Top Off Your TBR: March 2024

[fa icon="calendar"] Mar 5, 2024 11:18:57 AM / by Suzanne

Top Off Your TBR March 2024March is here with many new books!

A couple of changes to these posts for the next several months. I'm serving on an American Library Association committee this year and reading widely across eight genres rather than spending all my time in romance-land. This means I won't have as much time for the blog/these mega-posts and I won't be reading as many early copies. This is a welcome change for me but I wanted to let everyone know because the contents of these TBR posts will change a bit. They'll be shorter and more focused on my personal interests and not the broader landscape.

On to the books.

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Books I've Read Early:

Disclosure: I received copies of these books from the publisher for review.

a-feather-so-blackA Feather So Black (Fair Folk, #1), by Lyra Selene (March 5) - I had a great time reading this romantic fantasy series-starter on audio courtesy of Hachette Audio. Steeped in Irish mythology, A Feather So Black features a changeling heroine raised by a human queen and sent to free the princess she replaced almost two decades earlier. Similar to Malice and Wicked, this is an adult coming-of-age story and the heroine gradually deprograms herself. As she learns that she deserves better than the conditional love for which she's expected to be grateful, she falls in love and harnesses her magic. There's also a bit of a love triangle with a morally gray (or is he) male love interest and a childhood best friend/former lover/prince. Reviews in my friend group seem to be mixed, but I really loved this book and look forward to the next. The audio narrator, Heather O'Sullivan, speaks with a lovely Irish lilt and helped me with the pronunciation of many new-to-me fae creatures. I did recoil at one point when a giant worm-monster was stabbed in the eyeball with a magic sword, though. You've been warned.


emperor-and-the-endless-palaceThe Emperor and the Endless Palace, by Justinian Huang (March 12)- **This review contains light spoilers.** I learned after reading that this is meant to be the first in a trilogy and I'm of two minds about that. On the one hand, the ending is rather unresolved. On the other hand, I don't want the central couple to be together, so I was hoping that would be the end of it. This is a complicated fantasy novel with a reincarnated couple (and antagonist) at the core and a toxic set of relationships that carry through the centuries. One timeline is in ancient China, 4 BCE, another is 1740 and the last is present day. It's the gayest book I've read in a while, which is saying something. The modern POV is often very funny and is full of the kind of hedonistic partying that characterizes youthful gay joy and the thrill of coming into one's own. The historical POVs are tortured but often beautiful. I had a great time reading this until around the half-way point, when the amount of toxicity, manipulation and sexual assault/non-con really started to stack up. There are many scenes and relationships (central and secondary) in which one character is either forced or implicitly forced to engage in sex acts. For example, a eunuch initiating sex on command and the MC going along with it because the dowager empress holds power over him. In another time, the antagonist has been drugging one MC into docility out of a twisted sort of love/possession. The language used, especially to describe sex acts, changes depending on the timeline and is often pretty cringey. There were moments when I wondered if the author was mocking romance novels, but I don't think that's the case. All that said, the audio narration was excellent. Harper Audio hired three great narrators to handle the different timelines and it works really well. I initially tried to read this as an ebook but switched to audio when Harper and made it available for reviewers.
The Emperor and the Endless Palace is different from the publisher's description and I would not call it a romance. It's an erotic gay multi-timeline fantasy novel with twisty relationships and lots of political scheming. And fox spirits. If that sounds like your thing, give it a go!


The Longlist:

All titles in red are links to Amazon.

the-marble-queenMarch 5 - The Marble Queen, by Anna Kopp (Graphic Novel)

March 5 - The Prisoner's Throne, by Holly Black

March 5 - The Reluctant Heartthrob, by Jackie Lau

March 12 - A Feather So Black, by Lyra Selene

March 12 - Happily Never After, by Lynn Painter

March 26 - The Emperor and the Endless Palace, by Justinian Huang

March 26 - An Accident Waiting to Dragon, by Abigail Owen

March 26 - The Witch Queen of Halloween (Immortals After Dark #20), by Kresley Cole

the-boyfriend-subscriptionMarch 26 - The Boyfriend Subscription, by Steven Salvatore

March 26 - The Perfect Guy Doesn't Exist, by Sophie Gonzales

March 26 - Manila Takes Manhattan, by Carla de Guzman

March 26 - Maya's Laws of Love, by Alina Khawaja

March 26 - The Other Side of Disappearing, by Kate Clayborn


Happy reading!


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Topics: new releases