After several months of living with the pandemic and it’s fallout, it’s safe to say that we need an escape. To me, that means just one thing: picking up a romance novel.
Romance is my go-to genre for a reason: there’s immense comfort in knowing that a happily ever after (HEA) is guaranteed. The very aspects of these novels that invite disdain are the same reasons they make the best reads in chaotic times. Plus, when there’s a clear gender divide in global leadership, it’s soothing to read about badass womxn taking control of their lives, fortunes, orgasms, and fates.
When my friend Cyn shared that May is Latino Books Month, I realized it was the perfect time to write another romance round-up, this time celebrating Latinx romance authors. While romance has always been a driver of social change, it, like the rest of the publishing industry, remains overwhelmingly white. As readers, our power rests in voting with our dollar. By buying books that support the voices, values, and causes we care about, we let the powers that be know: we want more.
And after reading these? I promise you’ll want more.
So, whether you need a sexual spark, crave time away from your screen, long to lose yourself in someone else’s problems (that are totally fixable and will have a tidy, happy ending), or just need something new to read, check out these recent and upcoming releases from Latinx authors.
Recently Released Latinx Romance Novels
Island Affair by Priscilla Oliveras
I love when books surprise me with unique characters and settings. Priscilla Oliveras’ Island Affair takes us to Key West, Florida. Jilted by her fiance, the social media influencer heroine convinces a firefighter/paramedic/dive captain to play the part of her smitten fiance. The book tackles eating disorder recovery, complicated family dynamics, and big emotions with grace and charm. It’ll give you All The Feels (including pants ones) and builds to a much-needed cathartic release.
The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa
In the mood for a properly fun read? Look no further than Mia Sosa’s rom-com, The Best Worst Man. After being left at the altar (cringe!), our wedding planner heroine is offered a life-changing business opportunity. The downside? She has to work with her ex’s best man. Who’s also his brother. Who might be the reason the wedding was called off. Can you say baggage?! Featuring an array of strong womxn—aunts, cousins, friends, and coworkers—supporting each other, as many pages devoted to a love of food as to sexy times, a couple’s retreat, and beautiful examples of nontoxic male friendships, this book had me laughing, cringing, gasping, and *ahem* sighing my way through it.
Leather and Lace by Rebel Carter
The description for Rebel Carter’s latest novella—my first introduction to her Gold Sky series—includes this line: “Leather and Lace has a bit of mail-order, arranged marriage, kind of secret baby with some forced proximity sprinkled on top!” All the yeses! Minnie is pregnant and needs to find someone to marry before it’s very obvious. Instead, she falls for another woman. Since womxn get shit done, Alex of course has a solution for Minnie’s situation and the rest, as they say, is history. There’s not much angst to be had in this sapphic Western—but there is a lot of sweetness and passion, making this a great comfort read. Though this is book four in the series, I didn’t feel I missed vital plot points, and I can’t wait to read books one through four.
A Taste of Sage by Yaffa S Santos
I have a soft spot for food-focused romances. And cookbooks. And books based in NYC. And ones with strong, supportive female relationships. Which meant A Taste of Sage by Yaffa S Santos was always going to be my kryptonite (it includes recipes, y’all. I repeat: there are recipes in this book. *swoons*). After a failed attempt to open a fusion restaurant, our heroine takes a position as a sous chef at a traditional French restaurant with a celebrated chef. Like most celebrated chefs, he has a reputation (and not a good one). Gifted with a form of synesthesia in which she can feel a person’s emotions by tasting their cooking, our heroine starts to crave our hero’s food alongside her hero. If you love angst in romance (think Darcy-Lizzie levels), this one has it in spades. Just don’t read it while hungry.
Paine and Rowe by Leora Gonzales
As a sex educator, I often find myself frustrated with love triangle romances as I see the obvious alternative: they all get together and form a throuple! Mainstream romance doesn’t often leave room for this. Thankfully, Leora Gonzales’ Paine and Rowe does. Our strong, sassy heroine is gifted to our heroes (yes, plural) as part of a bridal pact. She wants nothing more than to return home to Earth—until she also starts to want these lovable warriors, too. You’ll alternate between laughing your ass off and fanning yourself (or taking matters into your own hands). This sci-fi romance is book six in the series but there’s no need to start at one (but, if you’re like me, you’ll find your TBR list just grew. A lot.).
You Had Me At Hola by Alexis Daria
Alexis Daria’s You Had Me at Hola is the reason this article exists. This romcom is my most anticipated book of summer! It features a soap opera star who just went through a very public breakup and a telenovela hunk worried his career is over. Thrust together at the last minute on set, they both see the movie that brought them together as their big break. Except—they kind of hate each other. Until they can’t stop kissing. You know how it goes! I absolutely love when our leads have A Plan because it means we readers are in for a ride that’s much more amusing when best-laid plans go awry IRL (plus that whole guaranteed HEA bit). Top it off with “could only know it because they live here” NYC references and details that normalize a variety of lived experiences, and this book will leave you satisfied on so many levels. Can’t wait till August? Check out Daria’s Dancing with the Stars-inspired duology.
Finding Joy and Here to Stay by Adriana Herrera
Adriana Herrera is gifting us not one but two new releases this summer. First, in June, is Finding Joy. This gay travel romance brings together two men with complicated relationships to themselves, their desires, and the concept of home. One hero finds himself in his birthplace of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, for work, seeking closure from the place where he also lost his father. Our other hero isn’t ready to leave Addis for a life-changing opportunity in the states. Together, they find new levels of acceptance, connection, and hope. Then, in August comes Here to Stay, an enemies-to-love-romance set in Texas. Our heroine isn’t struggling as much as she expected with her recent breakup, thanks to having her dream job. Our hero’s job, as a consultant to her company, is to cut her position. As much as she wants to hate him and his abs, she just can’t. Herrera also recently released the fourth book in her Dreamers series—and has an entire backlist to enjoy in the meantime.
Hate Crush by Angelina Lopez
In Angelina Lopez’s Hate Crush, our heroine needs to save her kingdom by ensuring the success of her new winery. Cue the PR stunt to save the day. In this case, a high profile (fake) relationship with a sexy rockstar. The only problem? He’s the same man who broke her heart 10 years ago after a passionate fling. She hates him (though her body doesn’t agree). He just wants to be near her (even though it hurts to be so despised). Watching them battle it out to get their HEA is angsty, delightful, and sexy all at once. Catch up on the first book in the series, Lush Money, before the late June release.
To Tame A Scandalous Lady by Liana De La Rosa
Liana De La Rosa’s To Tame a Scandalous Lady came out in late 2019 but I couldn’t leave it off this list! The daughter of a duke disguises herself as a male horse trainer so she can train with the best of the best—a Marquess who recently lost everything in a fire and is trying to rebuild. She’s 26, not a virgin, and being found out could ruin her, her family, and the Marquess’ chance. The book doesn’t shy away from addressing race and gender inequities but handles them with care and in a way that progresses the plot rather than belabors it. Plus the secondary characters provide added depth to the story and moments of amusement. You’ll care about them nearly as much as you care about seeing how the heck our leads finally get their HEA.