One Among Men (The Maryland State University Series, Book 1) by Connie Almony
Currently $3.99 for Kindle
The tagline of this book intrigued me: "Though she lives with 500 hard-partying college guys, only one will lead her to danger." Talk about a provocative premise for contemporary Christian fiction! I just had to read it - and I quickly got sucked in to the life of a young woman trying to hold her own and cling to faith in a place where respect is sorely lacking and danger is very real. The suspense keeps the pages turning, for sure, but it's the authenticity of the struggles, doubts, relationships, and redemption that make this engaging read a meaningful one. And the unique romance with its twists, turns, and depth? Encore!
Ai of the Mountain (A Fairy Retelling, Book 2) by Dorian Tsukioka
Currently $2.99 for Kindle
Having been quite impressed by Dorian Tsukioka's Cinderella-retelling novella, Cursed Beauty, I snatched up this Beauty & the Beast retelling as soon as I saw it available on Amazon. Set in Japan, Ai of the Mountain is an intriguing tale of familial loyalty, desperate situations, magic, and a love that breaks down seemingly insurmountable barriers. I was thrown off for a bit with the romantic red herring and would have loved a longer glimpse at the relationship between Ai and her "Beast," but color me impressed once again with Tsukioka's imagination as she takes familiar themes and paints them in exotic new ways. Looking forward to more retellings!
Poison by Bridget Zinn
Currently $9.18 for the paperback
I adore a fun YA fantasy that includes plenty of adventure and romance. Poison has all that, plus a few neat twists on some of the familiar plot elements of this genre, especially in the inclusion of Rosie, the tracking pig, and the use of potions (of which the heroine is master). I guzzled down this story in one night. My main issues were with the ending...part of which felt a little anticlimactic when the villain's ultimate plan comes to light only to be squashed within moments, and then another part of which left me completely frustrated with the hero. Maybe having his POV would have helped, because man, his silence on certain topics for a time drove me insane! Still, the story as a whole provided a very enjoyable evening of reading.
Side Note: Sadly, the author of Poison passed away before her book was published. You can learn more about her life story and the support rallied for this book's promotion at www.bridgetzinn.com.
"Seasoned" or "unseasoned" is in reference to my book rating system. Thanks to Juju of Tales of Whimsy for the inspiration regarding mini reviews!