Hello! Welcome to a new feature here at Binge on Books, where we talk about what we’re reading for the week. There are so many books we read and love that we don’t always have time to do a full review for, so here we’ll do some quick summary reviews of what we’re excited about this week.
Please comment with what you’re reading this week! We always love to hear about new books.
WHAT IS ERIN READING?
Dominic Kopecky dreamed of becoming a member of New York’s Metropolitan Witch Police—a dream dashed when he failed the test for magical aptitude. Now he spends his days drawing the hexes the MWP relies on for their investigations.
But when a murder by patent hex brings crow familiar Rook to his desk, Dominic can’t resist the chance to experience magic. And as the heat grows between Dominic and Rook, so does the danger. Because the case has been declared closed—and someone is willing to kill to keep it that way.
The 13th Hex originally appeared in the Charmed and Dangerous anthology (which is excellent, by the way) and as soon as I read it, I couldn’t believe that Jordan Hawk had created such a detailed, interesting magic system for just a short story! This was clearly a whole world waiting to be born!* And yet, The 13th Hex doesn’t feel incomplete or too short. This is the story of Dominic Kopecky, a hexman working for the Metropolitan Witch Police. In this world, there are witches, who have magic, human/animal shifter familiars, who channel their bonded witch’s magic, and hexmen, who draw the magical circles and spells used by witches and familiars. Rook is an unbonded crow familiar who needs help from the department’s best hexman.
They are drawn into a plot of intrigue and betrayal, going on an action-packed investigation that brings them closer and closer together. There’s not too much surprise to the reveal at the end, but it’s really incredible how much romance and fun and fantasy worldbuilding is packed into this short story. This was one of my top three stories in the anthology; don’t miss out on your chance to grab it if you haven’t read it.
*No worries, friends. The series continues in the full-length novel Hexbreaker, arriving on May 6th!
Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price–and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…
A convict with a thirst for revenge.
A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.
A runaway with a privileged past.
A spy known as the Wraith.
A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.
A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.
Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.
I’ve been screaming about this book on Twitter since I read it and I have a hard time talking about it not in all caps with three exclamation points. This is a YA heist fantasy featuring a fascinating cast of characters. The characters are diverse and well-developed, with terrific fantasy worldbuilding and complicated backgrounds. There are love stories of different kinds throughout the book, though this isn’t a romance. (But I love them and ship them all. ALL. *gathers them to my chest*)
This is not a light and pleasant YA novel. There is definitely humor, but horrible things have happened to Kaz, Inej, Nina, Jesper, Matthias, and Wylan. They have survived by their wits and their skills. Kaz, Inej, and Jesper are criminals in a gang. Nina is…not quite a sex worker, but something similar. Matthias is imprisoned. And Wylan’s story doesn’t become clear until the end.
The six of them need to work together to pull of the most impossible crime imaginable, masterminded in intricate detail by the mysterious Kaz. The beginning of the book is a bit slower, building backstory for the characters, and setting the scene for the crime. But as soon as the heist begins, it’s a non-stop, heart-in-your-throat rollercoaster. I yelled, I cried, I shouted at fictional characters…this is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time.
Fair warning: The book ends on a pretty intense cliffhanger. The next book is out in September.
Mia Pruitt wishes Dell Wainwright would keep his shirt on. The Naked Farmer lures customers by stripping to his perfectly worn jeans while he and Mia sell vegetables from competing stands at the farmers’ market. It’s time for a showdown, and they’re each in it to win.
Yet when both farms end up in jeopardy, Mia and Dell suddenly find themselves on the same team. If their rivalry was hot, their attraction is steaming, but they can’t seem to agree on a plan. If they could only learn to grow together, they might reap the best harvest of all…
This book is exactly what I look for in a category romance: feel-good story, happy resolution, and characters I’m cheering for all the way. Mia is the town nerd, a socially awkward virgin who was dubbed Queen of the Geeks in high school. She has a better haircut now, has learned social skills, and is the brains behind her family’s vegetable farm.
Dell is a jock hottie who was the Homecoming King. He trades on his looks to sell his vegetables, but wishes people could respect him for his mind too. He desperately needs to prove himself to his family, and beating Mia is the way to do it.
These characters are wonderful and real and so well-developed. Helm has such a terrific understanding of what growing up in a small town is like, and how history and family can trap you, even if it’s a loving trap. Every secondary character was perfectly realized and unique, and just…it’s so feel-good. Dell and Mia are so damn smart and competent and wonderful. I honestly can’t imagine anyone not liking this book.
Note: I read this book because I’d read the sequel, All I Am, first. Lemme tell you, that is also a great book. Dude virgin, lots of dogs, town bad girl. Buy them both and save yourself the time.
Find out more of What We’re Reading every Sunday!