So, when I have previously said that Queer Fantasy Romance novels were a favourite genre – I really did mean it. So welcome to my third post of quick queer reviews of books from this genre. Enjoy!
LGBTQ+ Fantasy Romance
Red Heir by Lisa Henry and Sarah Honey
Imprisoned pickpocket Loth isn’t sure why a bunch of idiots just broke into his cell claiming they’re here to rescue the lost prince of Aguillon, and he doesn’t really care. They’re looking for a redheaded prince, and he’s more than happy to play along if it means freedom. Then his cranky cellmate Grub complicates things by claiming to be the prince as well.
Now they’re fleeing across the country and Loth’s stuck sharing a horse and a bedroll with Grub while imitating royalty, eating eel porridge, and dodging swamp monsters and bandits.
Along the way, Loth discovers that there’s more to Grub than meets the eye. Under the dirt and bad attitude, Grub’s not completely awful. He might even be attractive. In fact, Loth has a terrible suspicion that he’s developing feelings, and he’s not sure what to do about that. He’d probably have more luck figuring it out if people would just stop trying to kill them.
Still, at least they’ve got a dragon, right?Taken from book blurb
As soon as I found out these two authors were working together, I was so excited. As a follower of their individual fan fiction work I was looking forward to an emotional and fun romp – I was not disappointed. Red Heir is a book with a larger than life, rouge-esque character called Loth who over the course of the book catches feels for his counterpart, Grub.
The book is a fun, humorous, and at times emotional fantastical ride. I initially had the book marked at 5 stars but there was a poor taste joke that persistently followed Grub. I do understand that it was made to be funny but surely it could have been replaces with something else. Either way, despite this one niggle the book was an great read from these first time collaborators.
A Deceptive Alliance by Sydney Blackburn
Kel and his twin sister Isabel have traded places before—to escape lessons, to prank their royal cousins, and for Kel to flirt with handsome men at royal balls. But when Isabel runs away in tears shortly before her proxy wedding to Prince Darin of Pervayne, Kel takes her place, knowing he could cause serious problems between Pervayne and their home kingdom of Karleed if discovered.
Isabel will show up—eventually—and take her rightful place and no one will ever know. The question is, will Isabel arrive before Kel falls hopelessly in love with the servant his sister’s husband has sent along? What if Kel isn’t the only one pretending to be someone else?Taken from book blurb
I am a big fan of the mistaken identity trope, so this book was a marvellous read. I really enjoyed the characters Kel and Dare, they were really compelling and I soon found myself holding my breath for the end.
I have previously read a short novella by Sydney Blackburn and loved their work. I am looking forward to reading more of their work – as I absolutely adored their storytelling and characters.
A Deceptive Alliance was a such a charming and sweet fantasy read. I really loved how the mistaken identity issues was resolved and LOVED reading a story line like this with the queer twist ❤
The Winter Prince by R. Cooper
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
Be still my beating heart (tee hee) – I loved this novel by R.Cooper! The Winter Prince was a beautiful blend of bittersweet angst, storytelling, and a slow burn romance to melt even the coldest heart. This book had me slowly leaking tears as the two main characters Prince Arrow and Razin work through their issues, come to terms with their past, and try to restore the missing heart.
R. Cooper has such an amazing ability to tug on your heart strings with their characters who have so much self doubt and beautiful but hidden feelings. So much of the true hurt is hidden in subtext and small actions, that I often find myself having such an instinctual knowledge of these characters.
The Winter Prince is a perfect example of emotional and expansive queer fantasy romances novels and storytelling can be done. R. Cooper has created an epic romance that hits all of my favourite fantastical elements.
Shelter from the Storm by Kate Sherwood
A healer and a warrior fight to survive the winter . . . and each other.
Grif is tired of life as a mercenary—tired of life, period. So he heads off into the mountains, not much caring whether he lives or dies. But when his indifference leaves him unconscious in a snowbank, a stranger finds him and insists on dragging him back from death.
Kiernan doesn’t really have time to nurse a stranger back to health; he’s on an important mission. He doesn’t know why the message he’s carrying is significant, but he’s determined to deliver it, even if it means risking his life in the winter mountains. Still, he can’t just walk away from a fellow traveler in need.
Grif didn’t want to be saved, and he sure as hell doesn’t want to be stuck with an annoying, naïve do-gooder. But since when do the mountains give men what they want? The snow is too deep to travel. Food is scarce. Grif and Kiernan learn to depend on each other, and eventually to care about each other. Neither of them wanted it to happen. But sometimes the mountains don’t give men what they want; sometimes, the mountains give men what they need.First paragraph of book blurb
Shelter from the Storm is the first book of Kate Sherwood’s that I have read, and I really enjoyed it. Looking back I think of this book as more of a character study of Grif and Kiernan.
The story of the pair is really quite stark and survival based. Grif is ready to give up on life and Kiernan has been sent on a fools quest. The story revolved around the pair as they survive a winter together – through this time they each come to hard realisations about not only their lives but themselves.
I really enjoyed seeing the story and relationship of these two characters evolve. At time I was quite emotional while reading this but I left the book with a hopeful feeling for the pair and just loved Sherwood’s writing and storytelling.
The Arch-Mage’s Firebird by K.L. Noone
Thomas East was meant to be the youngest Arch-Mage in history, a magical genius and a solver of problems. But he hadn’t expected quite so many problems — not to mention the endless meetings, bureaucracy, and political negotiations. So he’s currently hiding in a sleepy California seaside town, working in an ice cream parlor and avoiding everyone he’s let down … until a firebird in need of rescue crashes into his shop.
Nicholas Incandesco has far too many problems. He’s a firebird, a shapeshifter, and a power source, and a lot of magicians could use someone with his gifts. He’s also technically a murder suspect with two magical bounty hunters on his trail. He just wants someplace safe to land, and the attractive witch behind the ice cream counter might offer a sweet refuge.
This encounter might be exactly what both Nicholas and Tom need to find themselves … and rescue each other.Taken from book blurb
The Arch-Mage’s Firebird is a quick and cute novella about a high profile mage temporarily running away from his problems and a firebird who just wants someplace safe to be themselves. I really enjoyed this quick little read and found the world building and characters to be quite immersive and engaging.
At the time of reading the novella, I wasn’t aware that it was part of a larger series, but after finishing it I know I will be tracking them down!