book she had not used her brains or her photographic memory in about a hundred pages.
Retellings of King Arthur’s tale were my first introduction to fantasy as a kid, and it was pleasant coming back to them in a very modern, sexy, gender bending way.
Clones can be an overdone concept in sci-fi but MORE OF ME offers a fresh perspective with its teenage protagonist. Teva is sixteen years old and the sixteenth Teva in her family. On each birthday, her body splits and a new Teva emerges. This new Teva gets to go to school, see friends, lives a life, but the other Teva’s are stuck at home, in hiding.
It’s hard to work up an appetite when sandwiches just want you to love them, cookies taste like anger, and your mom’s food tastes hollow. In THE PARTICULAR SADNESS OF LEMON CAKE, Rose Edelstein would have had a very normal, very dull life if it wasn’t for one thing: she can taste emotion in food. She first notices this power when tasting her mother’s lemon cake, realizing how dissatisfied her mother felt about their family. From then on, Rose has a constant battle with food, preferring mass-produced, machine-made food over handmade meals.
I picked up HER WISH because it sounded kinda corny; it had a little-used premise (genies!) and a chesty cover. I was not expecting to be blown away by a well constructed magical world and a touching, realistic romance that bloomed as the book progressed. I was pleasantly surprised by just how much this book made me smile and frown and laugh.
It’s rare for fantasy books to have a lived-in setting. Instead of existing just to explain backstory to the protagonist, DREAM EATER’s side characters don’t care if Koi Pierce is confused and uncomfortable. DREAM EATER also doesn’t waste time trying to make you like Koi Pierce. You like her or you don’t.
I lost track of how many police interviews Peter and his team conducted, and I loved it. THE HANGING TREE is a solid police workhorse of a novel, where a small team of people who can do magic, and their only slightly bigger team of backup personnel, try to keep the property and collateral damage to a minimum while doing their job.
I loved getting back to Verity’s storyline in CHAOS CHOREOGRAPHY and especially loved that my silent wish was answered which was to have Dance or Die be in the actual story instead of being constantly referenced to. The dance competition reality show was my favorite part of the story and part of this is due to my love of dance competition reality shows.