reading roundup: august

I’ve had a real ‘head in a book’ month this August. Partly because it’s been the school holidays and quite frankly I’ve needed the distraction; and partly because I have found so many lovely things to read.

Mainly by Moonlight by Josh Lanyon

What do you do when you fall in love with someone who doesn’t know that you’re a magician? In Cosmo Saville’s case, you panic a bit and your friends do more harm than good trying to help you.

I have always been a huge Josh Lanyon fan and it’s great to see her on form again with this new series. I’m looking forward to the next book.


Sword Dance by A. J. Demas

I really love A. J. Demas’s not-quite-Classical-Europe world. Her protagonists are always beautifully drawn with a realistic complexity that makes them easy to like; and if you don’t like them, you understand why.

As usual, there is lots and lots of plot alongside the romance. First of a trilogy!


A Little Light Mischief by Cat Sebastian

A lovely historical f/f novella that is part of Cat Sebastian’s Regency ‘Turner Series’.

Molly and Alice are both charming characters. We have met Molly before and although she’s a reformed from her career as a petty thief, she is still the same person we met previously. I am really pleased she gets a happy ending!


Why the Devil Stalks Death by L. J. Hayward

I really like this series. It’s full of wounded heroes and people who don’t communicate and sexual tension, which put it bang in the middle of my ballpark. I do like my romance with lots of plot!

One of the things that makes this a really engaging read is the timeline. We have alternating before/after chapters… and you aren’t quite sure what the before and the after are being built around when you start reading. I was irritated by this for about three chapters before getting completely sucked in and finishing it in one sitting. Hard recommend!


Quill Me Now by Jordan Castillo Price

I have only just discovered this series of novellas. It has a really interesting magic system based on writing your spells with special quill. This one was a freebie and I’ve now got the others on my TBR. It’s kind of paranormal cross with a cozy mystery, I guess?

I really liked it and I’m looking forward to finding out more about both how the magic works and the MCs adventures.


Stumptown Spirits by E. J. Russell

A contemporary paranormal romance, with wounded heroes (my favorite!) wrestling with both the supernatural and their own emotions.

I really like the folk-lore basis of this one, although I did get cross with Logan because honestly, wouldn’t it just be better to talk to your boyfriend instead of being all self-sacrificing and mysterious?

Nevertheless a five star read for me and I have just bought the sequel.


Spellbound by Allie Therin

Spellbound was on my TBR long before it came out, and it was certainly worth the wait. 1920’s New York is full of concealed magic. Our protagonists, Arthur and Rory, are both doing their best to keep their loved ones safe from it, initially without revealing what they know to each other.

I loved the historical setting- obviously the ’20s are my thing– and the love story weaves in and out of the paranormal mystery seamlessly. Another one that’s the first of a series to come!


And that’s it for this month. September kicks off to a start off with an interview with Kristen Noone next week!

reading roundup: July

I’ve been oxer-deep in reading this month and have seven books to share.


The Cricketer’s Arms, Garrick Jones

A gay romance/murder mystery set in 1950s Sydney. I loved this. I’ve probably said before that I think Garrick Jones’ historical detail is second to none. The combination of a murder mystery and romantic shenanigans is basically my ideal read. Hard recommend. I understand there is a sequel in the wind in the future.


Thrown to the Wolves, Charlie Adhara

The third in Charlie Adhara’s wolves series. Cooper finds out a lot more about wolf pack behaviour and Oliver Park’s slightly bonkers family. I have a complex relationship with shifter books – some I love and some don’t grab me at all. This trilogy falls in to the ‘love’ category!


Tournament of Shadows, S. A. Meade

I went looking for Tournament of Shadows because I met S. A. Meade at an Author Thing a couple of months ago.  Published in 2014, this ticks all my ‘historical detail’ boxes. Set in the mid-nineteenth century in what is now Uzbekistan, it follows two minor characters in the Great Game played between world powers during that period. It has gay romance, political intrigue and journeying through locations I knew nothing about and had to research. A definite re-read.


Hither Page, Cat Sebastian

Set just post-WW2 Hither Page features a shell-shocked country doctor and a spy who need to team up to solve a murder. Of course, they fall in love in the process. There is beautifully realized historical detail with vulnerable and emotionally wounded main protagonists and a richly sprinkling of well drawn supporting characters.  Also, lady assassins. *taps nose meaningfully*


Outbreak, Melissa Olson

This is the final book in the Nightshades trilogy which is a vampire power-struggle-cum-straight-romance with the FBI thrown in for good measure. Vampires have been hidden from humanity until very recently. Hector is still trying to manipulate both vampires and humans for his own nefarious, control-grabbing purposes and the Bureau of Preternatural Investigations is still trying to stop him. But the FBI are also investigating Lindy and Alex. It’s a really good end to the trilogy.


Rebellion, Naomi Aoki

Intricate historical detail about the Boxer uprising from Naomi Aoki in this gay romance set at the end of the nineteenth century in Singapore and China. Alfred falls in love with a Chinese soldier he meets in the public gardens. The tension in their love story is entwined with the rising of the political and eventually military tensions. Neither my historical period or my geographical area, I really, really enjoyed this. Recommend.


Owl and the Japanese Circus, Kristi Charish

The first in the Owl series. Owl is an archaeologist-thief in a world where magic is real and digging up ancient artifacts can get you killed. Obviously the authorities suppress all this knowledge from the general public. Owl doesn’t do supernatural jobs, but this time she gets sucked in to something that she can’t avoid. There are dragons, vampires and (straight) romance. I have got second one in the series on my TBR list but haven’t got to it yet. I thought this was brilliant – really good world-building.


That’s all! Next week, an interview with Nell Iris.

reading round-up: June

I’ve read lots and lots of lovely books this month, including:

Detour by Reesa Herberth and Michelle Moore

I go through phases where I don’t read contemporary romance at all; and when I do. they have to have *something* there to hold my interest. This did, all the way through. Two people with pretty severe issues, working them out with each other whilst driving across the US. Sweet, thoughtful, tender. It was lovely.

The Consuming Fire by John Scalzi

Second in the Interdependency series. Really interesting universe, fantastic plot, as always amazing characterisation. I particularly like the sweary bi morally-grey, unashamedly sexy Kiva Lagos.

5th Gender by G. L. Carriger

Really sweet gay tentacle-haired purple skinned chap in exile from his home planet falls for human detective on a space station. They solve a murder on a space ship. Lovely romance, but the draw is the world-building. Brilliant.

Secret Warriors by Taylor Downing

I read this as research for my post-WW1 work, looking for references to Trench Code. It didn’t have much in it about that, but it’s an absolutely fascinating look at the behind-the-scenes skullduggery of the First World War. I found the bits about propaganda most interesting.

Catalysts by Kris Ripper

I’m re-reading this whole series – it’s so GOOD. Poly, kinky, queer. Angst. Tenderness. People being people. I love it.

Hard recommend.

The Seventh of December by Garrick Jones

An astonishingly detailed and historically accurate love story between two men in WW2.

SOE, MI6, the Blitz, parachuting in to France, unarmed combat, virtuoso violin playing, blackmail involving Princes of the Realm, sexy Yanks and chaps dancing together in evening dress.

I understand it’s the first in a series and I am now biting my nails waiting for more.

That’s all for this month!

thank you, everyone!

My review tour for Lost in Time ended today and I have just sent out the Amazon eVoucher to the winner of the Rafflecopter draw. Thank you so much to everyone who participated and Dear Winner, I hope you enjoy your spends!

This is the first time I’ve done anything like this (obviously, with it being a first novel and all) and it’s been a real learning curve, in a very positive way. Once I got over the sheer, blinding terror of realising that people were going to read my writing and have thoughts about it, I’ve enjoyed the roller-coaster ride.

There’s been a lot of talk on social media recently about the way that authors and reviewers interact. I have dealt with my innate fear of judgement by simply avoiding reading reviews at all. Mr AL has been deputised to do that for me and has summarised the things readers liked and the things they didn’t like. I do want to thank everyone who has left feedback in all the various different places, even though I’m too scared to read it! It means a great deal to writers that people feel strongly enough to do that, whether it’s positive or negative, because it means that the book connected with you in some way, and that is a good thing.

I think that once you release a book in to the wild, that’s it, really. It’s a bit like having children. You do your best and then you set them free to live their own life and they have to stand on their own two feet. Readers take their own meaning from your words and that either resonates in a positive or a neutral or a negative way. Writers have no control over that and we just have to try and be confident that the work will stand on it’s own.

Mr AL worked in theatre for a good long while and I think it’s a similar thing- you create the work and people invest it with their own meaning, whatever sort of emotional response that is.

Anyway. With all the launch shennanigins out of the way I can get back to actually doing some more writing. I am nearly half way through the sequel to Lost in Time and I hope that you will join me for more of Alec and Lew’s adventures and those of their friends. I do plan some short stories in the same world in the meantime. My writing time is a bit curtailed at the moment by Real Life ™, but I’m getting there, slowly and surely.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the Rafflecopter draw. And thank you for reading!