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May 2024 Queer Romances

Bookshelves everywhere are getting ready for Pride Month, and these are just five of the glorious May Flowers that’ll get your spring blooming, if you know what I mean. (You know what I mean.)

  • Lavash at First Sight

    Lavash at First Sight by Taleen Voskuni

    Author: Taleen Voskuni
    Released: May 7, 2024 by Berkley
    Genre: , ,

    Sparks fly between two women pitted against each other in this delectable new romantic comedy by Taleen Voskuni, author of Sorry, Bro.

    Twenty-seven-year-old Nazeli “Ellie” Gregorian enjoys the prestige of her tech marketing job but is sick of the condescending Patagonia-clad tech bros, her micromanaging boss, and her ex-boyfriend, who she’s forced to work with every day. When Ellie’s lovingly overbearing parents ask her to attend PakCon—a food packaging conference in Chicago—to help promote their company and vie to win an ad slot in the Superbowl (no big deal), she’s eager for a brief change and a delicious distraction.

    At the conference, she meets witty, devil-may-care Vanya Simonian. Ellie can’t believe how easy it is to talk to Vanya and how much they have in common—both Armenian! From the Bay Area! Whose families are into food! Their meet-cute is cut short, however, when Ellie’s parents recognize Vanya as the daughter of the owners of their greatest rival, whose mission (according to Ellie’s mother) is to whitewash and package Armenian food for the American health-food crowd.

    Sworn as enemies, Ellie and Vanya must compete against each other under their suspicious parents’ scrutiny, all while their feelings for each other heat to sizzling temps.

    Voskuni won me over with her witty, chemistry-filled debut and its unique homage to Armenian culture, so I’ve been anxiously awaiting the follow-up, and am delighted to see it promising many of the same vibes.

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  • You Should Be So Lucky

    You Should Be So Lucky by Cat Sebastian

    Author: Cat Sebastian
    Released: May 7, 2024 by Avon
    Genre: , ,

    An emotional, slow-burn, grumpy/sunshine, queer mid-century romance about grief and found family, between the new star shortstop stuck in a batting slump and the reporter assigned to (reluctantly) cover his first season—set in the same universe as We Could Be So Good.

    The 1960 baseball season is shaping up to be the worst year of Eddie O’Leary’s life. He can’t manage to hit the ball, his new teammates hate him, he’s living out of a suitcase, and he’s homesick. When the team’s owner orders him to give a bunch of interviews to some snobby reporter, he’s ready to call it quits. He can barely manage to behave himself for the length of a game, let alone an entire season. But he’s already on thin ice, so he has no choice but to agree.

    Mark Bailey is not a sports reporter. He writes for the arts page, and these days he’s barely even managing to do that much. He’s had a rough year and just wants to be left alone in his too-empty apartment, mourning a partner he’d never been able to be public about. The last thing he needs is to spend a season writing about New York’s obnoxious new shortstop in a stunt to get the struggling newspaper more readers.

    Isolated together within the crush of an anonymous city, these two lonely souls orbit each other as they slowly give in to the inevitable gravity of their attraction. But Mark has vowed that he’ll never be someone’s secret ever again, and Eddie can’t be out as a professional athlete. It’s just them against the world, and they’ll both have to decide if that’s enough.

    Cat Sebastian, man. She is just so good at what she does. You cannot forget for a moment exactly what era you’re in when reading, to the extent I swear sometimes I feel like I’m on a movie set when I’m reading her work, it’s so immersive and consuming. This was a great followup to We Could Be So Good (with some lovely cameos!); I loved experiencing the ways both protagonists moved forward to forge a new future in the wake of unforeseen circumstances, wrapped up in a story of grief, journalism, and of course, baseball. Another home run from Sebastian, for sure.

     

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  • Second Night Stand

    Second Night Stand by Karelia Stetz-Waters

    Author: Karelia Stetz-Waters
    Released: May 21, 2024 by Forever
    Genre: , ,

    One hook-up is about to become one seriously hilarious situationship in this vibrant and lively romantic comedy about taking chances . . . and breaking the rules.

    Prima ballet dancer Lillian Jackson is all about control—on stage and in bed. Which is precisely why she keeps her hook-ups to one night, and one night only. No strings. No phone numbers. No scones in the morning. There’s no room for mistakes, especially now that her dance company’s survival depends entirely on winning a million-dollar cash prize in one of America’s biggest reality competitions. That is, until one night with a certain curvy, blue-haired siren changes everything . . .

    As burlesque dancer “Blue Lenox,” Izzy Wells is the queen of on-stage seduction. Almost no one knows that she’s close to losing everything—her theater, her home, and her troupe—unless she wins this competition. Now she’s going toe-to-toe with a gorgeous ballerina in front of the world. The chemistry between them is hot, but even more distracting are the feelings they’re starting to develop. There’s no way Lillian can fit Izzy into her life, and Izzy knows better than to fall for someone who can’t put her first. But if they can make it through the show with their hearts and dreams intact, they just might win the biggest prize of all.

    I have such a soft spot for real-life couples writing together, but I’m not sure I’ve ever felt the actual love bleeding from the pages the way I did reading this first collaboration between the Stetz-Waters duo. The pairing of Lillian and Izzy is Opposites Attract to the max, but in the most “You complete me” way imaginable that has you knowing that when one of them has a bad day, she’s going to sink into the other’s arms and it’ll make it all better. Yes, this book made me sappy, and I am not ashamed.

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  • Nearlywed

    Nearlywed by Nicolas DiDomizio

    Author: Nicolas DiDomizio
    Released: May 21, 2024 by Sourcebooks Casablanca
    Genre: , ,

    An engaged couple’s compatibility is put to the test during their ill-fated early honeymoon in this smart, dazzling, and provocative summer comedy perfect for fans of People We Meet on Vacation.

    5 Signs You and Your Fiancé Might Be Secretly Incompatible…and #3 Will Shock You!

    Ray Bruno and Kip Hayes are horrible on paper. Ray is a chaotic millennial ex-clickbait-writer who’s been oversharing his every thought online since he was a teenager, and Kip is a pragmatic Gen X doctor who values privacy above all else.

    But somehow it all manages to work…until Ray convinces Kip to join him for an early honeymoon at a famous lux resort in Ray’s coastal New England hometown, eschewing the tradition of bachelor parties and hoping to recharge before their end-of-August wedding. When a surprising encounter with another couple at the resort leads to a series of escalating mishaps and miscommunications, Ray and Kip are forced to look at their many differences in a stark new light, turning the trip into less of a vacation and more of a test: will they be able to work through their issues in time for the big day? Or is this marriage over before it begins?

    You generally know a book by Nicolas DiDomizio is going to result in some literal LOLs (and this one definitely did), but I think this is also the first standalone romance I’ve ever read where the couple is committed to each other before the book begins. I’ll admit I went in a little skeptical; it’s hard to make readers care about a couple when you didn’t see them get together, and harder to have a plot that doesn’t revolve around wild, unbelievable miscommunications. But DiDomizio handles both with aplomb, centering communication issues on the characters themselves, and the way both their pasts and their respective generations’ (Millennial and Gen X, in this case) experiences of queerness have shaped them.

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  • A Little Kissing Between Friends

    A Little Kissing Between Friends by Chencia Higgins

    Author: Chencia Higgins
    Released: May 28, 2024 by Carina Adores
    Genre: , ,

    Music producer on the rise Cyn Tha Starr knows what she likes, from her sickening beats in the studio to the flirty femmes she fools around with. Her ever-rotating roster has never been a problem until her latest fling clashes with Jucee, her best friend and the most popular dancer at strip club Sanity.

    It makes Cyn see Jucee in a different light. One with far fewer boundaries and a lot more kissing.

    Juleesa Jones makes great money dancing the early shift and spends most evenings with her son, her Sanity family or at Cyn’s house. Relationships are not high on the priority list—until she’s forced to admit that maybe friendship isn’t the only thing she wants from her bestie.

    But hooking up with your ride-or-die is risky. Jucee isn’t just Cyn’s best friend—Jucee is her muse. When Cyn lays down her beats, it’s Jucee she imagines in the club throwing it back to every note. If they aren’t careful, this could crash and burn…but isn’t real love worth it?

    Higgins’ followup to the much-beloved D’Vaughn and Kris Plan a Wedding looks absolutely delightful. Best friends with benefits turned best friends to lovers between a music producer and a dancing single mom? The stakes are real, and so’s the potential for something serious. Something tells me this is gonna be the kind of romance novel that makes you do that little squeal with your legs kicking in the air.

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Add Your Comment →

  1. DiscoDollyDeb says:

    The queer romances I have on my May tbr are:

    HOUSE OF CARDS (May 2) by Garrett Leigh is a reworking of an earlier book now looped in to Leigh’s Rebel Kings series of motorcycle club romances. This story features the friends-to-lovers trope between two tattoo artists.
     
    DAD NEXT DOOR (May 8) by Willow Dixon is the next book in her Club Crimson series of m/m romances. Stripper & p*rn star Quinn moves next door to single father Tristan. Bi-awakening begins when Quinn agrees to be Tristan’s fake date.
     
    WORK: STRICTLY PROFESSIONAL (May 8) by Jesse H. Reign is the second book in her Bad Decisions series. Much as the first book (RENT: PAID IN FULL) was both transgressive and vastly entertaining, I’m expecting a similar experience with this story of a man who is roped into being his boss’s fake date for a wedding.
     
    After bingeing Nicky James’s Valor & Doyle series of romantic-suspense stories, I’m eager to read SKELETONS IN THE CLOSET (May 30) which begins another series (called Shadowy Solutions) featuring two mismatched investigators working together to solve a case. I just finished the prequel—INVISIBLE SCARS—and it was so good (with quite a bit more humor than I’m accustomed to in James’s work). Can’t wait to read the first full-length novel featuring this couple.

  2. M2 says:

    A few Harlequin lines appear to have their first queer romances this month. I haven’t read either of them, so just noting them.

    DANGEROUS RECALL by Tyler Anne Snell is the first m/m Harlequin Intrigue.

    Protecting people is Mack Atwood’s job. But when a mysterious murder leaves Aiden Riggs in danger, the determined bodyguard will go off book to keep the quick-witted computer genius safe. Neither is prepared for the heated chemistry flaring between them—even as a killer closes in. Until Mack realizes Aiden’s case is directly connected to shared events from both their pasts…

    https://www.amazon.com/dp/1335591648/

  3. M2 says:

    A LIAISON WITH HER LEADING LADY by Lotte R James is the first f/f Harlequin Historical.

    Lose yourself in this grumpy/sunshine historical sapphic romance!

    A love story onstage

    And one waiting in the wings?

    Ruth Connell’s beloved theater is under threat! In desperation, she approaches reclusive playwright Artemis Goode. If Artemis can write a hit, Ruth can save her troupe from financial ruin. Yet it’s not just Ruth’s livelihood in need of saving, but Artemis’s shattered heart, too. As quickly as their personalities clash, their passion ignites! But while that leads their play toward success, it also leads Ruth closer to the end of her partnership with Artemis…

    https://www.amazon.com/dp/1335596216/

  4. Lisa F says:

    All on my TBR!

  5. chacha1 says:

    Releasing May 4 from JMS Books, REGENCY LOVERS, a trio of M/M/M novellas from Ellie Thomas, K.L. Noone, and Alexandra Caluen. Preorder now at 20% off!

  6. flchen1 says:

    Beth Bolden’s HOT STREAK, a stand-alone m/m baseball romance. I loved this one by Ms Bolden. It’s clear she loves the game, and I hope more readers will pick this one up. Would love to hear what you think if you do!

    Sarah Honey and Lisa Henry’s THE ALPHA TAU PLEDGE PROJECT, featuring an LGBQT+ friendly frat…

    I’m sure there are more, but my brain can’t see past today at the moment…

  7. Kolforin says:

    I first understood the title of SECOND NIGHT STAND correctly, but then went, “Wait, that’s not right — it would be ‘Two Night Stand’.” So then I thought maybe it meant adding another night stand (small table) next to the bed because another person is sleeping there long-term. But then the description made clear that it meant what I thought in the first place — it’s just awkwardly phrased. Anyway, the story sounds appealing and I like the cover.

    A LITTLE KISSING BETWEEN FRIENDS sounds intriguing, too. The…the book, I mean.

  8. Dahlia Adler says:

    @Kolforin – spoiler: you understood it perfectly. That’s exactly the joke in the book. Now you’ll have to read it!

  9. Kolforin says:

    @Dahlia Adler Ha! Excellent!

  10. drewbird says:

    @DiscoDollyDeb – def planning on adding the Nicky James to the pile – thanks for the heads-up about the new series! This post is going to be hell on my TBR!

    Books that just came out that are in my “NEXT DAMMNIT” list:

    Sunset – book 3 of Bonfires by Amy Lane
    His Realm – book 3 of House of Maedoc by Mary Calmes
    Dealing With Mapinguari and Dogged Engineers – book 2 of Sorcerer’s Grimoire by AJ Sherwood
    How I Took the King on a Bone-a-Fide Quest of Piracy, Piemu and Profit – new expansion of a series by AJ Sherwood that continues the adventures of Devan and Tan

    Still waiting on:
    Swipe Left, Power Down, Look Up by Amy Lane – release date 5/21
    A Fae Coin Transported Me Into Another World and Now I’m the Gay Holy Maiden: Fortune Favors the Fae Book 1 by AJ Sherwood – release date 5/30
    A Beginner’s Guide to Ghosts, Fallen Angels, and Other Afterlifers – book 8 of Demonic Disasters and Afterlife Adventures by Shannon Mae – release date 6/19

    Also Franklin U 2 starts getting released in June and I am excited for several of those.

  11. DiscoDollyDeb says:

    @flchen1: I just downloaded HOT STREAK, and I hope the guy who wrote the screenplay to “Bull Durham” doesn’t ever read it because I’m only on page six and Bolden has plagiarized the movie at least three times (“Church of Baseball”, “Million dollar arm, five cent head”, “Yesterday he struck out 18 and walked 18. New league records for both”). I’m a huge baseball fan, and “Bull Durham” is one of the greatest movies not just about baseball but about life; I’ve seen it multiple times and know much of the dialog by heart, so perhaps someone else wouldn’t pick up on the, um, lifted phrases, but I couldn’t help but see them. Of course, Crash & Nuke don’t have a romantic relationship in “Bull Durham” so there’s that, lol.

  12. DeborahT says:

    Can’t wait for HUDSON RIVER HOMICIDES which is due out on May 23rd. Larkin and Doyle are one of my favourite all time romance couples.

    Excited about the new Cat Sebastian too, although WE COULD BE SO GOOD was less of a hit for me than it was for others. Loved the first half, but I found myself a bit bored in the second half. But since I adore most of her other novels, I’m hoping this next one will be just as awesome.

  13. spinsterrevival says:

    @DiscoDollyDeb I think that was the point as I get Beth Bolden’s newsletter and she describes the book as an “MM re-telling of Bull Durham,” so she definitely did it on purpose.

  14. DiscoDollyDeb says:

    @spinsterrevival: thank you for the information. But I still think Bolden should be aware that there’s a huge difference between retelling a story and outright plagiarizing it—and Bolden definitely crosses that line again and again by using very particular phrases, situations, and events that are specifically identified with “Bull Durham”. I mean, she uses wholesale entire lines of dialog from the movie. I’m baffled that not one person involved in the production of HOT STREAK recognized the plagiarism and told her to rework certain lines of dialog and events to make the appropriation less obvious.

  15. flchen1 says:

    @DiscoDollyDeb, I confess to not being familiar except in generalities with Bull Durham, so that part went right over my head ‍♀️. That does sound rather aggressive in terms of “inspiration”…. I’m curious what you think of the rest of the story, and whether it’s able to stand apart from that.

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