Top 5 Favorite Independent Ladies

Hosted at the Goodreads group: Top 5 Wednesday. Kicking butt and taking names since 2008. *cough* No clue where that came from. Anyway, I saw this topic for today and got so excited. As the Goodreads group says: ‘Favorite leading ladies who aren’t distracted from getting shit done by their love interest’. (They also say that this will be subjective, but shhh.) (Also, to be fair, I only went with stories where we spend a significant amount of time in the leading lady’s head.)


Valor’s Choice by Tanya Huff

I cannot recommend this series enough and, even better, in this first book, our leading lady Torin Kerr doesn’t have any romance interests. (Though she wakes up in an alien’s bed as our first introduction to her. Which, is kind of awesome anyway.)

Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee

Very unique sci-fi book with amazing world-building. The leading lady, Kel Cheris, doesn’t have a love interest in this book (though I’ve not finished the series yet) but several remarks lead me to believe she is bi or pan. In fact, I’d put money on the default sexuality in this world being bi or pan.


An Accident of Stars by Foz Meadows

While I would call Saffron Coulter the leading lady – and she does get a girlfriend – this could also fit Zech, Viya and Gwen (the latter who is aromantic and in a poly relationship). This is honestly an excellent book and I want everyone to read it, anyway.


Long May She Reign by Rhiannon Thomas

Come on, you guys knew this book would be here. Our leading lady is Freya and if she was a contemporary girl, she’d be part of STEM. She conducts chemistry experiments. She solves a mass murder. Yeah, she has a love interest, but that’s not what’s important to her. (Or us, honestly.)

The Stepsister Scheme by Jim C. Hines

I’ve never been sure who our leading lady in this series was. Danielle – married to prince charming, though still kicking butt – or Talia – lesbian and in love with a close friend – or Snow – a total flirt with all the men. But, either way, they are all so awesome and any – slight – romance subplot is just that. A subplot as these three ladies save the world.


So there are five books that have some awesome leading ladies that don’t get distracted by romance and can still totally save the day. (And I could have easily done ten or fifteen more.) What independent leading ladies are your favorites.


Top Five Most Disappointing Reads of 2018

Hosted at the Goodreads group: Top 5 Wednesday. So, after all the Top Ten Tuesday’s that were all about the good reads of 2018, I was so excited when I saw the topic for this Wednesday. I love getting the chance to talk about all the books that disappointed me last year.


Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho

At his wit’s end, Zacharias Wythe, freed slave, eminently proficient magician, and Sorcerer Royal of the Unnatural Philosophers—one of the most respected organizations throughout all of Britain—ventures to the border of Fairyland to discover why England’s magical stocks are drying up.

But when his adventure brings him in contact with a most unusual comrade, a woman with immense power and an unfathomable gift, he sets on a path which will alter the nature of sorcery in all of Britain—and the world at large…

(So, ostensibly, this is a parody/satire of the racist, sexist and homophobic (classic) historical books and older fantasy novels. In reality, it really is racist, sexist and homophobic.)

Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli

Leah Burke—girl-band drummer, master of deadpan, and Simon Spier’s best friend from the award-winning Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda—takes center stage in this novel of first love and senior-year angst.

When it comes to drumming, Leah Burke is usually on beat—but real life isn’t always so rhythmic. An anomaly in her friend group, she’s the only child of a young, single mom, and her life is decidedly less privileged. She loves to draw but is too self-conscious to show it. And even though her mom knows she’s bisexual, she hasn’t mustered the courage to tell her friends—not even her openly gay BFF, Simon.

So Leah really doesn’t know what to do when her rock-solid friend group starts to fracture in unexpected ways. With prom and college on the horizon, tensions are running high. It’s hard for Leah to strike the right note while the people she loves are fighting—especially when she realizes she might love one of them more than she ever intended.

(Firstly, I was excited – a bi girl lead! – and I also thought that because I did enjoy Simon, that this book would be at least fun. It wasn’t. I didn’t even finish it. Leah is … kind of a terrible person. And if this is the bi girl rep we get… well, I might sort of prefer we didn’t get any. This was also one of the two YA contemporaries that I was most excited to read in 2018.)


Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee

After a shout-out from one of the Internet’s superstar vloggers, Natasha “Tash” Zelenka finds herself and her obscure, amateur web series, Unhappy Families, thrust into the limelight: She’s gone viral.

Her show is a modern adaptation of Anna Karenina—written by Tash’s literary love Count Lev Nikolayevich “Leo” Tolstoy. Tash is a fan of the forty thousand new subscribers, their gushing tweets, and flashy Tumblr GIFs. Not so much the pressure to deliver the best web series ever.

And when Unhappy Families is nominated for a Golden Tuba award, Tash’s cyber-flirtation with Thom Causer, a fellow award nominee, suddenly has the potential to become something IRL—if she can figure out how to tell said crush that she’s romantic asexual.

Tash wants to enjoy her newfound fame, but will she lose her friends in her rise to the top? What would Tolstoy do?

(Much like the Leah case, this book is ruined by Tash and the totally unpleasant ace rep. Beyond that – much like I didn’t touch on with Leah, bust she is as well – Tash is just a terrible person to everyone that cares about her. And this was the other YA contemporary I was excited for.)


The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

Follow a motley crew on an exciting journey through space—and one adventurous young explorer who discovers the meaning of family in the far reaches of the universe—in this light-hearted debut space opera from a rising sci-fi star.

Rosemary Harper doesn’t expect much when she joins the crew of the aging Wayfarer. While the patched-up ship has seen better days, it offers her a bed, a chance to explore the far-off corners of the galaxy, and most importantly, some distance from her past. An introspective young woman who learned early to keep to herself, she’s never met anyone remotely like the ship’s diverse crew, including Sissix, the exotic reptilian pilot, chatty engineers Kizzy and Jenks who keep the ship running, and Ashby, their noble captain.

Life aboard the Wayfarer is chaotic and crazy—exactly what Rosemary wants. It’s also about to get extremely dangerous when the crew is offered the job of a lifetime. Tunneling wormholes through space to a distant planet is definitely lucrative and will keep them comfortable for years. But risking her life wasn’t part of the plan. In the far reaches of deep space, the tiny Wayfarer crew will confront a host of unexpected mishaps and thrilling adventures that force them to depend on each other. To survive, Rosemary’s got to learn how to rely on this assortment of oddballs—an experience that teaches her about love and trust, and that having a family isn’t necessarily the worst thing in the universe.

(Everyone loves this book and I was so, so very disappointed in it. Besides not giving me people I could truly care about because they were all so perfect – except in ‘after school special’ moments. There were these times scattered throughout the book where serious questions were brought up – like is a clone a person? or how should an intelligent AI be treated? – that felt like we were getting to the meat of the matter, but it was quickly swept under the rug. Also, while it seems to be progressive, it’s also rather ace-phobic and there’s either trans-phobia or trans-erasure. So…This was a long complaint. Probably because I know it’s the most loved on my list and I want to explain why – as well as I can – I didn’t like it.)

Unearthed by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

When Earth intercepts a message from a long-extinct alien race, it seems like the solution the planet has been waiting for. The Undying’s advanced technology has the potential to undo environmental damage and turn lives around, and Gaia, their former home planet, is a treasure trove waiting to be uncovered.

For Jules Addison and his fellow scholars, the discovery of an alien culture offers unprecedented opportunity for study… as long as scavengers like Amelia Radcliffe don’t loot everything first. Mia and Jules’ different reasons for smuggling themselves onto Gaia put them immediately at odds, but after escaping a dangerous confrontation with other scavvers, they form a fragile alliance.

In order to penetrate the Undying temple and reach the tech and information hidden within, the two must decode the ancient race’s secrets and survive their traps. But the more they learn about the Undying, the more their presence in the temple seems to be part of a grand design that could spell the end of the human race…

(This was one of the books I was most excited for – both because of the authors and because it sounds right up my alley. Instead of something as unique as their first trilogy, I was left with Generic Dystopian YA(tm). Everything about this book feels like I read it before – and didn’t like it then, either. Generic leading lady, generic romance, generic insta-obsession/infatuation/love, generic worldbuilding, generic, generic, generic. Urgh.)

So there we have not only five books that were a huge disappointment last year, but perhaps the five biggest disappointments of the year. What books were you disappointed in? Any of these? Conversely, did you love any of these and think I have no idea what I’m talking about? Do you want to read any of these and have I now begun to talk you out of it?

Top Five Favorite Magic Systems

Hosted at the Goodreads group: Top 5 Wednesday. This is a post that’s actually been in my mind for the better part of two years and, unfinished as it was, this T5W is the perfect chance to finish it off and send it out into the world. (wide web)


Air Awakens by Elise Kova

I am not even going to go into what is wrong with the so called ‘romance’ in this series – though, by the third book, he is decrying that she is a slut and has been having sex with his brother and planning on sleeping with his father, too and calling her a whore – but I can say that I will never read another page by this author. However…The magic is so cool. It borrows heavily (and obviously) from Avatar: the Last Airbender what with the magical people having an affinity for an element.

Spirit Thief by Rachel Aaron

Basically, all items have spirits. Trees have spirits that are still there after they become doors. Paving stones have spirits. Lakes and oceans and seas have spirits. Naturally the official magic users in this world are called ‘Spiritualists’ and they nicely ask their bonded spirits (usually in rings) to do things for them, help them fight. I’m explaining it terribly, but it’s really, really awesome.


Runebinder by Alex R. Kahler

This might be cheating a little, because I am currently, right now, reading this book, but the magic is really unique, I think. You see, each person already has the power to unlock magic, in the form of elemental orbs inside themselves, but they cannot unlock all of them. Most people can only unlock one, some two, very few can unlock three. As of the point I am in the book, no one can unlock all four. And from what I understand, each person fits their element/s. Example: fire users are passionate. But, are they passionate because they are fire users, or was fire the easiest one for them to unlock because they are passionate? (Anyway, it is a little Bender like, also, but I adore the idea of control of more than one element – the main character controls two.)

Libriomancer by Jim C. Hines

Basically? Okay, so the written word has power, imagination has power. With enough people reading a book, enough imagination going into the reading of the book, Libriomancers can, literally, pull things put of books. Not, usually, living things – although there have been a few work arounds – but things like ray guns. And swords. And (really small) space ships. And whatever comes from books that aren’t spec fiction. But, really, can you imagine being able to reach into a book and pull something out? (Ooh, and that’s where the first vampires and werewolves came from: people sticking their arms in books and getting bit!)

Hexbreaker by Jordan L. Hawk

Okay, this is a little ‘soulmates’ set up and I, honestly, love it. You have Witches and Familiars. Witches can channel magic, but they don’t have any of their own. Familiars – characterized by the fact that they can shapeshift into animals! – do have inherent magic, but they can’t do anything with it. So, Witches and Familiars work together – but, out there, for each Witch/Familiar there is a perfect match, magically speaking. If this Witch and Familiar bond – there’s a whole three-step process so they don’t bond accidentally – their magic is stronger than it would be with anyone else. (Naturally, because this is a sub-genre of a sub-genre of the romance genre, the strong magic also means they fall in love, but, really, that’s just icing.)


There we go: Five definitely awesome magic systems! I’d love to know what magic systems are your favorites and if you’ve read any of these books.

Top Five Classics that I Wish Had A Modern Adaptation

Hosted at the Goodreads group: Top 5 Wednesday. Love the topic this week. As soon as I read it, I got super excited and had to go work on this list.


Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson

Stevenson is one of the few classic authors that I actually consider myself a fan of, because these books are always filled with such adventure. And with this book, it doesn’t matter to me if it’s a ‘modern’ adaptation, but I think that just an updated version – like a miniseries – would be such fun.

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne

Really, I could put any of Verne’s books here, but I think this was probably my favorite of his. I’d love it if it was updated not so much to modern times, (though, that would be awesome!) but to modern sensibilities. (Like having women in the story. Speaking of…)


The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

I’m just going to put it out there: I’m not a fan. I read the first book and was bored out of my mind, I did like the movies (past tense because I haven’t seen any of them in years and have little interest to) but they are such a boys club. (I might not even have thought about this, but I recently watched the first Hobbit movie for the first time and… we’re an hour and a half through the movie before a named woman speaks. Pretty sure she’s the first woman we even see, but…still.)

The Time Machine by H.G. Wells

I do actually remember seeing the 2002 movie and enjoying it then – but it’s been ages and I’m not sure I would now. Honestly, get rid of the racism and sexism and general bigotry of the time and this story could be awesome. (So, basically what I want is like a screen production of Hollow World by Michael J. Sullivan.)


Now, instead of listing another book I want a modern adaptation of, I’m going to show you what I want out of my modern adaptations:

188572Image result for elementary

Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle adapted to Elementary

Seriously, this is one of my favorite shows and if you’ve not seen it, I highly recommend it. It’s modernized, Americanized (which they did surprisingly well) and features diversity. Two poc main characters, both Watson and Moriarty are women, there’s various mystery of the week’s that normalize LGBT+ and there’s at least one that features a poly relationship. And we do briefly have a reoccurring trans woman character played by a transgender actress as well as a neurodivergent love interest over a few episodes. (Both were on there no where near enough as they were brilliant characters, but, hey, they were there!)

When I say ‘modern adaptations’ this is what I mean.

What modern adaptations do you want to see?

Five Favorite Reads So Far this Year

Hosted at the Goodreads group: Top 5 Wednesday. This was actually a super easy list for me to put together. All I did was write down my favorite five star books of the year (excluding the one that was a reread) and crossed one book off and I had a top five. I will say that one of the books I’m currently reading (out of the three, though one is an anthology and the other is a trio of novellas) might be some pretty stiff competition for a couple of these. (Countdown style, 5 at the top, 1 at the bottom.)


The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

Henry “Monty” Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman, but he was never one to be tamed. The finest boarding schools in England and the constant disapproval of his father haven’t been able to curb any of his roguish passions—not for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits, or waking up in the arms of women or men.

But as Monty embarks on his Grand Tour of Europe, his quest for a life filled with pleasure and vice is in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.

Still it isn’t in Monty’s nature to give up. Even with his younger sister, Felicity, in tow, he vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt that spans across Europe, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.

Chainebreaker by Tara Sim

Clock mechanic Danny Hart knows he’s being watched. But by whom, or what, remains a mystery. To make matters worse, clock towers have begun falling in India, though time hasn’t Stopped yet. He’d hoped after reuniting with his father and exploring his relationship with Colton, he’d have some time to settle into his new life. Instead, he’s asked to investigate the attacks.

After inspecting some of the fallen Indian towers, he realizes the British occupation may be sparking more than just attacks. And as Danny and Colton unravel more secrets about their past, they find themselves on a dark and dangerous path–one from which they may never return.


Mindtouch by M.C.A. Hogarth

Seersana University is worlds-renowned for its xenopsychology program, producing the Alliance’s finest therapists, psychiatric nurses and alien researchers. When Jahir, one of the rare and reclusive Eldritch espers, arrives on campus, he’s unprepared for the challenges of a vast and multicultural society… but fortunately, second-year student Vasiht’h is willing to take him under his wing. Will the two win past their troubles and doubts and see the potential for a once-in-a-lifetime partnership?

Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord’s daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.

Against her stern father’s wishes and society’s expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle’s laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.


A Tyranny of Queen’s by Foz Meadows

Saffron Coulter has returned from the fantasy kingdom of Kena. Threatened with a stay in psychiatric care, Saffron has to make a choice: to forget about Kena and fit back into the life she’s outgrown, or pit herself against everything she’s ever known and everyone she loves.

Meanwhile in Kena, Gwen is increasingly troubled by the absence of Leoden, cruel ruler of the kingdom, and his plans for the captive worldwalkers, while Yena, still in Veksh, must confront the deposed Kadeja. What is their endgame? Who can they trust? And what will happen when Leoden returns?


What have been your favorite reads so far this year?

Favorite LGBT+ Books that DON’T Feature Cis M/M Couples

Hosted at the Goodreads group: Top 5 Wednesday.

The prompt post says it better than I ever could.

This may seem oddly specific, but in honor of Pride being this month, I wanted to have a topic to celebrate LGBTQ+ books. But, the book community tends to, when given the chance, lift up cis m/m pairings the most. And while those books are still important and valued (we’ve even had topics covering m/m relationships earlier this year, which featured many cis m/m pairings), I wanted to shine the spotlight on some of those lesser known, recognized, and celebrated books. – Samantha

I’m guilty of this. I love reading books that have LGBT+ representation, as well as romance novels that feature LGBT+ couples – but, sadly, I usually default to cis (someone that identifies exclusively to the sex they were assigned at birth) M/M stories. Mostly because they are the easiest to find. (And I’ve come across too many cis F/F stories that are still sexist.) I do miss the days when I used to spend hours searching for books on the internet, going through dozens of lists until I found exactly what I was looking for.

That being said, there’s no way this will be limited to only five. I mean, I’d been wanting to do a couple lists like this for Pride month, but the last time I gave it a thought was back in March and I’ve been too absent lately to get it done.

Favorite Books Featuring a Cis F/F Pairing


Daybreak Rising by Kiran Oliver

Rep: lesbian, demi, pan, trans and doubtlessly something I’m forgetting.

Celosia Brennan was supposed to be a hero. After a spectacular failure that cost her people their freedom, she is offered a once-in-a-lifetime chance at redemption. Together with a gifted team of rebels, she not only sets her sights on freedom, but defeating her personal demons along the way.

Now branded a failure, Celosia desperately volunteers for the next mission: taking down the corrupt Council with a team of her fellow elementally gifted mages. Leading the Ember Operative gives Celosia her last hope at redemption. They seek to overthrow the Council once and for all, this time bringing the fight to Valeria, the largest city under the Council’s iron grip. But Celosia’s new teammates don’t trust her—except for Ianthe, a powerful Ice Elementalist who happens to believe in second chances.

With Council spies, uncontrolled magic, and the distraction of unexpected love, Celosia will have to win the trust of her teammates and push her abilities to the breaking point to complete the Ember Operative. Except if she falters this time, there won’t be any Elementalists left to stop the Council from taking over not just their country, but the entire world.

Romancing the Inventor by Gail Carriger

Rep: lesbian

Vampires are keeping an inventor in their potting shed. Imogene wants to seduce her.

Imogene Hale is a lowly parlourmaid with a soul-crushing secret. Seeking solace, she takes work at a local vampire hive, only to fall desperately in love with the amazing lady inventor imprisoned there.

Genevieve Lefoux is heartsick, lonely, and French.

With culture, class, and the lady herself set against the match, can Imogene and her duster overcome all odds and win Genevieve’s heart, or will the vampires suck both of them dry?

New York Times bestselling author Gail Carriger presents this stand-alone lesbian romance is set in her popular steampunk Parasolverse, full of class prejudice, elusive equations, and paranormal creatures taking tea.

Supernatural Society stories can be read in any order. Look for surprise appearances from popular Parasol Protectorate characters and the occasional strategic application of cognac.

Delicate Sensibilities?

This story contains women pleasing women and ladies who know what they want and pursue it, sometimes in exquisite detail.


Not Your Sidekick by C.B. Lee

Rep: lesbian with a secondary trans character (that’s the main character in the sequel)

Welcome to Andover… where superpowers are common, but internships are complicated. Just ask high school nobody, Jessica Tran. Despite her heroic lineage, Jess is resigned to a life without superpowers and is merely looking to beef-up her college applications when she stumbles upon the perfect (paid!) internship—only it turns out to be for the town’s most heinous supervillain. On the upside, she gets to work with her longtime secret crush, Abby, who Jess thinks may have a secret of her own. Then there’s the budding attraction to her fellow intern, the mysterious “M,” who never seems to be in the same place as Abby. But what starts as a fun way to spite her superhero parents takes a sudden and dangerous turn when she uncovers a plot larger than heroes and villains altogether.

Knit One, Girl Two by Shira Glassman

Rep: lesbian

Small-batch independent yarn dyer Clara Ziegler is eager to brainstorm new color combinations–if only she could come up with ideas she likes as much as last time! When she sees Danielle Solomon’s paintings of Florida wildlife by chance at a neighborhood gallery, she finds her source of inspiration. Outspoken, passionate, and complicated, Danielle herself soon proves even more captivating than her artwork…


The Cybernetic Tea Shop by Meredith Katz

Rep: lesbian and asexual

Clara Gutierrez is a highly-skilled technician specializing in the popular ‘Raise’ AI companions. Her childhood in a migrant worker family has left her uncomfortable with lingering in any one place, so she sticks around just long enough to replenish her funds before she moves on, her only constant companion Joanie, a fierce, energetic Raise hummingbird.

Sal is a fully autonomous robot, the creation of which was declared illegal ages earlier due to ethical concerns. She is older than the law, however, at best out of place in society and at worst hated. Her old master is long dead, but she continues to run the tea shop her master had owned, lost in memories of the past, slowly breaking down, and aiming to fulfill her master’s dream for the shop.

When Clara stops by Sal’s shop for lunch, she doesn’t expect to find a real robot there, let alone one who might need her help. But as they begin to spend time together and learn more about each other, they both start to wrestle with the concept of moving on…

The Legend of Korra: Turf Wars by Michael Dante DiMartino & Irene Koh

Rep: bisexual

Relishing their newfound feelings for each other, Korra and Asami leave the Spirit World . . . but find nothing in Republic City but political hijinks and human vs. spirit conflict!

A pompous developer plans to turn the new spirit portal into an amusement park, potentially severing an already tumultuous connection with the spirits. What’s more, the triads have realigned and are in a brutal all-out brawl at the city’s borders – where hundreds of evacuees have relocated!

In order to get through it all, Korra and Asami vow to look out for each other – but first, they’ve got to get better at being a team and a couple!

Favorite Books Featuring a Trans Character


The Doctor’s Discretion by E.E. Ottoman

Rep: Trans with a M/M romance.

(I find it important to note that this is an #ownvoices trans story.)

New York City, 1831.

Passion, medicine and a plan to break the law …

When Doctor William Blackwood, a proper gentleman who prefers books to actual patients, meets retired Navy surgeon Doctor Augustus Hill, they find in each other not just companionship but the chance of pleasure–and perhaps even more. The desire between them is undeniable but their budding relationship is disrupted by the arrival of a mysterious patient at New York Hospital.

Mr. Moss has been accused of being born a woman but living his life as a man, an act that will see him committed to an asylum for the rest of his life. William and Augustus are determined to mount a rescue even if it means kidnapping him instead.

Their desperate plan sets William and Augustus against the hospital authorities, and the law. Soon they find themselves embroiled in New York’s seedy underworld, mixed up with prostitutes, spies, and more than a lifetime’s worth of secrets. When nothing is as it seems can they find something real in each other?

Spy Stuff by Mathew J. Metzger

Rep: Trans with a M/M romance. (Side note: some angst free bi-rep, too.)

(Also #ownvoices trans.)

Anton never thought anyone would ever want to date him. Everyone knows nobody wants a transgender boyfriend, right? So he’s as shocked as anyone when seemingly-straight Jude Kalinowski asks him out, and doesn’t appear to be joking.

The only problem is … well, Jude doesn’t actually know.

Anton can see how this will play out: Jude is a nice guy, and nice guys finish last. And Anton is transgender, and transgender people don’t get happy endings. If he tells Jude, it might destroy everything.

And if Jude tells anyone else … it will.


Dreadnought by April Daniels

Rep: Trans lesbian

Danny Tozer has a problem: she just inherited the powers of Dreadnought, the world’s greatest superhero.

Until Dreadnought fell out of the sky and died right in front of her, Danny was trying to keep people from finding out she’s transgender. But before he expired, Dreadnought passed his mantle to her, and those secondhand superpowers transformed Danny’s body into what she’s always thought it should be. Now there’s no hiding that she’s a girl.

It should be the happiest time of her life, but Danny’s first weeks finally living in a body that fits her are more difficult and complicated than she could have imagined. Between her father’s dangerous obsession with “curing” her girlhood, her best friend suddenly acting like he’s entitled to date her, and her fellow superheroes arguing over her place in their ranks, Danny feels like she’s in over her head.

She doesn’t have much time to adjust. Dreadnought’s murderer—a cyborg named Utopia—still haunts the streets of New Port City, threatening destruction. If Danny can’t sort through the confusion of coming out, master her powers, and stop Utopia in time, humanity faces extinction.

Favorite Books With a Poly Relationship


Libriomancer by Jim C. Hines

Features: F/F/M

Isaac Vainio is a Libriomancer, a member of the secret organization founded five centuries ago by Johannes Gutenberg. Libriomancers are gifted with the ability to magically reach into books and draw forth objects. When Isaac is attacked by vampires that leaked from the pages of books into our world, he barely manages to escape. To his horror he discovers that vampires have been attacking other magic-users as well, and Gutenberg has been kidnapped.
With the help of a motorcycle-riding dryad who packs a pair of oak cudgels, Isaac finds himself hunting the unknown dark power that has been manipulating humans and vampires alike. And his search will uncover dangerous secrets about Libriomancy, Gutenberg, and the history of magic. . . .

Mechanica by Betsy Cornwell

Features: F/F/M open relationship

Nicolette’s awful stepsisters call her “Mechanica” to demean her, but the nickname fits: she learned to be an inventor at her mother’s knee. Her mom is gone now, though, and the Steps have turned her into a servant in her own home.

But on her sixteenth birthday, Nicolette discovers a secret workshop in the cellar and begins to dare to imagine a new life for herself. Could the mysterious books and tools hidden there—and the mechanical menagerie, led by a tiny metal horse named Jules—be the key to escaping her dreary existence? With a technological exposition and royal ball on the horizon, the timing might just be perfect for Nicolette to earn her freedom at last.

Gorgeous prose and themes of social justice and family shine in this richly imagined Cinderella retelling about an indomitable inventor who finds her prince . . . but realizes she doesn’t want a fairy tale happy ending after all.


The Cloud Roads by Martha Wells

Features: M/M/F open relationship-ish

Moon has spent his life hiding what he is — a shape-shifter able to transform himself into a winged creature of flight. An orphan with only vague memories of his own kind, Moon tries to fit in among the tribes of his river valley, with mixed success. Just as Moon is once again cast out by his adopted tribe, he discovers a shape-shifter like himself… someone who seems to know exactly what he is, who promises that Moon will be welcomed into his community. What this stranger doesn’t tell Moon is that his presence will tip the balance of power… that his extraordinary lineage is crucial to the colony’s survival… and that his people face extinction at the hands of the dreaded Fell! Now Moon must overcome a lifetime of conditioning in order to save himself… and his newfound kin.

Assorted Rep


The Stepsister Scheme by Jim C. Hines

Rep: lesbian (but it takes until the final book for her to get a girlfriend)

You know how all those old fairy tales take you through lots of scary adventures till you finally reach that inevitable line: “And they lived happily ever after…” Guess what? It’s not true. Life in never-never land isn’t all sweetness and light. Cinderella – whose real name is Danielle Whiteshore (nee Danielle de Glas) – does marry Prince Armand. And (if you can ignore the pigeon incident) their wedding is a dream-come-true.

But not long after the “happily ever after,” Danielle is attacked by her stepsister Charlotte, who suddenly has all sorts of magic to call upon. And though Talia – otherwise known as Sleeping Beauty – comes to the rescue (she’s a martial arts master, and all those fairy blessings make her almost unbeatable), Charlotte gets away.

That’s when Danielle discovers a number of disturbing facts: Armand has been kidnapped and taken to the realm of the Fairies; Danielle is pregnant with his child; and the Queen has her very own Secret Service that consists of Talia and Snow (White, of course). Snow is an expert at mirror magic and heavy-duty flirting.

Can three princesses track down Armand and extract both the prince and themselves from the clutches of some of fantasyland’s most nefarious villains?

An Accident of Stars by Foz Meadows

Rep: more than I could list, but let’s give it a try… There is a F/F romance with a bisexual woman and a trans woman, a poly F/F/M romance with a aromantic woman, a M/M romance that is budding into a M/M/F romance, a trans man and, finally, the royalty in main fantasy country practice triad marriages.

When Saffron Coulter stumbles through a hole in reality, she finds herself trapped in Kena, a magical realm on the brink of civil war.

There, her fate becomes intertwined with that of three very different women: Zech, the fast-thinking acolyte of a cunning, powerful exile; Viya, the spoiled, runaway consort of the empire-building ruler, Vex Leoden; and Gwen, an Earth-born worldwalker whose greatest regret is putting Leoden on the throne. But Leoden has allies, too, chief among them the Vex’Mara Kadeja, a dangerous ex-priestess who shares his dreams of conquest.

Pursued by Leoden and aided by the Shavaktiin, a secretive order of storytellers and mystics, the rebels flee to Veksh, a neighboring matriarchy ruled by the fearsome Council of Queens. Saffron is out of her world and out of her depth, but the further she travels, the more she finds herself bound to her friends with ties of blood and magic.

Can one girl – an accidental worldwalker – really be the key to saving Kena? Or will she just die trying?


Hollow World by Michael J. Sullivan

Rep: an entire gender neutral society

The future is coming…for some, sooner than others.

Ellis Rogers is an ordinary man who is about to embark on an extraordinary journey. All his life he has played it safe and done the right thing, but when faced with a terminal illness, he’s willing to take an insane gamble. He’s built a time machine in his garage, and if it works, he’ll face a world that challenges his understanding of what it means to be human, what it takes to love, and the cost of paradise. He could find more than a cure for his illness; he might find what everyone has been searching for since time began…but only if he can survive Hollow World.


And there’s a list of … 15 awesome LGBT+ friendly books that don’t feature cis M/M. Go me! Anyway, totally can’t wait to see everyone elses lists and I plan to load up my TBR this week!

Top Five Mash-Ups (X meets Y)

Hosted at the Goodreads group: Top 5 Wednesday. I was super excited when I saw today’s topic, because I have a love/hate relationship with these sort of things, as I love seeing this sort of shorthand, but get so tired of everything being the same X meets Y. (And they have both encouraged me and discouraged me from buying books.)

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Jules Verne meets Jurassic Park

I have a powerful hunger for steampunk dinosaurs. I don’t know why. Don’t judge. (Bonus points for being a historical story.)

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House of Anubis meets Yu-Gi-Oh!

Okay, picture this: some weird boarding school (suspicious upon suspicious) where the students learn how to fight evil using cards! (No? Just me?)

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Babylon 5 meets Pacific Rim

I mean, what’s the only thing that could make Pacific Rim even more awesome? Set it in space! (‘Course I’ll probably at least try any book that notes using Pacific Rim as any influence.)

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Indiana Jones meets the Avengers

Picture a group of dedicated adventurers that fight the evils of the world. (Or, you know, like The Librarians in book form.)

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Dragon Age meets Magic: the Gathering

I don’t even know. Not really. I just love both these, and it would be so awesome to read a book with the mechanics of MtG with the attention to characters of DA. Or maybe I just want a game like that… (Inquisition isn’t, actually, my fav DA game – that honor goes to II – but you can hardly find good art for the first two games unless you want just individual character art.)

Whew. This was much, much more difficult than I thought it would be. And it still feels unfinished. (Mostly because right now I’m going through a major sci-fi binge and only one of these would be sci-fi.) Anyway, love to know what mash ups you’d want to see!

Top Five Spec Fiction Auto-Buy Authors

Hosted at the Goodreads group: Top 5 Wednesday. I was all set to say that while I like several authors, I don’t actually have any ones that are ‘auto buy’. Then I realized – yes, I do, even if I don’t call it that. Because I’ve got about a handful of authors whom I’m either making my way through the back catalogue of theirs, or that I’m impatiently waiting for the next release of. (This also wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be, because I’ve discovered some authors have books already published that I have zero interest in. (Foz Meadows: I love her high fantasy series with a passion and have little to no interest in her vampire story. Gail Carriger: I adore her steampunk ‘verse, but have no interest in her urban fantasy stories.)


Martha Wells

Books Read: 10

Without a doubt, one of my favorite authors – even if I do like her fantasy work quite a bit more than her sci-fi work. Also, she does have a couple of media tie-in novels that I probably won’t read: one for Star Wars and two for Stargate: Atlantis – one of which I read ages ago, when I was a pretty huge fan of Atlantis. And that was, strangely enough, the first book of hers I ever read.


Jim C. Hines

Books Read: 7

Another one of my favorite authors. In fact, I love his Princesses series so much, that I gave his urban fantasy series a go – even though I am very definitely not usually a fan of urban fantasy stories. (I liked the first book enough to continue the series and the second book was better!)


Rhiannon Thomas

Books Read: 3 (though that’s all she’s written so far)

While I’m not completely secure putting an author on this list that’s only written three books, I also love A Wicked Thing so much that I am quite willing to say anything she writes is an immediate purchases.


Michael J. Sullivan

Books Read: 12

Though there would have been a time, not too long ago, that I would have very willingly said this was my favorite author, I think his writing style and my reading preferences have started to diverge. Not that his writing is changing, but I’m starting to look for more in my books than I get from his fantasy stories. Not his sci-fi, because Hallow World is one of my favorite books from last year. (I’m very curious to know if he’d still be on my auto buy list next year at this time.)


Tanya Huff

Books Read: 6

Though I’ve barely made a dent in her huge back catalogue, I am having a blast with her books.  Mostly I’ve been involved with her sci-fi series, but I’m very excited to give a few more of fantasy series – and even her urban fantasy series’ – a go. Another author that I definitely consider one of my favorites.

This was really fun – and now I need to go order some books. (JK, though not really.) What spec fiction authors are your auto buys?

Top Five Favorite Fantasy Hidden Gems

Hosted at the Goodreads group: Top 5 Wednesday. I always love finding books that not a lot of people know about – sure that makes getting to really talk about them more unlikely, but that also means that I get to share them with people that’ve never heard of them before. (And, yeah, I mean, sometimes if no one’s talking about the book, it’s for good reason (ex. it sucks) but it’s still nice to find something totally unexpected.) Now, each of these books are ones that I rated at least four stars, have less than 2,000 Goodreads ratings and are ones that I don’t ever hear anyone talking about. (And, with one exception, are books that I don’t usually talk about.)


The Wizard Hunters by Martha Wells

Ile-Rien is in peril. A mysterious army known only as the Gardier has surrounded the country, attacking in ominous black airships. Hope is not lost though, for a magical sphere created by Ile-Rien’s greatest sorcerer may hold the key to defeating the faceless enemy. But the sphere is unpredictable and has already claimed several lives. When a magical spell goes disastrously awry, young Tremaine Valiarde and a brave band are transported to another world. A world of rough magics, evil mages, honorable warriors — and a secret Gardier base.

Strange Fortune by Josh Lanyon

Valentine Strange, late of his Majesty’s 21st Benhali Lancers, needs money. Happily, the wealthy Holy Orders of Harappu are desperate to retrieve the diadem of the Goddess Purya from an ancient temple deep in the mountainous jungle—an area Strange knows well from his days quelling rebellions. The pay is too good and the job seems too easy for Strange to refuse. But when Master Aleister Grimshaw, a dangerous witch from a traitorous lineage, joins the expedition, Strange begins to suspect that more is at stake than the retrieval of a mere relic.

Grimshaw knows an ancient evil surrounds the diadem— the same evil once hunted him and still haunts his mind. However, experience has taught him to keep his suspicions to himself or risk being denounced as a madman. Again.

Harried by curses, bandits and unnatural creatures, Strange and Grimshaw plunge onward. But when a demonic power wakes and the civilized world descends into revolution, their tenuous friendship is threatened as each man must face the destruction of the life he has known.

Villains by Necessity by Eve Forward

Can good triumph over Evil once too often?

The ultimate triumph of Good and Light has transformed the world into a place of sweetness and peace. This is bad news for the ‘bad guys,’ who include a depressed assassin who dresses in black, his short, feisty sidekick, a black knight, a Druid, a man-eating sorceress and an innocent centaur who is a spy for Good.

Finding utopia boring, they set out on a quest to restore balance to the world.



The Child Prince by Honor Raconteur

Sevana Warran, reigning prodigy Artifactor of the age, has absolutely no desire to selflessly serve her fellow man. She wants, in fact, to be left alone so that she can putter about in her workroom.

But her efforts in avoiding other people prove to be in vain. The reigning family of Windamere is no longer sitting upon the throne and the Council has instead taken power. The sole hope of avoiding the evil machinations of the Council is Bellomi Dragonmanovich, Prince of Windamere. As a twenty-one year old cursed into the body of a perpetual eight year old, he lacks the power and ability to stop the Council.

Sevana, after a judicious review of the situation, decides that she cannot let things continue. If she did, she’d never be left alone and would instead be buried in paperwork if the Council has anything to say about it. So she kidnaps the prince from where he was locked away in the palace and sets about breaking his curse.

Prince and Artifactor quickly realize that simply breaking the curse won’t be enough to free Windamere from the Council. It will take training, cunning, allies, information and more than just a little magic if they are to reclaim the throne.

An Accident of Stars by Foz Meadows

When Saffron Coulter stumbles through a hole in reality, she finds herself trapped in Kena, a magical realm on the brink of civil war.

There, her fate becomes intertwined with that of three very different women: Zech, the fast-thinking acolyte of a cunning, powerful exile; Viya, the spoiled, runaway consort of the empire-building ruler, Vex Leoden; and Gwen, an Earth-born worldwalker whose greatest regret is putting Leoden on the throne. But Leoden has allies, too, chief among them the Vex’Mara Kadeja, a dangerous ex-priestess who shares his dreams of conquest.

Pursued by Leoden and aided by the Shavaktiin, a secretive order of storytellers and mystics, the rebels flee to Veksh, a neighboring matriarchy ruled by the fearsome Council of Queens. Saffron is out of her world and out of her depth, but the further she travels, the more she finds herself bound to her friends with ties of blood and magic.

Can one girl – an accidental worldwalker – really be the key to saving Kena? Or will she just die trying?

(And considering that this was one of my favorite books of last year, I talk about it all the time and can’t believe it has less than 500 ratings on Goodreads.)

I don’t like portal fantasies, she says, but still has two on this list. :p So, what hidden gems have you found?

Top Five Books I’m Thankful For

Hosted at the Goodreads group: Top 5 Wednesday.


Status Update by Annabeth Albert

As someone that has wrestled with her sexuality and her religion – and how the hell the two can ever meet – the character of Noah Walters is very close to my heart. He was raised in a very traditional (re: bigoted) Christian family, in a very traditional part of the country, went to a very traditional college and now teaches at a very traditional college. He is so far in the closet he denies there is even a closet. This wasn’t always an easy book to read – especially when Noah was determined to give up on his chance at real, true happiness just because it was with a guy – but it was also cathartic and helped me in so many ways. (Besides, Adrian has a gluten allergy like me!)

Earthrise by M.C.A. Hogarth

I’m always on the look out for diversity in books that aren‘t issues books. I especially love diversity in my spec. fiction. The problem I run into often though, is that so many books are grittier that what I personally want to read – and if the book has diversity it’s automatically that much grittier. So it is always nice for me to come across those few books that feature diversity, found families and that have some gritty things, but that are over all, happy books about good triumphing in the end.

Turf Wars by Michael Dante DiMartino

This might be kind of weird, even having this book on here, but, I have to admit, I’m glad Korra’s story isn’t over and…well, I am super happy to see Korrasami! (And I gotta say, lately I’ve been desperately wanting more books that have an already established romance in them and just seeing how the people work together. Korra and Asami? They work together wonderfully!)


Hollow World by Michael J. Sullivan

While this book is about many things: personal identity/individuality, gender fluidity/neutrality, aging, religion, depression – to me, the book was ultimately about loving some one and it not mattering if they were the same as you or different. Loving someone just because they’re them and you’re you and I still want to hug this book.

An Accident of Stars by Foz Meadows

There are so many things I love about this book. The depiction of women, the depiction of POC, the depiction of an aromantic character that’s in a poly relationship, the depiction of a trans-woman, the depiction of a f/f romance, the acknowledgement that if you see a wrong being committed and do nothing, you’re condoning the behavior. I just love everything about this book and that has left me terrified of the sequel because I have this voice saying ‘what if it’s not as good?’

What books are you thankful for?