“Besides, what’s your rush for me to pair up again?” he called after her, as she went through the open pocket doors and into the adjoining parlor to answer the phone. “You didn’t even like Lord Fine.”
“You didn’t even like Lord Fine.”
Arthur made a face, but she wasn’t wrong.
– Spellbound, Allie Therin
Genre: Historical Romance, Paranormal
Categories: M/M, magic
Description: Set in prohibition-era New York, Rory Brodigan has the magical gift to “read” the past of items that he touches. He keeps to himself and hides his abilities until the tall, dark and rich Arthur Kenzie steps into his life. The two get involved in a plot to save the city from other magic-users trying to seek out and abuse the powers of magical relics—which of course involves getting very involved with each other.
Being with Arthur is dangerous, but Rory’s ever-growing attraction to him begins to make him brave. And as Arthur coaxes him out of seclusion, a magical and emotional bond begins to form. One that proves impossible to break—even when Arthur sacrifices himself to keep Rory safe and Rory must risk everything to save him.
Genre: Paranormal, Romance, Mystery
Categories: M/M, Wizards/Witches, Nobility
Content Warnings: Highlight to read: Magically-induced attempted suicide, offscreen/pre-novel suicides, reference to previous rapes by now-deceased characters.
Buy it at: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Description: When Lord Crane, Lucien Vaudrey, is being forced through dark magic to attempt to take his own life, he hires a magician to help protect him. The magician, Stephen Day, has good reason to hate Crane’s family, but Stephen is devoted to his duty to protect people from harmful magic. Still, Crane is nothing like his father or brother, and as the case becomes even more complicated and unpleasant than it seemed, the two are drawn closely together.
“”I leaned over him and felt as if I were staring into a seething cauldron, fires licking the rim of his face. Breathless, I kissed the maelstrom.”
– Kirith Kirin, Jim Grimsley
Genre: High Fantasy
Categories: M/M, wizards/magicians, royalty and political intrigue, fated lovers
Content Warnings (highlight to read): Significant age-gap between the romantic leads, in the way of “just-barely-of-age-fantasy-protagonist.”
Description: Told from the point-of-view of Jessex, a magician reflecting back on his youth and the series of events that caused him to pursue his fate. Kirith Kirin is very much high fantasy and floral prose—the kind of fantasy novel that has FIFTY PAGES OF APPENDICES with all the names and places and rules about magic.
The story follows Jessex, a simple farmboy, who learns that he has a secret magical lineage and a daunting fate. In this world, immortals known as Kirith Kirin and the Blue Queen regularly ‘take turns’ as rulers in order to maintain their immortality, but the Blue Queen has decided that she’s had enough of sharing and is plunging the world into chaos. Jessex makes his way to the side of Kirith Kirin, destined to be his faithful magician—and, you know. More.
The Blue Queen, upon resuming the throne while King Kirith Kirin’s eternality is renewed in the Arthen forest, has partnered with a magician of the dark arts. No longer does she need to leave the throne to renew her eternal nature. Swayed by promises of the magician, she has claimed the throne forever and is extending her influence to the far corners of the world.
Malleable grey clouds, sidewinding wind and intelligent lightning bolts made the trip across the vast Girdle nearly impossible. Out of nowhere, the Blue Queen’s Patrols made haste to kill the boy and the warrior before they could safely reach the deep forest of Arthen. Riding upon two magnificent stallions, one a royal Prince out of Queen Mnemarra, Jessex and his uncle Svisal reached Arthen despite the deadly storm that reeked of magic. Thus begins Jessex’s new life as he arrives in Arthen and enters into the royal court of Kirith Kirin.
“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
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.”
“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
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.