15 Books with Ace Main Characters

Pride Month may be over, but that doesn’t mean we have to stop celebrating and acknowledging the diversity among us! And I, for one, feel like there aren’t enough novels with ace main characters or even secondary characters. Or at least, the ones out there don’t get enough attention. So here’s a list of some of our favorites novels and novellas, just for you! This list is going to include asexual, aromantic, demi, and lots of other variants. So hopefully, there is something for everyone here.

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

Every Heart a Doorway is the first novella in a series called the Wayward Children. The world is beautiful and disturbing and has children trying to find their way back to the worlds that felt like home. The main character in this novel is without a doubt ace, a fact that she all but states. But there are also plenty of other notable characters to fall in love with here.

Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor

Daughter of Smoke & Bone is the first novel in a series of the same name. Written by Laini Taylor, the series follows Karou and Akiva. One is just an ordinary girl who finds herself way over her head—the other, a beautiful stranger full of secrets.

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue is the first novel in the Montague Siblings series by Mackenzi Lee. The first novel follows Monty, a gentleman by birth, but not so much by his actions. Monty isn’t the type of character who will bend his will for others, especially not when he’s seeking fun and adventures for himself.

The Lightning-Struck Heart by T.J. Lune

The Lightning-Struck Heart is the first in the Tales From Verania series by T.J. Klune. It follows young Sam Haversford through an epic journey. One that starts with a display of accidental magic and quickly gets out of control from there.

The Oathbound by Mercedes Lackey

Mercedes Lackey has always been exceedingly inclusive in her writing, and The Oathbound is one of her shining examples. The novel follows Tarma and Kethry. Both have very different pasts and reasons for fleeing their lives, but somehow they end up together anyway. And both are seeking to right the wrongs of their past and to prevent the potential for it to happen to others like them.

Dread Nation by Justina Ireland

Dread Nation is the first novel in a series of the same name, written by Justina Ireland. Jane McKeene grew up in a world where the dead walked the world. Because of that, she grew up in a world knowing how to properly put down the dead. But that isn’t the life that Jane wants for herself.

Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld

Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld is one of those unique novels that combine the narratives together. One follows Darcy, a young up-and-coming author dazzled by the fame of it all. And the other comes from the pages of Darcy’s novel, that one follows the life of Lizzie. She’s just trying to survive a terrorist attack, but it becomes so much more than a fight for survival.

Vicious by V.E. Schwab

Vicious is the first novel in the Villains series by V.E. Schwab. The story follows Victor and Eli. Two best friends, whose relationship changes over the course of time. It’s a classic tale of allies versus enemies, but with a few interesting twists along the way.

Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce

Sisters Red is Jackson Pearce’s first novel in the Fairytale Retellings series. As you could probably guess from the name, this is a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood. Only it’s nothing like you’ve ever seen – or read – before.

The Cybernetic Tea Shop by Meredith Katz

The Cybernetic Tea Shop follows two unique and very different characters. Clara Gutierrez is a tech that works best with A.I. companions. She’s brilliant but doesn’t like settling down in one place for too long. Sal is a robot. No, really. She is. She runs this cute little tea shop that her now-deceased master owned.

City of Strife by Claudie Arseneault

City of Strife is the first novel in a trilogy named the City of Spires. It’s a political fantasy novel and boasts an entirely LGBTQIAP+ set of characters. The series is one full of different plots and perspectives blending together to make something truly unique and beautiful.

The King’s Name by Jo Walton

The King’s Name is the second novel in the Tir Tanagiri series. Technically the first novel could also fit on this list. However, the second one is much more clear in what is being shown (Sulien being ace and being accepted as such). This one continues the world and war that started in the first novel and brings with it some unexpected twists.

Clariel by Garth Nix

Clariel is the fourth novel in the Abhorsen series by Garth Nix. This novel is named after its main character, Clariel. She’s not adjusting well to her new life, so it’s really no surprise that she jumps at the opportunity to prove herself – hopefully, with the results that change her path in life.

Banner of the Damned by Sherwood Smith

Banner of the Damned is an epic fantasy, just as one would expect from Sherwood Smith. It’s a political fantasy novel, full of princesses, mages, queens, and scheming. Princess Lasva is forced to make some life changes once a new heir to the throne is born, and those changes start her on a completely unpredictable path.

The Princess Who Didn’t Eat Cake by Lynn O’Connacht

The Princess Who Didn’t Eat Cake is a novella by Lynn O’Connacht. A lot of this novella could be considered an allegory for the personal journey that the author went on, but that just makes it all the more interesting.

This article was originally written for Word of the Nerd, but has been ported over to Quirky Cat’s Fat Stacks now that the site has shut down.

Posted in Lists, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Review: A Lesson in Vengeance by Victoria Lee

Author: Victoria Lee
Publisher: Delacorte
PressReleased: August 3rd, 2021
Received: NetGalley

If you put a book in front of me and compare it to Ninth House, you better believe that I’m going to read it! A Lesson in Vengeance is the latest novel to come from the mind of Victoria Lee, and guys – this is not a book you’re going to want to miss out on. Seriously, I’m going to be forcing all of my friends and family to read it.

The Dalloway School is famous for many things, not all of them good. They have witchcraft and death buried in the closets. Felicity Morrow can’t get enough of the haunted nature of her school, which is why the lore has become part of her senior project.

That is until she found herself sunk too deep into legend. Now she’s doomed herself, her friends, and who knows how many others to follow down the same path that witches in history once took.

“I understand the concept of sense memory. But understanding isn’t preparation.”

Words cannot express how much I loved A Lesson in Vengeance. I love Dark Academia novels, so I went into A Lesson in Vengeance expecting to love it. I simply wasn’t prepared for the extent of that love.

Victoria Lee merged so many fantastic elements together to create this novel, and it shows. Dark academia meets mystery and thriller with a lesbian leading lady. Seriously, what more could you possibly ever ask for?

Best of all – better than the intrigue, the character development, or the dramatic twist – the writing. Victoria Lee’s writing is enchanting. More than that, she wound a story in such a way as for it to be virtually impossible to spot the truth right away.

“You can still feel history in these halls. At any moment you might turn the corner and find yourself face to face with a ghost from the past.”

Is this a ghost story? Is it a tale of teenage girls doing horrible things? Who knows? Only those that have actually read all the way until the end will be able to tell you that one. And I, for one, will not be spoiling it.

I loved the rich atmosphere of this novel. It wiggles into the bones and won’t let go, and while that may be a graphic image for some, it is very much an accurate one. Felicity’s story is harrowing and fascinating, dark and complex.

Part of me is quite sad that this is a standalone novel, but mostly because I am greedy. What Victoria Lee here is perfectly captured within one novel, and there is no need for her to continue. I just don’t want to let the world or story go.

Thanks to Delacorte Press and #NetGalley for making this book available for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Posted in Fantasy, Horror | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

July Reading Stats

Posted in Reading Stats | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Review: Dead Heat by Patricia Briggs

Author: Patricia Briggs
Series: Alpha & Omega #4
Publisher: Ace
Released: March 3rd, 2015
Received: Own
Warnings: Child death, kidnapping

One of my goals in 2021 is to finally get caught up/read many of the series I’ve been meaning to for years. What better place to start, than getting caught up in Patricia Briggs’ Alpha & Omega series? (I’m up to date with Mercy Thompson).

Dead Heat is the fourth novel in this series, which I believe makes it the eleventh book in the Mercy Thompson world. Obviously, it’s set in the same world, but follows two different characters: Anna and Charles.

This is the first time that Charles and Anna have gone anywhere that wasn’t related to a mission. Charles just had a wake-up call, and that means it’s time to go visit an old friend before it’s too late. Naturally, not even a vacation can go smoothly for this pair.

There’s a Fae hunting children in the territory they’re visiting, and these two wolves are not the sort to let that slide. Especially not when those they care about are being directly affected by it. Now, they must hunt the Fae in return, while also dealing with supernatural and human politics. All before it’s too late.

“But that is the dual gift of love, isn’t it? The joy of greeting and the sorrow of good-bye.”

It has been far too long since I set aside some time to read about Charles and Anna. I forgot how much I love their dynamic, it’s endearing and powerful all in one go. Naturally, that means I enjoyed Dead Heat a fair bit. To say the least!

One of the things I love about this series is that it really isn’t afraid to show the darker side of the world – be it human, werewolf, fae, or something else that goes bump in the night. It makes for a heavier read, sure. But it also feels so thematically appropriate.

That being said, Dead Heat is probably not a read that everyone will enjoy. It revolves heavily around a Fae that hunts children, and the history of which is…disturbing. Let’s leave it at that, for now. I adored the portrayal of fae lore and rules in this novel, being both dark and steeped with legend.

“Too much knowledge can make you paranoid all the time,”

At first, I was feeling a little conflicted about the…personal dilemma that Anna and Charles were going through. It seemed like there was an obvious path for them to follow, and it felt almost hurtful that they weren’t talking about it – let alone considering it. Thankfully, this subject did eventually get brought up, much to my satisfaction. So if you find yourself in the same boat, it does get better (and yes, I am trying to be at least slightly vague so I don’t spoil things).

Ohh! I almost forgot! The horses! Dead Heat is full to the brim of horse terminology and adoration, which brings with it major bonus points in my book. I know that I won’t be the only one feeling that way, so enjoy!

Next up on the Alpha & Omega read through is Burn Bright. I can’t wait to get started!

Posted in Fantasy, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Review: Kindred by Octavia E. Butler

Author: Octavia E. Butler
Publisher: Beacon Press
Released: Originally June 1979
Warnings: Assault, slavery, rape

Kindred is one of those foundational science fiction/time travel novels that I’ve been hearing about all of my life. Written by Octavia E. Butler, it’s been a novel sitting on my TBR list for way too long. Time to correct that mistake.

Kindred is a blend of science fiction, and historical fiction, with strong time travel, fantasy, and memoir elements mixed in for added elements. It follows Dana, a woman with a strong connection to a dark time in America’s history.

She is the descendant of slaves, a fact that is thrown into the forefront thanks to the unexpected ability to travel back in time. But only to one focus. Over the course of this novel, she learns about the causes for her trips, as well as the history – and horror – of her family’s past.

“Repressive societies always seemed to understand the danger of “wrong” ideas.”

Honestly, I am so blown away by Kindred. I don’t even know where to begin this review. I can already see why Octavia Butler is so highly talked about – and can’t wait to continue reading through her works.

This novel is moving for a variety of reasons. The combination of fiction and fact makes for a raw and painful read – but it’s also powerful and beautiful. It addresses many issues, but it does so through a specific lens, and I hope that this will make it more approachable. It certainly worked well in regards to increasing the impact. As this is a book that had me crying on more than one occasion.

“Like all good works of fiction, it lies like the truth.”

Kindred is a novel to read if you want to be fascinated, horrified, blow over, and more. It portrays a darker side of history, and humanity, all while raising many interesting points and questions. It’ll shake you to your core, as it should.

Posted in Fantasy, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Review: The Extraordinaries by T.J. Klune

Series: The Extraordinaries #1
Author T.J. Klune
Publisher: Tor Teen
Released: July 14, 2020
Received: NetGalley

Holy cow. How and why did I not read The Extraordinaries sooner?! This is by far the most hilarious and entertaining superhero novel I have ever read. Seriously. Written by T.J. Klune, this novel is a masterpiece.

Nick Bell lives in a world where superheroes are real. They’re called extraordinaries, and all Nick has ever wanted was to be one of them. He wants it so desperately that he even writes fanfiction (totally not of the insert variety) of his favorite hero – Shadow Star.

Unfortunately, Nick is more than a little bit obsessed with the idea of becoming extraordinary himself, and so he’ll do whatever it takes, even if that means pulling stupid stunts or putting his life on the line.

“But sometimes, there are things greater than us. Things we must do to keep those we love safe. And he loves you. He loves you.”

Next time somebody asks me for a fun superhero read to try; I am going to shove The Extraordinaries in their hands. This novel is amazing! It’s funny, charismatic, and delightfully gay all at once. I loved it.

Nick is a determined and quirky character, one who isn’t afraid to let his passions take control of his life. Or his friend’s lives, if we’re totally honest. I found his character to be endearing, even when he let his hero worship go to extremes.

One of the many things that made this novel so amazing has to be the supporting characters, Seth, Owen, Gibby, and Jazz. They flesh out this world so much, and I mean it when I say that the story wouldn’t be the same without them.

Or a strong sense of humor, for that matter. I have never read a novel that made me smile SO much. I certainly haven’t read a superhero one that did that. It was comical and light and yet had some amazing messages woven into the narrative.

“Sometimes, the people we want to protect the most might not understand why we do the things we do. But that doesn’t mean they love us any less. Only you can decide where your faith lies.”

This is not your ordinary ‘kid gets powers, kid becomes ultra-special’ story. It is so much more than that, and I just can’t get enough of it. Thankfully, Flash Fire is ready and waiting for me to read. I better not keep it (or myself) waiting any longer.

Thanks to Tor Teen and #NetGalley for making this book available for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Posted in Fantasy, Tor, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Review: The Ain’t Witchcraft by Seanan McGuire

Author: Seanan McGuire
Series: InCryptid #8
Published: DAW
Released: March 5th, 2019
Received: Own

That Ain’t Witchcraft is the eighth novel in Seanan McGuire’s InCryptid series, and the final novel focused on the one and only, Antimony (Annie) Price. Well, for the moment, anyway. This series has been such a blast to binge, though I still wish that I had picked it up years ago. So much wasted time!

Antimony Price is still on the run, though at least now she’s not alone. She has loyal friends and even a boyfriend along for the ride now. Together, they’re bending luck and trying to find a safe spot to settle down, even if only for a short while.

Somehow, that brought them to Gravesend, Maine. Maine may have a certain reputation, thanks to Stephen King, but Gravesend truly does deserve it. You see, it’s closer to the Crossroads than normal, and has kept one family trapped, while exacting prices from countless others.

Enter James Smith, his best friend was taken by the Crossroads, and he’s going to make them pay. He just needs Annie’s help, and the help of her friends, in order to stand any chance of actually doing so and surviving.

“A cryptozoologist is always prepared for mayhem, whatever form it takes.”

I have binged the whole InCryptid series over the course of a week, and I sincerely think that That Ain’t Witchcraft is my favorite of the entire series (so far). It’s fast-paced, chaotic, full of magic, contracts, and the plight of the Crossroads.

In short, it’s the perfect series for those that love the Ghost Roads series, and have been looking for something else to dive into. It’s a novel full of action and consequences, as well as magic, the supernatural, oh! And don’t forget the Covenant. Or at least, one stubborn member of them, whom I have found that I love to hate.

Actually, I’m really looking forward to reading the next Ghost Roads novel (Angel of the Overpass), simply to see how much what happened in this book affects everything else. I was already really excited for that novel, but now I feel like I can’t wait any longer!

“Don’t look back. You’ll never see anything but what you’re doing your best to leave behind, and you’re a lot more likely to trip and fall down, which gives it another chance to eat you.”

One of the many things I loved about this book is the introduction of a new character. James is a great character, and I’m not so secretly hoping we’ll get a book from his perspective at some point in the future. A girl can dream, right? Anyway, what I really appreciate here is that he wasn’t introduced as a romantic interest (thus creating a romantic triangle), but instead as something else (I don’t want to spoil what). Also, I love that Leonard isn’t in the running for Annie’s affections, thank you! I’m perfectly happy with my determination to continue despising him and what he stands for.

“There’s nothing like moonlight and monsters to remind a girl why she loves her job.”

Only two books left and I will officially be caught up in the InCryptid series. That’s going to be a sad day for me, as I have really enjoyed this whole binge session. InCryptid has been a blast to read, and I’m already looking forward to what is next. Speaking of, it looks like we will be switching to Sarah’s perspective for the next two novels (Imaginary Numbers and Calculated Risks).

The Measure of a Monster

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

The Measure of a Monster is the short story included at the end of This Ain’t Witchcraft, and we’re back to Alex’s perspective! That was a refreshing surprise, truth be told! This short explains what he has been up to this whole time (it has been a few books at this point), as well as explaining something that was hinted at during the novel.

The Measure of a Monster successfully showed the darker side of human and InCryptid interactions, though by this point most of us know the risks that come with that. Still, it was interesting to see, if a bit horrifying at times.

It did a great job of flipping the script, so to speak. There are easy assumptions about monsters and men, and Seanan McGuire really played with that concept, as well as the concept of humanity. One of the many reasons why I love this series.

Posted in Fantasy, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Review: Supergirl: Being Super

Writer: Mariko Tamaki
Artist: Joelle Jones
Publisher: DC Comics
Released: June 5th, 2020
Received: Library

4 kitties

Supergirl: Being Super is a graphic novel that immediately caught my attention thanks to the author behind it; Mariko Tamaki. I knew right away I had to read it, as I loved what she did in She Hulk and other series. Likewise, I had high hopes for Joelle Jones’ artwork.

Kara Danvers is a character that many a DC fan will recognize, if nothing else. She’s a Kryptonian, and as such, while on earth she has strength, ability to fly, and so much more. Yet she’s also a teenage girl, and that brings with it a whole new set of problems.

She had thought she’d found a happy balance to her life. Then the earthquake struck, changing her life forever. Now she has to find out the cause of all this pain and loss – ideally before it brings about more damage to the town that she has come to love so much.

I’ve got to say, I was both surprised and impressed by how much Supergirl: Being Super affected me. Then again, I probably shouldn’t have been surprised. This is Mariko Tamaki’s writing we’re talking about, after all.

Kara’s journey is not a typical ‘teenage kid with powers’ tale, at least, it didn’t read that way to me. Sure, it had many of those elements, but it also pulled in so many other surprises. Not all of them good (for Kara that is, not for the reader).

Supergirl: Being Super is an origin story, that much is true. It’s another one of DC’s young adult graphic novels, and you can feel that right from the start. Yet it also felt very unique in many ways, avoiding a lot of the cliches that come with an origin story being repeated for the hundredth time.

There’s such a strong sense of guilt, as well as acceptance and understanding, in this volume. It added so much to the concept of powers and responsibility. It took it beyond a coming of age story, though it is still certainly that as well.

I should probably mention that I am far from being a Superman expert, as his series isn’t one I normally read. Nor are any of the spin-off series. This is an exception for me, as I simply couldn’t resist. That should probably say something about the story and the writing, and I hope that others are willing to give it a chance as well. I’m glad that I did.

One thing I would have liked more of: the entire story. Literally, I wouldn’t have minded if this graphic novel went on for another hundred pages or so. And by not minded, I mean I feel like I needed the story to go on. I can’t be the only one feeling like there’s more to this journey (and no, I don’t just mean because she appears all over the DC universe).

Posted in Comics, DC Comics, Graphic Novels, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Review: The Hunting Wives by May Cobb

Author: May Cobb
Publisher: Berkley
Released: May 18, 2021
Received: Own (BOTM)
Warnings: Stalking, murder, classism

3 kitties

May Cobbs is back with a thrilling adventure titled The Hunting Wives. Right away, I knew that this was a book I had to read.

Sophie O’Neill put aside her busy career and life in order to move to a small town in Texas. At the time, it seemed like a great idea, choosing this idyllic town. But it didn’t take long for Sophie to realize just how restless this quiet life would make her.

It doesn’t take long before Sophie finds herself a distraction by the name of Margot Banks. She’s the ‘It Girl’ of this town, a socialite, philanthropist, and runner of a clique. Her clique is a secret, but those on the inside call themselves the Hunting Wives.

The Hunting Wives is another book from this month’s BOTM selection that immediately caught my attention. Can you blame me? Look at that cover! I love the imagery and playful nature of it all. Unfortunately, I think I might have ended up enjoying the cover more than the book itself.

I’ll admit that I had pretty high hopes for The Hunting Wives, so maybe I’m not entirely fair here. I simply could not bring myself to like Sophie, or really any of the other characters in this book (unless you’re willing to count minor characters like her husband and son).

Honestly, this book really tore me up a bit, but not for the reasons you might expect. It had so much potential (the core concept, the relationship between Sophie and Margot, the intrigue, etc.), but it kind of just fell flat for me.

The simple truth is that I really wanted to fall in love with this story and the characters. Instead, I walked away feeling more ‘meh’ than in love. On the bright side, it was a quick read, and it did successfully keep me busy for a few hours, so that’s something.

Posted in BOTM, Thriller, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Review: Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim

Series: Six Crimson Cranes #1
Author: Elizabeth Lim
Publisher: Knopf
Released: July 6, 2021
Received: NetGalley

Elizabeth Lim’s latest novel, Six Crimson Cranes, is a compelling and extraordinary fantasy novel, one that I cannot recommend enough.

Shiori is the only princess of Kiata. She is unique for another reason, as forbidden magic hides within her veins. Magic that is just begging to burst out and reveal her secret to the world – including her magic-fearing family.

When disaster strikes, it does so quickly. Shiori’s magic is revealed when she discovers that her stepmother also has magic. What follows is a magical banishment for Shiori and her six brothers. Now they must find a way to save the kingdom.

“Find the light that makes your lantern shine, ” Mama would say. Now, more than ever, Kiki was that light.”

Oh my goodness. Can I go back in time and read Six Crimson Cranes for the first time again? Pretty please? Seriously though, this is a novel worth of time travel; it is that good. Everything about this story demands attention, from the start right up until the end.

Best of all? Six Crimson Cranes is the start of a new series, and I’m already counting down the days for the sequel. Okay, I’m not exactly counting down the days – that would require me to know the release date. But I will be as soon as that announcement is made.

Shiori’s story is fantastical, whimsical, and powerful all in one. Her character is so strong and precious, embodying so many wonderful human attributes. The fact that she is also curious and playful just makes her all the more endearing.

And thus, it makes her story and plight all the more captivating. It’s hard not to get attached to what is happening here. The secondary characters help to forge a stronger emotional connection, as they all play a significant role in this tale.

“Fear is just a game, Shiori, I reminded myself. You win by playing.”

Six Crimson Cranes is a story built around a classic fairy tale, the swan brothers (also known as the Six Swans). It carries a lot of those classical notes, yet there are some distinct changes throughout the story. Personally, I love the transition from swans to crimson cranes here. It’s so fitting, and it makes for exceptionally striking imagery.

Long story short: I loved Six Crimson Cranes, and highly recommend it to everyone, especially fans of Elizabeth Lim. I know I’m going to be adding the rest of her works to my TBR list (I’ve been meaning to read Spin the Dawn for far too long at this point).

Thanks to Knopf and #NetGalley for making this book available for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Posted in Fantasy, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment