July readings | Baseball, Roommates, FWBs, and Magic

Title: Bat Boy
Series: Easton U Pirates #1
Author: Christina Lee
Genre(s): Contemporary, MM, Sports, Romance
Page count: 218 pages
Published: 20 November 2020

My review | Book | Audiobook

Title: First Impressions
Series: Auckland Med. #1
Author: Jay Hogan
Genre(s): Contemporary, Romance, Mystery, Crime, MM
Page count: 351 pages
Published: 15 December 2019

My review | Book | Audiobook

Title: Carry On
Series: Simon Snow #1
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Genre(s): Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, LGBT, Romance
Page count: 522 Pages
Published: 9 May 2017

My review | Book | Audiobook

Title: True Mate
Series: Prosper Woods Chronicles #1
Author: Patricia Logan
Genre(s): Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, LGBT, Romance
Page count: 202 pages
Published: 30 April 2021

My review (soon) | Book | Audiobook

Title: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Genre(s): Poetry, Fantasy, Fiction, Mythology, Historical
Page count: 208 pages

My review | Book | Audiobook

Title: Enthralled
Series: The Knight and the Necromancer
Author: A.H. Lee
Genre(s): Fantasy, Paranormal, MM, Fiction, Short stories
Page count: 78 pages
Published: 12 January 2021

My review | Book | Audiobook

Title: Roommate
Author: Sarina Bowen
Genre(s): Contemporary, Queer, Romance, Fiction
Page count: 304 pages
Published: 12 January 2021

My review (soon) | Book

Title: THE taking of Jake Livingston
Author: Ryan Douglass
Genre(s): Young Adult, Paranormal, Queer, Fiction
Page count: 308 pages
Published: 13 July 2021

My review (soon) | Book | Audiobook

Title: Lux
Series: The Reckoners
Author: Brandon Sanderson, Steven Michael Bohls
Genre(s): Young Adult, Science Fiction, Fantasy,
Runtime: 13h55min
Published: 22 July 2021

My review | Audiobook

Title: Home Plate
Series: Eastern U Pirates #2
Author: Christina Lee
Genre(s): Contemporary, MM, Sports, Romance
Page count: 257 pages
Published: 29 January 2021

My review (soon) | Book | Audiobook

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The Necromancer’s Reckoning | S.J. Himes

Every action has consequences.
For a decade, Angel Salvatore has been the most powerful sorcerer and only necromancer in all the Northeast. Never one to ask permission nor apologies, he has acted with near impunity for years.
Until now.
The High Council of Sorcery has come to Boston, and Angel is their target. Charged with numerous violations of practitioner laws, his freedom and family are placed in jeopardy.
If found guilty, Angel’s apprentice Daniel will be imprisoned to serve out the remaining years of his apprenticeship. Isaac, his brother, is too vulnerable to be left unguarded, and Angel fears for his sanity and health. And Simeon, Elder vampire and Angel’s mate, refuses to see Angel convicted under the laws of the Council and his actions to keep Angel free threaten to start a war that could destroy their world. And Angel faces the severest of punishments—the castration of his gifts.
The Council has never cared for the people of Boston, and Angel doubts their motives. They have come for some insidious reason, and it has nothing to do with upholding the law and everything to do with Angel.
Dealing with an impending trial, a wayward ghost, and a grave robbing ring of thieves leaves Angel on the edge. He thinks he may have a handle on things until violence erupts across the city, and a stranger comes to town…a stranger with his own dark powers of necromancy.

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How was it?

The Beacon Hills Sorcerer series is among the best books in the genre. The storytelling is smooth and smart, from Dance, Dilemma to Reckoning it’s a captivating saga that’s unfolding bit by bit and gets better each time. The characters are amazing, they keep growing and evolving, and it’s always earned. Nothing is rushed but the story is far from a slow burn.

In fact Reckoning is fast paced with plenty of action and mayhem. The “magic police”, the High Council of Sorcery, is back in town after a long absence. A Sorcerer civil war didn’t capture their attention but it seems that the growing fame and power that Angel’s latest accomplishments afforded him doesn’t sit well with them.

There always was some kind of geopolitical aspects to the series. The sphere of influence and rules for Vampires, Humans, and Practitioners have always permeated the story, but here it’s centered stage and it’s entertaining as hell. Angel, Simeon and Eroch are just badass. I pity the fools that underestimate them.

The Necromancer’s Reckoning is gripping, exciting and sweet entry to the series.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Necromancer’s Reckoning is available on The Book Depository, Amazon, Audible and other book retailers near you.

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Lux: A Texas Reckoned novel | Brandon Sanderson, Steven Michael Bohls

Lux (The Reckoners) by Brandon Sanderson & Steven Michael Bohls published 22 July 2021

A new team of Reckoners must infiltrate the flying city of Lux to take down the Epic Lifeforce in this audio-exclusive novel from Brandon Sanderson.

When the great red star Calamity appeared in the sky, some believed the end had come. They were right.

Calamity created the Epics: humans with incredible powers they didn’t deserve.

They could have saved mankind. They could have lifted us into harmony and prosperity. Instead they burned. They slaughtered. They conquered. And then they ruled.

Jax has learned all of this the hard way. Orphaned at an early age, he’s spent most of his childhood training to be a Reckoner – determined to find the Epics’ weaknesses, unlock their secrets, and protect those of us who are still left.

But now, the mysterious High Epic Lifeforce has arrived with his flying city, Lux, to plunder what’s left of Texas. So Jax and his ragtag team – the few who remain of the once-mighty Texas Reckoners – must take their battle to this floating fortress of riches – and defeat the invincible.

To avenge what has been lost. And rise anew.

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How was it?

I read The Reckoners novels some time ago; although I was wasn’t very impressed by Calamity I jumped at the opportunity to read this one, not even trying to figure out what it was about. So going in blind, I spent too much time trying to figure out when this story was taking place in the series. I was connecting more events and characters than was necessary instead of just enjoying what turned out to be a somewhat stand alone story, connected to the previous books.

From the start this book feels like a return to form, it’s more in line with Steelheart, Mitosis and Firefight, without the weird shift from Calamity. It’s the reckoners against the Epics, amazing motivator tech and face paced action. Jax, the main character, did get on my nerves because I could see him make mistakes as they were happening and it was driving me nuts. So as much as his reckless behavior annoyed me, it makes him humain and fallible and I liked that in the end. The Texas team feels like the original team in some ways but they’re kind of unique. There’s a romantic connection in this story that I didn’t think was necessary at all but it doesn’t impede the story.

This Texas reckoners novel is well structured and it shows, there are a few things that are set up throughout that come to fruition later on, my only problem with that is that I could see them coming and anticipated quite a few things. It sucked some of the excitement out of a chunk of the novel because there were little to no surprises for me. However I’m still proud of myself for figuring out the Epics’ weaknesses well in advance because of that heavy ended foreshadowing. Even the Steelheart cameo wasn’t a total surprise, because I expected one from a high epic we already knew and the big deal that was made about the thing the character that’s connected to Steelheart has clued me in. The cameo was a bit of a retcon for me but I liked it. In fact, I first suspected the Californian to be Obliteration but that might be because MacLeod Andrews used the a similar voice for both.

Lux is fun to listen to, it stitches itself to the whole reckoners series well with this story ending at the same time as Calamity while suggesting there might be more to come. If there’s a sequel I suspect Obliteration will feature as well since I think he’s still alive.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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Enthralled | A. H. Lee

Trapped in a necromancer’s tower on the longest night of the year.

Merek is a pillar of his country community and a confirmed bachelor. He had his chance at love, and he let it slip away. But he’s got friends, a faithful dog, and a snug home. Holidays can be difficult, but Merek knows how to handle loneliness.

When he volunteers to house-sit for a necromancer on the day before Solstice, Merek expects to be doing the job with no companion apart from his dog. He’s displeased to be trapped in the tower overnight by a sudden snow storm. However, everything changes when his old lover shows up on the doorstep.

Ian is cold and clearly afraid of something. Merek lets him in. That was his first mistake.

The kiss was his second.

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How was it?

When I was reading The Capital I remember wondering how Sairis, the necromancer, learned about the tipsy Knave. Putting the Romance in Necromancy answered that question by introducing us to Merek, but after reading The Border and in particular The Sea I was curious to know how Merek’s life might have changed since he’s the reason Roland and Sairis met.

This short story started well, I felt for Marek, I know it’s fantasy world but it’s weird how it gaves you a sense of what it could have been like to for queers in the middle ages. Anyway no matter how many times Marek called himself less than smart, I couldn’t believe how thick he was being, oblivious to an annoying level. It’s a novella and I was tempted to skip a few parts but thank the writing god(s) – I don’t know how many there are but there must be at least one – the story picks up to end on a high note. There’s also a nice creepy atmosphere throughout that I liked, creepier most of The Knight and the Necromancer series, and despite not being the sprawling adventure the main series is story fits right into this world.

Enthralled is spooky but sweet, a good addition to the series.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Enthralled is available on Amazon and Audible.

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Sir Gawain and the Green Knight | Unknown

Written by an anonymous 14th-century poet, this epic poem was preserved on a single surviving manuscript before it was rediscovered two hundred years ago and published for the first time in 1839. Now recognized as one of the founding stories of English literature, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight narrates the strange tale of a green knight on a green horse who rudely interrupts Camelot’s Round Table festivities one Yuletide, casting a pall of unease over the company and challenging one of their number to a wager. The virtuous Gawain accepts and decapitates the intruder with his own axe. Gushing blood, the knight reclaims his head, orders Gawain to seek him out a year hence, and departs. The following Yuletide, Gawain dutifully sets forth. His quest for the Green Knight involves a winter journey, a seduction scene in a dreamlike castle, a dire challenge answered―and a drama of enigmatic reward disguised as psychic undoing.

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How was it?

Contrary to some of my friends I never had to read this for school. I’m not sure I would remember if I did since I wasn’t the most diligent pupil when it came to assigned readings. However I have to admit that this Arthurian legend kept my attention, which I wasn’t really expecting. I thought I’d have weird flashbacks of the stories I slog my way through at school, but this story about a code of honor and chivalry put me in a studious mood coming up with my own interpretations and lessons to take from the poem. I saw the religious and fantasy elements in this simple tale but they only served as possible point of views for an interpretation. Instead I mostly saw a story about a man who was being tested and kind of got lucky.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

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The Necromancer’s Dilemma | S.J. Himes

Even love can die without trust.

Angel’s brother, Isaac, has returned home, and the pair begin to make slow and awkward attempts back to each other. Learning how to be a brother to a grown man instead of a parental figure has Angel adjusting his behaviors and habits, and Isaac still remains a mystery. Was it merely entering adulthood that turned Isaac away from an overprotective Angel, or does Isaac carry a secret that will keep them from finally being a real family?

Daniel Macavoy, Angel’s new apprentice, is torn between his bond with Angel and the grasping machinations of his father. Dealing with a traumatized apprentice with dangerous holes in his magical education, saving Daniel may be harder than Angel first thought—especially since the biggest problem is not revenge, but guilt.

The one shining beacon in his life is Simeon, Elder vampire of Boston’s only Bloodclan. Four hundred years old and sexy as sin, Simeon is warrior and sage, patient and cunning. The strength Angel draws from Simeon’s devotion and the newborn mate-bond between them is steadfast and true…and the fount of death magic that animates the undead lord places Angel in the midst of a power struggle for control over himself, his lover, and his family.

Through it all, Angel is beleaguered by the unwanted attention of a troll-hybrid, the adventures of a dragon in the city, and a serial killer has decided to hunt the back alleys and midnight streets of Boston.

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How was it?

The Necromancer’s Dance sets up these characters and the world they live in so well that it’s easy to get back into it. The focus might be a bit more on Angelus and Simeon but all of the side characters grow along with them. It doesn’t feel as contained as other books in the genre feel. It’s like a TV show with a comprehensive cast but they all get their moments in the spotlight.

Since Angel now consults for the police,  there’s also a mystery woven into the story. It’s attention grabbing and allows for a broader understanding of Simeon and Angelus’ bond while giving us more information on the people around the couple. I throughly enjoyed the story, it has sweet and comedic moments, as well as great action sequences and character moments, some that had me going “funk yeah get him!”

This series is slowly becoming a favorite. All of the characters are compelling, they each have their strength and weaknesses, they have baggage, a history and it comes across throughout the two books. Also because of who Angel and Simeon are, a Necromancer and an elder vampire, so can see how their bond might become a problem, because that’s never been done, and also what it implies for the balance of power in that world.

The Necromancer’s Dilemma is a good read that’s made even better when reading right after The Necromancer’s Dance. I think it could be read as a stand alone, since the story on its own is great but for the full effect the two blend into each other perfectly. Of all the books in the series I probably remember this one the most because it also feature a favorite character of mine, a little creature that I garante that you’ll fall in love with as well.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The Necromancer’s Dilemma is available on The Book Depository, Amazon, Audible and other book retailers near you.

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Previous book(s) in the series:

Carry On | Rainbow Rowell

Carry On (Simon Snow 1) by Rainbow Rowell published 9 May 2017

Simon Snow is the worst Chosen One who’s ever been chosen.

That’s what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he’s probably right.

Half the time, Simon can’t even make his wand work, and the other half, he starts something on fire. His mentor’s avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there’s a magic-eating monster running around, wearing Simon’s face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here — it’s their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon’s infuriating nemesis didn’t even bother to show up.

Carry On – The Rise and Fall of Simon Snow is a ghost story, a love story and a mystery. It has just as much kissing and talking as you’d expect from a Rainbow Rowell story – but far, far more monsters.

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How was it?

The way I found my way to this book series was so random. I saw a post on instagram about book three: Any Way the Wind Blows coming out, the cover made me think they might queer characters and someone in the comments confirmed it so here I am.

To anyone who wants to read this, hold on! It gets better. The beginning is not very engaging, just enough to keep me reading. It’s a lot of reminiscing that sort of teach you about this world and its characters but it’s not that effective, yet I still picked up a few things. The book becomes a tad more interesting when Baz shows up.

If I didn’t know it was a queer book Simon’s obsession with Baz would have clued me in. It seemed innocent at first but it steadily got obvious just as the story started to get better because Baz made his appearance. The dynamic between Simon and Baz is one of the most entertaining things about this book, I learned more about this magical world through their interactions than the “recap” I had slog through in the first few chapters. It might sound like I prefer Baz to Simon, which is not true but the slow and rough start told through Simon’s eyes did not help. He also annoyed me at times, for example when you get a message from the the other side you tell it!

Besides that I enjoyed a lot of the characters, Penny among them of course, even Agatha and the mage. I even came to like the weird way the spells are constructed but the cute romantic scenes between Basilton and Simon made a huge difference in my experience of this book. It’s full of banter and a ton of double entendra, a whole that needs to be field? Seriously? maybe it’s my filthy mind reading into things but they are there.

If you grew up reading and/or watching Harry Potter you might inadvertently compare this book to Rowling’s series. I did that at the beginning but it was more to make sense of Simon Snow’s world in comparison to something similar that I know. I wouldn’t call the series a Harry Potter Fan fiction because I shed that idea from my mind once I got familiar enough with Simon’s world. However I’ll admit that there’s a bunch of similarities and yet I don’t think they’re the same. Nevertheless an easy way to describe this book would be “Harry Potter but a lot gayer, without queerbating or subtle homophobia” or “What if Harry dated Drago?”

Since I got book two and three as well before reading the first I’ll be read the rest but I probably won’t rush.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Carry On is available on The Book Depository, Amazon, Audible and other book retailers near you.

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