My Top 10 in LGBT Fiction ~ Sunday Spotlight by Mel

Mel SS

My Top in 10 LGBT Fiction:

To understand my list, you should probably know a little about my reading journey. I’m going to be be bluntly honest here, so don’t laugh, ok?
A few years ago, after the, um, Twilight hype, I used to read only one kind of a book: paranormal m/f romance. Make that erotic romance because once I stumbled upon Kresley Cole, there was no going back from sex in my books. I liked it fun, fluffy and hot. And no, I don’t think there is anything wrong with that.
My preferences for easygoing books didn’t change when I started reading m/m, only that I now only read contemporary romance. I mean, sex was usually a given, and fluffy and romantic wasn’t hard to find, either.
Everything that didn’t fit my pattern I (subconsciously) stayed away from.

Today, on this Sunday Spotlight, I’ll introduce to you the books that broadened my horizon and changed me into the reader (and person) I am today.

In my chronological reading order, I think…

Tales from Foster High (series) by John Goode: This series came highly recommended and although it was YA (no sex, can you imagine?) and supposedly heavy, I caved and read it. This series was a reality check I think I really needed because it made me stop running away and confront reality—from time to time! I still love sci-fi and stuff 😉 I don’t need sex in my books anymore, though.

Glitterland by Alexis Hall: There was a time when people wouldn’t shut up about this book. They also said it was heavy and whatnot, and I still was a chickenshit, so… Then I read a really great comment on something, and that comment really impressed me and spoke to me, and I had to find out who that person was right away. Guess! Alexis… Turns out, nothing can bring me faster to read an author’s book than admiring their thoughts and attitude. Glitterland is my favourite romance ever, by my favourite author ever. It’s lovely and charming and so real. Alexis, with all his books, connects me to the world.

Prosperity by Alexis Hall: Yeah, see… I was so blown away by Glitterland, and then his short story Sand and Ruin and Gold, and then his blog (sorry, fangirl mode) that I basically had to read everything Alexis wrote. Lucky me, this was around the time Prosperity came out. This is THE favourite book, you know? I could read this for the rest of my life and not miss a thing. A fantastic steampunk world, a captivating plot, the most stunning characters, and the most beautiful language. There’s nothing better.

Mechanical Universe (series) by EE Ottoman: During the same time, I was introduced to EE (I’m embarrassed to admit that I have to thank Alexis for this as well) and I really loved what they had to say around the internet, so I read their book. See a pattern? The Mechanical Universe series was the first I read by them, and by now I’ve become one of their faithful fans. What I love about EE and their books the most is that they slays all stereotypes and conventions and that they ambitiously fights for diversity. They even helped me love my body more.

Iron & Velvet (Kate Kane, book #1) by Alexis Hall: Again, I know… But he’s not for no reason my favourite author, you know? Reading m/m showed me why I was so fed up with m/f romance (the stereotypes for both men and women, the dominant male, the hysterical and insecure female), but only after reading my first f/f did I realise that my problem was not having women in my books (because this book here is freaking awesome fun, sex and romance all in one) but the often unfortunate dynamic that comes with m/f romance. After Kate Kane I was all, ‘Lesbian fiction, here I come!’ (Full disclosure: I have by now found awesome f/m books as well.)

Unbroken by Larry Benjamin: I had read too many of the same old, same old contemporary romance books. I had read all the tropes one time too often and was basically staying away from contemporary romance—with exception to the ones by my favourite authors. Larry Benjamin introduced me to gay fiction and I’ve been reading this ever since. I mean, it’s still very heavy on the romance, but the story arc is different and there are other important themes as well.

Think of England by KJ Charles: I used to think that I didn’t like historicals. They used to bore me to death. This book, however, blew my mind, and I have to thank KJ Charles for giving me not only this wonderful book but a whole new genre that I now love and still explore.

Scarlet and the White Wolf (series) by Kirby Crow: This was like coming home, because, for the first time, a book that I read combined my two favourite genres: romance and fantasy, and both came together as equals. This book was the beginning of a new love and many other great books. (Shout out to Ginn Hale here as well.)

The Scientific Method (series) by Kris Ripper: I never knew I needed to read this kind of love story so much. In Kris’s books every kind of love, relationship, and sex is accepted and cherished. Be it monogamous or open or poly, be it vanilla or kink, be it total power exchange or not, there is no right or wrong.

In the Middle of Somewhere by Roan Parrish: While I was now reading gay fiction, contemporary romance was still something I used to avoid, but then I gave in and read Roan’s book after I had immensely enjoyed two of her short stories. This book was such a fresh breeze and perfect for me that I’ll take more chances on contemporary romance again in the future.

So, that’s me today… Reading more or less everything (again). Books of nearly all genres, books of every form of love and gender you can find.
I’m so grateful for the authors who gave me these books and changed my life.

If you’d like, please share and tell me about the books and authors that had some impact on you. I’d love to hear from you.

PBA_Sunday_Spotlight

Farewell Giveaway
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.

Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,

Brandilyn
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10 thoughts on “My Top 10 in LGBT Fiction ~ Sunday Spotlight by Mel

  1. My first m/m reading experience was Widdershins by Jordan L. Hawk. I love the buddy detective format. The Sherlock Holmes stories are my favorite. But I shied away from this one because it was m/m, since I wasn’t sure I would like this genre. In all the stories I read before, the leads are not romantically involved. But I finally read it and I was blown away. It was so good. This book opened up an entirely new genre to me. I have now read a lot of m/m books and though I don’t read them simply because they are m/m (they still have to have a good plot), I don’t shy away from them either. Jordan L. Hawk is still a huge fave. Her books are all on my must read list, but now I have been introduced to many more new (at least to me) authors that I also enjoy reading.

    • Hey Crystal 🙂 Whyborne and Griffin are really special, I know. When I first read them, I couldn’t put the book down and didn’t even want to review it because it was so good and I wanted to start the next right away…
      There are so many great authors in the LGBT community and I’m still exploring and always happy to find someone or something new. Wish you more great books to read and encourage you to try new things 🙂

  2. I honestly can’t do a top 10. I’ve been reading MM/gay fiction since coming out in 1994, and with now 5000+ titles (includes short stories) it is impossible. I can’t even do a 10 must-have authors. Consequently I have an ever-growing wishlist & TBR list.
    I recently began Judge a Book by its Gay Cover to share my passion for MM fiction, particularly older titles which can so easily be forgotten.

    • I thought a top ten was too difficult as well, so I added the other condition of ‘changed me in a way’ and that made it a lot easier 😉

      But I have not read thousands of titles like you, so I guess I could manage if I had to…

      What are some of your must-have authors then?

      I keep my tbr list neat and there are kinda only 150 books on it. That’s about as much as I read in a year, too. I’m a little bit picky and it’s also hard to keep track of all the books. I don’t want to feel overwhelmed.

      What are some older titles that you would recommend? I’d be interested to add some of those to my list!

      • Thanks for that. One of the reasons I started by fb page Judge a Book by its Gay Cover was to promo titles from the collection, particularly the older ones. Without a doubt Patricia Nell Warren’s The Front Runner, and its two follow ons have to be up there. Aussie Christos Tsiolkas’ Loaded (filmed as Head On). I follow the crime/mystery sub-genre so Jack Dickson’s Jas Anderson series, Neil Plakcy’s Kimo mysteries & Anthony Bidulka’s Russell Quant. Which accidently leaves out Dorien Grey, Michael Craft and a host of others which I have in print and have re-read.
        In Literary fiction, Alan Hollinghurst’s the Swimming Pool Library and Frank Morehouse, The Everlasting Secret Family. Ronald Donaghe’s series Wil Barnett.
        Historical Erastes’ Standish, Vincent Virga’s Gaywyck, Lee Rowan’s Age of Sail, Chris Hunt’s The Bisley Boy.
        In fantasy Lynn Flewelling’s Nightrunner series, but I have enjoyed a smattering of Mercede’s Lackey. And I’ve missed the YA/Teen: The Geography Club was brilliant, as was the two from Mark Kendrick, Alex Sanchez & Robin Riordan.
        Now I’m stopping because I realise I have missed faves like Charlie Cochrane, Rj Scott, Josh Lanyon, Josh Aterovis, Isabelle Rowan, Jack Byrne, NR Walker (Red Dirt Heart), Ariel Tachna – help I now want to re-read several of them.

        • Sorry, it took me so long… Kinda missed your comment.

          Thank you so much <3 I'll look through your recs and see what I can add 🙂

  3. This is a great post. :~) I read a lot and *sometimes* what I read really affects me. Alexis Hall *really* affects me. Glitterland resonated with me in earth shattering ways, and what blew my mind the most was that Alexis was able to articulate things that I thought were just ME but that I couldn’t even really see clearly, much less articulate. I could go on and on about Alexis, but I know you get it :~) His writing makes me very verklempt.
    I am currently reading Kris Ripper’s Scientific Method Universe. It is really messing with my brain for reasons that I don’t totally understand – but I love that it is.
    I’ve read KJ Charles (Society of Gentlemen series, although I also own TOE and can’t wait to read it) and, oh, she writes so beautifully…
    I also have Roan Parish’s Middle of Somewhere books and need to read them – I’ve heard so many great things.
    Some other queer romance authors that I have read recently and whose books I really loved (for various reasons, some deeper than others, haha) are Vanessa North, Jay Northcote, Heidi Cullinan and Santino Hassell.
    Anyway, great top 10 – I don’t think I could do it!

    • Thank you 🙂 I had a great time writing it!

      Haha… Yes, I know exactly what you mean about Alexis’s writing.

      BDSM is nothing I search out usually, so I didn’t expect to love Kris’s series. It was just that it was free and I had seen some of zir videos and ze’s in Hassell & Hall. Reading this series was really eye-opening, however. And I’m very excited that Kris has so many more books out.

      I do actually not get along with KJ Charles’s other books, which is weirding me out because I loved TOE so much. But I see that she really writes well and many, many people love her, so it is clearly me that doesn’t click with her. Hope you’ll enjoy TOE!

      I’ve read Vanessa’s short story in the anthology HOW WE BEGAN and it was really great. I might have to look at her other books, now that I’m more open to contemporary romance again 😉

      Santino’s books I LOVE. I just finished the ARC for his upcoming third book in his Five Boroughs series, FIRST AND FIRST, and it was another 5 star read. Such a great book. I love his style, although he kinda writes the opposite of how Alexis writes 😉

  4. Loved your article like you I started out fantasy and paranormal although I did read erotica from being 19 due to Anne Rice and her Sleeping Beauty stories and had dipped my toe in gay fiction from time to time but like you I got sick of the same storylines being repeated as rote with each M/F storyline.
    Reading M/M and F/F opened my eyes and cleared it. I love the way they look at each other there’s only half of the drama as the straight books and sometimes more passion in the non sex books than some of the erotic.
    I’m eagerly awaiting Alexis writing the next Katie Kane I love how she handles situations
    You’ve basically wrote my feelings on changing my reading habits

    • Thanks so much, Lindsay!

      I read fantasy as a teen but always was disappointed in the lack of romance somehow. I didn’t really search for the fantasy-romance combination because I think I would have found something good earlier, but when I read it last year, I was so, so happy!

      I hear that there might be at some point in the future Kate Kane #3 but there’s no date and nothing yet :-/ It’s complicated… He really wants to write it (maybe even has already?) but publishing and things is not always so straight-forward… But he has at least two new books out later this year 😀

      I’m very excited about what books and genres I will discover next…

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