Excellent and highly recommended:
Guardians of the Poor by Jackson Marsh***** Excellent thriller set in Victorian era. There is an mm element but no sex in the story. The writing is good and drags the reader into the world of the workhouse and then the ‘academy’ provided by Viscount Clearwater. I will definitely read others in the Larkspur Mysteries series but might not get the ‘prequel’ Clearwater series because all the backstory detail in this book makes me think the thriller element, which was the main attraction, might be lost.
Deven and the Dragon by Eliot Grayson**** Delightful mashup of various fairy tales and legends. Beauty and the Beast meets George and the Dragon in this mm romance.
Powder and Pavlova by Jay Hogan*** Romance set in NZ but could have been anywhere. Pleasant and well written, just not really memorable.
Ghost of Lies by Alice Winters*** Hiro can talk to ghosts and helps Maddox, a detective. Then, of course, romance ensues. Quite nice, though I didn’t enjoy the present tense narration. I might read the sequel.
Embrace the Beast by Mia West*** Readable mm shifter story set in Alaska. I thought things were going to get exciting when there was a high spring tide that washed a house away, but then the story just trundled on. The idea of an otter shifter sleeping in the water is cute. This is Grizzly Rim 3 but I didn’t feel a need to have read the previous novels, or, for that matter, to follow the series.
The Order (Box Set) by Kasia Bacon*** – sort of new in that I read a free short story in her ‘Order Universe’ and was sufficiently intrigued to borrow the box set on KU. I read the first two: The Mutt and The Highlander. At that point I decided they weren’t for me and returned them. The world building and character development are excellent, the writing is good, and the concept (mm romance between army officers in a fantasy setting) is good too. However, for my personal tastes the stories were top heavy with expicit sex and military training. Recommended for those of you who might like that kind of tale. I was sorry I didn’t continue because I know the author is paid per page read in KU, but I was bored.
Dragon Ever After by Louisa Masters** From the blurb and hype I was expecting something to rival TJ Nichols’ multi-species world but this was mainly just enthusiastic sex scenes interspersed with schoolyard-type banter which really didn’t appeal, especially from beings that were hundreds of years old.
Abandoned – not for me!
In Allegiance by Kate Islay A top commander in a mediaeval fantasy empire is given a captive prince as a slave… I quite enjoy the power dynamics issues explored in slave fics but here I was put off by the way the empire was simply expanding for the sake of it and knew I would dislike all its commanders etc.
Steal the Wind by Jocelynn Drake The main character was prince in a modern empire where he seemed more concerned about his mother the queen controlling him than about her land grabbing tendencies. I couldn’t engage with him or his friends and gave up.
Purple Stain by Nat Lewis Impenetrable. Lots and lots of figures of speech interspersed with teen slang. I think it was going to be an mm romance set in Wales but I gave up before we got that far. Possibly just shows my age, because I know some readers are raving about it.
This Way Out by Tufayel Ahmed The story of Amar, a Bengali Muslim, and his boyfriend Joshua, who is white and non-Muslim, ought to be engrossing. Amar comes out to his family, announcing his marriage plans at the same time. The result is a lot of discussion with both Joshua and the family, in very pedestrian dialogue, with a focus on racism in British society and cultural attitudes on the part of Bengali immigrants. The book has had a lot of hype and the author is a highly regarded journalist. Frankly, I think he should stick to the day job. I got very bored quite quickly. The writing is, as you would expect, competent and grammatical. I assume the hype is due to the author’s status in the media world. I got the book as an Amazon ‘first read’ so it was free and I felt able to abandon it with no qualms.
Nothing exciting – this is just to show I haven’t abandoned the genre! Both authors are new to me. I won’t be exploring their other work.
this wheel’s on fire by SidleyParkHermit ** https://archiveofourown.org/works/35911156
Wheel of Time. Not abandoned but only because it was very short. A perfect example of why, for the fic to make any kind of sense, you’d have to have read all the books and seen season 1 of the show. Well written and basically impenetrable. I have read and seen the books and show and couldn’t imagine where the writer thought they were going. If you have also immersed yourself in The Wheel of Time and you fancy reading a Mat Cauthon/Thom Merrilin pairing, it’s only a couple of thousand words.
Arguably Insane by Jaylee ** https://archiveofourown.org/works/496984
Trek – Spock/Kirk told from the pov of an outsider (a crew member) which I dislike because it distances the main characters too much for me. If you don’t dislike that format, then it’s just over 6k words and strictly for readers who are familiar with Trek.