Romantic, emotional, gothic, rebellious. and incredibly brilliant books to keep you good and stuffed for the new year. Pick up every one of these books like escapist multi-layered cakes for your personal enjoyment.
The Wolf and the Woodsman by Ava Reid
Published by Harper Voyager
If you’ve ever felt like being ruined by a pious prince, a sharp nailed wolf-girl, and Jewish folklore this is your moment. I can’t think about another book I’ve thought more about this year. The Wolf and the Woodsman is about nationalism and marginalized people being erased from their own history. Within this world inspired by medieval Hungary, relationships simmer. Ava Reid writes relationships with such deep intimacy. Sink into this one for the ice bears, the dry humor, the romantic prose in a world vibrating with woods, blood, and snow.
The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels by India Holton
Genre: alternate history/magical rom-com
Published by Berkley
The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels is exactly what would happen if Terry Pratchett wrote a rom-com. If you’re into magical rom-coms like Payback’s a Witch by Lana Harper and the Ex Hex by Erin Sterling, add this to your TBR shelf. A true enemies to lovers with secret societies, cozy British humor, proper magical ladies, gothic authorial madness, spies, and lady pirates. It’s a wild ride made ever more brilliant by the fact that the author makes fantasy, historical England, and romantic comedy blend together in a single swashbuckling romantic adventure. This is a soft villainous romance.
The Unbroken by C.L. Clark
Published by Orbit Books
A brilliant fantasy about the intimate relationships with colonialism. Like a world based in France’s colonization of North Africa, the Unbroken focuses on the difficult relationships that develop from such violence with people, government, law, and land. C.L. Clark’s world of revolution and war takes on the intimate moments between people’s opinions, emotions, and prejudices. Within the flames, blooms a tension-full relationship between a soldier of the Empire and a Princess.
Light From Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki\
Genre: Science Fiction
Published by Tor Books
When Queer found family meets Faustian science fiction you get Light From Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki. This book lives rent free in my head. Demons, a trans girl sharp as razors, video game musicians, Cali immigrant neighborhoods, donut shops with sapphic alien mamas. Ryka Aoki brilliantly blends all these elements into a flawless science fiction novel about healthy love.
A Dowry of Blood by S.T. Gibson
Genre: Gothic Horror
Published by Nyx Publishing
If gothic horror romanticism had a cult favorite of the year A Dowry of Blood by S.T. Gibson would win every time. From Booktok, twitter, and the Goodreads Choice Awards it’s an indie published book rising to readers favorite lists more than the majority of big 5 publications. Travel through the Middle Ages, Renaissance Italy, and the Russian revolution with Dracula’s brides and their darkly romantic obsessions, desires, and tastes. This is Dracula’s brides as it should be: polyamorous and definitely bisexual.
Hang the Moon by Alexandria Bellefleur
Published by Avon
Hang the Moon by Alexandria Bellefleur is like Taylor Swift meets a bisexual Nora Ephron romcom. Tension. Spice. Everything funny and nice. Twisting things in the best of ways, Hang the Moon features a bisexual heroine unconvinced that happily ever afters exist and a hero determined to show her how a good Seattle-set Romance is really done.