Best Reads October 2018

This post gives a list of my favorite books I read in October 2018.

This list definitely shows my bias towards contemporary romance, but also includes fantasy, paranormal romance, and historical romance. 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

  • Beauty and the Billionaire Dragon Shifter by Zoe Chant (paranormal m/f romance novella) This wasn’t actually a Beauty and the Beast retelling like I’d hoped but it was a fun light read with an adorable dog. (Rep: Fat MC.)
  • Better Not Pout by Annabeth Albert (contemp m/m romance novel) I enjoyed this Christmas themed romance with a reluctant fill-in Santa, and a relationship that was supposed to stay casual but had absolutely no chance of doing that. (Rep: Gay men MCs. Bisexual author.)
  • The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory (contemp m/f romance novel) This meet cute romance has lovely sweet moments in it, really wonderful friendship and family moments, and quite a bit of humor, which serve to balance the grief arc and trauma recovery arc at the center of the story. (Rep: Latinx man MC. Black woman trauma survivor MC. Queer woman secondary characters. Black woman author.)
  • Perfect Match by Cecil Wilde (contemp m/m romance novella) I really enjoyed this BDSM romance that was focused on D/s and sensation play and included no pain play at all. It was lovely and full of tenderness and I liked how vulnerable the dominant MC was, and how nervous the novice submissive MC was about catching feelings. (Rep: Gay MC. Bisexual MC. Non-binary trans author.)
  • Small Town Secrets by Katrina Jackson (contemp f/f romance novella) This is one of my favorite f/f romances ever! I love the long term pining, the foodie elements, the small town setting, the way Black characters and families are centered, the family secrets arc, and the smoking hot sex scenes, which include a strap-on scene that I’m particularly grateful for, as they are all too rare in f/f romance. (Rep: Black lesbian MCs. Black queer woman author.)
  • Jilted by Lilah Suzanne (contemp m/enby romance novel) This has a rather slow meditative feel and an unusual romance arc, and I really appreciated the non-binary representation, the messiness of the MCs and the way Carter’s arc focused on him figuring out what he actually wanted instead of shaping his life around pleasing others. (Rep: Pansexual non-binary MC, Bisexual man MC. Bisexual genderqueer author.)
  • Unwrap Me by Jack Harbon (contemp m/m romance novella) This feels like a very queer NA Christmas romance, complete with an MC home from college for Christmas, supportive siblings, queer antagonism from parents, lovely holiday traditions, and an intense attraction to dad’s queer colleague who is staying with the family over Christmas. At it’s core, its about working through internalized shame to claim queer desire, and I love that about it. (Rep: Gay man MC. Latinx gay man MC. Black gay man author.)
  • Dil or No Dil by Suleika Snyder (romance story collection) I’d read and previously adored the two novellas included in this collection and I’m thrilled that they are back in print and really enjoyed reading them again. I was blown away by the shorter erotic romance stories included in this book (which were new to me); they pack a really intense punch and were such an incredible joy to read. So much characterization, so much romantic and sexual tension. I especially loved the tease of femdom dynamic in some of them. (Rep: Multiple stories with Desi MCs. Queer desi woman author)

I read a bunch of Halloween romances for my recs post; find my faves here.

Rereads

  • Tactical Submission by Ada Maria Soto (contemp m/m romance novel) I did this reread partly because I really wanted a satisfying BDSM romance, after reading several that frustrated me in a row. This was just as satisfying the second read. I adore this book. (Rep: Bisexual MC. Gay MC with PTSD. Bisexual secondary character. Mexican American woman author with dysgraphia and phonological dyslexia.)
  • Wrapped Together by Annabeth Albert (contemp m/m romance novella) I did this reread after reading Better Not Pout, partly because reading Alberts books makes me want to read more of them, and to do a comparison to see which of these Christmas romances by her was my favorite. (This one edges the other out slightly, in case you were wondering.) (Rep: Gay men MCs. Bisexual woman author.)
  • Laid Bare by Lauren Dane (contemp m/m/f romance novel) I launched my reread of this series because it had been a while and I wanted to see if I still loved these books as much as I used to. I really appreciate the way the polyamorous relationship evolves in this one, and that it does a second chance thing where Todd works out his internalized shame around kink in between their first and second try. (Rep: Bisexual men MCs. Woman MC with PTSD.)
  • Coming Undone by Lauren Dane (contemp m/f romance novel) I enjoyed my reread of this book, and especially appreciated the slow development of the relationship over time, the chemistry between the MCs, and was completely charmed by the heroine’s daughter as a character. I also really appreciated the way Raven was a sort-of antagonist in the story but wasn’t demonized; I fell hard for Raven again in this book and was excited to get to her book. (Rep: Heroine with PTSD.)

I embarked on a major Nora Roberts reread on audio this summer, and it’s still going. Here are a few I especially liked in October:

  • Savor the Moment (A) (contemp m/f romance novel) This was a comfort during a hard time. I love all the baking details so much. They soothe me. This is still my ultimate fave comfort read. The audio is growing on me but I think I might try the print next time I read this one.
  • Happy Ever After (A) (contemp m/f romance novel) This is my most favorite Nora Roberts romance on audio. I love the performance so much and Roberts writes opposites attract so well.
  • The Perfect Hope (A) (contemp m/f romance novel) This is my second favorite Nora Roberts romance on audio; another opposites attract. I don’t especially love this series in print, but the audio performance is really soothing for me.

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

(Yes, almost all of these are holiday romances.)

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