Read and Rated: January 2021

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.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Happily Ever After & Everything In Between by Debbie Tung

First book of 2021!

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.

Continue reading “Read and Rated: January 2021”

12 Tropes of 2020 – The Winter Prince by R. Cooper

Ice King/Queen from
12 Tropes of 2020

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. 

Taken from Thea Landen 

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

My thoughts

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.

Continue reading “12 Tropes of 2020 – The Winter Prince by R. Cooper”

12 Tropes of 2020 – The Only Option by Megan Derr

Marriage of Convenience from
12 Tropes of 2020

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.

Taken from TV Tropes.

The Only Option by Megan Derr

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

My thoughts

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.

Continue reading “12 Tropes of 2020 – The Only Option by Megan Derr”

Quick Queer Reviews – LGBTQ+ Fantasy Romance Part 3

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.

Continue reading “Quick Queer Reviews – LGBTQ+ Fantasy Romance Part 3”

Quick Queer Reviews – LGBTQ+ Fantasy Romance Part 2

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


The Dragon’s Tamer by Megan Derr

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.


Hold Still: Natures in Harmony by Megan Derr

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.


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”

Quick Queer Reviews – LGBTQ+ Fantasy Romance

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.

Continue reading “Quick Queer Reviews – LGBTQ+ Fantasy Romance”

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

The King’s Dragon

by W.M. Fawkes & Sam Burns

Lord Tristram Radcliffe has a secret—he is the only dragon at the king’s court in Llangard. It’s a secret he’s kept from the knights he’s fought beside, from the ladies who bat their lashes at him, and from his closest companion, Prince Reynold. If it were to get out, he’d be banished to the Mawrcraig Mountains along with the rest of his kind, but the kingdom of men is the only one he’s ever known, and his heart lives in the stone halls of those who’d count him an enemy.

When the old king dies and Prince Reynold takes the throne, two visitors from the north throw Tristram into the middle of the ancient conflict between dragons and men. They put him on a collision course with the king’s shadow, Bet Kyston, a dangerous assassin who may want him dead or may want more of Tristram that he’d ever thought to give.

With the eyes of dragons upon him and a threat from the north creeping toward the home he loves, Tristram must weigh his allegiances before his dual legacies tear him apart.

Taken from Book Blurb

Series: Fire and Valor #1

Release Date: September 26, 2019

Genre: QUILTBAG, High Fantasy, Romance.


Excerpt

When he glanced up to meet Bet’s eyes, they were wide, the whites showing all around them. He wondered, for a moment, if he’d earned a stabbing, but then those eyes dropped to his lips, and Bet’s own parted a fraction.

As was his most unfortunate habit, Tris dove in head first.

Their mouths crashed together, a clash of tongues and teeth that started out anything but good. Tris tasted blood in his mouth, and he wasn’t sure whose it was.

In a flash, Bet turned them so that Tristram was the one with his back to the wall. He wrapped a hand around the side of Tristram’s neck, thumb coming up to hold his jaw in place in a grip that felt downright dangerous. Then he turned his head a fraction, opening up a little space between their noses and allowing himself full access.

Not to stab anyone, thankfully, though he pushed his way into Tris’s mouth as though convinced he’d be rebuffed and wanted to taste his fill before that. Tris just tilted his head up to meet the onslaught, eyes sliding shut and fingers scrabbling against the tapestry on the wall.

Bet kissed like he fought: hard, fast, and with no intention of taking prisoners. His free hand fell to Tristram’s trousers, as though he would strip them off right there in the hall, and slowed to press against his growing arousal. It seemed he appreciated what he found there, because he let out a growl that reminded Tristram of his own nearly inhuman one.

What he’d have done, Tris would never know, because a giggle echoed down the hallway, and Bet pulled back as though he’d been slapped. He turned to see a couple of ladies’ maids enter the hall, and before Tristram could so much as say his name, Bet turned and melted into the shadows.


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 of 2 e-copies of any book from the Lords of the Underworld series by Sam Burns & W.M. Fawkes!

Follow this link to enter.

Book Bingo Update 8 (DOUBLE BINGO)

DOUBLE BINGO

It’s September and I have done it! I’ve hit bingo, not once but twice! I’m still going to carry on and try and fill the rest of the card. So you’ll still see this monthly update. But in the mean time:


Paranormal

Dragon’s Hoard by M.A. Church

I bought this book ages ago from Dreamspinner Press and somehow never got around to reading it. After I found this gem in my digital bookshelf I quickly spent a day reading and loving it!

The book marks off not only my paranormal square but also one of my 2019 goals which was to read a Dreamspun Beyond book.

Continue reading “Book Bingo Update 8 (DOUBLE BINGO)”