Hard Earned Happy Endings
Heartbeat Braves by Pamela Sanderson, because I don’t think I’ve ever read a more satisfying hard-earned happy ending, ever.
Nothing Like Paris by Amy Jo Cousins, because I wasn’t sure they could figure out how to be together, pretty much til the end, and wasn’t sure how one of the main characters was going to actually make me like him after book 1.
Let it Shine by Alyssa Cole, for a swoony romance between two civil rights activists, and a happy ending that seemed like it might not be possible.
Rock Wedding by Nalini Singh, because the author doesn’t let trust get rebuilt easily after a marriage was destroyed by addiction, really makes them work for it.
Representation I Needed
Coffee Boy by Austin Chant, because I didn’t even know how much I needed to read a non-passing trans character story centered in the workplace til I read this book.
Gays of Our Lives by Kris Ripper, who wrote the first grumpy queer novice disabled dominant I had ever read in a romance and put him in a story with no pity and no cure.
King of Bourbon Street by Thea De Salle, for a fat submissive heroine who is described as fat and never diets and her love interest is intensely hot for her (and not in a fetishizing way). (Note: this is out in February 2017)
Looking for a Complication by Tamsen Parker, because I so rarely find butches in romance and need to read them so much.
Food Glorious Food
A Taste of Heaven by Penny Watson, because it hit my cozy comfort read sweet spot, and who can resist a cooking contest or a grumpy Scottish chef?
All You Can Handle by Farrah Rochon, for hot landlord/tenant romance centering a motorcycle mechanic and a pastry chef who needs to borrow his oven.
Luck on the Line by Zoraida Córdova, for a chaotic young heroine trying to prove herself by helping create an amazing restaurant, who totally won my heart.
Acute Reactions by Ruby Lang, because this romance had just the right touch of humor to it’s swoon.
Geekiness for the Win
Looking for Group by Alexis Hall, because the author built a game world that I wanted to hang out and flirt in, and I am not a gaming person.
Level Up by Cathy Yardley, for the introverted heroine aching to get recognized for her high quality work at a tech company that I fell so damn hard for.
Strong Signal by Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell, because I couldn’t resist Kai, he just swooped in and grabbed hold of me right away.
A Veneer of Respectability
(Erotic romance heroines who are sexy in private & prim in public)
The Best Kind of Trouble by Lauren Dane, because this took the librarian with a wild side trope and exploded it in wonderful ways that were all about complexity of characterization, gave her a hot rock star to fall for, and still delivered delicious sex with an edge of D/s.
Be My Fantasy by Alisha Rai, for a chubby heroine with a prim respectable exterior and desire for kinky roleplay who owned her own desires and got to have smoking hot sex as a result.
Looking for Trouble by Victoria Dahl, who wrote an erotic romance that acknowledges the ways misogyny impacts women who are openly sexual and still manages to be both sex positive.
Moody Stories for a Rainy Day
Rainshadow Road by Lisa Kleypas, for a slow build, a touch of magic, and a sad heroine I fell hard for.
Waiting for the Flood by Alexis Hall, who wrote a gorgeous unfurling romance amidst flood and mourning.
Blank Spaces by Cass Lennox, because it’s a slow cozy read with threads of sadness woven in.
Polyamory in Many Permutations
3 by Hannah Moscowitz, who wrote the only contemporary YA I have ever read about polyamory, that I wish I had when I was a teenager.
Kneel, Mr. President by Lauren Galagher, for a smoking hot kinky triad in the White House, and particularly for a submissive President.
Ascension by Jacqueline Koyanagi, especially because the romance between the main character and the ship was so damn swoony.
Poison Kiss by Ana Mardoll, for trauma survivors and deep engagement with consent and a dreamy triad I adored.
Beyond Shame and Beyond Control by Kit Rocha, for the feminism, the insistence on consent and rejection of rape culture, the smoking hot D/s, and most especially for Lex who I fell for hard and fast (and Lex/Noelle, who I could not resist).
Queer BDSM that hit the spot
The Real Life Build by Kris Ripper, which hit my sweet spot with its mix of D/s and SM and swooniness.
A Seditious Affair by KJ Charles, because I could not even have imagined how much I needed this extremely kinky, political, queer historical romance until I read it.
Not Safe For Work by L.A. Witt, because I could not resist this kind of meet cute and boy was I glad I didn’t.
The Dark Collector by Vanessa North for exactly the right blend of cathartic BDSM and intense D/s with precisely the kind of happy ending that made sense for the story.