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Friday, December 27, 2019

The Books of 2019: LGBTQ Romances

I read quite a few LGBT romances, and with the exception of the first two on this list, they are boinking books. I read far more than you can tell from this list, but a boinking book has a higher bar to reach for me so a lot I found just OK, many other people would adore. So if a book is missing, it’s probably because there was a lot of boinking and less of the bits that keep me interested (ie, the not boinking parts).

 

Romance, LGBT

 

His Quiet AgentHis Quiet Agent by Ada Maria Soto (8.5/10) is an Ace romance.

Arthur Drams has worked hard for The Agency and is hoping to move up in the ranks. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be happening.

“That’s…” Arthur didn’t want to rock the boat, complain or seem ungrateful, but it had been four years. “A bit more of a lateral move than I was expecting.”

His supervisor sighed. “Agent Drams, no one knows who you are.”

“We’re a black budget government agency. No one is supposed to know who we are.”

“To the general public yes, however, when your supervising agent and the promotion board have to ask ‘who’ at seeing your name and don’t even recognize your picture, you need to show your admittedly somewhat generic face a bit more. This is your entire file.” Agent Brown lifted three pieces of paper. “No notes against, no notes for, no citations, accolades or recommendations, no warnings, no nothing.”

So he decides he’s going to turn over a new lead and make an impression.

He ends up befriending Martin, who is referred to as the Alien by all his co-workers. Martin is incredibly intelligent but doesn’t bother to expend any effort at social skills, yet Arthur decides to take it as a challenge.

This book is incredibly sweet and although there are elements of mystery, it’s not a mystery. It’s a slow unwrapping the many layers of an incredibly private person.

 


 

Play It AgainPlay It Again: A Slow Burn Romance (2019) Aidan Wayne (9/10) is another Ace romance.

Dovid Rosenstein and his sister Rachel run the popular YouTube channel Don’t Look Now, with Rachel behind the camera and Dovid starring in the videos–many of which focus on accessibility and anti-bullying, since Dovid has spent most of his life navigating a sighted world.

Dontlooknowdovid: Oh yeah? Anything you can talk about? Or want to talk about? I’m all ears.

Dontlooknowdovid: (literally; I use a text-to-speech function)

Sam Doyle is a Let’s Play gamer, whose accent and way of describing his play appeals first to Rachel, and then to Dovid, who develops a bit of an instant crush on him. A long-distance friendship slowly develops, and grows into something more.

This is an adorably sweet story and I loved it.

 



 

Romance, LGBT (Boinking)

All of the following are boinking books.

 
 

Whiteout

Whiteout by Elyse Springer (8.5/10) opens with one of the characters waking up after suffering a blow to the head. But as Noah regains glimpses of memory, he discovers that nothing is as it seems.

I tried to stop reading this book, because I was freaked out when the big reveal came. Yet after setting it aside, I had to know what happened, and then pretty much finished it in a single setting.

 


 

Charmed and Dangerous: Ten Tales of Gay Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy (2015) edited by Jordan Castillo Price (8.5/10) is a good anthology to read if you’re unsure how you feel about M/M romance and/or want to discover new authors. There was one story I absolutely HATED, two I was meh about, and the rest I really liked, and bought books by several of the authors.

 


 

Work for It by Talia Hibbert (8/10) is a M/M novella in her Just for Him series.

It tells the story of the brother of one of the women in that series—the brother who hid who he was from his family to protect his sister. I read this story before the rest of the series, and liked it, but I think it works even better if you know the sacrifices that Olu has made for his sister.

 


 

Family ManFamily Man by Heidi Cullinan and Marie Sexton (8/10) is just very good. The romance is sweet and adorable, which is good because there are very dark and difficult underlying issues.

Vincent “Vinnie” Fierro has three divorces behind him, and is beginning to wonder if his large family and Catholic upbringing have kept him trying to date women and caused him to deny that he is attracted to men.

Trey Giles lives in the neighborhood with his mother and grandmother and is ever-so-slowly working his way through college. He’s not into hookups and doesn’t have time for a relationship, except that he and Vinnie strike up a friendship that slowly turns into something neither was expecting.

Trey’s mother is the reason he’s going through college one class at a time, and working multiple jobs to keep a roof over his and his grandmother’s heads. This book does an amazing job with Trey and his complicated relationship with his alcoholic mother.

I highly recommend this book—even if you don’t think M/M books are for you, just for the heartbreaking portrayal of Trey’s mother’s alcoholism and how dealing with it (and hiding it) overtook his life.

The Books of 2019

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