Best Reads August-September 2018

This post gives a list of my favorite books I read in August-September 2018. I had a hard couple months, and did a bunch of comfort rereading.

This list definitely shows my bias towards contemporary romance, but also includes fantasy, paranormal romance, and historical romance, and one YA novel. I am marking the audiobooks with an (A). I link to reviews and posts about the books where they exist; 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

  • Untouchable by Talia Hibbert (contemporary m/f romance) I fell so hard for the heroine of this single dad/nanny romance. Fell for her and felt for her, and loved watching their romance unfold. Untouchable is one of my most favorite books of Hibbert’s. (Rep: Fat Black heroine with depression. Hero with depression. Secondary autistic Black woman character with PTSD. Secondary character with chronic illness. Autistic Black Anglo-Romani disabled queer author.)
  • Behind These Doors by Jude Lucens (historical polyamorous romance) I loved so much about this romance, particularly the open polyamory, the central m/m relationship, and the way the story illuminated and engaged with misogyny and class differences. (Gay man MC. Bisexual polyamorous man MC. Demisexual biromantic polyamorous man MC. Polyamorous woman MC. Queer woman secondary character. Bi, demisexual, polyamorous pagan woman of colour author with chronic illness.)
  • State of Grace by Rachael Lucas (contemporary YA novel) This book feels like it does something different from the other books I’ve read with autistic MCs, like its a deeper POV and feels very real and also like the book lets Grace be as autistic as she is, in a way that feels new to me, without making it about her autism. (Rep: Autistic girl MC. Autistic woman author.)***
  • The Art of Three by Racheline Maltese and Erin McRae (contemporary m/m/f romance novel) A beautiful polyamorous romance, and such a lovely story; so full of heart. I cannot measure how much I appreciate getting to read polyamorous romance that’s not erotic romance. I am incredibly glad that it exists in the world, and not only because it felt like a quiet cup of tea while cuddling on the couch with a loved one on a day I deeply needed that. (Bisexual man MC. Bisexual Jewish man MC. Jewish woman MC. Queer non-binary author. Queer woman author)
  • Intercepted by Alexa Martin (contemporary m/f romance novel) I fell really hard for the heroine in this second chance football romance. She was drawn with such a strong specific internal voice, hashtags and all. Marlee was so compelling, made me laugh, made me feel for her. I loved her arc a lot; for me her arc was the best thing about this book, and the center of the story. (Rep: Biracial Black woman MC. Black woman author.)
  • Soft on Soft by Em Ali (contemporary f/f romance novella) A lovely, lighthearted swoony low-heat fluffy romance that was comforting to read. This is a romance between two fat queer women of color, and it has fat representation that made me happy. I appreciated the demisexual rep and the anxiety rep as well, and loved the way they were both so gone for each other, and kind to each other. (Rep: Middle Eastern Muslim anxious fat pansexual woman MC. Black extroverted fat demisexual woman MC. Non-binary secondary character. Middle Eastern Muslim queer author.)***
  • Sugar by Lauren Dane (contemporary m/f romance novella) A follow up to Cake, this erotic romance shows the artist MCs on a road trip/wedding adventure, and is sweet and low-angst with a bunch of lovely moments. (Russian immigrant hero.)
  • Menorahs and Mistletoe by Jess Roth (contemporary m/m Chanukah novelette) Cute, short, single parent Chanukah romance! I liked this one. (Rep: Jewish MC.)
  • Bear Chasing by Renae Kaye (contemporary m/m romance novelette): I enjoyed this romance between neighbors; there were several moments that cracked me up. The geeky MC is into bears but knows nothing about bear culture, and gets a crash course from the chubby bear love interest, while beginning to fall for the neighbor he’s been crushing on. It has cute kids too, as the MC is co-parenting his sister’s kids with her.  (Rep: Gay MC. Chubby gay love interest.)
  • Just One Night by Jack Harbon (contemporary m/m romance novella) A fun read, with this lovely fantasy of going out with friends while on a business trip, brooding over a recent break up, and meeting the man of your raunchy dreams (who also happens to be an older billionaire) who treats you to the rough sex you always wanted but never got to have before, that helps drive any thoughts of your cheating ex completely out of your head. (Rep: Bisexual man MC. Queer man love interest. Black gay man author.)
  • Rafe: A Buff Male Nanny by Rebekah Weatherspoon (contemporary m/f romance novel) Hilarious, hot, and full of heart, this romance between a surgeon and her new nanny for her twin daughters feels exactly like the domestic sweet fluff we need in this historical moment. It is definitely going to be a comfort reread for me. (Black woman trauma survivor heroine. Formerly incarcerated hero. Black queer woman author.)
  • Second Chance by Jay Northcote (contemporary m/m romance with a trans man lead) I really appreciated the way this second chance romance quietly challenged so many common issues that often exist in trans representation in romance, and I found the sex scenes particularly well done in terms of the trans representation.(Rep: Gay man MC. Gay trans man MC. Trans man author.)
  • The Billionaire’s Legacy by Reese Ryan (contemporary m/f romance novel) This category romance has best friend’s brother, surprise baby and billionaire romance tropes, with a bit of a second chance romance and a childhood crush thrown in for good measure. It was tropey in all the right ways, well paced, and engaging, and I enjoyed it quite a bit. (Rep: Black MCs. Black woman author.)
  • Her Festive Flirtation by Therese Beharrie (contemporary m/f romance novel) This second chance brother’s best friend romance had a lovely depth and complexity to the characters and was paced beautifully. A very satisfying mix of both angsty and swoony with wonderful family and holiday moments and all the chaos of a wedding. (Rep: Black MCs. Black woman author.)***

Rereads

  • Sated by Rebekah Weatherspoon (contemporary m/f romance novella) This is one of my faves by Weatherspoon, has this lovely humor to it, a heroine who I adore, and I love how its both geeky and kinky. The two MCs are switches, and I really appreciate that kind of representation in BDSM romance. I especially like watching Keira try out her dominance for the first time. (Rep:  Korean American amputee bisexual man MC. Black woman MC. Black queer woman author.)
  • Looking for Group by Alexis Hall (contemporary m/m romance novella) This adorable geeky romance by one of my favorite queer romance authors is one of my most treasured comfort reads. (Rep: Questioning man MC. Queer man MC. Pansexual secondary character. Queer man author.)***
  • A Little Familiar by R. Cooper (paranormal m/genderfluid romance novella) This angsty Halloween/Samhain romance between a witch and a familiar is one of my all time favorites by this author, who I adore. She writes intense pining like nobody else. Plus its got gorgeous cooking, baking and domestic details. (Rep: Queer man MC. Genderfluid love interest.)
  • Defying Convention by Cecil Wilde (contemp m/enby romance novella with a trans man MC) This queer NA BFFs to lovers romance novella is such a comfort to me. It’s set at a sci fi con, and has a lovely sweetness to it; the MCs are so kind to each other. I really appreciated the anxiety rep this reread. (Rep: Sri Lankan-American bisexual non-binary MC. Bisexual trans man MC. Non-binary trans author.)
  • Tender With a Twist by Annabeth Albert (m/m contemp romance) (A) I really like this BDSM romance with an experienced, older, larger submissive and a smaller novice dominant. It was nice to listen on audio for the first time; I enjoyed experiencing it that way. (Rep: Gay man MCs.)
  • Personal Geography by Tamsen Parker (contemp m/f romance) (A) I loved rereading one of my fave BDSM romances via audiobook. India’s voice is so strong in this book, and it was really great to hear the really wonderful descriptions in the BDSM scenes this way.  Ends on a cliffhanger, meant to be read with Intimate Geography. (Rep: Trauma survivor heroine.)
  • From the Same Star by Nicole Field (contemp f/f romance) This was my second read of the full manuscript for this book and it is really a gorgeous romance that centers D/s and a beautiful grief arc. I love the ace rep and the vulnerability of the dominant love interest, and seeing Angela grow throughout the story. Out in October. (Rep: Queer woman MC. Ace spec queer woman love interest. Demisexual polyamorous queer multigender author.)***
  • His Quiet Agent by Ada Maria Soto (contemporary m/m romance novella) This m/m contemporary romance between two ace spec spies has this wonderful measured pace to it that soothes me, perhaps because its told from the POV of a demisexual MC, and centers a new relationship. (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.)***
  • Hearts Alight by Elliot Cooper (paranormal m/m romance novelette) A sweet shining lovely little Chanukah m/m romance between a human man and a golem, one of my favorite Chanukah romances. (Rep: Bi Jewish MC. Queer Jewish MC. Trans man secondary character. Bi trans man author.)
  • On the Line by Liz Lincoln (contemporary m/f romance novel) This was light, and sweet, and sexy, and I enjoyed it just as much the second read! It centers football player single dad and his new nanny, a former science teacher and huge geek, who just happens to be his old friend’s little sister and the woman who he recently met in the grocery store that he was intensely attracted to and hoping to date…and now can’t because she’s his new nanny. (Rep: Hero with a sports related injury. Spoonie author.)
  • Counterpoint by Anna Zabo (contemporary m/m romance novel) I loved this rock star romance just as much the second time round. Its one of my favorite D/s romances ever, and has a lovely foodie element as well. (Rep: Pansexual man MC. Gay man MC. Bi/pan non-binary author.)
  • A Mistletoe Affair by Farrah Rochon (contemporary m/f Christmas novel) This was my second read of a contemporary category m/f romance that hits all the marks for a holiday romance, and it was just as satisfying as the first read. This has a crush that’s lasted for years, a heroine who gave herself a makeover inside and out, and a single dad hero experiencing his first Christmas with his infant son.

I embarked on a major Nora Roberts reread on audio this summer, and some of them hold up better for me than others. I’m only going name a couple I especially enjoyed.

  • The Best Mistake by Nora Roberts (contemporary m/f romance) (A) The audio performance on this is what makes it a particular favorite. It’s very 80s in a lot of ways, but I have a lot of affection for this single mom falls for her tenant romance.
  • Considering Kate by Nora Roberts (contemporary m/f romance) (A) With a few moments excepted, this holds up very well in print, and is one of my favorite of the authors dance romances and single parent romances. The audio performance added to my enjoyment and I think this will become one of my favorite rereads on audio.

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

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