Today I am so pleased to welcome Allie Therin to Joyfully Jay. Allie has come to talk to us about her latest release, Starcrossed (which I review later today and totally loved). Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
Six Romance Series with Stellar Queer Sophmore Novels
In some places, including the parts of America where I’ve lived, we call the second year of high school or college the “sophomore” year. And sometimes, there’s some baggage attached: you hear about a “sophomore slump” or “second-year blues” because second years can be tough to navigate.
Second books can be tough for writers too, but as a reader, I love them. I want more of the characters or world I’m already invested in. So to celebrate my second book’s release, I wanted to spotlight six series with second books that deserve their own chance to shine.
(Note: I’ve picked six series with different couples in each book, but for queer romance series with the same protagonists and strong second books, check out Layla Reyne (Irish & Whiskey), Charlie Adhara (Big Bad Wolf), Jenn Burke (Not Dead Yet), and many more!).
A Gentleman Never Keeps Score by Cat Sebastian
Seducing the Sedgwicks #2
If you enjoy queer historicals, Cat Sebastian is a must-read, and the middle book in her Seducing the Sedgwicks series is outstanding. An interracial romance set in 1817 London, two characters with trauma in their pasts find happiness with each other. It’s witty, it’s healing, it’s a comfort to read.
CW: past sexual abuse
Once Ghosted, Twice Shy by Alyssa Cole
Reluctant Royals #2.5
This novella is technically #2.5 but I love Fab and Likotsi so much I had to include it. The story transports you to a day out in New York, and the two timelines had me torn between reading as fast as I could to find out what had happened while wanting to slow down and savor each word. It broke my first-generation American heart and then put it back together, and I want Alyssa Cole’s kingdom of Thesolo to be real.
Hexmaker by Jordan L. Hawk
Hexworld is a brilliantly imaginative paranormal universe, a vivid alternate 1890s New York where hexes are in widespread use and witch police and their familiars solve high-stakes mysteries. If, like me, you love fantasy, you can get absolutely lost in this unique world. The second novel pairs an unlikely couple, a forensic hexmaker from a wealthy family and a poor thief. I was deeply in my feelings over Malachi in particular, and couldn’t wait to see him get his happy ending.
American Fairytale by Adriana Herrera
American Dreamers #2
A prickly half-Cuban, half-Jamaican social worker. A white-passing Dominican billionaire with a heart of gold and an adorable daughter. This is a beautiful opposites-attract love story,, a modern-day fairytale I can really believe in. Issues like mental health and social injustice are deftly acknowledged while two loveable heroes find their way to a happy ending. Absolutely enchanting.
A Seditious Affair by K.J. Charles
Society of Gentlemen #2
There’s opposites attract, and then there’s opposites attract with a side order of treason. Revolutionary Silas and Tory Dominic have an anonymous sexual relationship with no idea that they’re on opposite sides of Regency politics — and the stakes are Silas’s life. This is a grittier Regency that actually acknowledges the exploitation and suffering of the lower classes. Sharply brilliant, richly detailed, nail-bitingly tense and sweepingly romantic.
Heated Rivalry by Rachel Reid
Game Changers #2
A swoon-worthy love story between two rival hockey players that begins as a passionate rookie affair and has a chance to become something more. Both leads are wonderfully real and Ilya Rozanov is particularly moving; one of those extroverts hiding the hard parts of his life behind quips and sarcasm. With off-the-charts chemistry and a very sweet romance, this book is loved for a reason.
Bonus! Two queer second books that look excellent but I haven’t had a chance to read:
Inked with a Kiss (Thorn & Thistle #2, Jennie Davids) – released April 13
The Care and Feeding of Waspish Widows (Feminine Pursuits #2, Olivia Waite) – coming July 28
When everything they’ve built is threatened, only their bond remains…
New York, 1925
Psychometric Rory Brodigan’s life hasn’t been the same since the day he met Arthur Kenzie. Arthur’s continued quest to contain supernatural relics that pose a threat to the world has captured Rory’s imagination—and his heart. But Arthur’s upper-class upbringing still leaves Rory worried that he’ll never measure up, especially when Arthur’s aristocratic ex arrives in New York.
For Arthur, there’s only Rory. But keeping the man he’s fallen for safe is another matter altogether. When a group of ruthless paranormals throws the city into chaos, the two men’s strained relationship leaves Rory vulnerable to a monster from Arthur’s past.
With dark forces determined to tear them apart, Rory and Arthur will have to draw on every last bit of magic up their sleeves. And in the end, it’s the connection they’ve formed without magic that will be tested like never before.
Allie Therin is a writer and avid reader of sci-fi, fantasy, and romance. She also is, or has been, a bookseller, an attorney, a Parks & Rec assistant, a boom operator, and a barista for one (embarrassing) day. Allie grew up in a tiny Pacific Northwest town with more bears than people, although the bears sadly would not practice Spanish with her. Allie loves to hear from readers! Find all the ways to connect with her at her website, www.allietherin.com, or sign up for her “book news only” email list.