January Book Reads & Recs

This book reads and recs blog is a mix of monsters and Sapphic romance. (There’s also Knot my Type – which is an M/F but not just any M/F) My tastes are all over the place anyway, so I go with the flow. 

I’ll start with the one I finished up recently:

Knot my Type  By Evie Mitchell

While I wouldn’t say this is a slow burn exactly, this is definitely a slow starter. A lot of setting and character building goes into place first before it gets into the main romance. While it seems like it might slow things down, it’s all relevant, AND worth it by the time this book kicks into gear. 

Not only does it have very broad disability rep, it has queer rep, and kink rep. This book had a lot for everyone, and if you’re looking for something scorching hot to read, this is definitely on the high heat level. 

Fall Into You  By Georgian Kiersten

A sweet little contemporary Sapphic novella with a second chance romance between to childhood friends that run into each other in a small Texas town right before Thanksgiving. 

It’s a steamy sweet romance. You’ll find yourself drawn into the story so easily that when you reach the end of the book, you’ll be surprised you got there so fast.

You can find plenty of queer rep, and found family. It also speaks to mental health topics involving family guilt and trauma. In addition, this is a Black centered queer story, so readers looking for more BIPOC queer rep will definitely enjoy this book.

Meet Me in Madrid  By Verity Lowell

I was very interested in this contemporary Sapphic novel for its setting, and its depiction of two Women of Color working as professional academics in the subject of art history. 

If you’re a typical Romance reader this might be a difficult read as it’s written in third person omniscient voice. I usually find that in Fantasy or Sci-fi, so while it was a surprise, it was easy to adjust to. However, some hard core Romance readers readers might be more picky about the voice.

The romance reads more like a subplot to the career progress of the two main characters. It does have some nice historical tie-ins to other Sapphic stories through history, and it highlights a great deal of emotional labor and microaggressions both characters are subjected to in their careers. 

If you’re looking at this novel specifically for the romance, you might be slightly disappointed. However, if you’re looking for contemporary fiction with a romance subplot, you’ll be happier reading this book. 

This next section will be primarily urban-fantasy, sci-fi, or paranormal with a romance thread through it. 

Docile  By K.M. Szpara

It lives up to it’s tagline: “There is no consent under capitalism.” This book has garnered a lot of controversy. Frankly, I think it depicts a near future that is more likely that most want to admit. Think queer “Pretty Woman” but with way less autonomy and crippling debt.

Docile deals with sex work, generational debt, and abuse. It’s not far fetched to see how predatory debt collection could be used to force people into indentured sex work or labor. Simply put, it’s slavery prettied up as a reason to keep people in poverty. Either by selling their debts to someone, or being sent to debt prison. I do wish the book went more into the prison system, than just mentioning it. I imagine someone in prison under this system would have even less control about how they were used to pay off their debt. 

The controversy to me seems to stem from people that have likely A) Never lived in poverty. B) Never had to take out a debt consolidation loan or use payday loan companies to survive from paycheck to paycheck. C) Never have had friends who would exchange sex for a roof over their heads, or would outright do some kind of sex work or sell drugs to keep themselves or their household in food, utilities, and shelter. It’s very easy for me to see how the Overton window could shift – especially with corporations firmly intrenched in government affairs – to come up with this scheme. 

While the book does end on a mostly upbeat note, you come to realize that these characters are the lucky ones – even with everything that happened. The only thing that changed for them is that they managed to break out of their cycles of debt and abuse. And even then, the impression is, it might not last. 

Please read the content warnings (which are actually printed on the cover now) before reading this book. It might be cathartic or triggering depending on where you are at with your mental health. 

Stalked by the Kraken  By Lillian Lark

Described by other readers as cozy stalking, this urban fantasy comes with a light world building and setting. However, it has a lot of sex positive things going on between the main character – a Kraken, and the love interest – a matchmaking witch. 

There’s even a bit of a mystery subplot mixed up with the initial romance plot. All of it made for a very satisfying, fast, scorching read. 

Pick up this book if you like magic, sex magic, tentacles, and protective family members and coworkers. Also if you have a stationary(pens/paper) fetish, you will be pleasantly surprised. Great sex positive rep along with some queer rep among the secondary characters.   

Sing me to Sleep  By R.M. Virtues

Another scorcher of a monster romance with a demon, and a woman with PTSD after her home was broken into and her father was murdered during the home invasion. 

The sleep demon goes above and beyond to help out the main character with her trauma. 

If you’re into stories that deal with lucid dreaming, demons, and plenty of sexy times, then this will hit all the right spots for you. 

This is a paranormal romance, centered around Indian American characters. Along with queer fiction in general, paranormal and urban fantasy doesn’t have enough BIPOC representation and I’m very happy to see more of this in the world. 

Ice Planet Barbarians Series By Ruby Dixon

If you haven’t found this series yet, and like Monster/Alien romance sci-fi – you should seriously check this out. Paperbacks are available now for the first couple of books in the series, plus it’s widely available in ebook format. 

All the books are quick, steamy reads that really center the women main characters as capable individuals. So don’t be fooled by the cover into thinking these women are damsels in distress all the time. They are badasses in their own way and sometimes rescue their alien mates too. 

If you’re interested in more recs or have recs of your own that you’d like to mention, please feel free to comment or post a comment to my social media. Happy reading! 🙂

Collage of book covers associated with the blog post.

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