It may be getting chillier outside for many of us, but it’s been scientifically proven* that nothing keeps us cozier than a great queer romance novel. Which means that medically speaking**, you should really pick up one or two or all five of these books, right? That’s just the laws of physics*** right there.
*Note that asterisked statements may not be entire factual, but they sure feel factual, and isn’t that what matters?
Stars in Your Eyes
The National Book Award-winning author of Felix Ever After delivers a beautifully tender story of two grumpy/sunshine, fake-dating actors navigating their love story both on and offscreen—perfect for fans of Casey McQuiston and Alexis Hall.
Logan Gray is Hollywood’s bad boy—a talented but troubled actor who the public loves to hate. Mattie Cole is an up‑and‑coming golden boy, adored by all but plagued by insecurities.
When Logan and Mattie are cast as leads in a new romantic film, Logan claims that Matt has “zero talent,” sending the film’s publicity into a nosedive. To create positive buzz, the two are persuaded into a fake‑dating scheme—but as the two actors get to know their new characters, real feelings start to develop.
As public scrutiny intensifies and old wounds resurface, the two must fight for their relationship and their love.
Callender is an absolute master of…well, pretty much everything, considering their catalog includes massively critically acclaimed Middle Grade, Young Adult, and Adult Fantasy, much of which I’ve read and loved. I have no doubt that they’ll nail romance as well, especially one with a strong mental health (specifically cPTSD) focus and healing arc.
Mistletoe & Mishigas
Sheldon Soleskin should be having a horrible day. Even though he’s been unexpectedly transferred to a new school right before the holidays, has only one day to set up his new classroom, and just discovered his twin sister’s been hiding an invitation to his ex-boyfriend’s Christmas Eve wedding, he’s still ready to take on the world with a smile on his face and a skip in his step.
Theo Berenson just wants to be left alone to his custodial duties. But when the chipper new first-grade teacher needs help moving furniture the Sunday after Thanksgiving, he’s forced to do something he detests. Help. To make matters worse, Theo’s overbearing parents are coming for Hanukah in a few weeks, and he’s told them he has a boyfriend. Except he doesn’t. Because who would want to date an oaf like Theo?
Working together, these opposites discover they might be able to help each other out. Agreeing to be each other’s dates, they become friends as they practice for their upcoming events. But when all the rehearsing starts feeling a little too real, and both men’s pasts come roaring back to haunt them, will they be able to pull off the ultimate holiday masquerade?
I mean. With that title, even if you hadn’t already read and adored Wardell’s previous sexy and heartwearming Teachers in Love title, you’d need to snatch it up in time for the holidays, wouldn’t you? Add in a host of glorious tropes, like fake dating and opposites attract, and combine multiple winter holidays (honestly, I was sold by the dreidel on the cover), and this promises to be another delight.
It’s a Fabulous Life
The marketing copy has already used the excellent “make the Yuletide gay” pun for Farmer’s first step outside Sapphic sports romance, an It’s a Wonderful Life retelling done as a small-town Christmas rom-com full of sweetness and drag queens, so I’ll just suggest you don ye now your gay wallet and treat yourself for the holidays!
Iris Kelly Doesn’t Date
Everyone around Iris Kelly is in love. Her best friends are all coupled up, her siblings have partners that are perfect for them, her parents are still in marital bliss. And she’s happy for all of them, truly. So what if she usually cries in her Lyft on the way home. So what if she misses her friends, who are so busy with their own wonderful love lives, they don’t really notice Iris is spiraling. At least she has a brand-new career writing romance novels (yes, she realizes the irony of it). She is now working on her second book but has one problem: she is completely out of ideas after having spent all of her romantic energy on her debut.
Perfectly happy to ignore her problems as per usual, Iris goes to a bar in Portland and meets a sexy stranger, Stefania, and a night of dancing and making out turns into the worst one-night stand Iris has had in her life (vomit and crying are regretfully involved). To get her mind off everything and overcome her writer’s block, Iris tries out for a local play, but comes face-to-face with Stefania—or, Stevie, her real name. When Stevie desperately asks Iris to play along as her girlfriend, Iris is shocked, but goes along with it because maybe this fake relationship will actually get her creative juices flowing and she can get her book written. As the two women play the part of a couple, they turn into a constant state of hot-and-bothered and soon it just comes down to who will make the real first move…
More like Ashley Herring Blake Doesn’t Miss, amirite? Loved Delilah, loved Astrid, and loved the utterly charming Iris, from its atrocious failed one-night stand to its sizzling chemistry, and of course the cameos from the entire Bright Falls gang never hurt. Whether you loved the rest of the series or just particularly vibe with this tropetastic premise, don’t hesitate for a minute to pick this one up.
Tempted by the Bollywood Star
Being famous was her dream…until it cost her a chance at love. Years later, will a Hollywood reunion give her the comeback she’s craving? Find out in this emotional romance by Sophia Singh Sasson .
She once turned her back on love…
Now she’s risking everything for a second chance.
During one perfect holiday, Bollywood star Saira Sethi fell hard for producer Mia Strome. Ending their fling to protect her public image is her biggest regret. Now, years later, she’s in Hollywood and Mia is a producer on Saira’s new show!
Mia never forgot their intense connection—nor her heartbreak when Saira walked away. Their chemistry still sizzles, but lingering frustrations cause clashes that threaten the show…and their future.
This one’s been on my radar for almost a year and I’m still finding it wonderfully miraculous that a Sapphic second-chance, opposites attract romance featuring a Bollywood star and her producer is a thing. (And with this cute a cover, no less!) Even better? You can buy it solo or paired together by Harlequin with another queer romance, the m/m Secret Heir for Christmas by LaQuette.