Fave Romance Novellas & Novelettes I Read in 2019

Starting last year, I began splitting off my favorite romances into two posts: favorite romance novels and favorite romance novellas and novelettes. This post gives a rather long list of 50 of my favorite romance novellas and novelettes I read in 2019. (Not all of them were published in 2019, of course.) It focuses on new reads. It definitely shows my bias towards contemporary adult romance, but there is a handful of fantasy, paranormal, YA, romantic suspense, and historical romance too.

If you want to see books from prior years best romance reads, here are my 2015, 2016,  and 2017 lists, which included all lengths, and my 2018 lists of favorite romance novels and favorite romance novellas and novelettes. If you want to see prior recs lists for shorter form books, try this May 2018 list that focuses on romance, this 2017 list that includes multiple genres, and this 2016 list that includes romance and erotica.

This list definitely shows my bias towards contemporary romance, but also includes paranormal romance, historical romance, science fiction romance, and romantic suspense. 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 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.

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.

Activist Romance

  • Open House by Ruby Lang (2019 contemporary m/f romance novella) I stayed up til almost 3am reading Open House by Ruby Lang because I couldn’t put it down. I have no regrets. It was wonderful. I was so invested in these characters figuring stuff out & finding a way to be together & it was so satisfying to get to that happy ending. (Rep: Chinese-American man MC. Afro-Latinx woman MC. Asian American woman author MC)
  • The Blundering Billionaire by Chace Verity (2019 contemporary m/f romance novella with a trans woman heroine)*** I really liked this one! I fell hard for both the characters, especially the heroine, and it was really lovely to get to spend time with them. This romance focuses on activism around the student loan debt crisis. It’s set inside the fashion world and I especially appreciated the descriptions of Jay’s outfits, which were wonderfully genderiffic and sounded amazing. I read it as part of an anthology but it was recently released as a stand-alone. (Rep: Black gender non-conforming hero. White chubby trans woman heroine. Non-binary white queer author.)

Baking Contest

  • Mangoes and Mistletoe by Adriana Herrera (2019 contemporary 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 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.)

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 it made me check out her backlist. (Rep: Black MCs. Black woman author.)
  • 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.)

Enemies to Lovers

  • This is How You Lose The Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone (2019 f/f science fiction romance novella)*** This science fiction romance blew me away. The writing is gorgeous, the audio performance is amazing, and the story of these two spies traveling throughout time and falling for each other is deeply compelling. I love epistolary romances and this is one of my most favorites. (Queer white women MCs. Queer Lebanese Canadian woman author. White man author.)
  • Sugar Butter Flour Love by Nicole Falls (2018 contemporary 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.)

Fake Relationship

  • A Fake Girlfriend for Chinese New Year by Jackie Lau (2020 contemporary 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 man MC. White woman MC. Chinese Canadian woman author.)
  • Playing House by Ruby Lang (2019 contemporary m/f romance novella) I loved reading all the urban planning talk, the architecture talk, the discussion of all the intricacies of NYC neighborhoods, and the premise that they would geek out together about this stuff while pretending to be potential buyers. I liked the quiet slowness of the story, enjoyed spending time with the characters, enjoyed their attraction to each other before they clearly made a move, and liked the way their relationship evolved. (Rep: Asian American MCs. Queer Asian American man secondary character. Asian American woman author.)
  • Holiday Honey by Chencia C Higgins (2019 contemporary 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.)

Foodie Romance

  • A Match Made for Thanksgiving by Jackie Lau (2019 contemporary m/f romance novella) This is a nice fluffy holiday romance with a meet cute one night stand to lovers arc and a meddling matchmaking family that I enjoyed tremendously. It had a rom-com feel, could easily be made into a holiday romance movie. It’s low conflict, low angst, fairly high heat, and definitely a foodie romance. (Rep: Chinese Canadian MCs. Biracial Chinese Canadian author.)
  • Graham’s Delicacies by Mina Waheed (2019 contemporary foodie romance collection) This contains three light and fluffy romances: a meet cute workplace f/enby romance, a coworkers in denial about their long term crush until they finally admit it m/m romance, and a second chance after the love interest disappeared in the middle of the night after a one night stand m/enby romance. They are all centered around queer characters who work in the same bakery cafe, and they were all adorable. (Rep: Saccharine: Black, bisexual MC with anxiety. Nonbinary, chubby white LI with anxiety. Delectable: Gay Mexican-American MC. Gay Black LI. Ravenous: Arab-American, queer, and nonbinary MC. Gay Korean-American LI. Fat, bi/pan romantic demisexual, Arab, nonbinary, anxious 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 white man trauma survivor MC. Non-binary white MC. Queer white non-binary author.)

Friends to Lovers

  • Tiny House, Big Love by Olivia Dade (2019 contemporary m/f romance novella) I enjoyed this romance centering long term rather emotionally guarded friends who have been mutually pining forever and are taking one last shot to spend time together (and maybe finally make a move?) via a tiny house themed reality show. (Rep: White trauma survivor heroine. Guatamalan American trauma survivor hero. White woman author.)
  • Every New Year by Katrina Jackson (2019 contemporary 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. White Jewish hero. Black queer woman author.)
  • You, Me, U.S. by Brigitte Bautista (2019 contemporary f/f romance novella) This slow burn friends to lovers romance has really lovely sex work representation and so much pining. (Rep: Filipinx queer women MCs. Filipinx queer woman author.)

Geek Romance

  • 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: White MCs. Hapa woman author.)
  • Can’t Escape Love by Alyssa Cole (2019 contemporary m/f romance novella) This has wonderful disability representation, is delightfully geeky, and I fell really hard for both of the MCs. The cover is wonderful, the book was funny and heartwarming and deeply engaging. I’m glad to have read this, twice, in March. (Rep: Black disabled woman MC. Vietnamese American autistic man MC. Black 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 white man MC with depression and trauma. Older white gay man MC. Non-binary white queer author.)

Holiday Romance

  • The Best Worst Holiday Party Ever by Olivia Waite (2015 contemporary 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.)
  • Faux Ho Ho by ‘Nathan Burgoine (2019 contemporary 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.)

Kink Romance

  • 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 white man MC. Pansexual white man MC. Bisexual white woman author.)
  • Page of Swords by Ainsley Booth and Sadie Haller (2018 contemporary m/f romance novella) I enjoyed this kinky meet-cute neighbors to lovers Halloween romance. He’s an experienced dom who assumes she isn’t kinky when he meets her, she’s a novice sub who fantasizes about him spanking her from the start; they end up neighbors, with him the landlord, and as secretly mutually crushing friends, until they start planning a Halloween street festival together… (Rep: White heroine. Black hero. White women author team.)
  • American Squire by Sierra Simone (2019 contemporary m/m romance novella) This is one of the more lovely service-focused queer D/s romances I have read. I esp appreciate how it plays with the idea of service to a monarch like a squire or knight would offer, something that I have found to be very resonant for some service based submissive folks I have known. I did wish it was longer and we got to see more of the Dom’s sadism, but I still loved it. I should note that it’s part of a kinky Arthurian retelling series that seems to be mixed orientation, with some polyamory. (Rep: Queer white man MC. Queer white man love interest. White woman author.)

Meet Cute

  • 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.)
  • 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 white man MC. Queer white woman MC. Disabled queer white trans man author.)
  • A Girl Like Me by J. Nichole (2019 contemporary f/f romance novella) This romance had a lot of lovely aspects to it; I especially enjoyed the chemistry between the MCs and the ways they were tender with each other. It was definitely a coming out story and that aspect of it was about as central as the romance arc. (Rep: Black bisexual woman MC. Black lesbian woman love interest. Black woman author.)

Neighbors to Lovers

  • Bubbe Linda’s Menorah by Lavinia Klein (2019 contemporary m/f romance novelette) This charming contemporary neighbors to lovers Chanukah m/f romance was really lovely. The heroine is mourning the recent death of her bubbe, and finds that lighting her bubbe’s menorah and celebrating Chanukah with her new neighbor, who’s unable to spend it with his family, brings her comfort. They have lovely chemistry, and the pacing of this story worked really well for me; it felt like just the right amount of story in the space, and I enjoyed all the food and family details and discussions of different approaches to the holiday. Plus, how can you go wrong with undies that have dreidels on them? (Rep: Jewish white woman MC. Jewish white man love interest. Jewish white woman author)
  • Neighborly by Katrina Jackson (2019 contemporary m/f/f/m erotic romance novella) A completely delightful, extremely hot, and deeply loving polyamorous erotic romance. Such a good read, and a high heat low angst low conflict polyamorous story that feels tender, soft and rather cozy along w/being romantic and sexy. I really appreciated reading such a comforting, lovely high heat polyamorous story where all the characters are careful and caring toward each other and you can just relax and enjoy witnessing them coming together. (Rep: Black queer women MCs. Black men MCs. Queer Black woman author.)

New Adult Romance

  • 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. (White trans women MCs. Latinx trans woman author.)
  • Ipso Facto ILU by Hudson Lin (2019 contemporary m/m romance novella) This was delightful. Queer leftist celebrity podcaster meet-cutes queer graduate student who fanboys his podcast and is delightfully awkward. Complete with lots of fluster, and being snowed in, plus a one night stand that might lead to more, this insta-love romance made me smile all the way through. I really liked how much Jonny was charmed by Brandon’s awkwardness and poli-sci theory geekery. I adored Brandon myself and wanted to be his friend. (Rep: Asian Canadian queer man MCs. Taiwanese Canadian queer author.)
  • 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 white ace man MC. Bisexual white man MC. Gay white man secondary character. Asexual panromantic white woman author with anxiety.)

One Night Stand to Lovers

  • Slow Moves by Elliott Junkyard (2019 contemporary m/m romance novella with a trans man lead) I adored this rock star romance to pieces, really loved the one night stand to lovers arc, the way the characters built connection, the friendships in the book, the trans representation. (Rep: Bisexual white trans man MC. Queer white man love interest. Queer white trans man author.)
  • Grand Theft NYE by Katrina Jackson (2019 contemporary 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.)

Paranormal Romance

  • Date from Hell by Gareth Vaughn (2018 paranormal erotic m/m romance novella with a trans man lead) A submissive demon needs a date for the Halloween party/orgy & accidentally summons a soulless human instead of his last demon hookup, & the soulless human turns out to be hot & dominant & trans & a great date…who wants to get his soul back. The trans rep is incidental, which really worked for this story, and I loved that the human didn’t sell his soul to transition but to save his brother’s life. This definitely leans heavily towards the erotic end of erotic romance, with demon-related sex acts (can’t let the forked tongues go to waste), and I also found it rather adorable and charming. (Rep: Bisexual white man MC. Queer white trans man MC. Queer trans white author.)
  • 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 white MC. White LI. Agender white panromantic author.)
  • Frostbite by J Emery (2019 paranormal 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 white queer man MC. Fem white queer man MC. Queer white non-binary author.)

Seasoned Romance

  • Mrs. Martin’s Incomparable Adventure by Courtney Milan (2019 historical f/f romance novella) I really enjoyed this romance, which centers two older women, one working class, one aristo, who are both trying to deal with the same terrible man. (He really is quite terrible.) It’s as much about them joining forces and finding ways to depend on each other despite their substantial differences as much as it’s about them falling in love, and I found it delightful. (Rep: Queer white older women MCs. Bisexual hapa 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.)
  • Can’t Help Falling by Rose Grey (2019 contemporary m/f romance novelette)*** This is a bit of a whirlwind interfaith Chanukah m/f romance, but it feels so quiet and measured that you kind of forget that they fall for each other so fast. I really appreciated that it was a romance between two sixty-something characters, and this was a lovely read. I especially liked the symbolism of the menorah in the story. I appreciated the complex dynamic with the step-daughter. (Rep: Older Jewish white woman MC. Older Black man MC. Jewish white woman author.)

Second Chance Romance

  • Second Chance Road Trip For Christmas by Jackie Lau (2019 contemporary m/f romance novella) I adored thireally 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.)
  • 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.)

Shifter Romance

  • 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: White heroine. Trauma survivor white hero. White woman author team.)
  • Bear with Me by Lucy Eden (2019 paranormal m/f romance novelette) A cute, fun shifter romance centering a social media influencer who is trying to save her career after a post-break up public meltdown, so she goes to a cabin in the woods, documents it for her followers, and ends up falling for a bear shifter. It’s my first book by Lucy Eden, and it made me want to glom her backlist. It’s funny, sexy, and it manages to do fated mates in a way that’s close to fully consensual. (Rep: Bisexual white heroine. White hero. Black woman author.)

Short Stories

  • Conversation Hearts by Avon Gale (2016 contemporary m/m romance novelette) 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 white man sex worker MC. Queer white man MC. Bi/demirom/grayace white woman author.)
  • October Spice by KL Noone (2019 contemporary m/m erotic romance novelette) This is a beautifully written story with a baker MC and a very appreciative fireman customer and just a bit of kink in a spur of the moment heated encounter that turns romantic by the end and I wish it would become a novel because I would so read that much more of these characters and this prose and the beautiful food descriptions. (Rep: Queer white man MC. Black queer man LI. Bisexual white woman author.)
  • Aftershocks by Rachel Lynn Solomon (2019 contemporary m/f romance novelette) I loved this romance between two Jewish geeky teens who are nervously on their first date at Shabbos dinner and grappling with the fact of their different levels of observance. I appreciated the OCD and anxiety rep a lot, the anxiety rep resonated for me. I was rooting for them as a couple, and enjoyed the way they navigated the awkwardness of first date/mutual crush between friends becomes instant relationship. They are both so sweet in their insecure moments with each other, and how they bond over geekiness. I liked how much he was into her being competent and smart. The bit where they hold hands is super swoony and also full of this lovely humor. (Rep: Jewish white teen girl MC with OCD and anxiety. Jewish white teen boy love interest. Jewish white woman author.)

Single Parent Romance

  • Grumpy Jake by Melissa Blue (2019 contemporary m/f romance novella) This grumpy/sunshine single parent romance was delightful, hilarious and smoking hot. As usual, Melissa Blue delivered a book that helped me get through a hard week, and that I know I will be doing a comfort reread of soon. (Rep: Black heroine. Trauma survivor white hero. Black woman author.)
  • A Taste of Her Own Medicine by Tasha L Harrison (2019 contemporary m/f erotic romance novella) I read this age gap small town teacher/student romance during a week when I really struggled to read anything at all.  I fell hard for Soni, and especially appreciated the family relationships in this wonderful romance centering a single mom who is rebuilding her life after divorce and falls for the younger teacher of her business class. Wow did it bring the heat in the best way. (Rep: Black woman MC who’s a witch. Chubby Black man love interest. Black woman author.)

One thought on “Fave Romance Novellas & Novelettes I Read in 2019

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.