One Salt Sea (October Daye #5)October Daye has faced a lot of challenges since recovering from the transformation spell that ripped her from her human family at the start of this series. Lately, though, she’s accepted new responsibilities, formed new friendships, and she’s even given romance another shot. But when a kidnapping threatens to spark a war between the land fae and their dangerous cousins from the sea, everyone that Toby cares about is in the line of fire. She’s got three days to find the missing kids in a maze of old enemies, confusing allies, and uncomfortable secrets, or else her people will be left to fight – and possibly die – in a war that they’re unlikely to win. Read the rest of this entry »

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Late Eclipses (October Daye, #4)Late Eclipses hits the ground running with a few shocking developments for our favorite changeling, October Daye, but then Toby’s immediately called to see a friend with a suspicious illness. As more fae fall victim to similar complaints, Toby fends off accusations and works to track down an old enemy. She’s caught up in a plot involvingĀ revenge, political power, and family intrigue, and not even her most formidable allies can help her with the difficult choice she’ll have to make.

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Dead in the Family (Sookie Stackhouse, #10)During Dead in the Family, Sookie is still dealing with the physical and emotional fallout from the Fae War. Sookie’s boyfriend, Eric, is having difficulties with Louisiana’s new vampire power structure, and her friend and employer, Sam, is facing increased scrutiny now that shapeshifters have made themselves publicly known. Sookie faces ambitious vampires and vengeful fairies, and is also drawn back into drama surrounding the Shreveport wolf pack, all while many of her strongest allies are distracted with troubles of their own.

This review doesn’t include any major spoilers for this book, though I will bring up a few more of the many, many plotlines than the cover blurb does – because it would be hard for me to write much about this book without them. Those who don’t want to hear what could be thought of as light spoilers should read no further, and of course you shouldn’t read this review at all if you haven’t finished the previous Sookie books.

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The main character in Wicked Lovely is Aislinn, a young woman who can see the invisible faeries that share our world. Drawing their attention to this ability could mean her death, so Aislinn puts a lot of thought into ways of subtly avoiding, ignoring, and getting away from them. Then she catches the attention of the Summer King, a faerie who can’t come into his full power until he finds his queen. If he doesn’t become strong enough to challenge the Winter Queen, then eventually her growing influence will cause disaster for both the Summer faeries and the humans.

Aislinn is forced into the world of faerie politics and intrigue, all for the sake of a crown that she’s not interested in. If she fails the test, she’ll bear the burden of the Winter Girl until someone replaces her. Refusing to try is even worse, because then Aislinn will become a subservient shadow of her former self.

The plot is a bit predictable, but I never mind that when the characters are interesting enough to carry it. Aislinn is a strong heroine, it’s nice to see her fight to solve her problems on her own terms. Her friend Seth is more detailed than the average YA love-interest type. Keenan and Donia (the Summer King and Winter Girl) spend most of the book working against Aislinn’s desire to be left alone, but their long struggle and tragic past make them the most sympathetic characters in the story.

If you read young adult books or just want to spend a few hours with something light but enjoyable, give Wicked Lovely a try.

Anyone still reading Hamilton by now knows what to expect. Her short, tough, feminine, sexy, sassy main character will meet new, exciting, inhuman men with long hair and assorted neuroses. She will have lots of supernatural sex with these new guys while occasionally paying attention to the older boy toys. All of her boyfriends find her lovin’ good enough that they’re willing (with varying degrees of angst) to stick around and watch her sleep with anyone and everyone while not being allowed to get any of their own on the side. The sexcapades often manage to awaken new powers in everyone involved, most of those watching, and occasionally even their surroundings. Oh, and sometimes sex gives them new magic items, as if Hamilton is functioning as some really voyeuristic DM.

Mistral’s Kiss is a Merry Gentry book, so the erotica thing is a little more tolerable. This series has always been steamy, and at least Meredith has plot reasons for constantly sexing her harem. But the Anita Blake series’ descent into unreadability has been infecting the recent Merry books. Mistral’s Kiss includes a small amount of action and plot, but the character development mostly focuses on powering up the already badass team.

My biggest problem with the book was not necessarily the high amount of sex. Yeah, there was too much, especially for such a short novel. But Hamilton can’t even seem to manage decent erotica. The constant making out would be more tolerable if it wasn’t so repetitive and boring. Throwing in a few new bedmates with different kinks doesn’t keep the series fresh when Hamilton uses the same old descriptions from earlier books, and it doesn’t help that sex in this series is written exactly the same as all the getting it on in the Blake books. At this point, all you’d have to do to make a sex scene from one series fit perfectly in the other is change the names involved.

None of it was the slightest bit hot. As Hamilton’s books went from plot to porno, they stopped being things I encouraged my friends to read and became guilty pleasures. These days I take the new books out of the library when I’m bored and feeling perverse. For awhile I hoped that Hamilton was just going through a phase, but her poor reaction to criticism seems to be making her writing even worse. She isn’t getting any more of my money, but I’ll keep getting her books from the library.

It’s like a challenge for me now, I have to see how much worse they can get.