The Year in Gay(ish) Books!
As 2018 comes to a close, it’s time to look back at what was the good, the bad, and the ugly in books with gay/bi male content. Even though it isn’t exactly my favorite genre, there’s quite a bit of MM romance in the list, well, because it’s super gay. I actually prefer science fiction and horror, but those books with LGBT content are still a little bit harder to come by. But I did find at least a few this year. Read on to see what I loved, what I liked, and what was just “meh.”
And feel free to share what you loved or didn’t in the comments!
Playing in the Dark by Avery Cockburn
Following the lives and loves of a Scottish soccer team, Avery Cockburn’s Glasgow Lads series pulls a nice change-up and does something fresh and unexpected by introducing an MI5 storyline that manages to be completely believable while not losing any of the series’ sexy charm.
The Cabin at the End of the Woods by Paul Tremblay
This is a mainstream horror novel (yay!) featuring a couple who just happen to be gay (double yay!) but it has a non-ending ending. Boooo! If you like the genre, it might still be worth reading.
Social Intercourse by Greg Howard
I appreciate we still need coming out stories, but not only did this story feel rather stale, I just couldn’t get past the main character’s misogyny and obsession with sex, not to mention how often the story was just too over the top to believe. Definite miss for me.
Love and Lint Rollers by Kaje Harper
Harper just might be the queen of domestic dramas as she does a marvelous job of capturing MM romance as it happens to the average guy. Many of her books, including this one, center around men who aren’t spies or vampires or super hunky models, but just regular fellows trying to find love. And they do exactly that here — along with a lot of cat hair!
Zero Day (The Hatching #3) by Ezekiel Boone
The spiderpocalypse is here! EEEKKK! This series is basically the equivalent of a frothy monster movie franchise you watch on a Saturday night. (Think Tremors, but not quite as good.) It isn’t great, but I kept reading nonetheless. Perhaps it’s because it includes a pretty great gay couple, including one fellow who helps save the world. Three cheers for diverse genre fiction!
They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera
A buzzy YA novel that left me feeling a little bit “meh.” I loved the fact both characters were gay and that it wasn’t a big deal. But the book was somewhat plot-less as the two boys ran here and there as they fell in love while their time ran out. Not great, but not terrible either.
Band Sinister by KJ Charles
Don’t let the fact Charles says this book is “just” light entertainment fool you. Sure, no one dies, and it doesn’t center around any historical political intrigue. But you’ll still care deeply about every single character and enjoy the book’s drama. No one does it like Charles.
Throwing Stones by Avery Cockburn
Turns out Scotland doesn’t play only soccer, they love competitive curling too! And Cockburn is just as adept in setting a MM romance in that world. Don’t worry if the word “curling” only makes you think of a hair-styling instrument. Cockburn will make this winter sport come to life for you, along with a hot romance to keep you toasty on the ice.
The Ruin of a Rake by Cat Sebastian
Take a scandalous rake who isn’t actually that rakish, throw in an uptight gentleman who secretly hankers for other gentlemen, toss them together and bake for three hundred pages to get a book that is pure fun!
Spectred Isle by KJ Charles
Paranormal is probably my least favorite subgenre in MM romance, but where Charles goes, I willingly follow. Good thing because I thoroughly enjoyed this tale of the disgraced Charles Lazenby and the arcanist he can’t resist while they save the world from demons and whatnot.
It Takes Two to Tumble by Cat Sebastian
Are you detecting a theme here? Yeah, I have a thing for the books of KJ Charles and Cat Sebastian. This is another fun tale from Sebastian about an unconventional vicar and the naval captain who has left his three unruly children in the charge of a series of nannies who can’t handle the little devils. If you find yourself starting to sing “these are a few of my favorite things” while reading this book, it isn’t by accident. Two to Tumble is definitely an homage to The Sound of Music. Thankfully, it’s pretty much pitch perfect!
Soulless, Changeless, Blameless (Parasol Protectorate) series by Gail Carriger
As I said, paranormal is not my cup of tea, and I only started this series as research into something I was writing myself. So I was pretty much gobsmacked when I fell head over heels for the utterly unconventional Alexia Tarrabotti and her werewolf husband, Connall. Chalk it up to Carriger’s writing, which is hilarious and heartfelt, and includes a fantastic cast of diverse characters including the gay vamp Lord Akeldema. The Parasol Protectorate is now my go to comfort reading series.
Stormhaven (Griffin & Whyborne #3) by Jordan L. Hawk
I keep saying I don’t really like paranormal books, but here’s another paranormal series I’m reading. Hmm, maybe I don’t know myself so well! The key to getting me to like a paranormal series? Characters I fall in love with. And Hawk does exactly that with Griffin and Whyborne, two of the most engaging gay characters in MM romance. The series keeps getting better and better.
One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus
Man, I just did not get this buzzy YA murder mystery. Mostly, I just felt “meh” about the characters and the plot. And the big mystery reveal? Yeah, “meh.”
Okay, that’s it for this year! Let me know what you think of my list or share your own in the comments!