Genre: YA Fantasy
Queer Rep: Lesbian
Warnings: Off page sexual assault and discussions of sexual assault, violence
Lei is a member of the Paper caste, the lowest and most persecuted class of people in Ikhara. She lives in a remote village with her father, where the decade-old trauma of watching her mother snatched by royal guards for an unknown fate still haunts her. Now, the guards are back and this time it’s Lei they’re after — the girl with the golden eyes whose rumored beauty has piqued the king’s interest.
Over weeks of training in the opulent but oppressive palace, Lei and eight other girls learn the skills and charm that befit a king’s consort. There, she does the unthinkable — she falls in love. Her forbidden romance becomes enmeshed with an explosive plot that threatens her world’s entire way of life. Lei, still the wide-eyed country girl at heart, must decide how far she’s willing to go for justice and revenge.
My thirst for fantasy remained high while perusing the shelves of Barnes and Noble, and my thirst for F/F even higher. When I found this gem—with a gorgeous cover and POC protagonist—it was love at first sight. Lucky for me, this rich, intricately woven world and believable characters made sure the love remained until the very last page.
Genre: Historical Fiction, YA, Romance
Queer Rep: Bi and Gay (I think)
Warnings: Memories of abuse and trauma, homophobia, racism, sexism (all from outside characters and not condoned by the MCs. Still sucks), some violence
Henry “Monty” Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman, but he was never one to be tamed. The finest boarding schools in England and the constant disapproval of his father haven’t been able to curb any of his roguish passions—not for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits, or waking up in the arms of women or men.
But as Monty embarks on his Grand Tour of Europe, his quest for a life filled with pleasure and vice is in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.
Still it isn’t in Monty’s nature to give up. Even with his younger sister, Felicity, in tow, he vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt that spans across Europe, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.
The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue took me by surprise. Where I was expecting a mostly romcom slice of life during the 1700s, I was instead given a breathless adventure with humor and heart. This book made my heart soar, squeeze, and shriek (or maybe that was just me), and I would recommend it to anyone interested in the many subgenres it encompasses.
Genre: Erotic Paranormal Romance
Queer Rep: Gay, Pansexual
Warnings: Depictions of blood play, references to self-harm and date rape within an abusive relationship
[Note: I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.]
Despite the rumors about Port Lewis, Michael Gates doesn’t expect the house he rents with his sister on Foxglove Lane to be haunted. An eerie meeting with Victor Lewellyn, the resident witch-turned-demon who is bound to the property by dark magic, changes his mind.
Michael isn’t looking to start a relationship with anyone, let alone someone like Victor, but the intense attraction between them can’t be ignored. As he dives into the world of magical drug rings, demons, witches, and necromancers, Michael also grapples with the complicated past he left behind in Arizona.
A relationship might not be what he wants, but it sparks something in him he didn’t realize he needs—the chance to heal.
Queer Rep: Pansexual, Non-Binary side characters
Warnings: Minor fatphobia against an MC who absolutely does not give a shit what you think.
Princess Esofi of Rhodia and Crown Prince Albion of Ieflaria have been betrothed since they were children but have never met. At age seventeen, Esofi’s journey to Ieflaria is not for the wedding she always expected but instead to offer condolences on the death of her would-be husband.
But Ieflaria is desperately in need of help from Rhodia for their dragon problem, so Esofi is offered a new betrothal to Prince Albion’s younger sister, the new Crown Princess Adale. But Adale has no plans of taking the throne, leaving Esofi with more to battle than fire-breathing beasts.