After a stellar 2012, where I was introduced to the m/m romance genre and read well over 300 books, I predicted 2013 would be the same. And it started out great — I made a goal to read 300 books this year and, until September, was right on target. Then, I started graduate school and my first job in 12 years. Needless to say, my reading slowed down. I am now 73 books behind on my Goodreads goal! I did manage to read around 200 books this year and found some real gems I’d love to recommend to you. So, here they are. Thank you to the authors who are brave enough and talented enough to put themselves out there in their books and bring us so much joy through their characters.
1. Glitterland by Alexis Hall
This is one of only two books on my Top 10 that I didn’t review for Joyfully Jay, but it was also my favorite of the year. Darian is one of my favorite characters of all time, and his Essex voice was so unusual and so difficult to capture, yet was done brilliantly. And even though the characters were hilarious and the story was immensely entertaining, it also dealt beautifully with the complex issue of depression. I loved it and recommend it to everyone I know.
2. Into This River I Drown by TJ Klune
This book was Klune’s best yet, and shows how talented he is not only with comedy, but with emotion and poignancy as well. It’s a story about grief and the loving bond between a father and son. Add in a little mysticism, fantasy, and murder mystery and you have what I could only describe as an “epic” tale.
3. Where You Are by J.H. Trumble
J.H. Trumble is one of the best YA authors in existence, and this book is my favorite of hers. It’s a controversial topic — a teacher and student who develop feelings for each other — but she deals with it in a skilled, nuanced way. The characters are intensely likeable, the dialogue is hilarious, and writing this little blurb is making me want to go back and read it right now.
4. Intercession by Pepper Espinoza
Jay can attest to the fact that, when a m/m/m book becomes available, I’ll jump at the chance to read it. I love a good menage book, and this one was my favorite of the year. Espinoza has created three characters — an angel, a vampire, and a human — who are entertaining, fascinating, morally ambiguous, and downright sexy, and I simply cannot wait for this story to continue.
5. Choices & Changes by K.L. Belanger
In this classic case of opposites attract, beautiful Eric is drawn to big, gorgeous Bo, who is just realizing he has feelings for a man. Belanger creates characters with intense chemistry, even though it isn’t riddled with sex scenes. Their relationship is fraught but sweet and the ending is worth the wait.
6. The Pearl by Geoffrey Knight
There is so much to this story by Geoff Knight, that it’s hard to capture it in a couple of sentences. It is a beautiful love story that spans years, but it’s also about an Aboriginal culture and contains an element of mysticism surrounding the land. It’s full of beautiful imagery, a series of adventures, and a sweeping romance. It basically has it all.
7. I Am Here by Evelyn Shepherd
Unique. Original. A lot of fun. This m/m/m about a zombie apocalypse is all of those things. It also contains three smoking hot main characters running for their lives. This is totally not my type of book, so if you’re not a zombie apocalypse type of person, believe me, I get it. But the writing and the story and the characters are wonderful and I’m really, really hoping this becomes a series.
8. Black Hurricane by Erica Pike
Black Hurricane is the third in Pike’s Boston Boys series, but you don’t need to have read the previous two to enjoy this one (though I recommend you do, they’re some of my favorites!). Pike creates the sexiest characters imaginable and I loved Jazz and Dean. Doesn’t hurt that Dean’s a rockstar.
9. Age, Love & Understanding by Evan Gilbert
This book isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but I adored it. It combined some of my favorite elements: an age-difference, a Papi/son BDSM relationship (though fairly tame, with mostly power exchange elements) and top-notch writing. I have a little thing for Latino boys, so I adored Rafe. It’s passionate and oh so sexy.
10. The Art of Touch by Dominique Frost
This short novella combines two of my favorite things: hot, dirty sex and hilarious dialogue. The plot is simple but engrossing. Frost was a new-to-me author and I absolutely adore her voice.
Honorable Mention YA Books
These books don’t particularly fit the genre of m/m romance, since they’re mostly coming of age books with a romance sub-plot, but I really loved them. So if you like YA, please pick them up.
Books I Didn’t Review But I Absolutely Loved
I am obsessed with all of these books for different reasons. The first three are hilarious, the last has BDSM elements, and they’re all completely original.
- The Last Day of Summer by JF Smith
- Pretty Shade of Grey by A.D. Truax (available for free online!)
- Spelunking Toward Illumination by Jason P. Pike
- Don’t. . . Jack L. Pyke