No honey, stop reading, I didn’t say fantasies, I said fantasy!
Lately, some of my most sigh-worthy reads have fallen in the fantasy/fantasy-romance category. Those are the books that I’ve closed the covers and positively glowed with that good book feeling. It’s made it difficult to jump to another genre for my pleasure reading, because I don’t want to give up that feeling.
In the past month I’ve read and enjoyed:
Poison Study by Maria Snyder. I’ve owned this book since it was first released. I bought it immediately. And then it sat on my shelf. Why? Why? I don’t know, but it was a positive review from Jay several months ago that moved it to the top of my list. And I realized that I own not one but TWO copies of the ARC of Magic Study. I thought I’d better read Poison Study so I could at least take advantage of the perks of having an ARC. I loved Poison Study, stayed up way past my bedtime to read it. Ignored editing in the morning in favor of finishing. Recommended Read for anyone who loves romance fantasy. And it’s now available in mass market paperback (just in time for the October release of Poison Study) so it’s not a hardcover purchase!
Magic Study by Maria Snyder. I was leery of the sequel. I still had the warm fuzzies from Poison Study and I didn’t want to lose those or the good feeling. I was afraid, like many sequels, Magic Study wouldn’t compare. So I waited about a week before I picked it up. And I really wondered about the romance aspect. I know Magic Study hasn’t released yet, so I’m not going to give any spoilers but I will say this; I was satisfied with the book. Yes, it wasn’t the same as Poison Study. It takes place in a different locale, there are different issues to tackle and discover. But the secondary characters are still fully realized and I didn’t find myself disappointed in the book. Another Recommended Read.
The Smoke Thief by Shana Abe. Another book I’ve seen discussed around the internet, I didn’t want to pay hardcover price for an author I’m not familiar with. I was hoping to get the book in a contest I’m judging, since it fell in the category I requested, but somehow I ended up judging category romance instead. For the second year in a row. HOW that happened, I’m not sure, but I’m not really the best choice for judging category romance, lolol. Anyhow, back to the Smoke Thief. I had emailed Jane about something else regarding purchasing at a particular site, and mentioned The Smoke Thief. She pointed me to Powell’s who had the ebook version on sale for 5.99. Sweet! So I snatched it up and put it on my Ebookwise. Another book that I stayed up way later than I should have reading, and then discarded other duties in favor of finishing the next day. Again, I’m worried about the sequel being as good as the original. For an alternate perspective, though, I mentioned to Mandy that I liked the book and she said she thought it was just “okay”. I believe she said she thought the writing was too flowery. I didn’t get that from my perspective, but if you know Mandy (or her writing) at all, it makes sense from hers Again, Recommended Read.
Cast in Courtlight by Michelle Sagara. This is the sequel to her earlier book, Cast in Shadow. I liked this book, though not as much as I enjoyed the first one, and I felt a little…hm. Irritated with the heroine, because she struck me as rather ego-centric and acting like a spoiled brat most of the time. We’re supposed to like her because everyone else does (for some reason, even though she can’t seem to follow the rules and they don’t seem to apply to her) and we know she’s important because important people keep giving her attention/giving her special privileges and favors that no one else gets. She’s special because she has these markings and this odd magic, you see… So the plot device of her being “special” (did I mention she’s special?) and being singled out kind of irritated me for some reason, near the end, when I started to really think about things. And I had to really concentrate to keep track of the different races of “people”, the world-building, etc. It seemed a bit complicated to me and I don’t like that because I don’t like to have to think TOO hard. I’m spoiled and I already have to think really hard about plots and world building when I edit. I’ve discovered a lazy streak in my pleasure reading. But despite what I perceived as its flaws, I enjoyed the book and would read the sequel. When that sequel be is anyone’s guess, because Michelle Sagara doesn’t appear to have a website that’s been updated past October of last year. But that’s another blog post. I’m not giving Cast in Courtlight a recommended read, though I did enjoy it and don’t regret reading it (but since recommended reads are only for books I really loved, I can’t give it that) but I do recommend Cast in Shadow. Of course, reading the sequel might naturally follow if you like the first one
Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh. Okay, it’s not fantasy romance, but it’s paranormal and it was a damn good book. I read it in one night, without putting it down and I immediately told anyone who would listen to buy it and read it. It’s on my keeper shelf and I’d actually like to reread it soon (which is very unusual for me these days). Did I mention it’s a damn good book? Now I’m nervous for how good the sequel will be because I always want them to be as good as the first book (as you can see from my above ramblings).
I was lucky enough to work on a fantasy romance in the past couple months. The sequel to Michelle Pillow’s King of the Unblessed, Faery Queen is second in the Realm Immortal series. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working on the books because Michelle is an excellent storyteller. I don’t usually plug Samhain too much on my blog, but since I’m talking about the fantasy genre and what I’ve enjoyed recently, I think her books deserve a mention. And I got the proposal for her third book and signed it last week, and hot damn, it’s going to be GOOD, so read the first two so you can look forward to the third
I’ve just started On Fire’s Wings by Christie Golden, though it’s been a few days and I’m still on the prologue, but I hold out hopes that it will be another excellent read. Of course, I’ve realized that this book seems to be a sequel to another and I CAN’T read out of order (it’s an illness) so I’ll have to hunt down the previous one first.
I’ve had Naomi Novik’s His Majesty’s Dragon in my cart (in ebook form) a few times, but despite hearing positive things about this book, I’m still skeptical, for whatever reason, so I don’t own it yet. I think because I know it’s not romance, it’s more fantasy, and I still enjoy romance in my books, no matter the genre.
So, since the Christie Golden book needs to be set aside until I get the first book in the miniseries (no really, I can’t read out of order) does anyone have any fantasy reads they’d recommend? I’m not quite ready to give up on my fantasy kick yet, since I’ve had such good luck. I did notice, as I was writing this, that four of the books I’ve read (or am reading) came from Harlequin’s Luna line. I have more on my TBR shelves, so perhaps I’ll pull those out and read them. And look to see what they’re offering in ebook format . But I’d love some recommendations, anyone?