This week I am featuring books that reflect the season. Christmas or winter (for those in the northern hemisphere). Books with these themes abound! Are there any seasonal favorites you want so share? I invite you to share your favorite seasonal stories in the comments.
Today, I am sharing reviews of books that have a cold, wintery or icy setting. Brrr! Newly read this year is the midwinter holiday fantasy romance anthology Fire of the Frost.
Review of Fire of the Frost
I’m going to start with Darynda Jones, who is really the reason I wanted to read this book. I think of her as the queen of urban/paranormal fantasy. She is one of my favorite laugh-out-loud authors. In A Winter Fyre, the classic fantasy setting means coffee quips are absent. But that does not mean that Winter and Gareth don’t exchange the familiar snarky banter! Or is it flirting. Either way, it is fun to read! As the couple get to know each other, they plot to take down an evil queen. A marvelous tale!
Amanda Bouchet’s Of Fate and Fire features Piers, the bad boy from her Kingmaker Chronicles. This time the setting is modern-day, holiday time, New York City where he meets Sophie who is in possession of a powerful artifact. Keeping it way from the bad guys and getting it to the good guys leads to an adventure. And a romance! Is Piers about to get his happy ending?! If you have read Bouchet’s Kingmaker Chronicles, you will have a deeper understanding of Piers and his past. But it is not necessary to know the back story in to find this story delightful.
Grace Daven is one of my favorite fantasy romance writers. In The King of Hel, the cursed king, reigns over a country frozen in cold and ice. He is obligated to marry for politics but loves a woman who could never be queen. Star-crossed lovers at the beginning, Castil and Doranis pine over each other but sad circumstance will bring them together again. In the author’s note, she writes that the story is based on real-life historical figures of Louis XIV of France and Francoise d’Aubigné, marquise de Maintenon – which makes the story even more moving.
The collection ends with Jeffe Kennedy’s Familiar Winter Magic. It takes place in a school of magic where familiars are winnowed from wizards. Kids start out as friends and become adversarial when the oracle head categorizes them. Bullying begins and friendships are destroyed. Okay, there is more to the story than that, but that is what I got out of it. School/academy settings are among my least appreciated tropes, which made this story my least favorite of the four. However, Jeffe is a fantastic storyteller and I have a feeling that readers of Jeffe’s Bonds of Magic Trilogy are going to enjoy this one.
In Fire of the Frost, you will find four tales, told by exceptional storytellers. Enjoy with a warm beverage and a comfy seat!
About Fire of the Frost by Darynda Jones, Amanda Bouchet, Grace Draven, and Jeffe Kennedy
A Winter Fyre by Darynda Jones
From Darynda Jones, a standalone novella set in a world where vampyres are hunted for sport. The only thing standing between them and total annihilation is Winter, a warrior bred to save them from extinction. Forbidden to fall in love, Winter cares only about her oaths… until she meets the devilish prince of the underworld.
Of Fate and Fire by Amanda Bouchet
The Kingmaker Chronicles meets modern-day New York City! Piers, an exiled warrior from Thalyria, finds himself in the Big Apple just before the holidays. The world and everything in it might be utterly foreign to him, but that won’t stop Piers from helping to complete a vital mission for Athena and protect Sophie, a French teacher from Connecticut who’s suddenly knee-deep in inexplicable phenomena, danger, and henchmen after an Olympian treasure that should never have ended up in her hands—or remained on Earth after the Greek gods abandoned it.
The King of Hel by Grace Draven
A novella-length expansion of a stand-alone short story in which a cursed mage-king from a frozen kingdom is obligated to marry a woman of high-ranking nobility but meets his soulmate in a lowly scribe.
Familiar Winter Magic by Jeffe Kennedy
It’s holiday time at Convocation Academy, but best friends Han and Iliana are finding it hard to celebrate. As a familiar, Iliana is facing her assignment to a life of servitude to a wizard, very soon. And Han… despite being tested by the oracle daily, he is still uncategorized. As Iliana and Han face being separated forever, they at last find the courage—or desperation—to break the rules and acknowledge their deeper feelings for each other. But it will take more than true love to save them from the laws of the Convocation…
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In the past, I have reviewed other books with a wintery theme. Here, I will share all or part of my original review. Some of these I purchased for myself and some were provided to me by the author or publisher. All of my reviews are my honest option. If you are interested in purchasing any of these books, please click on the book cover or other link to go to Amazon. Note: Use of these links supports this blog and is very much appreciated.
Wintertide by Linnea Sinclair
Khamsin’s story is a wonderful magical tale of adventure and realization. The child, Khamsin, was born during a dark magical storm and claimed by the powerful Sorcerer. She was raised by the wise old healer, lovingly called Tante Bronya. Bronya would devote herself to preparing Khamsin to face her destiny, though Khamsin has no idea what that will be.
Wintertide is the ages-past prequel to the SciFi romance An Accidental Goddess. Each stands alone, but it fun to read both in order appreciate the evolution of this mythology from its very beginnings in Wintertide to its futuristic representation in An Accidental Goddess. These are two very different stories and both are recommended.
If you are expecting typical Linnea Sinclair military SciFi romance when you read Wintertide, you will be disappointed. If you are open to historical fantasy romance, you will be pleased. And if you also like cats and/or horses you will really like Wintertide! Wintertide is a fairy-tale complete with a quest, danger, adventure, magic and a happily ever after.
The Winter Stone by Tanya Anne Crosby, Glynnis Campbell, and Laurin Wittig
This is a lovely collection of stories from three different authors and one central theme. The Winter Stone is an ancient relic with magical properties. The magic in this stone brings people together, whether they like it nor not, so they can fulfill their destiny. I enjoyed all three stories. Each was unique and beguiling. I recommend any of the stories to warm your heart – regardless of the season! The anthology is out of print, but all three stories are available individually: Once Upon a Highland Legend by Tanya Anne Crosby, Macalister’s Hope by Lauren Wittig, and The Outcast by Glynnis Campbell
Ice Bound by Tiffany Roberts
A blizzard brings a stranger to Anna’s door. After having lived a solitary life, Anna listens to his compelling tales. And his heated kisses have Anna fearing she hasn’t only opened her home to him, but also her heart.
You can absolutely feel the cold wind whipping through the air as you read Ice Bound. Luckily, there is more to the short story than weather. I also enjoyed the tension filled romance between Anna and the stranger. The bonus story, The Winter King, is a storyteller’s continuation of the story of Ice Bound’s heroine and hero — plus a little more. At only 45 pages, Ice Bound perfect way to relax on a winter afternoon.
A Touch of Ice by Nita Round
With A Touch of Ice, we travel to Magda’s frozen homeland and learn about her past and her amazing future. Previous books have hinted at Magda’s unusual talents and her past. I was pleased to get this glimpse into the world that Magda was pushed out of. As with any character that you have come to love, any detail about what makes them tick is soaked up.
In the far north, Magda must defend her honor and birth right. The fate of Raven, Fire, and Ice depends on Magda, so failure is unthinkable. More of the Trinity, more danger, more intrigue and more reasons to read this series!