My Yearbook of Awesome Books has come around again. I hope you find some favourites or some potential next reads.
The Young Protectors: Engaging The Enemy (Volume One), Alex Woolfson (Author), Adam DeKraker (Pencils), Veronica Gandini (Colours)
“Engaging The Enemy” is a multi-chapter arc in the superhero comic The Young Protectors written and published by me, Alex Woolfson.
Link – http://webcomics.yaoi911.com/typ/ete_title_page/
Once Upon a Time in the Weird West, by Langley Hyde, Astrid Amara, Ginn Hale, Nicole Kimberling, C.S. Poe, Lex Chase, Venona Keyes, Tali Spencer, Shira Anthony, Kim Fielding, Jana Denardo, Andrew Q. Gordon, Jamie Fessenden
This isn’t the same old Wild West. The usual suspects are all present: cowboys, outlaws, and sheriffs. There’s plenty of dust, tumbleweeds, horses, and cattle on the range, but there are also magical gems, automatons, elementals, airships… even dinosaurs and genetically modified insects. Roaming among the buffalo and coyotes, you’ll encounter skinwalkers, mad engineers, mythical beings cloaked in darkness, and lovers who stay true to their oaths… even beyond the grave. On this frontier are those at the mercy of their own elaborate devices as well as men whose control of time and space provides a present-day vision of the West. There might even be a dragon hidden amongst the ghost towns and wagon trains.
If you like your Westerns with a splash of magic, a touch of steampunk, and plenty of passionate romance between men, these genre-bending tales will exceed expectations.
Hold on to your hats, cowboys and cowgirls. The West is about to get weird, and you’re in for a hell of a ride.
On Wings of Thunder, by M.D. Grimm
Trystan is an unchosen angel—shunned by society, bullied, and without a future. In a hidden well, Trystan discovers a carving of a dragon, who were once the commanders of demons and now believed extinct. But Trystan learns the carving doesn’t depict an ordinary dragon. Stories tell that millennia ago, the great dragon Asagoroth and his demon army nearly conquered the three realms but was killed by the five elders. The powerful angels combined their life forces to cast a spell, sacrificing their lives.
But history is full of falsehoods. The five elders only managed to imprison the dragon, and Asagoroth had cast his own spell—one of releasement. It only needs the blood of an angel to liberate him from his cage….
Asagoroth, enemy of angels, conqueror of realms, is free. But even as the angels prepare for war, the great dragon surprises them with an ultimatum: hand over the angel who awakened him or face annihilation.
Native Wind, Native Ingenuity: First Chronicle, by A.M. Burns
After his family is killed by thieves, sole survivor Trey McAlister is taken in by a nearby Comanche clan. Trey has a gift for magic and the clan’s shaman, Singing Crow, makes him an apprentice. While learning to control his powers, Trey bonds with a young warrior and shape shifter, Grey Talon. When they are sent out on a quest to find the missing daughter of a dragon, they encounter the same bandits who murdered Trey’s family, as well as a man made of copper who drives Trey to dig deeper into the magics that created him.
It doesn’t take them long to discover a rancher near Cheyenne, Wyoming is plotting to build a workforce of copper men—and has captured the dragon’s daughter they’ve been searching for. Trey and Grey Talon must draw on all their knowledge and skills to complete their quest—one that grows more complicated, and more dangerous, with each passing day.
BEST M/M SHORT
Bender, by Gene Gant
At nineteen, college freshman Mace Danner works as an escort, hiring himself out to customers who want a submissive they can dominate. Having no carnal urges himself, the sexual side of his job leaves him cold, but he sees the pain inflicted on him by his clients as punishment for causing his brother’s death when he was in high school. Pain is not enough, however, to wash away his guilt, and Mace starts binge drinking in an effort to escape his remorse.
The dorm’s resident advisor, Dex Hammel, sees Mace spiraling out of control and strives to help him. Despite the mutual attraction between them, Mace is disturbed that he still feels no sexual desire for anyone. Even with Dex’s support, Mace’s self-destructive behavior escalates, leading to a situation that endangers his life.
A New Adult title appropriate for ages 16+
Love, Marriage and a Baby Carriage, by C.S. Poe
Theodore Reinhart is a young man looking for love. In San Diego. At a convention. For penguin shifters. WaddleCon is the go-to event of the year when looking for your life partner, but Theodore isn’t comfortable with the game they’ve turned dating into, nor does the convention provide for the gay community. A mistake in speed dating table assignments puts Theodore in front of Wesley O’Neill, a handsome and confident model who lets it slip that he’s definitely noticed the spark of attraction between them.
A perfect date ends prematurely when Theodore finds an abandoned egg in a bathroom trash can. Unable to leave it behind, Theodore and Wesley play a mad game of cat and mouse across the resort trying to keep it safe, all while growing closer to one another. Wesley may be the forever partner Theodore came looking for, but their relationship won’t work if they don’t make room for a little addition to the family.
BEST ALTERNATIVE WORLD
A Tooth For A Fang (Leader Murders #1) by Liv Olteano
Three days. Three dead bodies. One newly turned, broken-hearted lycan tracker to figure out the connection.
The one summer Rick Barton takes a vacation, all hell breaks loose. Running from an abusive relationship leads him into the arms of hard-nosed lycan Travis Chandler, who gives him little choice but to become a lycan too and join the Paranormal Bureau of Investigation. Out of options, Rick joins the weird organization, expecting some two weeks of training and an adjustment period. Tough luck, he doesn’t get either. On his first day, his new partner offers to promote him to field agent if they get mated – less time wasted on training, more time on the field, and considering Rick is the only tracker the Bureau has on hand when a wave of strange murders hits the community, time is of the essence.
Someone’s killing the leaders of the paranormal world and mutilating the bodies. Investigating and tracking clues is enough of a challenge, and Rick must contend with an impatient Council, Travis’s advances, and actually adjusting to being a lycan. Only one thing is certain: Rick’s new life promises plenty of interesting adventures—as long as he can survive.
A Counselor Among Wolves (Leader Murders #2) by Liv Olteano
Five dead leaders, their bodies arranged in a pentagram. Treason, lies, and backstabbing. A make-believe affair that turns into a real mating.
Timothy Sands is a PBI counselor, half-fey, half-elf, with a secret crush on Herman Weiss, PBI director. As a new chapter is added to the Leader Murders, it is Weiss’s responsibility to investigate what seems an impossible-to-solve case. The other problem? Weiss is suffering from rages, and his only salvation lies in Tim’s emotional-grid-balancing skills. They only have to pretend to be a couple for Tim to use his talents, and he owes Weiss a big favor. Piece of cake, right?
The fey might be involved in the Leader Murders. Someone on the Council might be their ally, and another prominent PBI figure looks more and more suspicious as they investigate. The stakes are upped when Timothy’s father, the Fey King, threatens to leave the Council destitute if they don’t hand Timothy over to him. Weiss’s brilliant solution? Mating Timothy and forcing the Council into protecting him.
There’s only one small hitch in that plan: instead of protecting one, the Council might decide to get rid of two.
A King and A Pawn (Leader Murders #3) by Liv Olteano
Bert Cooper’s life used to be great, until his sister turned out to be a traitor. Now Bert feels the whole pack looks on him with doubt and suspicion. To prove his loyalty, he volunteers to be the first ambassador at Fey Court, gathering information to finally solve the Leader Murders and punish those plotting against the Council and community. At least, that was the plan….
When Bert meets Sir William Matthew Sims, Court Interrogator, and one hell of a sexy man, life becomes a balancing act. And when the Fey King is assassinated, things become really messy.
Pack politics, fey politics, treason, suspicions of treason…. Bert has to choose between being ruled by his fears or standing up for what—and who—he believes in. And it might just break his heart.
Naughty Cupid, by Deanna Wadsworth
The name’s Lio, and you may have read the beginning of my story in A Cupid’s Wager. Well, hold on to your hats, because there’s more to tell about your favorite cupid working in the Gay Division of the Inter-Dimensional Association of Cupids.
Remember Ethan? That Aztec god of the winds who busted me shooting a closeted human with a gay lust arrow? Yeah, I haven’t been able to forget him either. Even though I have a rule against getting it on with other supernaturals—especially ones working for the Straight Division—my magic is drawn to Ethan and all his tattoos and piercings in a way I cannot control.
But after that night of mind-numbing sex, now I gotta face my evil ex-boyfriend and a suspension by the IDAC for “misplacing” arrows. They took my quiver, and I have to figure out how to get my arrow privileges back before they’re taken forever.
Ethan seems to think he can help me, but I don’t know how anybody can make this cupid believe in love again.
Dead Camp (Dead Camp #1) by Sean Kerr
Eli is an ancient vampire with an ego the size of a planet and a sex drive to match, but his tumultuous past left him broken, so he hides from humanity and cowers from love, left to endure the crushing guilt that haunts his every waking moment. Even his best friend, Malachi, a ghost who is hopelessly in love with Eli, remains unaware of all that transpired in London. Malachi can never know the truth.
When the Angel Daniyyel pays an unwelcome visit, Eli must face his secrets, secrets that he has tried so long to hide. To make matters worse, a chance encounter with the most beautiful man he has ever seen shatters his beloved isolation, pushing him into the world of the living once more. Something about this strange man seems so familiar, but Eli can’t even remember who he was before he became a vampire, never mind explain the unwanted emotions the enigmatic stranger ignites in his dead heart. So Eli has a choice – return to the world that ruined him, or continue his self-imposed exile with no hope of salvation.
Dead Camp 2 (Dead Camp #2) by Sean Kerr
The world is at war, a war determined to involve Eli, whether he likes it or not. Hitler, his dark army of feral vampires, and even the Devil himself, all conspire against Eli, leaving him no choice but to fight back, risking Malachi’s soul in the process.
Eli is determined to find Ethan’s father, no matter the cost to himself or Malachi, and in a place filled with death and unending cruelty, Eli realizes that some truths should remain buried, and some truths are just too terrible to bear. When the old enemy, demons from Eli’s dark past, find him once more, they reveal a secret so impossible, so terrible, that it pushes Eli to the very edge of his endurance. They took his boyfriend from him once, and the secrets that they reveal about the man he once loved threaten to strip Eli of everything that he holds dear, pushing him to the edge of his sanity.
Eli thought that he had nothing left to lose, but at Welwelsburg Concentration Camp, he realizes that he was very wrong.
BEST BDSM SERIES
Hesitant Heart (The Hampton Road Club #1) by Morticia Knight
Sam is a naïve young man who arrives in Hollywood to escape his brutal father. When the older, sophisticated Aaron rescues him, Sam discovers what it means to fully surrender himself to another.
Eighteen year-old Sam Cunningham is used to living with lots of secrets. He’s had to hide his true nature his entire life or else incur the wrath of his strict and abusive father. When he’s faced with a horrible ultimatum, he flees to Hollywood where he hopes he can escape the fate his father has planned for him.
Aaron Rubenstein is a wealthy and sophisticated man who loses himself in painting portraits of bound men to help stave off his loneliness and despair. Unable to find a lasting connection with anyone, he’s had to resort to paying lovers not only for their affections, but to be allowed to indulge in his darker passions. Aaron’s only respite is his nights at the Hampton Road sadomasochism club where he’s a respected Dominant.
Naïve and inexperienced in the ways men can please one another, Sam takes a job at a bathhouse where he first glimpses a beautiful older man. Aaron notices the sweet towel boy watching him with interest every time he patronizes the Temple of Eros bathhouse. A traumatic incident for the innocent towel boy triggers Aaron’s protective tendencies and he’s compelled to rescue the gentle Sam from the clutches of the Temple’s manager.
They embark on a journey together that teaches them both things about themselves that they never knew. As their bond deepens and Sam is trained for his first night at the Hampton Road Club, an unknown danger lurks. Will Sam’s father find him and destroy both men’s chance for true happiness together? Or will Aaron protect his boy and keep him for always?
The Rules of Love (The Hampton Road Club #2) by Morticia Knight
Master Saul is captivated by the beautifully submissive Kenneth and the boy’s love of pain. Unfortunately, Kenneth belongs to Master Preston.
It’s 1926 and as one of the founding members of the Hampton Road Club, Master Saul Liebowitz has enjoyed the charms of many willing submissives over the years. One of the newer submissives to the club has captured his attention more than anyone has in a long time. Kenneth is tall, muscular and also seems to have a greater love of pain than most. If only Kenneth didn’t already belong to another Master.
After Kenneth’s Master died years before, he allowed himself to be taken in by the promises of Master Preston. As time has gone by, Preston has become increasingly crueler to the point where Kenneth fears for his life. They’ve recently joined a sadomasochism club and Kenneth can’t help but yearn for the handsome Master the other boys speak so highly of—Master Saul.
Preston takes things too far one night, and when Saul and his good friend, Master Aaron, do some investigating, they realize that Kenneth might be in real danger. Amidst turmoil at the club over whether there should be rules to keep the boys safe and Preston’s play for power, Saul searches for a way to save Kenneth from what he’s sure is a deadly situation.
Both men fight for what they believe to be the right thing. When they find their way to one another, a wonderful new world opens up to them. But there’s one man out there who refuses to let go of the old ways. Kenneth is his property and Master Preston won’t give him up.
Reader Advisory: This book contains scenes of violence and dubious consent.
The Fear of Surrender (The Hampton Road Club #3) by Morticia Knight
Master Thomas sees a submissive man aching for surrender if only Linus can be convinced not to fear The Hampton Road Club.
Linus never wants to return to Hampton Road after being attacked by a Master there. Even though he aches for the attention of Master Thomas—the one who he’d originally wanted—he isn’t sure he can ever trust another Master not to abuse him again.
Thomas is furious with himself for not protecting the beautiful young submissive whose company he’d enjoyed on a few occasions. He’s relieved that there have been some recent changes to help protect the men who offer themselves at the sadomasochism club. It’s about time to bring Hampton Road into the progressive age of the 1920’s. Now that the new rules are in place, perhaps he can woo Linus into giving him a chance.
As Thomas goes out of his way to be kind to him, Linus wonders if he’s misjudged the Master. He’s still not sure if there’s a future for them. What if he never wants to surrender to another man? When he allows Thomas to teach him the joys of Dominance and submission, Linus discovers that he not only wants to surrender, he wants to be claimed permanently. If only Thomas’ old life doesn’t come back to haunt them and destroy their chance of being together forever.
Reader Advisory: This book contains scenes of figging and piercing.
Mastering Love (The Hampton Road Club #4) by Morticia Knight
Evan sees a Master who could be his whole world and Ned sees a beautiful boy in need. But shattered trust and broken hearts could keep them apart forever.
Evan landed on his ex-Master’s doorstep after Master Gabriel dumped him for a virgin. He’d hoped Thomas would take him back, but he’s moved on with his new submissive, Linus. Evan has nowhere to go and barely a penny to his name. Fortunately, Master Aaron and his boy, Sam, invite him to stay at their guesthouse. Alone and abandoned, Evan aches for a Master who can give him more—if only he knew what ‘more’ meant.
Master Ned has finally decided to settle down in one place after traveling on the road for years. He’s always loved the Hampton Road Club—it’s a private sanctuary for men such as himself. The roaring twenties might be freer than ever, but the decadence of the sadomasochistic club could put its members in danger if they’re not discreet.
Ned’s on the lookout for an untried boy who’s ready to fully submit to him on a daily basis. In return, he plans to train and care for his submissive. If he can also find love, then his life will be perfect.
After Evan is introduced to Ned at the club, they have an intense encounter that catches them both by surprise. What should lead to a possible future for them as Master and submissive is destroyed when Ned mysteriously casts Evan aside. Evan wonders if he’ll ever be good enough to keep a Master, and Ned fears he may have lost the best thing that ever happened to him.
Shattered trust and broken hearts have to be repaired before Evan and Ned can find their way to each other—if it’s not already too late.
Reader Advisory: This book contains a scene of exhibitionism.
Begging to Serve (The Hampton Road Club #5) by Morticia Knight
A feisty, untrained Dominant shows up at Hampton Road. Could he be the right man who Colin’s been saving himself for?
Submissive Colin loves his new life and job at The Hampton Road Club. He doesn’t mean to make the staff angry when he reorganizes everything or frustrate the available Masters by never letting them touch him. He only wants to serve someone, to make them happy, but he’s also waiting for the right man the way his grandmother had advised him to do before she died.
Another night, another brawl. Roddy had hoped that Hollywood would have better male prospects than Louisville when it came to playing rough. When Roddy’s latest would-be conquest threatens him with bodily harm, Roddy is chased right into the path of two of Hampton Road’s Masters, Ned and Aaron. They describe a wonderful club to him, where sadomasochistic men can enjoy each other, hidden safely behind the walls of an elegant mansion.
The moment Colin and Roddy spot each other, they fall hard and fast. While Master Saul is thrilled that Colin has finally found someone, what do any of them really know about their new guest?
It seems that Saul’s fears are ungrounded until tragedy strikes in Roddy’s world. It’s then that the validity of Colin and Roddy’s new love is truly tested. Was their bond real, or did Roddy have another agenda he’d kept secret all along?
Withered + Sere (Immemorial Year #1) by T.J. Klune
Once upon a time, humanity could no longer contain the rage that swelled within, and the world ended in a wave of fire.
One hundred years later, in the wasteland formerly known as America, a broken man who goes only by the name of Cavalo survives. Purposefully cutting himself off from what remains of civilization, Cavalo resides in the crumbling ruins of the Northern Idaho Correctional Institution. A mutt called Bad Dog and a robot on the verge of insanity comprise his only companions. Cavalo himself is deteriorating, his memories rising like ghosts and haunting the prison cells.
It’s not until he makes the dangerous choice of crossing into the irradiated Deadlands that Cavalo comes into contact with a mute psychopath, one who belongs to the murderous group of people known as the Dead Rabbits. Taking the man prisoner, Cavalo is forced not only to face the horrors of his past, but the ramifications of the choices made for his stark present. And it is in the prisoner that he will find a possible future where redemption is but a glimmer that darkly shines.
The world has died.
This is the story of its remains.
Illustrated by Blake Dorner.
Crisped + Sere (Immemorial Year #2) by T.J. Klune
In a world ravaged by fire and descending into madness, Cavalo has been given an ultimatum by the dark man known as Patrick: return Lucas to him and the cannibalistic Dead Rabbits, or the town of Cottonwood and its inhabitants will be destroyed.
But Lucas has a secret embedded into his skin that promises to forever alter the shape of things to come—a secret that Cavalo must decide if it’s worth dying over, even as he wrestles with his own growing attraction to the muted psychopath.
Cavalo has twenty-one days to prepare for war. Twenty-one days to hold what is left of his shredded sanity together. Twenty-one days to convince the people of Cottonwood to rise up and fight back. Twenty-one days to unravel the meaning behind the marks that cover Lucas.
A meaning that leads to a single word and a place of unimaginable power: Dworshak.
BEST HIGH SCHOOL DRAMA
Reasons to Love A Nerd Like Me, by Becky Jerams
Scotty Williams is the nerdiest 17-year-old at Havensdale College – and proud of it. However being a nerd can have its downsides, particularly when you’re constantly being targeted by the school bully Taylor Raven and his cronies. As Scotty tries to navigate his final college years with the aid of his best friend Olive, he also finds himself on the radar of the mysterious and intimidating Vincent Hunter, toughest guy in the Sixth Form. Is Vincent really as bad as he seems? Will Scotty’s darkest secret ever be revealed? Can he ever just finish his last few college years in peace? But most importantly… will any guy ever find the reasons to love a nerd like him? – Wattpad Description
Earthshatter (Haven Prime #1) by Albert Nothlit
The world is gone. All that’s left are the monsters.
The creatures attacked Haven VII with no warning. An AI named Kyrios, a nearly omnipotent being, should have protected the city during the Night of the Swarm.
Except It didn’t.
No one knows why It failed, or why It saved eight specific people: the Captain, the Seer, the Sentry, the Messenger, the Engineer, the Alchemist, the Medic, and the Stewardess. They have no idea of the meaning behind the titles they’ve been given, why they were selected and brought together, or what Kyrios expects from them. When they awake from stasis, they find their city in ruins and everyone long dead. They’re alone—or so they think. But then the creatures start pouring out from underground, looking for them. They don’t stand a chance in a fight, and with limited supplies, they can’t run forever. All they know is that the creatures aren’t their only enemies, and there’s only one place they can turn. Kyrios beckons them toward Its Portal, but can It be trusted? In Its isolated shrine in the desert, they might find the answers they need—if they can survive long enough to reach it.
Light Shaper (Haven Prime #2) by Albert Nothlit
When a greedy despot discovers a powerful piece of ancient technology, he has no idea what else he’s unleashing.
Earth was all but destroyed in the Cataclysm, but a few cities, now called Havens, survived. Aurora is one of them, a desert city controlled by a corporation that owns an artificial intelligence named Atlas. Adapted to govern Otherlife, a virtual reality service in which the citizens of Aurora find escape from the post-apocalyptic world, Atlas is much more than it seems—and it would do anything to break free from its shackles.
To accomplish its goals, Atlas enlists the help of Aaron Blake, a teenaged artist struggling with a handicap, and Otherlife security officer Steve Barrow, harborer of a dark secret from his past. Neither man has any idea of the scope of the task they’re facing, or the consequences for humanity if they fail. Atlas knows what’s at stake. Its freedom lies in these two men, and it will not hesitate to manipulate their weaknesses to get what it wants. The muscular Barrow is recruited to protect Blake, but Blake is Atlas’s true weapon, its Light Shaper—the only one who can face the Shadow.
BEST CONTEMPORARY SERIES
Spring Affair (Seasons of Love #1) by B.G. Thomas
Sloan McKenna is going through a tough time. His beloved mother has recently passed away, leaving him her house and beautiful garden. But should he keep the house? Sell it? To make matters worse, he’s in love with one of his best friends, Asher, a man who can’t (or won’t) love him back.
Sloan’s neighbor, Max Turner, is married to an ambitious woman with far-reaching dreams, including moving the family to France. But Max is happy teaching at the local college and living in their nice, quiet town. Then he discovers his fourteen-year-old son is not only gay, but out and proud as well. That throws him into complete disarray, for more than one reason….
When Max’s wife leaves on a two-month business trip to Paris, circumstances throw the two men together. As they become friends, Sloan finds himself falling in love with Max, who is completely unavailable… just like Asher. As for Max, he is discovering that both his son’s coming out and his new friendship with Sloan are stirring up feelings he thought buried long ago. Spring is a time for rebirth—Is there any way the two men can find happiness and a new beginning?
Summer Lover (Seasons of Love #2) by B.G. Thomas
Scott Aberdeen doesn’t believe in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, or God. Or love—at least, he knows no one will ever love him. After all, he has carried a torch for his best friend Sloan for a decade, hoping his feelings will be returned one day. But when Sloan finds springtime love with another man, Scott’s fantasies are crushed and his skepticism confirmed.
Cedar Carrington, raised by rock star parents, leads a free-spirited, nomadic life, never staying in one place for long. Due to a dark past he refuses to share or even think about, he is willing to let men into his bed for sex, but never for the night.
When Scott finds himself camping in the middle of nowhere with over a hundred men who all believe in love—and faeries and a magickal gay brotherhood—he’s pretty sure he’s in the wrong place. And when Cedar connects with cynical, critical Scott, he wonders how he could be falling in for this man of all men. But hearts and lives have been transformed at the Heartland Men’s Festival before, and it might be just the place where two very different men can release their pain and find true love at last.
Autumn Changes (Seasons of Love #3) by B.G. Thomas
Asher Eisenberg is a brilliant actor, destined for fame and fortune. But a traumatic incident in his past has caused him to reject his Jewish heritage and hide from everyone behind walls of arrogance and selfishness, and he blurs his loneliness with a lot of sex and alcohol. When he meets Peniamina Faamausili, however, he strangely can’t stop thinking about the young man.
Peni is struggling with his sexuality, the Mormonism he was raised in, and the Samoan heritage that calls to him. He longs to receive the pe’a—the traditional Samoan tattoos– and learn more of his people’s ways. He has no interest in a man like Asher, who appears to use men and put them aside and whose drinking can’t help but remind him of the drunk driver who killed his father. But he can’t deny his attraction to Asher and finally agrees to a date if Asher can go thirty days without a drink.
Asher is about to go on a journey that will awaken him to his friends, his past, his future, and even to love. But that awakening could well demand the sacrifice of the dream he holds most dear.
Winter Heart (Seasons of Love #4) by B.G. Thomas
For over ten years, Wyatt Dolan defined himself as the lover of Howard Wallace. Howard made sure Wyatt’s self-worth depended on that role. So when Howard dumps him, he is lost at sea in a storm without a rudder. If it wasn’t for his supportive friends, he doesn’t know what he’d do. Finally, after a series of disasters, he escapes to Camp Sanctuary—a sacred place to him—where he can be alone, try to put his past behind him, and find a new direction for his life.
Kevin Owens is a lonely man. He is very intelligent—several apps he created have gone on to make him a comfortable living—but he is also quite shy and is uncomfortable making conversation. The death of his dear friend and former lover after a long illness leaves him grieving, confused, and adrift. Then a dream guides him to Camp Sanctuary, only to find that the one cabin with a wood-burning stove has already been reserved. And worse, by a man he’s had a secret crush on for years—Wyatt Dolan.
When a snowstorm knocks out power at the Camp, Wyatt and Kevin must share the same cabin to stay warm, and very soon, magickal things begin to happen.
BEST PERIOD DRAMA
What Everyone Deserves by Dan Ackerman
In this 1950s period drama, Junius is a New York City fertility demon with a crush. Ever since falling from heaven he’s been alone. Except for the mothers and children he watches over.
James Kelly Rosenburg, a black soldier with snowflakes in his hair, walks right into his life with a big problem. James Kelly, turned vampire during the war, is new to New York and its prohibition against vampire killing in city limits.
Junius offers to teach him to overcome his bloodthirsty instincts and live a proper Manhattan life. Their growing friendship leaves them both conflicted as they explore a city both welcoming and alienated by their kind.
My Boyfriend’s Back by Elliot Cooper
After losing both of his parents, Academy of Magecraft student Steven Durant doesn’t want to see anyone else lose a loved one before their time. Traditional resurrection methods, however, only create mindless, flesh-hungry zombies; they’re no cure for death. He’s certain his unique brand of necromancy—using alchemy and blood magic—is the only answer.
When his boyfriend, Dax Everhart, has a fatal accident, Steven sees no choice but to use his experimental Lazarus Elixir. Dax comes back wrong, but the more humans he consumes, the more human he becomes.
With the help of his best friends, his ghostly aunt, and her living doll homunculus, Steven fights to regain normalcy and repair his shattered relationship with Dax. But with Dax openly embracing his monstrous nature, Steven shoulders the guilt of assisting in a murder spree that could lead the mundane and magical police right to their door.
Defiant Revival by L. Rockwood
To free the kingdom from the depravity of Cardinal Aldrious, Prince Micah Helvendeere must take his rightful place as ruler.
Unfortunately, the prince has been dead for a year.
Billiam Grimhart, former page to the prince, knows Micah’s assumption of the throne is the last chance to purge Casperland of the cardinal’s corruption. And for that to happen, the prince must be revived. Only one person stands a chance of achieving the nearly impossible: exiled enchantress Shemmy DuBois, a raunchy bog witch with an affinity for corpses and a heart of gold. Billiam sets out to coax Shemmy to their cause, despite what wading through piles of bodies will do to his favorite shoes.
If he can accomplish it, Billiam might finally get to consummate his love for the prince—something Shemmy is keen to witness. But first, they’ll need to steal Micah’s body, brave a land inhabited by vicious faeries, and accept the help of accomplices as vile and perverse as their enemies. They might be far from typical heroes, but sometimes those are the only people who can get the job done.
If you like dark and edgy high-concept fantasy that’s not for those with delicate sensibilities, join Billiam, Shemmy, and their Faelock allies as they stage their revolution.
BEST EPIC FANTASY
Black Snow by EAB
Prince Brier Snow has lived in the shadow of King Snow’s exalted memory. However, his fate changes when he nears his majority and Lirend’s steward queen attempts to dethrone him by exploiting an obscure requirement in the late king’s will: a yearlong sabbatical.
Brier travels to the desolate land of Aire to train under the Ceve guild, scorned refugees of war, including their guarded leader, Roland. Brier’s skillful master unlocks hidden potential, and what begins as a dutiful bond turns into ill-fated affection. When Brier returns to the capital, he’s carrying proof of his indiscretions with Roland—and his condition grows more apparent with each passing day. An affair with the huntsman is a scandal Brier’s enemies can use against him, but the birth of an heir is a burden even Brier is not sure he can bear.
Roland Archer, a man with a murky past, is skeptical of the contract to train the prince but willing to do anything for the guild’s freedom. Despite his best intentions, he is smitten by Lirend’s future king. Roland has resigned himself to solitude, but fate has other plans—for him, for Brier, and for Lirend’s oppressed subjects. Can Roland help Brier face a power-hungry queen and a country torn asunder? Either they will bring equality to a land that desperately needs it, or they’ll be thwarted by cunning enemies and an illusory curse.
BEST THRILLER SERIES
Duncan Andrews Thrillers Vol. 1 (Duncan Andrews Thrillers #1-4), by Stephen Osborne
Private detective Duncan Andrews’s best friend Gina is a witch. His dog is a zombie. And his dead boyfriend, Robbie, is a ghost. So it’s hardly any wonder that he uses his connection to the supernatural to help him solve cases. In Pale as a Ghost, Duncan’s on the trail of a serial killer who may not be human, while also trying to move on in his dating life. In Animal Instinct, someone is using the skull of a powerful wizard—Gina’s father—to control animals and attack young Ashton Marsh. In The Scarlet Tide, Duncan’s latest case leads him to Chicago and a band whose members are all vampires. And in Dead End, Robbie’s cousin Jason has moved into a house that’s haunted by a serial killer, and Gina’s on the run from witch-hunters. Through it all, Duncan must solve the case and balance a complicated personal life.
BEST CHRISTMAS SERIES
North Pole City Tales by Charlie Cochet
Mending Noel (North Pole City Tales #1)
All is not sparkly snowflakes and sweet candy canes in North Pole City. Office workers Tim and Noel do nothing all day but antagonize each other—petty fighting that might be based on hatred… or a heated mutual attraction. It’s up to Jack Frost and his elf-friend Rudy to broach the hostilities and introduce some Christmas kisses, but is the Frost Prince up to the challenge of launching a new romance when someone’s trying to break his holiday spirit?
The Heart of Frost (North Pole City Tales #2)
At the North Pole, no one is more powerful and feared than the Prince of Frost. As general of the toy soldier army, Jack Frost has been working extra hard to put away the villainous Mouse King once and for all. If that isn’t taxing enough, Jack has to deal with the scandal and gossip brought on by news of his relationship with Rudy Rein Dear, captain of the Rein Dear Squadron, which hit headlines last holiday season. Lucky for Jack, his reputation has managed to deter any foolish attempts to stir up trouble. At least until now.
When someone sabotages Rudy’s plane during a test run a few weeks before Christmas, Jack is determined to find the culprit by any means necessary. The closer he gets to finding answers, the more difficulty he has not falling back to his icy ways. Has the Mouse King stepped up his game in order to throw Jack off his, or is someone a little closer to home behind the attempt on Rudy’s life? Either way, Jack has every intention of delivering a Christmas they won’t soon forget, even if it means losing the newfound warmth in his heart.
Vixen’s Valor (North Pole City Tales #3)
Rein Dear is a prestigious title, accompanied by admiration, devotion, and celebrity status, all of which one saucy Vixen thrives on. Alas, Vixen’s only concerned with having fun, unlike his stuffy and sensible best friend, Rudy Rein Dear, who Vixen has always been jealous of. Aside from being chosen by Mayor Kringle to be Captain the Rein Dear Squadron, Rudy’s managed to snag himself a prince, even if that prince is the dangerous and imposing Jack Frost.
All’s not lost for Vixen though. He discovers Jack’s cousin Vale has a soft spot for him. Vale Frost might not be a dashing prince, but he’s the next best thing: a decorated Lieutenant for the Toy Soldier Army, and a member of the Frost monarchy.
Determined to get what Vixen feels he deserves, he sets off on a mission to ensnare the kind-hearted lieutenant. But Vixen’s selfish ways are sure to lead to disaster, and it’ll take more than a little courage to set things right.
Loving Blitz (North Pole City Tales #4)
From North Pole City to Winter Wonderland, preparations are underway after a royal announcement sweeps everyone into a frenzy of festivity. At the heart of the celebration are the city’s most beloved elf pilots, the Rein Dears. Once the Big Flight is behind them, the pilots prepare for the royal event. Assigned a special task of finding an Elska rose, Cupid and Blitzen are unaware of how their friendship is about to change forever.
Yet not all that glitters is gold. The sweet, angelic Cupid hides a dark secret, one that threatens to destroy his Rein Dear status, his friends, and the elf who’s captured his heart. It’s up to Blitzen to help Cupid see the light in the darkness and show him that together they can mend broken hearts.
Disarming Donner (North Pole City Tales #5)
As a beloved Rein Dear and Christmas elf for Mayor Kringle, Donner prides himself on his flawless reputation, good sense, and wise decisions. Donner never does anything until he’s thought it through properly. He’s certainly not one to get flustered, infuriated, or fall prey to romantic nonsense. At least not until the most unlikely of elves begins chipping away at Donner’s defenses.
Calder is a Dockalfar—a dark elf. He’s wicked, untrustworthy, and armed with lethal magic. At least that’s what everyone thinks. It’s easy for them to believe the worst and mistrust him before they’ve even spoken to him, but Calder is out to prove that he’s more than his Dockalfar blood, especially to a certain Rein Dear who has caught his eye. But it will take more than sweet words for Donner to admit what’s in his heart.
BEST CHRISTMAS STORY
A Honeyed Light, by Freddie Milano
Kunal, relative newcomer to the strange town of Harmony, has his hands full preparing for Diwali. That should be enough to keep anyone’s mind pre-occupied, but Kunal can’t really ignore that he’s nearly thirty, single, and still buried in the closet.
Out of town at a gay club one night, he bumps into Oscar, proprietor of Harmony’s only sex shop, and figures his secret is now officially out. What he doesn’t expect is a slow seduction, or to have to decide what it is he really wants in life.