A Court of Silver Flames

by Sarah J. Maas

I needed to know how the story ends—and if you’ve read this far, you will, too. This book is pretty heavy on gushy romance, but there was enough of the underlying story to keep me reading to the end.

There are a couple of supplemental books with more backstory for the superfans, but I think I’ve had more than enough romance for a while.

A Court of Mist and Fury

by Sarah J. Maas

Sometimes the romantic fantasy turns into a nightmare. Thankfully in this case. There was nowhere interesting for the story to go, otherwise. Turns out the dreamy fairy prince is an overprotective, controlling asshole and the scary dark prince is actually a super respectful great guy haunted by a dark past who, let’s be honest, probably knows his way around a sex dungeon but would always get consent before tying anyone up.

Feyre, now a fairy herself, makes new friends and sets out to save the world from the evil fairy lord across the sea.

Romance isn’t really my thing, but there’s magic and fairies and a reasonably well-thought-out magic system and it’s such easy reading that I keep going. If you’re a little more interested in cheesy romance (and over-the-top sex scenes) than I am, you’ll probably love it as a guilty pleasure.

The Last Graduate

by Naomi Novik

The problem with a school you can’t leave that is low-key trying to kill you all the time is “graduation”—i.e., when you have to survive a horde of magical monsters in order to make it to the exit. Those who get eaten don’t graduate. Galadriel (a/k/a El), who specializes in magic of mass destruction, suddenly becomes very popular.

I was so into the story I plowed through this book in less than 24 hours. Strong finish.

A Deadly Education

by Naomi Novik

If I say this book is about a wizard school you are going to think Harry Potter. Which I guess wouldn’t be totally inaccurate if Hogwarts didn’t have any teachers, the only House was Slytherin, Harry was Harrowhark Nonagesimus from the Locked Tomb series, nobody could leave the building until graduation, and the school itself was trying to kill the students.

The similarities end there.

I loved it.

A Court of Thorns and Roses

by Sarah J. Maas

The fairy and human worlds are divided by a magic barrier and deep mistrust. A starving hunter kills a fairy in its wolf form, but she is kidnapped by a monstrous fairy lord—who happens to be suffering from a weird curse—as a consequence. Generous helpings of romance follow.

While reading this book I kept thinking I probably wouldn’t continue the series. But it was easy to read with just enough fantasy and adventure to keep me going, and the plot turns out to be thicker than it first appears. So by the end I was just interested enough to check out the next book.

The Haunting of Tram Car 015

by P. Djèlí Clark

Suffragettes, secret societies, sentient automatons, and … a haunted tram car in an alternate 1910s Cairo. Takes place just before Master of Djinn and functions as an introduction to Fatma el-Sha’arawi, the dapper agent at the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities. I love everything I’ve read from P. Djèlí Clark so far, and this is no exception.

The Ex Hex

by Erin Sterling

A young, small-town witch hexes her summer fling after he ditches her to go back to Europe. When he comes back nine years later to recharge the town’s ley lines, the magic shit starts hitting the magic fan. I didn’t realize this was a romance novel when I checked it out, but it wasn’t terrible. Just not my thing.