Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Five Star Books

Posted by: Nicole Luiken

I’m stumped for a  topic (yet again) so I thought I would rave about some of the wonderful books I’ve read this year. Note: the order isn’t a ranking, but rather the order in which I read it, with latest first.


1/ The Unseen by Thea Harrison. Pia and Dragos are back by popular demand (or rather kindness on the author’s part due to the pandemic) as they move to an Other land.

2/ Found Magic by Jax Garren (formerly titled Trickster’s Drum).  I loved Jax’s Beauty and the Beast series and am so glad I rediscovered her writing. Superheroes who channel mythical gods, secret identities and a rock star hero. This is a blend of urban fantasy and romance, with the romance arc stretching across the series.

3/Wolf Rain by Nalini Singh. Latest paperback Psy-Changeling book. I tend to assume everyone’s already aware of this series because it’s so well-loved.

4/ The Gilded Cage by KJ Charles. Historical romance between a jewel thief and a thief catcher.

5/ Chasing Cassandra by Lisa Kleypas. I love Kleypas’ historical romances and this was another wonderful entry in the Ravenel series.

6/ A Heart of Blood & Ashes by Milla Vane (pen name of Meljean Brook). A very gritty and dark fantasy romance that is probably not for everyone, but which I adored.


1/ Peace Talks by Jim Butcher. Long-awaited new Harry Dresden urban fantasy novel. And we get a second novel this year in September! (Okay, the book obviously became too long and had to be split, but I’m really happy we don’t have to wait for next July for this.)

2/ Night Shift by Lilith Saintcrow. Saintcrow is a new author to me and a real find. I picked up the six-book Jill Kismet omnibus on sale as an ebook and have devoured three books already. I love Kismet’s outer toughness and inner vulnerability.

3/ Minimum wage magic/Part Time Gods/Night Shift Dragons by Rachel Aaron. I read the entire DFZ series in one go, which is very rare for me. They were awesome. Plucky heroine, cool setting, lots of action and magic.

4/ Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir. Necromancers in space. This has been nominated for lots of awards and I can see why. A fresh take with a great narrator.

5/ Smoke Bitten by Patricia Briggs. Latest Mercedes Thompson urban fantasy novel. I bought and read this in March and reread it again last week, just because.

6/ Imaginary Numbers by Seanan McGuire. Latest InCryptid novel. This series is a blend of weird science and magic. The basic premise is that cryptids (mythological creatures from dragons to bigfoot) are real and living hidden in our world. The series follows the Price family, who protect the cryptids. So far we’ve had Verity, Alex and Antimony as narrators. I was quite excited to find out this book was from Sarah’s point of view, an adopted cousin and a cryptid herself with some very cool powers.

7/ Shatter the earth by Karen Chance. Latest in the Cassandra Palmer urban fantasy series. I glommed twenty-one books by this author last year and now  have to wait for the actual releases.

8/ Utterly Dwarfed by Rich Burlew. Graphic novel, latest installment in the long-running webcomic. Pokes fun at D & D while being filled with lovable characters and adventure.


1/ Network Effect by Martha Wells. First full-length novel in the Murderbot series.

2/ Zero Sum Game by S.L. Huang. Near future SF, narrator with a mysterious-to-her past. The action scenes were incredible.


1/ Alone in the Wild by Kelley Armstrong. Latest in her Rockton series set in a mysterious town in the Yukon.

2/ Bitter Falls by Rachel Caine. Latest in the Gwen Proctor series. I’m amazed at how high the author keeps the tension cranked, talk about an emotional wringer!


1/ Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky by Kwame Mbalia.  Middle grade, portal fantasy. I read this to my daughter and we both loved it. Fresh voice and world.

2/ Ship of Smoke & Steel by Django Wexler. YA  fantasy. Heroine starts off as an anti-hero. Lots of action and I love the mystery of the prison ship driven by no one.

3/ Call Down the Hawk by Maggie Stiefvater. YA paranormal. First in a spinoff series from the Raven Cycle (which I devoured last year). More Ronan and Adam plus lots of fascinating new characters.

That's it so far! What wonderful reads have you discovered? Tell me in the comments.

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