I haven’t been quite as productive as September but I’ve been hitting the non-fiction books a lot more this month so it all evens out. So here is a quick rundown of the books I finished during the month of October.
Firstly I am going to say that I have no clue who Caroline Hirons is but I did find their Skincare book quite informative. I could have done without the near constant references back to her YouTube channel but Hirons spelt out skincare issues in easy to understand language and included a lot of helpful pictures.
I have been trying to get a better handle on my skin which has always been a nightmare, so this book was very informative in helping my choose products that would suit my skincare needs – which were also detailed in the book. Win-win!
Summoned to the royal palace by the King, Alaith spends his days either handling the dragons that plague the kingdom, or holed up in his lonely tower. Unusual in appearance, manner, and his method of taming dragons rather than slaying them, his only distractions from his painfully outcast state in caring for the tamed dragon who resides with him, and admiring the handsome Lord Trey—and arguing with the infuriating Prince Rythe.
Taken from book blurb
I will happily admit, I have a thing for dragon shifters. I do not know if it is their penance for hoarding, their intensity, or their way of absolutely treasuring someone they love that does it for me, but I always enjoy a good dragon shifter story. Sadly I have started off on a tangent because this book is not about dragon shifters.
The book instead features a dragon tamer who is living in a kingdom with a completely different culture. Alaith believes in treasuring dragons and in this short little story, not only rescues some dragons but finds love where he would not have expected it.
I really enjoyed this book as the one of the main romantic leads initially starts off hating the other. Over the course of the book though, he takes a new appreciation of Prince Rythe as he finds out more about the man.
Esen has spent his entire life an outcast, and he threw out his last chance at fitting in when he broke the engagement his family worked so hard to arrange. Sent to the royal palace to fulfill one last duty, he counts the hours until he is literally left homeless and destitute.
But hiding away in the royal garden, he accidentally overhears a private conversation and meets the mysterious Queen’s Man…
Taken from book blurb
Okay, okay, I tend to go a bit nuts when I start to read Megan Derr books – especially when they are ones that I haven’t read yet. So while in my binge, I was lucky enough to read Hold Still which is a short fantasy read that in 53 pages manages to paint a large picture of the world.
Once again, I really enjoyed the characters and felt so much for Esen and his lonely upbringing. The book is really immersive for how short it is and I found myself really enjoying the romantic pairing of this little novella.
A Little Familiar by R. Cooper
A powerful witch, Piotr Russell has resigned himself to loneliness, because ordinary humans can’t know what he is, and other witches are intimidated by his abilities. Generations of Russells have lived and died with only their familiars at their side. The presence of a friendly familiar is enough to keep even the loneliest witch sane, and yet Piotr deliberately hasn’t chosen one. He forces himself to keep busy instead, but the emptiness of his house haunts him even more the spirit of Great-Great-Aunt Elysia in the parlor. With Samhain and Halloween approaching, he’ll have much to do, and knowing that, his concerned coven seizes the chance to intervene and sends help to his door in the form of Bartleby Dorchester.
First paragraph of book blurb
Okay so with this Familiar Spirits series, R. Cooper has flown to my favourite authors list. In her previous book that I loved, How to (Not) Train a Firecat, Cooper demonstrated an amazing ability to create truly nuanced characters, who despite their flaws, were just so loveable.
With main character Piotr, I just wanted him to be happy. I am not the biggest fan of angst in any form but I would gladly read a tear jerker if it was written by R Cooper. I just wanted Piotr to be okay, his feelings of isolation and loneliness were killers!
Holly and Oak by R. Cooper
Once a year, the town of Ravenscroft celebrates the winter solstice by watching the Oak King symbolically slay the Holly King to ensure the death of winter. To most people, it’s a pagan ritual that has lost all meaning in the modern world, harmless fun during the week of Christmas. To the coven who founded the town, it’s a magic so important they entrusted it to the two strongest witches in generations.
First paragraph of book blurb
Holly and Oak starts off as a love hate kind of relationship between main characters Will and Chester. There is a lot of build up between the two and no matter his feelings, it seems that Chester always puts his foot in it, or misinterprets meanings.
While not a direct sequel to the first book, A Little Familiar, the appear to take place in this same town and coven. There are heavy overtones to the Holly and Oak legend but honestly I didn’t know it when I was reading the book and was easily able to follow along. I really loved these characters and how they learned to let go of things and be together.
Nothing More Certain by R. Cooper
Emery Elward returned to Trinity Creek with no intention of doing anything but repairing the farmhouse he grew up in, starting a business, and tending to the graveyard linked to his family’s property. He has no interest in renewing past friendships. But one old friend is determined to get Emery out from behind the cemetery’s iron gates.
First paragraph of book blurb
Woah, okay so Nothing More Certain had me feeling! And by feeling, I mean I had to put my phone down and stop reading multiple times on the train because no one wants to be seen weeping openly on their morning commute.
Emery! I have no idea how Emery came back or stayed in his home town. The emotional angst carried over from high school and then later in life were doozies! My need to see what happens between him and Ezra had me pushing through tears to see these two settle their issues.
I would really recommend the Familiar Spirits series, the books are urban fantasy novels about magic and non magic users finding love while settling into their roles and power.
One of my absolute favourite genres is QUILTBAG fantasy romance novels. I am a sucker for the fantasy genre anyway but when you add in LGBTQ+ elements and a romance story – I am hooked and hooked good! I think the main draw card is that so many of the story do away with the historic homophobia of historical novels and instead tell stories of LGBTQ+ characters achieving great things and falling in love.
I have a spotted history with Scribd – I once loved it SOOO much but they changed their service. I could not handle the drop from unlimited books to 8 a month for the same price. However it has recently come to my attention that Scribd is back to the unlimited reads business model. So here are just a few of the books that I have read in my first month back on the service.
So, prepare yourself for just a few of the QUILTBAG fantasy romance novels I’ve read on Scribd. I won’t lie though, it’s mainly been from two authors 😋
LGBTQ+ Fantasy Romance
Demonica by Megan Derr
Life as a mercenary isn’t kind or easy, and Shale has lost much: one family, then another, one leg, one arm, one eye, and the love of his life when pain and medication left him disinterested in sex. The last thing he wants is to accept a job from his ex-lover’s mother, but the pay is too good to refuse, especially as it should be a relatively simple job
First paragraph of book blurb
I really liked this short fantasy romance as I really connected with the characters of the novel. I felt so bad for Shale who after having been attacked by a dragon, lost his arm, leg, eye, and due to the pain medication, lost his sex drive. To make this even worse, his partner dumped him as he couldn’t be in a relationship without a physical component.
The third book in the series, Looking For You, brings the Lifesworn series to a climatic end. The series is set in a fantastical world where in the first book, we follow a princess as she escapes her kingdom as her uncle usurps the throne. The two other books tell the stories of people close to Princess Shana and how they all ultimately work towards returning her to her kingdom and throne.
In each book the series explores a number of polyamorous relationships through incredibly different storylines. As per usual I am constantly in awe of the seamless way that Megan Derr creates worlds and lores within her work. However as always, the book could have stood to be given one last proofread before being published.
Shanna has spent her whole life waiting—waiting to be old enough, waiting for the day she must pick a consort, waiting for a chance to finally overcome her despicable stepfather… and waiting for someone to finally banish the loneliness that comes with being a queen-in-waiting one step away from being murdered.
On the eve of the two-week event during which she must pick a consort from a bevy of suitors, two strangers arrive claiming to have been invited—though she knows full well they did not receive any such invitation. But the handsome, mischievous Prince Kallaar is too intriguing to resist, and his quiet bodyguard too compelling to ignore…
But she’s learned the hard way never to let anyone get too close, and on the verge of gaining true independence her stepfather will stop at nothing to see she never gets it.
If you’ve been paying attention to my previous posts, I am a big Megan Derr fan. I am also a big fan of the publisher Nine Star Press , so when I saw both combined I knew immediately that I had to read this book.
I was lucky enough that when I requested that my library purchase an eBook copy, I was promptly able to read this wonderful book. (I am currently waiting for approval for the rest of the series to be purchased!) So hopefully it won’t take too long because I am love with the world of Waiting for You!
As always Derr is a master of effortless world building with the politically charged environment surrounding Shanna being presented to us in a quick and easy to grasp manner. In no time at all I was rooting for all three of the characters and found myself so thoroughly engaged in the emotional story between Shanna, Kallaar, and Ahmla.
Also honestly, who could read Waiting for You and not fall in love with Kallaar?
As you can tell from my above thoughts on the book and the fact that the book is a polyamorous romance novel, Waiting for You does indeed feature scenes between all three characters. While not the smuttiest book out there, the action between the three characters is not only incredibly sexually charged but it is emotional.
The scenes do play out at moments of emotional revelations and there is no sexual shame felt between the three as they explore themselves and their new relationship. Shanna is quite open in her imaginings and desire for more than one partner throughout the novel.
So pretty much loved the book everything about this book ❤❤❤
I am a sucker for romance novels ❤ Even more so if they’re ones with QUILTBAG characters. Some of my favourite novels from the romance genre, are ones that have two men as the romantic leads.
Don’t get me wrong, I am just as likely to be reading romances with f/f, m/m/f, f/f/m, and how conventional of me m/f pairings. In addition to these, I also have an incredible weakness for romances that feature trans and/or asexual characters.
I have grandiose plans to eventually feature each of these pairings in a similar post. So keep your eye out! In the mean time, the below are just a quick look at some of my favourites from the m/m romance genre. I hope you enjoy.
The publisher of this series has stopped operating, however the book is scheduled for re-release within either 2018 or 2019.
Quick story run down: Sebastian Keller is a straight laced ‘smart guy’ who runs his own travel book shop. Dylan Radamacher is the bad boy owner of the ‘Rad Tattoo’ store that just opened up next to Sebastian.
In a book that combines two stories, you see Sebastian and Dylan break down their misconceptions of each other. As they both learn more about each other, you see their walls fall down as the pair start to hit it off. A sweet and sexy romance story follows.
Quick reasons why I love the book:
Cute characters: From beginning to end Sebastian and Dylan make me smile.
Enemies to lovers: I’m a sucker for that trope and while the pair may not have been enemies, there was some understandable animosity between them.
Re-readability: I found this book about eight years ago and I have re-read it some many times. I caved and tracked down a physical copy.
When I decided to read this, I had been devouring a lot of fantasy novels, however this novel proved to be above and beyond all that I had been reading. Family of Lies: Sebastian is a high fantasy book that follows the journey of Sebastian, a snarky wizard who unbeknownst to him, saves a Prince’s life.
For me, the best part of this novel is Sebastian himself. The character is just so snarky and wonderful, you will find it difficult not to sit there with a big silly grin on your face. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for a funny, high fantasy novel that makes you laugh almost as much as it makes your sigh.
“Nine gods ruled the world, until the ultimate betrayal resulted in their destruction. Now, the world is dying and only by restoring the Lost Gods can it be saved.”
The Lost Gods series follows the lives of a number of characters across five books. Each book details the story of how each of the five countries try to restore the ‘Lost Gods’ of the world.
With each book a new set of characters are introduced, however as the larger storyline of the series unfolds, you start to meet a few of the previous characters. Each book and each ‘God’ explores a number of different themes and story lines; topics such as love, forgiveness, sacrifice, suicide, power, destiny, death, and rebirth are all explored throughout the series.
Why: I am a massive fan of Megan Derr and felt it was time to tackle one her lengthier series. I am currently up to the third book in the series, ‘Stone Rose,’ and am, as ever, enamoured with the characters and the almost effortless storytelling.
Best Bits: The way that Derr mixes tragic themes with romance is nothing short of genius. Over the course of two books I have, with an almost bittersweet sense, watched numbers of characters face hardships and terrible choices with a smile and watery eyes.
As with any of Derr’s novels, they are extremely well written with an amazing cast of believable characters. One thing that I have noticed about Derr is her amazing world creation ability. The worlds that her characters occupy are incredibly detailed and each as multi-faceted as the last. The sheer range that Derr can write makes each book a very different experience from the last.
Thoughts so far: So far the books have proven to be both character driven and story heavy, but with just the right amount of romance thrown in to keep me reading. Being only half way through ‘Stone Rose,’ I cannot wait to continue to read the series and watch as the larger narrative starts to unfold even further.