This YA romance is given surprising depth with a background of xenophobia in a world not far removed from ours. At the center of Melissa Landers’ ALIENATED is the sweet and honest love story of Cara Sweeney and Aelyx of the L’eihr, an alien race that offers humanity a cancer cure upon making first contact. The parallels to present-day fears of ‘aliens’ are familiar without being heavy-handed or preachy, and we’re gifted with a protagonist who does not go easily into the role of L’eihr champion, but shows the reader exactly how and why she falls in love with one.
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CRUEL BEAUTY is the fairy tale retelling I didn’t know I was waiting for. Taking the Beauty and the Beast story and turning it upside down, spinning it around and still keeping it recognizable, CRUEL BEAUTY was entrancing and mind-blowing.
As an unabashed Raine Benares fangirl, I was delighted when I saw Lisa Shearin was coming out with an Urban Fantasy series, SPI Files. I was also secretly terrified that my expectations were completely unrealistic and I was going to be awfully disappointed. Luckily, THE GRENDEL AFFAIR was a delightful entree into a new world, with an engaging heroine, a mysterious partner, hints of romance, and great action scenes.
A perfect balance between romance, period fiction, and ghost story, Jenn Bennett’s BITTER SPIRITS is the flapper romance I’ve been waiting for. Fans of the Arcadia Bell series know Bennett can generate some heat, but dial it up to eleven for this lovely, ghostly romance filled with fashion, passion, and bootlegging.
THE SPIDER is the Elemental Assassin book I’ve been waiting for. I’ll admit to being a few books behind in my reading, but this prequel installment doesn’t require you to be all caught up on current events to enjoy it, or even be a reader of the series at all! Full of the standard Estep drama, action and witty quips, THE SPIDER was everything I wished for and more.
A mashup of the story of the Titanic and Beth Reavis’s Across the Universe trilogy, THESE BROKEN STARS is part adventure, part thriller, and part romance. The first in the Starbound trilogy, THESE BROKEN STARS is one of those books that once you pick it up, you can’t put it down. I read the entire thing in a day – and writing this review was hard because I feel like I can’t do the book justice and explain how much I loved it.
If the description alone isn’t enough to let you know that this is a dark series, I’ll reiterate it. This is a dark series; and I give Sarah Fine all due credit for this, she doesn’t back off the darkness at all in FRACTURED. If anything, she kicks it up a notch. For all the warm fuzzies at the end of SANCTUM, the honeymoon period was shockingly brief although no less wonderful for being so fleeting.
Having already gone through the Vampire Academy gauntlet, I knew THE FIERY HEART was going to be an emotional roller-coaster. I wasn’t disappointed. There was even a primal scream at the end and a depressing glance at my calendar to gauge how much time between now and July, when the next book comes out. There was also a brief mental flogging for not waiting until the series was finished before starting it to save myself these horrendous waits. Alas, I’m not that strong.
While not normally drawn in by retellings of the The Snow Queen (Beauty and the Beast is more my style) COLD SPELL surprised me with its originality and unique take on a lesser known fairy tale. I enjoyed the twists and turns in the story and the way Pearce spaced it out, giving the reader small bits and pieces as the story progresses. With a strong female lead character, action and a tender romance, I couldn’t have asked for anything more from COLD SPELL.
RAGS & BONES is a gorgeously curated collection of short stories, as satisfying for the glimpses of each story’s origin story as the final product. Have you ever wished you could be a fly on the wall when your favorite author pitches an idea? See a little piece of art through their creative lens? As favorite authors distill classic tales to their essence, this anthology was immersive and thought provoking, a masters class in the creative process with an all star attendance list.