September readings | Classics, Space Operas, Magic & Erotica

Title: Dune
Series: Dune #1
Author: Frank Herbert
Genre(s): Science Fiction, Fantasy, Space Opera, Adventure
Page count: 688 pages
Published: First published June 1965

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Title: The End Zone
Series: Atlanta Lightening #2
Author: Riley Hart
Genre(s): Contemporary, Sports, Romance, MM
Page count: 306 pages
Published: 16 July 2021

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Title: Black Moon
Series: Wolf Moon Rising #1
Author: Sam Burn
Genre(s): Paranormal Romance, Fantasy, Werewolves
Page count: 330 pages
Published: 22 April 2021

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Title: A Veilled & Hallowed Eve
Series: Soulbound VII
Author: Hailey Turner
Genre(s): Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance, MM
Page count: 485 pages
Published: 01 October 2021

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Title: Homecoming
Author: Keegan Kennedy
Genre(s): Erotica, MM, Contemporary, BDSM
Page count: 188 pages
Published: 12 April 2013

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Title: Foundation
Series: Foundation #1
Author: Isaac Asimov
Genre(s): Science-Fiction, Space Opera, Fantasy, Classics
Page count: 255 pages
Published: August 1951

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Title: Ashfall Legacy
Author: Pittacus Lore
Genre(s): Science Fiction, Mystery, Young Adult, Fantasy
Page count: 432 pages
Published: 17 August 2021

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Title: Ink & Sigil
Series: Ink & Sigil #1
Author: Kevin Hearne
Genre(s):
Page count:
Published:

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August readings | Night Frights

Title: Nightbooks
Author: J. A. White
Genre(s): Middle Grade, Fantasy, Horror, Fiction
Page count: 320 pages
Published: 24 July 2018

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Title: Role Model
Series: Game Changers #5
Author: Rachel Reid
Genre(s): Sports, Romance, MM
Page count: 323 pages
Published: 10 August 2021

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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

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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

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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

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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

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

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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

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

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

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

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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

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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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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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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.

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First Impressions | Jay Hogan

First Impressions (Auckland Med. 1) by Jay Hogan published 15 December 2019
Michael:
Two years ago I made a mistake, a big one. Then I added a couple more just for good measure. I screwed up my life, but I survived. Now, I have the opportunity for a fresh start. Two years in New Zealand. Away from the LA gossip, a chance to breathe, to rebuild my life. But I’m taking my new set of rules with me.
I don’t do relationships.
I don’t do commitment.
I don’t do white picket fences.
And I especially don’t do arrogant, holier-than-thou, smoking hot K9 officers who walk into my ER and rock my world.

Josh:
One thing for certain, Dr. Michael Oliver is an arrogant, untrustworthy player, and I barely survived the last one of those. He might be gorgeous, but my daughter takes number one priority. I won’t risk her being hurt, again. I’m a solo dad, a K9 cop and a son to pain-in-the-ass parents.
I don’t have time for games.
I don’t have time for taking chances.
I don’t have time for more complications in my life.
And I sure as hell don’t have time for the infuriating Dr. Michael Oliver, however damn sexy he is. 

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How was it?

I wanted to read this book for a while, a friend of mine even gifted it to me since she saw it on my wish lis, but I didn’t have time to sit and read it. Instead I turned to the audiobook when I saw that Gary Furlong was narrating it because I’ve only experienced his work on the Soulbound series so I was curious, and he totally delivers.

As for the story, there’s a gentle mix of genres that works. There’s a mystery crime element in it, which I liked, that could have been the main theme / focus of the book. But Michael being who is he, meaning that he does all that he can to help then kind of lets it go, and Josh’s lack of direct involvement with the investigation makes the mystery crime thriller aspects of the story more of a set-up for their relationship and characterization than the focus.
We also really get to know the characters through their actions more than anything else. Going back to the way Michael handles the crime and investigation that follows says a lot about about him. It’s that very attitude that is how he got himself in a tight spot in the past. Not being able to cope with the feeling of not having done everything that he could have with the information available to him. The story is field with little acts like this that gives you a clear idea of who these men are.

Speaking of the main characters, I love Josh and Michael’s rich history. They’ve both been through some though things and it makes them more interesting to me in particular when we see how they’re dealing with their past. There’s also an emphasis on each them as individuals that I appreciate, because too often in books when there’s a romantic pairing they kind of become one, or defined by each other and have little to no individuality. The fact that they start of as friends with benefits, which is so hot in this book, helps. The strong secondary characters do that as well, painting a good picture of what Josh and Michael’s individual lives are like apart from each other.

There’s a bit of angst in this story, enough to flirt with my threshold but it didn’t get to a point that it annoyed me too much. Giving how serious most of the events Josh and Michael went through the author does a great job at not rushing things for the most part, asking real questions about a viability of their relationship.

The Auckland Med series starts off strong, the characters are great, the story feels real and not looked at through rose-tinted glasses. I’m hungry for grittier, down to earth mm romance novels and this book delivers.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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

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