Updated: Feb 21
I saw a post a few months ago that asked why people don't read more gay and lesbian romance, especially of the non-sexy variety, and the main thing that kept popping up was that many readers don't come across them very often. I think this is quite sad. It does seem that LGBT+ romance doesn't gain as much exposure as other, more heteronormative, romances. So I decided to add this blog to my tour for Fifth Horseman's release. My top three gay and lesbian romance authors.
And I'm starting with one of my fave releases of the year: The Gravity of Us by Phil Stamper. This book gave me aaaaaaall the feels. It centres around a main character, Cal, whose dad is selected for a special NASA mission to Mars, despite Cal not thinking he's qualified enough. And they're whisked away to a special training facility, where there are cameras watching their every move, filming for a new reality TV Show that follows the story of the Mars mission. This aspect of the story was awesome. Romance aside, the general plot is really cool. It was something unique and different. Cal is a budding journalist, and he ends up taking on the mass-media company in a battle of stardom. But things really come to a head when he falls for Leon, another astronaut's son. This book covers so many real-life things that are often not talked about: depression in teens, POC love interests, gay romance, how the media can manipulate and conform things to their will, and difficult family times and rocky moments that shape a teenager's view of love. This is honestly beautiful, and it's definitely in my top 10 reads of the year.
Next on my list is the amazing Levels by Serena J Bishop. This lady knows how to pull off sweet, steamy lesbian romance. And she does it well! This book is about Steph, the nerdy scientist, Perse, the outgoing and adventurous anthropologist, and their amazing romance that connects two totally different people in an open and honest way. Unlike other romances, Steph and Perse really put effort into their communication, and that is so refreshing to see. This is a realistic romance that is definitely something to look up to in the world. This is the type of relationship everyone should have: the ability to talk through mistakes, setting up expectations early on, talking about what's important to you, and really listening so that you connect with the other person, rather than just hearing the words. The steam in this is mild, with only one or two small sex scenes, but it fits the atmosphere and romance perfectly. It's not forced but its not hidden, either. A nice balance. Plus, they're both professors, so you get the whole 'hot teacher' vibe from Steph, which I loved. I might be a little bit of a Steph fan. Just a smidge.
This last one is something I read recently, and it's left me awaiting book two with bated breath. To Target The Heart by Aldrea Alien is an honest romance set in a different time, with different social rules and different cultural expectations. Prince Darshan comes to meet Prince Hamish by taking the ambassador position and travelling to his land, which is less than open about gay love. But when he meets Prince Hamish, he doesn't realise just how unaccepting they are of homosexuality. Prince Hamish has lived his life locked up in the castle and its nearby grounds, being watched by guards, and submitting to his mother's, the queen's, every whim. He's depressed, struggling with his identity, lonely, and genuinely very broken. But that all starts to change when the two get to know each other. Soon they're on a whirlwind forbidden romance that deals honestly with mental health issues, difficult family relations, being gay in a hostile environment, and cultural differences. They have many obstacles to overcome, but they do it together. This ends on a mild cliffhanger in the epilogue, but the main events of the book do get concluded. This is steamier than the other two entries, but it doesn't take away from the honesty and beauty of the story. Plus, the sexual exploration is something that's beautifully done.
Those are my current top three gay and lesbian romances for this year. My top anything changes all the time as I discover new beauties and adventures, but for now, these are hold prime positions in mind.