Unseen Attraction is the first in the SIns of the Cities trilogy from KJ Charles. It has left me eagerly awaiting to see where things are going—and with some very enthusiastic theories.
The main pairing in this book is so sweet. They're two people who are very good at their non-flashy jobs, and genuinely enjoy what they do—and they enjoy each other just as much. It felt like a fresh relationship for me as a reader, and Clem and Rowley's sweetness offset the big old ugly world that they're in perfectly.
I got the best of both worlds here — I beta'd the first half of Peter Darling, and then was able to read the full (very different published version), and wow. It's a fantastic, magical, beautiful story. As beautiful as the cover is, the words inside it live up to the challenge.
It explores a trans Peter Pan coming back to Neverland and trying to figure out why he's grown up into such an asshole and no one wants to play with him anymore. Meanwhile James Hook briefly enjoys the return of his rival, and then falls rather unfortunately in love. This is a great, breezy, but emotional read.
Cat Sebastian's second book sees the return of the STEALTH STAR OF THE FIRST BOOK, George Turner. Georgie immediately caught my attention in the way that all the best side characters do. He's clever and has questionable morals, so obviously I greatly enjoyed seeing him confront his emotions and fall in love.
There is also a Cute Dog and great neurodivergent representation in this! I can't wait for the third book in the series. Check out The Soldier's Scoundrel for the first.
Oh, how I love Alisha Rai. Gentleman follows two embittered people who have secretly had the hots for each other for years. It has a male lead learning to embrace his wild side, and a female lead who embraced it long ago, but still carries baggage from a complicated, resentful relationship with her parents. She doesn't let it stop her from having a great fucking time, though. Akira Mori is just... ah, such a fantastic character. I loved her cameo in the Fantasy series and I was so happy to read her book.
Also, as I may have mentioned in January, Alisha Rai writes great sex scenes. Period.
I reread the entire Magpie trilogy (and finally the in-between-book) shorts this year. Flight of Magpies gets a special call-out. It's a great book, and a fitting denouement for one of my favorite fictional couples. I love the way Stephen and Crane's relationship grows over the course of these three books. Their problems always feel real and pressing, and they confront them like adults. There's drama, but there's not drama.
KJ Charles' writing evolves just as much as the main pairing. I love all the Magpie books, but you can clearly see how much she grew as a writer between the first and the third. There's a lesson if you ever feel intimidated—you can work fucking hard and release beloved books, and still get even better.
Popping a graphic novel on this list because yes. A coworker sold me on this one. It's loosely based on the real poly relationship that the creator of Wonder Woman was in. It's about a young, aspiring comic strip artist who ends up falling in the lap (literally) of his role model—an older domme, and her long-term partner.
Best friends threesomes follow. It's fantastic.