Fave Winter Holiday Romances 2019

I did a post at the end of 2017 recommending a bunch of holiday romance. This is the 2019 edition of holiday romance recommendations, even though it is being posted in January 2020, right at the tail end of the winter holidays. Please forgive the delay! I’m hoping you might still be interested in winter holiday romances. You may also be interested in my New Years recs list for 2019.

This post focuses on winter holidays and includes erotica and romance centered around these: Solstice, Noche Buena, Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, New Year’s Eve, Lunar New Year.  It definitely shows my bias towards contemporary, but there is a smattering of fantasy, paranormal, romantic suspense, historical romance and erotica too.

I read a bunch of holiday books to get to this list. Most of these are novella length or shorter. I am grouping them by theme. Most could belong in more than one category. I link to reviews where I have written them; that’s the place to find content warnings.

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 LGBTQIAP+ umbrella.

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

Disclosure: 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 books to review), but it will not add any to the cost of your product. It comes out of the company’s profits.

Blue Without You (Grief-Themed Holiday stories)

  • Eight Naughty Nights by Eliza Madison (2015 contemporary Chanukah m/f romance novella) Heroine comes home after her mothers death and proposes a Chanukah no-strings-attached affair to a longtime friend as a way to manage her grief. (She has no idea that he’s been in love with her for years.) Deliciously geeky m/f romance; includes Star Wars marathon. (Rep: Jewish white MCs. Jewish white woman author.)
  • Christmas at the Wellands by Liz Jacobs (2018 contemporary Christmas m/m romance free novella) This is a beautifully rendered rather intense and angsty romance between two BFFs/college roommates, one of whom is in recovery from psych crisis and dealing with grief, who goes home with his BFF for Christmas. (Rep: Black gay man MC with depression. Bisexual white man MC. Jewish white woman author.)
  • Lighting the Flames by Sarah Wendell (2014 contemporary Chanukah m/f romance novella)*** Heartwarming m/f romance between two old Jewish camp buddies, with themes of grief woven in beautifully. (Rep: Jewish white MCs. Jewish white woman author.)
  • Solstice Miracle by Alexis Daria (2016 contemporary Winter Solstice m/f free short story)*** Cute story where a librarian heroine who does witch improv as a side gig has two kids grieving their mother show up at her door with their very cute uncle requesting a solstice miracle. (Rep: Latinx hero. White heroine. Latinx woman author.)

Brother’s Best Friend

  • Grounded for Christmas by Savannah J Frierson (2019 contemporary Christmas m/f romance novella) This brothers best friend forced proximity second chance romance was funny and sweet and sexy and I really enjoyed it. I especially appreciated the fat representation and how very into her the hero was. (Rep: Fat Black woman MC. White man MC. Black woman author.)
  • Her Festive Flirtation by Therese Beharrie (2018 contemporary Christmas 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.)
  • Stroke of Midnight by Andie J. Christopher (2017 contemporary New Year’s 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. White man MC. Biracial Afro-Latinx woman author.)

Childhood Crush

  • Noelle the First by Nicole Falls (2017 contemporary Christmas m/f romance novella) Friends to lovers Christmas romance where he’s pined for her since middle school & promised to de-Grinch her. This was lovely. (Rep: Black MCs. Black woman author.)
  • Fireworks by Marian Tee (2017 contemporary m/f Lunar New Year romance short story) This was a deeply compelling whirlwind of a childhood crush romance that began with the heroine praying to the gods at temple on Lunar New Year to send her a sign of who could be her first boyfriend and ended with sexytimes with a (not clearly negotiated) D/s edge to them in a car right outside that same temple a few hours later. It caught me a bit off guard but I was along for the ride. (Rep: Filipinx MCs. Filipinx woman author.)
  • One Night in Vegas by CM Stone (2014 contemporary New Year’s m/f romance novella) This was a cute childhood crush/brother’s best friend romance! It centers a New Years Eve date, and I enjoyed that aspect of the story. (Rep: White MCs. White non-binary author.)

Christmas Sweaters

  • The Boyfriend Sweater Curse by Ari McKay (2017 contemporary Christmas m/m romance novelette) Cute light queer knitting romance where a knitter has been burned knitting sweaters for his boyfriends for Christmas so he decides he is going to go slow with this new relationship because he really likes the guy and not knit him anything just yet, even though he’s tempted.  (Rep: Queer white men MCs. White women author team.)
  • The Ugliest Sweater by Gillian St Kevern (2015 contemprary Christmas m/m romance novella) Meet-cute m/m heartwarming erotic romance that begins with an ugly Christmas sweater. Both of the MCs have a Christmas kink, and the story is all about finding a match you thought was impossible.  (Rep: Gay white men MCs. White woman author.)
  • His Christmas Sweater by CM Valencourt (2018 contemporary Christmas m/m romance novella) Grinch runs an inn; Christmas enthusiast gets snowed in there on his way home for the holidays. He mounts a campaign to bring Christmas to everyone snowed in at the inn, complete with multiple Christmas sweaters. (Rep: Queer white men MCs. Queer white non-binary author.)

Enemies to Lovers

  • Carolyn for Christmas by Lucy Carey (2015 contemporary Christmas f/f romance novella) I really enjoyed this childhood friends to rivals to lovers romance centering two women competing for a solo in the Christmas choral show. (Rep: White lesbian MCs. White woman author.)
  • Tow Trucks and New Years Kisses by Lila Leigh Hunter (2016 contemporary m/m New Years romance novella) Enemies to lovers m/m meet cute when a pansexual CEO covers for his godson on a snowy New Year’s Eve to help a grumpy man needing a tow. (Rep: Older pansexual white man MC. Gay white man love interest. Puerto Rican woman author.)
  • Casper Gets His Wish by R Cooper (2017 paranormal Christmas m/m romance novella) This is a gem; grumpity sweater wearing accountant elf Casper is (he thinks) hopelessly into a green haired skater elf who is the rockstar in Santa’s workshop for his toy designs and never gets his reports on time. Casper always has to go up to his office to demand them personally and deal with his jokes and charm, every single month. I adored this sweet fluffy enemies to lovers romance. (Rep: Gay white man MCs. White woman author.)

Fake Relationship

  • Holiday Honey by Chencia C Higgins (2019 contemporary Christmas m/f romance novella) This was a lovely balance of humor and heat and generally really delightful. I loved the way the characters navigated the different aspects of their dynamic together and really enjoyed seeing their connection unfold in at the very different holiday gatherings they went to throughout the day. (Rep: Black MCs. Black woman author.)
  • Faux Ho Ho by ‘Nathan Burgoine (2019 contemporary Christmas m/m romance novella) I really enjoyed this roommates to lovers fake relationship home for the family holiday wedding romance. It skips back and forth through time in a way that occasionally was a bit difficult to follow, but generally really worked in terms of building to this lovely story about honoring who you are even in the face of awful relatives. (Rep: Gay white man MC. Bi white man love interest. Queer white man author.)
  • A Fake Girlfriend for Chinese New Year by Jackie Lau (2019 contemporary Lunar New Year m/f romance novella) This may be my fave so far in this series of holiday romances centering on the same family. I adored this friends to lovers fake relationship romance; the characters had such a lovely connection, the sex scenes were wonderful, but my favorite was the Pictionary. (Rep: Chinese Canadian hero. Black heroine. Chinese Canadian woman author.)
  • A Wedding One Christmas by Therese Beharrie (2018 contemporary Christmas m/f romance novel) This beautifully rendered fake relationship romance has two very guarded people thrown together over the course of a day trying to fight off their instant connection and attraction, and it’s one of my most favorite holiday romances I read in 2018. (Rep: Black woman MC. Black woman author.)

Friends to Lovers

  • Resolutions by Lucy Eden (2018 contemporary New Year’s m/f romance novella) This friends to lovers novella was all about him helping her achieve the goals on her list before the end of the year, and it had some really lovely moments in it. A bit of a whirlwind timeframe, but really enjoyable. I especially liked meeting the characters families.  (Rep: White MCs. Black woman author.)
  • Every New Year by Katrina Jackson (2019 contemporary New Year’s m/f romance novella) I adored this angsty friends to lovers billionaire romance full of pining and heat. These characters could not get out of their own way to save their lives, and yet I kept on rooting for them to figure it out. The most New Years of all the New Years romances I’ve ever read. (Rep: Black heroine. Jewish white hero. Black queer woman author.)
  • Eight Kinky Nights by Xan West (me! CWs here) (2019 contemporary polyamorous Chanukah f/f erotic romance novel) Angsty foodie best friends/roommates to lovers romance with kink lessons and a sex pact around keeping things casual. (Rep: Jewish white autistic older gray ace queer fat femme woman MC with depression and PTSD. Jewish white autistic older pansexual fat stone butch woman MC with arthritis and PTSD. Jewish white autistic disabled queer stone butch genderqueer author with arthritis and PTSD.)

High Heat

  • Grand Theft NYE by Katrina Jackson (2019 contemporary New Years m/f romance novella) A sexy romantic comedy heist story! The sexual chemistry between the MCs was through the roof. He is completely gone for her in the best way, and I fell just as hard for her myself, and zoomed through reading this book because she was so damn compelling, and the plot just drove me along. I stayed up way too late reading this and I do not regret it; it was unputdownable and I loved every moment. The fat rep in this book was stellar, which is not a surprise, as Jackson is consistently writing wonderful fat rep that makes me so happy as a fat reader. (Rep: Fat Black heroine. Asian American hero. Black queer woman author.)
  • A Good, Old-Fashioned Chanukah Pegging by Roan Parrish (2019 contemporary Chanukah m/f erotic romance free short story) I really enjoyed this Chanukah story about the MCs in Parrish’s Small Change trying out pegging for Chanukah. It was nice to spend time with these characters again. and the pegging scene was wonderful. (Rep: Queer white woman MC who I read as neuroatypical. White man love interest. Jewish white woman author.)
  • The Hook Up Before Christmas by Phyllis Bourne (2018 contemporary Christmas m/f romance novella) This was delightful. A great mix of humor & heat & I really enjoyed the characters. This is my first read by Bourne and it made me want to seek out more of her work. (Rep: Black MCs. Black woman author.)
  • A Tale of Two Cities: A New Year’s Novella by Alexandra Warren (2019 contemporary m/f New Years romance novella) I adored this meet-cute New Years romance! It cracked me up multiple times and delivered serious heat. This was my first read by this author and got me motivated to read her backlist. (Rep: Black MCs. Black woman author.)

Historicals

  • Mrs. Gomez’s New Year’s Surprise by Lydia San Andres (2019 historical m/f New Years romance short story) I really liked this romance between a widow who runs a boarding house and one of her boarders. I liked the way he was so gone for her and she was irritated by him at first, and they have some lovely chemistry. (Rep: Latinx older bisexual woman MC. Older man MC. Latinx woman author.)
  • A Midnight Kiss by Emma Barry and Genevieve Turner*** (2016 historical New Years m/f romance novella) My favorite New Years romance ever. Such a satisfying arc, lovely swoony moments and a heroine I completely adore. (White MCs. White women authors.)
  • Let It Shine by Alyssa Cole (2016 historical Chanukah m/f romance novella) Beautiful historical romance between two civil rights activists with a childhood crush to lovers trope. I adore the heroine’s arc in particular. Worth reading for the Chanukah scene alone. (Rep: Black woman MC. Jewish man MC. Black woman author with ADHD.)

Holiday Baking Competition

  • Sugar Butter Flour Love by Nicole Falls (2018 contemporary Christmas m/f romance novella) This enemies to lovers romance between MCs who hated each other in high school and are now teammates in a holiday baking contest was delightful, fun, and had some lovely heat. (Rep: Black MCs. Black woman author.)
  • Mangoes and Mistletoe by Adriana Herrera (2019 contemporary Christmas f/f romance novella) I really enjoyed this baking contest themed romance. The MCs had amazing chemistry and also rubbed each other the wrong way half the time, which made for great heat and also a really compelling story. (Rep: Dominican lesbian MCs. Dominican bisexual woman author.)
  • Gingerbread Dreams by K.L. Noone (2019 contemporary Christmas m/m romance novella) I especially loved all the detailed food descriptions in this romance between a sunshiny contestant and a grumpypants judge in a holiday gingerbread baking competition. I love this author’s style, and am looking forward to trying backlist titles. (Rep: Gay white MCs. White woman author.)

Home for the Holidays

  • Red Envelope by Atom Yang (2018 contemporary Lunar New Year’s m/m romance novella) I enjoyed his Lunar New Year romance between family friends who had a one night stand last Lunar New Year and now are meeting again and need to contend with what that means. (Rep: Queer Chinese American MC. Queer white trauma survivor MC. Chinese American author.)
  • Unwrap Me by Jack Harbon (2018 contemp Christmas m/m erotica novella) This feels like a very queer NA Christmas story, 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 white man MC. Latinx gay man MC. Black gay man author.)
  • Second Chance Road Trip For Christmas by Jackie Lau (2019 contemporary Christmas m/f romance novella) I adored this really charming road trip second chance romance complete with a snowed in, power outage, only one bed situation. I really appreciated the way the characters were so good to each other, and felt so right together, and how low angst, low conflict this story was. It was such a good comfort read, and I was particularly charmed by how gone he was for her and how he devoted everything he had to making her happy. (Rep: Chinese Canadian hero. Black heroine. Chinese Canadian woman author.)
  • The Year of the Crocodile by Courtney Milan (2016 contemporary Lunar New Year m/f romance novella) I really enjoy Blake and Tina in this story, and the family gathering/clashing has some of the best dialogue ever. (Rep: White hero with an ED. Chinese American immigrant heroine. Chinese American immigrant secondary characters. Bisexual hapa woman author.)

Kinky Stories

  • Mistletoe Mistress by Nicola Davidson (2019 historical Christmas m/f erotic romance novella) I adored this kinky historical romance with it’s no room at the inn so they must share trope and particularly for the wonderful fat representation. (Rep: White MCs. White woman author.)
  • Wrapped Together by Annabeth Albert (2016 contemporary Christmas 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 white men MCs. Bisexual white woman author.)
  • Paddled by Krampus by Harley LaRoux (2019 paranormal Yule m/m/f erotica story) In this delightful erotica story, a disobedient wizard’s apprentice learns that the tales of Krampus-a mystical creature who punishes the disabedient-are all too real when she steals her Master’s sex potion to try it herself. Luckily, Krampus is just the one to push her Master into taking her into hand properly–after he administers his own punishment first, of course, completely with monster fucking. (Rep: White MCs. White woman author.)

Meet Cute

  • Learning Curves by Ceillie Simkiss (2018 contemporary Christmas f/f novella) This is an NA college-set holiday romance and it was lovely. I really enjoyed the way the characters moved from meet cute to best friends to dating. It was a lovely arc, and this is definitely a satisfying Christmas romance, with family gathering, a mistletoe moment, and lots of foodie moments. (Rep: Fat Puerto Rican lesbian woman MC with anxiety. Panromantic asexual white woman MC with ADHD. Panromantic asexual white woman author with ADHD and anxiety.)
  • Dance All Night by Alexis Daria (2018 contemporary New Year’s m/f romance novella) I loved the premise and set-up for this story, it’s a classic set of tropes, and perfect for a holiday novella. Daria delivers on tropetastic goodness in so many ways, and this story has wonderful pacing, complex nuanced characterization, MCs I fell hard for, and an approach to holiday romance that I really appreciated. It was all about what Christmas meant to each of them as specific people, and the traditions they created together. (Rep: Immigrant white man MC. Black woman MC. Puerto Rican woman author.)
  • Holiday Homerun by Priscilla Oliveras (2018 contemporary Christmas m/f romance novella)*** I adored this meet-cute forced proximity Christmas romance between a baseball player and a woman who was glad to finally rid her life of baseball. (Rep: Puerto Rican heroine. White hero. Mexican American-Puerto Rican woman author)

Neighbors to Lovers

  • Eight Cozy Nights by Julia Wolf (2018 contemporary Chanukah m/f romance novella) This neighbors to lovers romcom has a lot of humor and a lot of heart, and was my fave new Chanukah romance I read in 2018. (Rep: Jewish white MCs. White woman author.)
  • ‘Tis the Season by Sommer Marsden (2014 contemporary Christmas m/f romance novella): Cute romance between neighbors. Marsden shines in characterization here, per her usual, with the touch of comic goofiness and smoking hotness that I especially enjoy in her stories. (Rep: White MCs. White woman author.)
  • Eight Secret Nights by Shoshana David (2019 contemporary Chanukah m/f romance novel) This m/f Chanukah romance has a secret admirer leaving presents for Chanukah thing going on, & I think it could be a fun light romcom. Which of her neighbors could it be? Are her friends helping him? Is it possibly the one she thinks is cute? (Rep: Jewish white heroine. White hero. Jewish white woman author.)

Paranormal

  • A Demon for Midwinter by KL Noone (2018 paranormal Winter Solstice m/m romance novel) I adored this rockstar/manager age gap romance not just for the emotionally armored grumpy projective empath rockstar melting completely over his younger half demon cheerful cinnamon roll of a manager, but also because it really felt like it handled the plot around the abusive boyfriend with respect, complexity and care. This is likely going to be a particular delight for classic rock fans, and folks into rockstar romances that go rather deep into showing the characters composing music. Also, the writing is lovely, and moving, and made me all verklempt. (Rep: Pansexual white older man MC. Queer white man MC with trauma. Queer trans white author.)
  • Hearts Alight by Elliot Cooper (2016 paranormal Chanukah 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 white Jewish MC. Queer white Jewish MC. White trans man secondary character. Bi white trans man author.)
  • The Coyote’s Comfort by Holley Trent (2018 paranormal Christmas f/f romance novella) I loved this book so much! It has a light touch with the holiday aspect and this lovely intensity of a second chance romance with a prickly survivor MC I completely adored. This series is wonderful! (Rep: White lesbian MCs. Black woman author.)
  • Eitan’s Chord by Shira Glassman (2015 paranormal Chanukah f/f/f erotica story) Three Chanukah fairies visit a trans man and his queer girlfriend and raise energy to grant their wishes through having sex with each other. (Rep: Queer white Jewish women Chanukah fairy MCs, one of whom is chubby and butch. Jewish white trans man/queer white woman secondary couple. Bisexual Jewish white woman author.)

Please Sir, May I Have Some More? (food themed stories)

  • Her Christmas Cookie by Katrina Jackson (2018 contemporary Christmas m/m/f romance novella) This book was exactly what I needed from a queer polyamorous holiday story, as it centers the way all three partners support each other through the complexities of going home for the holidays, and shows a range of family experiences. (Rep: Black woman MC. Black bisexual man trauma survivor MC. Latinx pansexual man MC. Black queer woman author.)
  • Wrapped by Rebekah Weatherspoon (2017 contemp Christmas m/f romance novella): I loved this just as much the second time around. It was also lovely to revisit these characters after reading Rafe. I adore the heroine in this book so much. (Rep: Fat Black heroine. White hero. Black queer author.)
  • Holly & Oak by R Cooper (2017 fantasy Winter Solstice m/m novella) I loved this second installment to Coopers Familiar Spirits series. Seriously wonderful, heartbreaking, angsty, with a lovely resolution. Gutted me in the best way. The MC makes the most amazing ice cream, I was so hungry after reading. (Rep: Gay white man MC. Black queer man love interest. White woman author.)

Polyamorous Romance & Erotica

  • The Little Drummer Boy by Elizabeth Lister (2014 contemporary Christmas m/m/m erotic romance free short story) With both of his partners working so much, Tate feels abandoned and frustrated around the holidays. His dominant James comes up with a plan to get him through one more week of their busyness and put them all in the Christmas spirit: chastity play. (Rep: Queer white men MCs. White bisexual woman author.)
  • Ring in the True by Kris Ripper (contemporary m/f New Year’s romance with trans leads and open polyamory) This is one of many New Years novellas set inside the Scientific Method series, that take a secondary character in the main series and tell a story of New Years at the beach house from their POV (including lots of kink and group sex). It cannot really stand alone. This book centers a trans m/trans f polyamorous couple, and is told from the POV of a trans man, Evan. Overall, I appreciated the trans representation in this story, and found the sex and kink to be realistic and resonant. (Rep: Trans white man MC. Trans white woman love interest. Genderqueer white author.)
  • New Year, New We by Katrina Jackson (2019 contemporary New Year’s polyamorous romantic suspense 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 white man MC. Black queer woman author.)

Retellings

  • A Christmas Parranda by Andrea Beatriz Arango (2019 contemporary Noche Buena & Christmas f/f romance novella)*** I really enjoyed this Christmas Carol retelling childhood crush to lovers romance. The writing was really engaging, and I fell hard for both the central characters. Excited to see more from this author; this is her first romance. (Rep: Puerto Rican bisexual women MCs. Puerto Rican woman author.)
  • The Remaking of Corbin Wale by Roan Parrish (2017 contemporary fantasy Chanukah m/m romance novel) A beautiful rather angsty retelling of Practical Magic, with so much baking, a lovely Chanukah feast, a light touch of magic, and characters that stole my heart and gave me so many feels. The heat is a deliciously slow burn in this story. I especially appreciated the autistic artist MC, and the kink, and also the dogs. I highly recommend the audio. (Rep: Queer autistic white man MC. Queer white man MC. Jewish white woman author.)
  • A Little Queermas Carol by Sassafras Lowrey (2016 polyamorous Christmas novella)*** A kinky queer retelling of the Dickens classic with a genderqueer Ebe who gives everything to the revolution as a way to manage their grief over losing their BFF, and isn’t sure they can commit to the Daddy/girl couple who want Ebe to be part of their family. Heartwrenching, intense, beautiful story that gave me so many feels. (Rep: Queer white genderqueer MC. Queer white trans masc love interest. Queer white girl love interest. Queer white genderqueer author.)

Romantic Comedy

  • Chasing Christmas Eve by Jill Shalvis (2017 contemporary Christmas m/f romance novel) I really enjoyed this rom com between two guarded folks who were not looking for each other but could not stay away. I especially liked the chosen family feel. It felt very much like a Christmas rom com movie. (White MCs. White woman author.)
  • A Touch of Sugar by Christina C Jones (2017 contemporary Christmas m/f 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.)
  • One Bed for Christmas by Jackie Lau (2018 contemporary Christmas m/f romance novella) This brought a lovely mix of humor, heat and heart and made me want to devour the author’s backlist. (Asian Canadian MCs. Biracial woman author.)

Second Chance

  • Twelve Dates of Christmas by Rilzy Adams (2019 contemporary Christmas m/f romance novella) I really enjoyed this second chance romance set in Antigua. It’s tropey goodness, start to finish, and the writing was lovely. I fell hard for both characters, and loved that we got to spend time with their family and friends. I’m excited to explore this author’s backlist. (Rep: Black MCs. Black woman author.)
  • Kwanzaa Angel by Shirley Halstock (2012 contemporary Kwanzaa m/f romance novel) Heartwarming tropey goodness with a big dash of heat, in a lovely m/f Kwanzaa romance, with childhood crush, second chance, return to hometown, & business rivalry tropes. Can she forgive him for breaking her heart on prom night? (Rep: Black MCs. Black woman author.)
  • A Season for Wishes by Lydia San Andres (2015 historical Christmas m/f romance novella)*** I enjoyed this second chance romance, it was quiet & sweet. I liked the characters a lot, and am looking forward to reading more in this series of historical romances set on a fictional island in the Carribean. (Rep: Latinx MCs. Latinx woman author.)
  • Boyfriend for Christmas by J. Nichole (2018 contemporary Christmas m/f romance novella) I enjoyed this Christmas second chance romance between childhood friends. I liked the moments between the heroine and her niece; they were sweet. (Rep: Black MCs. Black woman author.)

Single Parents

  • Stone and Shell by Lloyd A Meeker (2016 contemporary m/m Winter Solstice romance novelette)*** Told from the POV of a single dad’s 8 year old son, this sweet m/m romance about a kid who really wants his dad to find a new boyfriend warmed my heart. I enjoyed the details about the solstice altar from a child’s perspective. (Gay white man MC. Gay Asian American love interest. Gay white man author.)
  • A Mistletoe Affair by Farrah Rochon (2014 contemporary Christmas and Kwanzaa m/f romance novel) This was my second read of a contemporary category 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. (Rep: Black MCs. Black woman author.)
  • His Perfect Partner by Priscilla Oliveras (2017 contemporary Christmas m/f romance novel)*** Dance teacher clashes with a student’s father and then they keep running into each other in this beautiful single parent romance. Very much a holiday story, really holds that kind of sweetness and celebration, that centering of family and care. (Rep: Puerto Rican heroine. Mexican American hero. Puerto Rican-Mexican American author.)

Snowed In

  • Frostbite by J Emery (2019 paranormal New Year’s m/m romance novella) I really enjoyed this vampire/monster hunter snowed in New Years m/m romance! It’s full of tropetastic goodness, lovely chemistry, and hits the enemies to lovers aspect just right. Really delivers on the snowed in aspect, from the trapped and someone’s coming after you part that is a staple when snowed in meets romantic suspense, to the nearly frozen MC gets cared for by other MC until he regains his health, to the sense of being the only two people in the universe. (Rep: Fat queer white man MC. Fem queer white man MC. Queer white non-binary author.)
  • Christmas Inn Maine by Chelsea M. Cameron (2019 contemporary Christmas enby/f romance novel) This is a tropetastic holiday romance playing with enemies/workplace rivals to lovers, home for the holidays, snowed in, and only one bed tropes, and I found it to be a delightfully light and adorable romance, with absolutely no angst or trans antagonism in it, something that is incredibly rare to find with trans and non-binary MCs. (Rep: Queer white demigirl MC. Lesbian white woman MC. Queer white demigirl author.)
  • Hot Coded Christmas by Nana Malone (contemporary m/f Christmas romance novel) Second chance geeky snowed in m/f romance centering a heroine who is trying to save her gaming company and a hero who wants to buy it. Wonderful chemistry, so much heat and so much rivalry, and this lovely flashback to play 7 minutes in heaven in high school. (Black MCs. Black woman author.)

Workplace

  • New Year, New Boo? by Alexandria House (2019 contemporary New Years Eve m/f novella) Mostly taking place at the company New Year’s party in which the MCs are the only two Black people in attendance and deal with way too many micro-aggressions from their white co-workers, this coworkers with mutual crushes finally get together romance was really engaging. I was rooting for this couple, and really glad when they fully invested in being together. (Black MCs. Black woman author.)
  • To Touch the Light by EM Lindsey (2019 contemporary Chanukah m/m romance novella with a trans man MC) I enjoyed this deeply drawn angsty complex Chanukah boss/employee romance. The power differential was handled carefully and respectfully, and with the long term pining, I was on board for this pairing. They also have a really wonderful chemistry, which made for some gorgeous heat. (Rep: Latinx gay trans man MC. Immigrant Jewish white gay man MC with low vision. Bisexual chronically ill Jewish Deaf white woman author.)
  • The Best Worst Holiday Party Ever by Olivia Waite (2015 contemporary New Year’s Eve m/f romance novelette) 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. (Rep: White MCs. White woman author.)

2 thoughts on “Fave Winter Holiday Romances 2019

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