*This review originally appeared on Goodreads.
A Dragon of a Different Color by Rachel Aaron
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I love these books!
I first heard the author on Joanna Penn’s podcast and thought her books sounded interesting, so I added one to my wishlist. I just started them recently by listening to book 3 on Audible (it was on sale, what can I say?). I plowed through that one and then this one before going back to book 1, where I am now.
It’s not the first time I’ve started in the middle of a series, but the fact that I could says a lot about the series. There was always enough info about what came before but not so much that the pace got bogged down. It never felt slow in the least.
Marcy and Julius are just such loveable, flawed characters. I was rooting for them (and many of the other characters) from the start. I love the fact that I could feel empathy even for the “bad guys” at times.
Aaron deftly manages to introduce her characters at such a good pace that you get a good feel for them without getting overwhelmed by too many at once or getting bored.
There is plenty of humor and a genuine contemporary feel to this series, even though it’s set on an alternate earth (in the near future?). The world building was excellent, and I could easily picture this world as it would be with magic, dragons, and spirits.
Excellent covers as well!
I could go on and on, but if you like contemporary fantasy (or just fantasy in general), read these books!
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The Books in the Heartstrikers’ Series
The Forest House by Tamara Rokicki
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Warning: Minor Spoilers
The Forest House, Book One of The Ashar Prophecies, is a promising young adult paranormal fantasy from debut author Tamara Rokicki. The book adds a new twist to vampire lore while still keeping favorite mores alive.
The greatest strength of this novel is its pacing. It’s one of those books where you sit down intending to read one chapter and end up reading six instead. It pulls you brilliantly along with lead character Hera in her journey from anxiety-ridden outcast to high priestess of a sect of vampires she didn’t even know existed. (She didn’t know there were vampires, let alone castes of them!)
The characters, most notably Hera herself, are believable and relatable with strong and unique voices. I was a little worried when I got to the kidnapping part. Kidnapping stories can quickly cross the line to feeling contrived, but with a strong hold on her character and her motivations, Rokicki plays it perfectly.
I feel like we’re still getting to know Aethen, Hera’s love interest, but that’s natural since The Forest House is all from Hera’s point of view. In fact, it makes me want to go grab Rokicki’s short story, “Aethen’s Awakening” to get to know him even better.
I am a fiction editor, so I’m kind of nitpicky about these things. I felt the book could have used one more pass for things like the occasional dropped word, wrong word (expect vs. except), and dangling participle. However, these issues were minor and in no way impeded my enjoyment of this story.
It’s a definite page turner. Don’t be surprised when you finish it and are asking for the next one. Write quickly, Rokicki, all right?
The Scribe by Elizabeth Hunter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book is a mix of romance and supernatural elements. The supernatural concept of this book very intriguing and new to me at least, although it’s origins and inspiration are old.
The initial third or so of the book was superbly done. It pulled me right in. The author takes us into Ava’s world and introduces the supernatural elements of the Irin very well.
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Furies of Calderon by Jim Butcher
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Like many fans of the Dresden Files, I was a little hesitant to listen to Furies of Calderon. I had started to read the paperback once or twice before and just couldn’t get past the first chapter. I had the same issue with Butcher’s The Aeronaut’s Windlass. However, with both books, audio proved to be the right format for me.
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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts 1 & 2 by John Tiffany
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I am a big fan of the original seven Harry Potter books, so I was eager to read this. As a member of my local community theater, I wasn’t put off by the fact that it was a script either. However, in the end, the story felt disjointed, and I didn’t have a chance to connect with the characters because it moved so fast from time to time and place to place.
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