Here’s the book that has been ruining all my writing progress. It’s the kind of story that forces you to slow down and savor every word of the enviable prose. And then when you’ve finished, you’ll have to start over at page one just so you can read it again with the knowledge you have gained at the end.
Quietly twisted, to horrifying, to bitterly sad, with the most fitting ending I never expected. What a perfect horror story. It left me perfectly unsettled just as it should have. Exceptional on every level. My favorite read of the year.
(For those of you who are sensitive to animal cruelty, skip a few pages when rabbits are mentioned. It’s not graphic, but the details are haunting enough for me to wish I could unread.)
THE GIRL FROM RAWBLOOD by Catriona Ward
Amazon | Goodreads
Here’s another magical story I couldn’t put down. Part of me was bothered by the idea of capturing and caging mythical sea horses, and that feeling only seemed to get worse as the story went on.
But I think that’s kind of the point. It adds to a darkness in this book that wouldn’t be so pronounced without it, and in that darkness this love story shines so bright.
One of my favorite concepts in love stories is when the differences between two people create the perfect connection, a meant-to-be team, and each brings something to the other. Where each person guards the other, keeps them safe from their demons. They don’t just love each other, they need each other in a life-or-death way.
And there’s so much more going on in this plot which I don’t want to mention for fear of ruining the magic.
THE SCORPIO RACES by Maggie Stiefvater
Amazon | Goodreads | Maggie Stiefvater’s website
Characters so real and honest that when tragedy strikes it’s shocking and chilling and so utterly traumatizing. Five hundred stars. Because it’s that damn good. Don’t read this book unless you like reading books with a hand over your mouth and a storm in your heart. But yes, do read it, because the writing is too good to miss.
There are some lulls in the plot early on, and at times it’s a serious slow burn, building lives and characters with lots of talk of ballet. I’ll admit I almost set it aside. Don’t set this book aside. Keep going. Once you reach the thick of it there is no option to set it down until you reach the end.
I read books to find complex, real characters who temporarily–and sometimes forever–become a part of me. I read books to find raw human struggle and survival and portrayals of deepest love. This book has all of that.
THE MAN I LOVE (THE FISH TALES BOOK 1) by Suanne Laqueur
Amazon | Goodreads | Suanne Laqueur’s website
This book has everything I love to read (and write). Ancient magic, underground war. Detailed modern setting with an undercurrent of fantasy. A hero haunted by the past. A heroine with her own demons. Both hunted, both fighting. Reluctant allies. Equals. Soul mates. LOVE LOVE LOVE.
If you like my books, you have to check out this series. Right now the first book is only $.99 on Kindle!
THE SCRIBE by Elizabeth Hunter
Amazon | Goodreads | Elizabeth Hunter’s website
I wrote a review on Goodreads immediately after finishing NOBODY BUT US, and although it’s a bit frantic and simple, I can’t come up with anything better. So here it is. This book will gut you. In the best way possible. And right now it’s only $3.99 on Kindle.
OH MY GOD. I hate this book. I love this book. Five screaming stars. Thank you to the author for having the courage to do that. Poignant, explosive, so brutally romantic.
I do have to add, though, that if you’ve read my books you know my definition of “romantic” is a bit, uh, weird? Twisted? Gory? I’m surprised I don’t get hate mail over what TB does to Liv in Chapter 33 of THE ALIGNMENT.
NOBODY BUT US by Kristin Halbrook
Amazon | Goodreads | Kristin Halbrook’s website
THE RAVEN BOYS was so entertaining on so many levels I could barely stand it. It was hard to read without shouting aloud at the end of every page. What would I be shouting? No idea. Gibberish probably. Or maybe fangirl squeals. My brain was so consumed by great characters and story it had no power left to form words.
THE RAVEN BOYS by Maggie Stiefvater
Amazon | Goodreads | Maggie Stiefvater’s website
THE GASLIGHT DOGS is my favorite read of 2016. It was published six years ago and I don’t know why I waited so long to read it.
Karin Lowachee’s writing is filled to the brim with powerful storytelling enriched by poetic, expert prose, and this book is proof of that. The care that goes into each and every word leaves me speechless. And the characters… their struggles, their reluctant unions, how human and authentic they feel… at times in this book it was almost overwhelming. I often had to set it down just to catch my breath.
I love Sjenn, her peaceful strength, her morals, her refusal to accept the violence that was coming into her land. I found her to be the perfect anchor to Jarrett’s (understandable) bitterness and hostility. Their journey from the comfort of their known worlds into each other’s was both beautiful and devastating. The layers of emotion and human struggle are piled thick, and I know it will take me a long time to fully process it all.
And that ending? My heart! I know there’s been mention of a second book and a third. If it’s really happening I know it’s probably years from being published but I need the second book now. My advice to readers is to buy this book now but hold onto it until #2 is published. Maybe #3 as well.
Wait, what am I saying? Read this book!! You can read it again when #2 is out. Because if you wait, you’re going to be screaming just like I am. Why did I wait so long to read this book?!
I have such hope for these characters, and they are going to be on my mind until I can finish their story.
THE GASLIGHT DOGS is alternate history/fantasy/literary fiction. Some readers classify it as steampunk but I don’t think that’s accurate at all. Don’t let the alternate history part throw you though. This book is a story about people. The setting is historical but the story is timeless. And the fantasy element is just perfect. There’s no romance but it’s really not needed. The relationships built in this book are just as touching as any love story.
THE GASLIGHT DOGS by Karin Lowachee
Amazon | Goodreads | Karin Lowachee’s website
Oh, and if you do read and enjoy this book please post a review on Amazon and Goodreads. Right now it only has a 3-star average which is outrageous.