Lists

Best LGBTQA+ Romances of 2017

I have already featured many of the wonderful books published this year with LGBTQA+ characters on my other Best of 2017 lists.

However, I did such a massive read of books with queer characters this year that I have some more really amazing books to recommend to you as must reads.

I avoided a great deal of LGBTQA+ romance in the past (only reading maybe two or three a year)  because of my discomfort with the objectification of gay male sexuality by heterosexual women for heterosexual women’s consumption. Male Male being called a genre instead of a sexual or romantic pairing bothered me and the rise of the popularity of Male Male out of slash fiction didn’t feel right either. The stated reasons some straight women liked the reading about or writing about two (or three)  heroes seemed misogynistic to me as well. (See the thread following this interview of some women writers penning gay romance from All About Romance in 2014.) Also, as in the larger LGBTQA+ community, gay men are at the center of queer romance reinforced power dynamics of whose voice matters in not good ways.

As bisexual (maybe pansexual, this term wasn’t in common use in the 1990’s when I was figuring out my sexual identity) cis woman married many years to a  cis male heterosexual partner, I have been “out” for a long time and active in my queer community at different levels. But bi  erasure is a thing and as any LGBTQA+ person knows coming out again and again is exhausting and the phobias within our own community painful. Go figure that hands down one of my favorite books of the year was Roan Parrish’s Small Change with a bisexual foul mouthed heroine and an amazing bearded sweetie pie hero.

So, what changed? Why did I start reading LGBTQA+ in such large numbers this year? Partly, I think, its because the writers of LGBTQA+ shifted and became more diverse themselves and then more diverse in the characters in the last few years. Male, transgender, bisexual, asexual, authors started publishing in larger numbers or at least in a a more visible way. Authors also found their way to writing these romances from a wider variety of paths and thus the kinds of plots and styles increased. I also did a ton of queer theory reading along side these romance books because I am a big old knowledge nerd and had a ton fun of fun learning ideas that have come to prominence since I last spent time studying the subject. I particularly loved discussions around  romantic orientation and the fine work of the Asexual Visibility  and Education Network.

I started out my reading glom with bisexual, lesbian, gender fluid, transgender, and asexual characters.  I, then, followed these authors into their other books which often had more common male male gay pairings. I liked the chance to explore new relationship dynamics and plots. I love finding new to me writers.  I became curious about the “classics” and read those.  I found so many thoughtful and gifted writers. My concerns still linger and I have stumbled into books and writers that are a huge NOPE for me but that happens in any pairing and sub genres (don’t get me started on Nazi “heroes”).

I think the election and the utter threat to my community day after day, policy after policy, tweet after tweet, is what ultimately compelled me to make a commitment to really go all in with LGBTQA+  characters in romance.  I wanted to do anything I could to lend my support emotionially and financially to those of us under threat and I wanted to do it in a hopeful proactive way.  I wanted not to erased.  Also, I needed to find a place of safety, power, acceptance and love for my LGBTQA+ community and in my romance community. So, I sought comfort in happily ever after and the joy of love and being loved.

So many, many books were bought and loved.

Here are some of my favorite LGBTQA+ Romances published in 2017.

My lists are never in any particular order.

Heart Stop by Radclyffe A great procedural and romance. My Review!

Jay “Flash” Reynolds has a brilliant future as a trauma surgeon until a truck on a rainy night changes her life. Assistant chief medical examiner Olivia Price is more at ease with the dead than the living―at least the dead never lie. All she needs to do is listen to their stories. What she doesn’t need is a surly new resident who would rather be somewhere else.

Two women, one with a damaged body, the other a damaged spirit, challenge each other to dare to live again.

 

 

Deep Edge (Harrisburg Railers Book 3) bRJ Scott  & V.L. Locey  Ice Skating and Hockey romance. Great series! My review to come. 

Trent Hanson is a figure skating phenom adored by millions around the world. His whole life has been dedicated to the sport he loves even when the sport – and his own family – have turned against him. From the playground to the Olympics to his parent’s living room, Trent has fought against bullies and homophobes to be the out and proud gay man he is. But the constant fighting has left Trent tired, lonely, and skittish. All those fears will have to be shelved though when he’s hired to spend the summer working with the Harrisburg Railers ice hockey team. Who would have guessed that the man fate has decided to pair him off with is Dieter Lehmann, all-around sex god and a man who seems to have everything to prove and doesn’t care who he hurts to get what he wants.

Dieter has spent too many years languishing in the minors, and a secret addiction to prescription painkillers means his career is in a downward spiral. His ex is blackmailing him, and he’s close to walking away from it all. But when he’s called up in the run for the Stanley Cup to cover injuries he has a taste of what it’s like playing in the NHL, and he realizes that a place on the Railers’ roster is what he wants more than anything. More than listening to his heart, and even more than caring for the infuriating figure skater who gets under his skin. When he crosses the line to get what he wants, he knows he has lost his way. He has to change, but is it too late for both his career and any chance he might have at love?

Block and Strike by Kelly Jensen Compelling look at biphobia and starting over. My review to come.

Jacob Kendricks is three months out of prison, estranged from his daughter, and ready to get his life on track. Taking care of the bum curled up on his doorstep isn’t part of the plan. When he realizes the man has been assaulted, Jake takes him to the hospital, where he learns that Max is his downstairs neighbor… and that he could really use a friend. Keeping Max in the friend-zone would be easier if he wasn’t so damned cute.

Maxwell Wilson has been bullied for years, and the only person who ever cared lives too far away to come to his rescue. Now his upstairs neighbor is offering support. Max remains cautious, suspecting he is little more than a project for the handsome Jake. When he learns Jake has had boyfriends as well as girlfriends, Max has to reevaluate his priorities—and muster the courage to take a chance at love.

Just when a happy future is within their grasp, life knocks them back down. A devastating blow leaves Max lower than ever and Jake wrestling with regret. They both have to find the strength to stand on their own before they can stand together.

Rim Shot by  Skylar M Cates Must read New Adult Sports Romance! My review to come!

Can college roommates go from friends to lovers?

Kyle: I’m confident that with hard work, my position as point guard can carry me from rural Indiana to the NBA. I also know I’m attracted to guys, but admitting it might disappoint my father, who is all I have in this world. I have big dreams, so I’ll stay in the closet. As long as my life remains scandal-free, I have a shot.

Micah: My large family can’t spare the money to help with my education, but that won’t stop me from studying medicine. I needed to get out of the house I was sharing with my ex before I went insane. Luckily, I heard about a guy looking for a roommate. Living with a straight jock won’t be easy, but it’s a chance I’m willing to take.

Color of You by CS Poe Witty and lyrical. A great romance. My review to come!

Bowen Merlin— yes, that’s his real name—accepts a position in the quaint town of Lancaster, New Hampshire, as the high school band director. He leaves New York City for the snowy countryside of New England just in time for the holidays. With class, homework, after-school activities, and a surprise Christmas concert to plan and rehearse, Bowen is plenty busy. And since he’s never had much luck with romance, factoring in time to find Mr. Right isn’t a priority….

Until he meets the proprietor of Snowy Ridge Apple Orchard, Felix Hansen. Suddenly, true love seems like a possibility for the first time in Bowen’s life. The two are a perfect match and fill the skipped beats of each other’s hearts. But as wonderful as Felix seems, he’s harboring scars that could end their budding relationship when someone in town goes to great lengths to sabotage their careers.

If Bowen is to survive the holidays, he’ll need to lean on old friends and new, convince Felix he’s worth any hardship, and prove they can come out of the catastrophe stronger if they do so together.

Starting from Scratch  by Jay Northcote  Wonderful New Adult romance with a sweet and hot love story. My review!

Starting over isn’t easy, but Ben is ready to live his life as the man he was always meant to be.

Ben is transgender and back at university after hormone treatment and chest surgery. His new housemates have no idea about his history and Ben would prefer to keep it that way. He’s starting from scratch and his life is finally on track, except in the romance department. The idea of dating guys as a guy is exhilarating but terrifying, because if Ben wants a boyfriend he’ll have to disclose his secret.

Sid is drawn to Ben from the moment they meet. He normally gets what he wants—in the short term at least. Ben’s guarded at first, and Sid’s not used to guys rejecting his advances. He eventually charms his way through Ben’s defences and helps Ben on his journey of sexual awakening.

It doesn’t matter to Sid that Ben is trans. He’s attracted to the whole person, and isn’t worried about what is—or isn’t—in Ben’s pants. They’re good together, and both of them are falling hard and fast, but Ben’s insecurities keep getting in the way. If Sid can convince Ben he’s committed, will Ben finally be able to put his heart on the line?

At Attention (Out of Uniform)  by Annabeth Albert  A great series! This is a wonderful age difference military romance,  My review!

Lieutenant Apollo Floros can ace tactical training missions, but being a single dad to his twin daughters is more than he can handle. He needs live-in help, and he’s lucky a friend’s younger brother needs a place to stay. He’s surprised to see Dylan all grown up with a college degree…and a college athlete’s body. Apollo’s widowed heart may still be broken, but Dylan has his blood heating up.

It’s been eight years since the teenage Dylan followed Apollo around like a lovesick puppy, and it’s time he showed Lieutenant Hard-to-Please that he’s all man now—an adult who’s fully capable of choosing responsibility over lust. He can handle Apollo’s muscular sex appeal, but Apollo the caring father? Dylan can’t afford to fall for that guy. He’s determined to hold out for someone who’s able to love him back, not someone who only sees him as a kid brother.

Apollo is shocked by the intensity of his attraction to Dylan. Maybe some no-strings summer fun will bring this former SEAL back to life. But the combination of scorching desire and warm affection is more than he’d expected, and the emotion between them scares him senseless. No fling lasts forever, and Apollo will need to decide what’s more important—his past or his future—if he wants to keep Dylan in his life.

Illegal Contact by  Santino Hassell A great sports romance with compelling characters! My Review! 

New York Barons tight end Gavin Brawley is suspended from the team and on house arrest after a video of him brawling goes viral. Gavin already has a reputation as a jerk with a temper on and off the field—which doesn’t help him once he finds himself on the wrong side of the law. And while he’s been successful professionally, he’s never been lucky when it comes to love.

Noah Monroe is a recent college grad looking for a job—any job—to pay off his mounting student debt. Working as Gavin’s personal assistant/babysitter seems like easy money. But Noah isn’t prepared for the electrifying tension between him and the football player. He’s not sure if he’d rather argue with Gavin or tackle him to the floor. But both men know the score, and neither is sure what will happen once Gavin’s timeout is over…

Back Piece (Skin Deep Inc.) by L.A. Witt   Great shy hero military romance. My Review!

Colin Spencer is a tattoo artist with a past he’d prefer to keep a secret. Actually, he has a few secrets that he’d rather people didn’t know about, which is why Colin doesn’t do commitment. But when a shy sailor approaches him at the gym, Colin finds this guy pushing all his buttons.

Growing up in a conservative family, then escaping with the Navy, Daniel Moore is an unsure virgin who feels like he can’t share his true self with anyone. Seeing Colin—and his tattoos—at the gym are the sign Daniel needs to finally get those tattoos he’s always wanted, and maybe try his hand at flirting.

As Colin and Daniel spend more time together, their awkward hesitations turn into a deep passion neither expected. But with both men harboring secrets, will their relationship be able to survive their insecurities and become something beautiful?

Coach’s Challenge by Avon Gale This is such a great series. Wonderful romance between a coach and a player.  My Review!

It’s been decades since blackmail forced Troy Callahan to retire from playing professional hockey, and he’s built a successful career behind the bench. When he’s offered the opportunity to coach the Asheville Ravens—the most hated team in the ECHL—he’s convinced that his no-nonsense attitude is just what the team needs to put their focus back on hockey. But Troy is disheartened when he finds that the Ravens have signed Shane North, a player known for his aggression. And it only gets worse when Shane’s rough good looks give Troy inappropriate thoughts about a member of his team, even if Shane’s set to retire at the end of the season.

Shane’s career in the majors never quite took off. Wanting to quit on his own terms, Shane agrees to a one-year contract with the Ravens and finds himself playing for a coach who thinks he’s an aging goon and with a team that doesn’t trust him, the coach, or each other. Despite his determination to not get involved, Shane unwillingly becomes part of the team… and is just as unwillingly drawn to the gruff out-and-proud coach. As the Ravens struggle to build a new identity, Shane and Troy succumb to the passion that might cost them everything.

Amazing Books on My Other Lists Already!

Cat’s Best Romance Reads in 2017 but Published Prior

I read a ton this year. I refuse to look at the number of books. I don’t do Reading Challenges but if I did I would be EMPRESS of ALL. lol  It is fair to say I didn’t binge watch much (though I managed GLOW one fine summer day), you could find me when not adulting and connecting to the fam and friends and animals, reading

My beloved has an autoimmune disease that had us starting the year with open heart surgery and so it went.  I could but won’t list all the “things” that have happened in the last two year  to me and mine and in the world that would make any stress test tracking my levels break. It been a year. Several actually.   I am doing well though. Most days.

I am very blessed. I am loved and love. I have a job I enjoy and find meaningful. I have a wonderful support system, shelter, food, pets and safety.  Oh, and books.

I highly encourage self care through reading. Here is the good medicine I found in Happily Ever Afters this year after missing their original publication date.

My lists are never in any particular order! That would add undo stress. 🙂

 Far From Home by Lorelie Brown 

This is stunning book. We are deep in the heroine’s perspective. I love a healing romance and this one is with a Marriage of Con as well.  My Review!

My name is Rachel. I’m straight . . . I think. I also have a mountain of student loans and a smart mouth. I wasn’t serious when I told Pari Sadashiv I’d marry her. It was only party banter! Except Pari needs a green card, and she’s willing to give me a breather from drowning in debt.

My off-the-cuff idea might not be so terrible. We get along as friends. She’s really romantically cautious, which I find heartbreaking. She deserves someone to laugh with. She’s kind. And calm. And gorgeous. A couple of years with her actually sounds pretty good. If some of Pari’s kindness and calm rubs off on me, that’d be a bonus, because I’m a mess—anorexia is not a pretty word—and my little ways of keeping control of myself, of the world, aren’t working anymore.

And if I slip up, Pari will see my cracks. Then I’ll crack. Which means I gotta get out, quick, before I fall in love with my wife.

 Unraveling Josh by Edie Danford  A completely new to me author. A really great romance with amazing character development. My Review! 

When the crown prince of bad boys hooks up with his former high school crush, he’s after just one kind of happy ending.

Nick McQueen just scored the perfect hookup—Ellery College ski champion, Joshua Pahlke. What better way for Nick to prove his transformation from high school loser to sexy sinner? He’ll gift golden-boy Josh with the hottest, dirtiest sex of his life and then leave him begging for more.

But his definition of happiness is about to change…

Josh needs to blow off steam. He’s spent years pushing himself in academics and sports, but nagging injuries and career doubts have him craving a new challenge. Nick might be the key—he sure as hell turns Josh’s crank. Josh eagerly rises to the task of winning over moody-broody Nick. But when new love and old secrets change the rules of their game, “winning” takes on a whole new meaning.

A Seal Upon Your Heartby Pepper Pace I love the complexity of this romance and the thoughtful look into like after immigration from such horror. My Review!

Jane used to have a different name, a different life—but that was before she was rescued from the refugee camp after the Rwandan genocide and brought to the convent to be raised. Now she is being dismissed, told to go out into the world. But how does she do that when all she knows is the convent?
Sometimes she wants to scream, I am a child of Africa! And sometimes she wants to dream about a love that will save her from her loneliness…but mostly she wants to fit in.

Tim Singleton lost his wife to breast cancer less than a year ago and yet the pain and anger is still fresh in his mind. He hates the sympathetic looks from his colleagues and tolerates the invitations from friends with their good intentions. When Corrine died, so did Tim’s faith…so when he received the call from the convent that his wife had focused her charitable endeavors, Tim isn’t quite sure why he agreed to help the young African girl with a job.

She didn’t quite fit in with the others at the law firm that wore thousand dollar Chanel suits while her clothes were picked with care from the donation bin at the church. At nearly six feet tall, the shy girl tried to become invisible in the hectic world around her. But if her ill-fitting clothes didn’t draw attention to her, then it was a beauty that couldn’t be hidden so easily.

Soon Jane sees Tim as not only her benefactor, but her one true love. But can Tim finally open up and allow someone else to touch his heart? Can he forget their difference in race and age? And more importantly, would being with him mean the loss of her innocence?

Documenting Light  by EE Ottoman  I love the romances that Brain Mill Press is putting out. This books features great writing about non cis characters which I am so happy to read but my favorite parts of the book along with the love story are the deep nerdy history dives particularly investigating how we think about history or historical objects. My Review!

you look for yourself in the past and see nothing, how do you know who you are? How do you know that you are supposed to be here?

When Wyatt brings an unidentified photograph to the local historical society, he hopes staff historian Grayson will tell him more about the people in the picture. The subjects in the mysterious photograph sit side by side, their hands close but not touching. One is dark, the other fair. Both wear men’s suits.

Were they friends? Lovers? Business partners? Curiosity drives Grayson and Wyatt to dig deep for information, and the more they learn, the more they begin to wonder — about the photograph, and about themselves.

Grayson has lost his way. He misses the family and friends who anchored him before his transition and the confidence that drove him as a high-achieving graduate student. Wyatt lives in a similar limbo, caring for an ill mother, worrying about money, unsure how and when he might be able to express his nonbinary gender publicly. The growing attraction between Wyatt and Grayson is terrifying — and incredibly exciting.

As Grayson and Wyatt discover the power of love to provide them with safety and comfort in the present, they find new ways to write the unwritten history of their own lives and the lives of people like them. With sympathy and cutting insight, Ottoman offers a tour de force exploration of contemporary trans identity.

 Midwinter Night’s Dream by Eli Easton Midsummer Nights Dream is my favorite Shakespeare play so this retelling had me at hello but match to the excellent craft of Eli Easton’s love story, it will be a favorite for a long time. Review to come. 

Micah is the hippest, most chill guy on campus. But when he gets the hottest kiss of his life from a cute guy during a game of ‘spin the bottle’, Micah’s cool turns into a puddle of anxious goo. Sure, Micah’s always been a little bi-curious, but he never thought he’d pursue a guy, much less a guy who doesn’t seem to be interested in getting caught.
Leo is passionate about two things: gay rights activism and acting. He stays focused and in control, and he never, ever, dates straight guys. When a chance spin of a bottle at a party has him locking lips with Micah Springfield, president of the Delts, dread-headed, serial-dating, straight Micah, Leo is determined to forget about it, no matter how incendiary the sparks or how gorgeous Micah may be.

Leo has bigger problems. His senior project is directing Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream just before the Christmas break. When his venue cancels at the last minute, Micah offers the use of his parent’s barn in rural Pennsylvania. Leo’s play may be saved, but what about his heart? Between Micah’s sweet lips, his family’s welcoming arms, and a devious bulldog who is determined to play Puck, Leo may find himself falling under the spell of Christmas magic.

Too Stupid to Live (Romancelandia Book 1)  by Anne Tenino  This book made me laugh. It has so much fun with the romance novel and we get an amazing hero in Sam. Comfort read! My Review!

It isn’t true love until someone gets hurt.

Sam’s a new man. Yes, he’s still too tall, too skinny, too dorky, too gay, and has that unfortunate addiction to romance novels, but he’s wised up. His One True Love is certainly still out there, but he knows now that real life is nothing like fiction. He’s cultivated the necessary fortitude to say “no” to the next Mr. Wrong, no matter how hot, exciting, and/or erotic-novel-worthy he may be.

Until he meets Ian.

Ian’s a new man. He’s pain-free, has escaped the job he hated and the family who stifled him, and is now — possibly — ready to dip his toe into the sea of relationships. He’s going to be cautious, though, maybe start with someone who knows the score and isn’t looking for anything too complicated. Someone with experience and simple needs that largely revolve around the bedroom.

Until he meets Sam.

Sam’s convinced that Ian is no one’s Mr. Right. Ian’s sure that Sam isn’t his type. They can’t both be wrong…can they?

The Weight Of It All by N.R. Walker Another funny book but a wonderful Plain Joe hero and grand banter. So good! My Review!

After being dumped by his long-term boyfriend for being overweight, Henry Beckett decides to make some drastic changes. In a vain attempt at getting his boyfriend back, Henry does the most absurdly frightening thing he can think of.
He joins a gym.
Reed Henske is a personal trainer who isn’t sure he’ll ever be ready to date again. He’s sick of guys who are only interested in the perfect body image, never seeing him for who he really is.
As Reed tortures Henry with things like diet and exercise, Henry enamours Reed with recipes and laughter. As the friendship lines start to blur, Henry is convinced there’s no way Thor-like Reed could ever be interested in a guy like him.

 

A Rational Arrangement   by L. Rowyn Great world building, a heroine to admire, and wonderful poly love story. My Review!

“But these are vital aspects of marriage. If one cannot discuss them, what’s the use in meeting at all? It’s like trying to decide what you’ll have for dinner without mentioning food.”

Wisteria Vasilver does wish to marry. Truly. But though she lives in Paradise, arranging a match is full of traps and pitfalls for the unwary … or perhaps just for her.

Nikola Striker, Lord of Fireholt, expects he’ll wed — someday. But not now, and never to a rich icicle of a woman like Miss Vasilver. No matter how much his parents might want the match, or his house might need her dowry. Besides, he has his own problems — most of them people who need his help as a mind-healer.

Lord Justin Comfrey, Viscount of Comfrey, would be more than happy to help Striker with his financial troubles, and not just to ensure that Miss Vasilver’s dowry doesn’t tempt Striker into marriage. If only he could find some way to make his proud, stubborn friend accept the money!

Can three people of such different temperaments ever find their way to a more perfect Paradise?

How to Be a Normal Person by TJ Klune  The levels of delights this book brought me can’t be measure. Every detail adds more and more complexity to what is a comic romance with all sorts of layers, meta fun, and just perfect romance. And there is a ferret. Review to come,

Gustavo Tiberius is not normal. He knows this. Everyone in his small town of Abby, Oregon, knows this. He reads encyclopedias every night before bed. He has a pet ferret called Harry S. Truman. He owns a video rental store that no one goes to. His closest friends are a lady named Lottie with drag queen hair and a trio of elderly Vespa riders known as the We Three Queens.

Gus is not normal. And he’s fine with that. All he wants is to be left alone.

Until Casey, an asexual stoner hipster and the newest employee at Lottie’s Lattes, enters his life. For some reason, Casey thinks Gus is the greatest thing ever. And maybe Gus is starting to think the same thing about Casey, even if Casey is obsessive about Instagramming his food.

But Gus isn’t normal and Casey deserves someone who can be. Suddenly wanting to be that someone, Gus steps out of his comfort zone and plans to become the most normal person ever.

After all, what could possibly go wrong?

Carry the Ocean (The Roosevelt Book 1) by Heidi Cullinan A classic so skillfully writing, such a grand romance, you will read it over and over. My Review!

Normal is just a setting on the dryer.

High school graduate Jeremey Samson is looking forward to burying his head under the covers and sleeping until it’s time to leave for college. Then a tornado named Emmet Washington enters his life. The young man with a double major in math and computer science is handsome, forward, wicked smart, interested in dating Jeremey–and he has autism.

But Jeremey doesn’t judge him for that. He’s too busy judging himself, as are his parents, who don’t believe in things like clinical depression. When Jeremey’s untreated illness reaches a critical breaking point, Emmet is the white knight who rescues him and brings him along as a roommate to The Roosevelt, a quirky new assisted living facility.

As Jeremey and Emmet find their feet at The Roosevelt, they begin to believe they can be loved for the men they are beyond their disabilities. But before they can trust enough to fall head over heels, they must trust their own convictions that friendship is a healing force and love can overcome any obstacle.

Honorable Mentions!

The Perfect Fit by Jenna Sutton

For Real (Spires)  by Alexis Hall

In the Middle of Somewhere by Roan Parrish
Power Play by Avon Gale

All Note Long  by Annabeth Albert

Point Shot Trilogy Box Set  by V. L. Locey 

Family Man by Heidi Cullinan  and‎ Marie Sexton 

Brandon Mills versus the V-Card by J.A. Rock  and‎ Lisa Henry 

 

Great Romance Novels with People of Color Leads or by People of Color 2017

#WeNeedDiverseBooks  I made a commitment this year to read more romance by people of color and with people of color in the lead.  Check out The Ripped Bodice’s Report on Racial Diversity in Romance to see why.

I already read a whole lot  of racially diverse romance because this what my world looks like  and I like to see it on the page but I made it goal this year to be deliberate about my reading choices and increase those numbers even more. Hopefully through my blog and reviews, you will find some amazing new writers to enjoy.

These are just the best written in 2017  I read that didn’t land on my other Best of Lists. I read so very very much this year as a self soothe and as a result I found a bounty of stunningly good books.

My lists are never in any particular order.

Citywide : A Five Boroughs Novella Collection by Santino Hassell This collection is best read if you love this series already but the writing is great, the characters fully embodied and the love smoking hot.

A record-breaking heat wave engulfs the Five Boroughs, and emotions run as hot as the temperatures.

In Rerouted, Chris Mendez is trying to live a drama-free life. That doesn’t include another threesome with Jace and Aiden Fairbairn. But then a citywide blackout leaves them trapped together, and Chris is forced to re-examine everything he thought he knew about relationships and his own heart.

In Gridlocked, former Marine Tonya Maldonado is keeping real estate heiress Meredith Stone on permanent ignore. Mere isn’t Tonya’s type. Not even close. Who cares if she kisses like a dream and has the filthiest mouth this side of the East River? But then a security detail at a summer party ends with her saving Mere’s life and discovering they have more chemistry than she’d ever imagined.

In Derailed, Stephanie Quinones escapes the heat and her complicated love life by going on a company retreat. Trouble is, it’s a couples’ retreat, and she lied about having a boyfriend. Unfortunately, the only person willing to play pretend is her on-again/off-again fling, Angel León. They’re currently “off again,” but after a week in the woods, Stephanie realizes she wouldn’t mind them being permanently on.

A Hope Divided (The Loyal League) by Alyssa Cole  Fair to say Cole is an expert at her craft. I am not even reading historical much right now and I couldn’t wait to read this one. The historical detail, the love story, the writing is all at the very top of the genre. 

The Civil War has turned neighbor against neighbor—but for one scientist spy and her philosopher soldier, war could bind them together . . . 
 
For all of the War Between the States, Marlie Lynch has helped the cause in peace: with coded letters about anti-Rebel uprisings in her Carolina woods, tisanes and poultices for Union prisoners, and silent aid to fleeing slave and Freeman alike. Her formerly enslaved mother’s traditions and the name of a white father she never knew have protected her—until the vicious Confederate Home Guard claims Marlie’s home for their new base of operations in the guerilla war against Southern resistors of the Rebel cause.
 
Unbeknowst to those under her roof, escaped prisoner Ewan McCall is sheltering in her laboratory. Seemingly a quiet philosopher, Ewan has his own history with the cruel captain of the Home Guard, and a thoughtful but unbending strength Marlie finds irresistible.
 
When the revelation of a stunning family secret places Marlie’s freedom on the line,  she and Ewan have to run for their lives into the hostile Carolina night. Following the path of the Underground Railroad, they find themselves caught up in a vicious battle that could dash their hopes of love—and freedom—before they ever cross state lines.

Paint the Stars (Free Fall Book 3)  by Christina Lee and Nyrae Dawn I love me a grumpy hero and Ezra is very dreamy that way. This is a great opposites attract romance full of art and love between two heroes with very different sexualities.

Ezra Greene has made a pretty decent life for himself. He has a nice apartment and spends his days doing the one thing he’s always loved—creating art. Despite being somewhat of a grumpy recluse, he’s even made a few loyal friends. When he takes a side job painting a mural at a local holistic center, he can’t help being curious about a certain friendly and self-assured yoga instructor, even if he doesn’t buy into any of that Zen crap. His holier-than-thou family already tried fitting him inside a box, and he swore he’d never be molded into anybody’s belief system again.

For Daevonte Randall, adulthood has worked out pretty well. He’s close to his parents and lives with an awesome roommate. He’s content with weekend hookups, teaching yoga, and taking college courses. What he doesn’t expect is to be so intrigued by the brooding and reserved painter he’s been tasked to stay after hours with at the center. Something fascinates him about Ezra, even after Daevonte’s attempts at flirting gets him friend-zoned on the spot.

As weeks pass, Ezra and Dae get to know each other, and soon their friendship catches fire. But Ezra’s been burned pretty badly before so trust and intimacy has to be earned. Daevonte feels up to the task, but it proves difficult as Ezra continues to keep his emotions in check. Dae’s only willing to wait so long, and when they’re dealt a surprising blow, Ezra needs to decide if love is worth the risk, that is…if it’s not too late.

Never Enough (Dirtshine Book 1) by Roxie Noir This very over the top man nipple cover contains a really excellent contemporary Rock Star romance with dealing with recovery and pretend relationship theme candy. The heroine is wonderful. 

I’ve been clean for months, but my record company’s not satisfied. Apparently it isn’t enough to only kick a heroin addiction – they’re insisting that I find a girlfriend as well.

If I don’t, they pull Dirtshine’s massive record deal.

It’s supposed to show that I’ve changed my ways, that I’ve turned over a new leaf, all that rubbish. But I’ve had it with suit-wearing wankers telling me what I’m to do, so I’m on the verge of telling them to go f*ck themselves.

And then she shows up.

Marisol locks me out of my own concert by accident. She’s wearing a suit at a rock show, searching for her lost law school textbook, has no idea who I am…

…and for the first time in years, I’m hooked.

She’s smart, driven, and utterly gorgeous. The sort of girl who earnestly believes in following the rules and hates when others don’t.

I’m a huge rock star, recovering addict, and general f*ckup.

Our relationship is for show, and that’s all. But with every smile, every laugh, and every breathtaking glance at her curves, I want her more.

Two months is all we agreed to. But it’s never going to be enough.

 

Wanted, a Gentleman by K.J. Charles  Utterly charming. A road romance for the ages. Great chemistry to be savored between the heroes.

WANTED, A GENTLEMAN

Or, Virtue Over-Rated

the grand romance of

Mr. Martin St. Vincent . . . a Merchant with a Mission, also a Problem
Mr. Theodore Swann . . . a humble Scribbler and Advertiser for Love

* * *

Act the First:

the offices of the Matrimonial Advertiser, London
where Lonely Hearts may seek one another for the cost of a shilling

Act the Second:

a Pursuit to Gretna Green (or thereabouts)

featuring

a speedy Carriage

sundry rustic Inns

a private Bed-chamber

* * *

In the course of which are presented

Romance, Revenge, and Redemption

Deceptions, Discoveries, and Desires

the particulars of which are too numerous to impart

Trust Me (Paris Nights Book 3)  by Laura Florand This book’s reading got pushed back because it was too close to the terrorist attacks in France for me. I am so glad I read this thoughtful and powerful romance about the aftermath of such and event. Florand’s writing, as always, is unparalleled, mixing in the light and the darkness perfectly.

She’s nobody’s damsel in distress…
Top Parisian pastry chef Lina Farah is used to fighting for her success. But when a violent attack shatters her security, she needs a new tactic to battle her dragons. What better way to banish the monsters under her bed than by inviting a sexy SEAL to tangle the sheets?

He’s a professional dragon slayer…
Elite operative Jake Adams has never stayed in one place long enough to form a lasting relationship. Lina’s fire and beauty tempt him to give her the hot affair she craves. But her spirit and courage make him long for more. Can he convince a woman seeking forgetfulness to dream of ever after…with him?

  Finding Your Feet (Toronto Connections Book 2) by Cass Lennox   A great circle of friends New Adult romance featuring the T and A in LGBTQA… A and T? A wonderful slow burn. This is a romance that stayed me with. 

While on holiday in Toronto, Evie Whitmore planned to sightsee and meet other asexuals, not audition for a dance competition. Now she’s representing Toronto’s newest queer dance studio, despite never having danced before. Not only does she have to spend hours learning her routine, she has to do it with one of the grumpiest men she’s ever met. Tyler turns out to be more than a dedicated dancer, though — he might be the kind of man who can sweep her off her feet, literally and figuratively.

Tyler Davis has spent the last year recovering from an emotionally abusive relationship. So he doesn’t need to be pushed into a rushed routine for a dumb competition. Ticking major representation boxes for being trans and biracial isn’t why he went into dance. But Evie turns out to be a dream student. In fact, she helps him remember just how good partnering can be, in all senses of the word. Teaching her the routine, however, raises ghosts for him, ones he’s not sure he can handle.

Plans change, and people change with them. Learning a few steps is one thing; learning to trust again is another entirely.

Midlife Crisis by Audra North I was beyond thrilled to see that North had written a romance with gay heroes and the fact they were over 40 was a extra bonus.  North writers lovely character driven romance and this one is a joy. Plus, there is a nice look at an historically African American town in Texas for the history and culture nerds like me. 

Cam McGhee grew up like any other small-town Texas farm boy: he played football, went to church every Sunday, and married his high school sweetheart. But thirty-five years after he said “I do,” Cam finds himself nursing a beer in a gay bar, thinking about what might have been.

Dave Montoya is confident, self-assured, and cautiously single. But when he meets shy, uncertain, and clearly-still-not-out Cam in a coffee shop in Austin, his reservations about getting seriously involved again disappear. Cam is everything he’s looking for in a partner . . . almost, anyway.

No matter how much Dave wants him, and how good they are together, Cam can’t bring himself to openly embrace the life he was meant to live. After all, when his secret finally gets out, he faces the very real possibility of losing everything that kept him going for the first fifty years of his life, just like he’s feared for so long. But with a little faith—and a lot of love—his dream of living fully, truly, as himself might finally be within reach.

Bring the Heat (Dragon Kin Book 9 by G.A. Aiken  The irrepressible GA Aiken/Shelly Laurenston! Auto buy for kickass heroines and snarky fun filled action.

HE SAYS . . .

I, Aidan the Divine, am, well divine. My name was given to me by the Dragon Queen herself! I’m a delight! Cheerful. Charming. And a mighty warrior who is extremely handsome with a very large and well-hidden hoard of gold. I am also royal born, despite the fact that most in my family are horrendous beings that don’t deserve to live. And yet, Branwen the Awful—a low-born, no less—either tells me to shut up or, worse, ignores me completely.

SHE SAYS . . .

I’ll admit, I ignore Aidan the Divine because it annoys him. A lot. But, we have so much to do right now, I can’t worry about why he keeps staring at me, or why he always sits so close, or why he keeps looking at me like he’s thinking about kissing me. We have our nations to save and no time for such bloody foolishness . . . no matter how good Aidan looks or how long his spiked tail is. Because if we’re going to win this war before it destroys everything we love, we’ll have to face our enemies together, side by side and without distractions. But if we make it out alive, who knows what the future will hold.

Dear Aaron by Mariana Zapata This is a quieter book from Zapata but very moving in parts. If you like falling in love via letters, this is a great read for you. 

Ruby Santos knew exactly what she was getting herself into when she signed up to write a soldier overseas.

The guidelines were simple: one letter or email a week for the length of his or her deployment. Care packages were optional.

Been there, done that. She thought she knew what to expect.

What she didn’t count on was falling in love with the guy.

 

Books I purchased but can’t haven’t had a chance to read yet! 

There are more! Check out my other Best of 2017 lists!

Resistance and Romance: Pledge on Patreon, Recommend on Library Overdrive, Buy Diverse Books

It has been a tough year where too many of us have been under near constant threat. New violations found in news feeds sometimes daily, ICE raids in our neighbors, hate speech in what had been safe spaces…

I made a vow this year to resist not just the policies by marching, writing letter and organizing actions but to support the world I want and to make safe, welcoming and healing spaces whenever and where ever I can.

Here in Romanceland, this has meant I have supported several Patreons so that I can help blogs, projects, and podcasts I love continue to do wonderful work. I am far, far, far from made of money but I figure if I pledge $1 a month I am letting  the creator know I value their work and lending them a little strength when the going gets tough. This monetary way of lending support isn’t possible for everyone but if it is possible for you consider investing in a project that makes the world brighter.

Here are the projects I am supporting this year:

Women of Color in Romance

WOCInRomance, a place to promote Women of Color in romance fiction. This blog/movement is trans inclusive and open to gender fluid and non-binary authors as well. I love to finding books using this website and am so excited about the work to get grants for authors to pay for amazing covers. Covers matter, a lot. And Rebekah is a stellar human. 

 

 

Smart Podcast Trash Books

The podcast is all about romance and the people who read, write, and love it. It is a weekly show with author interviews, reader conversations, group chats with the writers at Smart Bitches Trashy Books, and general mayhem, all focused on romance, sexuality, literature, history, alpha males, 12th century romantic ballads – you know, typical romance nerd bait.  I listen every week! The Bitches are the best and each week is a joyous celebration and sometimes a much needed critique of our community. 

The Ripped Bodice 

The Ripped Bodice is the only exclusively romance bookstore in the Northern Hemisphere.  It is a long drive for me to visit but I have been there (in LA) for some book signings. All the events at the store have been great and the art installation are amazing. I had a local romance used bookstore in my town. I loved it so. I am still grieving from when it went under in the recession. I want this one to thrive. 

 

The Big Gay Fiction Podcast  

The podcast is for readers and writers of gay romance fiction. If you can read it, write it, watch it or listen to it, we’ll talk about it. New episodes are released every Monday on all major podcast outlets as well as a video version on YouTube. Episodes feature interviews with authors and others involved in creating gay romance fiction, contributors who provide their latest reading recommendations, as well as our take on books, movies, music and more.  This is my newest find. Jeff and Will are cheerful, funny, and great hosts. I get to spend time with writers I love and discover new writers too. 

This year, I also made a goal to increase my reading of romance with people of color in the lead or written by people of color. Also, you have likely noticed that I have been reading a lot of LGBTQA+ romance too. I have found so many new to me authors and all kinds of need to be told stories.

I get my books via ARCs and the library but I have made it a point to apply my book budget (hahaha budget) to supporting the kind of characters and writers we need much more of in Romanceland.

Look for lists of my Best Reads of POC Romance  Leads and Writers of 2017 and my Best LBBTQA+ Romance Novels of 2017 soon!

Speaking of the library… I love mine. I hope you are a member of yours as well. The e book catalogue of Overdrive is available on many library websites makes me crazy happy. I use the Search feature all the time and I recommend books when my library doesn’t have it. I especially recommend the diverse romances for purchase that I would love everyone to be able access and enjoy. Most library have a  version of this feature for print books as  well.

Recommending books with diverse characters and by diverse authors doesn’t cost anything and when I am angry, sad, scared or overwhelmed  (or all of these feelings at once) I go to the website and HIT that recommend button. It makes me feel better and I feel even better when my library notifies me they bought the book.

So, onward, fight, resist, love. Happy 2018!

Best Paranormal, Science Fiction, and Fantasy Romance 2017 List

I read less Science Fiction Romance than usual this year but still managed to find lots of treasures in Paranormal, Fantasy and Science Fiction Romance!

What did you love this year in these genres?

My lists are never in any particular order.

The Sumage Solution: San Andreas Shifters #1 by G. L. Carriger  (PNR) Amazing world building and one of the funniest books I read all year. A Joy. My Review!

Max fails everything – magic, relationships, life. So he works as a sumage, cleaning up other mages’ messes. The job sucks and he’s in no mood to cope with redneck biker werewolves. Unfortunately, there’s something irresistible about the sexy muscled Beta visiting his office for processing.

Bryan is gay but he’s not out. There’s a good chance Max might be reason enough to leave the closet, if he can only get the man to go on a date.

Everyone knows werewolves hate mages, but Bryan is determined to prove everyone wrong, even the mage in question.

NYT bestseller Gail Carriger, writing as G. L. Carriger, presents an offbeat gay romance in which a sexy werewolf with a white knight complex meets a bad boy mage with an attitude problem. Sparks (and other things) fly.

The San Andreas Shifter books stand alone and do not have to be read in any particular order.

Delicate Sensibilities?

The Unyielding: Call of Crows, Book 3 by Shelly Laurenston  (PNR)  Laurenston write the best books. Action, love, great characters and amazing heroines.  My review!

Stieg Engstrom, Angriest Viking Ever, has got big problems. The human Viking Clans of earth are in danger of being obliterated—along with the rest of the world—and the only one who may be able to save them is a super pain-in-the-ass Crow. Most people annoy Stieg, but this is the one woman he really can’t stand…

Erin Amsel loves being a Crow! Why wouldn’t she when the other Viking Clans are so hilariously arrogant and humorless? She’s not about to let all that come to an end! She just didn’t expect to be shoulder to shoulder in battle with Stieg. Then again, he’s so easy to torment—and also kind of cute.

With the future of the world riding on them, Stieg knows he’ll have to put aside his desperate need to kiss the smirk right off Erin’s face. Wait. What? He didn’t mean that—did he? No! They have one goal: To conquer the idiots. Because nothing bugs Stieg more than when idiots win. If only he can keep himself from suddenly acting like one…

The Remaking of Corbin Wale by Roan Parrish (Paranormal Elements)  Lyrical and lovely a not to miss Holiday Romance. Review to Come!

Last month, Alex Barrow’s whole life imploded—partner, home, job, all gone in forty-eight hours. But sometimes when everything falls apart, better things appear almost like magic. Now, he’s back in his Michigan hometown, finally opening the bakery he’s always dreamed of. But the pleasure of opening day is nothing compared to the lonely and beautiful man who bewitches Alex before he even orders.

Corbin Wale is a weirdo. At least, that’s what he’s heard his whole life. He knows he’s often in a fantasy world, but the things he feels are very real. And so is the reason why he can never, ever be with Alex Barrow. Even if Alex is everything he’s always fantasized about. Even if maybe, just maybe, Corbin is Alex’s fantasy too.

When Corbin begins working at the bakery, he and Alex can’t deny their connection any longer. As the holiday season works its magic, Alex yearns for the man who seems out of reach. But to be with Alex, Corbin will have to challenge every truth he’s ever known. If his holiday risk pays off, two men from different worlds will get the love they’ve always longed for.

Silver Silence (Psy-Changeling Trinity)  by Nalini Singh  (PNR) Singh never lets me down and this start of a new arc in her long running series has an amazing Bear Shifter hero.  My Review!

Control. Precision. Family. These are the principles that drive Silver Mercant. At a time when the fledgling Trinity Accord seeks to unite a divided world, with Silver playing a crucial role as director of a worldwide emergency response network, wildness and chaos are the last things she needs in her life. But that’s exactly what Valentin Nikolaev, alpha of the StoneWater bears, brings with him.

Valentin has never met a more fascinating woman. Though Silver is ruled by Silence–her mind clear of all emotion–Valentin senses a whisper of fire around her. That’s what keeps him climbing apartment buildings to be near her. But when a shadow assassin almost succeeds in poisoning Silver, the stakes become deadly serious…and Silver finds herself in the heart of a powerful bear clan.

Her would-be assassin has no idea what their poison has unleashed…

 

The Last Omega by Shane Honorae (PNR) I figured for the MPREG theme to be so popular there had too be some good books out there. After a lot of bad books, I found this wonderful shifter read with great word building, romance, and compelling heroes. Review to Come.

When the orphan boy Asher loves like a little brother is outed as a werewolf, Asher abandons their human colony to find him a pack.

Humans aren’t welcome among werewolves, but it soon becomes clear Asher is something more: A hidden Omega when the pack is in desperate need of one to bear their young.

As the pack’s lone wolf-witch, Alpha wolf Sage, uses magic to keep the pack hidden and safe from humans and the dark Terrors that haunts the night. The new found Omega should belong to the Alpha, but everything about Asher makes Sage want to break the rules and challenge their pack leader for the right to mate.

He’s not the only one. The dark forces that split the world apart also seek the pack’s last Omega, and they’re willing to go through Sage to get him.

But pregnant or not, Asher is no ordinary Omega: He has powers of his own.

Breath of Fire (The Kingmaker Chronicles Book 2) by Amanda Bouchet (Fantasy) Second book in this wonderful series. Top notch adventure and magic. My Review!

AM CATALIA FISA,
AND I DO NOT BREAK

Deep breath in. Long breath out. The Gods are telling me I’m some sort of new Origin, which apparently means it’s my job to give Thalyria a fresh start. Griffin crowned me with the symbols of the three realms.

If I’m supposed to be not just a queen but the Queen, I’d better start acting like it.

 

The Demon Prince (Ars Numina Book 2) by Ann Aguirre (Fantasy/PNR) Epic and compelling with characters you want to very best for.  My Review!

Charming. Irreverent. Haunted.
Alastor Vega is the sole challenger in a brutal battle for succession. Against all odds, he must stop his power-mad brother, Tycho, before he destroys the Numina. Though he never wanted to rule, he must claim the throne and liberate his people, or the consequences will be calamitous. Yet only the surprising support of a beautiful Animari doctor gives him the fortitude to fight.

Focused. Analytical. Solitary.
Dr. Sheyla Halek has always been more interested in research than personal contact, but family ties—and the needs of her pride—keep her in Ash Valley, deferring her dreams. Brusque and abrasive at the best of times, she never expected to bond with anyone, let alone Golgoth royalty. Strangely, Alastor seems to need her as no one has before, and not only for her medical skills.

Their attraction is forbidden, likely doomed beyond the wildness of wartime, but these fires burn too hot and sweet to be contained…

Wicked Abyss (Immortals After Dark) by Kresley Cole (PNR) With great characters, a vital world, and humor Cole writes a wonderful romance. My review!

The terrifying king of hell…

As a boy, Abyssian “Sian” Infernas had his heart shattered by a treacherous fey beauty who died before he could exact vengeance. Millennia later, a curse has transformed him into a demonic monster–just as she’s been reincarnated. Sian captures the delicate but bold female, forcing her back to hell.

Meets his match.

Princess Calliope “Lila” Barbot’s people have hated and feared Abyssian and his alliance of monsters for eons. When the beastly demon imprisons her in his mystical castle, vowing revenge for betrayals she can’t remember, Lila makes her own vow: to bring down the wicked beast for good.

Can two adversaries share one happily-ever-after?

As Calliope turns hell inside out, the all-powerful Sian finds himself defenseless against his feelings for her. In turn, Lila reluctantly responds to the beast’s cleverness and gruff vulnerability. But when truths from a far distant past are revealed, can their tenuous bond withstand ages of deceit, a curse, and a looming supernatural war?

Cutie and the Beast (Fae Out of Water) by E.J. Russell (PNR) Want to snort laugh? This is a fun sunny hero meet grumpy hero with a great cast of others mixed in. A delight. My Review!

Temp worker David Evans has been dreaming of Dr. Alun Kendrick ever since that one transcription job for him, because holy cats, that voice. Swoon. So when his agency offers him a position as Dr. Kendrick’s temporary office manager, David neglects to mention that he’s been permanently banished from offices. Because, forgiveness? Way easier than permission.

Alun Kendrick, former Queen’s Champion of Faerie’s Seelie Court, takes his job as a psychologist for Portland’s supernatural population extremely seriously. Secrecy is paramount: no non-supe can know of their existence. So when a gods-bedamned human shows up to replace his office manager, he intends to send the man packing. It shouldn’t be difficult — in the two hundred years since he was cursed, no human has ever failed to run screaming from his hideous face.

But cheeky David isn’t intimidated, and despite himself, Alun is drawn to David in a way that can only spell disaster: when fae consort with humans, it never ends well. And if the human has secrets of his own? The disaster might be greater than either of them could ever imagine.

STOLEN BY AN ALIEN by Amanda Milo  (SFR) The year is not complete with a great alien abduction romance. This is it. Great hero, horn and all.  My review!

AROKH
I broke the rules and stole an auction item from her buyers.
Because somehow, they’d managed to abduct a Gryfala princess.
Though… she doesn’t look, or act, or sound quite like I thought one of her kind would.
But I’m merely a Rakhii gladiator; this is the closest I’ve actually ever been to a princess.
I’d be considered lucky indeed if she chose me to guard her.
Instead, I want more.
I need her to claim me.
Because she doesn’t know it, but now I can’t let her go.

ANGIE
Woke up in a freaking auction pen.
With no coffee.
But there were aliens. And they didn’t bid on me out of the goodness of their hearts.
FML.
Then this nice alien showed up in the nick of time, but he keeps referring to me as “Princess” and I’m starting to worry what he’ll do when he finds out that there’s been a little case of mistaken identity, that I’m not royalty – see, I’m not even whatever alien he mistook me for…
I’m just a human.

Honorable Mentions!

The New Guy (Office Aliens Book 2) by by V.C. Lancaster  (SFR)

Nameless Fate (Fated Mate Book 1) by Stephanie West (SFR)

ThunderClaw (Alien Warrior Book 2) by Penelope Fletcher (SFR)

Best Contemporary Romance Novels of 2017

I had another grand year reading Contemporary Romance. I read more Queer Romance this year than ever before as well.

These are my top Contemporary Romance reads that were published in 2017.

Please let me know if you loved any of these books and if I missed your favorite!

 

My lists are never in any order.

 

 A Crown of Bitter Orange (La Vie en Roses Book 3) by Laura Florand.

Florand makes my list almost every year for a reason. This book contains the best proposal scene I have ever read. My cheeks hurt from smiling so hard. My Review!

Childhood friends.
Tristan Rosier might have asked Malorie Monsard to marry him when he was five years old, but things had only gone downhill from there. She’d spent the rest of their lives ignoring him, abandoning him, and destroying his perfumes. Now she was back, to wreak who knew what havoc on his life.

Lifelong enemies.
Tristan might choose to dismiss the generations-long enmity between their two families, but Malorie didn’t have that privilege. Like all the other privileges wealthy, gorgeous Tristan took for granted that she couldn’t. But if she was going to restore her family company to glory, she might just need his help.

Or the perfect match?
They’d known each other all their lives. Could these childhood friends and lifelong enemies ever uncross their stars and find happily ever after?

Who’d Have Thought  by G Benson Marriage of Con romance at its finest with amazing heroines. My Review!

Top neurosurgeon Samantha Thomson needs to get married fast and is tightlipped as to why. And with over $200,000 on offer to tie the knot, no questions asked, cash-strapped ER nurse Hayden Pérez isn’t about to demand answers. The deal is only for a year of marriage, but Hayden’s going into it knowing it will be a nightmare. Sam is complicated, rude, kind of cold, and someone Hayden barely tolerates at work, let alone wants to marry. The hardest part is that Hayden has to convince everyone around them that they’re madly in love and that racing down the aisle together is all they’ve ever wanted. What could possibly go wrong?

 

Dating-ish (Knitting in the City Book 6)  by Penny Reid Wonderful exploration of connection and funny too! My Review!

There are three things you need to know about Marie Harris: 1) She’s fed up with online dating, 2) She’s so fed up, she’s willing to forego the annoyance and consider more creative alternatives, and 3) She knows how to knit.
After the most bizarre and irritating first date in the history of humankind, Marie is looking for an alternative to men. With the help of her friends, she quickly identifies a few possibilities:

Need a cuddle? Use a professional cuddler. Need affirmation? Get yourself a life coach. Need an orgasm? Try orgasm meditation! Why does she need the hassle of a romantic partner when she can meet all her needs with paid services?
But then her irritating date resurfaces. And he’s not at all the person she thought he was. And he suggests a different—and crazier—solution to her dilemma . . .

As everyone knows (or will soon come to realize), traditional relations between humans are a thing of the past. Robots are our future. And if robots are our future, then why do we need other people at all?

Infamous by Jenny Holiday  An amazing friends to lovers, rock star and a doctor romance set in Canada. My Review!

ll that up-and-coming musician Jesse Jamison has ever wanted is to be on the cover of Rolling Stone. When a gossip website nearly catches him kissing someone who isn’t his famous girlfriend—and also isn’t a girl—he considers the near miss a wake-up call. There’s a lot riding on his image as the super-straight rocker, and if he wants to realize his dreams, he’ll need to toe the line. Luckily, he’s into women too. Problem solved.

After a decade pretending to be his ex’s roommate, pediatrician Hunter Wyatt is done hiding. He might not know how to date in the Grindr world, how to make friends in a strange city, or whether his new job in Toronto is a mistake. But he does know that no one is worth the closet. Not even the world’s sexiest rock star.

As Jesse’s charity work at Hunter’s hospital brings the two closer together, a bromance develops. Soon, Hunter is all Jesse can think about. But when it comes down to a choice between Hunter and his career, he’s not sure he’s brave enough to follow his heart.

Bonfires by Amy Lane Heroes just don’t get better than Larx. A great love story with two older heroes and really singing to power of the work that schools do.  Review to Come!

Ten years ago Sheriff’s Deputy Aaron George lost his wife and moved to Colton, hoping growing up in a small town would be better for his children. He’s gotten to know his community, including Mr. Larkin, the bouncy, funny science teacher. But when Larx is dragged unwillingly into administration, he stops coaching the track team and starts running alone. Aaron—who thought life began and ended with his kids—is distracted by a glistening chest and a principal running on a dangerous road.

Larx has been living for his kids too—and for his students at Colton High. He’s not ready to be charmed by Aaron, but when they start running together, he comes to appreciate the deputy’s steadiness, humor, and complete understanding of Larx’s priorities. Children first, job second, his own interests a sad last.

It only takes one kiss for two men approaching fifty to start acting like teenagers in love, even amid all the responsibilities they shoulder. Then an act of violence puts their burgeoning relationship on hold. The adult responsibilities they’ve embraced are now instrumental in keeping their town from exploding. When things come to a head, they realize their newly forged family might be what keeps the world from spinning out of control.

  Just Say Yes (Escape to New Zealand Book 10) by Rosalind James

Moving and romantic, this series is just getting stronger a great  Sports romance.

Kevin McNicholl may be a brutal force on the rugby field, but off the field, the star New Zealand All Black is a famously nice guy. His new tenant, though, arouses more than his protective side. She sets him on fire. Pity he’s evicting her.

Every woman deserves her dreams. Chloe Donaldson can’t afford dreams, though, so she’s given them up. Marriage, her ballet career, and now, her beautiful tower apartment with its view of the sea. Her new landlord is kicking her out, along with her three-year-old son, Zavy.

She should hate him. But when a man looks at you like that, it’s so easy to lose your focus.

Madly: A New York Novel (The New York Trilogy Series Book 2) by Ruthie Knox. Ruthie Knox is an amazing writer and this thoughtful romance set in New York has everything. My Review!

Allie Fredericks isn’t supposed to be in Manhattan, hiding in the darkest corner of a hip bar, spying on her own mother—who’s flirting with a man who’s definitely not Allie’s father. Allie’s supposed to be in Wisconsin, planning her parents’ milestone anniversary party. Then Winston Chamberlain walks through the door, with his tailored suit, British accent, and gorgeous eyes, and Allie’s strange mission goes truly sideways.

Winston doesn’t do messy. But after a pretty stranger ropes him into her ridiculous family drama with a fake kiss that gets a little too real, he finds out that messy can be fun. Maybe even a little addicting. And as the night grows longer, Allie and Winston make a list of other wild things they could do together—and what seems like a mismatch leads to a genuine connection. But can their relationship survive as their real lives implode just outside the bedroom door?

Rock Chick Reawakening by Kristen Ashley Long await story of Daisy and Marcus wonderfully rendered. My Review!

A prequel to Kristen’s Rock Chick series, Rock Chick Reawakening shares the tale of the devastating event that nearly broke Daisy, an event that set Marcus Sloan—one of Denver’s most respected businessmen and one of the Denver underground’s most feared crime bosses—into finally making his move to win the heart of the woman who stole his.

 

 

 

Antisocial by Heidi Cullinan A New Adult Romance with and asexual hero and so steeped in the love of art it blooms in joy. My Review!

A single stroke can change your world.

Xander Fairchild can’t stand people in general and frat boys in particular, so when he’s forced to spend his summer working on his senior project with Skylar Stone, a silver-tongued Delta Sig with a trust fund who wants to make Xander over into a shiny new image, Xander is determined to resist. He came to idyllic, Japanese culture-soaked Benten college to hide and make manga, not to be transformed into a corporate clone in the eleventh hour.

Skylar’s life has been laid out for him since before he was born, but all it takes is one look at Xander’s artwork, and the veneer around him begins to crack. Xander himself does plenty of damage too. There’s something about the antisocial artist’s refusal to yield that forces Skylar to acknowledge how much his own orchestrated future is killing him slowly…as is the truth about his gray-spectrum sexuality, which he hasn’t dared to speak aloud, even to himself.

Through a summer of art and friendship, Xander and Skylar learn more about each other, themselves, and their feelings for one another. But as their senior year begins, they must decide if they will part ways and return to the dull futures they had planned, or if they will take a risk and leap into a brightly colored future—together.

 Small Change by Roan Parrish Amazing Characters. Amazing Writing. Wonderful Romance. Loved this couple and the thoughtful address of bisexuality and being a women in a “male” profession. My Review!

Ginger Holtzman has fought for everything she’s ever had–the success of her tattoo shop, respect in the industry, her upcoming art show. Tough and independent, she has taking-no-crap down to an art form. Good thing too, since keeping her shop afloat, taking care of her friends, and scrambling to finish her paintings doesn’t leave time for anything else. Which … is for the best, because then she doesn’t notice how lonely she is. She’ll get through it all on her own, just like she always does.

Christopher Lucen opened a coffee and sandwich joint in South Philly because he wanted to be part of a community after years of running from place to place, searching for something he could never quite name. Now, he relishes the familiarity of knowing what his customers want, and giving it to them. But what he really wants now is love.

When they meet, Christopher is smitten, but Ginger … isn’t quite so sure. Christopher’s gorgeous, and kind, and their opposites-attract chemistry is off the charts. But hot sex is one thing–truly falling for someone? Terrifying. When her world starts to crumble around her, Ginger has to face the fact that this fight can only be won by being vulnerable–this fight, she can’t win on her own.

 

Honorable Mentions!

Color of You by CS Poe

Paint the Stars (Free Fall Book 3) by Christina Lee and Nyrae Dawn

Wrecking Ball  by P. Dangelico
Starting from Scratch  
by Jay Northcote

Rim Shot by  Skylar M Cates

Illegal Contact by  Santino Hassell

There are lots of great Contemporary Romance Novels I just didn’t get a chance to read in 2017. Let me know your favorites!

Ripped Bodice Bingo Row 5 Recs!

The Ripped Bodice (A Amazing Romance Bookstore) is have a Summer Read Along Bingo!

We can play!  We can win Prizes.  Check out the site for all the details.

Here are my recommendations for Row 5! 4 and 5 Star Reads!

Broke AF Hero: (Homeless)

CRASH by Pepper Pace This multicultural romance begins when a young man is brutalized and raped. He finds an ally in Sophie Baxter, a reclusive writer of interracial fiction. When Sophie initially meets Lucas she believes he is a young teen and takes him under her wing. By the time she realizes her mistake it’s too late—this polite and sweet kid has found a way into her heart.

Lucas wants Sophie to see that he is no child even though he has an innocent baby face. And Sophie thinks that anyone looking at them together would mistake the older black woman for being some young white boy’s care giver. She can’t fathom breaching that trust…not with her history.

Pepper Pace has woven a tale of unpredictable circumstances and unlikely characters. This sweet romance deals with a difficult subject matter but is not a story about rape but about self-discovery.

Morning Glory by LaVyrle Spencer  On the eve of World War II, two people are brought together by fate and discover an unexpected passion Tall, dark and handsome Will Parker has served time for the killing of a Texas prostitute, but keeps losing jobs as his reputation becomes known. In the small town of Whitney, Ga., at the beginning of WW II, he answers the advertisement of a pregnant widow and mother of two, the abused and reclusive Eleanor Dinsmore, who is looking for a husband. Soon in love with ostensibly plain, bedraggled Ellie, Parker dotes on her two boys, and works to support the family. Fittingly for this sort of bucolic idyll, Will and Ellie, despite their rudimentary educations, love books and develop a special friendship with wise old Miss Beasley, the local librarian. Alas, brazen and rapacious Lula Peak, the town floozie, sets her sights on Will, waylaying him in the library; meantimes, Lula is blackmailing her lover, the cowardly Harley Overmire, who is no friend of Will. The clearly drawn characters fulfill their imperativesincluding Will, who becomes a war heroand all is neatly and pleasingly resolved.

Stuff  by  by Josephine Myles  Tobias “Mas” Maslin’s doesn’t need much. A place of his own, weekends spent clubbing, and a rich boyfriend for love and security. Pity his latest sugar daddy turns out to be married with kids. Mas wants to be special, not someone’s dirty little secret.

When he loses his job and his flat on the same day, Mas’s world starts unravelling… until he stumbles across a down-at-heel vintage clothes shop. Now he just needs to convince the delightfully shy owner he’s in need of a new salesman.

Perry Cavendish-Fiennes set up Cabbages and Kinks solely to annoy his controlling father. He’d much rather spend every spare moment on his true passion, art. That is until Mas comes flaming into his life, talking nineteen to the dozen and turning his world upside down.

Against his better judgment Perry offers Mas a job and a place to live, but it turns out he should have listened to his instincts. The shop is already financially on the brink, and Mas’s flirting makes him feel things he’s never felt for a man. Yet Mas seems convinced they can make a go of it—in the shop, and together. That is, until Mas’s past starts to catch up with him…

Character on the Run: 

Heart Fate  by Robin Owens  Wed to a wealthy older man when she was just a girl, Lahsin Yew runs away from her abusive home to find a new life. At seventeen, she?s about to enter her Second Passage, when her Flair?and perhaps her HeartMate?will be revealed.

Lahsin finds sanctuary in a secret garden, where she meets Tinne Holly. Though he is her HeartMate, he cannot tell her, and her troubled past prevents her from trusting any man. Pretending to find her by chance, Tinne helps her through her Second Passage. But when the truth is revealed, can she forgive his deception, and learn to trust in her destiny?

 

Night Magic by Karen Robards Romance writer Clara Winston dedicates her newest book to her cat, Puff, without knowing what havoc she is about to unloose on her placid (boring?) life. Because there’s a rogue CIA agent out there whose code name is Puff, and some very bad guys want to kill him. When the bad guys show up at mild-mannered Clara’s house, thinking that she can lead them to the man they’re hunting, she is rescued by that man, disgraced CIA agent Jack McClain. Jack is green-eyed, black-haired, infuriatingly macho—and every bit as sexy as the romantic heroes she’s always writing about. Clara hates him on sight, but if she wants to survive he is the only game in town. With Puff very reluctantly in tow, they go on the run for their lives, battling each other until the sizzling chemistry between them explodes into red-hot passion.

The Stolen Princess by Anne Gracie The younger son of an earl, Gabriel Fitzpaine earned glory and honor on the battlefield, but now, without purpose, he finds himself deliberately courting danger at every turn. Then one night he races his horse along a death-defying moonlit cliff-and stumbles upon a princess on the run.

Set on the Beach (Surfing)

Keeping Mr. Right Now by Robin Bielman Surfer Zane Hollander has always been lucky with the ladies. But if he’s to land a new sponsor, Zane needs to clean up his act, and fast. He might not have anything in common with brainy event planner Sophie Birch, but she’s sweet and respectable—exactly what he needs.

Sophie’s never set foot on a beach, let alone left her hometown…until now. What does a sex-on-a-surfboard celebrity like Zane see in a klutzy bookworm like her? Oh, right. Nothing. Their relationship is purely fictional. And Zane is supposed to be on his best behavior. Sigh.

But the more Sophie blossoms under the beachy sun, the more Zane fears he’ll just break her heart. And this time, he’s found a heart he isn’t willing to break…

Hot Island Nights by Sarah Mayberry Elizabeth Morgan didn’t intend to abandon her very proper life. But that’s the best way to find her true—and less proper—self. So here she is in Australia, standing in front of a man who’s clad only in a towel. Nathan Jones is so tempting he could be the ideal candidate to help this good girl be very bad!

Sure enough, thanks to Nathan’s talented hands, Elizabeth is living all her sensual fantasies. And while the sex is great, something more is developing. She trusts him, and wants to share her secrets with him, and… Suddenly this feels more like a real relationship than some fun in the sun. Luckily, there’s a cure for too much commitment—more wickedness!

Just Good Friends  by Rosalind James  Some bets were made to be lost.

Kate Lamonica isn’t Koti James’ type. Too small. Too dark. And heaps too much work. So it’s an easy bet that he can be her friend for six weeks without making a move on her, no matter what his mates would have said.

Kate can’t believe she’s made the bet at all. New Zealand had seemed like the perfect escape from the stalker who’d threatened first her peace of mind and then her life. She certainly doesn’t need any more trouble. Why on earth has she agreed to spend time with a Maori rugby player who’s far too handsome and charming for his own good – and knows it?

But there’s more than one game Koti’s good at playing.

Austen Retellings 

Definitely, Maybe in Love  by Ophelia London

Her theory of attraction is about to get a new angleSpring Honeycutt wants two things: to ace her sustainable living thesis and to save the environment. Both seem hopelessly unobtainable until her college professor suggests that with a new angle, her paper could be published. Spring swears she’ll do whatever it takes to ensure that happens.”Whatever it takes,” however, means forming a partnership with the very hot, very privileged, very conceited Henry Knightly.Henry is Spring’s only hope at publication, but he’s also the über-rich son of a land developer and cash-strapped Spring’s polar opposite—though she can’t help being attracted to the way he pushes her buttons, both politically and physically. Spring finds there’s more to Henry than his old money and argyle sweaters…but can she drop the loud-and-proud act long enough to let him in? Suddenly, choosing between what she wants and what she needs puts Spring at odds with everything she believes in.Definitely, Maybe in Love is a modern take on Pride and Prejudice that proves true love is worth risking a little pride.

Jane Austen in Scarsdale: Or Love, Death, and the SATs  by Paula Marantz Cohen  Anne Ehrlich is a dedicated guidance counselor steering her high-school charges through the perils of college admission. Thirteen years ago, when she was graduating from Columbia University, her wealthy family—especially her dear grandmother Winnie—persuaded her to give up the love of her life, Ben Cutler, a penniless boy from Queens College. Anne has never married and hasn’t seen Ben since—until his nephew turns up in her high school and starts applying to college.

Now Ben is a successful writer, a world traveler, and a soon-to-be married man; and Winnie’s health is beginning to fail. All of these changes have Anne beginning to wonder…Can old love be rekindled, or are past mistakes too painful to forget?

Between the Lines  by Tammara Webber  Reid Alexander is used to getting what he wants – and what he wants next is his newest costar, Emma Pierce. The universe is lining up nicely to grant his wish, until he’s confronted with two unexpected obstacles on location: a bitter ex-girlfriend and a rival for Emma’s affections.

Emma Pierce just got her big break after years of filming commercials and made-for-TV movies. Winning the lead role in a wide-release film – opposite the very hot Reid Alexander – should be a dream come true. But Emma’s heart is hiding a secret fantasy: she wants to be a normal girl.

An Anthology:

Daughters of a Nation: A Black Suffragette Historical Romance Anthology by Alyssa Cole, Lena Hart, Piper Huguley, and  Kianna Alexander

The fight for suffrage was long, hard, and carried out on many fronts.In Daughters of a Nation, a black suffragette historical romance anthology, Kianna Alexander, Alyssa Cole, Lena Hart, and Piper Huguley bring you four novellas full of spirit, hope, and, most importantly: LOVE.

IN THE MORNING SUN by Lena Hart

With the election of 1868 underway, Madeline Asher’s mission is clear: educate and enlist the freedmen of Nebraska to vote. But when Union veteran James Blakemore comes back into her life, Madeline must choose either him and the future they’ve always wanted–or the chance to shape a greater nation.

THE WASHERWOMAN’S WAR by Piper Huguley ​

1881: Mamie Harper, a new teacher at Atlanta Female Baptist Seminary, hears of mistreatment from her washerwomen students and tells them to strike. She re-encounters summer pastor Gabriel Harmon, who has other ideas to help the washerwomen. Will these combatants be able to win in the war of love?

A RADIANT SOUL by Kianna Alexander

In 1881, Sarah Webster returns home to Fayetteville, NC for her mother’s milestone birthday. Her suffrage work is unknown to her family. Carpenter Owen Markham is intrigued by Sarah, and her father is playing matchmaker. When Owen discovers Sarah’s suffrage work, he’s not sure a love match can be made.

LET US DREAM by Alyssa Cole

​Harlem – 1917. Cabaret owner Bertha Hines is focused on women winning the vote, but when ornery chef Amir Chowdhury shows up in her kitchen, he proves to be a delicious distraction. Sparks fly, but between the vice squad and unfair immigration laws, can they hold on to their growing love?
The Brightest Day: A Juneteenth Historical Romance Anthology by Kianna Alexander, Alyssa Cole, Lena Hart, Piper Huguley The Brightest Day: A Juneteenth Historical Romance Anthology, with a foreword by the inimitable Beverly Jenkins, brings you four novellas highlighting love, light, and hope set over a period of history that’s often left in the shadows.

Amazing Grace, by Lena Hart:
It’s the year 1866–the Civil War is over and slavery has ended. Life for 18-year-old Gracie Shaw takes an unexpected turn when she is “encouraged” to marry a man sight-unseen. Boarded on a train headed West–to lawless territory–she is faced with misfortune at every turn and must accept the help of former Confederate soldier, Logan Finley, while denying herself the one thing she wants most. Him.

Drifting to You, by Kianna Alexander:
During the sultry Carolina summer of 1875, baker Rosaline Rhodes boards a Juneteenth cruise down the Cape Fear River. She’s there to serve her famous cinnamon spice cake; shipbuilder Will Pruett is there for pleasure. They’ve denied their mutual attraction for months, but now the river won’t be the only thing ebbing and flowing.

A Sweet Way to Freedom, by Piper Huguley:
In 1910, schoolteacher Missouri Baxter refuses to return home with a big belly and no husband. She’s got nine months to teach juke joint owner Arlo Tucker–a most reluctant student–an important lesson about what marriage means to their people. With God on her side, she’ll show him “A Sweet Way to Freedom.”

Let It Shine, by Alyssa Cole:
Sofronia Wallis knows that proper Black women don’t court trouble by upending the status quo, and they most certainly don’t associate with roughneck Jewish boxers like Ivan Friedman. But it’s 1961 and the Civil Rights movement is in full swing. Change–and love–are coming whether Sofie is ready or not.

When He Was Bad by Shelly Laurenston and Cynthia Eden Miss Congeniality

I’m young, good looking, and one day I’ll be Alpha Male of my family’s Pack. But Professor Irene Conridge acts like I don’t even exist. Now she’s got enemies coming out of the woodwork and I have to protect her. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that while I work to secure her safety, she’ll be hanging out at my house–right where I want her.
Wicked Ways
When I hear my sexy new neighbor scream one night, the absolute last thing I expect to see is Miranda Shaw–star of my hottest fantasies–being attacked by a vampire. Too bad for him I’m a badass shifter ready to fight for my fantasies. And Miranda, well, she’s so busy watching out for him that she won’t see me closing in on her. . .

That is all the rows! Have fun!

Ripped Bodice Bingo Row 4 Recs!

The Ripped Bodice (A Amazing Romance Bookstore) is have a Summer Read Along Bingo!

We can play!  We can win Prizes.  Check out the site for all the details.

Here are my recommendations for Row 4! 4 and 5 Star Reads!

Non Regency Set Historical (Westerns) 

In Want of a Wife by Jo Goodman ane Middlebourne needs a way out. In 1891, life in New York is unforgiving for a young woman with no prospects, especially when her family wants nothing to do with her. So when Jane discovers an ad for a mail-order bride needed in Bitter Springs, Wyoming, she responds with a hopeful heart.

Rancher Morgan Longstreet is in want of a wife who will be his partner at Morning Star, someone who will work beside him and stand by him. His first impression of the fair and fragile Jane is that she is not that woman. But when she sets out to prove him wrong, the secrets he cannot share put into jeopardy every happiness they hope to find….

Romancing Olive by Holly Bush 1891 . . . Spinster librarian, Olive Wilkins, is shocked to learn of her brother’s violent death at a saloon gaming table and her sister-in-law’s subsequent murder, traveling far from her staid life to rescue her niece and nephew, now orphans. She arrives to find the circumstances of her brother’s life deplorable and her long held beliefs of family and tradition, shaken.

Accustomed to the sophistication of Philadelphia, Olive arrives in Spencer, Ohio, a rough and tumble world she is not familiar with, facing two traumatized children. Her niece and nephew, Mary and John, have been living with a neighboring farmer, widower Jacob Butler, the father of three young children of his own and a man still in pain from the recent loss of his wife.

Real danger threatens Olive and Mary and John while Jacob and his own brood battle the day-to-day struggles for survival. Will Olive and Jacob find the strength to fight their battles alone or together? Will love conquer the bitterness of loss and broken dreams?

Shadow’s Stand by Sarah McCarty Shadow Ochoa is lying low in the western Kansas Territory, waiting for his fellow Texas Rangers—the Hell’s Eight brotherhood—to clear his name. That is, until he’s unjustly strung up for horse thieving…and pretty Fei Yen intervenes. Invoking a seldom-used law, the exotic lady prospector claims Shadow as her husband and rides off with the bridegroom shackled to her buckboard.

Savvy, fearless Fei is single-mindedly devoted to her hidden claim and all it promises: wealth, security and freedom. A husband is just a necessary inconvenience and a name on paper to hold the claim she cannot.

Shadow isn’t a man to take orders from anyone, especially from lovely Fei—except that the daily friction between them ignites into nightly blazes of all-consuming passion. Soon Shadow is dreaming a little himself: of the life they could have if only Fei could see past the lure of independence. If only bounty hunters weren’t closing in on him. If only he’s left standing when the impending showdown has ended….

Sub Genre You Never Read (Young Adult Romance)

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins Anna can’t wait for her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a good job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. So she’s not too thrilled when her father unexpectedly ships her off to boarding school in Paris – until she meets Etienne St. Clair, the perfect boy. The only problem? He’s taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her crush back home. Will a year of romantic near-misses end in the French kiss Anna awaits?

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon Risk everything . . . for love.

What if you couldn’t touch anything in the outside world? Never breathe in the fresh air, feel the sun warm your face . . . or kiss the boy next door? In Everything, Everything, Maddy is a girl who’s literally allergic to the outside world, and Olly is the boy who moves in next door . . . and becomes the greatest risk she’s ever taken.

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

Like No Other by Una LaMarche Fate brought them together. Will life tear them apart? 

Devorah is a consummate good girl who has never challenged the ways of her strict Hasidic upbringing.

Jaxon is a fun-loving, book-smart nerd who has never been comfortable around girls (unless you count his four younger sisters).

They’ve spent their entire lives in Brooklyn, on opposite sides of the same street. Their paths never crossed . . . until one day, they did.

When a hurricane strikes the Northeast, the pair becomes stranded in an elevator together, where fate leaves them no choice but to make an otherwise risky connection.

Though their relation is strictly forbidden, Devorah and Jax arrange secret meetings and risk everything to be together. But how far can they go? Just how much are they willing to give up?

Heroine is Taller than the Hero:

Rock Courtship by Nalini Singh  A drummer for the hottest rock band on the planet, David has a single, powerful weakness: Thea, the band’s publicist and the woman who steals his breath away with her every move.

Only problem is, Thea doesn’t date clients—or musicians. Emotionally scarred by a cheating ex, she’s not about to risk her heart with a man who has groupies buzzing around him like flies. Even if his sexy smile ties her up in knots.

What she doesn’t know is that David is a one-woman man…and he’s madly in love with her. David’s determined to prove he’s worth the risk, and willing to court her, step by exquisite step. Thea’s about to discover just how long and hard this handsome drummer can play.

Skin Deep by Jasmine Haynes Kirby Prescott is a woman in control of her life. She owns a thriving company, has her pick of gorgeous escorts, and no one to tell her what to do. And she has Jack Taylor, a man she’s never met but who knows her more intimately than almost anyone. Only a phone call away, Jack feeds her deepest desires with hot phone sex. Afterward, all she has to do is hang up. No fuss, no mess, no entanglements. Just the way Kirby likes it.

Jack Taylor isn’t staying long distance anymore. He knows what he wants, and he plans on showing Kirby that having him in her life doesn’t mean giving up her independence. Turning a simple business trip into a sensual journey, Jack is determined to win her over, body and soul.

Will taking the long distance out of their relationship ruin the perfect thing they had going?

Cordelia’s Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold When enemies become mare that friends they win. In her first trial by fire, Cordelia Naismith captained a throwaway ship of the Betan Expeditionary Force on a mission to destroy an enemy armada. Discovering deception within deception, treachery within treachery, she was forced into a separate peace with her chief opponent, Lord Aral Vorkosigan he who was called ‘The Butcher of Komarr’ and would consequently become an outcast on her own planet and the Lady Vorkosigan on his. Sick of combat and betrayal, she was ready to settle down to a quiet life, interrupted only by the occasion ceremonial appearances required of the Lady Vorkosigan. But when the Emperor died, Aral became guardian of the infant heir to the imperial throne of Barrayar and the target of high-tech assassins in a dynastic civil war that was reminiscent of Earth’s Middle Ages, but fought with up-to-the minute biowar technology. Neither Aral nor Cordelia guessed the part that their cell-damaged unborn would play in Barrayar’s bloody legacy.

Elaborate Proposal Scene: 

To Seduce a Sinner by Elizabeth Hoyt THE ONE THING HE CANNOT REVEAL

For years, Melisande Fleming has loved Lord Vale from afar . . . watching him seduce a succession of lovers, and once catching a glimpse of heartbreaking depths beneath his roguish veneer. When he’s jilted on his wedding day, she boldly offers to be his.

TO THE ONE WOMAN HE MOST DESIRES

Vale gladly weds Melisande, if only to produce an heir. But he’s pleasantly surprised: A shy and proper Lady by day, she’s a wanton at night, giving him her body-though not her heart.

IS HIS DEEPEST NEED . . .

Determined to learn her secrets, this sinner starts to woo his seductive new wife-while hiding the nightmares from his soldiering days in the Colonies that still haunt him. Yet when a deadly betrayal from the past threatens to tear them apart, Lord Vale must bare his soul to the woman he married . . . or risk losing her forever.

A Crown of Bitter Orange by Laura Florand Childhood friends.
Tristan Rosier might have asked Malorie Monsard to marry him when he was five years old, but things had only gone downhill from there. She’d spent the rest of their lives ignoring him, abandoning him, and destroying his perfumes. Now she was back, to wreak who knew what havoc on his life.

Lifelong enemies.
Tristan might choose to dismiss the generations-long enmity between their two families, but Malorie didn’t have that privilege. Like all the other privileges wealthy, gorgeous Tristan took for granted that she couldn’t. But if she was going to restore her family company to glory, she might just need his help.

Or the perfect match?
They’d known each other all their lives. Could these childhood friends and lifelong enemies ever uncross their stars and find happily ever after?

Laura Florand, bestselling author of The Chocolate Kiss, combines lush description, smart dialogue, provocative sensuality, and the perfume of love itself in A Crown of Bitter Orange, an irresistibly lush novel that is an ode to the scents and pleasures of the south of France and the beauty of falling in love.

The Wedding by Julie Garwood  Journeying from England to Scotland, Lady Brenna has resigned herself to an arranged match with a highlander. But when a band of fierce, painted warriors captures her en route, she fearlessly meets their demand to instead marry their leader—her betrothed’s sworn enemy—the quick-tempered Connor MacAlister.

Brenna harbors no illusions that her husband is in love with her, but their shared past gives her hope. Maybe the laird who once visited her father’s castle and charmed her with a dazzling, unexpected smile remains underneath Connor’s stern exterior.

But as she sets out to win the man whom she has come to adore, a legacy of revenge ensnares Brenna in a furious clan war—and only her faith in her new husband can save her…

Heroine Smells Like a Food Item: (Baristas)

Rock Chick Rescue by Kristen Ashley

Jet McAlister has a secret. Eddie Chavez has the hots for Jet (not to mention Eddie’s just plain hot). Jet has too many problems to realize that Eddie’s interested. Eddie loses patience when Jet ends her waitressing shift at a strip club with a knife at her throat. Since Eddie’s a cop, he figures he can help. Since Jet’s used to solving everyone’s problems she doesn’t want Eddie’s help.

Throw in a Dolly Parton look-alike, a gruff but lovable strip club owner, Jet’s ne’er do well father, his ne’er do well friend, Bear, Bear’s long-suffering, chain-smoking wife Lavonne and the crew from Rock Chick and you’ve got Rock Chick Rescue.

Rock Chick Rescue takes you on a wild ride with Jet, Eddie and the gang as they wrestle bad guys in a bagel shop, hit Denver’s backstreet poker tables (with big hair), and help the strippers at Smithie’s take down a would-be murderer.

Through this, Jet’s got to learn that even when life made you give up your dreams, you can still end up with the (hot) guy. Eddie’s got to rescue Jet from a bad man (so he can do better things with her) and teach her that some dreams can come true.

Playing with Fire by Gena Showalter  Twenty-four-year-old barista Belle Jamison dreams of a better job and a decent love life. Until a crazy scientist spikes her mocha latte! Suddenly Belle can wield the four elements—earth, wind, fire and water—with only a thought. Coffee too hot? No problem. Hair in need of a blow-dry? Done.

Gorgeous government agent Rome Masters has been sent to neutralize Belle. But he’s not the only one after her. Together they must outrun the rogue agents on their trail and find a way to control her powers. There’s just one problem: the sparks Belle and Rome generate are even hotter than the ones flying from her eyes—and with her future on the line, now is the worst possible time to fall in love….

Wrong  by Jana Aston I have a history of picking the wrong guy. Gay? Player? Momma’s boy? Check, check and check.

Now I can’t stop fantasizing about one of the customers at the coffee shop I work at between classes. It’s just a harmless crush, right? It’s not like I ever see this guy outside of the coffee shop. It’s not like I’m going to see him while attempting to get birth control at the student clinic. While wearing a paper gown. While sitting on an exam table. Because he’s the doctor. Shoot. Me.

But what if, for once, the man I’ve had the dirtiest, most scandalous fantasies about turned out to be everything but wrong?

Stay Tuned for the last row! 

Ripped Bodice Bingo Row 3!

The Ripped Bodice (A Amazing Romance Bookstore) is have a Summer Read Along Bingo!

We can play!  We can win Prizes.  Check out the site for all the details.

Here are my recommendations for Row 3! 4 and 5 Star Reads!

Person in Uniform On Cover

Marrying the Captain by Carla Kelly

Ever since her father tried to sell her as a mistress to the highest bidder, Eleanor Massie has chosen to live in poverty. Her world changes overnight when Captain Oliver Worthy shows up at her struggling inn. Despite herself, Nana is drawn to her handsome guest….

Oliver planned to stay in Plymouth only long enough to report back to Lord Ratliffe—about Nana. But he soon senses that Lord Ratliffe is up to something, and Oliver will do anything to keep this courageous, beautiful woman safe—even marry her!

She’s a Sinner (A Sinner’s Legacy Book 2) by Lynn Shurr  Tom Billodeaux, adopted son of a legendary Sinners quarterback, is making his mark as an outstanding kicker. When an opening occurs for a new punter, he is asked his opinion on the skills of Hall-of-Famer Andy Mortenson’s grandchild, Alix Lindstrom. Not only is Alix a superb punter, she is also undeniably a tall, strong woman. For Tom, it’s love the first time she removes her helmet, shakes out her blonde hair and gazes at him with her fjord-blue eyes.

Alix regards herself as an overly big, clunky female jock who must prove her ability to every man on the team. For years, she has adored Tom from afar. Unfortunately, she isn’t very good at flirting or making her desires known. As Tom helps her integrate with the Sinners, her feelings grow.

When Alix proves to be his equal in talent and gets roughed in a few plays, his mentoring and over-protectiveness prove his thoughts are in line with hers. But she doesn’t want to be coddled. Can she establish her own identity between the goal posts while scoring touchdowns with him in private?

Some Kind of Hero  by Suzanne Brockmann  Navy men don’t come tougher than Lieutenant Peter Greene. Every day he whips hotshot SEAL wannabes into elite fighters. So why can’t he handle one fifteen-year-old girl? His ex’s death left him a single dad overnight, and very unprepared. Though he can’t relate to an angsty teen, he can at least keep Maddie safe—until the day she disappears. Though Pete’s lacking in fatherly intuition, his instinct for detecting danger is razor sharp. Maddie’s in trouble. Now he needs the Troubleshooters team at his back, along with an unconventional ally.

Romance writer Shayla Whitman never expected to be drawn into a real-world thriller—or to meet a hero who makes her pulse pound. Action on the page is one thing. Actually living it is another story. Shay’s not as bold as her heroines, but she’s a mother. She sees the panic in her new neighbor’s usually fearless blue eyes—and knows there’s no greater terror for a parent than having a child at risk. It’s an ordeal Shay won’t let Pete face alone. She’s no highly trained operative, but she’s smart, resourceful, and knows what makes teenagers tick.

Still, working alongside Pete has its own perils—like letting the heat between them rise out of control. Intimate emotions could mean dangerous, even deadly, consequences for their mission. No matter what, they must be on top of their game, and playing for keeps . . . or else Pete’s daughter may be gone for good.

Heroine Inherits a Business: 

A Crown of Bitter Orange (La Vie en Roses Book 3) by Laura Florand Childhood friends.  Tristan Rosier might have asked Malorie Monsard to marry him when he was five years old, but things had only gone downhill from there. She’d spent the rest of their lives ignoring him, abandoning him, and destroying his perfumes. Now she was back, to wreak who knew what havoc on his life.

Lifelong enemies.
Tristan might choose to dismiss the generations-long enmity between their two families, but Malorie didn’t have that privilege. Like all the other privileges wealthy, gorgeous Tristan took for granted that she couldn’t. But if she was going to restore her family company to glory, she might just need his help.

Or the perfect match?
They’d known each other all their lives. Could these childhood friends and lifelong enemies ever uncross their stars and find happily ever after?

The Apple Orchard by Susan Wiggs  Tess Delaney loves illuminating history; returning stolen treasures to their rightful owners and filling the spaces in people’s hearts with stories of their family legacies. But Tess’s own history is filled with gaps: a father she never met, and a mother who spent more time traveling than with her daughter.

Then the enigmatic Dominic Rossi arrives on her San Francisco doorstep with the news that the grandfather she’s never met is in a coma and that she’s destined to inherit half of a hundred-acre apple orchard estate called Bella Vista. The rest is willed to Isabel Johansen, the half sister she never knew she had. Isabel is everything Tess isn’t, but against the rich landscape of Bella Vista, with Isabel and Dominic by her side, Tess begins to discover a world where family comes first and the roots of history run deep.

Crazy For The Cowboy by Cindy Spencer Pape  Tough-as-nails Sheriff Fitz Hall has learned the hard way that transplanted city girls are not to be trusted, so he plans to steer clear of the new arrival in town. Rhiannon Jakobowski has lived a staid, regimented life. Inheriting a bookstore in Shirley, Wyoming, is her first chance at independence, and she?s determined to make the most of it. Within days of arriving, however, she wakes up to find the handsome sheriff in her bed. Pretty soon she?s talking to ghosts. Is she losing her mind? Or is she just crazy for the cowboy?

Romance Novel: (Hidden Gems)

A Brother’s Price by Wen Spencer It isn’t easy being the oldest boy in a house run by women—especially for Jerin Whistler. The grand-matriarchs of his clan are descended from soldiers, spies, and thieves. That’s partly what’s kept their family alive in the wilderness. But it also means Jerin’s doomed to marry the girls next door—a fate he’s convinced is worse than death. But Jerin gets in even worse trouble when, in the process of a daring rescue, he falls in love with a royal princess who’s as high above his station as it’s possible to be.

Ren knows that Jerin is too far below her class to be an appropriate match for her and her royal sisters. But then she hears rumors of a long-held Whistler family secret—one that might provide a way for them to finally be together. Unfortunately, she still has four sisters to convince. And that’s before Jerin even comes to the capital—where simmering political tensions will threaten not just their love, but all their lives…

The Challenge (Rystani Warrior Book 1) by Susan Kearney  He rules a future in which women are helpless, obedient, and always willing. She comes from a past in which a woman’s strength, brains, and courage are unquestioned. The challenge between them is timeless.

Secret Service agent Tessa Camen took a bullet meant for the president. She regains consciousness three hundred years in the future on a spaceship, naked in the arms of Kahn, a fierce warlord from the planet Rystan. He’s been expecting her. Tessa was whisked forward in time because her fighting abilities include a psychic talent like none other. Only she can defeat an enemy who threatens Earth. The fate of her home hangs in the balance. Once again, she’s called on to serve and protect her nation.

In Kahn’s world, women are meant to be ruled but also protected. He can seduce Tessa, but can he own her heart and mind? Can he put aside his beliefs about women to help her train for a brutal intergalactic test, The Challenge? If she loses, so does Earth.

Tessa and Kahn are caught in a war of wills set in a future where survival is a skill, power is an aphrodisiac, and love is a challenge that could destroy everything they cherish.

Just Say Yes by Rosalind James Kevin McNicholl may be a brutal force on the rugby field, but off the field, the star New Zealand All Black is a famously nice guy. His new tenant, though, arouses more than his protective side. She sets him on fire. Pity he’s evicting her.

Every woman deserves her dreams. Chloe Donaldson can’t afford dreams, though, so she’s given them up. Marriage, her ballet career, and now, her beautiful tower apartment with its view of the sea. Her new landlord is kicking her out, along with her three-year-old son, Zavy.

She should hate him. But when a man looks at you like that, it’s so easy to lose your focus.

The Entire Conflict Could Be Solved By Talking: (Still Good Anyway)

Finding Your Feet  by Cass Lennox  While on holiday in Toronto, Evie Whitmore planned to sightsee and meet other asexuals, not audition for a dance competition. Now she’s representing Toronto’s newest queer dance studio, despite never having danced before. Not only does she have to spend hours learning her routine, she has to do it with one of the grumpiest men she’s ever met. Tyler turns out to be more than a dedicated dancer, though — he might be the kind of man who can sweep her off her feet, literally and figuratively.

Tyler Davis has spent the last year recovering from an emotionally abusive relationship. So he doesn’t need to be pushed into a rushed routine for a dumb competition. Ticking major representation boxes for being trans and biracial isn’t why he went into dance. But Evie turns out to be a dream student. In fact, she helps him remember just how good partnering can be, in all senses of the word. Teaching her the routine, however, raises ghosts for him, ones he’s not sure he can handle.

Plans change, and people change with them. Learning a few steps is one thing; learning to trust again is another entirely.

Dating-ish by Penny Reid  There are three things you need to know about Marie Harris: 1) She’s fed up with online dating, 2) She’s so fed up, she’s willing to forego the annoyance and consider more creative alternatives, and 3) She knows how to knit.

After the most bizarre and irritating first date in the history of humankind, Marie is looking for an alternative to men. With the help of her friends, she quickly identifies a few possibilities:
Need a cuddle? Use a professional cuddler.
Need affirmation? Get yourself a life coach.
Need an orgasm? Try orgasm meditation!
Why does she need the hassle of a romantic partner when she can meet all her needs with paid services?

But then her irritating date resurfaces. And he’s not at all the person she thought he was. And he suggests a different–and crazier–solution to her dilemma . . .

As everyone knows (or will soon come to realize), traditional relations between humans are a thing of the past. Robots are our future. And if robots are our future, then why do we need other people at all?

Heaven Sent by Pamela Morsi Hannah Bunch, the preacher’s spinster daughter, wants to help heaven along by hatching a plan to bring a shy suitor up to the point of a proposal. The Bible had Ruth meeting Boaz on the threshing field. If that worked for Ruth, couldn’t it work for Hannah? It did. It all went perfectly, except the wrong man got snared.
Henry Lee Watson likes his life, without a wife. He makes the finest corn liquor in the territory. A good business on Saturday night, does not always make a good marriage to a Sunday morning kind of woman. But it’s a shotgun wedding and he’s thinking that the starchy preacher’s daughter is maybe she’s not so starchy after all. This award winning, bestselling historical romance is now available in e-book for the first time.

Rake or Rogue in the Title: 

Rogue in Texas  by Lorraine Heath He was the wrong man for the job in every way but one . . .

Grayson Rhodes, the illegitimate son of a duke, heads to America to prove his worth and earn his fortune. But post-Civil War Texas seems more like hell than a land of opportunity, especially when he finds himself working the cotton fields of no-nonsense Abbie Westland. Abbie, with her fiery determination, is wildly different from the fragile beauties Grayson knew at home . . . but there is a tender yearning he can see just below her tough exterior.

Abbie works her fingers to the bone day-in and day-out, and she needs the help of a few good farmhands. Though skeptical of the polished Englishman when he arrives, she soon discovers a man with a resolve to succeed that matches her own. As the long, hot days turn to heated, passionate nights, they dare to dream of a future together.

Rogue Rider  by Larissa Ione Jillian Cardiff came to this remote mountain town to forget the demon attack that almost killed her. Instead, she rescues-and falls for-a gorgeous stranger who has no memory of anything other than his name. Handsome, charming, and protective, Reseph seems like the kind of man whom Jillian can trust. But with hints of a troubling history of his own, he’s also the kind of man who can be very dangerous . . .

Reseph may not know why he mysteriously appeared in Jillian’s life, but he knows he wants to stay. Yet when Jillian’s neighbors are killed, and demon hunters arrive on the scene, Reseph fears that he’s putting Jillian in danger. And once it’s revealed that Reseph is also Pestilence, the Horseman responsible for ravaging the world, he and Jillian must face the greatest challenge of all: Can they forget the horrors of a chilling past to save the future they both desire?

The Last Rogue by Deborah Simmons  Raleigh Hadn’t Gambled On Finding A Virgin In His Bedbut when he awoke next to Jane Trowbridge, he knew all bets for bachelorhood were off. Now, instead of a love match, he’d gotten a sparring partner.Jane had never imagined herself anyone’s lawfully wedded wife, and now ironic fate had bound her to a hedonistic viscount who was a Tulip of the Ton. Still, could a man who only pursued pleasure find any pleasure pursuing her? And could she restrain her maidenly blushes long enough to let him…?

Stay Tuned for Row 4!

Ripped Bodice Summer Bingo Row 2!

The Ripped Bodice (A Amazing Romance Bookstore) is have a Summer Read Along Bingo!

We can play!  We can win Prizes.  Check out the site for all the details.

Here are my suggestions for books to read for Row 2! 5 or 4 Star reads!

 

Hero Has a Pet that is Not a Cat or a Dog:

Wait for You by J. Lynn (Tortoise) 

Some things are worth waiting for . . .

Traveling thousands of miles from home to enter college is the only way nineteen-year-old Avery Morgansten can escape what happened at that fateful Halloween party five years ago—an event that forever changed her life. What she never planned on was capturing the attention of the one guy who could shatter the precarious future she’s building for herself.

Some things are worth experiencing . . .

Cameron Hamilton is six feet, three inches of swoon-worthy hotness, com-plete with a pair of striking blue eyes and a remarkable ability to make Avery want things she believed had been irrevocably stolen from her. Getting involved with him is dangerous. Yet ignoring the simmering tension that sparks between them—and brings out a side of her she never knew existed—is impossible.

Some things shouldn’t be kept quiet . . .

But when Avery starts receiving threatening e-mails and phone calls, she’s forced to face a past she wants to keep buried and acknowledge that someone is refusing to allow her to let go of that night when everything changed. If the devastating truth comes out, will she resurface with one less scar? And will Cam be there to help her?

And some things are worth fighting for . . .

 How to Be a Normal Person by TJ Klune (Ferret) Gustavo Tiberius is not normal. He knows this. Everyone in his small town of Abby, Oregon, knows this. He reads encyclopedias every night before bed. He has a pet ferret called Harry S. Truman. He owns a video rental store that no one goes to. His closest friends are a lady named Lottie with drag queen hair and a trio of elderly Vespa riders known as the We Three Queens.

Gus is not normal. And he’s fine with that. All he wants is to be left alone.

Until Casey, an asexual stoner hipster and the newest employee at Lottie’s Lattes, enters his life. For some reason, Casey thinks Gus is the greatest thing ever. And maybe Gus is starting to think the same thing about Casey, even if Casey is obsessive about Instagramming his food.

But Gus isn’t normal and Casey deserves someone who can be. Suddenly wanting to be that someone, Gus steps out of his comfort zone and plans to become the most normal person ever.

After all, what could possibly go wrong?

Heart Quest (Celta Series Book 5) By Robin Owens (Fox) Tucked away in the Druida City of Celta, Trif Clover knows she has a HeartMate. She wants him so badly she’s actually going door-to-door with her charmkey to find him. What she doesn’t know is that he has already found her. Guardsman Ilex Winterberry knows that Trif is his HeartMate, but fears that being twice her age, with a short life ahead of him, he will only scare her away. He yearns to be close to her—and she needs to be close to him. There’s a killer on the loose, stalking those with unstable Flair psi power like Trif’s. Facing his most difficult task yet, Ilex must reveal the truth of their destiny or else leave Trif in the grasp of a vicious murderer…

Hero Smells Like Some Kind of Tree: 

In the Middle of Somewhere by Roan Parrish  (Woodworker)

Middle of Somewhere: Book One

Daniel Mulligan is tough, snarky, and tattooed, hiding his self-consciousness behind sarcasm. Daniel has never fit in—not at home in Philadelphia with his auto mechanic father and brothers, and not at school where his Ivy League classmates looked down on him. Now, Daniel’s relieved to have a job at a small college in Holiday, Northern Michigan, but he’s a city boy through and through, and it’s clear that this small town is one more place he won’t fit in.

Rex Vale clings to routine to keep loneliness at bay: honing his muscular body, perfecting his recipes, and making custom furniture. Rex has lived in Holiday for years, but his shyness and imposing size have kept him from connecting with people.

When the two men meet, their chemistry is explosive, but Rex fears Daniel will be another in a long line of people to leave him, and Daniel has learned that letting anyone in can be a fatal weakness. Just as they begin to break down the walls keeping them apart, Daniel is called home to Philadelphia, where he discovers a secret that changes the way he understands everything.

Honour by Viola Grace (Tree Spirit) Honour is a horticulturist who has been blackmailed into handing herself over to Raiders. She had no idea that they were trading her for cold, hard cash. Trapped on a strange world, being groomed for a male she had yet to meet, Honour had to admit that even the alien races of the Nyal Imperium had begun to feel like home.

The host lives to serve the forest of Yalki and all the worlds in the Yalki system. He is out to choose a bride that not only matches his personal frequencies, but also compliments his personality. It is a search that he is willing to put a lot of attention into, especially when his chosen finds ways to avoid him on the dream plane. That is the kind of woman he is looking for, intelligent and sneaky. He might be in love.

Live: A Burnside Novel by Mary Anne Rivers (Woodworker) If there’s an upside to unemployment, Destiny Burnside may have found it. Job searching at her local library in Lakefield, Ohio, gives her plenty of time to ogle the hottest man she has ever laid eyes on: the sexy wood-carver who’s restoring the building. But as the rejection letters pile up, Destiny finds an unexpected shoulder to cry on. With his rich Welsh accent, Hefin Thomas stirs Destiny so completely that, even though he’s leaving soon, she lets herself believe the memory of his scorching kisses will be enough.

Hefin can’t help but notice the slender, confident woman with ginger hair who returns each day, so hopeful and determined. So when the tears start to fall, his silence—penance for a failed marriage—finally cracks. Once he’s touched her, what Hefin wants is to take her back to Wales and hold her forever. But Destiny’s roots run too deep. What they both need is each other—to learn how to live and love again.

Queer YA/NA

Christmas Kitsch by Amy Lane

Sometimes the best thing you can get for Christmas is knowing what you really want.

Rusty Baker is a blond, rich, entitled football player in a high school full of them — just the type of oblivious jock all the bullied kids hate. And he might have stayed that way, except he develops a friendship with out-and-proud Oliver Campbell from the wrong side of the tracks. Rusty thinks the friendship is just pity — Oliver is very bright, and Rusty is very not — but then Oliver kisses him goodbye when Rusty leaves for college, and Rusty is forced to rethink everything he knows about himself.

But even Rusty’s newfound awareness can’t help him survive a semester at Berkeley. He returns home for Thanksgiving break clinging to the one thing he knows to be true: Oliver Campbell is the best thing that’s ever happened to him.

Rusty’s parents disagree, and Rusty finds himself homeless for the holidays. Oliver may not have much money, but he’s got something Rusty has never known: true family. With their help and Oliver’s love, Rusty comes to realize that he may have failed college, but he’ll pass real life with flying rainbow colors.

Pull Me Under by Zarah Detand  As the first British footballer to come out at the prime of his career, it helps that Ben Jimmer is in a long-term, committed relationship with university student Henry Brown. Even if that relationship is fake.

Or: A cheerfully clichéd tale of romance, tattoos, football, and friendship (both with and without benefits). Also, tea. And stupidly complicated feelings, of course. Let’s not forget about those.

Carry the Ocean (The Roosevelt Book 1)  by Heidi Cullinan Normal is just a setting on the dryer.

High school graduate Jeremey Samson is looking forward to burying his head under the covers and sleeping until it’s time to leave for college. Then a tornado named Emmet Washington enters his life. The young man with a double major in math and computer science is handsome, forward, wicked smart, interested in dating Jeremey—and he has autism.

But Jeremey doesn’t judge him for that. He’s too busy judging himself, as are his parents, who don’t believe in things like clinical depression. When Jeremey’s untreated illness reaches a critical breaking point, Emmet is the white knight who rescues him and brings him along as a roommate to The Roosevelt, a quirky new assisted living facility.

As Jeremey and Emmet find their feet at The Roosevelt, they begin to believe they can be loved for the men they are beyond their disabilities. But before they can trust enough to fall head over heels, they must trust their own convictions that friendship is a healing force and love can overcome any obstacle.

Geek/Nerd Element (Geeky Heroines)

Imperfect Chemistry: Imperfect Series, Book 1 by Mary Frame

Lucy London puts the word genius to shame. Having obtained her PhD in microbiology by the age of twenty, she’s amassed a wealth of knowledge, but one subject still eludes her—people. The pendulum of passions experienced by those around her confuses and intrigues her, so when she’s offered a grant to study emotion as a pathogen, she jumps on the opportunity.

Enter Jensen Walker, Lucy’s neighbor and the one person she finds appealing. Jensen’s life is the stuff of campus legend, messy, emotional, and complicated. Basically, the perfect starting point for Lucy’s study. When her tenaciousness wears him down and he consents to help her, sparks fly. To her surprise, Lucy finds herself battling with her own emotions, as foreign as they are intense. With the clock ticking on her deadline, Lucy must decide what’s more important: analyzing her passions…or giving in to them?

SATED: by Rebekah Weatherspoon All Keira Kenney wants is her happy ending. Too bad she can never make it through a first date. Is a nice man who’s into fitness and comics, with an extensive knowledge of everything science-fiction too much to ask for? Apparently, since Keira can’t seem to find a partner who can simply tolerate her interests. Perhaps it’s time for her to give up. She has her job at Melrose Fitness, a new season of her favorite space drama added to streaming, and hundreds of thousands of words worth of fan fiction all to keep her mind busy. Her heart will have to wait.

Pyrotechnics expert, Daniel Song isn’t looking for anything. He spends his days doing what he loves, and his nights and weekends participating in the kinky activities his body craves. Single life as sexual switch suits him perfectly, giving him the freedom to indulge the types of erotic adventures some people only dream of.

When a good friend asks Daniel if his co-worker, Keira can join him at a local sci-fi convention, neither of them expect any sort of fireworks to spark. After all, Keira’s turned off by kink and Daniel can’t live without with it. So naturally they both agree that an official first date would be a great idea. With this new relationship fresh between them, Daniel shares what he can of himself without scaring Keira off, hiding his shock and growing infatuation as she rises to every sexual occasion with her silly, geek-girl personality. It’s only a matter of time before they both have to face the truth; what he wants is the furtherest thing from what she needs. But in the meantime, pushing each other’s sexual limits seems like a good plan. It’s not like either of them is looking for love.

Magic Dreams  by Ilona Andrews   Alpha Pack leader Jim Shrapshire has always been the strong, silent type. But something has come over him–a magic force currently residing in one of the Pack’s headquarters. Were-tigress Dali Harimau has always wished she could get Jim’s attention–but now he needs her help.

Stricken with a magic-sickness, Jim needs Dali’s flair for magic. And to save him, she must challenge a powerful, dark being to a battle of wits.

Baking/Sweets in Delicious Detail: 

Wild Man (The Dream Man Series Book 2)  by Kristen Ashely While filling the display case in her bakery, the bell over the door sounds and Tessa O’Hara looks up to see the man of her dreams. Within thirty seconds he asks her out for a beer. But after four months of dating, she discovers he’s an undercover DEA agent-and he’s investigating her possible role in her ex-husband’s drug business. For Tess, this means their relationship is over.

Brock disagrees. He’s committed to his anti-drug mission, but he’s fallen in love with the beautiful woman who’s as sweet as her cupcakes-and he’ll do anything to win her back. Standing between Tess and Brock are their own exes, one of them a drug lord who’s determined to get what he wants. Now as danger threatens, can Brock break the rules he’s lived by and let loose his wild side to protect the woman he loves?

Howl for It (The Pride Series) by Shelly Laurenston

Like A Wolf With A Bone

Quiet little Darla Lewis couldn’t be happier when the most-feared member of the South’s rowdiest pack kidnaps her. A girl gets real tired of being overprotected by her own shifter family, and there’s nothing like an oh-so-big bad wolf to start a pack feud, unleash her instincts–and have her surrender however and whenever she wants. . .

All for You (Paris Nights Book 1) by Laura Florand Some crushes aren’t meant to be.

When her older brother’s best friend left to join the Foreign Legion, eighteen-year-old Célie moved on to make a life for herself as a Paris chocolatier. Now, five years later, the last thing she needs is another man to mess up her happiness.

Let alone the same man.

But five years in the Foreign Legion is a long time for a man to grow up, and a long time to be away from the woman he loves.

Especially when he did it all for her.

Half strangers, more than friends, and maybe, if Joss Castel has his way, a second chance…

 

Stay Tuned for More rows!