Since it's Black History Month, I wanted to take the opportunity to recommend some books by Black authors that I've enjoyed. There are so many amazing authors and books that I could've put on this list, and as I was looking through my bookshelves and Goodreads and TBR lists, I was reminded of a ton of books sitting there that I haven't gotten to yet but look amazing and that I am going to have to move up my mountainous to-be-read piles. It's a bit overwhelming really! For this list, I decided to limit myself to some romance and young adult books. I'm sure I'll do another post recommending more at some point because I keep thinking of more books to add here!
Forbidden by Beverly Jenkins: I've enjoyed all the Beverly Jenkins historical romances I've read so far, and the only thing keeping me from bingeing through the ones I haven't read immediately is that right now it feels nice to space them out. Forbidden is one of my favorites and begins an excellent trilogy. Eddy is traveling to San Francisco to start a restaurant, but a series of misfortunes leaves her in Nevada until she can save up some money and continue on. Rhine has been living in that Nevada town, passing for white, and building a life for himself, but meeting Eddy changes everything. (M/F historical romance)
A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole: I had a very difficult time choosing which Alyssa Cole book to list! She writes contemporary and historical romance (the first book I read of hers was actually a post-apocalyptic romance, also really good), but I went with the first book in her Reluctant Royals series, a contemporary romance series that is great fun. In this one, an epidemiology grad student keeps receiving emails saying she's betrothed to an African prince and deleting them—turns out it's true. (M/F contemporary romance)
Mangos & Mistletoe by Adriana Herrera: I adored this Christmas novella, so I had to share it, and I don't think you have read it around the holidays. In it, two Dominican bakers competing on a Bake-Off-like show filmed in Scotland have to work together and end up falling into bed and in love. There's a lot of character and relationship development packed into a short novella with an exploration of the differences of the two women, how they view their cultures, how their family and their own ambitions affect them. Plus all the baking descriptions! (F/F contemporary romance)
Mating the Huntress by Talia Hibbert: Talia Hibbert writes mostly contemporary romance, but I had to include this paranormal novella because I'm a big fan of paranormal romance and it was such a fun Halloween-themed romance. It is a sexy, funny, sweet short in which a monster hunter and a werewolf find out they are fated mates. The fated mates trope is handled so well (consent is important here), and so many lines are just laugh-out-loud funny. (M/F paranormal romance)
Let's Talk About Love by Claire Kann: Let's Talk About Love is billed as Young Adult, but Alice is nineteen and in college, so it probably is somewhere on the young adult/new adult line (is New Adult still a thing?). Alice is also asexual and biromantic and her girlfriend just broke up with her because of it. There is a romance here, but the book is also (more?) about Alice coming out to more people and becoming more comfortable with who she is and what she wants and what is all means. (YA M/F contemporary romance)
You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson: This book is delightful, just adorable and happy-making and delightful. Liz wants out of her small prom-obsessed town because she's never felt like she belongs, and her plan to do it is to go to her dream college and become a doctor. When her financial aid falls through, she is convinced to try for prom queen (which in this town is a whole big competition process) because prom queen comes with a scholarship. Liz's emotions and determination are fierce and wonderful, as are the friendships and romance in this book. And I've just remembered I need to read more by Leah Johnson. (YA F/F contemporary romance)
Cinderella is Dead by Kalynn Bayron: In this young adult fantasy, Cinderella has been dead for two hundred years and her story is now used to oppress women and force all the girls of the kingdom to go to balls where men can choose them as brides. Sophia makes the desperate decision to flee from the ball instead, and while hiding in Cinderella's mausoleum, she meets Constance, the last known descendant of Cinderella's step-sister. They vow to bring down the evil king and bring change to the kingdom. Along the way, they discover there's more to Cinderella's story than is told and that there's more going on in the kingdom as well. An excellent fantasy with an F/F romance and a quest to bring down the patriarchy. (YA F/F fantasy)
If you've read any of these books/authors, what did you think? And if you have favorites, please rec them to me (though my TBR pile will weep!).