12 Joyful Book Picks: Fictional Hangover Book Challenge

As some of you may know, Gentle Reader, I often pick a monthly book challenge to follow for the year.

I did Book Riot’s last year, this year I chose Fictional Hangover’s!

Here’s the challenge:

Fictional Hangover 2020 Reading Challenge

(You can join their Goodreads Group to participate, or listen to their podcast.)

What I like to do with book challenges, is suggest books for each month that I think will ALSO satisfy my readers. So fun, silly, happy ending, light hearted, found family, queer friendly, etc…

Sp here are my 2020 suggestions.

January – Times They Are A Changing

Read the final book in a series. (My recommendation is also my favorite of the trilogy.)

1. Daughter of the Empire by Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts

Now, will I personally be reading anything new that satisfies this criteria? I don’t think so. I tend to go for stand-alones. I have a few series I loosely follow. But in this new age of ebooks, said series don’t seem to have any endings in sight (narrows eyes at Macy Blake and Rhys Ford). But it’s possible I will read a book that ends a series without realizing it.

My book that best satisfies this criteria?


February – The Geometry of Love

Read a story with a love triangle or more. Book I recommend for this theme? The one that, for me, started it all…

2. A Knight of Ghost and Shadows by Mercedes Lackey

It’s not in ebook though, so you might also try Nora Phoenix’s Irresistible Omegas series (which I recommended on the Fictional Hangover podcast) which is a gay four-some. Another author who does great fun characters and quality romance writing in various configurations is R. G. Alexander. You want the Finn series, which features almost every kind of mash up (except those with an f/f base dynamic… so far.)

Will I be reading anything that satisfies this criteria? Probably. A lot of menage makes its way into my romance reading pile since it’s a trope I enjoy and gets queer fast (although it isn’t a huge favorite of mine, as authors can get a bit muddled on character voice distinctions and pronouns).

My book that best satisfies this criteria?

I haven’t written one… yet.

March – Murder She Wrote

Read a murder mystery by a female author. I don’t read much mystery but I have a weakness for PNR featuring a tough queer cop paired with a psychic/wizard/shifter of some kind. So under that umbrella I’m gonna suggest:

The Finder by J.E. Lorin

3. The Finder by J.E. Lorin (Zon only)

This is a classic example of the cop/psychic pairing, and both characters are adorable. (Other examples include PsyCop, Jon’s Mysteries, and Badlands.) Does the grumpy badass one love the snarky magic sunshine one? Yes? Gimme!

Will I be reading more? Most likely. I don’t care much about the mystery or the gruesome nature of the descriptions but (like I said) I’m a sucker for a paranormal cop pairing and it’s popular right now, so more will get into my TBR.

My book that best satisfies this criteria?

The 5th Gender

April – Hilarity Ensues

Read a book that makes you laugh. I read for this a lot. I have a number that could go on this list, but I’m going to go for the one that kept me up and made me cry with laughter.

4. The Lightning Struck Heart by T.J. Klune 

My book that best satisfies this criteria?

GL Carriger Sumage Solution SAS Model Quinn Max

The Sumage Solution

Most of what I write is funny, but I’m going for The Sumage Solution because my sexy books are also REALLY funny and I think you should give them a chance.

May – Shaken Not Stirred

Read a new take on an old story. So I’m thinking twisted fairy tale or unique take on a tired trope? Here’s my picks (both of them are retellings of Beauty and the Beast):

Beauty Robin McKinley

5a. Truth in the Dark by Amy Lane 

5b. Beauty by Robin McKinley

My book that best satisfies this criteria?

Defy or Defend is my take on Cold Comfort Farm, or the classic home makeover story. It also releases this month, May 2020. So that’s my pick.

Gail Mint Green Lace 1960s Pattern Turban Defy

Defy or Defend

June – Frontier Times

Read a book set in the Wild West or space. Well, I love me some queer romance sci fi so I have a few suggestions for this one:

Earth Fathers are Weird by Lyn Gala

6a. Claimings, Tails, and Other Alien Artifacts by Lyn Gala 

6b. Earth Fathers are Weird by Lyn Gala 

6c. Taji from Beyond the Rings by R Cooper

My book that best satisfies this criteria?

5th Gender 5G teacup purple promo Gail Carriger

The 5th Gender (AGAIN)

July – Dark Scottish Vampire Werewolf of the Highland Night

Read an urban fantasy or paranormal romance. I both write and read these genres, so I have a ton of favorites (anything from R Cooper’s Beings in Love series would make this list). It was really hard to pick so I just chose a Mary Calmes because I basically comfort read her stuff constantly. (Her novella Landslide as part of Creature Feature is my favorite, the world building concept is so unique yet reminds me of Alexia, but it’s hard to get hold of so I gave you a vampire alternate.)

7a. Landslide by Mary Calmes (demons) 

7b. His Consort by Mary Calmes (vampires) 

My book that best satisfies this criteria?

Many of them, but written with PNR specifically in mind? The most classic of this style is How to Marry a Werewolf:

How to Marry a Werewolf Gail Carriger HtMAW tea drink office

How to Marry a Werewolf

August – The Rise of Augustus

Read a book with Roman influence. Turns out, I read a lot of Greek tangential stuff but not so much Roman. My suggestion is therefore Court of Fives, a pastiche of Roman occupied Egypt meets YA meets Little Women that I LOVE hard:

Court of FIves Kate Elliott

8. Court of Fives by Kate Elliot

My book that best satisfies this criteria?

Blameless Gail Carriger Octopus Pin Merch


Uh, well in Blameless they go to Italy, does that count?

September – It’s Like Being Back in School

Read a classic.

9. No. 

My book that best satisfies this criteria?

Soulless Gail Carriger Hardcover Illustrated


It’s old, so close to being a classic, right?

October – Terror in the Haunted House

Read a book featuring a haunted house. This isn’t really my thing, I don’t love horror. But I hear nothing but good things about:

10. The Mysterious and Amazing Blue Billings by Lily Morton

I’ve read Lily’s other books and they are wonderful, so if you want creepy this one might work for you.

My book that best satisfies this criteria?

Hum, haunted house? Does house party rife with conspiracy and one very polite ghost count?

Poison or Protect

November – Remember, Remember the Fifth of November

Read a book with a government overthrow conspiracy or monarch assassination. A large number of fantasy books feature this kind of thing, many of which I love. The afore mentioned Mistress of the Empire series, newly discovered His Fair Assassin series, and also my old favorite Alanna by Tamora Pierce. However I’m going to officially pick another favorite YA…

11. Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith 

My book that best satisfies this criteria?

Etiquette Finishing School Gail Carriger Shirt Team Soap

Etiquette & Espionage

December – Holliday Escape

Read something seasonal. I actually love holiday reads so much that I have a whole blog post about my favorites.


Gail Carriger’s Favorite Holiday Reads ~ Books for Kids & Adults (Miss Carriger Recommends)

My book that best satisfies this criteria?

RTW Feather Wreath Octopus Decoration Christmas Romancing the Werwolf Gail Carriger

Romancing the Werewolf 

So there is your plan for the year. I hope you are into it!

Yours (destined to be killed by a tumbling TBR pile),

Miss Gail

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Meat Cute: The Hedgehog Incident featuring Alexia & Conall’s first encounter!

Meat Cute The Hedgehog Incident Gail Carriger Free Download


In this short story Alexia Tarabotti attends what seems to be a dull London party, until the new werewolf Alpha turns up, is unconscionably rude to her, and sits on a hedgehog.

Upcoming Scribbles?

Gail’s Daily Tea Party

Tisane of Nifty 

Writerly Tincture 

Speaking of Goodreads, here’s an article:

The Current State and Future of Goodreads

Book Nibble 

Year in Review: Steampunk in the News

Quote to Sip 

Sophil Reads says of Reticence:

“I did not realize how much I wanted a Percy love story until I read this book. It was everything that I did not know I needed, and I am so glad that it exists.”


Posted by Gail Carriger

4 Responses

  1. Rhiannon Lynn said:

    Sooooo adore-a-bubble! i love 5th Gender! And I’m not doing a reading thingy so much as a writing thingy; finished the first draft of my 5-book series, and finishing book 5’s first editing now…waiting for my reader to get back to me about book 1 (introduced via the parasol group, I believe) and the typos there (sometimes there aren’t any! yay!).
    Miss Gail, do you get typo problems? I keep typing for and from wrong.. 🙁
    (And once I’m done I’m going to write a fun, silly adventure story, then rite a short history of the lands of my stories (including a LOTR Fellowship-like story; a queen incognito, a traitorous warrior who dies for their treachery, while redeeming themself, a pretty warrior, a rugged/short/grumpy one, a Mage (who dies, and is replaced not resurrected), four random other people…it all works out in the end. Now I need to finish my current book and do “Descendants”…and the history, and get all the outfits sketched and make myself a summer dress from 3 meters of blue voile. Right.)

  2. Michele Camp said:

    That’s my February book budget shot. Thank you for the suggestions! 🙂

    The Finder is very good.

    I, too, read books that make me laugh (one of the many reasons that your books make me so happy). One series that I would definitely recommend for the hilarity and new take months is Cassandra Gannon’s A Kinda Fairy Tale series.

    If you haven’t read Blue Billings, do so. It’s such a satisfying read.

    Off to re-read The Sumage Solution.

    Thanks again!

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