#RomBkLove 2021 Day 10: Impossible Relationships

Day 10
 Impossible relationships. 

 

RomBkLove 2021 Day 10:

 

Today we’re going to talk about couples separated by wildly impossible circumstances who still manage to end up together.  What do you consider wildly impossible circumstances?  What couples do you want to see make it despite everything the world (and the writer) throw at them?  

 

Guest Post by Stacey Agdern

Many people come to the romance genre with different definitions of what an impossible relationship is. Which means it’s important for me to begin this essay with my definition. Quite simply, an impossible relationship is when a couple is separated by both time and wildly impossible circumstances, knowing that they are bound together emotionally despite everything

Authors who write this kind of a story focus both on the idea that tension turns into angst due to both the force of obstacles separating the couple and how important it is to them to surpass those obstacles. Because this isn’t just a soulmate or starcrossed lovers situation. It can be.  But it doesn’t have to be. 

It isn’t just conflict either.

So what is it?

My own interest in, and the desire to find a definition for my favorite variety of impossible relationship began with Evelyn Vaughn’s AkA Goddess’ and ‘Her Kind of Trouble.’ These two stories, told through MMC  Maggi Sanger’s first person POV are a ride, containing suspense, grail theory, international travel and goddess worship.  But what makes these books stick now and forever for me is the years of backstory tying Maggi Sanger and Lex Stuart together , told in italicized flashbacks throughout the story.  Their relationship is impossiblebut they can’t walk away no matter what obstacles are thrown in their path. It takes two books to resolve this and it’s gorgeous.

Nalini Singh’s ‘Heart of Obsidian’ is another impossible relationship. I adore Kaleb and Sahara for many reasons, but when I started to find myself codifying a definition of an impossible relationship, I settled on this oneThe story of her charm bracelet, his absolute conviction that he will find her. And her love for him that spans through the most difficult moments.You can also find an impossible paranormal relationship in Kelley Armstrong’s ‘A Stitch in Time  (time crossed lovers for the win ) and hints of it in Shira Glassman’s novella ‘Wet Nails.’

But impossible relationships aren’t just a feature of Paranormal romance.  Cat Sebastian packs so much angst and longing into the historical novella  ‘Tommy Cabot was Here’ that I couldn’t stop reading it. Duty vs love, power vs emotional honesty. Angst. And then the payoff. Tommy and Everett were two men who are deeply devoted to each other, and no matter what life threw at them, they found themselves back together, where they belonged. 

I’d argue that Tracey Livesay’s ‘Sweet Talking Lover’ slides into the contemporary version of the impossible category. Duty, love, power, and emotional honesty each have a place here.  Both Wyatt and Calia are pulled by both duty and longing, responsibility to their past and their present, their family and their responsibilities. And yet they have absolutely no choice despite their circumstances, but to end up together.  If you unpack this story just a little bit, you could see them fightingagainst time too if they needed to. Laura Florand’s ‘The Chocolate Touch’ falls into this category of impossible in contemporary as well. 

Impossible relationships manifest throughout romance, in contemporary, in historical and in paranormal.  They’re the kinds of stories where characters fight seemingly impossible odds just to find their happy ending. They make a reader root for these characters because when they’re done right, not even fate, time or the writer can deny the inevitable. 

 

 


#RomBkLove 2021 Day 9: Parenting

Day 9Mother's Day can be a hard day.  Hard for the mothers's who feel uncherished, hard for those who have lost their mothers, hard for adults with rocky relationships with their mothers, hard for those who wanted to be mothers and were unable to, hard for biological mothers who adopted out,  etc.  If any of those apply to you.  I hope you take some time for yourself today, and know that you are enough.  

 

I asked the #RomBkLove team to share their inclusive recs about People who Parent in romance. 

 

Today we are going to talk about all people who parent, mothers, fathers, foster parents, siblings, grandparents, loving parental figures in Romance, either as MCs or supporting characters.  Share who you find the most compelling!

 

Something about youLauren @llamareadsbooks recs Reese Ryan's Something About You

 Lita and Trey meet when they discover their kids are planning to get married… and are having a baby.

Representation: both MCs are Black and are “grown folks”; author is a Black woman

Content Warnings: alcohol consumption

Second chanceHannah @hannahheartsro1 recs Jay Northcote's Second Chance

Nate and his teenage daughter move back to the town he grew up in to stay with his mother. The relationships between all three generations is truly wonderful. The other MC has also moved back in with his parents, though that relationship is less positive. I think this book is a lower-angst exploration of how relationships, including parent-child relationships, evolve through time and life changes.

Representation: Gay trans man MC, gay cis man MC, both are white

Content Warnings: depression, alcoholism, past self-harm, past drunk driving accident, past child abuse, MC’s daughter is drugged at a party, transphobia, misgendering, deadnaming

Heiress to mumNick @nickofthebooks recommends Therese Beharrie's From Heiress to Mum

In this book, Hunter finds out that he’s a father after an ex-hookup of his shows up at his doorstep with a baby in tow. She initially kept her pregnancy from him because they were essentially strangers at the time of the hookup. Hunter is completely at a loss on how to parent and immediately reaches out to his ex-girlfriend/current friend, Autumn, for emotional support. With Autumn’s help, Hunter learns how to be the best father he can to his little guy. I really loved how easily Autumn slipped into the role of a non-traditional parent here too but didn’t necessarily take over the role of a mother. Instead, she’s there to emotionally support Hunter while also growing a bond with his baby. Grace, the birth mother, is also treated so nicely by all the characters involved in the story - there is absolutely no shaming of her character nor is she treated like an evil ex!
(Disclosure: Therese and I are friends)

Representation: Both MCs are Black

Content Warnings: grief, unplanned pregnancy

 

 

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#RomBkLove 2021 Day 7: Bad Decisions Book Club

Day 7#RomBkLove 2021Day 7:What books keep you up late into the night? What makes a book a perfect choice for Bad Decision Book Club? Melanie shares some of the books she gladly gave up sleep for.  Find her recs at Smexy's: https://smexybooks.com/2021/05/rombklove-2021-day-7-bad-decisions-book-club.html #BDBC

 

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#RomBkLove 2021 Day 6: Comfort in Kindness

Day 6

#RomBkLove 2021Day 6: Comfort in Kindness What romances offer refuge through kindness? What do you find sexy in Kindness? What are the comforting kind gestures that have made you swoon? Find @TheLadyInReds recs here: http://goodbadandunread.com/2021/05/06/rombklove-2021-comfort-in-kindness/and tell us yours!

 

 


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#RomBkLove 2021 Day 5: More the Merrier

Day 5

RomBkLove 2021Day 5:  More the Merrier: What are you favorite inclusive Ménage and polyamorous romances? What do you look for?
does it best?

Author Jaycee Jarvis shares her favorites:

Welcome to #RomBkLove day 5: Ménage and Polyamory Romance


Today we’re going to celebrate one of my favorite relationship dynamics in romance novels-- stories that contain ménage and polyamorous relationships. There are some very rich themes commonly found in these stories, including characters discovering more about themselves and what really matters to them, great communication, and of course creative and interesting sex scenes, where desire is explored in ways that are authentic to the characters.

As Pinkslip a reader and a writer, I'm not a big fan of cookie-cutter expectations for what romance looks like. I've never enjoyed Valentine's day, which seems strange as someone so invested in the value and importance of love and romance, but the holiday really puts unnecessary performative pressure on couples to act or be a certain way---which is the opposite of romance in my mind. Love comes in many forms and every person and relationship is unique, so I really enjoy stories that step outside the mainstream to deliver a happy ending perfectly suited to the characters involved.
That's why books that feature polyamorous relationships appeal to me so much. The author is taking a stand from the get-go that their characters will define what happiness means to them, and to me there is nothing more joyful, nothing more romantic, nothing more empowering than that.
Best of all these stories can be found in every subgenre and niche of romance, so no matter what you like to read, you can find characters defining love and happiness on their own terms.

Contemporary Romance:


Pink Slip by Katina Jackson: In this fun and fast paced spy novel, Keirra decides to stop lusting after her married employers and move on with her life--only to be entangled in one last dangerous mission. 


Extra Whip by L.A. Witt: Small town romance with heavy kink. Will and Aaron are interested in Kelly for some casual fun, but they aren’t ready to be poly, are they? Bonus points for excellent depictions of safe-word usage. 


All Together by Brill Harper: In this new adult romance, best buds Fletch and Shane set out to teach shy Penelope about sex and romance and instead discover new depths to themselves and their relationship. 


Historical Romance:

The companionThe Companion by E.E. Ottoman: An atmospheric and immersive literary romance set in upstate New York in 1949. Struggling writer Madeline offers companionship to a reclusive author, and finds more than a refuge with him and his alluring neighbor. 


Scandalous Passions by Nicola Davidson: This medieval romance mixes political intrigue with a heartfelt love story. Exiled from court by a jealous queen, Lady Janet Fraser finds comfort and passion in the arms of her eager ward and the knight sent to protect them both.


Heart and Hand by Rebel Carter: A sweet western about a New York debutante who answers an ad for a mail-order bride for two men. Told from Julie’s point of view, this charming story explores what it means to boldly seek your own destiny, no matter how unconventional.


Paranormal Romance:

All the Prince's Men by Samantha MacLeod: Prince Liam is more interested in his personal guard than any wife, and must figure out how to balance duty and love. A touching tribute to found family and forging your own happiness.


Beyond Shame by Kit Rocha: This best-selling series starts off hot and heavy, with a wide cast of compelling characters in a sex positive post-apocalyptic world. Exiled from puritanical Eden, Noelle explores her deepest desires with Jas and the loyal O’Kane clan.


Laid Bear by Eve Vaughn: A sexy paranormal Goldilocks and the Three Bears retelling. Zora doesn’t know quite what to do with the three bear shifters who claim to be her fated mates, though being with them feels just right.

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#RomBkLove 2021 Day 4: Captivating Audiobooks

Day 4: Captivating Audiobooks #ROMBKLOVE  a CIRCLE OF BOOKS AROUND A TEAL BACKGROUND

#RomBkLove 2021 Day 4: What audiobooks captivate you? Which narrators or novels keep you plugged in? What is your favorite thing about listening to romance?

@Books_Sense has a list of her favorites: https://romanceandsensibility.com/2021/05/02/rombklove-2021-day-4-captivating-audiobooks/

Archive: Day 4's Tweets

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#RomBkLove 2021 Day 3: Book Fashion Show

Day 3

#RomBkLove 2021 Day 3: Dress up or pair up your favorite romances books covers with amazing fashion  Check out @nickofthebooks post for inspiration.

http://www.theinfinitelimitsoflove.com/2021/05/a-bookish-fashion-show-rombklove.html

(Please add an ALT description to your images!)

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#Rombklove 2021 Day 2: Escapist

Day2

When people refer to romance as escapist is rarely done in a positive light but I want us all to revel in it today.  I love romance, I love it when it is deeply mundane and grounded in our nitty gritty realities (but with all the orgasms) and when it sweeps me away to a different world or way of life.  

Here are some recs from the RomBkLove 2021 team:

A TASTE OF HER OWN MEDICINEFrom Vicky (https://twitter.com/romancingread) recommends:

A Taste of Her Own Medicine by  Tasha L. Harrison

Escape for me is safe spaces, strong supportive relationships between friends or family, a sense of belonging and a cinnamon roll hero. A Taste of Her Own Medicine has all of those things: Set in a small town, it’s an age-gap erotic romance between Sonja Watts, an older divorced woman who is on a journey of self rediscovery, and Atlas James, a man who looks like ‘he could plow her north field without a horse.’ It’s all about affirmation, growth and owning your own desires, needs and histories. And it’s very hot. The best of both worlds: steamy and cozy!

Representation: Black f MC, Black m MC, Black author

Content Warnings: sex without a condom

 

 Jaycee (@JayceeJarvis) Recommends: Binding shadows jasmine silveria

Binding Shadows by Jasmine Silvera

When I’m looking to escape I want an immersive otherworldly setting and a love story with all the feels. Binding Shadows delivers both in spades. Set in Prague in an alternate universe where the world is controlled by power hungry necromancers, the setting is rich and interesting, with plenty of vivid details that swept me away. Magic is real and forbidden, so the growing attraction between a reluctant shifter and a woman with a touch of “grace” involves delicious layers of secrets and learning to trust each other and their own powers.

Representation: biracial MCs, Black author

Content Warnings: death of a parent figure, difficult family dynamics (bully older brother), sexism in the workplace

 

Ingrid from The Smut Report (@smutreport) recommends:

Magical Midlife Madness by  K.F. Breene

Kf breene magical midlife madnessWhen I’m looking for an escape I find it most satisfying when the character gets to escape too—I want to see someone just busting through limitations and I want to feel just really, really good while I’m reading it. In the Leveling Up series by K.F. Breene, I was positively euphoric to find a mature (40’s) main character starting her life over after a divorce. The focus stays on Jessie’s future and her unflaggingly glass-half-full attitude. Her kid is fine, she’s got a life to live, and that life has a possessed house, an army of murderous dolls, and neighbors with witty banter and weird quirks who are ready and willing to live and die for her (so she’s pretty busy, obviously). When I need to escape, I want to feel myself escape into the possibility of big dreams, even if it’s based in total fantasy--and I want to walk away feeling inspired and free. This absolutely bananas series will make you feel invincible and glorious in the skin you’re already in. 

Representation: mature main characters

Content Warnings: divorce, some violence

 

 

 

Absolutes 1Melinda (@MelindaEdits) recommends:

Your Heart Will Grow  by  Chace Verity

This year when I wanted an escape I literally wanted a different world, but also an author I can trust. For me, Chace Verity fits both of those. They’ve delivered for me repeatedly and Your Heart Will Grow has such a fully fleshed out world that I just wanted to stay in for a while. Kelpana is a cis pansexual mermaid who is supposed to be the peacekeeper between other mermaids and humans, and Morgan is a trans prison guard who falls for her, while he’s supposed to be guarding her. From there, there’s so much adventure and fantasy and I’ve revisited this book multiple times since first reading it.

Representation: pansexual author, she/they

Content Warnings: - Offers of sex as currency/bargaining tool, multiple instances of a character being drugged, Slut-shaming, Abusive family members

 

 

 

What takes you away?  The setting, the kinds of characters, or specific genres?  Tell us your about your fave escapist rom?

For a full list of prompts visit: https://www.anacoqui.com/2021/04/rombklove-2021.html

 

 


#RomBkLove 2021 Day 1: Survival

#rombklove 2021 DAY 1 SURVIVAL
As we begin this 2nd Pandemic #RomBkLove, we've all had to grapple how life-changing this experience have been. Some have left jobs, relationships, communities in order to do what they need to survive.  Even from positions of comfort and privilege (able to work remotely, access to vaccines, etc.)  I have witnessed the gaps communal safety net, how social isolation can leave people unprotected and how so many live on a razor's edge.  In times like these romances that grapple these issues, which stark stakes, remind me of our human resilience and the power we have to help those arounds us, strangers or friends when they are in need.  I find comfort in these exercises of hope that are happily ever afters even after trauma and disaster.

WILD-RAIN-final-252x400Beverly Jenkins writes survivors.  So many of her MCs have survived traumatic pasts, including enslavement, abandonment & abuse, defiantly flourishing despite the many obstacles racism and bigotry place in their ways.  Be it Hester & Galen in Indigo, Maggie & Preacher in Night Hawk, Rhine & Eddy in Forbidden or Spring & Garrett in Wild Rain  her MCs, stand their ground, face down bullies and oppressors and do more than simply survive, they thrive, building families and communities.  US Based Historical Romance, (CW: Racism, abductions, guns, violence, threats of bodily harm, grief, Past trauma: Enslavement, sexual assault, emotional & physical abuse) (Rep:  cis BM/BW, Black author) 

Rebekah Weatherspoon is another author I turn to when I want to read survivors in a contemporary setting. Her MCs face everything from financial insecurity (Sugar Baby Series), family rejection (Xeni's Angus) to attempted murder (Beards and Bondage series)!   Her MC's creative solutions, devotion to found family and persistence in the midst of traumatic events are inspiring and comforting to me as a reader.  I love how the rejected and abandoned find home in others, how trauma is overcome and fails to define them. IR Contemporary romances  (CWs: attempted murder, betrayal, familial abandonment, secrets, kink, grief past trauma: biphobia.)( Rep: cis BW/WM, Queer Black author)

I started out 2020 by reading Anna Zabo's Reverb, little knowing how much it themes of authenticity and survival would come to mean to me. In Reverb, a when Mish, a certifiable Rock Goddess is being stalked and despite her desires to ignore it, she finds her life, band, and voice threatened,  she must come to trust David not just with her safety but with her heart and David must figure out how protect and love Mish.

David and Mish are both survivors. Both have made many sacrifices and endured much to live authentically and are able to navigate power imbalances, career demands to find love in each other.  Contemporary romance with RS tinge, bodyguard / rock queen, (CWs: stalking, grief, loss) (Rep: trans WM /WW bi, White Trans author)

In Olivia Waite's The Lady's Guide to Celestial Mechanics,  Lucy and Catherine have survived different kinds of intellectual stifling due to sexism and abuse at the hand of the men in their lives.  In each other they find enthusiastic support, and unexpected attraction.  They are able to reclaim their intellectual and social agency, and strike blows against sexism in science, reclaiming their confidence, art and work.  Sexy and full of longing and pining.  They are stronger for what they have endured and will strive to make room for others. UK-Based Queer Historical (CWs: betrayal, intellectual theft Past trauma: domestic abuse) (Rep: bi WW/WW, Queer White Author).

 

What kinds of survival stories draw you?  What do you find compelling? Do these high stakes stories comfort you?

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