24 More Romance Novels for Geeks of All Kinds

24 More Romance Novels for Geeks of All Kinds header

Hi, geeky readers! Last summer, I rounded up two dozen romance novels sure to appeal to all kinds of geeks. Well, it’s been a year, and I’ve combed through many, many more stories to find you 24 more geeky romances to read!

Why should you read romance novels? Well, because they’re fun, and because there have been a lot more romance novels published with geeks in mind. As I did last time, I’ve put some information under the title of each novel, and here are the parameters:

  • Length: novel or novella
  • Time period: historical, contemporary, or future; “speculative” for the ones that contain speculative-fiction elements
  • Category/genders of the romantic couple: f for female, m for male, and nb for nonbinary
  • Heat level: sweet means no sex or they kick the door closed on their way into the bedroom; standard is what you’d expect in a traditionally published romance novel (one to three “on-screen” but not superexplicit sex scenes); and hot is probably an erotic romance

Second, I’m defining “geek” the way we do here at Twin Cities Geek: broadly. Maybe some of these characters wouldn’t consider themselves geeks, but they have geeky jobs and/or geeky passions, or maybe they’re just socially awkward. I’m counting them anyway.

Third, this year, I’ve included some speculative fiction, but just being fantasy or sci-fi flavored isn’t enough. I want geeky characters in a speculative environment, and I’ve found them!

Covers for 1-3

Simon Pulse/Quirk Books/Chace Verity

1. When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menton

Novel, contemporary, f/m, sweet/YA

Dimple, a recent high-school graduate and a go-getter, wants to go off to Stanford for college and learn how to be an app developer. What she doesn’t want to do is meet the guy that her family is considering setting her up with in an arranged marriage. Rishi, well, turns out to be the guy, and they meet at an app-developing competition over the summer. Rishi is more interested in comics than in apps, but he’s definitely interested in Dimple. And that iced coffee on the cover? It ends up thrown at Rishi.

2. Geekerella by Ashley Poston

Novel, contemporary, f/m, sweet/YA

A delightful Cinderella retelling, this is one of the many recently published novels that take place at conventions. Elle is the daughter of the founder of ExcelsiCon, celebrating the show Starfield, but she hasn’t really been involved in the fandom as much as she would want because her evil stepmother basically uses her as free housekeeping. Darien is the lead actor on the remake of Starfield, and, well, he’s got great abs. That’s all he’s good for, right? Except he’s really a big fan, too. There’s a fancy dress, a ball, and a fairy godmother (kind of), and all in all, it’s a delight.

3. Team Phison by Chace Verity

Novel, contemporary, m/m, standard

Ship name in the title? Check. Meet-cute while playing a video game? Check. Age gap? Check. People who look like real humans? Check. This delightful short novel is going to tick off all the boxes on the list of what someone out there is looking for, I’m sure, and I’m delighted to be the person to introduce that someone to Phil and Tyson.

Covers for 4-6

Lyrical Shine/Riptide/Greenwillow

4. Beginner’s Luck by Kate Clayborn

Novel, contemporary, f/m, standard

Kit is a scientist, working in research at a university; Ben is a headhunter for a big corporation, sent to bring Kit in. He doesn’t know that she’s a woman. Sparks fly. There’s much more to this story than a meet-cute gone wrong—Kit has family issues and deep relationships with her friends, and Ben has what the author confirmed is ADHD, which has impacted his relationships and work to date. But it’s a love story, at that, and I highly recommend it.

5. Outside the Lines by Anna Zabo

Novel, contemporary, m/m and f/m polycule, standard to hot

This story is set in a small town, Bluewater Bay, which is the filming site for a very popular TV show—sort of along the lines of something they’d air on the CW. Ian is the set’s miniature maker; Simon and Lydia are the owners of the comic-book and gaming store in town. When Ian’s miniature set gets trashed, he enlists Simon’s help to get it fixed before they need it in filming. Oh, and as it turns out, Simon and Lydia are polyamorous . . . and Simon is interested in Ian. (Pay no attention to the “#22” in the series notation; the books have a common setting and tell parts of a story, but this one definitely stands alone.

6. Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

Novel, contemporary, f/m, sweet/YA

While not entirely a romance (the ending is hopeful but not the happiest), Eliza and Her Monsters has a lot of romantic elements, and it’s very deeply geeky. The title character runs an incredibly popular web comic, complete with its own thriving subculture of fans, forums, and transformative works. However, she’s not quite as successful in meatspace; she hates school and is pretty much just waiting until she can get free—until Wallace, The Monstrous Sea’s biggest fan, arrives at school. Be warned that there’s some pretty deep discussion of mental illness in this one.

Covers for 7-9

Riptide/J. C. Lillis/Shira Glassman

7. A Gathering Storm by Joanna Chambers

Novel, historical, m/m, standard

Sir Edward “Ward” Fitzwilliam is a scientist who’s just moved into a big house in a remote area. Nicholas Hearn is an estate manager who just happens to be the semilegitimate grandson of the owner of Ward’s house. Ward meets Nick and immediately wants him—for his scientific experiments. And, well, then other things. There’s a lot of grief in this book, and Nick, who is half Roma, experiences a lot of discrimination, but the details about galvanism and the description of the coastline are superb.

8. How to Repair a Mechanical Heart by J. C. Lillis

Novel, contemporary, m/m, sweet/YA

Another novel set at fan conventions, this story follows Brandon and Abel, a pair of vloggers who do weekly recaps of the TV show Castaway Planet and are in a mild feud with the Cadsim shippers—those (primarily young female) fans who believe that Castaway Planet’s leads, Cadmus and Sim, should (and will!) be in a relationship. They, along with Brandon’s BFF, Bec, are roadtripping in Brandon’s dad RV to all of the CastiCons being held around the country and asking the actors whether they ship Cadsim. Who will win the bet? And how exactly does Brandon feel about Abel? Brandon’s also got some very conflicted feelings about religion and its place in his life, but even with that, this is a delightfully fannish read.

9. Cinnamon Blade by Shira Glassman

Novel, contemporary/speculative, f/f, hot

Hey, remember in last year’s geek romance roundup when I recommended Shira Glassman’s Knit One, Girl Too? Remember how the two women in that book bonded over being in a fandom? Wellll . . . here’s the fandom! Cinnamon Blade, a superhero, keeps rescuing Soledad Castillo—and then she asks her out. Soledad is passionate about learning everything and loves words and history, so it’s not just a superhero story, it’s a romance with a geek, to boot. Bonus: an observant Jewish werewolf.

Covers for 10-12

Olivia Waite/Sourcebooks Casablanca/Avon

10. A Thief in the Nude by Olivia Waite

Novel, historical, f/m, standard-to-hot

Hecuba Jones’s uncle sold the four paintings that were supposed to be her inheritance in order to fund his daughters’ season in London, so Hecuba uses some extracurricular skills to break into the house of the nobleman they were sold to . . . and gets a lot more than she bargains for. While neither Hecuba nor John, the love interest, is nerdy in the modern sense of the word, John’s a painter whose family doesn’t understand why he wants to do art, and it’s a big plot point. Plus, Hecuba’s great joy in life is mixing pigments, which is definitely not something a quasi-gently-bred young lady should be considering.

11. Bite Me, Your Grace by Brooklyn Ann

Novel, historical, f/m, standard

Angelica Winthrop, supposedly a proper Regency lady, quotes Mary Wollstonecraft, defends Mary Shelley, writes her own lurid stories, dresses up as a man to sell them to a magazine . . . in short, she’s a combination of a bluestocking (which is basically Regency for “nerdy woman”) and a fangirl, and in this delightfully over-the-top novel by a new-to-me indie author, she’s an absolute delight. And that’s not even mentioning the Duke of Burnrath, who’s got to convince an awful lot of people that he’s not a vampire, because (fictional) vampires have just become all the rage.

12. A Princess in Theory (Reluctant Royals #1) by Alyssa Cole

Novel, contemporary, f/m, standard

What if those “Nigerian prince” emails weren’t spam? Naledi Smith, a public-health researcher with pet former lab mice called the Grams, is at the end of her rope over a jerk coworker who foists all his work off on her and her precarious financial situation when she meets a nice but enigmatic man named Jamal—or so she thinks. In truth, he’s Prince Thabiso, heir to the throne of the (fictional) African country of Thesolo. If you liked some of the themes of Black Panther but wanted more romance, this is definitely the story for you.

Covers for 13-15

Iron Circus Comics/Jordan L. Hawke/Haver Street Press

13. Crossplay by Niki Smith

Graphic novel, contemporary, just about every combination you can think of including trans representation and nonbinary folks, hot

Yet another story set at a convention, this erotic graphic novel follows a group of friends through a few days at Megacon while they discover each other and themselves. The friend group includes cosplayers, vendors, and attendees, but most of all, they’re all fans, and Crossplay is deeply nerdy in a way that many congoers will recognize.

14. Widdershins (Whyborne & Griffin #1) by Jordan L. Hawke

Novel, historical/speculative, m/m, standard

Dr. Percival Endicott Whyborne is a comparative philologist working at a small museum in Victorian-era Massachusetts. Griffin Flaherty is a Chicagoan moved to the East Coast who has set himself up as a private detective. They meet when Griffin is hired to investigate the death of the son of one of the museum’s trustees and Whyborne is tasked with translating a volume that the son mailed to his father before his death. Naturally, things go much further than that. With Lovecraftian elements, this novel has more horror than most, but also, you know, an awkwardly nerdy academic.

15. Remedial Rocket Science by Susannah Nix

Novel, contemporary, f/m, standard

Melody has a one-night stand with a hot guy early in college at MIT and then later runs into him again when she starts working for his mother’s company. The book’s definitely got a lot of new-adult romance tropes—first apartment after graduation and whatnot—but it’s also got some delicious fake-boyfriend/fake-girlfriend scenes and dating-the-billionaire tropes and mutual pining and “nerd girl gets hot, rich, vaguely frat-boy boyfriend,” and . . . well, I liked it. And it’s a rom-com heroine with female friends!

Covers for 16-18

Avon/Interlude Press/JMS Books

16. Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare

Novel, historical, f/m, standard

Regency-era LARPers.

Yes, you read that correctly. No, neither the hero nor the heroine is a LARPer, but the LARPers are treated pretty nicely (by the end), and it’s all quite funny and over the top, but in general, the nerdy reason to love this book is Regency-era LARPers. The heroine does treat the hero a little sketchily toward the end, and the whole volume isn’t very high on historical accuracy, but . . . LARPers.

17. The Better to Kiss You With by Michelle Osgood

Novel, contemporary/speculative, f/f, standard

Lesbian werewolves and an MMORPG—I mean, I don’t see why I wouldn’t recommend this one. Deanna is a mod for a game called Wolf’s Run, and Jaime is her hot butch neighbor. When an online stalker threatens Deanna’s life, it also threatens the budding relationship between her and Jaime, who might have more connections to Wolf’s Run than Deanna knows.

18. Lovers and Liches by G. D. Penman

Novella, contemporary, m/m, sweet-to-standard

This one is a cute, short tale of two friends who have known each other forever and whose real feelings come out during a game of Dungeons & Dragons. The story alternates between the D&D story and the real world, and the interactions between the two, including points where the DM is clearly annoyed at them, are delightful.

Covers for 19-21

Nixon House/St. Martin’s Griffin/Bold Strokes Books

19. A Girl Like Her (Ravenswood #1) by Talia Hibbert

Novel, contemporary, f/m, standard

Ruth is an outcast in her small town, mostly because of something that happened but partly because interpersonal interactions are difficult for her, as she has autism. Evan is the new guy next door, a blacksmith, and he likes her. Why? She’s not sure, but he certainly is. Ruth’s also a web-comic creator and a comic-book nerd, and she and Evan bond over Black Panther.

20. The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You by Lily Anderson

Novel, contemporary, f/m, sweet/YA

A high-school AU of Much Ado About Nothing—WHY DID I NOT KNOW THIS EXISTED. Trixie and Ben (Benedict, not Benedick) have been feuding since he pushed her off the monkey bars and she broke her arm in elementary school, but now it’s their senior year at Messina (“the Mess”), and they’re in deep competition for third place in their class. But when a cheating scandal—academic, not romantic—starts claiming victims in their class, will they be able to overcome their differences to find out what’s really going on? And is there something underlying their trading of barbs?

21. Treasure by Rebekah Weatherspoon

Novella, contemporary, f/f, standard to hot

Alexis is the too-tall, too-gawky former musician and athlete turned outcast with ADHD who goes with her sister to a strip club for the sister’s bachelorette party and gets a lap dance . . . and then runs into the same stripper in her Comp Sci 101 class only a few days later. Both women know something about being outcasts, both women are realistic about the tech industry, and it’s great to read about this from the perspective of two black women.

Covers for 22-24

Less Than Three Press/Carina Press/Interlude Books

22. A Boy Called Cin by Cecil Wilde

Novel, contemporary, m/nb, standard-to-hot

When a genderqueer tech billionaire gets called a capitalist pig by a trans man college art student, it’s . . . almost love at first sight. There are a bunch of obstacles that they have to overcome, but this is a sweet, fluffy romance for all of that.

23. The Superheroes Union: Dynama by Ruth Diaz

Novella, contemporary/speculative, f/f, standard

Superhero-flavored romance! What more could you want? TJ is a superhero who works with Vincy (the Invincible Woman) to protect the general public. Through the union, she gets a babysitter, Annmarie, to watch after her two kids while she’s at work. Annmarie is delightful, and all is going well until TJ’s ex, Singularity, escapes from his supervillain prison . . .

24. Not Your Sidekick by C. B. Lee

Novel, future/speculative, f/f, sweet/YA

A second superhero-flavored romance, this one in YA flavor. A hundred or so years in the future, the US has undergone a major event that changed the environment a lot and also created superheroes and supervillains. Jessica Tran, the daughter of two C-list superheroes, isn’t a superhero herself, so she really needs an internship to look good on college applications. That internship turns out to be with the local C-list supervillains. And what about that incredibly cute girl who apparently also has an internship there? This book has all your favorite superhero tropes, but revealing which ones would be spoilers, so I’ll leave it at that.

Which ones of these are going on your to-be-read list? Tell us in the comments!


  1. By JD


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