The second round of the Book Bloggers’ Novel of the Year award is over and we’ve got our finalists! Fifteen books have gone through, and we’re now looking for the top ten books. All top ten books will get rewards. But I’m not here for the rewards, I’m here for the good books. Last two years, the finals had books in genres I don’t often read or had books with triggering (for me) content. This time, I want to read them all. I’m very curious about which books I’ll be assigned to read. I also already own a few which I’ll definitely read soon too.
Meet the BBNYA Finalists
Bloodlaced by Courtney Maguire
Kanjin hardly view their servants as human. Even less so when they are different.
Asagi is different. Both a man and a woman.
In the wake of his failure to protect a boy he saw as a son from their abusive master, Asagi is sold into the house of a young nobleman, Mahiro, who is the opposite of everything Asagi has ever known—gentle, kind, and generous.
Mahiro bonds with Asagi and their friendship blooms into a deep and profound love. But when Asagi is poisoned out of jealousy, Mahiro reveals himself to be youkai, a demon who feeds on blood, and he has no choice but to turn Asagi to save their life.
Asagi awakes reborn, strong, and eternally youthful. But the price for Asagi’s new life is high.
The blood of the innocent. Just as Asagi’s trust in Mahiro falters, the boy he failed to protect, now a man, reappears.
New master, same threat.
With both a literal and proverbial monster at the door, Asagi must decide what it means to be human to protect what they love most.
Content Warnings: physical abuse, sexual abuse (off-page), self-harm, blood, graphic violence
Cursed in Love by Zoe Ashwood
In a magical race around the world, there can only be one winner.
My powers weren’t enough to save my mother from an excruciating death. But I won’t stand by and watch anybody else I love suffer.
The spells I need to protect us all are locked away, sealed by a magic I can’t break. The only key is conning my way into the magical elite and winning their deadly competition.
I can’t do it alone.
Levi has my back. He’s a strong witch, my best friend, and fiercest protector.
Raphael might be my ex, but his vampire powers give us an edge.
And then there’s Isak. Dragon shifter, with his own secrets and reasons to win.
But in a competition full of witches whose powers outweigh my own, dangers arise from every corner of the globe.
Until one thing becomes clear.
We aren’t just playing to win.
We’re playing to live.
Cursed in Love is the first book in a “why choose” paranormal romance trilogy.
Haven by Ceril N Domace
Most people think the fae are gone. Most people are wrong.
Owen Williams wakes after a horrific car accident to find his wife is dead—and somehow turned into a gryphon—and his kids gone after a home invasion turned horribly wrong. Shattered and reeling, he vows to do whatever it takes to find them.
When a fae scout appears and promises to reunite him with his kids, he doesn’t hesitate before joining her. But she warns him that if he wants to protect his family, he must follow the fae to their city, the hidden haven of Tearmann.
With enemies on the horizon, Owen needs to set aside his fears and take up arms to defend their new home alongside the people he’s always been taught were monsters—or he’ll lose everyone he’s trying to protect.
Inheriting her Ghosts by S. H. Cooper
Inheritance often comes with strings attached, but rarely are they as tangled as those hanging over High Hearth.
When Eudora Fellowes learns she’s the sole heir of her estranged great-aunt’s seaside manor, she believes it will be the peaceful escape she’s longed for. What awaits, however, is a dark legacy shrouded in half a century of secrets, and it doesn’t take long before Eudora realizes she’s not the only one to call High Hearth home.
Lesser Known Monsters by Rory Michaelson
Being the chosen one isn’t always a good thing…
Oscar Tundale is not a hero. Anxious, indecisive, and awkward, he can barely get through a normal day. Now he’s about to find out monsters are real. Oscar’s friends: brave, stubborn Zara, and hyperactive, paranoid Marcus, might help discover what hunts him, and unravel the truth about the handsome doctor he pines for. But only heroes can save the world, so maybe the best Oscar can hope for is to not end it by accident.
The LESSER KNOWN MONSTERS series is a dark queer fantasy featuring diverse characters on a found family adventure. Perfect for fans of horror and paranormal romance who seek LGBTQ+ heroes.
Mercury’s Shadow by P J Garcin
A civilization changing technology threatens the future of humanity — can a young girl from the outer system stop it all?
Imogen “Chim” Esper is thrust into the center of an interplanetary conflict when her father is injured on a spacewalk on a mining station. Haunted by guilt over her own role in the events leading to the accident and the cold indifference of the Kardashev corporation, Chim struggles to find her place in a society that is poised for revolutionary transformation.
The Kardashev Corporation dominates all commerce and politics in the solar system after coming to prominence in the great expansion led by space mining. Alton Neal, the CEO of Kardashev is hell bent on transforming society by capturing the full energy output of the sun.
Citizens of Earth and the stations throughout the system must band together to protect access to the lifeblood of the system or risk becoming permanently enslaved to the Kardashev Corporation.
Mercury’s Shadow is a thrilling adventure that blends real science, big ideas, grand adventure and high stakes to introduce a new heroine and a deep universe that will leave readers asking for more.
Oil and Dust by Jami Fairleigh
When all has been lost, we find ourselves…
Out of the ashes of destruction, a new world has arisen. The plagues of the past—the worship of greed and pursuit of power—are gone. Now, the communities that remain in this post-apocalyptic world focus on creating connections, on forging futures filled with family and love. And all with the help of hard work, hope… and a little bit of magic.
Artist Matthew Sugiyama knows this well. Traveling the countryside in search of the family he lost as a child, he trades his art for supplies—and uses his honed magic to re-draw the boundaries of reality, to fashion a world that is better for those he meets.
Following glimpses of visions half-seen, Matthew—and the friends he encounters along the way—will travel a path from light to darkness and back again. A road where things lost in the past can only be found in the love of the present, and the hope for the future.
And he will travel this path wherever it leads. From joy to sorrow, from tears to laughter. Because Matthew is the Elemental Artist, and he knows that though dangers arise, humanity will always triumph… in a world he has painted in shades of Oil and Dust.
Author Jami Farleigh invites you to meet a rich tapestry of characters, and to travel through a world that blends fantasy, laughter, coming of age, and evocative literary stylings to create a perfect escape. Fans of The Goblin Emperor, The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, The Language of Flowers, and Quarter Share will delight in this tale of humor, humanity, and the power of hope.
Sacrifice by Vicky Walklate
Dragon gods rule the realm, demons lurk in the shadows and a sorcerer hides a dangerous secret. A war is brewing in Jothesia, and the gods have no idea.
Being selected as human sacrifice to the immortal dragon shifters is supposedly an honor, but rebellious Libby doesn’t see it that way. When the sacrificial ritual goes badly wrong, she finds herself in a reluctant alliance with eldest god Rhetahn. He’s grumpy, cynical and utterly exasperating …and she can’t get him out of her head.
Rhetahn knows there’s something wrong with this sacrifice, and it’s not just her infuriating stubbornness or the way she makes his jaded heart skip a beat. When misfortune befalls his brothers and renders him powerless, his only choice is to unite with Libby to seek answers.
Setting out on a dangerous quest across the realm, the compelling attraction between them is undeniable, yet doomed. To recover his magic, regain his strength and prevent the demons from seizing power, Rhetahn needs her blood. He must kill her at the end of their journey, even if it breaks his heart to do so.
But a terrible power lies hidden in Jothesia, one that could destroy everything the gods have built. Libby and Rhetahn’s forbidden relationship may be the realm’s only hope against utter ruin.
A word from the author: Please note this is Book 1 of a duology and ends with an HFN (Happy For Now). The couple’s full HEA (Happy Ever After) will follow in Book 2.
Also please note the following content notes/warnings:
Mild-moderate blood, cursing, death/dying, deep water attack/trauma, drugging/poisoning, kidnap/forceful deprivation of personal autonomy, mention of suicide, sexual contact (consensual), violence, vomiting
Sunbolt by Intisar Khanani
The winding streets and narrow alleys of Karolene hide many secrets, and Hitomi is one of them. Orphaned at a young age, Hitomi has learned to hide her magical aptitude and who her parents really were. Most of all, she must conceal her role in the Shadow League, an underground movement working to undermine the powerful and corrupt Arch Mage Wilhelm Blackflame.
When the League gets word that Blackflame intends to detain—and execute—a leading political family, Hitomi volunteers to help the family escape. But there are more secrets at play than Hitomi’s, and much worse fates than execution. When Hitomi finds herself captured along with her charges, it will take everything she can summon to escape with her life.
The Goddess of Nothing at All by Cat Rector
A dark fantasy Norse myth retelling for fans of Circe, The Witch’s Heart, and The Silence of the Girls
Perhaps you know the myths.
Furious, benevolent Gods.
A tree that binds nine realms.
A hammer stronger than any weapon.
And someday, the end of everything.
But few have heard of me.
Looking back, it’s easy to know what choices I might have made differently. At least it feels that way. I might have given up on my title. Told my father he was useless, king of Gods or no, and left Asgard. Made a life somewhere else.
Maybe I would never have let Loki cross my path. Never have fallen in love.
But there’s no going back.
We were happy once.
And the price for that happiness was the end of everything.
The Reaper’s Quota by Sarah McKnight
Meet Grim Reaper #2497. Behind on his work, he must complete his quota of thirty Random Deaths or face termination in the worst way. Faced with an insurmountable task and very little time to complete it, Reaper #2497 struggles to hang on to the one thing he’s not supposed to have – his humanity.
The Thirteenth Hour by Trudie Skies
When the saints fail, the sinners step up.
Cruel gods rule the steam-powered city of Chime, demanding worship and tribute from their mortal subjects. Kayl lost her faith in them long ago, and now seeks to protect vulnerable and downtrodden mortals from their gods’ whims. But when Kayl discovers powers that she didn’t know she had—and destroys a mortal’s soul by accident—she becomes Chime’s most wanted.
Quen’s job was to pursue sinners, until the visions started. Haunted by foreboding images of his beloved city’s destruction, Quen hunts soul-sucking creatures made of aether who prey on its citizens—and Kayl is his number one target.
To ensure Chime’s future, Kayl and Quen must discover the truth of Kayl’s divine abilities before the gods take matters into their own hands.
For a city that bows to cruel gods, it’ll take godless heathens to save it.
The Thirteenth Hour is the first book in The Cruel Gods series—a gaslamp fantasy featuring magical portals, gothic cosmic deities, quaint Britishisms, and steampunk vibes. This is an adult book containing strong language and mature themes that some readers may find disturbing. For a full list of content warnings, visit Trudie Skies’s website.
The Time Trials by Jon McConnell and Dayna McConnell
After the deaths of his parents in a horrific car accident — one that he considers his own fault — Walkman-toting, guitar-playing Finn Mallory would do anything to turn back time…to press “rewind.” When he’s admitted on full scholarship to an elite boarding school, things get more complicated: he becomes an “Unfortunate” in a sea of rich kids whose shoes cost more than his late parents made in a week. An invitation to a boring-sounding history club changes everything, as this team does much more than research and field trips.
Well….they do take field trips. Just not the kind you’re thinking. For Finn, the present was already enough to deal with, but now he finds that he also must reckon with the past, in more ways than one.
These Violent Nights by Rebecca Crunden
Once upon a time, inhabitants of another world tore a hole through the universe and came to Earth. They called themselves Suriias, and rivalled humans in knowledge and skill with one great exception: they had magic.
War followed. Humanity lost. And three hundred years later, humans are on the brink of extinction.
Orphans Thorn and Thistle live in hiding. They are the last of their families, the last of their friends. They scrape by, stealing to survive and living on the streets or hiding in sheds. But even under the brutal regime of the Suriias, there are places where humans can mingle in secret with magical sympathisers, and one night Thistle gets an unexpected offer of marriage from a Suriia with high standing and friends in all the right places. For Thistle, it’s a chance at safety and comfort; for Thorn, it’s a chance to find the ones who killed her parents.
And so the pair move into the capital city of Courtenz. An urban monstrosity of magic and might, false friends and flying cars, drones and death tolls, the new city promises a fresh start – and new love – for both.
But if there’s one thing Thorn knows for certain, it’s that dreams can swiftly turn into nightmares.
Toby and the Silver Blood Witches by Sally Doherty
A sinister plot. A secret city in the sky. A boy with an impossible choice.
Twelve year old Toby has little time for friends or football since his mum fell ill. All he wants is to stay at home and keep an eye on her.
But mysterious things are happening beyond his garden hedge. And who is the strange woman in his attic with her clumsy magic and bothersome bat?
Entangled in adventure, Toby must embark on a dangerous mission. A girl’s life is at stake and time is running out.