December and January were kind of a lot, so I ended up forgetting to add a few lovely stories to my January list. You’ll see them here. Of course, I also read some great stuff in early February, some of which even came out in February (gasp!). Books are such a comfort.
Depart, Depart by Sim Kern
I actually read this….probably at the end of November, but it somehow kept slipping off my blogging list. I blame the fact that I read the paperback — sometimes it gets hard to keep track of the print books I’ve read in the month, and it’s a slim little volume. This is the only novella on the list this month, but it’s well worth your time — a tightly written, lyrical ghost story from a small press with a queer author, dealing directly with trans identity, trauma, and the way your own heritage can haunt you even as it saves you. It’s also climate fiction — if you’ve got bad memories of hurricanes and their aftermath, this story might be a little triggering for you. LGBTQ+, Own Voices, Ghosts, Cli-Fi
In the Bleak Midwinter: Season 1
I have previously referred to my obsession with WebToon on the blog, which I found from reading Lore Olympus. Since then I’ve branched out and follow several series. One of my recent finds is this gritty science fiction romance, which can best be described as Timer meets Terminator. The art style is pretty unique as well, with vivid colors despite the washed-out, post-apocalyptic setting. If you like cyborgs, rogue AI, and humans of questionable morals, you might enjoy this series. Illustrated, Romance, Science Fiction, AI
Midnight Poppy Land: Season 1
Taking a moment away from any whispers of the supernatural, Midnight Poppy Land tells the story of a young, thicc editor and her slowburn romance with a very cut mafia hitman who really wants to leave the business. I also really enjoyed another WebToon by this author, which had a more fantasy vibe, but if you’re looking for something very romance-driven in honor of Valentine’s Day month this is what you need. Illustrated, Romance
The Ruthless Lady’s Guide to Wizardry by C.M. Waggoner
It took me a very long time to get through this book — but not because it isn’t good. The book has a fabulous voice, queer rep, and contains real exploration of the traumas of poverty and how it can mess people up who otherwise would have been successful or decent. Because of that last theme, and the exploration of the double-standards of the affluent, it was not an easy, brain-off read for me, however, and I felt that some of the foreshadowing didn’t precisely pay off — or rather, clear alternatives to the supposedly bad decisions the characters were making didn’t present themselves, so all the foreshadowing just kind of annoyed me. But if you’re looking for a secondary-world heist novel with a predominantly female cast, you could certainly do worse. LGBTQ+, Fantasy, Heist
Winter’s Orbit by Evarina Maxwell
This book was probably my favorite thing I read in February. Two men are forced into a political marriage. One is recovering from the loss of his former husband and the secrets both he and his husband kept. One is one of the genuinely nice guys you so rarely see as a romantic interest. I found this story overall refreshing, but it was smart, too. The political intrigue and science fiction technology was solidly explained. It also contained one of my favorite hiking scenes I’ve read in a book, and I laughed out loud when I got to the bear. LGBTQ+, Romance, Science Fiction
I’m on vacation next weekend (thank goodness) so no post from me! But I’ll see you again in March with more fun reads and meditations on writing life.