This year has been flying by! Somehow I blinked and it's already July. Does anyone else feel like the year is just speeding along? I had big plans for my reading last month, and as usual, they didn't come to fruition. But I did read some books I want to tell you about:
White Trash Warlock by David R Slayton (Urban fantasy with M/M romance): From the title, it feels like this book is going to be lighthearted, but it's definitely serious in tone and deals with issues of poverty and family trouble. Adam hasn't seen his brother or mother since they had him committed when he was a teenager because he could hear voices. The voices were actually spirits, but his family either didn't believe in his magic or didn't want to deal with it. He checked himself out as soon as he turned eighteen and has been living with a great-aunt with the same gifts as he has in her trailer, working odd jobs ever since. Then his brother calls Adam because his wife is under the influence of a spirit and Adam is the only one he knows who might be able to help. The world building is solid and interesting and the family grievances real and compelling. A great beginning to a series I will be continuing.
High Times in the Low Parliament by Kelly Robson (Fantasy with F/F romance): Lana is a brilliant scribe, who also believes herself to be absolutely charming with the ladies. While doing a favor for a fellow scribe, she angers a fairy and is sent to be a scribe at Low Parliament as a punishment. Once there, she finds things are not well and all of Parliament will be drowned if the members can't begin to agree. I'm a little torn about this novella. On the one hand, it was fun and quirky. On the other, I was so confused with the lack of world building. Fairies seem to be overlords of humans in this world, but not rulers really. There was a war at some point in the past that led to this situation and also the rules around Parliament. Also, there are only women in this world, but it's never mentioned why. It is a novella, and the length may account for the lack of world building. But I could have used a bit more. If you can ignore the questions and just go with it, as I said, it's a fun little novella.
Gateway Catastrophe by Louisa Masters (M/M paranormal romance): This was an excellent end to the Ghostly Guardians series, though I am sorry to see the series end (though I am excited to see that there is going to be a spin-off series, especially since it seems that it will involve some intriguing characters introduced in this book). While each book in the series follows a new couple and romance, the overall story carries from book to book, so definitely start this series from the beginning. The paranormal storyline is suspenseful and interesting, the characters and relationships are likable and relatable, and ghosts inhabiting the estate are hilarious.
Lavender House by Lev AC Rosen (Queer historical mystery): Lavender House is described as "Knives Out with a queer historical twist" and I can definitely see the comparison in this noir-ish mystery. In 1952 San Francisco, Andy has been fired from the police force after being caught in a raid at a gay bar. He lost his apartment and is drinking and contemplating suicide when Pearl finds him. She tells him her wife has been murdered and she needs him—a gay investigator—to find out who did it. Andy is introduced to the residents of Lavender House, people who have built a place and a family in which they can be themselves without worrying what the outside world would think of their sexualities or relationships. The mystery is satisfyingly twisty. I suspected who might have done it, but then thought maybe I was wrong several times. I also really loved the characters, Andy especially, and I'm so looking forward to the next book in the series when it comes out in the fall.
Self-Made Boys by Anna-Marie McLemore (YA trans historical romance): Self-Made Boys is a remix of The Great Gatsby, part of a series of classics remixed to be told from the perspective of marginalized identities. Nicolas Caraveo is a young Latino trans man from the Midwest who is a whiz with math. His cousin Daisy persuades his parents to let him move to New York to take a job he's been offered on Wall Street. When he arrives, he finds that Daisy has remade herself and is passing for white to be accepted in society and become engage to Tom (because, as she says, if she has to marry, she's going to do it in a way that benefits her and allows her to help her family). Nick soon meets his mysterious neighbor, Jay Gatsby, who throws lavish parties that bewilder Nick and is also trans. Jay has made himself into someone he hopes Daisy, his lost love, can be with, and Nick agrees to help him get her back, but falls for Jay himself in the process. I love this remix and how Nick's Latinx heritage and trans identity affect his perspective and the course of the story.
What have you read and loved lately?