Here are my fave new-to-me romances I read in the first half of 2018, grouped by trope. I limited myself to selecting three at most from each author. A bunch of these books were by new-to-me authors! I love finding new backlists to check out.
This list definitely shows my bias towards contemporary romance, but also includes paranormal romance, historical romance, romantic suspense and even a graphic novel. I link to reviews where I have written them; and also where I have only posted content warnings, so you can easily find those. If I have not yet reviewed, I am using affiliate links to Amazon. 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.
I’m listing marginalized representation 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.
- American Fairy Tale by Adriana Herrera (2019 contemporary m/m romance novel) A contemporary m/m romance with billionaire, meet-cute, one night stand to relationship, workplace romance, and single parent tropes. Overall, it was a really enjoyable, engaging ride, and I was blown away by the realism in the depiction of intimate partner violence work; I honestly have never seen that part of myself depicted in a way that resonated that much before, and it felt really wonderful to have that on the page. I adored Milo to pieces, and enjoyed the way this felt like a twist on a fairy tale. (Rep: White-passing biracial Dominican American queer man MC. Cuban-Jamaican American queer man trauma survivor MC. Many secondary characters of color, including several queer ones. This book has pretty much an all-POC cast. Afro-Latinx Dominican American bisexual woman author.)
- Rogue Ever After (2019 romance anthology) This collection of romances is a mixed bag, as most anthologies are, but it definitely leans to quality, and while some of the stories did not work as well for me personally, I think that many readers will like those very stories. I especially enjoyed the romances by Hudson Lin, Chace Verity, Tracey Livesay, KD Fisher, and KK Hendin. (Rep: see review, too much to list.)
- Teach Me by Olivia Dade (2019 contemporary m/f romance novel) I adored this so much and highly recommend it! It’s so full of heart, has lovely complex characters who I fell hard for, & unfolds in this beautiful way that was such a joy to read. This is one of my favorite romances I’ve read so far this year; the characterization is beautiful, it’s unputdownable, the fat rep is lovely, and I loved the way the hero really saw and respected the heroine’s emotional armor. It has an extremely satisfying resolution and it resonated so much with my own experiences as a teacher. The relationships with secondary characters are just wonderful, and I really appreciated the way it approached the trauma histories of the MCs. (Rep: Older fat woman MC with trauma. Older man with trauma. Fat woman author.)
Bringing the Heat
- A Tale of Two Cities: A New Year Novella by Alexandra Warren (2019 contemporary m/f romance novella) I really enjoyed this! It cracked me up multiple times and delivered serious heat. This was my first read by this author and I definitely will be checking out her backlist. (Rep: Black MCs. Black woman author.)
- Just Past Two by Elia Winters (2019 contemporary m/f erotic romance novel) I really liked this erotic romance that centers a married couple trying new things, both kink and hotwifing. It was fun, hot, engaging, and well-plotted. I couldn’t put it down. I liked the way the story presented several different kinds of non-monogamy, both the central couple’s hotwifing, a closed triad, and an open marriage. I also appreciated the way the novice dominant gets supported by a friend who has experience. The heroine’s arc was complex and engaging, and I liked how clear it was that her internalized stuff was hers to work through, and wasn’t The Truth. (Rep: Bisexual polyamorous fat woman author.)
- New Ink On Life by Jennie Davids (2019 contemporary f/f romance novel) This romance between a tattoo show owner and her new apprentice (who she inherited from her own mentor) was really compelling; I could not put it down. The MCs communicate so much through tattoos, build their relationship and trust that way; it’s lovely to witness. I enjoyed Cassie’s personal arc around being less focused on pleasing people. (Rep: Queer femme woman MC cancer survivor. Queer butch woman MC.)
- Once Ghosted, Twice Shy by Alyssa Cole (2019 contemporary f/f romance novella) My comfort read to kick off 2019 was this second chance butch/femme romance. It was wonderful & just what I needed on a hard day. I highly recommend this book; it’s one of my most favorite f/f romances ever. (Rep: Black immigrant butch queer woman MC. Black femme queer woman MC. Black woman author.)
- Imaginary Lines by Allison Parr (2014 contemporary m/f romance novel) This childhood crush to lovers story was so compelling. I could not put it down. It felt very culturally Jewish in a way that really resonated for me, and I loved the chemistry between the MCs, who are stuck with a bunch of internal and external obstacles that seem kind of impossible to navigate. And oh the pining; I love it when there is so much pining. (Rep: Jewish MCs. Jewish woman author.)
- Kiss and Cry by Mina V Esguerra (2019 contemporary m/f romance novel)I loved this romance, it’s one of my faves I’ve read in 2019, and it beat out my former favorite Esguerra romance for the top slot. This is a second chance #romanceclass romance between a hockey player and a figure skater. It has a bucket list aspect to it, with a time limit (what I think of as the ticking clock trope). I really appreciated how sweet the hero was, how he could be presented as clearly very athletic and a talented devoted hockey player without him being hypermasculine or possessive. (Rep: Filipino MCs. Filipino bisexual secondary character. Filipina woman author.)
- Grumpy Fake Boyfriend by Jackie Lau (2018 contemporary m/f romance novel) I loved this fake relationship brother’s best friend romance a lot. I esp fell for the grumpy introvert hero and how much he was gone over the heroine. I am definitely going to be reading more Lau this year. (Rep: Chinese-Canadian heroine. Chinese-Canadian woman author.)
- Appetites and Vices by Felicia Grossman (2019 historical m/f romance novel) The pacing of the story was lovely, and the way the conflict unfolded really worked for me. I thought it used the fake engagement trope incredibly well, milked it for everything it has to offer, and then some. I really liked all the twists and turns of this as the story went on, and appreciated how central the heroine’s arc was to the story, and how incredibly compelling and strong she was as a character. I fell hard for Ursula, and would love to be her friend, if that were possible. I read Ursula as autistic, and this felt like a generally respectful representation of an autistic character, one that worked for me for the most part, and that I would recommend to autistic readers as one of the best examples of autism representation in historical romance that I’ve read. (Rep: Jewish autistic woman MC. Man with trauma and addiction MC. Jewish woman author.)
- Private Eye by Katrina Jackson (2019 contemporary m/f romantic suspense novel) This is the sex worker/client romance of my dreams. I adore Maya, & love the way so many of the characters also adore her. Kenny deeply respects her and her work in a way that was a pleasure to read. Both MCs had my heart. This spy m/f romance was delightful all the way through. I loved the sex worker & fat representation, particularly. (Fat Black bisexual woman sex worker MC. Asian American man MC. Black queer woman author.)
- An Offering of Plums by J Emery (2018 paranormal m/enby romance novella) I adored this short romance that starts off quite dark and ominous but ends up being more of a thing where the MC courts the enby demon with fruit offerings. I found myself caring about both the MCs quite a bit, and really enjoyed their dialogue. (Rep: Queer man trauma survivor MC. Non-binary MC. Queer author.)
- The Ultimate Pi Day Party by Jackie Lau (2019 contemporary m/f romance novel) This was wonderful, in so many ways. Such a satisfying foodie romance, with a really lovely amount of food details. I really enjoy Lau’s style, the way she lays out character, the way she injects all these quiet moments that make me feel verklempt. I really enjoyed the integration of friendships and familial relationships into this romance, it felt full and whole, when sometimes romances can really feel like its two against the world. Overall, I found this book completely compelling; I could not put it down. (Rep: Chinese Canadian man MC. Desi lesbian secondary character. Chinese Canadian woman author.)
- Extreme Honor by Piper J Drake (2016 contemporary m/f romantic suspense novel) I really enjoyed this! I fell hard for the heroine and the dog completely stole my heart, and I really liked the found family aspect of the story. The slow build of connection and trust between the MCs was lovely and very well paced, and the road trip aspect was fun. The conclusion was a bit wacky, but I went with it, and really enjoyed the role the dogs played in it. (Rep: Trauma survivor MCs. Thai American woman author.)
- Charm City: A Valentine’s Day Novel by Monica McCallan (2019 contemporary f/f romance novel) Hands down my fave Valentine’s Day themed romance I read in 2019. Some of my most favorite tropes all wrapped up together (enemies to lovers, forced proximity, grumpy/sunshine, and snowed in), a chosen family, and a romance with queer characters I’d like to be friends with. I loved how deeply rooted in Baltimore, it was too. City based romances that are rooted like this make me really happy. I will definitely be checking out this author’s backlist. (Queer woman MC. Queer woman MC with a history of homelessness. Lesbian woman author.)
- A Prince on Paper by Alyssa Cole (2019 contemporary m/f romance novel) This installment in Cole’s Reluctant Royals series has a hero with so much emotional armor he is weighted down and cut off from authenticity and connection with those he loves, and I fell hard for him. I also really adored the heroine who was struggling with the legacy of emotional abuse and gaslighting from early childhood, and trying to find her own way in the face of that. It was great to be at the wedding of the MCs in book 1, and I really enjoyed the gaming aspect of this story, and the relationship dynamics with friends and family. This is compelling, full of heart, and has a lovely amount of humor interwoven with the heat. (Rep: African woman MC. Bisexual man MC with trauma. Non-binary secondary character. Black woman author.)
- Play It Again by Aidan Wayne (2019 contemporary m/m romance novel)*** This hit the mark for me with the online relationship and online content creator aspect, and was pretty satisfying on the long distance relationship piece as well. It’s not a completely light story, I wouldn’t exactly call it fluff, as Sam’s arc has trauma elements woven into it pretty strongly, but it’s got a fairly light adorableness to the romantic relationship aspect that was exactly what I needed on a rough day. I especially appreciated the way Dovid and Sam negotiated around sex. Sam is not sex repulsed; he’s also not really interested in sex, and Dovid carefully draws him out when he gets a soft yes for sex, in a way that I really liked. (Bisexual Jewish blind man MC. Homoromantic ace man trauma survivor MC with social anxiety. Aroace Jewish woman secondary character. Non-binary author.)
- One Con Glory by Sarah Kuhn (2010 contemporary m/f romance novella) I adored the prickly guarded heroine who is obsessed with an obscure superhero comic and has very definitive geeky theories about many aspects of fandom including the actor she ends up falling for over the course of the con, despite her certainty he is a terrible cast choice for a tv adaptation of her fave comic. (Rep: Hapa woman author.)
- Team Phison Forever by Chace Verity (2019 contemporary m/m romance novella) This story spoke to my estranged-from-family queer heart. It was substantially more angsty than book 1, and a romance about staying together instead of getting together. One that’s told from the POV of a sunshine character who is not feeling so sunny, because he’s dealing with complex familial dynamics and depression. Tyson grabbed hold of my heart, hard. I felt so deeply for him, connected with him. (Rep: Fat bisexual man MC with depression and trauma. Older gay man MC. Non-binary queer author.)
- Fair Play by Samantha Wayland (2013 contemporary m/f romantic suspense novel) This is the first in a polyamorous hockey romance series which resolves to an m/m/f triad, with the seeds planted in this book; I’m definitely hooked and want to read the other books. It was riveting, I really liked the heroine’s arc around her job, and the MCs have truly explosive chemistry; amazing UST and when they finally get to it, the sex scenes are extremely hot and definitely lay the groundwork for a triad later with a ton of erotic compersion, which was lovely to see in a romance about a couple. Please do look at the CWs in the link because there are quite a few. (Rep: Woman trauma survivor MC. Bisexual man MC.)
- Check, Please by Ngozi Ukazu (2018 contemporary m/m romance graphic novel)*** I enjoyed this so much! It was utterly delightful. It centers the most adorable gay boy hockey player ever. He figure skates! He bakes pies! He has a crush on the captain of the team! He is new to college, and new to college hockey, and so completely charming that I fell really hard for him. It’s more a story about his experiences playing hockey in his first two years of college, but there is a romance plotline that was really sweet. It has a YA feel to it, though technically I guess it’s New Adult. (Rep: Gay man MC. Nigerian American woman author.)
- On the Ice by Amy Aislin (2018 contemporary m/m romance novel) I enjoyed this hockey romance quite a bit; the pacing of the romance arc felt very demi in a way that worked for me. The meet cute was delightful, and I really appreciated the friendships and family relationships in the story quite a lot. (Rep: Gay demisexual MC. Gay trauma survivor MC.)
- Strictly Business by Sheryl Nantus (2017 contemporary m/f kink romance novel) The pro domme heroine in this sex worker/client romance does character art for games. The hero is a tech freelancer/game designer who runs a company that helps gaming companies. He wants to figure out if he is in fact submissive, as he suspects, so he hires a private pro-domme service. I liked the way they ended up connecting via gaming, and how respectful he was of her boundaries while still attempting to show how he has fallen for her and wants to be with her. I really liked the way that this story wasn’t sex work negative or critical of other kinds of sex workers. and the way it acknowledged the place that pro dommes have in kink communities. The D/s was also quite lovely, and I appreciated the dominant’s vulnerability.
- Lumber Jacked by Annabeth Albert (2019 contemporary m/m romance novella) I really enjoyed this addition to the Rainbow Cove series, which is one of my faves by Albert. A lovely kinky romance, with bondage and light D/s and a really tender connection that warmed my heart. (Rep: Queer man MC. Pansexual man MC. Bisexual woman author.)
- The Duke I Tempted by Scarlett Peckham (2018 historical m/f kink romance novel) The heroine is a mostly self taught brilliant botanist (I loved all the bits about plants) and the hero is full of so much angst and privilege and cannot deal with or face his feelings for her. This is angst-filled kink, and while there are references to potentially iffy kink practices in the past (of the emotionally self-destructive sort), I really appreciated the kink in the book itself, and the complex plot woven around the stigma of it, and the desire for it. It felt like a kinky book written for experienced kinky folks who are interested in unpacking some of the the emotional complexities of D/s, real world social power, punishment, and pain play. (Rep: MCs with trauma.)
- Ice Cream Lover by Jackie Lau (2019 contemporary m/f romance novel) I really enjoyed this, it’s one of my faves by this author and has a bi heroine who I adored. This contemporary m/f romance is from Lau’s Baldwin Village series, & the next book is due out soon! (Rep: Bisexual biracial Chinese Canadian woman MC. Chinese Canadian man MC. Biracial Chinese-Canadian woman author.)
- The Craft of Love by EE Ottoman (2018 historical m/f romance novella with a trans man hero) I loved this book so so much. It feels like cozy comfort fic. It centers a trans man & a queer woman who are both craftspeople in early 1900s NYC. I could see the textile strikes on the horizon, and the heroine is very politicized in a way I just completely adored.So much lovely craft detail, and this very gentle arc. Low conflict/low angst. The way it challenges allonormativity, heteronormativity & the supremacy of marriage is breathtaking. I was having ace spec and aro spec feels the whole time, loved how much the MCs value friendship. (Rep: Trans man MC. Queer woman MC. Disabled queer trans man author.)
- Finding X by Miles Tan (2014 contemporary m/f romance novella)*** This is a cute meet cute romance novella with a geologist hero who keeps a scientific journal documenting his attempts to win the heart of the heroine. The heroine works for a tech company and is very guarded after being burned by her last relationship. I liked how geeky they both were and the way he kept fumbling with her and trying to figure it out. This is a #romanceclass book, set in The Phillipines, and it has a lovely spare prose style that I enjoyed. (Rep: Filipinx MCs. Filipinx author.)
One Night Stand to Lovers
- Crashing Into Her by Mia Sosa (2019 contemporary m/f romance novel) This has a one night stand to friends to lovers arc, with a bit of a enemies to lovers aspect, as they start off rather antagonistic towards each other, sparring all the time. It also has a best friend’s cousin trope going on, with the cousin relationship being quite close. What I especially enjoyed, in watching them dance around each other, is the way they both had so much emotional armor, so many defenses against relationships, and yet they could not keep themselves from building one with each other. I really like stories like that, where both MCs are prickly and defended. It created this lovely tension, and these higher stakes because while I was rooting for them, I was wondering the whole time if they could manage to figure it out. (Rep: Black woman MC. Puerto Rican man MC. Black and Puerto Rican secondary characters. Brazilian-Puerto Rican woman author.)
- Unveiled Attraction by Chelsea M. Cameron (2019 contemporary f/f romance novel) This was the most compelling of the four Cameron titles I read this yea. I couldn’t put it down. The MCs were so into each other, and making terrible choices because of it and I couldn’t look away. (Rep: Queer women MCs. Queer non-binary demigirl author.)
- Stroke of Midnight by Andie J. Christopher (2017 contemporary m/f romance novel) I enjoyed this very hot brother’s best friend one night stand to fling to lovers romance. The characters are compelling and complex and have amazing chemistry. The light kink in this story is delicious, and I liked how the heroine was extremely competent. (Rep: Latinx woman MC. Latinx woman author.)
- A Werewolf’s Valentine by Zoe Chant (2016 paranormal m/f romance novella) I loved this shifter romance with a great meet-cute, a heroine I adored, and a found family theme. It was full of heat and heart, and gave me so many feelings. (Rep: Trauma survivor hero.)
- alone and palely loitering by Julian Stuart (2019 paranormal m/agender romance novelette) This story is lovely. I loved the pace and tone of it, enjoyed seeing it evolve very much. I really liked the agender rep, which isn’t named on the page but felt quite clear. (Rep: Agender MC. Agender panromantic author.)
- Love, Marriage and a Baby Carriage by C.S. Poe (2016 paranormal m/m romance novella) This queer penguin shifter meet-cute at Waddlecon surprise baby instamate romance was utterly delightful and hilarious and I’m so glad it exists.
- New Year, New We by Katrina Jackson (2019 contemporary polyamorous romance novella) We see Lane, Kierra and Monica doing their best spy work, this time posing as two queer couples with another agent, which becomes a foursome when the job is done! This is one of my most favorite polyamorous romances ever. It made my queer polyamorous heart sing! It great to revisit characters I adored, & this book was so resonant w/my own experience of polyamory, in a way I rarely find in polyamorous romance. (Rep: Bisexual Puerto Rican woman MC. Bisexual Black woman MC. Bisexual Black man MC. Bisexual man MC. Black queer woman author.)
- Three-Way Split by Elia Winters (2018 contemporary m/m/f erotic romance novel) I enjoyed this erotic romance a lot! The central conflict is equal parts can we make polyamory work and can I let my guard down and try for a romantic relationship, and they actually go to a polyamory class, which I appreciated. The sex is extremely well written and creative, really shows the different pairings within the triad as different, and I especially appreciated the D/s. Plus I liked the personal arc around asking for/accepting help quite a bit. We have two men who are roommates/best friends/fuck buddies/business partners who are both attracted to the same woman, and they resolve to a closed triad. (Rep: Bisexual men MCs. Bisexual polyamorous fat woman author.)
- Izzy and the Right Answer by R Cooper (2019 contemporary m/m/m romance novel) I was really moved by the slow evolution of this polyamorous relationship, particularly as it’s from the POV of a demisexual autistic MC. It resonated so much with my own experience of trying to sort through relationships and cues and being lost and making errors as I tried, and I fell really hard for Izzy as he attempts to sort all this out. I struggled a bit with how much he discounted his own needs and feelings and assumed that he wasn’t a partner folks would want because of his aceness and neuroatypicality, but this didn’t feel like self loathing to me, even as it felt like internalized ace antagonism and ableism. I really liked the way he kept working the problems he was grappling with at his own pace and the folks around him didn’t rush him, even as he kept getting stuck. His stuckness felt very real and resonant, a lot like my own experiences of stuckness when trying to sort things through. (Autistic demigray ace femme queer man MC. Queer men LIs.)
Road Trip Romance
- Strike Up the Band by Sam Burns (2017 contemporary m/m romance novella)*** I really enjoyed this rock star romance about a band that needs to replace their lead singer who has died, to fulfill their contract with their awful label. The romance unfolds slowly, as the ace MC starts out so angry about losing his bandmate sister and needing to tour that it takes him a while to warm up and connect with the new lead singer. I liked that the ace MC had a BFF who googled not interested in sex, found AVEN, and just handed over his phone, and the ace character got to do his self exploration and learning on his own. I also appreciated the way the MCs navigated an ace/allo relationship. That said, one of my favorite things about this was that it was mostly about the band, and how they worked through the changes they were grappling with, and found a way to be family to each other that worked for them. (Rep: Homoromantic ace man MC. Bisexual man MC. Gay man secondary character. Asexual panromantic woman author with anxiety.)
- That Kind of Guy by Talia Hibbert (2019 contemporary m/f romance novel) I loved how angry this demisexual hero was in this friends to lovers romance, how much rage he had about not knowing about demisexuality and all the ways he’d tried to pass as allo and pushed himself to have sex he didn’t want. I ache to see more angry, confused and frustrated a-spec characters, especially when those feelings are depicted with complexity, and where anger is distinguished from abusiveness (esp in men), and this book really delivers on that front. I fell hard for both MCs, enjoyed watching them go through a complicated dance of guardedness and trying to figure out what they meant to each other and how to know what was real and what was fake while navigating a fake relationship. (Rep: Demisexual man MC. Black woman MC. Black, Anglo-Romani, disabled autistic queer woman author.)
- Adonis Line by Dakota Gray (2019 contemporary m/f erotic romance novel) This book is one of my most favorite romances with a trauma survivor MC, ever. It holds the reality of survivorship beautifully, and actively refuses the kind of trauma porn, rescue dynamics and hurt/comfort dynamics that are rampant in the romance genre when it comes to survivor characters. It’s also just…a really stellar romance. Gorgeously complex characters, great use of forced proximity and road trip tropes, a romance arc that unfolded in these really lovely spirals that were so satisfying. The pacing in this story was so damn good, I could not put it down. This book contains some really fucking brilliant use of sex scenes to explore character and move plot. A master class at doing that, truly. I had a couple concerns about the disability representation regarding the hero, but I still wholeheartedly recommend this brilliant book. (Rep: Black woman MC with PTSD. Disabled Black man MC with depression. Black woman author.)
Short and Sweet
- Conversation Hearts by Avon Gale (2016 contemporary m/m romance novella) I loved this romance between a sex worker and the assassin who breaks into his hotel room and might actually be a client. It has wonderful dialogue and I liked the way they built connection. (Rep: Queer man sex worker MC. Queer man MC. Bi/demirom/grayace woman author.)
- Take Me Home by Hudson Lin (2019 contemporary m/m romance short story)*** This was an adorable romance between two elderly men who go to the same coffee shop at the same time each week, and eventually bond over knitting. The grumpy MCs POV was lovely to read, and the romance was super cute and made me grin. (Rep: Chinese Canadian queer older man MC. Black queer older man MC. Taiwanese Canadian queer author.)
- The Best Worst Holiday Party Ever by Olivia Waite (2015 contemporary m/f romance novella) I really loved this short about a woman who wants to be a sommelier getting stuck serving wine at a party where she thought she would be a guest, and having a meet cute with one of the guests while she pursues her dreams.
So Many Feelings
- Shadows You Left by Taylor Brooke and Jude Sierra (2019 contemporary m/m romance novel) A story that grips with teeth and fists and will not let you go, an unputdownable character-driven complex novel that is gorgeously told, has deeply compelling characters, and takes you on an emotional roller coaster. This is a romance between two queer men who trigger the hell out of each other and are so deeply into each other that they choose each other again and again. I felt so much for the demiro MC first experiencing that lightning quick classic demi attraction that happens with so few people, and not knowing how to reconcile it with what he knows about who he is. It was really lovely to see that kind of demi experience woven seamlessly into this complex story, to see that aspect of myself on the page. (Rep: Demiromantic man MC with addiction. Bisexual man MC. Latinx Bi-ro, demi/ace author. Non-binary, demi/pansexual and demi/panromantic author.)
- Can You Say My Name Again by Nadia Nova (2018 contemporary f/f romance story with two trans women MCs) This was a gut punch of a story that felt very new adult in a lot of ways, as it was all about coping with being an adult and identity. The romance arc was a big part of the story, but this has a bit of a litfic feel, in the intensity and voice of the story, and it’s structure. The MCs anxiety was very visceral and resonated a lot for me, felt extremely immediate in the story, and the trans representation felt very resonant to me as a trans reader. This is clearly written for a trans audience and it felt like it let itself be raw and real and messy in ways that were deeply compelling and gave me so many feelings. (Trans women MCs. Latinx trans woman author.)
- Raze by Roan Parrish (2019 contemporary m/m romance novel) So I just want to say that yet again Roan Parrish wrote a book that grabs my heart & gives me so many feelings. I feel all tender and protective of this book, which has more quiet angst, a slower pace, and is less action oriented, but grabbed hold of me hard and felt like a super intense story to read. I don’t really have words yet for this one, but I loved it. (Rep: Bi man MC with addiction. Queer man MC with trauma. Queer secondary characters.)
- There’s Something About Sweetie by Sandyha Menon (2019 contemporary YA m/f romance novel)*** I loved this book so much. It hit on every level for me: engaging characters, swoony romance that I was rooting for hard, awesome friendships that were really important to the story and the MCs, extremely well paced and well-plotted, unputdownable, with this glorious fat rep that made me incredibly happy. (Rep: Fat Indian American teen girl MC. Indian American teen boy MC. Indian American woman author.)
- Running Back by Allison Parr (2013 contemporary m/f romance novel) This was my favorite of the series, though it was definitely the one that was the least about football. I fell hard for both MCs, who were drawn with a lovely complexity and had great chemistry. I especially enjoyed the heroine’s personal arc. (Rep: Jewish woman author.)
- Stay by Elle Kennedy and Sarina Bowen (2017 contemporary m/f romance novel) I enjoyed this quite a bit! The heroine was great, I really loved how competent she was & how flustered she got around him. It has a good mix of heat & humor. This made me seek out the other connected books, though this remains my fave after trying them.