Two “Classic” YA Fantasy Books I Read Recently

I’ve been in a fantasy mood lately and I was browsing my library and found two older titles that I knew a couple people I know love or at least loved the authors so I picked them up on a whim and I am soooo happy I did.


Summers at Castle Auburn Sharon Shinn

 Summers at Castle Auburn by Sharon Shinn
Published by Ace Books in 2001


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 Summers At Castle Auburn is about: a girl, who spends her summers with her half-sister at Castle Auburn every summer — a place much different from where she normally lives with her grandmother in their village. Her times at the castle have always been enchanting and wonderful (especially when she gets to see the prince she has fallen in love with) but as she starts to become a young women her summers at Castle Auburn change for her and the layers are peeled back.

My Thoughts

I could die of happiness talking about Summers at Castle Auburn — it was so charming and swoony. It was one of those books that felt like magic. It felt like cozy over-sized sweaters, a good cup of tea, hot coca with big ol’ marshmallows, blanket forts and sitting by the fireplace. I don’t know how else to describe it. I felt like it didn’t matter what happened around me as I was reading it in my blanket fort with my cuppa tea because I was so utterly absorbed in the story and the characters lives. I loved the setting of castle Auburn and watching her come of age each summer (while getting snippets of her life in the village) there was so delightful. She was irreverent and smart and oh I adored her and her various escapades.

I loved watching that shift of innocence and enchantment by life at the castle and then, as she got older, she lost some of that innocence to see things (and people) at the castle for what they were. She got a bit jaded as one does when you get older and everything isn’t how you always thought it to be — especially when she saw all the political maneuvering that has always been there. The ship in this book is one of my faaaaaavorite in a long time. If you are looking for sexy, this is not that. This is the slowest burn of all slow burns and I’m talking rubbing-two-sticks-to-make-fire slow burn. It was delightful and made me squeal and oh man did my heart swell like 10 sizes. If you are looking for those brutal and intense type fantasy books this isn’t quite it. It’s more a charming and happy one — though sad and hard things ARE in it. It’s just not as quite intense or brutal as a lot I’ve read if that makes sense.





Crown Duel Sherwood Smith

Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith
Published by HMH Books For Young Readers in 1997

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Crown Duel is about: a girl from an impoverished province whose father dies and she and her brother, honoring their father’s wishes, go off to war in hopes of leading a revolt against the tyrant king and getting other provinces to join in and fight against him.

My thoughts:

Crown Duel was a quick paced adventure for sure that, despite a slow start for me to warm up to, really pulled me in and made me eager to grab the conclusion at the library and check out the novellas. It really hit the ground running with the father dying and with Mel and her brother quickly having to go war against a tyrant king who is threatening their kingdom. It was quite the adventure from the start and I knew pretty early on that I’d really love Mel — even when she’s kinda rude and stubborn. I loved watching Mel and her people think of cunning ways to outsmart these larger and well trained troops. I always root for the band of misfits! As soon as Mel’s adventure breaks off from the rest is where it gets even more intense and made for a great story of adventure, survival and political maneuvering. I really liked the world, though that and the magic system were a little too sparsely constructed for me at times, and loved finding out more about the other kingdoms and players within. I wanted to understand more of the magic and the Hillfolk to be honest. I will say…I WISH THERE WAS A DAMN MAP IN THIS BOOK. I had the hardest time picturing places traveled to or talked about which was really hard for me. I looooved the Marquis and how Mel and he interacted. I see a good ship for book 2 especially because you know I love me a hate-to-love ship! Although I think I would have enjoyed this more when I was younger I did quite enjoy this adventure! Definitely a book to pick up if you are craving fantasy but want something shorter and fast paced!




Have you ever read either of these? What did you think if you have??

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 32 year old married lady (with a new baby!!) who is in denial that she's actually that old to be a married lady and a mom. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, belting out Hamilton (loud and offkey) and having adventures with her husband, daughter and rescue dog.


  1. If you like slowest of slow burns I’m going to go out of character and make an adult rec: The Others series by Anne Bishop (the first is Written in Red). The characters are fantastic, the world building is excellent, and the romance is like the slowest ever but I love it so much!! It’s like Urban Fantasy, I guess. Anyway one of my favorite currently publishing series.

    • Oooooh this one is on my TBR list on Goodreads but you sold me to move it up even further and grab it from my library soon!!!

  2. Added these two to my TBR, I love fantasy but I only discovered GR and the bookish community around 2012 so I’m always glad to receive recs of older tittles that I missed out on!

    • I feel the same way! I joined this community in 2010 (was on GR since 2008 but not into YA) so I feel like I’m always trying to catch up on all the books I “missed” before I started reading YA or even certain genres like fantasy. I’m still newer to it and haven’t read some of the staples that came before. I kind of find it fun to discover these older ones that nobody is talking about and then people who read them a long time ago are like AHHHH LOVED THIS BOOK haha

  3. Summers at Castle Auburn looks so good!!! Will definitely be on the lookout for this! Thanks for bringing these to my attention! 🙂

  4. It’s rare that reading a review makes me buy a book immediately. Usually goes into my TBR for a while until I get around to it. However, something about Summers at Auburn Castle struck me. I got it on my kindle, and now I’m buying the hard copy to go in my love pile! I absolutely adored this book. I read it in one sitting as I couldn’t put it down and then immediately regretted it as it was over and now what!? It was amazing and it’s been so long since I’ve added something to my love pile! Thanks for the great rec!

    • OMG THIS MAKES ME SO HAPPY!!!!! I’m so glad you loved it!!! I wish there was a sequel even though there is zero need for one because I just wanted MOOOOORE.

  5. Summers at Castle Auburn sounds really great! I’m actually planning on reading another series from this author at some point this year (I think it’s during summer), but I definitely think I should check this one out as well 🙂