Alpha Recs: H

Recently, the wonderful Dahlia Adler did a thread on Twitter where she recommended five good books for each letter in the alphabet. She suggested I might do a similar set of recs, and that sounded like a lot of fun to me, so I have decided to do a weekly series of alphabet-based book recommendations. Here is the most recent list.

Note: All links to Amazon will be affiliate ones. If you buy through those links, I will make a small amount of money on that sale (which I plan to use to buy more books to review), but it will not add any to the cost of your product. It comes out of the company’s profits.

Six Good Books That Begin with H

  • Hold Me Down by Sara Taylor Woods (NA contemporary m/f romance novel) This book is incredibly important to me personally, and I think also in a much wider way. This book shows a submissive masochistic woman grappling with internal and external anti-kink judgment in complex ways. It’s so radical and important for a BDSM romance to deeply center a submissive woman seeking to claim her kinky desires, ones she had long before meeting the dominant hero. It’s rare to see a romance character who is both kinky and embracing her desire and has a deep and abiding relationship to Judaism.   I needed this book when I was a kinky teenager, so much. An excerpt.
  • Hello Cruel World by Kate Bornstein (self help) This is an incredibly useful little suicide prevention book, aimed toward queer & trans teens but open to all, that lists 101 things you can do instead of committing suicide. It’s irreverent, kind, full of humor and also incredibly practical and way more approachable and useful than many others of it’s type, and is one of those books I kinda want to buy for every queer and/or trans person I know, particularly youth.
  • Her Every Wish by Courtney Milan (historical m/f romance novella)  This is one of my top five books by this author, who is one of my favorite authors. It has everything I have come to expect from a Milan romance: beautiful writing, complex characterization, high stakes, a nuanced exploration of class, brilliant dialogue with lots of lovely banter, a tightly woven arc, flawed MCs doing their best who win me over by the end, a story that’s steeped in feminism. It delivers on those points, superbly. It also has an aspect to it that I especially appreciated, where marginalized characters use all the resources they have to support each other in the face of oppression. Almost every interaction, every relationship, has a piece of this in it, even if it may not be clear til later on. Because of this, this novella left me feeling so hopeful. Here is my review.
  • His Cocky Cellist by Cole McCade (contemporary m/m romance novel) One of my most favorite kinky romances of all time, this captures some of the complexities as well as the beauty of D/s dynamic, is riveting, gorgeously written, and deeply characterized, and I love it to pieces.  An interview I did with the author.
  • The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros (novel in vignettes)  This is one of the books I carry with me, that has shaped my thinking and is a touchstone for what I know. This is the book that got me writing again, and is one of my most favorite pieces of fiction of all time. These vignettes are gorgeous and intense and the voice in them is so compelling and the writing craft is amazing and it continues to hold up after all these years.
  • Help Wanted by J Emery (NA paranormal m/gender questioning romance novella) This is set at a magic college with a gender and sexuality questioning ace-spec MC, an amazing queer chosen family, and a prickly adorable love interest who can turn into a bird! It was sweet and fluffy and I fell really hard for the characters. I found this book immensely comforting on a hard day. An interview I did with the author.

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