This was such a lovely story. I read it in the gap between Christmas and New Year and it captures the spirit of the season perfectly. Crisp snow, cosy fires and very unpleasant murder. It’s an engaging story with a nice, complicated plot and a slow-burn love affair that’s really believable. It’s Adler’s first mystery and she’s pulled it off perfectly. If you like Josh Lanyon, try this.
I read this in one sitting because I couldn’t put it down. It’s rich in both description and emotion and the characters, even the minor ones, leap off the page. It’s a contemporary romance set in the UK House of Lords, between a special advisor and civil servant. They get off on the wrong foot and over the cold winter and a really stressful period at work they get to know each other a great deal better and fall in love in the process. I can’t think why I missed this when it first came out and it’s definitely on my re-read list now.
Wonderful starter to a what I hope is a long new series, set in the world of Widdershins. In the library! You don’t need to have read the Wybourne and Griffin series to thoroughly enjoy this…if fact I confess I’d only read the first three and then went back and read the rest before re-reading Unhallowed. There’s magic, books and mystery. The protaganists are lovely and I particularly liked Sebastian’s confusion at Vesper’s tales of working as a librarian in Boston and his conclusion that it’s a very strange place, lacking all the things he takes for granted. I look forward to finding out more about the mysterious Mr Quinn. Five stars!
This is a weird little novella that I thoroughly enjoyed. It’s set in the First World War — my jam, obviously — and the MC is a young French nun. And there are men with clockwork hearts. She has a crush on one. That’s it. That’s the story. I can’t say too much more than that without spoiling the whole thing, but…it’s not a romance. Lots happens and not much happens and it’s perfectly satisfying. It’s not quite steampunk and not quite romance and not quite historical and not quite horror. I’m not sure what it is…but I’ll definitely read it again. It’s also only 99c!
This week’s reads. I’ve been less immersed in other people’s fiction than usual because I’m busy finishing a new 10k story for newsletter subscribers and facebook group members, so do keep an eye out if queer poly 1920s stories with a touch of the paranormal hold your interest!
This is the first of a series set in Prohibition-era upstate New York. It’s got bootleggers, cathouses, tommy-guns, a really interesting queer poly relationship developing, and vampires (non-sparkly), sirens and other magical people. I was sucked in immediately. The writing is fast-paced and engaging, the characters are complex and relatable and I loved it. The sequel is out in the new year and I can’t wait!
Another Hazard and Somerset-adjacent story from Gregory Ashe, set in the same town, on the university campus of Wroxhall. Auggie, an unhappy social media influencer looking for a new start and on the run from his sexuality and Theo, a recent widower, are thrown together in a murder investigation. As usual Ashe hits it out of the park.
I am not normally a seasonal fiction person, but I made an exception for this, because a) Gregory Ashe and b) the seasonal touch is very light. I love the spookiness of it, which echoes the weird magic of his Hollow Folk series whilst being a completely different universe. As usual the characters are real people, flawed in some ways and wonderful in others. The paranormal aspects are completely my bag and very well imagined. Five stars.
Restored takes Kit Redford, gentleman’s club owner, glimpses of whom have been woven in and out of the Enlightenment series since the beginning, and gives him to us whole. He’s always struck me as a brittle character with an interesting back-story and this is an extremely satisfying culmination of years of wondering what formed him. The MCs are mature, which these days is a big draw for me as I’m knocking on a bit too. It’s easily read as a stand-alone, but if you’ve read the earlier books in the Enlightenment universe this will be particularly engaging. Again, five stars.
I don’t know why I picked this up, but I’m so pleased I did. It’s labelled as YA, but I think it stands anywhere you want to put it, despite the MCs being children. It’s got a perfect balance of history and sff that landed in my sweet spot with a big thump. The characters are very well drawn and the flip between 1944 and the present was done beautifully. I loved the visiting aliens, their personalities and their tech, but it’s the children who really make the story beautiful. It’s a story about humanity and I really think you should read it!
That’s it for this week! I’m going to try and make this a weekly thing, because we’re all desperate for reading recs, right?