My Epic Quest for Adult High Fantasy Romances – aka what I read in the second half of 2017

Hi friends! I’ve been talking about books for quite some time, and it’s been really easy for those conversations to get lost in the mix, but especially these days. Nevertheless, here at ALBTALBS we’ve taken to posting comprehensive lists of the books we’ve read annually … and here’s mine for the ~second half of 2017. It was also heavily focused on high fantasy fiction, because frankly, this is my sentiment: the world is a garbage fire and fuck all that shit. >.>

High fantasy is in general and here “as defined by me” [only not really] – that it has nothing to do with the real world. (Some people say high fantasy requires a “noble quest” … which most of these stories do as well. … All?) ANYWAY. None of this “the hero and/or heroine start out in Chicago and travel to another world.”

Of course I did read some other sub-genres too … but the majority of what I read and what I was looking for was high fantasy ADULT romances. And let me tell you, there aren’t that many. Authors – if any if you are reading this, PLEASE CONSIDER WRITING THIS/TELLING YOUR FRIENDS. Readers are DESPERATE for these books and voracious. There are many more ~YA [older teens/considered ~adults in their world] stories … so I branched out in to that, but I’d love to see adult adult ones. (No, not [just] sex 😛 – but with mature, grown characters.)

Again, the “+” means the book is a re-read. And while I did my best I may have missed some because GR has been wonky and also re-reads don’t really show up nicely. And of course I didn’t add my DNFs. I also had some commentary that I decided to not include. I’m happy to discuss in the comments though!


Warsworn by Elizabeth Vaughan, Grade C-
Warlord by Elizabeth Vaughan, Grade B-
Warcry by Elizabeth Vaughan, Grade C+
The Demon in the Wood by Leigh Bardugo, Grade C
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo, Grade B
Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo, Grade B
Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo, Grade B
A Promise of Fire Amanda Bouchet, Grade C
Impossible Things Kate Johnson, Grade  B
Heart’s Blood by Juliet Marillier, Grade C+
The Battle Sylph by L. J. McDonald, Grade C+
The Shattered Sylph by L. J. McDonald, Grade C
The Too-Clever Fox by Leigh Bardugo, Grade B
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas, Grade B+
A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas, Grade A-
A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas, Grade A-
One True Pairing by Cathy Yardley, Grade C-
Beauty by Robin McKinley, Grade C
Moth and Spark by Anne Leonard, Grade C+
Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers, Grade C+
Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers, Grade C
Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers, Grade C —
The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson, Grade B- (only $3.24 for kindle at the time of posting)
The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson, Grade B-
The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson, Grade B
The Shadow Cats by Rae Carson, Grade C
The Shattered Mountain by Rae Carson, Grade B-
The King’s Guard by Rae Carson, Grade B-
​+​Jaded by Anya Bast, Grade B+
Children of the Blood by Michelle Sagara West, Grade  D+

The Hob’s Bargain by Patricia Briggs, Grade C+ [OH DEAR GOD I WANT A SEQUEL OR MORE FROM THIS WORLD PLEASE]
Dirty Deeds by HelenKay Dimon, Grade B- (the first contemporary romance I read in ~2 months…)
Sexy Living by Regina Cole, Grade D+
The Year of the Crocodile by Courtney Milan, Grade C
On the Plus Side by Alison Bliss, Grade D+
Size Matters by Alison Bliss, Grade C
Blood Guard by Megan Erickson C —
Path of Fate by Diana Pharaoh Francis, Grade C+
Path of Honor by Diana Pharaoh Francis, Grade C-
Path of Blood by Diana Pharaoh Francis, Grade C —
The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen, Grade C
The Deep End by Kristen Ashley, Grade  C
The Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen, Grade C-
The Fate of the Tearling by Erika Johansen, Grade D–
Ishtar’s Blade by Lisa Blackwood, Grade C+
Betrayal’s Price by Lisa Blackwood, Grade  C-
Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier, Grade B+
Son of the Shadows by Juliet Marillier, Grade B[+]
Heir to the Sevenwaters by Juliet Marillier, Grade B
Seer of Sevenwaters by Juliet Marillier, Grade D+
Flame of Sevenwaters by Juliet Marillier, Grade C+
The Winter Players by Tanith Lee, Grade C-
Queen of Blood by Jill Myles, Grade C-
The Bird and the Sword by Amy Harmon, Grade B-
Disorderly Conduct by Tessa Bailey, Grade C (only $1.99 on kindle at time of posting)
Sorceress Found by Lisa Blackwood, Grade D+
The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare, Grade C
Archangel by Sharon Shinn, Grade C- (On sale for $2.99 on kindle at time of posting)

Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay, Grade B+
The Kingpin of Camelot by Cassandra Gannon, Grade B-
Wicked Ugly Bad by Cassandra Gannon, Grade C
Lord of the Abyss by Nalini Singh, Grade B+ [OH MY GOD NEED MORE HFR FROM NALINI]
The Shift of the Tide by Jeffe Kennedy, Grade D+
The Wizard’s Ward by Deborah Hale, Grade C
The Destined Queen by Deborah Hale, Grade Grade  C – –
On Fire’s Wings by Christie Golden, Grade D, but I cannot recommend this book => see my GR
In Stone’s Clasp by Christie Golden, Grade F/DNF
Giving It Up by Audra North, Grade C+
Uprooted by Naomi Novik, Grade B-
Romancing Mister Bridgerton by Julia Quinn, Grade B-
The Winter King by C. L. Wilson, Grade B+
The Sea King by C. L. Wilson, Grade C (which I reviewed here)

Dirty Filthy Rich Men by Laurelin Paige, Grade C-
Dirty Filthy Rich Love by Laurelin Paige, Grade C-
Ariagne by Ekaterine Xia, Grade C-
Archangel’s Viper by Nalini Singh, Grade B-
An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson, Grade B+
Assassin’s Gambit by Amy Raby, Grade D+
Claws & Effect by Jessica Sims, Grade C-

Pleasure Keeper by Charlotte Stein, Grade B
An Ex for Christmas by Lauren Layne, Grade B+
Dragon Bones by Patricia Briggs, Grade B+
Dragon Blood by Patricia Briggs, Grade B+
Played by Jen Frederick, Grade C+

[A book I’m pretty sure isn’t written by the “real author”] Moody Bastard by Red Garnier, Grade F
​+​Lord Ruin by Carolyn Jewel, Grade A-
​+​Rock Me by Cherrie Lynn, Grade C+
​+​Lover Eternal by J.R. Ward, Grade A
​+​A Hunger Like No Other by Kresley Cole, Grade B
​+​The Satin Sash by Red Garnier, Grade A-
Breaching the Contract by Chantal Fernando, Grade D+
Seducing the Defendant by Chantal Fernando, Grade C

So have you read any of these books? Thoughts? And a number of these ended up on my “Best of the Year” post too, which you can check out here. 😀 And if you wanted to see what the first half of 2017 looked like book-wise for me… check it out here!

N.B. Apologies if there are any typos in names, etc. I tried to catch them all but DYAC is strong in some programs, y’all.

And As a refresher, this is the basic ALBTALBS “Grading Scale.”

A – Amazing
B – Very Good
C – Good
D – Bad
F – Terrible
DNF – Did Not Finish (Reasons Vary)

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