Book Recs

I'm a huge fan of m/m romance and these are some of my favourite books--all highly recommended.

Bitter Legacy

Bitter Legacy by Dal Maclean

This is a fantastic read. Full of emotion and tension, the romantic angst tied my stomach in knots in the best possible way. 

The suspense plot is very strong, and when the reveals come they don’t feel out of the blue. The evidence is all there but I didn’t feel ten steps ahead of the characters at any point, which I really enjoyed. But it’s the romantic story that really gripped me. Jamie’s heartbreak is visceral and right to the end I wondered how he’d get his happy ever after—but when it came it felt absolutely right and well-earned, and was incredibly satisfying. 

The writing was excellent, vivid but not distractingly showy. And it’s pretty hot, too, although the sex scenes are also really emotional which makes them all the more intense. 

Basically, if you’re a fan of romantic suspense, do yourself a favour and get hold of Bitter Legacy. It’s one of the best I've read in the genre.

Brothers of the Wild North Sea by Harper Fox
Brothers of the Wild North Sea
What I loved about this book was the very unique and compelling setting, beautifully drawn with incredible world-building. The writing is extremely good and the central romance touching and heartfelt.

Both central characters are exceptionally well drawn and engaging, as are the secondary characters. The romance is visceral and tugs at the heart. I also loved the nod to the triple goddess throughout, which is something we see in a lot in Harper Fox's work.

Highly recommended. 

The Lawrence Browne AffairThe Lawrence Browne Affair by Cat Sebastian

Cat Sebastian’s second book is a warm and delightful read. It has all the charm that made me fall in love with her first release, The Soldier’s Scoundrel, and includes a very delicious new hero.

Georgie Turner, the brother of Jack Turner from TSS, takes the lead. And what a wonderful hero he is—clever, conflicted and gorgeous, he was the highlight of the novel for me. The story itself is nice and simple: Georgie, a swindler escaping trouble in London, finds himself posing as a secretary for the ‘mad’ Earl Radnor. He ends up helping the anxious, brilliant earl to venture back into the world and to reconnect with his son, and along the way finds himself in love and uncertain how to extricate himself from the criminal life that threatens to destroy the domestic bliss he’s accidentally stumbled into.

This is a page-turning read, with a pace that fairly clips along. The external plot is firmly subordinate to the romance, and the characters are all warm, interesting and beautifully realized. Cat Sebastian’s talent lies in her ability to create characters with whom readers fall in love, and it’s a formidable talent!

At the end of this lovely feel-good read came the excellent news that her third book, featuring one of the most interesting secondary characters, will be out in July! I’ve already pre-ordered it.

Days Without EndDays Without End by Sebastian Barry

I usually avoid literary fiction as I often find it more concerned with style and cleverness than with story telling.

But I’m glad I took a chance on this book. While often brutal, and with a stylized narrative, I found the book captivating, haunting and (added bonus for literary fiction) warm. The characters are vivid, especially Thomas, in whose voice the story is told, and they lived with me long after I finished the book.

While this is in no way a romance, the enduring and romantic love between two hard men, soldiers who have committed acts of horrific violence, sits at the heart of this book. It lifts it from a grim recounting of the brutality of 19th century America to a story of hope, endurance and redemption.

Recommended for a serious read.

Seven Summer NightsSeven Summer Nights by Harper Fox

This is a beautiful book that I couldn’t put down and am certain I’ll revisit. The wonderful cast of characters don’t let you go, and the sense of place is deftly drawn and intense. 

I read this in the winter, but it easily transported me to an idyllic English summer.I loved the hints of mysticism and the power of the feminine. I loved the unfolding mystery around the women in the village, and around the heroes’ pasts, but most of all I loved the deeply romantic story and the ending that’s full of hope and love.

Highly recommended if you’re looking for a book that will leave you smiling. 

Wanted, A GentlemanWanted, A Gentleman by K.J. Charles 

This is a fast, fun read that packs a lot of punch into its 40k words.Martin and Theo make a wonderful double act in what, on the face of it, is a classic opposites-attract road trip story. But because it’s KJ Charles writing, it’s so much more than that.

Set in late Georgian London, the story features Martin St. Vincent, a black Londoner and middle-class merchant, who is dealing with very conflicted feelings toward the family who both raised and enslaved him. Meanwhile, Theo Swann, the publisher of the Matrimonial Advertiser, has his own mistakes and past troubles dogging him every step of the way. Indebtedness is a theme that runs throughout the book—how debt (financial or otherwise) can twist a person’s life, how it can be used by others as a means of control, and how liberation from it can open up the world. All the characters are victims of debt in some way, even the couple our heroes are trying to track down. But the theme plays out especially for the protagonists whose mutual understanding of each other’s experience provides a believable bedrock for their growing relationship. 

Both Martin and Theo are engaging protagonists, and their distinctive voices carry the story as fast as the chaise taking them to Scotland. While Martin is an out-and-out good man, Theo is crafty, deceitful and downright un-heroic in places—quite the perfect flawed hero. The romance between them is sweet and well developed, with a nice dose of angst at just the right moment. And sex, of course—well written and used to develop the story. The best kind. All in all, this is a fun and fast read with a great deal of depth and humanity. 


PansiesPansies by Alexis Hall

It’s difficult to know where to start with this book—the top-notch writing, the winning characters, the delicate angst, the life-affirming story, the wonderful hopeful ending. It’s all so good. This is a genuine feel-good read.

It’s also satisfyingly long, which I like as I read fast. Even so, I blitzed it because it’s impossible to put down. But despite the length, the story stays totally focused on the evolving relationship between Alfie and Fen and the pacing never feels saggy. Alfie’s author voice is superb—at times laugh out loud funny— and I loved Fen’s prickly, fierce, vulnerable personality. Both characters are adorable. No other word.
The idea of the school bully falling in love with his former victim is a beautifully angsty premise, and the author deftly keeps it from becoming in anyway problematic. (Bullying should never be treated lightly, and I don’t believe this book does so.) The theme of trying—and failing—to fix people, places, and things runs through the story, as does the idea of returning home changed by life to find yourself and the people around you almost, but not quite, unrecognizable. And these themes entwine beautifully with the central narrative, creating a very fulfilling whole.

I found myself totally absorbed in the story, in a world that felt vivid and touchable, and when it came to the end I found it difficult to let go of these wonderfully rich characters.

If you’re looking for a captivating romance to touch your heart, then this is the book for you.

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