In this batch of reviews, I’m including the adult romance books I’ve read through Netgalley. This is a genre that’s a little out of my comfort zone, but I do like to read at times, and I’ve found that Netgalley usually offers quite a lot of LGBTQ+ adult romances!
I received all of these books through Netgalley, in exchange for my honest review.
Adriana Herrera – American Love Story
For a romance novel, this really got into some heavy topics, and it was so well done. The discussions on racism and police bias were definitely my favourite parts of this book. It was especially interesting how the author explored the dynamics and difficulties of an interracial relationship, because I feel like those are often glossed over.
I did often feel like I was missing out on parts of the backstory, but that’s entirely on me, since I haven’t read the previous two installments. So I would recommend reading those first to be able to fully appreciate this novel.
Rep: gay Afrolatinx MC, gay MC, multiple gay and/or black/Afrolatinx side characters
CWs: racism, homophobia
A.D. Lawless – Breathe Out Slow
This was a way more emotional read than I was expecting, but that also made it a perfect hurt-comfort read. Because of that, I just loved Liam so much! It’s a pretty sad book though, as it mainly focuses on losing someone you love and how life goes on without them and you have to learn to keep living too.
Rep: m/m romance
CWs: death of a side character, car accident, cheating, grief, sex, violence, alcohol consumption, involuntary drugging, hospital, homophobia
Layla Reyne – Dine With Me
I don’t want to be unnecessarily harsh on this book, because this is definitely just a matter of taste. But boyyy did I dislike this.
I just wasn’t able to suspend my disbelief enough to enjoy this, as it just made zero sense to me why anyone would want to go on a holiday with one (1) total stranger, and how that person could then just fall in love with them so deeply that they already know they want to spend the rest of their life with them. It’s honestly just ridiculous.
There’s also a pretty big age gap, and even though there’s nothing wrong with that, I didn’t exactly enjoy it, especially since it’s constantly mentioned how young Clancey is and how much Miller is attracted to Clancey because he looks so young. It just weirded me out a little (a lot).
Additionally, I was fairly sure I would enjoy a book about food, because, you know, FOOD. But it turns out I might not actually like food that much? It just all seemed very pretentious to me, and I just did not care for the in-depth descriptions.
Then I also had to read an entire sex scene filled with the grossest food comparisons, which makes me actually never want to eat again. This is probably a me thing most of all, but YIKES.
Rep: gay MC, bi MC
CWs: cancer, hospitals, vomiting, mentions of parental abuse, sex scenes
Annabeth Albert – Arctic Heat
I didn’t expect this to have so much emotional depth, and that’s the main reason I enjoyed this book. There were so many layers to the main characters’ growth and motivations, and this made me really root for them.
I also loved the setting of winter in Alaska, which felt quite original to me, and I thought it worked really well.
I have to say though, I enjoyed the past quarter or so a lot less, because Owen really pressured Quill into coming out and I didn’t feel like this was handled carefully enough. Coming out is harder for some people than it is for others, and that’s very much okay, and doesn’t make them cowards. Which was sort of the message this book went with, in stating Quill “realized he was being a coward” and overcame his fear. There was some discussion of this, but I just didn’t think it was quite enough.
And considering how slow the characters were to open up to each other, I didn’t particularly love how rushed the last part of the book was.
Rep: gay Asian MC, gay MC
CWs: cancer (in the past), homophobia, emotionally abusive parents & ex/trauma, accident because of an avalanche, hospital
Avon Gale & Piper Vaughn – Goalie Interference
For someone who doesn’t like sports, I like sports books a surprising amount. So I was pretty sure I’d enjoy this, and I actually ended up liking this more than I expected. It was nice to see that hockey actually played a pretty big part in this and wasn’t just a background.
I have to say the writing style wasn’t quite up to par in my opinion. Sometimes the sentences felt forced or just incorrect, and this did take me out of the story a few times. But I really did love both of the main characters, who were quite well rounded, and their romance.
An additional thing that made me enjoy this book, is that I read Ryu as being autistic, which I’m not sure was intended but there are some very clear signs, like him being touch averse and disliking change, and just not being very social. There are so few good autistic characters that it’s often nice to read characters as autistic even if they aren’t necessarily written like that, although the signs were clear enough that maybe he was meant to just be undiagnosed.
Rep: gay Japanese MC, bisexual Black MC, m/m side couple
CWs: discussions of racism (in sports), homophobia and biphobia, some diet talk, alcohol consumption, graphic sex scenes
Do you have adult romance recommendations for me? I’m especially in need of F/F ones!