Stormsong by C. L. Polk

Stormsong lived up to it in many ways. I loved the romantic aspects, and I especially loved Grace’s romantic partner, Avia Jessup. However, I have one major gripe that overshadowed the whole experience for me: Grace never once had to truly face any consequences or earn redemption for her horrible actions in Witchmark. … More Stormsong by C. L. Polk

My Beautiful Life by KJ Parker

My Beautiful Life plays with structure and characters in a way that seems to be slightly divorced from its intended audience. When taken as a writing study, it’s actually quite interesting – how might an author bring about a story wherein the end is revealed at the beginning? Unfortunately, writing studies typically aren’t being published en masse. They’re just studies, meant to hone writing skills. Although this novella nails the tone and characters it seeks to portray, it was very difficult to connect with the story as a reader.  … More My Beautiful Life by KJ Parker

The Vine Witch by Luanne G. Smith

The Vine Witch is steeped in the soil of the Chanceaux Valley, an area made famous for its wine. It seeks to transport you and all of your senses such that you feel the grapes, the vines, smell the rich scent of soil, and the fragrance of the aging barrels tucked away in the ancient wine cellars. The novel takes place during the turn of the century just as the automobile & airplanes have become established into public knowledge, giving the novel a wonderful sense of the old coming into first contact with the new more modern ways of doing things. Wine making acts as a bridge between the two – it’s a tradition that spans generations, even as it finds itself in a new, more modern era. … More The Vine Witch by Luanne G. Smith

Fortuna by Kristyn Merbeth

Fortuna’s premise snagged me in an instant – a whole family of space smugglers! Devastating massacres! A young, roguish captain! How could I resist? Yet, while it didn’t disappoint… neither did it impress. Advertised as “Perfect for fans of Becky Chambers and Catherynne M. Valente,” I came in expected both interesting twists and turns combined with a cast of truly lovable, yet kind characters. Ultimately, the characters were decent, the setting cliche, and the plot mostly straightforward and with a few straggling ends. Many interesting ideas that it could have delved into, such as recovery from child abuse/neglect, were only touched on briefly at best and stranded high and dry at worst.  … More Fortuna by Kristyn Merbeth

Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Gods of Jade and Shadow is a light, fairytale-esque read focusing on Mayan and Mexican history and mythology. Set in the 1920s, the midst of the jazz era, the setting comes across as different and refreshing given how infrequently Mexico is featured in non-translated fantasy. I would recommend this to people who are looking for fantasy that straddles the line between adult and YA content. It’s quick-moving with characters who conform to existing archetypes. Although there is nothing particularly ground-breaking in this novel, it is overall competently written and something I’d consider to be a good vacation read. … More Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

The Miracles of the Namiya General Store by Keigo Higashino

The Miracles of Namiya General Store is a book of interconnected short stories focusing on the lives of individuals who were helped or shaped by both the store and a nearby orphanage, called Marumitsuen. It follows a group of delinquents, an Olympic fencer, and a real estate tycoon amongst others. It’s a book about how everyone’s lives are connected to one another, how one small action can lead to much larger impacts spanning across generations. … More The Miracles of the Namiya General Store by Keigo Higashino

The Redemption of Time by Baoshu – A Three-Body Problem Novel

While I think there’s a lot for Three-Body fans to enjoy in this novel, I felt that Baoshu’s contribution to the universe lacked the urgency and depth of the main trilogy. Where Cixin had a set, specific danger within each of his books, Baoshu takes on more of a historian role; the first third of the book is entirely contained within a conversation between two characters, Tianming and AA, discussing what has already happened to them. … More The Redemption of Time by Baoshu – A Three-Body Problem Novel

A Sword Named Truth by Sherwood Smith

A Sword Named Truth (ASNT) is the first in a new series by Sherwood Smith, set in the same world has the Inda Quartet: Sartorias-Deles. Similarly to Inda, ASNT begins with a young cast and will follow them into adulthood in subsequent books. While the characters are children, this book is not YA nor would I necessarily recommend it to younger readers given the dense worldbuilding. … More A Sword Named Truth by Sherwood Smith

David Mogo, Godhunter by Suyi Davies Okungbowa

The heavens have burst and the gods have fallen. Some are minor pests, mere godlings, but some are high gods with unknown magics and powers. David Mogo, a half-god, contracts himself out to the people of Lagos to help with godling infestations. However, when the local ruling wizard offers him a contract to capture a pair of twin gods, David knows the job is bad news.  … More David Mogo, Godhunter by Suyi Davies Okungbowa

Shadow Frost by Coco Ma

A Woman of uncertain origin has raised a demon using the taboo art of shadow magic… and only the princess of Axaria can stop her. Asterin, skilled both in blades and elemental magic, rises to the challenge along with a group of her friends. Along the way, she discovers the secrets plaguing her queendom go much deeper than she ever could have imagined. … More Shadow Frost by Coco Ma