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SFWA Nebulas attendee romance recommendations


Today I attended a post-Nebula Conference romance writers meetup, which was interesting and enjoyable. Apart from encouragement to continue writing and anecdotes from those who, despite their ages, may be considered elders of this tribe, the best takeaway was a list of romance recommendations.

So, speculative fiction (may include fantasy) romantic recommendations include:

  • Ocean’s Echo by Everina Maxwell 2022
  • Fated Blades by Ilona Andrews 2021
  • The Triton Experiment series by Piper J Drake 2022
  • Anything by Jessie Mihalik. I googled this. “Anything” seems to mean “any book”, I’m pretty sure Mihalik hasn’t written a book actually called “Anything” . But all Mihalik’s books are here.
  • How to Get a Girlfriend (When You’re a Terrifying Monster) by Marie Cardno. This is EVERYWHERE and everyone in the zoom session was saying they need to read it – if they haven’t already – just based on the title. But Cardno does not appear to have a website. So here’s Cardno’s Twitter account, for those who, like me, don’t have a tiktok.
  • The Elf Tangent by Lindsay Buroker, a stand alone in a new world so you don’t need to have read all the shiny things to enjoy the story. And Buroker has a couple of chapters free here.
  • Someone wrote “Tie That Binds series, Why Choose, alternate universe, urban fantasy”. I’ve googled and searched on Goodreads and OMG there are SO MANY books and series with similar names so if you can point me in the right direction I’d appreciate it.
  • A Rake of his Own (and the entire Stariel series) by AJ Lancaster. Garden implements as romantic interests are hot topics
  • The Blackthorn and Grim series by Juliet Marillier. I highly approve of this recommendation. The first in the series is Dreamer’s Pool. And my interview of Juliet Marillier is here and on all good podcasting platforms.
  • Payback’s a Witch, Witchful Thinking and The Ex Hex by Lana Harper.
  • Aliette de Bodard
  • Reign (Strands of Fire) by May Sage. Again, an author who doesn’t seem to have a website. Or at least one that isn’t coming up for me after looking through a couple of pages of Google results. But the book is readily available.
  • The Midnight Bargain by CL Polk. Polk has a website and twitter and all the things. And lots of books.
  • Paladin’s Grace: this seems to be by Ursula Vernon, who is also known as T Kingfisher. Red Wombat Studio is the author website. I think.
  • Ties That Bind, first book is Broken Bonds, by J Bree. This is probably the information I needed before I spent half an hour searching for the point listed above!
  • Scales and Sensibility by Stephanie Burgis. She was in the zoom meeting and was lovely. Her reaction to readers recommending her book and raving about it was adorable.
  • Axie Oh’s The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea. YA retelling of a Korean fairy tale reminiscent of Spirited Away and Coco.
  • First Sister by Linden A Lewis
  • The Love Hypothesis (it’s got scientists & grad students?) by Ali Hazelwood. I have to admit the blurb for this story is my weak spot. I love that romance trope.
  • The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy by Megan Bannen
  • Ties That Bind, first book is Broken Bonds, by J Bree. Seems like multiple people recommended this series this morning. I’ll have to add it to my “must read” list.
  • The Girl who Fell Beneath the Sea aaaaand this is a duplicate too. It hit a few bestseller lists so it’s HUGELY popular.

  • Innkeeper by Ilona Andrews
  • One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston. Not only has this book hit bestseller lists but it has it’s own wikipedia page. Do you know how rare it is for wikipedia to include women? IT’S RARE, VERY RARE. I have no idea of the figures but I’d lay good money that it’s even rarer for wikipedia to include nonbinary people. (I’m tempted to cosplay a nondisabled man then perhaps Dark Matter Zine might be included in wikipedia. )
  • One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston.
  • Red White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston. (I’m getting a theme here.)
  • Only Bad Options by Jennifer Estep.

Romance recommendations: the girl who fell beneath the sea US cover: a quasi traditional Japanese scene with a girl whose kimono lower portion becomes a pool of water

Nalini is an award-winning writer and artist as well as managing editor of Dark Matter Zine.


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