Aeslin mice. Fae revolutionaries. Assassin nuns. Ottoman Empire. Tang Dynasty.
I decided to do something different this year. I’m splitting my mid-year favorites into two groups: new-to-me authors and books from favorite authors/series. So far, I’ve read 16 new-to-me authors. Of those, these are the books I felt were 5-star reads. They are listed in no particular order other than the order I read them; however, it’s neat how the first two are contemporary fantasy and the bottom three are historically-set.
Discount Armageddon (Seanan McGuire) – from my review: “This was a fun read. I really enjoyed the world-building. Though her passion is dancing, it doesn’t take up much of the story. Most of Verity’s time is spent solving the mystery, doing her patrols, and working as a waitress.” .
The Shadow Reader (Sandy Williams) – Mckenzie’s ability to track the fae was interesting and it liked how the author had to explain how she does it. The book does have a love triangle — though it reminds me of the Sam-Mercy-Adam relationship in the Mercy Thompson series. I don’t think we’ll see McKenzie waffling between Aren and Kyol in future books.
Grave Mercy (Robin LaFevers) – The book does have a slight fantasy element, but the plot is centered on the politics of Anne of Brittany’s court as she struggles to keep her country free from France. Ismae is trained to take out enemies of Brittany, but she’s way out of her element dealing with political intrigue and court politics. The romance was sweet and low-key.
A Secret in Her Kiss (Anna Randol) – An unusual setting for a Regency romance novel: Constantinople. Because of her history, Mari is an unusual Regency heroine. She’s not a professional spy, but she provides intelligence to further her own agenda. I really liked the characters, including Mari’s maid, Achilla.
Butterfly Swords (Jeannie Lin) – I loved pretty much everything about it. Ai Li is a great heroine. Raised in a military family, she’s a skilled sword-woman and she actually gets to show off her skills. I would have loved reading more about Miya and Adrian (their story sounded like it was a thrilling, action-packed adventure).