Reading Round-up: January 2023

Wow, can you believe it! It’s 2023 already! And the end of January at that! We are 1/12th of the way through the year and my brain does not compute.

I was in a bit of a reading slump this month, not for any reason except that I spent a good chunk of the beginning doing a lot more baking and videogaming than anything else. But I got a few good reads in, so here they are!

Scorpio Races by Maggie Stievater

I love horses and horse-adjacent things and extra love eldritch sea-creature horses that will eat you. This book very much felt like an Appalachian story to me in some ways, which makes sense given the Scottish-inspired setting — there’s the dude with a lot of money who owns half the town doing nefarious dude-things, and the native traditions that have been sort of hodgepodged into some Christian-blended society except when it’s time to do the blood sacrifice bits, and a whole lot of poverty. There is romance in here, but it’s a sort of romance without frills, a gravity-pull attraction that could be romantic or something else. There are implications of queerness that don’t quite get pulled out into view, and there are certainly questions raised about gender and agency. No single element rises to the top, but the mélange is worth a read. Also, demon-sea-horses. We love them. (Urban Fantasy, Young Adult)

Half a Soul by Olivia Atwater

I have a special place in my heart for Regency-era romances, and this book delivers. Dora is one of my favorite kinds of romantic leads: imminently practical, grounded, but compassionate. There are some elements in this book of Howl’s Moving Castle, and of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norell. If you didn’t know you wanted a blend of those books, I think you will. (Romance, Historical, Fae)

Ocean’s Echo by Everina Maxwell

There is a thing that happens as a writer matures wherein their narrative plots become more complex. Stories that might have gone directly from point A to point B meander in ways that satisfy, and point B becomes simply a stop on a longer journey towards points unknown. I really appreciate stories like this, and Ocean’s Echo felt like this for me. There are lots of content warnings on this book for nonconsensual situations between potential romantic partners and general military bullshit, but it was a whole lot of fun and I enjoyed it immensely. (LGBTQ+, Romance, Science Fiction)

Honor and Shadows by Jessie Mihalik

I feel like readers of Jessie Mihalik and Everina Maxwell probably somewhat overlap. If you were looking for a small prequel to Hunt the Stars to tide you over until Mihalik’s next installment, look no further. This novelette is a satisfying read that’s worth your time. (Romance, Science Fiction)

Magic Tides by Ilona Andrews

I don’t think any House Andrews fans were expecting more Kate Daniels, but we got it this week! This novella is meant to be part of a short bridge series between the end of the official Kate Daniels series and the Aurelia Ryder series. The Wilmington Years series will follow Kate, Curran, and Conlan as they try to leave the dramas of Atlanta behind and live a “normal” life. I imagine you know how well that goes. It was a delightful novella and I’m happy to spend more time in the Kate Daniels world. (Urban Fantasy)


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