There’s no better way to beat the dreary Oregon winter than to turn on the heat. A great way to do that is to add a little spice to your reading pile with a deeply engrossing romance. Here are a few LGBTQ+ romances to warm you from inside out, written by local Oregon authors who haven’t seen the sun this winter just as much as you, so they know how it feels.
Wolfsong by TJ Klune
Wolfsong is about Oxnard Matheson, a young man who lives in small-town Green Creek. One day he meets the Bennets, a strange and highly loving family that moves in next door. What he doesn’t know is that meeting them will take him on the journey of a lifetime––full of heartbreak, found family, werewolves, mates, and magic. This book brought me through all the stages of grief and my full range of emotions several times over. A mix of feisty romance, propulsive action, edge-of-your-seat thriller, and world-bending fantasy, this is a great starting point to begin your winter of heat. It’s a four book series, so it’ll keep you burning for a while.
Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas
Following the young brujo Yadriel, this story brings you on a journey into the spirit world where he finds, well, a ghost––but not the one he wanted. Cemetery Boys is a paranormal romance, a newer niche to the romance genre! As Yadriel tries to prove himself as a real brujo, he accidentally summons the ghost of the school bad boy, Julian. As Yadriel tries to help Julian back to the spirit world, he learns that maybe he doesn’t want Julian to leave at all. This story is vibrant, heartwarming, and heady-weightlessness inducing. It’ll calm you down from the raging fire the Green Creek series will set, but keep you toasty warm like a marshmallow in hot chocolate.
The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune
Another fantastic read by TJ Klune, The House in the Cerulean Sea follows Linus Baker, a quiet man who investigates magical orphans. On a peculiar assignment, he finds himself at the Marsyas Island Orphanage, where he meets Arthur Parnassus. And it all goes downhill from there (in a good way). This book is positively delightful and wholesome in so many ways. Part quirky identity-finding story, part romance, it will warm you from the deepest parts of your heart that this winter season has frozen solid––all the way down to your toes.
We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia
In this pandemic and this political climate, this book puts the icing on the cake. We Set the Dark on Fire follows Daniela Vargas as she goes through school as a wife-in-training––what every woman is made to train for. Top of her class, she is expected to be the best, but is that what she wants? The story follows her as she rebels against the patriarchy (yes!) and tries to derail the system, falling in love with one of her female classmates along the way. It’s rebellious, clever, thrilling, and feminine forward. This book is a fiery sensation that’ll keep you blazing until spring and summer bring the sun back.
Satisfaction Guaranteed by Karelia Stetz-Waters
This one is a bit on the fluffier side, rather quirky and hilarious and a little . . . rom-com-y. Not that we don’t stan a good rom-com here, but that hasn’t necessarily been the theme for this list. Satisfaction Guaranteed follows Cade and Selena as they run, and attempt to save, a failing sex-toy shop called, you guessed it, Satisfaction Guaranteed. It’s a bit of a scandalous spin on the rom-com––a bit lighthearted, a bit what-we-didn’t-know-we-needed-until-we-read-it. It’s got just the right amount of slow-burn, hilarity, and serendipity that will bring you down a notch so you’re not burning bright when the sun finally comes out. After this, you’ll be just the right temperature to head into spring and summer without getting burnt (this is not a substitute for sunscreen, however).
Check out these books if you want to add a little heat to your winter and maybe even save some money on your electricity bill (wink wink). Not only that, you can support the LGBTQ+ community and local authors at the same time, and spice up your life while you’re at it!