Tag Archives: magic
Book Review

The Midnight Bargain by C.L. Polk

The Midnight Bargain

The Midnight Bargain reminded me why I love fantasy novels, and then wrecked me with its social commentary about a Regency-inspired world. This is a story about women feeling trapped by social constraints, scrambling to escape, and discovering along the way that transforming a society is more satisfying than just saving oneself. I loved the book’s drawing room politics, djinn-inspired magic, chosen family, and the way the story didn’t shy away from the heroine’s ambition, … Continue reading The Midnight Bargain by C.L. Polk

Book Review

Drowned Country by Emily Tesh

Drowned Country

Drowned Country is the direct sequel to Silver in the Wood – indeed, it could almost be described as the other half of the story. It shares with it the dense, green atmosphere that feels almost more real than the real world, as well as the charm and humour of the characters. It is also absolutely impossible to discuss without spoiling Silver in the Wood terribly, because it starts where that story ends. Really, do … Continue reading Drowned Country by Emily Tesh

Book Review

Bronze Gods by A.A. Aguirre

Bronze Gods

Bronze Gods is a steampunk mystery/urban fantasy by married couple Ann and Andre Aguirre (writing as A.A. Aguirre). I loved the world and the main characters, but I was disappointed by the mystery. The plot is very simple in essence but very complicated in detail. James Mikani and Celeste Ritsuko are inspectors with the Criminal Intelligence Division. They have to work together to stop a series of murders. They have been partners for three years, … Continue reading Bronze Gods by A.A. Aguirre

Book Review

Breath of Magic by Teresa Medeiros

Breath of Magic

I thought it would be fun to check out an older romance that has been mentioned on the site and in comments for years but never had its own review. People, Breath of Magic, first published in 1996, is completely bonkers and while it has definitively not aged well, it has a certain dreamy charm. While I usually try not to recap the whole plot, buckle up, because this plot deserves some serious recapping. Spoilers … Continue reading Breath of Magic by Teresa Medeiros

Book Review

Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho

Sorcerer to the Crown

Do you ever read a Georgette Heyer novel and think, “Man, that was great but I wish it had magic and also, like, maybe some diversity in the main characters”? If so, do I have a book for you! Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho is the first book in a series of the same name. It’s half Regency romance, half political intrigue, and half biting commentary on British colonialism. (Yes, I know that’s … Continue reading Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho

Book Review

By Wingèd Chair by Kendra Merritt

By Wingéd Chair

By Wingèd Chair is a young adult coming-of-age fantasy romance novel which plays with the Robin Hood story and takes it in some interesting new directions. Set in a fantasy world that has both medieval European and Victorian steampunk elements, the backdrop to the story is the unjust rule of Duke John, who has somehow disposed of his elder brother and now rules the country with the aid of the Sheriff and his Peacekeepers, who … Continue reading By Wingèd Chair by Kendra Merritt

Guest Post: A Handy Guide for Choosing Your Institute of Magical Education

A doodle by Poppy of her and her black cat on an orange kayak. The water waves blend into the hair of a goddess.

After Poppy’s beautiful “That Moment When…” post, we desperately wanted to have her and her artwork back! Poppy is a long-time fan of SBTB and loves cats, books and coffee, in that order. She illustrates The Loo Cats, an imaginative series starring her rescue cats in the most fantastical, improbable scenarios. The series is an ode to four spunky felines who survived abuse and abandonment before they found their forever home. Now they are elderly … Continue reading Guest Post: A Handy Guide for Choosing Your Institute of Magical Education

Book Review

Protect the Prince by Jennifer Estep

Protect the Prince

In Kill the Queen Jennifer Estep introduced readers to a fantasy world that was immersive and blissfully lacking in info-dump. It featured female gladiators, political machinations, and an underdog heroine. I really enjoyed Kill the Queen, so I was delighted to find that I loved the sequel Protect the Prince even more. It’s a blend of fantasy-adventure, romance and mystery, and I devoured it in a single day. You do need to read Kill the … Continue reading Protect the Prince by Jennifer Estep

Book Review

How to Tame a Beast in Seven Days by Kerrelyn Sparks

How to Tame a Beast in Seven Days

TW/CW: Sexual assault and harrassment. How to Tame a Beast in Seven Days is a slow burn fantasy romance that (despite the slowness of the romance) takes place over a week. There’s magic and assassinations, but for all its perceived elements of adventure, it was a rather subdued and odd read. If a child is born when the twin moons align in the world of Aerthlan, they are known as Embraced, gifted with a variety … Continue reading How to Tame a Beast in Seven Days by Kerrelyn Sparks

Book Review

Sweet Black Waves by Kristina Perez

Sweet Black Waves

Sweet Black Waves by Kristina Perez is a YA retelling of Tristian and Isolde, and while it contains romantic elements, it is not a romance. If you know the story of Tristian and Isolde, then you know it’s not a happy story. I’m not sure what direction Perez is ultimately going to take the legend as this is the first book in a trilogy, but I walked into it knowing enough not to anticipate  a HEA. … Continue reading Sweet Black Waves by Kristina Perez

Book Review

The Plastic Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg

The Plastic Magician

I read this book in two days, partly because I remain very charmed by the world in which it is set, but also in part because the story itself speeds along from scene to scene, so it’s easy to read quickly. But that speed comes at the expense of emotional depth for the characters. I’m along for the ride happily, but I recognize what I’m missing. I love the world, the magical system of this … Continue reading The Plastic Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg

Book Review

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

Three Dark Crowns

I should be in bed right now. I should be getting a good night’s sleep before I start my work week tomorrow, but I’m not. All hope of being productive today or tomorrow went by the wayside when I started Three Dark Crowns this afternoon. Since I started the book I’ve done nothing but read, and now I’m reviewing it late at night because OMG YOU GUYS NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THIS. I am literally sweating right … Continue reading Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake