Fave Romance Novels I Read in 2019

This year, I am splitting off my favorite romances into two posts: favorite romance novels and favorite romance novellas and novelettes. This post lists my fifty favorite romance novels I read in 2019. (Not all of them were published in 2019, of course.) It includes mostly new reads, with a few notable rereads.

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.

This list definitely shows my bias towards contemporary romance, but also includes fantasy romance, historical romance, romantic suspense and even graphic novels. 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.

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.

Artist MC:

  • Kissing Ezra Holtz (and Other Things I Did for Science) by Briana R Shrum (2019 YA contemporary m/f romance novel) I loved this enemies to lovers romance; I loved how queer and Jewish it was, and how much it engages with complex issues around imagining a future and being framed as a slut. The casual inclusion of trans and non-binary secondary characters made me especially happy. (Rep: Jewish Sephardic bisexual teen girl MC who I read as having ADHD. Jewish white teen boy love interest. Many white queer, trans and non-binary secondary characters. Jewish white queer woman author.)
  • Get A Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert (2019 contemporary m/f romance novel) This is in my top three favorite 2019 romance novels. I adore everything about it, from the slow evolution of the romance arc to the characters to the wonderful fat rep, spoonie rep, and chronic pain rep. It’s full of humor, heat, and heart and is gorgeously written, perfectly paced, and extremely satisfying. In fact, this isn’t just a 2019 fave, it is an all time top ten favorite romance for me. (Rep: Fat Black heroine with fibromyalgia. White hero with PTSD. Black Anglo-Romani autistic queer disabled woman author.)

Bodyguard/Protectee Romance

  • Girl Gone Viral by Alisha Rai (2020 contemporary m/f romance novel) This bodyguard/protectee romance has the twist of her not actually being in danger, but feeling scared and triggered by going viral and running away with her bodyguard to try to find a way to deal with the situation. I appreciated the trauma rep, the very slow burn, the friendships and complex family dynamics, and fell really hard for the heroine and the hero both. (Rep: Biracial Thai American heroine with PTSD. Biracial Desi-Mexican American hero with PTSD. Desi woman author.)
  • Reverb by Anna Zabo (2019 contemporary m/f romantic suspense novel with a trans man hero) I loved so much about this bodyguard/protectee rock star romance, found it completely riveting, could not put it down. I fell really hard for both MCs, loved their dynamic, their chemistry, their flirtation. The sex scenes were gorgeous and had stellar trans rep and were hot as hell and had this wonderful femdom dynamic. It’s got so much joy and care in the romantic relationship and in the chosen family aspects, which makes the spectre of ongoing risk from the stalker feel more intense by contrast. I struggled some with the way things wrapped up in the story, they felt like they needed more attention and care, but I still would recommend this, despite that, if you are up for the trauma aspects of the content. (Rep: Queer white cis woman trauma survivor MC. White trans man combat veteran and trauma survivor MC. Bi/pan white non-binary author.)

Bringing the Heat

  • Rend by Roan Parrish (2018 contemporary m/m romance novel) Rend was a particularly intense read for me, it wrecked me big time, and the audio performance was brilliant. I fell so hard for the MC, he really resonated. The trauma rep cut so close to bone for me, and I liked that it mostly focused on what it was like to be a survivor, years after the trauma, how it can shape you. I liked that it was a couple on the rocks story, because that was the only way to get an arc that felt real with these particular characters, where I would believe in the happy ending. This is one of those books I know I will return to, again and again. (Rep: Gay white MC with PTSD. Gay white man MC. Jewish white 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.)
  • 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.)

Brother’s Best Friend

  • 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. White hero. Latinx 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. White hero. Chinese-Canadian woman author.)

Childhood Crush

  • 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 white MCs. Jewish white 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.)

Fake Relationship

  • 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 white autistic woman MC. White man MC with trauma and addiction. Jewish white woman author.)
  • Not Another Family Wedding by Jackie Lau (2018 contemporary m/f romance novel) I really loved this fake relationship romance set at a family wedding, complete with a huge helping of family drama. I especially loved the representation around not wanting children. (Chinese Canadian MCs. Biracial Chinese Canadian woman author.)

Geek Romance

  • Play It Again by Aidan Wayne, read by Sean Crisden (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 white blind man MC. Homoromantic white ace man trauma survivor MC with social anxiety. Aroace white Jewish woman secondary character. Non-binary white author.)
  • Hold Me by Courtney Milan, read by Sean Crisden and Xe Sands (2015 NA contemporary m/f romance novel) I really liked this on audio, it added new layers to the story for me, and I felt more for the characters (esp the hero) listening to the performances. I especially appreciated listening to this after thinking about this thread, the first review of the book that I’ve read by a transfem reviewer. (Rep: Latinx trans woman MC. Vietnamese-Chinese American bisexual man MC. Bisexual hapa woman author.)

Graphic Novel Romance

  • 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 white man MC. Nigerian American woman author.)
  • Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker and Wendy Xu (2019 paranormal f/enby romance graphic novel)*** I adored this cozy second chance romance between childhood friends who reunite as older teens. I loved the feel of the art, so cozy with muted colors. All this glorious witchiness and magic school and magical experimentation. (Rep: Chinese-American, Deaf, queer Jewish MC. Chinese-American non-binary survivor MC. Lebanese American woman author. Asian American illustrator.)

Hockey Romance

  • Game Changer by Rachel Reid (2018 contemporary m/m romance) This contemporary m/m romance has a meet cute between a closeted hockey player and the cute guy who made the smoothies that might have helped him break a losing streak, a one night stand to lovers arc, and heavily centers out for you as the core trope. This was my first Reid book and I found it pretty compelling. It feels like the most swoony of the hockey romances I’ve read so far, except for Kiss and Cry. It felt like the story valued the romantic aspect of the relationship and centered it alongside the sexual aspect. (Rep: Gay white MCs. Several secondary characters of color. White 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 white demisexual MC. Gay white trauma survivor MC. White woman author.)

Kink Romance

  • 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: White MCs with trauma. White woman author.)
  • The Chai Factor by Farah Heron (2019 contemporary m/f romance novel) This was full of humor, heat and heart, and had a lovely femdom dynamic that I really enjoyed. I fell really hard for the heroine, and loved the complexity in the depiction of her relationships with family and friends. (Rep: Desi heroine. White hero. Desi woman author.)

Marriage of Convenience

  • White Whiskey Bargain by Jodie Slaughter (2019 contemporary m/f romantic suspense novel) I loved this marriage of convenience romance between the children of rival moonshine manufacturers who come together against a common enemy. It was deeply compelling, the MCs had glorious chemistry, and the stakes were high the whole time. I could not put it down. (Rep: Black heroine. Latinx hero. Black woman author.)
  • Xeni: A Marriage of Inconvenience by Rebekah Weatherspoon (2019 contemporary m/f romance novel) This romance has all of the strengths I generally find in books by Rebekah Weatherspoon: smoking hot sex scenes, heroines I want to be friends with, Black women supporting each other, awesome friendship groups, queerness, engaging writing, wonderful humor, and awesome fat representation. This is definitely a comfort read along the lines of Rafe, it has similar qualities, is low conflict and the angst doesn’t come from the romantic relationship. Instead we have family secrets and drama around them, and a central grief arc for the heroine, and a hero who has family issues of his own. (Rep: Black bisexual woman witch MC. Fat bisexual white immigrant man MC. Black queer woman author.)

Meet Disaster

  • Love Lettering by Kate Clayborn (2019 contemporary m/f romance novel) I adored this book so much, it was beautiful to watch this romance arc unfold. I loved the way it was as much about falling in love with art and NYC as it was about the MCs falling for each other. (Rep: White MCs. White woman author.)
  • 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.  (Rep: Bisexual biracial Chinese Canadian woman MC. Chinese Canadian man MC. Biracial Chinese-Canadian woman author.)

Modern Royalty

  • Truly, Madly, Royally by Debbie Rigaud (2019 YA contemporary m/f romance novel)*** A lovely YA modern royals romance with an awesome Black heroine who meet-cutes with a prince, accidentally. It was completely delightful and had a seriously awesome heroine who I adored to pieces. The hero was just gone over her and how competent she was, and I love those kinds of romances. (Rep: Black woman MC. White hero. Black 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 with trauma. Bisexual white man MC with trauma. Non-binary white secondary character. Black woman author.)

Must Love Dogs

  • 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: White trauma survivor MCs. Thai American woman author.)
  • 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 white man MC. Black woman MC with trauma. Black, Anglo-Romani, disabled autistic queer woman author.)

One Night Stand to Lovers

  • 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.)
  • 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.)

Polyamorous Romance

  • A Lesson in Thorns by Sierra Simone, read by Sara Ormenyi  (2019 contemporary polyamorous romance mystery) This is part mystery, part polyamorous romance, centering six childhood friends returning to the house where they spent time together as kids, and is centered around the complex, fraught, intense relationships they have and build as adults. It is a gorgeously written, deliciously kinky story culminating in an intense sex magick ritual for Imbolc, and it ends on a cliffhanger for both the mystery and the romantic relationships, though there is some resolution for each. I highly recommend the audio. (Rep: Bisexual white men MCs. Queer white woman MC. Queer fat white woman MC. Queer Black woman MC. White woman author.)
  • Three-Part Harmony by Holley Trent (2019 contemporary m/m/f romance novel) I loved this so much, really enjoyed watching the complexity of these relationships unfold, and the ways each character was a catalyst for the others. This is a beautiful, unforgettable, polyamorous romance, and I’m already rereading it on audio. (Rep: Autistic queer white man MC. Bi white man MC. White woman MC. Black 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 white men MCs. White woman MC. Bisexual polyamorous fat white woman author.)

Romantic Suspense

  • Criminal Intentions series by Cole McCade (2018-2020 contemp m/m romatic suspense novels) This is a police procedural slow burn romance serial. McCade is truly masterful at building complex characters, at having slow organic reveals of them as a story goes along, at building sexual and romantic tension, and at showing small moments of intimacy. I loved the demigray ace representation and the slow burn romance across this series. (Rep: Bi Persian American Mizrahi Jewish man MC with PTSD. Gay demigray ace Korean American man MC with PTSD. Genderqueer/Two Spirit Lumbee secondary character. Aro Black Cubano American woman secondary character. Native AmeriBlAsian POC demibisexual queer trans man author.)
  • All Things Burn by Jodie Slaughter (2019 m/f romantic suspense novel) This romance centers a woman whose abusive ex finds her and threatens her and the hitman she hires to kill him so she can be safe. It’s intense and riveting and I could not put it down. (Rep: Black woman survivor MC. White man love interest. Black woman author.)
  • Bang and Burn by Katrina Jackson (2019 contemporary m/m romsusp novel) I devoured this in big gulps and couldn’t put it down. It was a really fun read! I fell really hard for Caleb and Lamont, and am looking forward to them getting an HEA in a later book; this felt right, kinda like a prequel for that, because the timing was off. I really liked that the author honored that need, to wait for the right time. I liked seeing glimpses of the characters I know and love, especially Chante. It was fun to see Lane go off on his own on a mission. I also really liked the way we got to see Lamont reacting to all the ways his relationships at work go sideways; I think sometimes in spy stories we don’t get to see that, and it made me really feel for him. (Rep: Black queer men MCs. Black queer woman author.)

Second Chance Romance

  • American Love Story by Adriana Herrera (2019 contemporary m/m romance novel) I loved this a lot, & really appreciated the complexity & nuance in the story. This may be my favorite 2019 romance, it’s at least in the top 3. This is my fave so far in a very strong series, a second chance, neighbors-landlord/tenant, activist romance. I read this in ebook, and then re-read in audio about a month later. The audio performance is wonderful. (Rep: Afro-Latinx Haitian American gay man MC. Gay man MC. Afro-Latinx Dominican American bisexual woman author.)
  • Unveiled Attraction by Chelsea M. Cameron (2019 contemporary f/f romance novel) This wedding shop set one night stand to lovers second chance romance was the most compelling of the five Cameron titles I read this year. 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.)

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 white man MC with addiction. Bisexual white man MC. Latinx Bi-ro, demi/ace author. Non-binary, demi/pansexual and demi/panromantic white 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 white man MC with addiction. Queer white man MC with trauma. Queer white secondary characters. White woman author.)
  • One Day to Fall by Therese Beharrie (2019 contemporary m/f romance novel) I loved this angsty romance between two messy scared people who run away from their lives and spend the day together. It gave me so many feels, and it was lovely to approach the family I met in book 1 from a completely different angle. (Rep: Black MCs with trauma. Black woman author.)

Sports Romance

  • 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: White MCs. Jewish white 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. (Rep: White MCs. White women author team.)

Vacation Romance

  • The Write Escape by Charish Reid (2019 contemporary m/f romance novel) I really enjoyed this romance centering a woman who takes herself on vacation to write a romance, and ends up falling for the guy in the cottage next door. It was a lovely light read, and the characters were really engaging. Looking forward to more books from this debut author. (Rep: Black woman MC. White man MC. Black woman author.) 
  • Work for It by Talia Hibbert (2019 contemporary m/m romance novel) I loved this angsty romance so so much. I fell really hard for both of the MCs and their arcs gave me so many feels. (Rep: Black man MC with depression. Autistic white man MC. Black Anglo-Romani autistic queer disabled woman author.)

Workplace Romance

  • 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 white woman MC with trauma. Older white man with trauma. Fat white 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 white woman MC cancer survivor. Queer butch white woman MC. White woman author.)

YA Romance

  • 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.)
  • Sick Kids in Love by Hannah Moskowitz, read by Amy Melissa Bentley (2019 YA contemporary m/f romance novel) Some of the best chronic illness & chronic pain rep I’ve ever read. So resonant with my own experience in so many ways, for the spoonie stuff & also just in its NY Jewishness. Also, a really lovely swoony m/f YA romance with a bisexual hero! I especially love the audio & highly recommend you read it that way. The performance is great & the feels are more inescapable that way, I think. (Rep: Jewish bisexual white heroine with arthritis. Jewish bisexual white hero with chronic illness. Jewish lesbian white woman author with chronic illness.)

7 thoughts on “Fave Romance Novels I Read in 2019

      1. I will have to look into what my local library can do. I do have a weird membership in audible—basically Amazon will do anything to keep you on including moving you to one credit every other month, which made Audible a lot more affordable—and I gotta spend my credit somewhere.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh cool, it’s definitely worth getting on audio, I loved the performance and really appreciated the chronic pain representation. I also loved the spoonie rep in Get A Life Chloe Brown, which was equally wonderful on audio. But the cool thing about Sick Kids in Love was that they both were dealing with chronic illness.

        Liked by 1 person

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