The last time I meant to post book recommendations I wound up procrastinating for, uh, approximately eleven months because I got fixated on Doing It Right, so… here are an arbitrary number of recommendations for books chosen unsystematically from things I’ve read in the last year or so, that aren’t as detailed or thoughtful as the books probably deserve, because the perfect is the enemy of the good and all that.
All of these are M/M, with a range of gay/bi/pan character identities.
Salt Magic, Skin Magic by Lee Welch – YOU GUYS I LOVE THIS ONE SO MUCH. I don’t think I’ve actually read the text version of it yet but I’ve listened to the audiobook narrated by Joel Leslie (available through Hoopla!) twice and this book is! so!! great!! It’s set just after the Great Exhibition of 1851–working magician John Blake helped secure the structure of the Crystal Palace, and Thornby, who is mysteriously trapped on his father’s estate in Yorkshire, is livid at having missed the whole thing. Also oh my god this one goes HARD on the hurt/comfort, like I think there is swooning-from-injuries and being-cradled-in-the-other’s-arms in Chapter Two. I LOVE THIS BOOK SO MUCH.
How to Howl at the Moon by Eli Easton – This is the first book in a series based on the premise that dogs who are sufficiently loved by a human, who then are left behind when their beloved human dies, can become Quickened–sentient, and able to shift into human form. So brace yourself to cry about sad dogs but on the bright side NONE OF THE DOGS DIE, JUST HUMANS. Now if you think this premise through for a minute you will realize that this could lead to some super hinky situations, because an adult dog, shifting into an adult human, is like… as little as three years old? and brand-new as a human? So you will be glad to know that this first book introduces you to the whole idea with the least-hinky possible version of the story: Tim is a human who comes to live in a town of Quickened, and Lance, the local sheriff and also a border collie shifter, is a third-generation Quickened, so he has grown up in a totally linear fashion. Books 2 through 4 then proceed to explore progressively more, uh, delicate permutations of the idea, but they are all great I swear.
The Werewolf’s Fae Mate & The Broken Faewolf’s Mate by Liv Rider – I read the second book of these first, because I could not resist the premise of a werewolf who’s been stuck as a wolf since childhood suddenly shifting back to human when he meets his true love (who has werewolf blood but is determined never to lose control and shift into wolf form). Both books are delightful and do werewolves without the whole a/b/o situation, building a whole rivalry between fae and shifters.
How to Bang a Billionaire (trilogy) by Alexis Hall – This is very much like 50 Shades of Gray but a) good and b) gay and c) Arden has a much better instinct for self-preservation than Ana and is willing to say “um you’re treating me like shit and I don’t care about your money more than I care about my own happiness, so I’m out.” Also the kinky sex is something they work up to over time, because of reasons. Lots of delightful secondary characters and a really lovely development of their whole relationship.
Briarley by Aster Glenn Grey (aka @ospreyarcher) – A Beauty and the Beast fixit set during World War II, where the country parson trespasses on the beast’s manor and then, when the Beast demands that he exchange his daughter for his freedom, says, “Uh, no, I’m not going to do that to my daughter, you lunatic, and also she has important war work to do” and stays put and makes the Beast adopt a disabled dog in order to learn what love is. And also the Beast is a fucking dragon and it’s great.
Seven Summer Nights by Harper Fox – Set just after World War II, with both heroes coping, with varying degrees of success, with their combat traumas. Rufus is an archaeologist and a war hero, but he’s missing the memory of the events that left him with his scars and medals, and attacks a colleague on a dig during a flashback. Archie is a small town vicar who’s lost his faith but still believes in looking after his people–and his church, which seems to have a really unusual history. Rufus is sent to Droyton Parva to investigate the archaeology of the church and to hide from his ruined career, and he and Archie run headfirst into some of the last remnants of magic in a mostly-mundane world. Amazing supporting cast of women (and one trans guy who gets a great happy ending although bits of it were… not written in a 21st century way which makes sense for characters in 1946 but, you know, it might be jarring. Also, content warning for offscreen death of an infant.) Mostly this is a story about finding, and creating, and protecting, the spaces where you can be who you are with the person or people you love, and, you know, also some weird magic? It’s great.
(Also I am just permanently recommending that you go read everything by KJ Charles, Cat Sebastian, and Keira Andrews, I have not gone wrong with them yet.)
Anyway, if there’s a particular kind of book you’re looking for, ask and I’ll see what I can come up with! And if you have if-you-liked-x-you-should-read-y suggestions related to the above, I’d love to hear about them!
[Cross-posted from https://dsudis.tumblr.com/post/190404256154/mm-romance-novel-recs]