Nora Roberts concludes her Boonsboro Inn trilogy (The Next Always, The Last Boyfriend) with The Perfect Hope, the story of the third Montgomery brother Ryder and the innkeeper Hope. Hope has come to Boonsboro after losing her heart to the wrong man and her hotel manager job in Washington, D.C. She loves the restored Inn Boonsboro and runs the inn with care and attention to detail. Her close friends Avery and Clare are in relationships with two of the three Montgomery brothers who worked to restore the old inn to it’s current grandeur. Ryder has always been a mystery to her–a man of few words who appears short-tempered and not particularly sociable. When her former boyfriend appears with a less than respectable proposal, Ryder comes to Hope’s defense, and both realize the unavoidable attraction between them. Roberts writes with humorous, witty dialog and touching family interactions. The entire family becomes involved in trying to solve the mystery of the inn’s ghost Lizzy’s “Billy”–who was he and why is she waiting for him? This is a charming story with likeable, strong and independent characters, a sweet love story and a strong-willed ghost–a perfect ending to this trilogy.
After war and plague destroyed New York city, most of civilization has migrated underground. Lives are short and when Deuce turns 15, she takes on the role of huntress to provide food and protection for the group. She is paired with Fade, a teenager who lived topside as a young boy, but he is not trusted by the elders who rule the clan. On a hunting mission, Deuce and Fade discover that a neighboring clan has been brutally destroyed by the tunnel monsters–or Freaks. When they try to warn the elders, they are exiled from the clan. Fade leads the way to topside and Deuce, born in darkness, must learn to survive in sunshine–in the ruins of a city populated by dangerous gangs. Guided by Fade’s memories as a child, they face dangers unlike any they have ever known. Enclave is a tense, action-packed dystopian story, much more thriller than romance, though Aguirre teases at a future love triangle. This is the first book in projected series, and will appeal to fans of the “Hunger Games.”
Author of many popular romantic suspense novels, Karen Robards has created a new series in the genre of paranormal suspense. Dr. Charlotte Stone is a psychiatrist and an expert in criminal psychology, studying serial killers and their motivations. As a teen, she was the sole survivor of a killer known as “The Boardwalk Killer”, and new murders are taking place with the same methods, leaving police to believe this killer has resurfaced. The FBI approaches Charlie, asking for her insights into the case. She has never revealed to anyone that she is able to see the ghosts of the recently murdered, and despite her reluctance to become involved in the case and with the spirits of the murdered, she agrees to help with the case. Along with the FBI, Charlie has unexpected assistance from the ghost of a murdered prisoner that she had been interviewing, Michael Garland. The Last Victim is the first in a planned series featuring Dr. Charlotte Stone and her ghostly assistant Michael garland, and the series is off to an exciting start.
In the latest installment in her popular Friday Harbor series, Dream Lake, Lisa Kleypas tells the story of Alex Nolan, whose past demons haunt him and prevent him from developing a close and loving relationship with anyone, including his brothers. He is an alcoholic coping with divorce when he meets Zoe Hoffman, a chef at the local inn whose culinary expertise has been known to create food that can comfort and heal. Zoe has given up on believing in love after being hurt in the past. She is devoted to caring for the grandmother that raised her and now suffers from Alzheimer’s. Alex returns to Friday Harbor to help renovate his brothers home, where he becomes aware of the presence of a ghost. The ghost appears only to Alex and needs Alex’s help to discover who he was and why he is unable to move on. The relationship between Zoe and Alex is touching and believable, and the presence of the ghost adds humor. This is a satisfying and magical romance and a wonderful addition to the Friday Harbor series, Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor and Rainshadow Road.
We’re often told by parents (and librarians) not to judge a book by its cover. I’m apparently a terrible librarian because I choose what to read by its cover on a regular basis. God Save the Queen is one example of a book I chose for the cover. That smirking, red haired, steampunk-wearing woman on the cover couldn’t fail to catch my eye at the very least. When I realized it was set in an alternate 2012 in England where Queen Victoria still ruled as a near-immortal vampire, I simply couldn’t resist.
Xandra Vardan is a member of the Royal Guard, the organization charged with protecting the vampires and werewolves who make up the Aristocracy in this alternate Britain. When her younger sister, Drusilla, goes missing, Xandra uses all the resources at her disposal, including going to the goblin prince for information, in order to find her. What she finds shakes her belief in the structure of British society and the right of the Aristocracy to rule and everything she thinks she knows about the people in her world.
God Save the Queen is an exciting blend of horror, paranormal romance, urban fantasy, mystery, steampunk and alternate history. With a flawed main character and conspiracies that run deep, this is a fun read for people who like urban fantasy.
I almost didn’t read this one because I didn’t like the cover (and yes, I know, I shouldn’t be judging books by their covers). I’m glad I picked it up, though, since I’m a sucker for the crop of young adult fantasy books with strong, interesting heroines that have been published in the past few years. If you liked The Hunger Games, Matched, Graceling, or Sabriel for the strong female main character, you’ll want to pick up Daughter of Smoke and Bone.
Karou is a young woman living in Prague who is leading a double life. In one life she is an art student with a boyfriend who cheated on her, in the other, she runs errands picking up teeth for the wishmonger, Brimstone, the chimaera who raised her. She collects languages, has blue hair that grows in that way, three bullet scars on her abdomen and eye tattoos on the palms of her hands that have been there for as long as she can remember.
Karou is drawn into a centuries old conflict between angels and the chimaera when she runs into Akiva, an angel soldier trying to cut Brimstone off from the world. Karou and Akiva are drawn to one another, but there are secrets kept and hidden between them, and a startling revelation will drive them apart.
Her kindly old grandmother Abby, however, has no compunctions about the paranormal, being a practicing witch with unique abilities of her own. And sometimes the otherworldly arts do come in handy — like when the arrival of a mysterious, good-looking stranger seems to trigger an epidemic of catastrophes, from the theft of bomb-making materials to a corpse dumped in Abby’s backyard. Luckily Ophelia and Abby are on the case and determined to make things right. But it’ll take more than magick to get out of this boiling cauldron of lethal trouble.