Hi, friends, and welcome to Jennifer’s Best Books of 2017 picks! She’s offering up a great list of Sci-fi, Historical, and Fantasy, and there’s a giveaway for two eBooks from her choices!
The Valet by S.J. Foxx – S.J. Foxx is a new author, and if her next book is anything like The Valet, she has found a permanent reader in me.
I absolutely loved this book. From the first page, I was riveted. Hugo is such a bratty character. One would think that he would just settle down, tolerate his year abroad and do his best to behave so that he can get his inheritance and move on, but not Hugo. He gets bored easily, and when he’s bored, he’s reckless.
If you are a reader who enjoys historical romances, light D/s themes, role reversals, and completely bratty aristocrats, I highly recommend this author. She is one to watch out for.
From the Ashes by Xen Sanders – Where do I even begin with a book like this? When I first received the book for review, I was excited by the premise. I mean, who doesn’t like superhero/supervillain stories? And one told from the eyes of the villain? I thought I was in for a wonderful treat. Dark, sure, but a fun read. I was not expecting the book to be as deep as it is, nor for it to affect me long after the story ended.
This book is equal parts internal and external struggle. I found the external conflicts to be exciting and engaging, completely worthy of a movie deal. The internal conflicts were deep and profound. Not only does Tobias struggle with the concept of his humanity, but he also struggles with being an aberrant, and being a person of color. There are some moments where Tobias reflects on the current political climate and events that have driven many people to lash out against the government, police, other groups… With a less skilled author, these moments would have seemed contrived. As if the author were preaching. However, Xen Sanders masterfully weaves politics and social science into the story to make it feel that much more real. The stakes are that much higher because this could be our world. This is our world.
The Chains of Their Sins (Taking Shield: Book Four) by Anna Butler – Since I started reviewing this series in 2015, with the release of Gyrfalcon, I have made my love for the books clear. At least I hope I have. Bennet and Flynn have become two of my favorite characters of all time, and with this book, Anna Butler has usurped all other authors as my favorite. Never before have I read a book with such detailed characters and relationships. As I’ve said before, these are more than just characters. They are so heartbreakingly real, as are their relationships.
Even though I cried often, and reading it physically hurt my heart, I appreciated the depth of emotions. Butler avoids so many tropes that, while good on occasion, often leave me wanting more. Too often I’ve read books where the drama and heartbreak between characters is due to some misunderstanding that would be cleared up if the characters would just talk to each other. And half the time it’s over something simple.
The Undercover Pet (Alien Slave Masters: Book Six) by Samantha Cayto – This series is not for the faint of heart. This most recent (and possibly the last?) book is pretty brutal in some scenes. There is blatant torture that happens somewhat on page, but in the corner? It’s there, it happens, and while it’s not described graphically, readers know what is going on. It is brief, but it highlights just how brutal the leader of the rebellion is and how dire the situation Ben, Kath, and Dane are in.
What I liked about this book was how it introduced a triad. In the first five books, there is only a Travian and human pairing. Most of the books feature a Travian master and his human pet, with book five flipping the roles. This book has a Travian master with his human pet and Travian boy. I loved the way the three interacted with each other, especially Kath and Ben. As the two boys, they had such a sweet, caring relationship. Kath was almost nurturing when it came to Ben. And then when the two of them team up together, readers realize they can be pretty devious. I loved it!
The Captain’s Harvest (Adrift: Book Five) by T.J. Land – While I cannot verify 100% that this is the end of the series, The Captain’s Harvest has the feel of a proper closing. Even though I still had a few questions after reading this book, the biggest questions that have been around since the beginning of the series have been answered. I was completely satisfied with this book, and even though I want more of the Captain and his men, I would be okay with the series ending here. Of course, if I’m wrong and there is more, BRING IT ON!
What I loved about this series was the relationships between all the men as they discovered each other. While they are all in a relationship with the Captain, they do begin to pair off in a way to have a closer bond with one of the other men. Seeing those connections made the story even stronger. In this final book, Echo really had a chance to shine. He has been my favorite character throughout, and seeing him come to life more on these pages, and learning more about his backstory, was the icing on the cake. I also began to understand the relationship between Echo and Antoine, which was detailed even given the short length of the story.
Hot Air: A Villainous Love Story by T.J. Land – Hot Air follows Bluster, who is pretty much the worst villain ever. He’s a complete klutz and fails at everything. Nothing he plans works. And so, he finally retires. That it just happens to coincide with the day his personal nemesis, Judge Justice, is forced to give up being a hero is just coincidence, right?
And well, if Bluster decides to come out of retirement when Judge is back to being a hero, that’s just a coincidence too, right?
Fans of T.J. Land will want to read this book. If you like superheroes and/or villains, you’ll want to read this book. If you’re looking for a romance with comedy and surprisingly deep characters, don’t miss this one!
Silken Heart (Tales of Amaranth: Book Eight) by Thom Lane – Having read all eight books in the Amaranth series so far, I can honestly say that I absolutely love this world. Thom Lane has crafted a brilliant world where magic is real and danger lurks around every corner.
Even though this book is shorter than some of the others, I still loved it. Following new character Ander as he wakes up in a strange place, with no memory of what happened to him, a plot to assassinate the ward of the Emperor is uncovered, and Ander was the unwitting hero. As the supercargo in a ship that has long since sailed, he realizes he has been stranded in a city that is not his home, and he is taken in by Leona’s foster mother as thanks for saving her life. While they work to heal him, Ander becomes smitten with the slave boy Brat, who has been assigned to care for him while he recovers.
Hiding from Two (Soul Match: Book Three) by Morticia Knight – The Soul Match series has fascinated me since the first book, in the way Morticia Knight combined aliens and BDSM in a way that fit the culture of the aliens without making it seem strange. I enjoyed the first two books that focused on Chris, Nary, and Lasar as they discovered the depth of their connection and how they could manage being three together when a soul match is meant for two Alasharians.
This series also must be read in order because the events from this book directly follow events from the previous book, and it would be incredibly confusing without the background information.
I highly recommend this series, though! It was enjoyable and I cannot wait for the next book!
Cutting Cords (Kiss of Leather: Book Six) by Morticia Knight – This book felt so short to me. I never wanted Liam’s story to end, and it is definitely one that I’ll go back to the most often. If you’re a fan of the series, I highly recommend you read this book. If you haven’t read the series, I suggest you start with book one first. The overarching storyline begins there, and it begins to draw to a close in these most recent books. Without those as background, characters and events will be confusing and ultimately hurt your reading experience.
Children of Hyacinth by Hayden Thorne – In this book, magic is a part of the everyday world. Some people possess a form of innate light magic, and one of those people is Iulian. He uses it when he plays his violin to bring his music to life for listeners. Focusing on music and magic, this book brings together Iulian and Cosmin, a musical prodigy, who plays the violin and is a singer. Though the two do not immediately meet, they have a connection that strengthens over time. The man between them, Domnul Petran, is their music master. However, there is something different about him, and it doesn’t seem to be a good thing.
I don’t want to give away too much of the plot, but this book involves a sort of mirror world. It’s a dark and horrifying place. As usual, Hayden Thorne does a great job writing horrifying characters. I’m always chilled when I read about them, and the satyr is no exception.
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