Best Reads in January 2018

This post gives a list of my favorite books I read in January 2018. It definitely shows my bias towards contemporary romance, all but two of the books fit that description.

I link to reviews where I have written them; and also where I have only posted trigger warnings, so you can easily find those.

I’m listing rep at the end of my descriptions. If you spot something incorrect, please do feel free to let me know. Also, I am not intending to out anyone; I get author info from the web and the book bio. If an author would like me to remove any info listed, please do let me know. I want to note that I use the word fat as a neutral descriptor when listing rep, and use the word queer when a character or author identify that way or when I am unclear about their identity but know they fall under the LGBTQIA+ umbrella.

New reads

  • Idlewild by Jude Sierra (contemporary m/genderqueer romance) I enjoyed so much about this slow burn foodie romance. The pacing was meditative, the prose was lovely, and I felt wrapped up in the story and the characters as I watched them quietly grow and change and come together. Both of the MCs hide so much of themselves from the world, and are barely beginning to show certain pockets to each other as the book ends. I really liked that; it felt real. One of the MCs is closeted  about being genderqueer–he is out to nobody in the story (not even his love interest) and that doesn’t change or look like it will change anytime soon after the book ends, it’s just referenced quietly. That too felt very real, and worked for me as a genderqueer reader.  (Rep: Gay man MC. Black queer genderqueer MC. Latinx Bi-ro, demi/ace author.)
  • Just Like Honey by Ajax Bell (historical queer fiction) This story centers a gay artist living in Seattle in the 1990s, who’s struggling to make art and figure out the direction for his art. At the same time as he is struggling with his art, his kinky open relationship with his boyfriend gets complicated. He is pushed in a bunch of different directions, and the story is mostly about him beginning to claim agency over his life and art and being brave and open about who he is and what he wants. (Rep: Bisexual polyamorous man MC. Japanese American polyamorous gay man MC. Bi enby author.)
  • Clean Breaks by Ruby Lang (contemporary m/f romance) Tough guarded heroine who is feeling her way into the life she wants after her cancer goes into remission reconnects with her brothers best friend from childhood who treated her badly as a kid, and romance sparks. I liked how he lets her be where she’s at, even if that means she’s angry or breaks social expectations, how he appreciates her armor. (Rep: Chinese American heroine with cancer. Taiwanese American hero. Asian American author.)
  • Bad for the Boss by Talia Hibbert (contemporary m/f romance suspense) I loved the fat rep in this, like I have all of Hibbert’s books. I also really enjoyed the way sex and consent were navigated in this story. This was a bit more tropetastic than the others I’ve read by this author, with an intense rescue dynamic. I do recommend looking at the CWs for this. (Rep: Fat Black British disabled heroine with PTSD. British Chinese hero. Black queer woman author.)
  • To Seek and to Find by Tamyrn Eradani (contemporary m/m romance) I enjoyed a lot about this slice of life BDSM romance. I loved the bi rep and the way the kink community was such a big part of the story.  I really liked that it was a representation of kink practice that emphasized things like negotiation, consent, unpacking scenes afterwards, aftercare, communication, supporting novice tops to learn. (Rep: Bi MC. Gay love interest.)
  • Meet Cute (YA anthology) I especially appreciated the f/f and geeky meet cutes in this anthology. There are some lovely romance stories, that made me laugh, made me ache for the characters, and made me swoon. Truly worth getting for the Nina LaCour and Meredith Russo stories alone. (Rep: see review, too much to list.)
  • Rogue Acts (contemporary romance anthology) I enjoyed this anthology of resistance romance, particularly because it included resistance at the community and neighborhood level. I loved Ruby Lang’s story, and really enjoyed the stories by Molly O’Keefe, and Olivia Dade. It’s worth getting the book for these alone. (Rep: see review, too much to list.)
  • Relationship Goals by Christina C. Jones (contemporary m/f romance) One of the best examples of chronic illness rep I have read in a romance. I fell really hard for both the MCs, & for the author’s writing. I will be checking out her backlist! (Rep: Black trauma survivor heroine. Black hero with sickle cell disease. Black woman author.)
  • Any Other Love by Elizabeth Barone. (contemporary f/f romance) This is marketed as romance and has a central romance arc, but reads a bit more like the journey of a spoonie towards a diagnosis and a hopeful vision for the future. The heroine, Amarie, is lovely, and so much about the spoonie experience described in the story resonated with my own. (Rep: Dominican bisexual spoonie MC. Lesbian MC. Queer spoonie author.)
  • Save of the Game by Avon Gale (contemporary m/m romance) This hockey romance between two bi guys who didn’t realize they were bi until they were into each other cracked me up numerous times. I really enjoyed reading it, and am excited to continue with this series. (Rep: Bisexual MCs. Bi/demirom/grayace woman author.)
  • Game of Hearts by Cathy Yardley (contemporary m/f romance) I adored this romance between a cosplaying mechanic and the man she’s had a crush on forever who is in a motorcycle club. Loved the fat rep in this, and how gloriously geeky it was. (Rep: Fat heroine. Native American hero. Biracial Asian American woman author.)
  • His Quiet Agent by Ada Maria Soto (contemporary m/m romance) I fell hard for this quiet ace romance between two government agents, one of whom is ace and one of whom is demi. I loved the quiet slow pace of it, the respectful way Arthur courted  and cared for Martin. I read Martin as autistic, though it’s not named on the page, and have a whole host of complex feelings about this characterization, while also loving him so much and wanting to hold him close to my heart. (Rep: Biromantic demisexual man MC. Asexual man MC who I read as autistic. Lesbian secondary character. Mexican American woman author with dysgraphia and phonological dyslexia.)

Rereads

  • Connection Error by Annabeth Albert. (contemporary m/m romance)  This geeky romance is so compelling to me, particularly because of the moments of access intimacy between the disabled characters and the way they navigate the changing nature of their disabilities with regard to their sex lives. Naked twister for the win! Reread this on audio; it’s one of my go-to comfort audio rereads. (Rep: Gay man MC with ADHD. Gay man amputee MC with a mobility disability.)
  • Illegal Contact by Santino Hassell (contemporary m/m romance) I tried this on audiobook, and concluded in the end that I prefer it in ebook. Partly because I think it worked better for me to devour it in huge bites, and partly because I think the two actors didn’t blend their performances well together. Still loved the story and the characters. Will definitely keep this in my comfort rereads folder for the future. (Rep: Gay man MC. Bisexual man MC. Bisexual man author.) (For information about why I deleted this entry, see this post.)

February TBR (I likely won’t get to all of these, but it’s nice to have goals)

One thought on “Best Reads in January 2018

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