I had planned more of these posts, but time got away from me, as it so often seems to. I wanted to get in one more before the end of Pride Month to give you a few more book recs (find my first post here and my second post here). Today, I'm giving you some recs for fantasy romance, paranormal romance, urban fantasy, and SF romance. I probably could've done a post on each of those (which might have been the plan...), so even though I limited myself this is a long post.
Legends & Lattes by Travis Baldree: In this cozy fantasy, battle-weary orc Viv decides to hang up her sword and open a coffee shop in a city that's never heard of coffee. The plot is gentle as she works to build her shop and make a home for herself and as she meets people and builds a family too. There's also a sweet F/F romance winding through the background.
So This is Ever After by FT Lukens: Arek is the chosen one of a prophecy that states he and his friends will save the kingdom from its evil ruler, but this book isn't about that. It begins as the prophecy is fulfilled. Arek is convinced to become king until the rightful heir is found—but he finds out there is no rightful heir and magic prevents him from renouncing the crown. And the magic also requires him to marry. He's been in love with his best friend for ages but doesn't think Matt loves him back, so he tries to find someone else to marry. It's a fun and funny and sweet stand alone.
In the Ravenous Dark by AM Strickland: Blood mage Rovan has been hiding her magic for her whole life because if people knew, she would be bound to a spirit who would control her, but her magic is discovered when she saves someone and she is forced to the palace where she is bound to a spirit and thrust into the politics and intrigue of the country. This book is far more serious than the last I listed but it has wonderful characters who learn to trust each other and become family as they incite a rebellion among both the living and the dead. Rovan is pansexual here and falls in love with both the sexy ghost she is bound to and a princess.
The Dark Tide by Alicia Jasinka: In this YA fantasy, every year a boy is sacrificed to keep the tide from swallowing the island city. Lina is certain that this year her brother is going to be sacrificed. She asks the boy she secretly loves for help saving her brother, but it is the boy she loves who is taken. Lina goes to the Witch Queen Eva to trade herself for him. Eva watched her sister die to save the boy she loved and has sworn she won't make that mistake, that she will do what she has to to save her city, but she and Lina spend time together and begin to fall in love, even as the dark tide rises. I loved the atmosphere of this book—the island city felt a little fairy tale, a little Venetian, dark and beautiful.
Payback's a Witch by Lana Harper: I love a good witchy paranormal romance, and this (and the books that follow in the series) is one. Emmy ran from Thistle Grove to escape her lackluster magic and live a normal life away from the families of witches that founded the town and continue to inhabit is hundreds of years later. She only returns to fulfill a family obligation and plans to leave immediately after. She doesn't expect to join in a revenge pact, to learn more about herself, her family, and the magic of Thistle Grove, and to fall for Talia, another witch. It's a delightful book with lots of fall vibes and a good introduction to the world, which gets expanded on as we meet other people in the following books. I'm looking forward to the next book in the series.
Not Dead Yet by Jenn Burke: This paranormal romance/mystery is the beginning of a series that has become a favorite of mine. Wes is a not-ghost. He was dead but a witch brought him back, just not all the way. He's spent decades using his ghost-like abilities to retrieve items for clients. Only this time he witnesses a murder, which brings him back into the orbit of his ex, Hudson, who is now a vampire. It's such a fun book. I enjoyed the mystery and the second chance romance, and the building of a chosen family. Wes is also demisexual, and it's always great to find representation that's handled well.
Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas: Yadriel is a trans boy whose traditional Latinx family has a difficult time accepting that he can be a brujo. To prove that he is, he summons a ghost. He means to summon the ghost of his murdered cousin to set him free, but he gets a different ghost entirely—Julian, the school bad boy. And Julian isn't going to accept death quietly. He wants to find out what happened to him. The mystery and magic are both great, but the characters are the stars here. I adored this book.
Hunter of Demons by Jordan L. Hawk: In this first book in the SPECTR series, while trying to find the demon who killed his brother, Caleb is possessed by Gray, a drakul (sort of a vampire). Exorcist John is sent to remove Gray and finds out that, though he is a powerful exorcist, this is beyond him. The three main characters and the relationship that develops between them over the course of the series is wonderful, and the world building is fantastic.
The Last Sun by KD Edwards: This is the first book in the Tarot Sequence and I binged all the books that are out in a ridiculously short amount of time. I don't read much urban fantasy—I'm always looking for more romance and more character development. While I would have loved more page time for the romance in this series (because it's wonderful), I adore the characters and their dynamic with each other and the found family they build through these books. As the series continued, the world building deepened and plot twists popped up, and very much need to know how certain things are going to be resolved!
Winter's Orbit by Everina Maxwell: I adored this SF romance with an arranged marriage trope! When Imperial Prince Taam suddenly dies, his widower, Jainan, is rushed into another marriage with his husband's cousin Prince Kiem for political reasons. Then, it comes to light that Taam's death might have been murder and Jainin is a suspect. Kiem and Jainin have to learn to trust each other so they can solve the murder and avert an interplanetary war, all while falling in love with each other.
Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir: I'm not entirely sure how to describe this book or the series it begins. Someone described it to me when it was released as lesbian necromancers in space. And, yes, that is part of it. It's a combination of science fiction, fantasy, horror, and mystery. It has great characters and dialogue and interesting world building. And everything is put together is intriguing ways. And each book in the series so far is completely different from the last. This book introduces us to Gideon—who is dramatic and unashamed about checking out pretty girls and such a fun character. Gideon is made to be the cavalier to the Ninth House's heir who has been summoned, along with the heirs of all the houses to take part in trials by the emperor. What follows is sort of a locked room mystery with murder and puzzles and danger.
And since I write fantasy romance, I'm going to have to mention mine. The Chronicles of Tournai is a series of books revolving around the royal family of the principality of Tournai and their secrets and magic. Each book is a stand alone romance, but characters reappear in each book. If you want to start at the beginning, pick up The Prince's Consort, a prince/commoner romance. If you like dragon shifters, you can jump in with The Dragon's Devotion or The Envoy's Honor, or if you're looking for something extremely cozy (though none of my books are particularly high angst), try The Merchant's Love. For opposites attract plus spies and intrigue, you want The Artist's Masquerade. For opposites attract with some forced proximity, check out The Sorcerer's Guardian. For opposites attract with an age gap, take a look at The Spymaster's Secret. (Opposites attract is fun to write!)
My other series is Elemental Magicae, the two books in which should be read in order. A Dance of Water and Air starts with a prince being told he must marry the queen of a neighboring country in an arranged marriage. Only when he arrives, everything is very strange and he ends up falling in love with the queen's brother instead. When he's accused of trying to assassinate the queen, they flee, trying to save themselves and two kingdoms from danger.