One of the things I promised myself at the end of 2017 was that I would make time to read. Unless there was a deadline looming, I was going to make time to read. Denying myself that as a writer is a mistake (for me) and just makes me miserable.
In 2018, I succeeded in reading many things. Some romance, some not, largely queer - and for the most part, I'd say I enjoyed the reads. There are far too many to list, but I'd like to do a quick rundown of some (emphasis on some) of my favorite reads from this year:
The Bones of Our Fathers by Elin Gregory
M/M contemporary, small village, bit of a mystery
I love small town stories. Throw in archaeology, a local museum and the preservation of local history, and I'm all in. This is an absolutely charming story with wonderful characters.
Lancaster's Luck by Anna Butler
M/M Alternate Universe (Victorian)
This is a two book series currently consisting of The Gilded Scarab and The Jackal's House - adventure, mystery, magic and tech entwined. The world building is excellent and the narrative voice superb. Anna can post an unnamed snippet and the reader will know instantly when it's Rafe Lancaster. Brilliant fun.
The Long Past and Other Stories by Ginn Hale
M/M and F/F Alternative Universe
I've said it before, I'll say it again. I would read a grocery list written by Ginn Hale, I love her work that much. This is a collection of three stories that take place in a shared universe and timeline - and there are dinosaurs in the Old West. I mean...how does it get better than that? Three exciting stories with engaging characters - I adored these. (I could also add the Cadeleonian books here - but I did read most of that series in 2017, so that doesn't seem fair.)
The Parasol Protectorate (series) by Gail Carriger
M/F Steampunk Paranormal (though there are both M/M and F/F stories as well)
So much fun with an interesting, quirky MC who is that wonderful female protagonist whom the author has granted AGENCY. So much yes for that alone. But there are also werewolves and vampires in high society, an entire paranormal community living right out in the open, and stories that don't take themselves too seriously.
Tyack and Frayne (series) by Harper Fox
M/M Paranormal Mystery
I'd never read Harper Fox before this year - though she's an oft-recommended to me author. Sometimes that makes me wary, but in this case the recommenders were so right. Gorgeous writing, beautifully portrayed settings and characters who are allowed to grow and reveal as the books progress. Again, small town settings and Cornwall becomes a character unto itself with it's history and it's legends under your feet at all times.
The Farseer Books by Robin Hobb
High Fantasy, main non-binary character
Characters who live on with you, superb (superb) world-building, complex plots and motives, all the emotions, so much all of them. Prepare to have your heart shredded if you go into this, but it's a gorgeous, amazing ride.
Ardulum (series) by J.S. Fields
Space opera, F/F, non-binary characters
I believe I started these in 2017, but finished in 2018, so they count. The Ardulum universe contains humanoid and decidedly non-humanoid aliens, only two humans appear throughout the books (and are not the MC's) and non-binary identities are the norm. I love the sheer variety and imaginative nature of all the aliens, and while there are characters/species who make better choices than others, no one's evil here. Everyone thinks they're doing the right thing.
Also, sentient fungi. :)
Ammonite by Nicola Griffith
Science Fiction, F/F
No idea why I put off reading Nicola Griffith for so long. This book is superb in its world-building and storytelling. The author takes two well-trodden tropes - the scientist/anthropologist going native and the planet without men - and creates something astounding both from a societal point of view and a narrative one. Too often, single gender societies want to show that women would either be not whole without men or more compassionate and kind without them. This book emphasizes that women are not a monolith - that left to create societies of their own, those societies would contain all the possible human traits and perhaps some new ones.
Aisling Trilogy by Carole Cummings
High Fantasy, M/M
I've loved every world of Carole's that I've read. They feel real, solid - tangible. Her characters are complex, often difficult characters, ones who often come with as much internal conflict as external and their journeys of self-discovery are breathtaking. Aisling is no exception. Lost people coming into their own is a favorite of mine, especially when those people doubt themselves right up to (and often beyond) the ending.
Mask of Shadows/ Ruin of Stars by Linsey Miller
High Fantasy, Non-binary main character
This is the story of a thief turned assassin whose sole ambition is to avenge their murdered family. If you think you can't read a sympathetic story about an assassin, you would be wrong. Sal is a marvelous character - so brave and reckless, so unsure, and so very flawed - and again, the world-building is superb.
So many others I enjoyed this year, but these are at the top of the list and represent the kind of variety I'd like to keep reading with a mix of romance and non-romance genre fiction.
Angel writes (mostly) Science Fiction and Fantasy centered around queer heroes. Currently living part time in the hectic sprawl of northern Delaware and full time inside her head, she has one husband, one son, two cats, a love of all things beautiful and a terrible addiction to the consumption of both knowledge and chocolate.