Hello my darlings,
Spring has reached Maryland at last! The cherry trees are budding, the sun has returned, and the wind no longer bites my skin. I love love love this time of year, when the world emerges from its long winter sleep and I suddenly feel like everything is possible.
Did you see that I finally won my first real jewelry auction?? I told you recently that I was a jewelry auction novice…and then when I did start bidding, I couldn’t win any! But I finally broke my streak and won an auction for a holy grail dream piece. Hear the full story in this video and see my treasure here.
I hope that the lovely weather has found you, too. Here are some things I’ve been reading lately.
What I’m reading
Once Upon a Broken Heart and The Ballad of Never After by Stephanie Garber. These books are extremely flowery; the author builds an elaborate fantasy world filled with pink sugar cakes and gold ribbons and dresses made from petals and butterfly wings. It’s romantic and whimsical and adorable to an extreme that’s a little bit over the top…but I wouldn’t have minded if the main character hadn’t also been dumber than a box of rocks. (Mild spoilers ahead!)
Evangeline Fox blunders around, crying and gasping, walking into every obvious trap and making every single possible easy-to-foresee mistake. There is one major plot point at the end of book two that is only possible because every single character ignores an extremely obviously problem until it becomes deadly. While I was reading it, I spent three chapters going “BUT WHAT ABOUT THE [redacted], ISN’T IT GOING TO [redacted]?!?!” And that’s exactly what happens.
I’m including these books here anyway because they could be enjoyable if your pet peeves are different than mine – or if you are buying a book for a younger reader who will appreciate the beauty of this very descriptive series without being bothered by the plot holes.
Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller. This YA Fantasy adventure is just what it sounds like: the adventures of a badass young woman whose father is the King of all Pirates. It’s a lot of fun, and definitely worth the time it takes to read, but a few plot/character elements didn’t quite click well enough for me to find it spectacular.
Mercy Thompson books by Patricia Briggs. Mercy Thompson isn’t quite human, and because of that she knows about the secret world of werewolves, fae, vampires, and witches that is hidden from most humans. Mercy learns more about her past and her abilities (and finds love!) as her world’s supernatural creatures go public and the rest of humanity must adjust to the change.
I’ve been in a big Urban Fantasy mood lately and I devoured this series. It gets better as it goes along: there were some elements in the first couple of books that irritated me, but the author seemed to realize quickly those things weren’t working, because they’re absent from the later books. I wouldn’t call these Fantasy Romance but they do have a prominent PG-13 love story.
TW for a sexual assault that is a major plot point in book three, Iron Kissed. It is thoughtfully handled and not explicit on the page, but the character has flashbacks and panic attacks to connected to the assault for the rest of the series. There are also references to a side character’s death by suicide in multiple books.
Wearing Stories: Seven Shining Rings. Read through this article on The Voices of Fashion about 7 noteworthy rings and you might just find yours truly.
Who was Agent 355? The Mystery of America’s First Female Spy.
What’s in the Box? The Art of Reliquaries. I have always been utterly fascinated by reliquaries. Anyone with me?
GIA Scientists Unlock Secrets Within Earth Using Diamonds.
An astonishing Napoleonic tiara heads to auction.
Medieval List Reveals 1,065 Dog Names Suitable for the Historic Humans’ Pups.
The Niche Museums website is dedicated to finding small, nice museums in any given area. It’s weird and wonderful.
How the FBI Discovered a Real-Life Indiana Jones in, of All Places, Rural Indiana.
The Greatest Unsolved Heist in Irish History: Scandal, conspiracy, and cover-ups in the theft of the “Irish Crown Jewels” from Dublin Castle.
Book images via UnSplash. This post contains affiliate links.