My January Reading Log

Roux for Two by Aurora Rey was a cute, lowkey contemporary romance between a fat queer femme and a trans man. Chef Chelsea Boudreaux has just gotten her own show, which will be filmed in the small south Louisiana town she left behind; her career is about to take off and take her places. College academic advisor Bryce Cormier has lived in the same town with his loving family for his whole life and never plans to move anywhere else; he longs for a partner and, eventually, children. Their unspoken high school crushes are revived when Chelsea comes back to town, and friendship turns to attraction turns to a red-hot relationship. Conflict arises, of course, but it’s gentle and resolved by the characters using their words. I enjoyed this a lot and would read more by this author.

My January TBR Challenge book was Territory by Emma Bull.

Some Honorable Deed by Maykenfan is a Vorkosiverse Alternate Universe in which Aral Vorkosigan returns to Beta Colony with Cordelia instead of returning to Barrayar after the death of Prince Serg. They’re settled in, Aral’s in therapy, and they’ve banked embryos when Simon Illyan arrives to inform them of the death of Emperor Ezar. Aral becomes Regent, but while some major events adhere to canon, many others don’t. I enjoyed this in the way I usually enjoy AUs, especially the relationships that played out differently due to the branching-off point, and more characters living through the story than in canon. Padma Vorpatril lives, and his relationship with Aral is a delight.

Mutants and Mutants by Ecarden is what I call a “puzzle” story; the author explores how a character from one series, in this case Simon Illyan from Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosiverse, might handle the issue of a corrupt organization, the Mutant Response Division, if alone in the Marvel Comics world. As this crossover would never have occurred to me, I’m finding it very interesting! Illyan unceremoniously arrives in a warehouse, accidentally summoned by a young mutant not in control of her powers. From there the story becomes an infiltration procedural of reforming an organization from the inside. Characterization is less a priority than following the steps needed to keep what’s useful while chipping away at anti-mutant prejudice.

Perception Check (Roll for Romance) by kaydeefalls for Prinzenhasserin is a hilarious follow-up to the Dungeons and Dragons movie, in which narrator Edgin keeps running into immaculate paladin Xenk.

A Universe Next Door by aliset is a post Captain America: Civil War series set in Wakanda which I continued reading this month. In the third story, “As He Paints, He is Looking at His Heart” can be read without the previous stories, but is better if you know the setting. There’s some cool speculation about Wakandan art as Steve and Bucky work towards recovery.

The Lost of Winter by Fiona15351 for mazily is set in The Goblin Emperor universe, and follows Thara Celehar after the ending of the most recent book; the plot includes a budding romance and some days in the life.

Anamnesis by linman is for Simon Illyan fans; it’s a collection of missing scenes from Lois McMaster Bujold’s Memory all relating to the memory loss Simon experiences in that book, and how he adjusts afterwards. If you haven’t read the book, this story probably won’t make sense, but if you have, I found it beautiful.

unless you play it good and right by trell (qunlat) is a Vorkosiverse slash casefic in which Ivan Vorpatril accompanies Byerly Vorrutyer on a mission for ImpSec, while pondering how to tell By that both he and his Jacksonian wife are interested in a romantic relationship if By is also interested. By, of course, is also pining for Ivan but feels he’s now off-limits because he’s married. It all works out great in the end.

The Blood in Your Veins by Aelaer is a Marvel universe alternate universe that sets up the beginning of a Tony Stark/Stephen Strange relationship. Mostly, however, it’s about Hollywood science, being held captive, and then escaping. Set during Tony’s palladium poisoning in Iron Man 2, he’s been captured by the Ten Rings. An assortment of doctors, including pov character Strange, have been kidnapped to keep him alive. Strange is early in his career and is characterized as lonely and socially awkward but still confident in his abilities; he develops connections with the other doctors. Content warning for one upsetting death of an original character.

Our Guard (a docu-holo sponsored by the Coruscant Communications Bureau) by FortinbrasFTW is yet another Star Wars fixit for the events of The Clone Wars. Point of view character Fox, head of the Coruscant Guard, is being followed around by a camera droid when he accidentally causes what he thinks is a disaster but of course is really, really not. I enjoyed how The Force was portrayed in this story as well as the ins and outs of how the war is ended.

the ship in port is the safer one (but it’s not the reason it was made) by KiaraSayre is a direct sequel to the first AU Star Trek movie (with Chris Pine). What happens when a recent cadet is placed in charge of a starship? While their first mission is simple, the many problems a captain must solve are not. This story is all about problem-solving and learning experiences, so I enjoyed it a lot.

About Victoria Janssen

Victoria Janssen [she, her] currently writes cozy space opera for Kalikoi. The novella series A Place of Refuge begins with Finding Refuge: Telepathic warrior Talia Avi, genius engineer Miki Boudreaux, and augmented soldier Faigin Balfour fought the fascist Federated Colonies for ten years, following the charismatic dissenter Jon Churchill. Then Jon disappeared, Talia was thought dead, and Miki and Faigin struggled to take Jon’s place and stay alive. When the FC is unexpectedly upended, Talia is reunited with her friends and they are given sanctuary on the enigmatic planet Refuge. The trio of former guerillas strive to recover from lifetimes of trauma, build new lives on a planet with endless horizons, and forge tender new connections with each other.
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