Some of you might remember that I started a challenge back in December to read fifteen books from my TBR while I was on vacation.

What I found out is, I read from an eReader much faster than I read a print book these days. (Though it did take me almost two weeks to read an 800 page book in eBook format.) Life got in the way like it normally does, and I haven’t posted about anything I’ve read this year. WELL, this week, that changes!

Here’s what I’ve been reading:

Priory of the Orange Tree | Samantha Shannon

I started the year off with this book. It has some really good sapphic rep and for those that love high epic fantasy, I highly recommend. However, this is not a quick read. So make sure you set some time aside to read this one.

The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina | Zoraida Córdova

While fiction, this story has all the family drama and could give anyone with a desire to gossip a nice hit of magical realism along with rediscovering family roots. Really compelling story and I loved the different character interactions.

Trashed | Mia Hopkins

This book was a surprise for me. I didn’t realize I was in the middle of a series until I was a few chapters in and brothers were mentioned. Good for anyone that likes a reformed bad guy story matched up with a lady who’s very smart and knows what she wants.

Romance Your Plan | Zoe York

This was my first non-fiction book of the year and it was worth it. Learned a lot about what steps I needed to take to get better at the marketing part of publishing. It’s not easy friends. The major takeaway here is networking.

Fierce Fairytales | Nikita Gill

Whether you like poetry or not, I highly suggest picking up any of Gill’s work. I have three of her books on my shelves right now that I’ve enjoyed. Her perspective and prose were engaging. On my list of authors that I will purchase a new release from.

Entranced by the Basilisks | Lillian Lark

I don’t know if Lark can write a bad book. I especially appreciate her monster romances that feature polyam/bisexual representation. Knowing that she also creates the art for the covers blows my mind. Definitely one of those authors that I purchase a new release from.

The Fox and the Dryad | Kellen Graves

This took some very neat high fantasy elements and gave them an urban fantasy twist. It was an enjoyable read and I wouldn’t mind reading other books by the author when I get the chance.

Malevolence | Smauggy

This is a dark fantasy romance with polyam rep, but whew, definitely check those content warnings going in! It’s got fairies and werewolves and you’re never quite sure who’s on the right side of things. And maybe the point is that during war, no one is. People can’t come back from the dead.

Blood Moon | Jillian Graves

It’s your classic witch meets vampire, bangs him, then finds out he’s the competition across the street. Fast paced, fun read, and scenes where they sneak around for sexy times are really good.

Her Soul to Take | Harley Laroux

This could be classified as a dark urban fantasy, but I’m not so sure. It definitely rides that gray area. Check content warnings. A demon and a witch find themselves tangled up in a prophecy between two families. The demon, is really reluctant to complete the prophecy for his own reasons. In the meantime, he stalks the witch he’s meant to kill. It was an enjoyable read and look forward to reading this author again soon. Also props for subtle bi-rep.

Initiation | Alethea Faust

Holy crap! It’s exactly what it says it is on the cover and then some. There are content warnings for every chapter. And despite this being erotic fantasy it delivers great world building with the magic system, and a plot that definitely compelled me to read the book as much as the scenes did. I also think this surpasses the five pepper scale. ( And I thought I had a lot of scenes in my books! LOL)
ALSO, very queer, which was great! Looking forward to the next book in the series.

The Astronaut and the Star | Jen Comfort

Cute, quick M|F contemporary romance read that had a nice science mixed with romance. Anyone looking for cozy, fluffy, with a lot of nerding out along with mental health rep, I would definitely recommend this book.

The Planck Paradox | TJ Dallas

While this author is more known for the erotica, this contemporary sapphic romance is the right balance of nerdy sweet and spicy! It also has a nice plotline throughout the book around advocating for students and people that are differently-abled. Definitely a recommended read.

Nimona | N.D. Stevenson

Watched the Netflix movie before reading the graphic novel and honestly, I think that’s the best move. While both are good, there were updates in the movie that made the story even better. Still, I had a lot of fun reading the graphic novel too. Would recommend if you didn’t get enough of Nimona and might be curious about what was changed.

The Point of No Return | Devyn Sinclair

Think Phantom of the Opera with gargoyles. It’s a great monster romance and has some polyam rep that was delightful to read. Most of the story takes place in an old opera house in Paris. There are rival gargoyles and a rival singer, along with other monstrous creatures, though we don’t get very much in this story about the rest of the underground world except for the rivalry. It was an entertaining read and would recommend for anyone with a gargoyle itch and a love of opera.

A Little Bit of Blooming Luck | D.T. Brandt

This is a Pygmalion retelling, with a little more romance between the main characters. Brandt writes wonderful voices for his characters and it reads very much like a period piece from the mid twentieth century. It’s a quick, enjoyable read for anyone that likes historical vibes with queer retellings.

Ablaze | A.H. Cunningham

One of my favorite contemporary romance authors, I never hesitate to pick up one of Cunningham’s books. Always has great conflict and a lot of great scenes that will replay in your head for a long time after you are done with the book. As plus-size rep, polyam, and bisexual rep. Highly recommend. Also on my list of must purchase authors.

Heart Haunt Havoc | Freydís Moon

Read this in preparation for the next book in the series. This is another book that rides the line of whether or not its a dark urban fantasy. Check the content warnings. Also the first time I’ve read a book with two trans main characters. Definite recommend for anyone that likes a touch of darkness with their queer romance.

The Free People’s Village | Sim Kern

I didn’t expect to learn as much as I did about so many different topics going into a dystopian contemporary romance with an alternative fiction twist. But I did, and I would say I’m better for it. A lot of care went into the representation in this book, from the queer characters, to the folks that live in the neighborhood fighting to keep it from being destroyed. While it does have some bright spots, do not look for a happy ending here. My best description for this book: It’s a book about gentrification, white supremacy, and climate/environmental inequality with a through-line of a love story that could best be described as a dystopian Romeo & Juliette, and Mercutio lives.

Demetori | Josh Hunt

This is another book that rides the line between fantasy and dark fantasy. Check the content warnings. The world building is excellent, as well as the magic system. The characters are interesting, especially the familiars. The book has regency vibes with magic. It might fit the term Gaslight Fantasy (as the kind of street lamp that used to be powered by gas) Intrigue and mystery is woven through this character centric tale that captures the imagination.

Dragons are a Girl’s Best Friend | Isla Frost

This was not the book I was expecting based on the title and the cover, but it mostly fits too. This is an urban fantasy with a dragon rider, and the dragon is snarky AF, and only likes one officer on the LVPD that deals with magical species and humans. It’s a save the city plot with no romance elements (mostly an odd crush from the main character that never goes anywhere). Would recommend if you like an urban fantasy of Die-hard.

The Vampire in the Bookstore | Elle M. Drew

This was a kind of cozy stalking book where the human figures out that vampires exist and tracks one down. From there it goes as one might expect with a urban fantasy romance. I enjoyed the story, and I would have liked to enjoy the fat/plus-size rep more, but most of the rep is on the cover instead of on page. I still gave it a good rating but I was hoping for more talk about how voluptuous the character was, and that didn’t really happen. Still gave it a good rating and enjoyed the story.

In Aeternum | Maxime Jaz

Dark gay urban fantasy vampire romance with an opera singer and a sex worker. The combination was great, the story was interesting, and the scenes were well thought out. The general plot is somewhat a fated mates situation, but it’s also not exactly that either. There’s also a villainous vampire creator plot which adds some tension and story. Overall I enjoyed it and liked the ending. Definitely check content warnings. There is a lot of death, and not the kind where folks turn into vampires.

Cutting Your Teeth | Caylan MacRae

From an underground fight ring, to fighting for his life, Ezra is a walking hot mess that eventually finds himself part of the undead crowd. He takes to his transition pretty well, but his past is still trying to track him down and his new friends with fangs bring their own trouble. It’s a good read and it’s set up to be a series. I plan to read the sequel when it happens.

Cemetery Boys | Aiden Thomas

Even though I don’t read YA, the hype was justified. Great story, great characters, and all the teen angst anyone that loves YA can handle. I read it for a book club and was delighted with the overall story. Has a great pace and I can see it as a bingeable read. The happy ending also sticks the expected landing. Great read for the season.

Safe And Sound | Mercury Stardust

(non-fiction) This has so many great tips! I’m happy I purchased this book, not only to support a trans creator, but also because – Holy Crap! All the DIY with all the helpful hints and advice! Great for a renter or homeowner!

Also read this year, SEVERAL times, were my two releases:
The Dragon’s Lance (SGC V2), and Prince’s Tide. I’m pretty proud of these two books and what I’ve accomplished with them. I’m looking forward to writing and editing the next stories in the Mythical Desires Universe!

Want to check them out?

That’s it so far! A total of 26 books running the gamut of fiction, non-fiction, and even poetry. I’m sure I’ll be adding a couple more books over November and December, but I’ll try to make those separate posts.

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