Today I am so pleased to welcome Roz Alexander to Joyfully Jay. Roz has come to talk to us about their latest release, Higher. They have also brought along a great giveaway. Please join me in giving Roz a big welcome!
To celebrate my own queer Jewish romance series making it to the halfway mark, I’ve put together a list of queer Jewish romance books everyone should read.
Jewish romance is a tiny subgenre that fills my heart right to the brim with joy. I started writing my own contemporary, queer, Jewish romances when I ran out of reading material, but all of these books are worth a reread or two!
But first, who are Jews and what makes something a Jewish romance? Jews are a part of an ethnoreligion (like Sikhism), never proselytize (though people do choose to convert to Judaism on their own), and come in all races and ethnicities. The largest groups of Jews are Ashkenazi (coming from central and eastern Europe), Ethiopian, Mizrahi (coming from the Middle East), and Sephardic (coming from Spain). You’ll also hear some Jews talk about being JIMENA — Jews Indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa.
In my definition, for a book to be a Jewish romance, at least one of the characters has to be Jewish and it has to be talked about on page more than once. Bonus points if it’s integral to the story (and even more bonus points if it’s a holiday book not about Hanukkah, which is actually a minor festival).
Higher: A Butch for Butch Romance
By Roz Alexander (me)
Okay, this is my own book! But I do think it’s a good primer into what Judaism is and how hot queer Jews are. Higher is about two butch women: Tali (an Ashkenazi Jew and rabbinical assistant) and Maple (a Sephardic Jewish artist) having hot sex and falling in love while planning for Rosh Hashanah (one of the Jewish new years). It’s a grump-sunshine dynamic with a heavy dash of angst, and a lot of community. Plus, my own obsession with pollinators comes through.
by Shira Glassman
Super sweet, low angst story of two Jewish women slowly falling in love and connecting over common interests. This story is delightfully nerdy and centered around fandom, a knitting group, and art discussions. Plus, one of the women is confidently plus-size — described in the book as zaftig, which means plump, derived from the Yiddish “zaftik,” meaning juicy or succulent. I mean, come one! Oh, and there’s an adorable cat named after Phantom of the Opera, so that’s major points.
by Xan West, z”l
This book has SO much packed into a short space. Two autistic, fat best friends connect in a new way when the femme, who is a kink educator, teaches the butch about becoming a Dom. There’s focus on community and food, harm and responsibility, neurodivergence and kink, and the deep, healing power of chosen family. Jordan and Leah are 49 and 51, have known each other forever, and are suddenly spending a lot more time together right around Hanukkah (hence the book’s title). Xan, z”l, passed away towards the end of 2020, but their legacy of loving, caring Jewish stories lives on.
by K.D. Casey
Listen, I hate sports, but K.D. Casey writes a helluva M/M baseball romance series, and this was the book that started it all. Zach and Eugenio are reunited teammates and past lovers. Zach knows he messed up and wants a second chance, but how can he convince Eugenio to give him one? There’s d/Deaf/Hard-of-hearing rep, bisexual men, Eugenio is Venezuelan American, very steamy scenes, and yes, lots of baseball.
by Reese Morrison
This book is a part of the multi-author Naughty or Nice series about “boys” (adult men into the boy side of age play arrangements) writing letters to Santa through a gay dating app looking for their Daddies. Levi and Saul are both Jewish, one of them is a trans man, and they take care of each other in sweet, loving ways that really warmed my heart — including their loving nicknames in Hebrew.
Where do dreams go to wait?
Tali Blue is definitely going back to finish her last semester of rabbinical school…eventually. When she moved back to her hometown seven years ago to help her grandparents raise her younger sisters, she planned on it being temporary. Now though, she has a stable job and a stable life surrounded by the people she’s known forever. It’s all just fine – and then there’s the incredibly annoying surprise of Maple.
Maple never meant to be successful. She just wanted to make weird art and practice her Ladino. And just like that, 15 years of adulthood has built a solid career, a great reputation as an art instructor, and a lackluster love life. It doesn’t help that she’s been spending all her free time consumed with making it as a Sephardic Jew into the Jewish art world that never seems to have space for her. And it definitely doesn’t help that she’s strictly a butch-for-butch queer. And then comes a sex goddess in the form of short, chunky, smoking hot, and incredibly nervous, butch, Tali Blue.
When Tali’s love of family, Maple’s art ambitions, and a Rosh Hashanah effort to #savethebees force these two together, both of them may learn that the only way out is up, together. This new year the honey is dripping on a lot more than apples. Higher is a steamy, butch-for-butch, grump-sunshine sapphic romance about what happens when you choose to take your dreams higher.
This entire Hot for the Holidays series is about queer Jewish people (and the people who love them) falling in love and having hot, explicit sex that can be read in any order and all year round.
- Universal Buy Link: https://books2read.com/higher
- Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/58236878-higher
A child of multiple diasporas, Roz Alexander (they/them) has always been obsessed with the idea of home being how you love another person. Their books focus on that idea while showcasing characters of many intersections of identities—plus a little humor, a heavy pour of steam, and a dash of angst.
They are a physically/progressively disabled, white, trans person with ADHD and have more interests than time in the day. You can find them spoiling their three terrible cat-beasts; connecting to their Jewish culture through moon-worship, plantcraft, and cooking traditions; and making weird art when they’re not writing or stewarding a native pollinator garden with their beshert.
- Author Website: https://www.rozalexander.com
- Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/WritesRoz
- Author Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rozalexanderbooks/
- Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/21096037.Roz_Alexander
- Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Roz-Alexander/e/B0917ZWFZ2
Roz is giving away a $10 bookshop.org gift card with this tour:
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Welcome, Roz, and thanks for your post. Best wishes for the success of Higher!