aleksandr ii

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HISTORY MEME I : 2/5 Assassinations - Emperor Aleksandr II (March 13, 1881)

“I was deafened by the new explosion, burned, wounded and thrown to the ground.  Suddenly, amid the smoke and snowy fog, I heard His Majesty’s weak voice cry, ‘Help!'  Gathering what strength I had, I jumped up and rushed to the emperor.  His Majesty was half-lying, half-sitting, leaning on his right arm.  Thinking he was merely wounded heavily, I tried to lift him but the czar’s legs were shattered, and the blood poured out of them.  Twenty people, with wounds of varying degree, lay on the sidewalk and on the street.  Some managed to stand, others to crawl, still others tried to get out from beneath the bodies that had fallen on them.  Through the snow, debris, and blood you could see fragments of clothing, epaulets, sabres, and bloody chunks of human flesh.” - Dvorzhitsky

👬📚 Favorite M/M Historical and/or Fantasy Romance Reads of 2016

Not necessarily published in 2016, but instead, read by me in 2016. 

CAPTIVE PRINCE

series: Captive Prince, Prince’s Gambit, Kings Rising
by C.S. Pacat

I could rave about C.S. Pacat’s prose for days and days on end. Her writing is just truly so breathtaking and compelling and her world building is so very immersive. I was hooked from the first chapter on. This never happened to me before. C.S. Pacat got me back into reading original fiction again (as opposed to reading fanfiction), but almost a year later I still haven’t found anything comparable to the CAPTIVE PRINCE series. My book hangover from this series is still going on, and if I could read new stories about Laurent of Vere forever, I would. It is my hope the YA Pacat is now writing will give me a character to obsess over the amount I obsess(ed) over Laurent. I’m not that fond of YA in general, so if she will achieve this, she’ll have my adoration forever. (JK, she already has that.)


THE SOLDIER’S SCOUNDREL

stand-alone within a series
by Cat Sebastian

I just simply adored this read. Cat Sebastian’s writing is so good, and so well-flowing, I just always wanted to read on. The characters were both likeable and their actions and reactions understandable, which is always a thing I appreciate. The class differences between them didn’t end up being as big of an issue as I expected them to be but that didn’t take away from the story at all, or rather added to it. What I found interesting in this was that both MCs were totally enough to keep me entertained, and the rest of the cast, while interesting characters, were not really needed to push the story forward.


THE LION AND THE CROW

stand-alone / free read
by Eli Easton

I still can’t believe I got to read this one for free. It’s just so, so good. I am a sucker for historical romance that isn’t set within the Victorian era. This one is set in the Middle Ages, in England. It follows a knight seeking to free his sister from her abusive husband, and a Lord’s son who joins his journey out of more than one reason. I would’ve loved to read more stories like this one by the author, but unfortunately there were no more Historicals to be found in her catalogue. I will forgive her for it, but only because she left these characters off in such a great place. A true HEA in times where homosexuality could have gotten you killed, that is something not everyone is able to write. Eli Easton did it though.


THE HIGH KING’S GOLDEN TONGUE

stand-alone within a series
by Megan Derr

I was so grateful for Derr’s world-building here. I had been looking for another universe to be pulled in by, and I got my wish fulfilled by THKGT. I rooted for the pairing to get their shit together, which is definitely a thing I need in my romance. If I can’t root for them, why do I read a romance novel in the first place, right? I also loved the side characters who were joining the main characters’ journey in this, and as someone who likes a well-employed “misunderstandings through miscommunication” trope establishing conflict between love interests, (and dislikes when it’s handled irrationally, when you’re just screaming at the characters to friggin’ talk already because this is ridiculous!!), as well as as a sucker of arranged marriage between reluctant parties, as someone who wants to root for a good-hearted character to be recognized like they deserve to be, this turned out to be a great read. 

Months later I finally was in the mood to read the sequel THE PIRATE OF FATHOMS DEEP which pulled me right back in to this ‘verse and added a couple of characters to the line up that I really really enjoyed. I like Megan Derr’s writing in this series, and I think a flavor of angstiness in her characters always adds to my overall enjoyment of her words. (A thing I definitely missed in some of her “fluffier” works.) I’m definitely looking forward to more parts in this series!


THE GOD EATERS

stand-alone / free read
by Jesse Hajicek

This story was a free read online and I probably wouldn’t have given this a read wasn’t it reviewed with such adoring on Goodreads, so I said “eff it” and read this on my tablet in the browser. I did not regret it. The characters and the world building was enthralling, and the journey had ups and downs (so many downs) and you always had something to worry about while wanting the main characters to have a break to finally make sweet, sweet love. But circumstances weren’t always very profitable for that. (Like, never, in fact.) I don’t know what more to say. This was an enjoyable read all over. It was a love story and a journey with (many, many) obstacles to overcome all in one.


FAMILY OF LIES: SEBASTIAN

stand-alone
by Sam Argent

I read this a while ago, but I do remember I enjoyed this a lot. I think it was the first book I read after putting down Pacat’s KINGS RISING, and I was looking for a character that I could root for. With Sebastian, Sam Argent managed that. While I had an inkling what the mystery surrounding him was all the way through reading, this did not make me be bored by the story. I remember thinking this was less of a romance and more of a family tale, and I did like this fact about FAMILY OF LIES. I enjoyed the family going-ons more than the main pairing.


SPELLBOUND 

stand-alone
by Marcus Atley

Usually I’m more a fan of epic fantasy, but this urban fantasy/paranormal romance was a good read for me as well. The main characters were the cliché misunderstood, bulky grump, and the take-no-shit “twink” being underestimated and ignored, having to prove himself. Overall it was a bit trope-y, and I wouldn’t expect too much from it, but sometimes you need a read that is simple and still enjoyable, and that was that. 


M/M reads from other genres that I enjoyed: 

OFF BASE by Annabeth Albert (Contemporary Military Romance) 
DARK SOUL I & II by Aleksandr Voinov (Dark Mafia Romance)
TIMEKEEPER by Tara Sim (Steampunk YA Romance)
THE RAVEN CYCLE by Maggie Stiefvater (series, Paranormal YA)
BORROWING TROUBLE by Kade Boehme (Contemporary Romance)
SUPERIOR by Jessica Lack (short story, Superhero Romance)