When you have twenty-nine books to review, you cry uncle and resort to short reviews. Plus, after all this time, I’m not certain I remember enough about any of them to write a full-length review. We will be breaking these into five parts. This is part four. There may be some spoilers within these short reviews; readers, consider this your warning.
Goddess, I love this series! Grace and Glory by Jennifer L. Armentrout is exactly how I want all series to end. Plus, Zayne and Trinity are so damn cute together. I adore the fact that their love is so pure, especially because their scenes together never get schmaltzy. Ms. Armentrout adds more depth by finally delving into Trin’s past and completely blurs the lines of good and evil by forcing Zayne and Trin to rely on the help of their unconventional group of friends. Plus, all the mentions of God, Lucifer, angels, demons, Heaven, and Hell don’t bother me because there are no religious connections to any of them. I am definitely adding other novels by Ms. Armentrout to my lengthy TBR list!
The Wolf and the Woodsman by Ava Reid is a very detailed but rich story that involves Slavic and Jewish mythology. Pagan, non-magic Evike finds herself teaming with her worst enemy, only to discover the enemy is someone else. Enter intrigue, danger, torn desires, obligations, found family, and one woman who has to discover who she is to protect the ones she loves.
I LOVE any story that gives a face to the Greek gods, and Daughter of Sparta by Claire Andrews more than fits that bill. Daphne is a fabulous heroine, determined to prove herself. Fierce, strong, intelligent, and headstrong, she’s everything I love. Her adventures are a fantastic feminist reimagining of the Daphne and Apollo story. I can’t wait to learn more about Daphne’s past or what happens next!
The Box in the Woods by Maureen Johnson is a great return to Stevie’s world as it allows us to see her branch outside of her boarding school. While Ms. Johnson has fun with Stevie’s love of murder, in this novel she is careful to show Stevie’s growth through her realization that the very same murders she finds so fascinating affect real people and have serious emotional, mental, and even physical consequences on others. Even though it serves as a growth lesson for Stevie, I find it a neat nod to all of those fans of true crime podcasts and stories as it is so easy to lose the human aspect. As for the mystery, I personally never saw the ending coming, but I know others thought it predictable and obvious. Still, I enjoyed the chance to see the friends together again. Plus, I am thoroughly grateful to Ms. Johnson for making The Box in the Woods a true stand-alone novel, mentioning the previous three novels without spoiling a single thing, and providing enough context for newbies to be able to enjoy the story without any previous knowledge of Stevie and her crew. Well done!
My Contrary Mary by Brodi Ashton, Cynthia Hand, and Jodi Meadows is a cute and fabulously fun way to explain the Protestant versus Catholic monarchies and subsequent power struggles. Plus, it is a much happier reimagining of a historical figure who really could be nothing but a pawn in a greater struggle. I don’t know what it says about me, but I particularly enjoyed Francis as a frog, delighting in the obvious ode to the generic French nickname. The entire book is an absolute blast to read, which only reminds me I need to go back and read the two Jane books I missed.