Romance e-books are cheap! Am I the last person in the world to realize this? Perhaps, but such is my reading journey. I discovered that I can get any number of fabulous romance novels for around $5 or less if I opt for digital format, and then I found myself in possession of an Amazon gift card, and…it was the perfect storm. I went a little nuts—and I haven’t read through the entire bounty of my virtual shopping spree just yet, but here are some of my recent hits, with more to come!
Today’s books check all KINDS of diversity boxes, with a heroine who uses a wheelchair, a trans man hero, a heroine who’s a recovering addict, and a demisexual hero. The more diverse my romance reading becomes, the more I embrace the idea that everyone deserves a happy ending! Ain’t love grand?
Can’t Escape Love by Alyssa Cole
I still haven’t read all the novels in Cole’s Reluctant Royals series, but I can’t get enough of the novellas! Cole’s characters are some of the most delightfully diverse in the business, and it always comes off effortlessly—her characters are developed beyond their exceptionalities, and each one gets to be a whole, flawed person living life and finding love. I just want to see all the nerdy girls and all the sweet but awkward guys find love!
The Craft of Love by E.E. Ottoman
A very sweet historical romance between a seamstress and a silversmith. I loved how Remembrance intuited Benjamin’s identity as a trans man. There didn’t have to be a big gasp-y coming out scene, she just sees him as he is. I also loved Remembrance’s political activism—the book is as much about her efforts to make working conditions better for herself and other women as it is about their relationship. And it’s always nice to find a histrom about the working class—nothing against dukes, but it’s fun to see what life was like for the rest of society.
Only for a Night by Naima Simone
A seriously spicy second-chance romance where the hero is the owner of an aphrodisiac club. Even though he’s cut ties with the Irish mob, Rion has never believed he was good enough for Harper. But when she, now widowed, shows up at his place of business and says she wants him, he can’t say no—so he says yes, but only for a night. After a stifling marriage, Harper is ready to cut loose, so she agrees to his terms. But when there’s a connection this strong, will they be able to walk away? (You know the answer to that!)
Spice by Seressia Glass
There’s something distinctly cozy about this book despite its occasionally serious subject matter and high steam factor—maybe because the heroine is a baker? Nadia is a recovering addict who co-owns a bakery with her best friend, who is also in recovery. Kane (an Asian male lead!) is a human sexuality professor and frequent customer of Nadia’s shop. Their relationship is on the angsty side—it’s feelings turned up to 11, all the time—but Nadia’s friends feature prominently and help balance out that claustrophobic, you-are-my-world dynamic. There’s a follow-up book featuring Nadia’s business partner Siobhan, who moonlights as a burlesque dancer—color me intrigued!
That Kind of Guy by Talia Hibbert
The last installment in the Ravenswood series—and if you haven’t read A Girl Like Her or Untouchable, do yourself a favor and binge those ASAP so you can jump into this one with all the back story. Rae is a 40-year-old divorced writer who needs a date to an awards ceremony to act as a buffer between her and her dumbass ex-husband. Her friend Zach, who is struggling with how to tell his family and friends about his demisexuality, agrees to pose as her boyfriend. Rae and Zach’s path to love is quite possibly the trickiest in the series to navigate (even more so than the boss/nanny romance in Untouchable), but I trust Talia Hibbert to be kind and authentic in how she portrays her characters. I can see myself rereading the whole series in a year or two—it’s as comforting as a hot cup of tea.