I’m deep into NaNoWriMo, writing furiously between ongoing parental health stuff. I had to abandon my first draft of a trilogy over a year ago, and can’t even remember some of the characters’ names! Ugh and Lol. I’m not stopping to look them up. They’re just getting new names that I’ll have to reconcile later. What a mess. But so fun to be writing.
I’ve also been gobbling down books, and it’s about time to share three more reviews! Here goes:
The Prince’s Man
by Deborah Jay
I thoroughly enjoyed this entertaining and skillfully-written fantasy novel. I was particularly taken with the tight narrative, not a wasted scene or conversation, every word counting as the story unfolded. This contributed to a quick pace and complimented the well-considered plot that comes together with a satisfying ending. Though the first in a series, The Prince’s Man can also be read as a stand-alone.
All that good stuff, and then there’s more… the characters are fabulous, deeply flawed and sympathetic at the same time. The relationship between Rustam and Risada takes center stage. There are hints of a romantic attraction but the reader is saved from moon eyes and heaving chests by a very real tension based on past experiences, current loyalties, and objectives. Despite being allies, there’s a lot of loathing going on here. I love that.
Elves, trolls, and were-cats throw the story into the classic fantasy genre and are integral to the plot and underlying theme of the book. The political machinations are realistic enough to be recognizable today. Prejudices, bigotry, genocide, and beliefs in cultural superiority are alive and well in Jay’s world-building. The characters are forced to revisit their worldviews, but just like in real life, they will only open their eyes so wide. And Jay doesn’t hold back on the brutality.
I’m looking forward to reading the next in the series and seeing what happens to the two main characters as well as a host of others who intrigued me no end. Recommended for anyone who loves a good fantasy.
by Bette Stevens
This collection of haiku takes about an hour to read, but I recommend a slower savoring of this literary treat. Arranged by season, each poem is an exquisite snapshot of life in Maine — its landscapes, wildlife, people, pastimes, heritage, and communities. They stand alone, but the book’s real beauty is how, when strung together, they create a poetic photo album that captures the heart of the state. A lovely read that I highly recommend.
Skating on Thin Ice
by Jacquie Biggar
Injured hockey star Mac Wanowski and his physiotherapist Samantha Walters are stuck together in a secluded mountain cabin. Persistent storms keep them snowbound, but that’s a problem because someone is trying to kill Mac. With the thriller plot as a backdrop, Mac and Sam navigate their attraction to each other, swinging back and forth between escalating passion and fury. The end is full of action and some surprises. Pacing is excellent and the characters are well-defined. Skating on Thin Ice is classic romance with the addition of an exciting subplot. Highly recommended for romance readers.