Some good reads I’ve had lately:
Goalie Interference, by Avon Gale and Piper Vaughn (release date Sept. 30, 2019)
A fun, mostly light M/M hockey romance. (Second in the Hat Trick series, but works fine as a stand-alone.) Both Emmitt and Ryu were sweet characters, underneath Emmitt’s brashness and Ryu’s cool quietness. While I love me an angstfest, sometimes it’s also great to read something like this where the conflicts aren’t earthshattering, the growing-up backstories aren’t horrific and teammates ARE chill about LGBTQ issues. (I also got a kick out of the not-quite-the-real-NHL team names. Pittsburgh Condors, indeed.)
Note: Emmitt is African-American and Ryu is Japanese. As near as I could tell the book was quite respectful and thoughtful about issues for POC in hockey, but I am the whitest of white girls and don’t get to make that call! The authors did note that they had sensitivity readers.
Once Upon a Haunted Moor–Tyack & Frayne #1, by Harper Fox
A delicious M/M mystery/romance with a side order of paranormal. Beautiful writing in a beautiful Cornwall setting (I looked up the Cheesewring wondering if it was real and 1. wow and 2. HOW. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cheesewring) Likeable main characters, interesting mystery, hot sex, creepy atmosphere. My only, tiniest quibble is that I think a couple of developments could have been more, er, developed.
VERY excited that both these books are in series–there WILL be more Hat Trick and there already IS more Tyack & Frayn, yay!
Probably everyone reading this has already read Alyssa Cole’s A Princess in Theory but if not GO READ IT RIGHT NOW. (Mild spoilers ahoy.)
It is just so much FUN. The heroine is wonderful–a brilliant and super-hardworking scientist in training, working multiple jobs to get through grad school. She’s also a former foster kid who has trouble believing anyone would really want her.
The hero is Prince Thabiso from Thesolo–he’s been a bit of a playboy but he’s truly invested in doing what’s best for his people.
And the setup is a hoot. Naledi’s been getting emails saying she’s been betrothed since toddlerhood to a prince, and asking her to send proof of her identity and medical records. And since she’s a sensible person…guess what she’s been doing with those emails.
You really root for both characters (they have more-or-less alternating POV chapters.) And they’re not in a lovestruck void with no other people–Naledi’s best friend is very important to the story, as is Likotsi, Thabiso’s assistant. (Who is also, really, his best friend.)
Friendship is taken quite seriously in this story–Thabiso’s mother’s long-ago loss of her best friend is one of the major historical points driving the story. I love this a lot. And I love that Naledi and Thabiso respect the hell out of each other’s competence at their jobs. (And that both their jobs are shown as genuinely difficult, featuring a douchebag postdoc in Naledi’s case and a sleazy government Minister in Thabiso’s.)
I also love the very, very hot sex scenes which include the detail that HEY A POOR GRAD STUDENT IS WEARING A BEAT-UP OLD BRA THAT DOESN’T MATCH HER PANTIES. HOW GREAT IS THAT.
I am so looking forward to the next book in the series. Also hoping that at some point we get to read more about dapper lesbian Likotsi. I would like to read an epic trilogy about dapper lesbian Likotsi, please!
In summary, all the thumbs up!
Have had a lovely semi-lazy week, but with some cheering accomplishments scattered through it. Chief among accomplishments–we found a rental house! We were getting tired of apartment life, and very, very tired of our extraordinarily incompetent new landlords.
We move in June 1, and at that point, dear readers–at that point I will have a WRITING STUDY. Well, one corner will be a writing study, while the rest of the room will have a guest bed and, uh, yarn. So much yarn. But still! A semi-dedicated writing space that is not the corner of the couch! WOOT.
And speaking of writing, yes I did make some progress on the sweet f/f paranormal short this week as well. Here’s a rough-draft snippet:
Sometimes I go by her work and say hi. I’ve kind of lost track of the calendar but I guess she doesn’t have that luxury. So when I go by one day she tells me she’s gonna be incommunicado for three nights; she ducks her head a little and says, “That time.”
“Yeah, okay,” I say. I’m scheduled to work until after sunset so we won’t get to hang out, and I’m still at that stage where it’s wrenching to go three nights without seeing someone, but what the hell, I can catch up on homework a little. I’m working on a paper on reader’s advisory for #ownvoices paranormal fiction.
Here’s a bit of my current project, which I’m hoping to finish and self-publish within the next few weeks. It’ll be a short, sweet f/f paranormal romance between a werewolf and a low-powered fae. Here’s a scene from a first date that’s going really well:
She pulls back and looks at me and then looks up and laughs delightedly. It’s only then that I realize that not all the good warm tingly feelings rushing through me are just because of her—some of them are from my powers going off without me even noticing. Multicolored lights are sparkling and shifting and flitting above my head.
“Yeah,” I say, “behold my extensive fairy powers.”
“Don’t put yourself down, it’s beautiful,” she says. “I feel like I’m standing in a magic firefly grove in an anime or something.”
That’s when the lights double and spread to surround her too, which has never happened before. She gasps a little and holds her hands out into them, fingers flared, and some rush together and then pour through her fingers like water. “They feel,” she says, “pepperminty, somehow.”
“They’ve never done this before. I guess they, uh, like you. Or…I do.”
She smiles, broader than I’ve seen, kisses me again, and murmurs in my ear, “Let’s you and me and the peppermint fireflies go to bed.”