Best Reads in May 2018

This post gives a list of my favorite books I read in May 2018. After reading very few new books in April, I read a ton in May! I even took a full week where I only read queer books; that was wonderful.

This list definitely shows my bias towards contemporary romance, but there are a sprinkling fantasy, PNR, historical, romsusp and YA books too. I am marking the audiobooks with an (A). 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.

For folks looking for stories with no on-the-page sex, I am putting three asterisks*** at the end of the description.

New reads

  • Perfect Pairing by Rachel Spangler (contemporary f/f romance novel)I really enjoyed this one. Wonderful food descriptions and details about food preparation and design, great chemistry, chosen family, hard-won happy ending, a bit angsty, full of humor, heat and heart. (Rep: Biracial POC butch lesbian MC. Femme lesbian MC. Lesbian author.)
  • Keeping the Cookies by Briana Lawrence (contemporary m/m novelette) A Christmas novelette that was wacky, hilarious and really wonderful. Plus, it has an awesome BFF and a fat love interest who I completely adored. (Rep: Black gay MCs. Black gay secondary character. Black woman author.)
  • Perfect Game by Casey Cameron (contemporary m/m romance novella) Cute, fluffy, geeky, fun. Ending felt a bit quick, arc felt a bit thin, but in general I enjoyed this one. (Rep: Bisexual man MC. Queer man MC. Enby author.)
  • Something to Remember by Elliott Junkyard (f/enby erotic romance short story) I really enjoyed this erotic romance short centering two mages (a water mage and a healer)! I especially liked the way magic was integrated into the story. (Rep: Non-binary MC. Queer woman MC. Queer trans man author.)
  • Always With You by Talia Hibbert (contemporary m/f romance novelette) I enjoyed this steamy friends to lovers romance short. It has sweetness to it, to go with the substantial heat. (Rep: Chubby Black British woman MC. Black autistic queer woman author.)
  • Second Chance by Chelsea M. Cameron (contemporary f/f romance novella) I enjoyed this first summer after starting college second chance with your high school girlfriend who broke your heart story. It felt very NA in all the right ways, so specific to that time of life. I love the queer haven the characters create/find away from their parents. (Rep: Demisexual Demiromantic bisexual woman MC. Lesbian woman MC. Queer demigirl author.)
  • Rogue Hearts anthology (contemporary romance anthology) This collection of romances is a mixed bag, as most anthologies are. There were some stories I adored, and some that didn’t work as well for me. Standouts in this anthology were In Her Service by Suleikha Snyder and Run by Emma Barry. (See review for rep.)
  • Mr March Names the Stars by Rivka Aarons-Hughes (contemporary m/m romance novella with a trans lead) The sweetest homiest cozy romance I’ve read in a while. It felt like a hug. I really liked the trans and enby rep, the ace rep, the pagan rep. I loved the epistolary nature of the romance. It’s one of the only ace/ace pairings I’ve read and my fave so far. (Rep: Homoromantic asexual pagan man MC. Black panromantic asexual pagan trans man MC. Non-binary secondary character.)***
  • A Touch of Sugar by Christina C Jones. (contemporary m/f romance novella) I really enjoyed this snowed in Christmas romance complete with long term pining, hilarious tree-cutting antics, and lots of heat. I adored the heroine so much. This is part of a series of linked novellas and I plan to read them all! (Rep: Chubby Black woman MC. Black man MC. Black woman author.)
  • Thirsty Boy by Elliott Cooper (contemporary m/m romance novelette) I enjoyed this D/s novelette so much! Its this lovely mix of hot and sweet, and very much about wanting to belong, wanting to be claimed, wanting to be seen and accepted in your desires. I adored both MCs, loved the strength in the boy and the vulnerability in the dominant. A real treat all the way through. (Rep: Gay MCs. Bi trans man author.)
  • Gridiron Heartbreaker by Melissa Blue (contemporary m/f romance novella) Pro quarterback is taking care of his mom who is sick and suddenly is much less of a fun-seeking guy; so he hides out in her kitchen at a party (she’s a caterer); the banter is wonderful. I love how she gives him so much shit. They try to keep it casual but catch feelings. Really hot chemistry and stellar sex scenes with a touch f kink. (Rep: Black woman author) I also enjoyed Devil of the Gridiron, book one in this series.
  • Hot Wings by Ophelia Bell (paranormal m/f/m romance novella) This has all the tropes. Dragon shifters! Pro sports! Foodie! Fated mates! Slow burn! And wow is it full of heat and wackiness. Disability rep is not great, though. (Rep: Fat woman MC. Disabled man MC. Man MC with depression.)
  • Criminal Intentions: The Cardigans by Cole McCade (m/m police serial romance) This was an intense read. I love McCade’s writing style, and could not put this book down. The characters are intensely compelling and deeply drawn. (Rep: Bi Persian American Mizrahi Jewish man MC. Gay demigray ace Korean American man MC. Native AmeriBlAsian POC demibisexual queer man author.)***
  • Snare by Racheline Maltese and Erin McRae (paranormal m/m/m romance novella) I loved this gorgeously written romance about a middle aged chubby ordinary looking vampire and the two beautiful younger men who fall for each other and adore him. This has so much in it; a lovely meet-cute, a snowed-in start and then a longer forced proximity due to vampire politics and an accidental bite, and polyamory representation that made me swoon. (Rep: Gay MCs. Gay chubby middle-aged MC. Queer non-binary author. Queer woman author.)
  • His Cocky Valet by Cole McCade (contemporary m/m romance) I devoured this #cockygate BDSM erotic romance in big gulps. It’s incredibly hot, and also angsty, complex and just beautiful. I adored these characters so much! (Rep: Gay man MCs. Native AmeriBlAsian POC demibisexual queer man author.)
  • Cocky, Stock and Barrel by Lina Langley (contemporary m/m romance) I enjoyed this #cockygate BDSM erotic romance! It’s got a lovely intensity to it in both the grief arc and the BDSM, and I enjoy Langley’s spare writing style. (Rep: Asian American gay man MC. Gay man love interest. Queer Latinx immigrant enby author.)
  • Making Up by Lucy Parker (m/f contemporary romance) It was just lovely to read a romance that had such a nuanced portrayal of trauma recovery and gave a trauma survivor a love interest that really held and respected Trix where she was, supported her autonomy, saw her strength while also being gentle with her vulnerability. It made me feel hopeful, as a trauma survivor reader. (Rep: Black British hero with a knee injury and anxiety. Heroine with PTSD.)
  • A Tiny Piece of Something Greater by Jude Sierra (contemporary m/m romance) I fell hard for Reid, felt so much with him in this story, which centers a young man in recovery from mental health crisis, and the way he finds love amidst the turmoil of trying to find solid ground again. (Rep: Latinx MC. MC with cyclothymia. Latinx Bi-ro, demi/ace author.)
  • Riven by Roan Parrish (contemporary m/m romance) This rock star romance between a new rock star and a musician grappling with recovery from addiction that cost him his career, just blew me away. It was gorgeously written, deeply characterized, intensely compelling, and the way it sinks into the details of composing and performing music was so visceral, real, and beautiful. (Rep: Gay MC with addiction. Gay MC.)
  • I read a bunch of m/m romances by R Cooper this month, ran through a lot of her backlist. My faves were Holly & OakChecking Out Love, and Casper Gets His Wish.
  • I read so many m/f romances with queer MCs! (I’m preparing a recs list for that, which should go up in June.) My faves that I read this month were Something Like Love by Christina C Jones, One Kiss with a Rock Star by Amber Lin & Shari Slade, Wild by Hannah Moskowitz, Her Every Wish by Courtney Milan, and The Art of French Kissing by Brianna Shrum.

Rereads

  • Coffee Boy by Austin Chant (contemporary m/m romance w/trans MC) I read this after being disappointed by a new to me m/m romance novella with a trans lead, as a comfort reread. I actually think I loved it even more this time than the other two times I’ve read this book. (Rep: Queer trans man MC. Bisexual man MC. Queer trans man author.)
  • Squire by Tamora Pierce  (A) (fantasy YA) I like the audio for this series a lot, its a comfort reread for me. Started this one in April and it really hit the spot on some hard days. I love the relationship Kel has with Raul, and the end of this book always makes me verklempt. ***
  • Challenge Accepted by Annabeth Leong (contemporary m/f romance novella) A fave BDSM erotic romance. Novice submissive man works to prove he’s up for a date with a dominant woman who’s wary and has been burned too often. The BDSM in this book is delicious, and I love how vulnerable the dominant MC is. (Rep: Chinese American man MC. Latinx woman MC. Multiracial Chinese-Hawaiian woman author.)
  • A Boy Called Cin by Cecil Wilde (contemporary m/enby novel with a trans man lead) This is a seriously beautiful, radical, trans and non-binary centered romance that blows me away. This was my third reread, and I needed this book this month, and I’m glad to have been able to hold it close. (Rep: Queer trans man MC. Older chubby bisexual genderqueer MC. Trans woman secondary character. Queer woman secondary character. Non-binary trans author.)
  • Team Phison by Chace Verity (contemporary m/m romance novella): This was my third reread. I love this fluffy age gap m/m romance so much. Grumpy meets sweet, both of them super geeky and awkward and adorable and I root for them so hard. (Rep: Bisexual MC. Gay MC. Pansexual author.)
  • Status Update by Annabeth Albert (A) (contemporary m/m romance novel): This was a comfort reread for me. It’s one of my go-tos on audio. I love the connection between the two MCs, the geekiness, and the complexity with which this book explores being queer and closeted at a Christian college. (Rep: Gay MCs.)

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

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