Snake Eyes by Hilary Monahan. ★★★1/2
Trigger warning: Sexual assault, violence
Snake Eyes is one of the weirdest books I’ve ever read. There’s no way I’m ever forgetting it.
Tanis Barlas is the daughter of the Lamia, a monstrous snake woman from Greek mythology who cares little for her human daughters. Yet she retains a tight control over all her offspring, and Tanis is forced to every month find a man for her mother to mate with and then devour. The only thing making her life bearable is her human girlfriend, Naree. But then two events change Tanis’s life forever. Her mother’s ancient enemies, the Gorgons, arrive in Florida hunting them, and Naree becomes pregnant. With Naree in danger, Tanis will do whatever she must to keep her lover safe.
Phantom Pains by Mishell Baker. ★★★★
Phantom Pains is the sequel to Mishell Baker’s phenomenal debut, Borderline, which dealt with issues of disability and mental health as well as being a really fun urban fantasy novel. While it would be possible to read Phantom Pains on its own, I recommend reading the books in order. Spoilers for Borderline will be included in the rest of this review.
Fourth months ago, Millie left the Arcadia Project to work for Inaya West and her new studio. She’s finally gotten around to trying to clean up magical residue from Stage 13 with her old boss Caryl, when she sees the ghost of Teo. Except, ghosts don’t exist and that shouldn’t be possible. To make matters worse, a Project agent is murdered and Caryl is accused. If she wants to save Caryl, Millie will have to take it upon herself to investigate.
All Good Things by Emma Newman. ★★★★
All Good Things is the fifth and final book in Emma Newman’s Split Worlds urban fantasy series. You absolutely must read the series in order! Seriously, you will be totally confused if you pick up this book without the context of the previous books. If you’re unfamiliar with the series but fae and feuding families sounds like something you’d be into, go check out Between Two Thorns. Oh, and avoid the rest of this review because this late in the series there’s literally no way I can avoid spoilers for Between Two Thorns.
The Innkeeper Chronicles: Volume One by Ilona Andrews. ★★★1/2
I’ve long been a fan of Ilona Andrew’s Kate Daniel books, but The Innkeeper Chronicles was the first time I’ve checked out some of their other work. This edition is the first three books in the series bound into one volume. For plot specific commentary, I will divide this review into separate parts, so you can read without fear of spoilers.
Dina seemingly runs a humble B&B in an ordinary Texas suburb. However, Dina’s B&B has an unusual set of clientele: aliens. Her permanent guest is a former galactic tyrant with a huge bounty on her head, and Dina regularly plays host to such species as genetically modified were-wolves and space vampires. The Innkeeper Chronicles is an eclectic mix of urban fantasy and science fiction. As ever, Ilona Andrews blew me away with sheer inventiveness of the world they created.
This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab. ★★★★
Edit: I just read the sequel. It added romance. After I spent my entire review praising this book for not having romance. And yes, I’m super salty about it.
This Savage Song is a YA fantasy novel that I had serious trouble putting down. Also relevant? There’s a male narrator and a female narrator but no romance whatsoever.
Kate Harker and August Flynn are heirs to a city of monsters. Long before the start of our story, acts of human violence began to form creatures that were decidedly inhuman. Violent crime leads to Corsai, murder to Malchai, and mass murder to Sunai. These monsters began to destroy the city and the people living in it, and yet more destruction was caused by a war between two fractions of the populace. Kate’s father made a deal with the monsters, letting them hunt those who hadn’t paid for his protection. August’s father believed that the only right thing to do was continue to fight the monsters and protect human lives, regardless of whether or not they could pay. After much death, the two sides entered a truce, dividing the city between them. But now, that truce threatens to break, and Kate and August are right in the middle of it.
The Dispatcher by John Scalzi. ★★★1/2
The Dispatchers is a sci-fi novella based around a single concept: what if anyone who was murdered just… came back? Right in their own home, naked as the day they were born. How would society change as a result?
Tony Valdez is a dispatcher, a professional with the license to murder. He exists to give second chances, since only murder results in people returning. He often works in hospitals, staying on hand in case a surgery goes wrong and it looks like the patient will die of natural causes, never to return. When he finds out that a fellow dispatcher has gone missing, Tony becomes involved in the investigation and the shady world of off-books dispatching.
The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud. ★★★1/2
While I found The Screaming Staircase a tad predictable, I enjoyed it nonetheless.
For the last fifty years, England has been beset by a plague of supernatural spirits referred to as The Problem. Only children and teens are capable of seeing ghosts, so all agencies for dealing with hauntings rely on minors as their agents. After an investigation gone wrong, Lucy Carlyle has fled to London and taken up a position with Lockwood & Co., which is essentially three teenagers in a house investigating ghosts. The Screaming Staircase begins right in the middle of the action, with Lockwood and Lucy spending the night in a house where their client’s husband died. They soon encounter a ghost much more powerful than they expected. The result is one part ghost story, one part murder mystery, and a pretty entertaining ride.