Summer reading challenges 2024


Adult summer reading programs are getting going (at least up here in the United States…) As I’ve done twice before, here’s a list of my books that fit into specific categories. If you’ve got another category, let me know! Sometimes it’s a lot easier for me to pull a list than it is for readers to figure out all the books that might fit quickly.

For example, I recently added a list of characters by age to my wiki. Easy for me to pull together, involves more math for everyone else!

You can find previous related posts at Up for a 2024 reading challenge? and Summer (any time) reading for lists from 2023. Jump down to specific kinds of bingo squares with the links here.

Author | Type of book | Colours on the cover | Title | Characters | Setting | Other

If you’re looking for a challenge, I’m drawing from items on the following lists:

Upon A Summer's Day displayed on a tablet in a sunset scene looking out across water to fields beyond, all of it glowing golden and sparkling with magic. The cover of Upon A Summer's Day shows a man in a suit silhouetted over a map of northern Wales in a muted green. He is gesturing, holding his cane in one hand, a cap on his head. Behind him is an astrological chart, with Jupiter and Saturn highlighted in the sign of Taurus.


Happy Pride! LGBTQIA+ Books


It’s June again, and that means it’s Pride Month. As you likely know if you’re reading this, most of my books are M/F romances. But more than a few of them have queer or LGBTQIA+ content and characters!

Several include demisexuality (most of my books are also slow burn). A couple have main characters who are asexual and/or aromantic. There’s an F/F romance, a M/M one, and a couple with a MMF polyamorous relationship. And of course the “Enemies to it’s complicated” Best Foot Forward.

I’ve avoided big plot spoilers below. But of course there are some in talking both about people’s identities and orientations, and about which books that’s relevant in. Some additional characters can easily be read as fitting in the following categories. If they do for you, please read them that way!

I’ve a few more ideas coming! This post covers all of that. Plus it ends with a couple of recs of where to find other great queer romances.

Want a handy list of my books that are particularly LGBTQIA+?

Or here’s Geoffrey, commenting on the state of his relationships and the people he loves, not always in easy to label ways.

“As I keep saying, if I am lucky, he will to the end of our days. See, I am already experienced in complicated relationships that no one understands. We’ve muddled along, far better than fine, for going on twenty years now.”

Geoffrey Carillon, Best Foot Forward, chapter 41

Up for a 2024 reading challenge?


It’s late December, which means it’s also the time when various sites post their reading challenges. If you’re doing one in 2024, here’s a guide to which of my books might fit particular categories. (If you’re doing a challenge not listed here, and other people can join in, send me a link and I’ll add it!) You might also want to check out my post about summer reading challenges from the summer of 2023.

The two challenges I’m pulling from for this post are the Book Riot’s Read Harder 2024 challenge and the 2024 PopSugar Reading Challenge. They have some overlapping categories, so I’m going to note which challenge applies, and the books I’ve written that might apply.

Copy of Best Foot Forward standing upright with leather bound books stacked behind it. The cover has a deep red background with map markings in a dull purple. Two men in silhouette stand, looking up at a point in the top left. An astrology chart with different symbols picked out takes up the left side of the image, with glowing stars curving up to the title.

What can you expect from this book?


One of the reasons I’m excited about my website (and authorial wiki) updates is that they’re making it easier to share more about what you can expect from a given book. Time for me to talk about your options here, depending on what information you’re interested in, and whether you want to avoid certain kinds of spoilers.

Copy of Best Foot Forward lying on a wrinkled silk cloth, with a violin lying across it. The cover has a deep red background with map markings in a dull purple. Two men in silhouette stand, looking up at a point in the top left. An astrology chart with different symbols picked out takes up the left side of the image, with glowing stars curving up to the title.

Before we get into that, though, a general word about what you will and won’t find in my books.


Summer (any time) reading fun


It’s time for summer reading challenges where I am. Whatever time of year it is for you, I thought it might be fun to do a round up of some reading challenges. Some of these come from libraries, and some come from other groups. I’m still waiting on my local library’s challenge (out on June 17th), but I’m thinking about how I’d like to nudge my reading a little bit. 

Bound for Perdition displayed on a phone, standing on and surrounded by stacks of leatherbound books. The cover of Bound for Perdition has a man and woman silhouetted in dark brown on a green and brown background, with the woman holding a book while the man gestures. An open blank book and pen are inset in the top right corner.

(To be honest, a lot of it has been research reading, one way or another, and I would like to mix it up, and also just read more.) 

Here are some different challenges to check out. You can also check your local library systems (a lot of libraries put something together for adults, as well as for kids and teens.) If there’s nothing up yet, check back later in June, my local public library isn’t launching theirs until the 17th.


A few great books


It’s the end of the calendar year, and that feels like a great time to recommend a few books I enjoyed this year, in the hopes that you might like some of them too.

As a librarian, I always feel sort of weird about recommending books without a conversation about what someone’s looking for. What I like might be quite different than what you like, for all sorts of great reasons. On the other hand, sharing things I enjoyed is fun.

So please take this in the spirit of ‘you might find these interesting’ and if you don’t, that’s fine! Read what makes you happy.

A note: The Amazon links are affiliate links (if you buy through them, I’ll get a small referral fee). I’ve also linked to GoodReads, for those who prefer other sources.

K.J. Charles

I am such a fan. These are books about people being good to each other (if sometimes in rather unexpected ways), and thoroughly rooted in the times and places they take place.

(Check out her website for much more, also interesting blog posts, and some free stories.)

New reads this year included:

(I also reread An Unseen Attraction, An Unnatural Vice, and An Unsuitable Heir, as well as Think of England and Band Sinister. They’re very much comfort rereads for me.)

My favourites are probably the Think of England/Proper English duology, but it’s a hard choice.


Hither Page by Cat Sebastian
(Amazon, Goodreads)

I was hooked on this one as soon as I saw the comment of it being an Agatha Christie mystery with a m/m romance. It’s utterly delightful, both parties are dealing with their past history, the eddies of village life are delightfully detailed. Good fun.

Once Ghosted, Twice Shy by Alyssa Cole
(Amazon, Goodreads)

I love the Reluctant Royal series for great characters, intriguing situations, and the fact that people do (eventually) deal with things like adults with a thought about the long-term. This f/f novella is a second-chance romance with a secondary character from the first book.

Mrs. Martin’s Incomparable Adventure by Courtney Milan
(Amazon, Goodreads)

A f/f novella in the Worth Saga – I have not caught up on those, and this was a fun read even without that background. Courtney Milan has a great knack for character, for making complex plots flow well, and for anchoring the story so you can roll around and enjoy it.

The Burning Cove series by Amanda Quick and Jayne Krentz

Three books are out now, with a fourth to come in 2020 (Quick and Krentz are the same person, she uses her pen names to differentiate series.)

Loosely tied into some of the Arcane Society books, these can be read independently, and also independently of each other (characters from other books in the series will turn up, but there’s plenty of explanation of them in context.)

I love these books for the tight focus on place, and a grand sense of the time (a resort town in 1930s California, to be specific). There’s a bit of everything here – murder, mystery, espionage, a touch of magic (stage and otherwise), and of course romance (m/f in this case) with competent stubborn heroines.


The Underwater Ballroom Society
edited by Stephanie Burgis and Tiffany Trent
(Amazon, Goodreads)

An anthology where all the stories feature an underwater ballroom of some kind. I picked it up because I’ve been enjoying the magic and society of some of the other Stephanie Burgis books, but I enjoyed every story in this collection in some way. Some are more romance, some more fantasy, or science-fiction, but it’s a great theme.

Grave Importance by Vivian Shaw
(Amazon, Goodreads)

Third, and apparently last in a series about Greta Helsing, doctor to monsters. I’ve really loved the worldbuilding in this series, from the various patients Greta sees, to the implications of society for the undead and very long-lived. This book starts with Greta taking over temporarily as head of a very posh spa for mummies in the south of France.

There are romances in the series (more than one of them!) but while there are happy endings, the books make more sense to me if I read them with my fantasy-reader hat on rather than my romance-reader hat.

Laughter at the Academy by Seanan McGuire
(Amazon, Goodreads)

A collection of Seanan’s short stories, some of which I’d read in other sources, and some of which new to me. One of the things I love about her work is the range – and there’s a little bit of everything here, from fantasy to horror (mostly the medical side) to her deep love for folklore and ghosts.

The Satapar Moonstone by Sujata Massey
(Amazon, Goodreads)

I’ve been trying to broaden my reading of other people writing about the 1920s, and I love the Perveen Mistry books (currently two are out, this is the second). These are mysteries, with occasionally romantic elements.

The main character is a lawyer who read law in England, and returned to India. At the start of the series, Perveen is Bombay’s only female lawyer, and extremely well positioned to assist with cases that involve women, especially those who (for various religious and social reasons) do not interact with unknown men.

A fascinating immersion in the time period and places, and a host of interesting characters.

(Content note: the first book includes domestic violence and abuse in the context of Perveen’s marriage.)

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo
(Amazon, Goodreads)

A book I love for the depth of magical theory worldbuilding inherent in the system. (As it were.)

Alex Stern is the survivor of a multiple homicide. Recruited to come to Yale due to her particular gifts, she is thrown into a life she has to figure out – and fast. Apprenticed to learn the skills needed to keep Yale’s other secret societies magically in line, the book is told in a series of current and flashback stories, as she tries to get her footing.

Content note: This is a very dark book, and lots of awful things happen – murder, abuse, manipulation, degradation, humiliation, and rather a lot of revenge. However, it’s also a book about what we do with power, what we do when other people have power and we don’t (or don’t have power they’re paying attention to, anyway…) If you’d like a more specific breakdown, a number of the Goodreads reviews have details on the content warnings.

Best wishes for 2020

I hope you have lots of time for great reading in 2020, whatever it is you choose to read (and I’ll have more books coming out then too!)

Recs and notes


Elsa Sjunneson-Henry (who is deafblind) just won a Hugo Award (one of the major awards in Science Fiction and Fantasy) for her work on the issue Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction.

She started a Twitter thread of recs and comments about works by and about people with disabilities – there’s some great stuff there from a wide range of genres and perspectives. (And a lot more I want to go read that I haven’t yet.)

I don’t usually identify myself bluntly as disabled but I have half a dozen chronic health issues. They add up to somewhere between mildly and moderately disabling depending on what’s flaring at the moment, but my life is mostly set up that a lot of it isn’t that noticeable. Embodiment is weird.

But I missed the Twitter thread originally because it was a migraine day. (Thanks, weather…)

If you’ve read my books, you’ve probably noticed that they have a bunch of main characters with disabilities and chronic health issues that affect their lives. For the books that are out now, that includes:

  • Rufus and Carillon who both deal with with what we’d now call PTSD (trauma from the Great War) that come out in different ways. (They had different experiences and are different people, so that makes sense.)
  • Laura, who has survived tuberculosis (but spent the better part of a decade in and out of sanitariums and other treatment).
  • Giles, who was blinded in a (magical) gas attack in the war.
  • Magician’s Hoard doesn’t have a character with an explicit disability, but a main character has a highly stigmatised magical ability.

And in books you haven’t gotten to read yet, we have Laura’s point of view (and romance), a secondary character with a major facial injury, a secondary character who is deaf and who signs, and an autistic hero. (Coming in the not too distant future!)

How those stories come out on the page is (of necessity) mediated by the fact I’m writing about the 1920s. Our language and understanding of some of these things was different (and those communities and the tools people used were also different). But I truly want to write books that reflect the lives that I and my friends live – which are full of all kinds of people.

New and exciting!

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