We had an amazing year for fiction about lesbian, bi, and other queer women, so I’m excited to present my top 15 f/f books of 2018!

Why 15 and not 10? It was SUCH a good year that—just like my 2017 list—I just couldn’t limit it to only 10! All of these books were brilliantly written and directly responsible for keeping me up waaaaay past my bedtime. A couple of authors have two books on this list because I couldn’t possibly choose only one, and the books are tied for the same place.

Also, after compiling the list, I realized that deep character work, fake relationships, thawing ice queens, and sweet comfort reads were some of the things I most appreciated reading in 2018.

Want to share your favourite lesfic of 2018 and the themes that kept you interested? Come tell me on Twitter.

The Goodmans by Clare Ashton1 The Goodmans by Clare Ashton

Published by Breezy Tree Press

This book is an excellent angsty romance with a side order of family drama, local politics, and a twist I’m still thinking about months later

What it’s about

The lovely doctor Abby Hart lives in her dream cottage in the quintessential English border town of Ludbury, home to the Goodmans.

Maggie Goodman, all fire and passion, is like another mother to her, amiable Richard a rock and 60s-child Celia is the grandmother she never had.

But Abby has a secret. Best friend Jude Goodman is the love of her life, and very, very straight. Even if Jude had ever given a woman a second glance, there’d also be the small problem of Maggie – she would definitely not approve.

But secrets have a habit of sneaking out, and Abby’s not the only one with something to hide. Life is just about to get very interesting for the Goodmans.

Things are not what they used to be, but could they be even better?

Why I love it

The character work is amazing, the writing is gorgeous and occasionally brought tears to my eyes, and I’m not kidding about that twist. It felt like all the air had been pulled from my lungs when I read it and I still can’t get over it.

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Check out our full review here


The Music And The Mirror by Lola Keeley2 The Music and the Mirror by Lola Keeley

Published by Ylva Publishing

This book is an age gap, thawing ice queen romance set in the world of elite ballet

What it’s about

Anna is the newest member of an elite ballet company. Her first class with her mysterious idol, Victoria, almost ruins her career before it starts. When she shows she might be a potential star, Victoria chooses Anna to launch a new season around.

Now Anna must face down jealousy, sabotage and injury, not to mention navigate the circus of friends and lovers within the company. The pressure builds as she knows she must pour everything she has into opening night and prove to her rivals and herself that Victoria’s faith in her is not misplaced.

In the process, Anna discovers that she and the daring, beautiful Victoria have a lot more than a talent for ballet in common, and that not every thrilling dance can be found on stage.

Why I love it

This book is so beautiful because Victoria and Anna have so much passion—both for ballet and for each other. It doesn’t follow a typical romance structure, but hang on until the end, because that HEA is wonderful.

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Check out our full review here


3 & 4 Under Your Skin & Breaking Character by Lee Winter

Under Your Skin

Published by Ylva Publishing

Under Your Skin is a romantic suspense featuring an age gap couple getting married in a small town, family issues, and a company with plans to implant chips in veterans

What it’s about

What do a stolen food-delivery robot, a woman from the past, and a bizarre scheme to microchip military veterans have in common? The infamous Caustic Queen, Washington DC bureau chief Catherine Ayers, would love to find out but she has a lot on her plate right now. She and her fiancée, reporter and Iowa girl Lauren King, are busy wedding planning in Lauren’s home town. That means facing a lot of beefy mechanic brothers, a haughty cat, and a sharp-tongued Meemaw. Catherine’s sure she can play nice with everyone. Well, pretty sure. How hard can it be, anyway?

Why I love it

I’ve been dying for a sequel to The Red Files (the #1 book on my top 10 of 2015) since it was released and I was NOT disappointed. Under Your Skin is brilliantly plotted with excellent dialogue, some twists I didn’t expect, and some wonderful character growth for Catherine and Lauren.

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Check out my full review here


Breaking Character by Lee WinterBreaking Character

Breaking Character is an age gap, celebrity, fake relationship romance

What it’s about

Life has become a farcical mess for icy British A-lister Elizabeth Thornton. America’s most-hated villain stars in a top-rated TV medical drama that she hates. Now, she’s been romantically linked to her perky, new co-star, Summer, due to the young woman’s clumsiness. As a closeted actress, that’s the last thing Elizabeth needs. If she could just get her dream movie role, life would be so much better. The only problem is that the eccentric French film-maker offering it insists on meeting her “girlfriend”, Summer, first.Summer Hayes is devastated when her co-star shuns her for accidentally sparking rumors they’re lovers. Now the so-called British Bitch has the audacity to ask Summer to pretend to be her girlfriend to get her a role? Elizabeth doesn’t even like Summer! Oh, how she’d love to tell her no. And Summer definitely would if it wasn’t for the fact she’s maybe a tiny bit in love with the impossible woman.

Why I love it

It has a bunch of my favourite tropes in one delicious package that was impossible to put down! Summer and Bess stole my heart and are definitely one of my favourite couples in lesfic now.

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Check out my full review here


Rabbit by Max Ellendale5 Rabbit by Max Ellendale

Published by indie author

This book is a super angsty thawing ice queen romance between a cop and doctor, set in the near future

What it’s about

Bias Crimes Detective, Alice Lange, has spent most of her adult life building a sarcophagus around her heart. When a targeted hate crime hits close to home and lands Alice in the emergency room, the last thing she expects is to fall for the kind doctor who softens her inhibitions while she’s on the mend. Doctor Corwin isn’t without her own shadows, however, as she battles the grief and guilt that’s captured her for so long. Can two women, scarred by both love and their professions, submit to the budding desire between them? Or will they continue to trip through their old cycles and hide away from love’s starry light?

Why I love it

I’d never heard of this author before, so Rabbit felt like it came out of nowhere. It totally consumed me, bowling me over with its gritty story and damaged characters finding their way to love.

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Check out my full review here


6 The London of Us by Clare Lydon

Published by Custard Books

This book is a delicious romcom about figuring out who you are, even when everyone else thinks your life is perfect

What it’s about

Alice Di Santo has it all – everyone says so. Perfect boyfriend, great job, settled home life. But when she meets Rachel Cramer, all that changes. Because Rachel is everything Alice has never considered – and now cannot stop thinking about.

This charming tale of coming out in your 30s sees Alice risk everything to go after what she wants, soon discovering she’s deserving of love. Especially this love, which takes her breath away.

Why I love it

It’s funny, sexy, sweet and all around a totally lovely read. Alice’s journey as she figures out her sexuality was particularly well done because it feels so real as she struggles with finding the right label and whether it even matters.

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Check out our full review here


Compass Rose by Anna Burke7 Compass Rose by Anna Burke

Published by Bywater Books

This book is a dystopian sci fi with underwater lesbian pirates, giant squid, and a bunch of other stuff that’s likely to kill you

What it’s about

In the year 2513, the only thing higher than the seas is what’s at stake for those who sail them.

Rose was born facing due north, with an inherent perception of cardinal points flowing through her veins. Her uncanny sense of direction earns her a coveted place among the Archipelago Fleet elite, but it also attracts the attention of Admiral Comita, who sends her on a secret mission deep into pirate territory. Accompanied by a ragtag crew of mercenaries and under the command of Miranda, a captain as bloodthirsty as she is alluring, Rose discovers the hard way that even the best sense of direction won’t be enough to keep her alive if she can’t learn to navigate something far more dangerous than the turbulent seas. Aboard the mercenary ship, Man o’ War, Rose learns quickly that trusting the wrong person can get you killed―and Miranda’s crew have no intention of making things easy for her―especially Miranda’s trusted first mate, Orca, who is as stubborn as she is brutal.

Why I love it

I don’t typically choose sci fi, but I’m so glad I did this time! I loved the character work, the worldbuilding is excellent, and it’s one heck of a thrillride.

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Check out our full review here


Drawing The Line by KD Williamson8 Drawing the Line by KD Williamson

Published by Ylva Publishing

This book is a second chance, enemies to lovers romance between a cop and doctor

What it’s about

Pediatric resident Dr. Dani Russell is focused on her career and there’s no room for anything else since her last relationship crashed and burned. She’s seen as standoffish and cold to everyone except her patients and her best friend Rick. That’s just fine with her. Detective Rebecca Wells, newly appointed to Atlanta’s Juvenile Missing Person Unit, is a woman in a state of flux and on a mission to fix her unsatisfying personal life. That means reaching out to her ex, Dani, to make amends. But after sizing up the once warm, friendly woman she loved, Rebecca can’t believe how unrecognizable she now is or how hurt she is. Is it too late for them? Has too much time passed to make things right?

Why I love it

I know! Two cop and docs romances on one list! This is very different than Rabbit, however. Williamson brings all her deep character work skills to the table with Drawing the Line and I totally agree with April’s assessment that it’s an emotional rollercoaster ride.

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Check out our full review here


9 & 10 If I Loved You Less & Fire on the Ice by Tamsen Parker

If I Loved You Less by Tamsen ParkerIf I Loved You Less

Published by Indie author; Swerve

If I Loved You Less is a friends to lovers, chicklit reinterpretation of Emma by Jane Austen

What it’s about

Matchmaking? Check. Surfing? Check. Falling in love? As if.

Sunny, striking, and satisfied with her life in paradise, Theodosia Sullivan sees no need for marriage. She does, however, relish serving as matchmaker for everyone who crosses her path. As the manager of her family’s surf shop in Hanalei Bay, that includes locals and tourists alike.

One person she won’t be playing Cupid for is the equally happy bachelorette down the street. Baker Kini ʻŌpūnui has been the owner of Queen’s Sweet Shop since her parents passed away and her younger brother married Theo’s older sister and moved to Oahu. Kini’s ready smile, haupia shortbread, and lilikoi malasadas are staples of Hanalei’s main street.

However, Theo’s matchmaking machinations and social scheming soon become less charming—even hazardous—to everyone involved. And when she fails to heed Kini’s warnings about her meddling, she may be more successful than she ever intended. Theo has to face the prospect of Kini ending up with someone else, just as she realizes she’s loved Kini all along.

Why I love it

Tamsen Parker did a beautiful job bringing the story of Emma to life in a contemporary, relatable setting. Even better? It’s available in a fabulous audio version narrated by Jill Smith.

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Check out my full review here


Fire On The Ice by Tamsen ParkerFire on the Ice

Fire on the Ice is an opposites attract, erotic romance that takes place at the (not) Winter Olympics

What it’s about

Blaze Bellamy is the bad girl of the short track speed skating world. Looking like a roller derby bruiser when she’s not in her Team USA uniform, she’s an unlikely American heroine. She’s got a punk attitude to match her provocative dress and her dyed hair, and she’s determined to get onto the front pages of the papers regardless of how she has to do it.

Maisy Harper is the workhorse of the Canadian women’s figure skating team. Serious, modest, and above all, polite, Maisy would prefer to win her victory on the ice rather than in the press, and is exasperated by Blaze’s antics. When she’s not lusting after her anyway. After they both failed to make the medal podium at the last Snow and Ice Games, they drowned themselves in gin—and each other.

Despite their hookup being drunken, they both harbor fond memories of their night together and are keen for a repeat. But they’ve got different ways of going about getting what they want, and Blaze’s willingness to go to any lengths for the spotlight could ruin any chance she has with Maisy.

Why I love it

Whooooo, this one of the hottest erotic romances out there! It celebrates sex while giving us well developed characters who navigate their way to love in spite of their totally different personalities and approaches to love and sex.

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Check out our full review here


A Heart To Call Home by Jeannie Levig11 A Heart to Call Home by Jeannie Levig

Published by Bold Strokes Books

This book is an angsty enemies to lovers, smalltown romance

What it’s about

Dakota Scott has spent her entire adult life trying to outrun her past, but even the privilege and reputation her family name affords her haven’t helped her forget. Her mother’s mental illness and the memory of the night that haunts her from so long ago won’t release her. When the one woman with the power to set her free shows up, Dakota is drawn to her, but she is a painful reminder of everything Dakota has been trying desperately to escape.

When Jessie Weldon returns to her hometown after thirty years of avoiding it, she knows she has demons to face and a conflicted past to resolve, but she has no idea love awaits her. Can she give her heart to Dakota with the tragic past that lies between them?

Why I love it

These are real people dealing with very real issues and Levig is a master at making you feel every little thing her characters go through. And like I said in my review, even though I knew it’s a romance and they would have a happily ever after, Dakota and Jessie’s crisis brought tears to my eyes (which NEVER happens).

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Check out my full review here


In Development by Rachel Spangler12 In Development by Rachel Spangler

Published by Brisk Press

This book is a celebrity, opposites attract, fake relationship romance between an actor and a pop star

What it’s about

From a young age, Cobie Galloway made a career of playing the girl-next-door on the silver screen. Only, she’s not a teenager anymore. Ready to challenge herself artistically and earn the part she’s always dreamed of, she’s forced to face the realization that in order to win the roles afforded to edgier actresses, she might first have to audition by playing someone edgier in her day-to-day life.

Pop star Lila Wilder built a multimedia empire by always having her finger on the pulse of what’s hot. However, as she struggles to produce her next smash hit record, she’s finding it hard to keep her name in the public eye, and a string of tumultuous relationships with Hollywood boy-toys no longer captivates anyone’s attention.

Both women tentatively agree to a headline-grabbing fauxmance, with two simple rules: Always stick to the script, and never forget that on the stage of public perception, nothing is real. Can two women find love in a world of carefully crafted illusions, or will a successful charade mean the potential for something more gets left on the cutting-room floor?

Why I love it

This book has so many of my jams (celebrity romance, opposites attract pairing, girl next door with an ice queen, fake relationship), all in one place! The character work is so good in this one too, it’s not to be missed.

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Check out my full review here


The Sex Therapist Next Door by Meghan OBrien13 The Sex Therapist Next Door by Meghan O’Brien

Published by Bold Strokes Books

This book is an age gap erotic romance with a thawing ice queen

What it’s about

Diana Kelley is a couples sex therapist with a problem: it’s her job to convince her clients of the importance of sexual and emotional intimacy, but after surviving a toxic relationship with an abusive ex, she’s sworn off love and can’t fathom ever making herself vulnerable again. When her best friend Ava is injured the night she is scheduled to assist with a hands-on sexual education workshop, Diana is forced to find a short-term replacement. The last thing she wants is a new lover, even a paid one.

After a year of living in the apartment next door, all Jude Monaco knows about her neighbor Diana is that she’s a gorgeous older woman and the inspiration for more dirty fantasies than she cares to admit. So when Diana knocks on her door with a shockingly delicious favor to ask, Jude seizes the opportunity to learn more.

Their professional relationship is supposed to be a clinical erotic arrangement between a sex therapist and her assistant, but at the intersection of sex and intimacy, anything is possible. Even love.

Why I love it

This is a truly excellent erotic romance. There’s a ton of sex and all of it serves a purpose, either propelling the story, character growth, or relationship development. I loved Diana and Jude’s journey and hope we see them in a follow-up short story.

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Check out my full review here


Beowulf For Cretins by Ann McMan14 Beowulf for Cretins by Ann McMan

Published by Bywater Books

This book is a sweet romance about falling for the right person at the wrong time

What it’s about

English professor and aspiring novelist, Grace Warner spends her days teaching four sections of “Beowulf for Cretins” to bored and disinterested students at one of New England’s “hidden ivy” colleges. Not long after she is dumped by her longtime girlfriend, Grace meets the engaging and mysterious Abbie on a cross-country flight. Sparks fly on and off the plane as the two strangers give in to one night of reckless passion with no strings attached, and no contact information exchanged.

Back home at St. Albans, the college rocks Grace’s world when it announces the appointment of a new president, the first woman in its 165-year history. Cue Abbie—and cue Grace’s collision course with a neurotic dog named Grendel, a fractious rival for tenure, and a woman called Ochre, in what very well might be Grace’s last real shot at happiness.

Why I love it

2018 was a hard year, but it was books like Beowulf for Cretins that made it bearable. It’s funny and lovely, with two leads that I rooted for all the way. I’ve already read and listened to it a couple of times and I’ll be returning to it again and again.

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Check out my full review here


Marriage of Unconvenience by Chelsea M Cameron15 Marriage of Unconvenience by Chelsea M. Cameron

Published by indie author

This book is a fluffy toaster oven, friends to lovers, fake relationship romance

What it’s about

Lauren “Lo” Bowman is in a bit of a pickle. She needs money, like ASAP. She lost her job, the rent is due, and her car needs repairs. Problem is, the inheritance left to her by her old-fashioned Granny has one stipulation before she can collect: she has to be married.

Let’s just say suitors (of any gender) are not knocking down her door. And then Cara Simms, her best friend from childhood that she’s recently reconnected with, pours her heart out and confesses that she needs money to pay for grad school. Lo has a completely brilliant idea: they should get hitched.

Not married married. Like, fake married. All they have to do is play the part for the lawyers, get the money, and then get the marriage annulled. Easy as hell.

Well, it starts out that way, but being fake married feels a lot like being real married, and Lo is flipping out. She cannot be falling for her best friend. Can she?

Why I love it

This book is SO cute! It’s frothy and sweet in all the right ways, making it a perfect comfort read just like Beowulf for Cretins. I couldn’t put this one down because it made me so happy.

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Check out my full review here


BUT WAIT!

There’s always a bonus book whenever I do a list, and I can’t disappoint all you lovely readers! This is the best lesbian fiction book I read in 2018 that was published in a different year.

Daughter Of Mystery by Heather Rose JonesBONUS BOOK: Daughter of Mystery by Heather Rose Jones

Published by Bella Books

This book is a historical fantasy with rich worldbuilding and excellent characters

What it’s about

Margerit Sovitre did not expect to inherit Baron Saveze’s fortunes—even less his bodyguard, a ruthlessly efficient swordswoman known only as Barbara. Wealth suddenly makes Margerit a highly eligible heiress and buys her the enmity of the new Baron. He had expected to inherit all, and now eyes her fortune with open envy.

Barbara proudly served as the old Baron’s duelist but she had expected his death to make her a free woman. Bitterness turns to determination when she finds herself the only force that stands between Margerit and the new Baron’s greed.

At first Margerit protests the need for Barbara’s services, but soon she cannot imagine sending Barbara away. And Barbara’s duty has become something far more hazardous to her heart than the point of a sword. But greater dangers loom than one man’s hatred—the Prince of Alpennia is ill. Deadly intrigue surrounds the succession and the rituals of divine power known as The Mysteries of the Saints.

Why I love it

Daughter of Mystery is brilliant. The writing is magnificent and feels like something out of the 19th century, the character work is deep and excellent, and Alpennia is drawn so clearly. It has a beautiful romantic element to it, even though it’s not a romance novel per se, and I wholeheartedly recommend this book.

Get It On Amazon

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Check out our full review here

 

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