The Alleluia Files

by Sharon Shinn

When religion encounters technology, people die. As you’d expect when humans are involved.

Shinn pretty much wrapped up the mystery of Samaria in the previous two books, so in this book the focus is almost entirely on how the two couples at the center of the story meet, fall in love, and save the planet. A lot like the previous book, actually, minus the mystery. It’s pretty predictable, except for the “plot twists” that are just a bit too convenient to be believable.

This wasn’t the best book in the series. If you want to keep going, it looks like the next books start jumping around in the timeline, which could present some interesting opportunities. Or just serve as excuses for more romance. If you read them, let me know.

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.

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 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.