30 Days of Pride: The Tropes to Top all the Tropes

Hi everyone,

And finally we’re here, day 3 of my ode to tropes. Today we’re featuring two brilliant tropes. First up, is monster romance (which rather got out of hand as it turns out I love quite a few). Secondly, we’ve got a trope hugely important to all of us in the queer community: found family.

Monster romance

I am a sucker for monster romance. Give me dark monsters falling in love with soft, cinnamon rolls everyday.

Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust

Let’s start with a book I’m pretty sure might be THE sapphic book of the year. Releasing in July, Girl, Serpent, Thorn is about a princess who is poisonous to touch. When she tries to rid herself of her curse with the help of a demon, she unleashes unimaginable consequences and must question everything about herself. Girl, Serpent, Thorn is a book with a monster girlfriend, a morally grey princess, a descent to villainy, and wings!

Blood Countess by Lana Popović

So whilst Blood Countess doesn’t have a typical ‘monster girlfriend’, you can’t get more monsterous than the most prolific female serial killer of all time. Hence I think this book deserves to be included in this trope! This is a dark, horror retelling of Countess Elizabeth Báthory, the inspiration for Countess Dracula from the POV of Anna, a servant in Elizabeth’s castle. Check out my full review here.

Missing, Presumed Dead by Emma Berquist

In Missing, Presumed Dead we have a ghost, Jane, who’s out for revenge on the person who killed her. Lexi, a woman who can see how a person dies, sees Jane’s death but doesn’t do anything to stop it. So when Jane sticks around to destroy her murderer, she enlists Lexi’s help. And monster romance begin. Check out my full review here.

Beyond the Black Door by A.M Strickland

In Beyond the Black Door, not only do we get a gorgeous asexual biromantic heroine, we also get a monster romance! This is a dark and lush YA fantasy with people who can walk through the souls of others, and I’m not going to say anything else about the monster romance because spoilers!

Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand

In Sawkill Girls, there’s a dark and spooky island setting, where girls keep going missing and there’s lots of talk about a monster hiding in the woods. This books has a horrory-mythical vibe, a focus on female friendship and monsters to fall in love with.

The Monster of Elendhaven by Jennifer Giesbrecht

Does a gothic horror tale about murder and monsters and a man who loves himself some of both sound interesting? Then this is the novella for you! The night is dark and full of corpses. The town of Elendhaven was left to die thanks to a plague outbreak and then stripped of all its industry. But the people in Elendhaven are going to have their revenge. Enter evil, murderering magicians and monsters.

In the Vanisher’s Palace by Aliette de Bodard

A dark sapphic Asian retelling of Beauty and the Beast inspired by Vietnamese mythology beats all other Beauty and the Beast retellings, I said it. Even more so when the Beast is a motherfucking dragon.

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

And we’re ending with another ghost romance, one that is already one of the most talked about books of the year! Not much gets better than a gay, trans, Latinx brujo accidentally summoning the wrong ghost then falling in love with him.

Found Family

Found family is quite possibly the most important and queerest of all these tropes I’ve talked about, which is why I’m leaving it to last. It’s a trope that resonates with those of us who can’t trust the family we’re born into, and instead must find our own in life to keep us going. It’s such a powerful, hopeful trope and I think these books really emphasise that positivity.

The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J Klune

This is one of the most gorgeous, wholesome, joyful, queerest books in the whole world, I love it! Featuring found family at it’s very best, The House in the Cerulean Sea follows Linus, a caseworker who goes to investigate an orphanage with some very special magical children (of whomst one is the Antichrist). This book is warm and cosy and utterly delightful. Check out my full review here.

The Weight of the Stars by K. Ancrum

K.Ancrum is an absolute genius and one of my auto-buy authors, no matter what she writes. Her debut The Wicker King was incredible, as is her second novel, The Weight of the Stars. This features a group of rough kids who’ve found each other thanks to Ryann, a girl who dreams of going to space. It has a soft sapphic relationship, Ancrum’s usual lyrical writing, and a beautiful page design!

Upright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey

I’ll take your found family and raise you a found family made up of queer, librarian spies fighting fascists in a Western-style dystopian future. Yes that does sound as incredible as you think it is. This story is told from the POV of Esther, a stowaway who catches a ride when the librarians come to town and then realise she’s in the place she’s always needed to be.

The Affair of the Mysterious Letter by Alexis Hall

This is an absolutely weird and wild Sherlock Holmes retelling where Holmes is a pansexual female sorceress and Watson is a trans man who just can’t catch a break as he’s beset by vampires, pirates and sharks during his efforts to help out his fellow lodger. Full of fun and friendship and acceptance, everything the found family trope is known for.

And that’s a wrap on my trope posts! What’s your favourite trope? Are there any you love that I’ve missed?

30 Days of Pride: 2 Fast 2 Tropey

Hi everyone,

So after yesterday’s dive into queer enemies to lovers, the trope to rule all other tropes, I also want to talk about several other tropes that I just adore. And midway through writing this post, I realised it was going to be SO LONG because there are SO MANY books that I love with these tropes. So I had to once again split it up. Today, we’re going to get three tropes: disaster queers, slowburn romance, and everyone’s favourite ‘there’s only one bed!’

Disaster queers

Disaster queers, aka the trope where a group of queer people or an individual is a complete and utter disaster/mess/loveable idiot who just cannot catch a break and no matter how much they plan, shit gets fucked up. I LOVE THEM. Such messy angels.

Dangerous Remedy by Kat Dunn

First off, a group of French Revolution queer disasters to rule all queer disasters forevermore. These idiots are trying to rescue innocent people from the guillotine, but their rescue keeps going wrong (and like, really wrong.) The opening action sequence of this book is quite possibly the most hilarious, fun disaster rescue in the whole world, and all these characters know it and accept it with such resignation and snark, I love them all so much. You can read my full review here.

Finna by Nino Cipri

How about two queer disasters who just broke up but now have to travel the multiverse in search of a lost customer because their corporate overlords tell them they have to? Enter disasters such as almost getting eaten by a plant chair and paying in blood at a parallel universe Ikea with creepy clones all around you.

The Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons

The main character of The Ruin of Kings has been called the literal definition of a bisexual disaster by so many people I follow on Twitter so the fact that I still have not read this book is really letting down the team, I’m sorry. This book sounds like it puts the epic in epic fantasy, with gods, demons, dragons, prophecies, war and a long lost prince.

Beyond the Ruby Veil by Mara Fitzgerald

In Beyond the Ruby Veil we have the brand of disaster queer known as ‘chaos lesbian’. This beautiful foolish idiot kills the only person in her city capable of creating water and now her whole city might die of thirst and so she has to try and figure out how the fuck to get water back. What a disaster.

Slowburn

Not much is better than a long, drawn out romance where they don’t kiss until pretty much the last chapter. Slowburn romance + speculative fiction is pretty much my favourite genre of all time, I read so much of it so here’s four of my favs!

The Unspoken Name by A.K Larkwood

This has been one of my favourite books of the year so far! The Unspoken Name is a portal fantasy with an absolutely huge, expansive world with magic, necromancy and powerful gods. And it also has a brilliant slowburn romance that’s one of my favourite relationships of all fantasies ever because it has: one idiot lesbian orc who doesn’t think before acting (yes she probably could also appear in the previous trope), one extremely powerful mage who might be a gateaway to a fallen, evil god so must always remain in total control, and said aforementioned completely-in-control mage TOTALLY FUCKING LOSING IT over the idiot lesbian orc, I love it. You can read my full review here.

We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia

This book is one of my favourite YA fantasies and as it’s a genre I’ve been struggling with recently, that means it is extra, extra special!! This is such a relevant and uncomfortabley familiar book about illegal immigrants crossing walls into Medio, an island city. Dani illegally crossed the border with her parents but is now at the Medio School for Girls where, hiding her past, she is top of her class. At the school women are trained to be wives for important men, Primera’s and Segunda’s. Each man chooses two girls to be his wives – and in We Set the Dark on Fire, two wives fall in love with each other instead of their husband. It’s slowburn sapphic fire, a book full of revolution and courage, a must read for YA dystopian readers. You can read my full review here.

A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine

Possibly the most unique book I’ve read recently, this is a science fiction unlike any other: it combines massive space empires with poetry and murder mystery. And obviously a very (and I mean very) slowburn f/f romance. It’s a twisty turny political-technological-sci-fi-ode-to-poetry-murder-mystery-romance! It sounds complicated (and it totally is), but it’s absolutely amazing and full of humour as well, which brings a much needed lightness to this complex book. You can read my full review here.

Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan

I’m terrible at sequels so whilst I still haven’t read the sequel to this brilliant debut fantasy, I have read (and loved) Girls of Paper and Fire. This book was the kind of fantasy I read the first page in bed and then had to put the book down to start the next day because I immediately knew I was not going to be able to stop reading. There is an incredible world with different castes of people, human, demons, and Steel (a mix of both). It’s a very dark book (the entire premise is basically a King choosing 8 girls to be consorts – regardless of whether they want to be or not), but the relationship that develops between our two lead girls is beautiful, and Ngan writes in an empowering manner, putting focus on the strength and recovery of these girls than on the acts themselves. You can read my full review here.

There’s only one bed….

I feel like this is one of the most popular tropes, and that’s because it’s just so tense and awkward, I love it. There’s only one bed aka ‘here are two people who may not really like each other (or perhaps do like each other but it’s a secret and the other doesn’t know) and now they have to sleep really close together because there is but one bed’.

Crier’s War by Nina Varela

Yes this book appeared in yesterday’s enemies to lovers trope list, and yes it is appearing here too. But that’s because it does both these tropes so well! This is ‘there’s only one bed’ at it’s most classic and excellent: with two characters who kind of hate each other.

Silver in the Wood by Emily Tesh

Queer novellas are winning right now (in fact so much so I have a separate post this month all about them!) and Silver in the Wood is one of these, a lyrical, mythical folklore romance about a man who lives on the edge of the woods. And of course a ‘oh! look! we have but one bed, where shall I sleep!’ scene.

The Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Skrutiskie

Okay there’s really something about enemies to lovers and there’s only bed going together because this is another that is on both lists. And that’s because THIS is the moment when feelings often change, when people who used to hate suddenly consider other feelings that change everything. And it’s pretty awesome when we’re on a pirate ship with a pirate and a monster trainer too.

If We Were Villains by M.L Rio

Dark academia is one of my newest loves so when we take dark academia + nostalgic theatre gays + murder + there’s only one bed, it becomes something even more extraordinary.

That’s it for today’s list of tropes! Join us tomorrow for my last two favourite tropes: monster romances (and hot damn did this list get rather long, I clearly have A Type), and a trope I think particularly personal and important to us queers: found family.

30 Days of Pride: Enemies to lovers

Hi everyone,

Enemies (and rivals) to lovers is most definitely my favourite trope. There’s just something about hate to love which just SOARS above the rest: the intensity, the passion, I just love it!! I did plan to do one post featuring all of my favourite tropes. But there were so many enemies to lovers favourites that I decided to split the post. So today you get my favourite enemies to lovers, and tomorrow you get all my other favourite tropes! (And a further update at the time of scheduling: I actually ended up having to break these down even further because I have too many books and too many favourite tropes so prepare for three days of tropey fun!)

Crier’s War by Nina Varela

What could I start with but the epic sapphic enemies-to-lovers fantasy that is Crier’s War?! (With the additional trope of ‘there’s only one bed’ to really make this the best book it can be!) Blending science fiction and fantasy in a Made versus Human post-war world, where Made rule over the human population, and the heir to the Made empire falls in love with a human servant. This is full of action and drama and tension which is everything we want in an enemies-to-lovers ship.

The Fever King by Victoria Lee

Pretty much my favourite book ever, it’s no surprise The Fever King has my favourite trope ever. On one side, Noam, son to immigrant parents who wakes up with magic after a virus outbreak. On the other side, Dara, the adopted son to the most powerful man in Carolinia, Calix Leher. Noam and Dara are full of mistrust and anger at each other, their positions and just how exactly they want to overthrow the government, but that results in such an intense and powerful romance that it literally breaks my heart every time I read.

We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia

I think I hear much less noise about this book than I do Crier’s War, which makes me rather upset because this is just as amazing a sapphic enemies-to-lovers (in fact I think I prefer We Set the Dark on Fire). In We Set the Dark on Fire, two wives fall in lover with each other instead of the husband they’re supposed to serve. There’s also lots of discussion about immigration, it’s a very relevant book that compares to situations on the US-Mexico border today which makes it so poweful a book and one I really wish I heard more people scream about.

The Luminous Dead by Caitlin Sterling

If The Fever King is my favourite enemies-to-lovers then this is a close second! This is an absolutely terrifying, claustraphoic read about a caver who gets trapped in a caving system. She’s trying to find a way to escape, with only the help of the woman on the other end of her headset who’s monitoring her caving suit. It’s so tense and panic-inducing with just two characters and one, very tight setting, with a character who begins to lose control of reality, no longer sure what is real and what isn’t.

Gideon the Ninth by Tasmyn Muir

We all know Gideon the Ninth is one of the highlights of the enemies-to-lovers trope. In Gideon, we have pretty much mortal enemies: Gideon, a cavalier, and Harrowhark, bone witch necromancer who wears a corset of bones and skull facepaint. The two must work together to help Harrowhark be chosen as the Emperor’s necromancer with a series of challenges and mysteries that require a mastermind to solve. Enter Harrowhark’s clever brilliance and Gideon’s brash ‘charge into battle without a thought’ness.

The Sound of Stars by Alechia Dow

Not much could get more enemies to lovers than ‘human and the robot alien who’s overtaken Earth’. But that’s what we get in The Sound of Stars! This is a YA science fiction dystopia about an alien race called the Ilori who overtake Earth and outlaw any form of human expression (including books and music). When Ellie is caught with a private library, she and her captor must work together to save Earth.

Beyond the Black Door by A.M Strickland

Beyond the Black Door is a lush and gorgeous fantasy with a villain romance and asexual heroine. It’s a beautiful world where Soulwalkers exist, people who can travel into people’s souls whilst they sleep. Kamai is a soulwalker, but in everyone’s soul she walks, a black door follows her. And Kamai wants to know what’s behind the black door.

Amelia Westlake by Erin Gough

Amelia Westlake is such a funny, feminist, and sapphic Aussie YA about rivals Will, the school bad girl, and Harriet, the golden girl and prefect of Rosemead Grammar. The two join forces to try expose the blatantly misogynistic practices at the school. And obv, fall in love, because this is a list about enemies (or in this case, rivals) to lovers.

Tell Me How You Really Feel by Aminah Mae Safi

Another excellent sapphic rivals to lovers YA contemporary! This one features a budding film director and the school’s cheerleader captain (YESSS QUEER CHEERLEADERS) who are forced to work together to create a film even though they hate each other.

This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone

If you want epic time travel + spies + sapphic enemies to lovers, then this is the book for you. Blue and Red are spies on opposite sides of a war across time. The two write letters to each other growing from battlefield taunts to a love that will cross time and space itself to survive. (God that was cheesy. But it’s so true).

Peter Darling by Austin Chant

I don’t think you can get much more enemies-to-lovers than a Captain Hook x Peter Pan romance. In Peter Darling, Peter Pan is returning to Neverland years later, now all grown up. But when he gets back, things have changes, the Lost Boys have grown up too and now their tricks are more like war, and Peter’s old rival is suddenly like super hot?!

The Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Skrutskie

Pirates and monsters and boats oh my. This enemies-to-lovers sapphic adventure follows Cassandra, who has spent her whole life breeding and training monsters to protect ships. But then she’s kidnapped and forced to raise a monster pup for a pirate ship, and kinda-also-sorta has feelings for one of the pirates.

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

With a book that opens with the two main characters having a fight and knocking over a very expensive cake at a wedding, you know it’s going to be a brilliant rivals to lovers book. Especially when the two characters are the Prince of England and the son of the President of the United States.

The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar

A recent 2020 release, The Henna Wars published in May this year. It’s a YA contemporary with two girls who set up rival henna businesses for a school project, but one is appropriating the others culture. But when the competition is sabataged, the two’s lives are further entwined and one just can’t quite get over her crush. I’m planning on reading this one this and am so excited as it’s one of my most anticipated releases of the year!

The Dark Tide by Alicia Jasinska

Yes this list is heavily sapphic and I do not apologise for it, especially when they all sound this fucking good. The Dark Tide is a soon to be released (already released in Australia, August 4 US release!) sapphic enemies-to-lovers featuring a Witch Queen who must kill one innocent life every year to stop her island from sinking, and the girl who sacrifices herself to the Witch Queen in exchange for her friend’s life. As the two fall for each other and the dark tide floods the streets of the island, the two must decide whether to save each other, themselves, or the island residents.

Do you love this trope as much as me? What’s your favourite enemies to lovers book?