Romance Recommendation: The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune

The House in the Cerulean Sea

by T.J. Klune

A magical island. A dangerous task. A burning secret.

Linus Baker leads a quiet, solitary life. At forty, he lives in a tiny house with a devious cat and his old records. As a Case Worker at the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth, he spends his days overseeing the well-being of children in government-sanctioned orphanages.

When Linus is unexpectedly summoned by Extremely Upper Management he’s given a curious and highly classified assignment: travel to Marsyas Island Orphanage, where six dangerous children reside: a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist. Linus must set aside his fears and determine whether or not they’re likely to bring about the end of days.

But the children aren’t the only secret the island keeps. Their caretaker is the charming and enigmatic Arthur Parnassus, who will do anything to keep his wards safe. As Arthur and Linus grow closer, long-held secrets are exposed, and Linus must make a choice: destroy a home or watch the world burn.

An enchanting story, masterfully told, The House in the Cerulean Sea is about the profound experience of discovering an unlikely family in an unexpected place—and realizing that family is yours.

Taken from book blurb

Length: 12 hours 12 minutes

Series: N/A

Genre: Fantasy. QUILTBAG. M/M Romance.

Read as an: eAudiobook


My Thoughts

The House in the Cerulean Sea had me messily sobbing while driving on the freeway.

Thank goodness it was always on my way home from work, otherwise I would have spent the day an emotional and red mess. The emotions that this book inspire are so wholesome and loving yet so cutting and sharp.

The feels, people!

The emphasis of this beautiful book is family. However it also looks at hate and how the fear of the unknown can foster contentious and angry feelings which breed to hate and violence. The fact that the books is about an ‘orphanage’ of magical children too dangerous to be housed in normal facilities only adds to the poignancy.

My god the feels, people!


“Just because you don’t experience prejudice in your everyday doesn’t stop it from existing for the rest of us.”


Continue reading “Romance Recommendation: The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune”

Read and Rated: September

I was quite productive and read a fair amount this September. So here is a quick rundown of the books I finished during the month of September.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Who’s that Earl by Susanna Craig

Who’s That Earl is the first book of Susanna Criag’s I have read and I quite enjoyed it. The characters of the historical romance were very nuanced and I not only did I like them as individuals but I really liked them together. First in the Love and Let Spy Series, I will deifnelty be looking out for the next in store.

Also I do love the cover of this book, it is so striking and different. However every time I look at it I can’t help but think that there is something wrong with her arms? Maybe it is the style of the dress that is throwing me off? I’m not sure, what do you think?

Continue reading “Read and Rated: September”

12 Tropes of 2020 – The Alpha’s Warlock by Eliot Grayson

Enemies-to-Lovers from
12 Tropes of 2020

The two characters often have a long history of conflict with each other. They may be on opposite sides of a struggle, or may have just met under unfortunate circumstances and their personalities clashed.

Taken from Fanlore.

The Alpa’s Warlock
by Eliot Grayson

Cursed, mated, and in for the fight of their lives…

Warlock Nate Hawthorne just wants a cup of coffee. Is that too much to ask? Apparently. Because instead of precious caffeine, all he gets is cursed by a pack of werewolves who want to use him for his magic. Now the only way to fix the damage is a mate bond to a grumpy and oh-so-sexy alpha in the rival pack, who happens to hate him. This is so not how he wanted to start his day.

Ian Armitage never intended to take Nate as his mate. The Hawthorne family can’t be trusted. Ian knows that better than anyone. The fact that he’s lusted after the way-too-gorgeous man for years? Totally irrelevant. Ian’s just doing what is necessary to protect his pack. This whole mating arrangement has nothing to do with love and never will. That’s his story and he’s sticking to it.

Nate and Ian will have to work together if they have any hope of staving off the pack’s enemies and averting disaster. That’s assuming they can stop arguing (and keep their hands off each other) long enough to save the day…

The Alpha’s Warlock is an explicit M/M paranormal romance featuring a snarky warlock, a brooding alpha werewolf, knotting, enchanted socks (long story), and a guaranteed happily ever after.

Taken from book blurb

My thoughts

I tend to steer away from books with ‘Alpha’ in the title but the blurb on this book was too good to pass up. From the first chapter to the end I was enamoured with the two characters Nate and Ian.

Continue reading “12 Tropes of 2020 – The Alpha’s Warlock by Eliot Grayson”

12 Tropes of 2020 – Hearts of Darkness by Andrea Speed

Superheroes from
12 Tropes of 2020

Adventures, personalities and ethics of costumed crime fighters known as superheroes, who often possess superhuman powers and battle similarly powered criminals known as supervillains.

Taken from Wikipedia

Hearts of Darkness
by Andrea Speed

Kaede Hiyashi is sick and tired of living in the shadow of his father, supervillain Doctor Terror. Brilliant but crazy, Doctor Terror sends his son to Corwyn, California, for reasons Kaede can’t imagine. Sent to accompany and protect him is Ash, a genetically modified supersoldier raised and trained by an infamous death cult.

Corwyn is lousy with superheroes, led by the obnoxious Dark Justice. Kaede finds himself dancing around Dark Justice as he digs into his father’s mysterious business and teaches his socially awkward—but physically lethal—bodyguard to acclimate to “normal” life. Can these two wacky supervillains figure out what Doctor Terror wants them to do, solve the riddle of the villain known as Black Hand, and keep Dark Justice from raining on their bloody parade? The course of love—and world domination—never did run smooth.

Blurb taken from book blurb

My thoughts

I really enjoy reading queer superhero romance novels – there is just something so satisfying about being able to see these larger than life characters not only occupy the ‘hero’ archetype but to see them love freely is what that I love reading. Sadly there are not that many published queer superhero romance novels – don’t get me wrong they are out there but they can be hard to find 😅

Continue reading “12 Tropes of 2020 – Hearts of Darkness by Andrea Speed”

Romance Recommendation: Hottie Scotty and Mr. Porter by R. Cooper

Hottie Scotty and Mr. Porter

by R. Cooper

To help out his sister, Scott moved to the small town of Montgomery, where there isn’t much to do and no one for him to date. Well, there’s one other openly gay man in town—Henry ‘Cole’ Porter, a widower who runs the school library, but after one drunken night together, Cole has kept his distance. Scott is used to that. He spends a lot of time working out, and from the slow way he talks and the frat house atmosphere at the fire station where he works, it’s easy to assume he’s stupid. Most people are happy to admire his body and assume that’s all he wants from them, and deep down, Scott is too afraid to try asking for more.

Which is why Scott has been secretly pining after Cole for months when some of the town’s nosier residents decide Cole has been single long enough. They have a plan to throw every professional gay man in a thirty-mile radius Cole’s way, whether he likes it or not. Their list of candidates doesn’t include Scott, and Scott’s insecurities prevent him from stepping forward—even when it seems as though Cole is asking him to.

Cole is everything Scott isn’t; highly educated, stylish, with refined tastes. He’s also stubborn and sarcastic, and not nearly as smart about the workings of his own heart as people might think. It might take a lot of the wrong men for him to realize the right one has been in front of him all along.

Taken from book clurb

Length: 112 pages.

Series: Stand alone.

Genre: Romance. QUILTBAG. M/M Romance.

Read as an: eBook.


My Thoughts

The first time I read Hottie Scotty and Mr Porter, I was five books into my R. Cooper binge. However this book left the biggest impression. The characters and the emotions the story evoked in me were so very powerful; I laughed, I cried, I hugged a pillow while silently sobbing for Scotty’s sense of self worth.

Evoking emotional and somewhat angst filled moments of bittersweet joy, are what R. Cooper excels at. Throughout her books there is a common theme of hurt feelings and the deeply resonating emotional turmoil misunderstandings can create. Hottie Scotty and Mr Porter tackles self worth and explores this in such a subtle and beautiful way. Scotty’s feelings are not discussed, rather characters pick up on behaviours and defence mechanisms, and work around them.

The romance in Hottie Scotty and Mr Porter is hard won and worthwhile. I loved seeing the two romantic leads together as they each figured themselves and each other out.


Enjoyment Level

I loved this book so much, I couldn’t wait more than 3 months before reading it again. Last year I became a fan of R. Cooper and so far in my journey reading her back catalogue, Hottie Scotty and Mr Porter is my favourite.

I am no doubt going to read Hottie Scotty and Mr Porter for a third time, and may throw in a re-read of For Better or Worse which tells the story of two firefighters who work with Scotty in Montgomery.


Recommendation

If you are looking for a beautiful QUILTBAG romance that has just enough emotional angst to tug on your heart strings, then I would 100% recommend Hottie Scotty and Mr Porter.

I would recommend this book to anyone looking for an entertaining and emotional romance read!

Book review comment ender

12 Tropes of 2020 – Some Kind of Magic by R. Cooper

Soul Mates from
12 Tropes of 2020

Soulmates are people who are fated to be together, usually romantically, sometimes through multiple lives and/or into the afterlife.

Taken from Fanlore

A person ideally suited to another as a close friend or romantic partner.

Taken from Lexico


Some Kind of Magic
by R. Cooper

Los Cerros is Detective Ray Branigan’s town, his to protect in a way that satisfies his werewolf instincts, even though most humans are afraid of him. Los Cerros is famous for its fairy village and its supposedly welcoming attitude toward magical beings like Ray, but Ray is one of only two beings on the police force. While dealing with human prejudice, Ray and his partner have to solve crimes relating to magic, and are forced to rely on the department’s part-time magical consultants, something Ray tries to avoid—and not only because werewolves are uncomfortable around magic.

Enter Cal Parker, the son of the department’s most admired detective. Cal is brilliant, contemptuous of the police, and half-fairy. He’s also Ray’s mate, a fact that Ray has kept secret despite his every instinct screaming for him to claim and worship, because weres mate for life, and fairies… don’t. Everyone knows that. Fairies are beautiful, flighty, and fickle.

But perhaps it’s not only the humans who have prejudice about beings. Cal isn’t shy about his desire for Ray—not that fairies ever are—and Ray’s resistance is crumbling. But the situation is growing more dangerous as they get closer to the killer, and by the time Ray accepts the truth of a fairy’s heart, it might be too late.

A Being(s) in Love Story

Magical creatures known as beings emerged from hiding amid the destruction of the First World War. Since then they’ve lived on the margins of the human world as misunderstood objects of fear and desire. Some are beautiful, others fearsome and powerful. Yet for all their magic and strength, they are as vulnerable as anyone when it comes to matters of the heart.

Blurb taken from book blurb

My thoughts

Okay, so if you haven’t realised I am a massive R. Cooper fan then you haven’t been paying attention for the last year. I have previously read a few books from R. Cooper’s Being(s) in Love series that was previously published under Dreamspinner Press, however this is the first some I have read Some Kind of Magic and is was amazing.

Continue reading “12 Tropes of 2020 – Some Kind of Magic by R. Cooper”

Blog Tour: The Prince’s Dragon by W.M. Fawkes & Sam Burns

The Prince’s Dragon

by W.M. Fawkes & Sam Burns

The last place Lord Tristram Radcliffe ever expected to find himself was right hand to the Llangardian throne. His parentage should have seen him banished, but he managed to keep his draconic secret. Now, King Reynold is dead. Long live King Roland.

The boy ascends to rule a kingdom in chaos, and Tristram must undo the damage of the last king’s reign to save his people from lean winter and wolves in the palace itself. Reynold’s former shadow, Bet Kyston, is determined to root out King Roland’s enemies, but his version of help may cause as much harm as good.

There remains a traitor near to the throne, and when the king falls mysteriously ill, Tristram’s strongest ally is forced to leave court. As his enemies move closer, the strength of Tristram’s regency is more precarious than ever. Abandoned and friendless, Tristram must sacrifice everything to protect his homeland or risk not only Roland’s life, but his own.

Taken from Book Blurb

Series: Fire and Valor #2

Release Date: April 16, 2020

Genre: QUILTBAG, High Fantasy, Romance.


Excerpt

“I thought you wanted me gone?”

Tris clamped his jaw shut so he didn’t say anything unwise, but then he realized that if he couldn’t be honest with Bet, there wasn’t a soul in all of Llangard he could be honest with. “I’ve never wanted you gone. I don’t want an assassin in Roland’s employ, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want you there.”

Bet, still fully clothed, climbed atop him, running his hands over Tristram’s bare chest. “So all you wish is to change my nature?”

“I do not,” he denied. He put his hands atop Bet’s, but didn’t hold them in place. He let them roam over the planes of his chest, down the narrowing line of his waist, just barely dipping below the sheets to tease at the trail of hair leading farther down. He took a shaky breath and reminded himself that they were conversing. Or they had been.

Bet smirked.

“You are more than what Reynold asked of you, Bet. More than what I’ve asked.”

Bet’s smirk turned into a scowl for a second, but then he was changing the subject with his hands once again, slipping them both under the sheets.


Author Bios

W.M. Fawkes is an author of LGBTQ+ urban fantasy and paranormal romance. She lives with her partner in a house owned by three halloween-hued felines that dabble regularly in shadow walking.

Sam lives in the Midwest with husband and cat, which is even less exciting than it sounds, so she’s not sure why you’re still reading this.

She specializes in LGBTQIA+ fiction, usually with a romantic element. There’s sometimes intrigue and violence, usually a little sex, and almost always some swearing in her work. Her writing is light and happy, though, so if you’re looking for a dark gritty reality, you’ve come to the wrong author.


Giveaway

Win one e-copy of The King’s Dragon by Sam Burns & W.M. Fawkes

Follow this link to enter.

12 Tropes of 2020 – Consorting with Dragons by Sera Trevor

Cinder(f)ella from
12 Tropes of 2020

The beautiful, hard working, put upon commoner girl who never loses her hope will be a princess or queen by the story’s end.

Taken from TV Tropes

A commoner by birth, or with only minor ties to nobility. Nonetheless, through hard work, perseverance, and the help of some musical animals, she’ll swoop into the ball and make the prince her “husband.”

Taken from TV Tropes

Consorting with Dragons
by Sara Trevor

Lord Jasen of Grumhul, an impoverished young nobleman, has come to the Draelands to find a rich husband to help pay his father’s debts. To the shock of everyone, he ends up attracting the attention of King Rilvor himself, and the dragons who control the magic in the land. Becoming royalty wasn’t something Jasen either expected or wanted, but he can’t control his growing feelings for kind and handsome king. Scheming factions at Court conspire to keep him from Rilvor’s side, and now Jasen has to decide if the chance at true love with Rilvor is worth the burden of being the husband of a king.

This sweet and funny Cinderfella romance is complete at ~85000 words and ends in a solid HEA. After all, true love always wins in fairy tales! 

Blurb taken from book blurb

My thoughts

I’ve previously read Consorting with Dragons in 2016 as a novella and was so excited to see that it had been revised and extended into a full novel.

What was a big draw for this excitement was that Lord Jasen was such a distinct, sarcastic, and sweetly cynical character. It’s a tough thing to do, to have a character be sweetly cynical – the emotional vulnerability yet almost resigned expectation of being hurt for me, can blend together to make a nuanced and beautifully moving character.

Continue reading “12 Tropes of 2020 – Consorting with Dragons by Sera Trevor”

Dekoboko Sugar Days by Yusen Atsuko

Dekoboko Sugar Days

by Yusen Atsuko.

Yuujirou Matsukaze has been close friends with Rui Hanamine since the two of them were children, and at that time, Yuujirou was the one who stood up for and took care of his adorable, soft-hearted friend. But as it turns out, Yuujirou’s childhood dreams end up growing a little too big to handle ― or, rather, too tall! At over six feet in height, the cheerful and happy-go-lucky Rui towers over his would-be protector… and still has no idea Yuujirou’s had a crush on him since they were kids! 

Taken from book blurb

Release Date: February 18, 2020.

Length: 256 pages.

Series: Stand alone.

Genre: Manga. QUILTBAG. Yaoi.

Read as: an eBook.

Sourced: NetGalley.


My Thoughts

Dekoboko Sugar Days is a quick and cute story of Yuujirou and Rui as they each come to realise their feelings for each other. Yuujirou was a favourite character of mine, as he both angstyed over his short height and his feelings for Rui. I say angst but really it was all just cute pining and over compensation for his shortness by drinking a lot of milk.

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Romance Recommendation: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue

by Mackenzi Lee

Henry “Monty” Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman, but he was never one to be tamed. The finest boarding schools in England and the constant disapproval of his father haven’t been able to curb any of his roguish passions—not for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits, or waking up in the arms of women or men.

But as Monty embarks on his Grand Tour of Europe, his quest for a life filled with pleasure and vice is in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and travelling companion, Percy.

Still it isn’t in Monty’s nature to give up. Even with his younger sister, Felicity, in tow, he vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt that spans across Europe, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.

Taken from book blurb

Length: 10 hours 47 minutes

Series: Montague Siblings #1

Genre: Young Adult. QUILTBAG. M/M Romance.

Read as an: eAudiobook


My Thoughts

While listening to the first chapter of this audiobook, I was very tempted to stop reading. Don’t get me wrong, the narrator was amazing and the writing was good – it was just the character Monty was such a prick that I didn’t want to listen to a whole book about him.

I am SO glad that I powered through because I came to love Monty. While it might be stretching it to say that he grew as a person, he none the less grew on me as I came to understand him.

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue is a young adult, historical, LGBTQ+ romance adventure novel. Encompassing that many genres may be a stretch with some books, but Lee pulls it off spectacularly. Soon I was absorbed in the world of the novel and was fighting for Monty and his love affair with Percy.


“We’re not courting trouble,” I say. “Flirting with it, at most.”


Continue reading “Romance Recommendation: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee”