Favorite Nonfiction of 2023

Favorite Romance Novels of 2023


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Contemporary Romance:

2023 favorite romance 1

Stars in Your Eyes - Kacen Callender

I added this to my “game-changing romance” shelf on Goodreads the moment I finished. Actors Logan and Mattie get off to a rough start on the set of their romcom, leading the studio heads to suggest they fake a relationship in order to provide the movie with positive publicity. While this sounds like a typical cute set-up, it grapples with trauma and the way it changes us and impacts our relationships. This follows different romance beats. It’s not a linear process but the way Logan and Mattie come back to each other is beyond satisfying. (Content notes.)


You, With a View - Jessica Joyce

This had my name all over it: photography, road trip, banter, and reunited rivals to lovers. To top it all off, anything that explores the loss of a beloved grandparent is especially close to my heart.  When Noelle’s TikTok about her grandmother’s secret first love goes viral, she unexpectedly reunites with her high school rival Theo. Gram almost married Theo’s grandfather Paul decades ago. When Noelle decides to go on the honeymoon trip that never happened, Paul and Theo decide to join her. I cried a bunch but it also made me laugh! (Content notes.)


Something Wild & Wonderful - Anita Kelly

Anita Kelly keeps getting better and better. In no particular order, I loved: the setting (hiking the Pacific Crest Trail and then time in my beloved Nashville!), the angst (so many feeeeelings!!!! it made me cry so much, the best), the letters (incredibly moving to see both what was written, as well as which letters weren’t sent), and the exploration of faith (Alexei making sense of what he believes after coming out and losing his faith community and parents.) (Content notes.)


Fail Seven Times - Kris Ripper

This best friends to polyamorous lovers contemporary romance is going to have a soft place in my heart for a long time. Grumpy misanthrope Justin has long been in love with his childhood best friend Alex but as a gay man, he’s stunned to discover he’s also in love with his college friend and Alex’s girlfriend Jamie. This is pure internal conflict and angst and I loved seeing how this triad came together. This pushed me to read the entire Scientific Method Universe series and its spinoffs, which I highly recommend. (Content notes.)


2023 favorite romance 2

For Never and Always - Helena Greer

Hannah and Levi had chemistry (and issues) for days. There were so many other things I loved about this second chance romance: being back at Carrigan's, administrative badassery, Kringle the cat, celebrating Passover, the food descriptions, a transformational haircut, embracing demisexuality, vibrant queer community, counseling with Rabbi Ruth, and a few others that are too spoilery to mention. (Content notes.)


Snowflake (Afterwards #6) - Nia Forrester

Neighbors Kai and Asha connect thanks to a snowstorm the week of Thanksgiving. They each have a lot to overcome. Asha’s hangups about her past; Kal and his reputation and his belief that a relationship will interfere with his Olympic dreams. This had some great angst. (Content notes.)


Too Like the Lightning - Travis Beaudoin

What a perfect angsty summer romance! Andrew is very much down on his luck when he rolls into Bulbs, Florida to stay for the summer in his friend’s rental property. He lost out on tenure and was fired in the process and then his boyfriend dumped him. Then he completely embarrasses himself by crying in front of the young hot groundskeeper who lets him into the house. We’ve got Shakespeare quotes, nature symbolism, an age gap that completely works, and sunshine in human form known as Coley. (Content notes.)


What Could Have Been (Lake Lenora #1) - Heather Guerre

Ashlyn and Noah both had unrequited crushes on each other in high school and they both thought the other person hated them. And wouldn’t you know, that’s very much still in play when Ashlyn has to return to her hometown to settle her deceased estranged grandmother’s estate and needs to hire Noah’s company to fix up the house. (Content notes.)


2023 favorite romance 3

A Holly Jolly Ever After (Christmas Notch #2) - Julie Murphy and Sierra Simone

If the first book in this series was “Hallmark movie but make it sexy”, this is “Hallmark After Dark but first let’s dismantle purity culture.” I loved it! (Content notes.)


Sotto Voce (Clover Hill Romance #5) - Suzanne Clay

A a slow burn polyamorous FMM romance between waitress and singer Harmony and husbands Oliver and Garrett. There was some beautiful symbolism as these three people figured out what it might look like to make music together and then so much more. (Content notes.)


SFF Romance:

2023 SFF romance

The Ippos King (Wraith Kings #3) - Grace Draven

Everything I love about fantasy romance! Serovek and Anhuset were incredibly well-matched, no matter how much she resisted admitting it. Serovek’s easy-going, teasing manner hides a fierce warrior and he’s able to bring out a lightness in Anhuset, who is all soldier, all the time. (Content notes.)


Sweep of the Blade (Innkeeper Chronicles #4) - Ilona Andrews

By far my favorite book in the series! Maud and Arland’s romance had me in a chokehold from start to finish. (Content notes.)


Aurora Blazing (Consortium Rebellion #2) - Jessie Mihalik

I could not put this space opera romance down! Bianca and Ian’s respective repressed longing gave me so much life. The push and pull, the misunderstandings, and the slow burn kept me enthralled. (Content notes.)


Erotic Romance:

2023 erotic romance

Salt Kiss (Lyonesse #1) - Sierra Simone

I have been waiting years for this promised MMF Tristan and Isolde retelling. It was worth the wait. (Content notes.)


Breaking Boundaries (Fourplay #1) - Gemma Blythe

Holy moly, this was all kinds of hot. Couple friends go on a beach vacation and the thin wall between their rooms leads to accidental auditory voyeurism and seeing each other in a brand new light. But it’s not as simple as Bex realizing she’s attracted to Darcy and Rafe saying he’d be okay if she wants to explore it. She has no idea what Darcy or Alec think, much less if they’d be on board. And then when Rafe realizes he might not be as straight as he always thought and he’d like to play with Alec? Friendship just got complicated. (Content notes.)