First month of 2021 saw me reading quite widely and consuming a bunch of different genres! Hopefully the start of the year, saw your enjoying a bunch of books too. So scroll on down to check out all the books that I read in January, rated.
I am a big fan of Debbie Tung and Happily Ever After does not disappoint. Made up of cute comics about her relationship with her husband, Tung illustrates personal and quiet moments that feature in her day to day life. These quiet moments are so lovely, as they are often the funnier or more intimate representations of her relationship.
The Ice Queen is aloof and, well, frigid. She may not want to get emotionally close to anyone, or it may just be men she disdains. There are a few different ways her icy qualities can manifest themselves, ranging from slinging nasty remarks at anyone who crosses her to simply coming across as emotionless and “cold”. In romance, the hero strives to “defrost” her and win her over so they can embark on a relationship.
At seventeen, the noble Prince Arrow had his heart stolen by a powerful pari’s magic, which earned him the name Kişin Bey, the Prince-in-Winter, as his veins slowly filled with ice without a heart to keep him warm. Three years have passed since then, and Kişin is not expected to survive another winter. In a last, desperate attempt to save his life, Razin, the court wizard and Kişin’s childhood best friend, convinces him to travel in search of the pari, to ask for the return of his heart. What Razin doesn’t know is that Kişin’s heart was never stolen; he gave it away to the pari to escape the pain of an impossible love—his love for Razin.
Smart and stubborn, Razin has never accepted Kişin’s fate, continuing to address him by his childhood name of Arrow and doing everything he can to keep Kişin warm despite the distance Kişin has put between them. Bitter and sharp of tongue, he is nonetheless determined to ensure Kişin’s survival. The prince needs him, Razin insists, not knowing the truth of his own words, or how painful it is for Kişin to be near him. Kişin agrees to the desperate quest, out of duty and a need to protect Razin, but it isn’t long before Razin realizes saving his prince will require more than simply getting his heart back. Razin will have to convince him to want it
Taken from book blurb
In The Winter Prince we are presented with as cold and emotionless character, Kişin Bey. Having had his heart stolen not only is Kisin not expected to live past next winter but he has become an emotionless and hard person to be around. Across the story, one of our romantic leads set out to return Kisin’s heart and save him from an early grave.
A marriage of convenience is a mutually beneficial agreement, with both parties profiting from the binding – it may even involve a contract – but not always. Sometimes, only one of the partners may be in it for something other than love.
A desperate dragon. A lonely necromancer. A marriage neither wants.
When he is summoned to the royal castle, Rochus anticipates nothing more than a particularly difficult assignment. The bothersome journey is almost made worthwhile when he is propositioned by a young, beautiful dragon, Tilo, who seems untroubled by the fact that Rochus is a necromancer.
When Rochus arrives at the castle he is ordered to marry the very same dragon he spent the night with. Though Rochus would rather sign papers and return home, he is helpless against Tilo’s pleas for help, even if it means spending more time around a man he is desperately drawn to but who doesn’t seem to want him.
Taken from book blurb
Megan Derr is a master at crafting in-depth fantastical locations and lore – in The Only Option were are introduced to a necromancer who is quite different from other magical users. Rochus, said grumpy necromancer, has pearly white skin, so black its blue hair, black teeth, and an appetite for blood. Due to his different and off-putting appearance and diet, Rochus is ostracised and feared by people.
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.