• Reviews

    Review: To Summon Nightmares by J.K. Pendragon (2014)

    “With the last sound, his mouth became unstopped like a bottle, and it was as if all sound hissed from the room. The candles blew out, the darkness expanded to envelop all. And then the darkness receded. The candles flickered back to light, and the sound came back into the room.

    In the middle of the circle stood a man.”

    To Summon Nightmares, J.K. Pendragon

    Rating: ★★★½
    Genre: Paranormal, contemporary, romance
    Categories: M/M, trans, demons

    Content Warnings (highlight to read): Transphobia. Graphic descriptions of dysphoria, self-harm attempts. References to torture, child abuse.

    Description: A gothic-horror contemporary story set in rural Ireland. Cohen, a Jewish trans writer, finds himself unexpectedly involved in the life of Niall—a gorgeous man suspected of murder, on the run from a haunting past involving demon summoning, and possessing incredible magic powers. There’s a secret organization and a very unpleasant ex-boyfriend involved. And all Cohen wanted was a quiet place to write…

    “When he inherits an old house in the country, Cohen sees it as a perfect opportunity to escape the press and work on his new book. What he doesn’t count on is becoming embroiled in a small town murder mystery and falling for the primary suspect, a man whose reality makes Cohen’s fantasy books seem like child’s play…”

  • Reviews

    Review: The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater (2016)

    “Strange he hadn’t had a premonition of what this place would become to him all those months ago. But maybe not. So much of magic—of power, in general—required belief as a prerequisite.”

    The Raven King, Maggie Stiefvater

    Rating: ★★★★
    Genre: Urban fantasy, YA
    Categories: M/M, M/F, YA, multiple narrators, wizards/magicians, mythology, ghosts

    Content Warnings (highlight to read): N/A

    Description: A sharply-written YA series about slowly uncovering the magic underneath the mundane day-to-day world. The series follows Blue, slightly put-upon daughter of a house of psychics, and her adventures with the Raven Boys—private school boys with their own evolving mysterious pasts and destinies. Boys that could be kings, men that might be trees, magic dream worlds, ghosts, fortune-telling, high-maintenance murderers, cars, and bees?—There’s a lot there.

    “For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.”

  • Reviews

    Review: Timekeeper by Tara Sim (2016)

    “Danny had most certainly fallen down the rabbit hole. He didn’t know if he ever wanted to return.”

    Timekeeper, Tara Sim

    Rating: ★★★½
    Genre: Fantasy, YA
    Categories: M/M, alternate history

    Content Warnings (highlight to read): N/A

    Description: Danny is a clock mechanic, tasked with keeping the world’s clocktowers running in an alternate Victorian world. These clocktowers literally keep time: if a town’s tower is broken, time around it grows out of sync, or may even stop entirely, trapping those inside its influence in an infinite loop. When a series of bombings starts attacking clocktowers around England, Danny urgently works to solve the mystery, alongside a mysterious clock spirit that he becomes very invested in protecting.

  • Reviews

    Review: Peter Darling by Austin Chant (2017)

    “That’s the trick of growing up. Nothing stays the same.” Hook sounded oddly sympathetic. “You see the faults in everything. Including yourself.”

    Peter Darling, Austin Chant

    Rating: ★★★★★
    Genre: Fantasy, fairy tale, romance
    Categories: M/M, trans, enemies to lovers, fairy tale retelling

    Content Warnings (highlight to read): Deals with societal & familial transphobia. Some death & violence but not graphic.

    Description: A sumptuously gorgeous re-imagining of Peter Pan where the fairies are all the more strange and where Neverland—and your identity—is what you decide to make of it. Enemies-to-lovers Peter & Hook: if this is automatically selling point, great, you won’t be disappointed. If it makes you raise your eyebrows: trust me, the storytelling, characterization & development is so deftly woven that you also won’t be disappointed.

    “Ten years ago, Peter Pan left Neverland to grow up, leaving behind his adolescent dreams of boyhood and resigning himself to life as Wendy Darling. Growing up, however, has only made him realize how inescapable his identity as a man is.”

  • Reviews

    Review: Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner (1987)

    “Above him, the stars shone frosty and remote in the clear sky. They wouldn’t dare to twinkle at him, not in the position he was in.”

    Swordspoint, Ellen Kushner

    Rating: ★★★★★
    Genre: Fantasy, romantic (but not a romance)
    Categories: M/M, M/F, politics & intrigue, royalty and nobility, hidden identity, swords & swordplay

    Content Warnings (highlight to read): Frequent but not super graphic murder & violence. Recreational drug use. Discussions & ideation of suicide. Very morally ambiguous protagonists.

    Description: A “classic melodrama of manners” where disputes are settled with sharp blades and sharper tongues. Swordspoint follows an interweaving set of characters and perspectives in a struggle for political power in the world of Riverside: Richard St Vier, an excellent swordsman but not much for conversation; Alec, his sharp-tongued lover with bad habits and worse ideas; Michael Godwin, a young lord who finds himself involved in games over his head; an elegantly powerful Duchess; and the rest of an engaging and largely morally ambiguous cast.