After spending several lifetimes trapped by the lusts of her succubus soul and the will of her vampire maker, Lizzie Adams did all she could to sever ties, moving halfway across the country, abandoning the satisfaction of live feedings and limiting her demon’s sexual indulgences to producing webcam porn.
Polaris Rising is the first book in a new SFR series by Jessie Mihalik, and this SFR adventure is full of action, fascinating secondary characters, and interesting world-building. There's lots of sexual tension, mutual mistrust, wall-banging sex and lots and lots of med-bay visits for the space faring duo.
With a short stay in NYC ahead of her, all Likotsi, Prince Thabiso’s head advisor & planner supreme, was simply looking for an enchanting woman to pass the the time with and instead fell hard and fast for Fabiola. But their whirlwind affair is derailed abruptly by a single phone call. Months later, their lives on vastly different tracks than before, their paths cross again.
In her black leather, heavy lined eyes and dark cloak, Diana, a coyote shifter, exudes confidence and primal energy but there is one human who can fluster her like no other - her ex, Laine. Laine never believed Diana’s reasons for their break up with her and is back to see if Diana is ready to admit they should still be together and put them back on track.
Despite my feelings and worries about current events that have so often bled into my reading this year, making me crave a certain kind of book or hyper-aware of problematic conventions and tropes in old faves, this was a fabulous reading year. I read lots of books by new-to-me authors that I can’t wait to read more from including Austin Chant, Holley Trent, Talia Hibbert, EE Ottoman, and Ada Harper. As always, there are even more books and authors whose books I didn’t get time to read, which makes writing a Best Of list so fraught.
These are the books that came out this year, that I would press into the hands of another reader without hesitation because I loved them so much.
KJ Charles newest novel is a sweet, tender, funny and unapologetically queer polyam romance. Readers of Heyer’s classic regencies will recognize Charles playful nods to Heyer’s style throughout the novel from its character types, distinctive slang and energetic resolution. Long-time Charles readers will find delight in the depth of characterization, her scene-stealing secondary characters and her complex emotional conflicts even if no one is gruesomely or mystically murdered.
I adored the first book in this duology and so I had high expectations for this romance. I was eager to go back into this world and and explore the flip-side of the tropes from the first book. Unlike Galen and Olivia who meet during an assassination attempt and grow in to love and trust, Sabine and Lyre have been partners and friends for decades. Again Harper works to upend trope expectations while leaning into others. I loved the contrast between Lyre and Sabine’s styles and how that played into the way their romantic conflict were resolved. I am looking forward to more queer romantic adventures from Harper and I hope we see more like this from Carina Press in the future.
Letty Gonzalez is trying to rebuild her career after her ex-boss/ex-boyfriend fires her when he realizes that he won’t be getting into her parents' deep pockets through her. Max Delgado is a sculptor on the verge of breaking out, trying to get ready for a major exhibition of his work. When Letty shows up at his door, he is expecting a model not a temporary assistant.
Sandra Antonelli is a long-time advocate and promoter of romance featuring older protagonists. While the majority of romance authors and publishers focus on characters in their twenties and thirties, Antonelli and other fans of seasoned romance thirst for characters with a few more gray hairs and a lot more life experience. At Your Service is the first of Antonelli’s new In Service series, a mystery/romantic suspense series which will feature main characters over 40. At Your Service was an engrossing and highly-enjoyable romance, with great pacing, action and banter and a fabulous heroine, Mae in her mid-50s, who is just little bit older than the hero, Kitt.
Zac Fallon has been stripping for 10 years and he has always loved everything about it. He loves making women smile, being in the spotlight, the camaraderie with the other guys in the show, the freedom to travel and the money. But he just doesn’t quite love it as much as before - something is missing in his life.