Random (but not really)

Thursday, December 28, 2023

The Books of 2023: Romance

Especially since 2020 I’ve been turning to romance because I know it’s going to end with an HEA–that’s built into every story.

My preferences are for historical and queer romance, although my favorites for 2023 are all contemporaries, that’s mostly because I only read twelve new-to me romances; the other 70-some romances were rereads.


Donut Fall in Love

Donut Fall in Love (2021) Jackie Lau

Boinking | TW: Grief, Post-partum depression

This story made my list for a couple of reasons. First, the character who obsessed about calories and body image was the male characters.

Second, grief is an important part of the story and is presented as complicated and something that is unique to each individual who experiences it.

Third, a secondary character has post-partum depression which I thought was thoughtful and kindly dealt with.

And finally: baking!

Published by Jove Books

Rating: 7.5/10

Bergman Brothers by Chloe Liese

Only When It's Us Ever After Always

Only When It’s Us (2020) 8/10
Ever After Always (2021) 8.5/10

Boinking | TW: Death, Grief, Anxiety

Last year I picked up Always Only You because the female lead had ASD. I very much enjoyed it (despite a lot of boinking) and so picked up more of the books to read.

The first book does go to some dark places, including familial death and a struggle with grief, as well as hearing loss from illness and the struggle with adapting to that major change.

The third book has a marriage in trouble, and one character dealing with a serious mental health crisis.

All those difficult subjects with addressed with compassion and–more importantly–realistically. None of the things the characters go through have easy solutions, nor are those things seen as “fixes” but rather as part of the journey of life.


Bergman Brothers: Only When It’s Us (2020), Always Only You (2020), Ever After Always (2021)

The Holiday Trap

The Holiday Trap (2022) by Roan Parrish

Queer, Boinking

This story is a house swap double romance, where the characters need to just get away from their situations to start to deal with them.

Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca

Rating: 8/10

Role Playing

Role Playing (2023) by Cathy Yardley

Queer, Boinking

Not only does this story have a demi/ace character, both characters are middle aged and dealing with age appropriate issues, from an empty nest to parents with failing health.

When I saw the kind of relationship Aiden had with his mother I thought I was going to struggle with the story. Instead, I found it reaffirming, especially when there was no magic solution that made the relationship better.

Published by Montlake

Rating: 8/10

The Books of 2023: Yearly Reading Roundup

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