THE ABC BOOK CHALLENGE – F

Fantasy rules in this batch of books.

FAVORITES

THE FIRE ROSE (Elemental Masters #0), Mercedes Lackey. Another one of my favorite fantasy authors, Lackey spins an engrossing version of Beauty and the Beast set in 1905 San Francisco. After her father dies and leave her penniless, Rosalind Hawkins, a medieval scholar, goes to work for Jason Cameron, a reclusive rail baron. The strange books she translates for him lead her to suspect he’s hiding a secret, which, of course, he is—a spell gone wrong that has left him half-wolf, half-man.

IN THE FORESTS OF SERRE, Patricia A. McKillip. Loosely based on a Russian fairytale, The Firebird, this is a wonderful story of love lost and found. Prince Ronan, mourning the death of his wife and child, flees into the wilderness, where he antagonizes the witch Brume and ends up cursed and bewitched. Princess Sidonie is escorted by a wizard to wed Ronan to avoid war. Sounds familiar, but McKillip’s fabulous, lyrical prose lifts it above the norm.

THE FORGOTTEN BEASTS OF ELD, Patricia A. McKillip. Sybil is the wizard woman of Eld mountain, where she magically communes with animals. She’s content in her isolation until a man called Coren arrives, seeking protection for a baby. Years later, Coren returns and takes Sybil and the child away, pitching her into a world where her powers are exploited for political gain.  Winner of the World Fantasy Award. Another McKillip gem.

THE FOURTH ELEMENT trilogy. Kat Ross. Immerse yourself in the story of Nazafareen, who lives in a fantastic Middle Eastern world where she’s bonded—physically and spiritually, by means of a magic cuff—to Darius, a creature called a daeva. They set off to kill Druj, undead creatures, but their relationship takes many twists and turns. Compelling, original, thought-provoking. The tale continues with The Fourth Talisman series.

WANT TO READ

Can’t think of anything offhand. Recommendations?

 

THE ABC BOOK CHALLENGE – C

Fall is here, a good time to snuggle up with a book and sip mulled cider.

FAVORITES

THE CHANGELING SEA, Patricia McKillip. I enjoy this book at least once a year. Peri, who lost her father in a fishing accident, hexes the sea, which brings a young sorcerer and a half earth-bound, half water-bound changeling into her life. It’s short–only 137 pages–but full of McKillip’s trademark magic, mystery, and lyrical prose.

CHALION (3 book series), Lois McMaster Bujold. A series I love to come back to as often as possible. Best read in order. The Curse of Chalion is the story of Cazaril, once imprisoned, now a princess’s tutor, who must delve into dark magic to break a curse. Paladin of Souls features Ista, manipulated by an untrustworthy god into a struggle to preserve endangered souls. The Hallowed Hunt deals with Lady Ijada, who killed her would-be rapist and is being taken to trial by a haunted lord. Bujold excels at world-building and interweaving magic with passion. [Series is also known as the World of the Five Gods.]

CHILDHOOD’S END, Arthur C. Clarke. I don’t read a lot of science fiction, but this one is stunning. Earth is on the verge of world war when spaceships appear in the skies above every major city. Manned by the Overlords, in fifty years they eliminate ignorance, disease, and poverty.  Is it really a peaceful invasion or is there something more sinister behind it all? Read and find out!

WANT TO READ

CARAVAL, Stephanie Garber. One reviewer on Goodreads calls this a “beautiful story about sisterhood and adventure, full of amazing characters and a delightfully dark world.” Caraval itself is billed as a faraway, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show. Sounds intriguing.

COURTING DARKNESS, Robin La Fevers. Sybella, a trained nun/assassin first seen in Dark Triumph, has a new mission. To keep her two youngest sisters safe, she travels with a duchess to France, where they quickly find themselves surrounded by enemies. Their one hope is Sybella’s fellow novitiate, disguised and hidden deep in the French court years ago by the convent.

THE CRIMSON QUEEN, Alec Huctson. It sounds complicated–innocent villagers with heroic destinies, holy paladins, clever thieves, spider-filled dungeons, malevolent gods lurking behind the scenes–but has received good reviews. And I like supporting other indie authors.

Any others you’d recommend?

 

THE ABC BOOK CHALLENGE – B

FAVORITES

THE BARDS OF BONE PLAIN, Patricia McKillip. Three trial, three terrors, three treasurers. Phelan thinks the legend of Bone Plain is just that. But his research reveals much more. He’s joined by his historian father and a princess who loves adventures outside the castle. An enthralling read.

 

A BEAUTIFUL POISON, Lydia Kang. A wonderful 1918 murder mystery that involves childhood friends reunited at an engagement party. Lots of interesting historical notes about science and the time period.

 

THE BELL AT SEALEY HEAD, Patricia McKillip. An intriguing story that revolves around the mystery of why everyone in the seaside town of Sealey Head hears a bell at sunset, and why certain doors at a guest house open to another time. Another McKillip classic.

 

BITTERBLUE, Kristin Cashore. I think this is the best of Graceling books. Now a queen, Bitterblue learns her realm is under the spell of a madman and she must rely on the help of two thieves to untangle the past and save the future.

 

TBR

THE BLACK WITCH, Laurie Forest. Some reviews on Goodreads criticize its supposed racist slant, while others note that’s to be expected in a book about prejudicial characters. Will have to read and decide for myself.

 

BORN WICKED, Jessica Spotswood. A story of three sisters who are witches in an alternative 1870s New England. Sounds interesting, and I’m ready to try anything with “wicked” in the title. 😉

 

BRUJA BORN, Zoraida Cordova. I suppose I should read LABYRINTH LOST first. The story of a Latina healer in Brooklyn.