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Recommended Reads for This Summer: A Guest Post from My Personal Book Guru, Betsy

Hi, peeps!

Betsy found me through Goodreads over a year ago, and thanks god she did! She is an avid reader with very similar taste to mine in books, and a generous and wonderful person. We keep recommending reads to each other which otherwise we would not find, and it's because of Betsy I found many an amazing book, that's why I consider her my personal book guru. Lots of love, chica, and thanks for helping me out.

You can stalk Betsy on Goodreads.

Authors and series I think that everyone should check out this summer:

The Gentlemen of Scotland Yard by Jillian Stone is my favorite with just the right mix of sexy romance, mystery and action.

The Pride by  Shelly Laurenston is an epic, epic series of screwball sexy shapeshifters whose love and bickering know no bounds. It's erotic and hysterical all in one series.

Iron Druid series by Kevin Hearne is an amazing and cool contribution to the UF world.

 Arcadia Bell series by Jenn Bennett is charming and sexy. It features my most favorite teen: Jupiter.

LM Pruitt’s newest Winged Series is sexy, rough, compelling and difficult to put down. If you need more Archangels and Nalini Signh isn’t enough, don’t miss Winged.

The Lynburn Legacy by Sarah Rees Brennan. These are currently my favorite teens in the UF world. I was not a YA UF fan but I am re-evaluating my position. Kami, Angela and Rusty are delicious, rich characters….and funny.

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo. Epic YA urban fantasy.

Deadwood series by Ann Charles is laugh out loud funny with a heroine in her thirties, single mom with 9 yr old twins, bad career, poor prospects and unparalleled curiosity. Great series when you need a break from all the supernatural action.

Ink: A Novel by Bob Garick

I have a penchant for Urban Fantasy and PNR with a bit of weird. This genre can be a bit…formulaic…repetitive?

 Ink broke out of that formula when Bob Garick took on the Nanowrimo – The National Novel Writing Month in which folks write 50,000 words in November.

The result is a weird, super-snarky book about a twenty-something woman.

Our dubious heroine further plagues the PNR formula with confused narration, bad information, a house-load of assumptions and that's not even the good stuff.

 Tracy's boring life turns a huge corner one day at her local coffee shop. Rather than meeting the possible jerk of her dreams she falls into a rabbit hole of thugs, gangsters, espionage and endless amounts of fear. Ooh, and "ink" takes on a complex role in this story and is really a mystery character of its own. Did I mention this is a funny book? 'Cause it is hysterical. The dance-off scene has to be one of the top two funniest scenes I have ever read. Garick captured a young woman's disillusioned, urban coffee house snark perfectly.

Smolder by Penelope Fletcher

I confess that this is not my first or even second series by Penelope Fletcher. I thoroughly enjoyed her Rae Wilder series and her Beautiful Damned series as well. Ms. Fletcher is a young writer with tremendous talent, ambitious goals and concepts and provides an original voice for her characters. I greatly admire the energy that her work contains, and her fresh narratives.

Smolder was a charming and empowering tale for young women as she deconstructs a fairy tale world of princes, dragons, tournaments and royal spoils, and the result is riveting.

The regal dragons in this book live in a brutal world (fighting is to the death and using killing your intended's family as bait is a standard practice) which is on the cusp of evolving out of their Dark Ages.

Of course, our heroine, Marina, is just the push it needs. Ms. Fletcher’s ensemble of characters was extremely well drawn, and caricature was used for comic relief as in the case of Nicholai.

The fairy tale genre is turned upside down as women must battle in the field, in the wild and to the death to get their mates, and ultimately serve as their protectors. I enjoyed that Ms. Fletcher explored both sides of the "you are my mate and it is fate" view of insta-love and played it against "you are so good to me, make me feel great and we might have something here". Friendships, loyalty, kindness, love and grace all come into play and I loved it.

The Allie Beckstrom series by Devon Monk. 

There are nine books in the Allie Beckstrom series, and the beauty of the series is that it's finished and that you do not need to wait another year for the next installment…ahh, instant gratification. The books set a noirish stage in dark, drizzling Portland Oregon, and Allie’s lonely world is blown wide open by love, betrayal, family secrets, invasions, epic battles and strange, strange magic.

Nine books were not enough, but I have to tell you that this series did it RIGHT! The final book was the strongest one and tied up a lot of ends in a sad but also very satisfying way. I LOVED this series.

Karina tells me that my reviews are emotional, and I think it's true because I really reflect on how a book or series makes me feel. I consider how effectively the author makes you feel emotions as well as the environment of their characters. This series makes you experience a great deal of fear, joy, friendship, loss, passion and confusion. You also feel cold, wet, tired and sore…right along with Allie, Zayvion, Shame, Terric and my favorite sidekick, Stone.

There was a bit of ebb and flow in the series. Books three through five involved a lot of world building, character development and reveals but they necessarily established the conflicts and relationships that are critical to the conclusion. Folks, trust me, they were setting the stage, and it is worth it.

The final two books were especially strong and rocked my world. I rate them at 10/10. The great news is that this was not a series meandering along waiting for someone to put it out of its misery.

It had a vision, and by book eight you were in the thick of it and there were payoffs to a reader left, right and center... The magic dazzled me (typically I can find abstract netherworld phosphorescence a bit meh), but here I was on the edge of my seat, practically cheering, then crying and then holding my breath.

At some point I realized that this was not just Allie Beckstrom's story. She had the most AMAZING friends, colleagues, minions, co-workers and side-kicks in the UF world. I wanted all the characters to stay with me all the time (except that they have a lot of trouble and violence, so if we could just cut that part out...) I spent 50% of this darn series worried about the goshdarn gargoyle, Stone. I was going to start a letter writing campaign if things didn't work out for him.

Anyway, this is my list of reccs, and I'm sticking by it. Enjoy!

Karina: You see what I mean about Betsy? She always does recommend me something that I would never heard of otherwise, and I also learned to listen to her when she raves about a book. 


Hannah @ Dragons and Whimsy said...

Okay, you've got my attention with a few of these. Allie Beckstrom, however, didn't grab me. I really enjoyed the first book but book two had me frustrated. I'm a fan of the Grave Watch series. LOVE those. Shall be taking a look at a few of these when Goodreads decides it's no longer a catfish.

Blodeuedd said...

I do wanna try some of those :D

Derna said...

Excellent recommendations! (Possibly because I've read half of them, LOL!) And I have a feeling I'll be finishing the rest of the Allie Beckstrom series sooner than later...really!

Colette said...

Great stuff Betsy, I second all of those!

Unknown said...

Reccomendations look good. I have read a few of these, but it looks like my TBR pile will be growing some more.

kara-karina@Nocturnal Book Reviews said...

Hannah, I agree on Allie Beckstrom - she didn't grab my attention with the first 4-5 books, so I stopped reading.

Thanks, Betsy! To me Smolder and Ann Charles look like the most intriguing choices! :)

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