Paranormal

#Rombklove 2020 Day 2: Space Romance / Romance espacial

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Day2_Space Romance (1)

RomBkLove  2020 Day 2: Space Rom/Romance espacial

#Rombklove 2020 Day2: Space romances are out of this world! What are some of your favorites? What makes this setting unique?


Rombklove 2020, día 2: ¡Los romances espaciales son algo de otro mundo! ¿Cuáles son tus favoritos? ¿Qué hace que sean únicos?

Day 2: Archive

GR BookLists:

https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/147762.RomBkLove_2020_Space_Romance_1

https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/147762.RomBkLove_2020_Space_Romance_1

 

How to participate?

Readers: Respond to the prompts! Share your favorite books, characters, scenes, or thoughts on tropes.  Make sure to include the #RomBkLove hashtag with your tweet! If you have read and loved a book by LGBTQIA+, Disabled, and/or  Authors of Color that fits the prompt please, please mention it.  You might think everyone has heard of the book but I can guarantee you there are lots of people who still need to hear about it.  

Authors: You are welcome to participate too, as fellow readers. The tag is not meant for self-promotion. Boost fellow authors, celebrate the community but do so in a way that respect reader spaces. Respect the conversation.   Join in to rec the books you love that fit the theme/trope/prompt. Yes, you can say “I wrote a book with this trope” but please don’t spam the hashtag with generic promo. 

For a list of all of these month's prompts and archives go to: https://www.anacoqui.com/2020/04/rombklove-2020-celebrating-inclusive-romance-during-a-pandemic.html



 

 

 

 

 


#Rombklove 2020: Day 1: Comfort Reads / Lecturas reconfortantes

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RomBkLove  2020 Day 1: Comfort Reads / Lecturas reconfortantes is hosted by Heather Lire

#Rombklove 2020 Day 1: Comfort Reads. What books do you turn to when everything else is hard? Angsty? Light? What comforts you? @heatherlire shares her list of comfort reads


#Rombklove 2020, día 1: ¿Qué libros son tu refugio cuando todo lo demás falla? ¿Prefieres lecturas profundas o ligeras? ¿Qué te levanta el ánimo? @heatherlire comparte su lista de lecturas reconfortantes.

 

By day Heather is a hard-working high school Spanish teacher. By night she's a contemporary romance author, and book reviewer. Heather writes under the names Heather Lire and Kenzie MacLir & has run the review website The Book Reading Gals since it's inception in 2008.

 

Heather  has made her post available in English and Spanish!

Day 1: Archive

GR BookLists:

https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/147733.RomBkLove_2020_Comfort_Reads_1

https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/147756.RomBkLove_2020_Comfort_Reads_2

https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/147758.RomBkLove_2020_Comfort_Reads_3

 

How to participate?

Readers: Respond to the prompts! Share your favorite books, characters, scenes, or thoughts on tropes.  Make sure to include the #RomBkLove hashtag with your tweet! If you have read and loved a book by LGBTQIA+, Disabled, and/or  Authors of Color that fits the prompt please, please mention it.  You might think everyone has heard of the book but I can guarantee you there are lots of people who still need to hear about it.  

Authors: You are welcome to participate too, as fellow readers. The tag is not meant for self-promotion. Boost fellow authors, celebrate the community but do so in a way that respect reader spaces. Respect the conversation.   Join in to rec the books you love that fit the theme/trope/prompt. Yes, you can say “I wrote a book with this trope” but please don’t spam the hashtag with generic promo. 

For a list of all of these month's prompts and archives go to: https://www.anacoqui.com/2020/04/rombklove-2020-celebrating-inclusive-romance-during-a-pandemic.html


Love in Panels Review: Wolf in Sheep's Clothing (Big Bad Wolf #4) by Charlie Adhara

I reviewed the 4th book in the Big Bad Wolf Series by Charlie Adhara for Love in Panels

 

Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing has all the hallmarks of a classic house-party mystery: isolated location, communications cut-off due to unexpectedly bad weather and a full cast of shady characters with hidden motivations. Full of tension and secrets, Adhara continues to craft fascinating mysteries while complicating and deepening the relationship between the cross-species crime-solving & romantic partners, Dayton and Park, who in this installment go undercover at a relationship retreat while tracking a missing person.

Adhara continues to tackle traumatic topics, like PTSD and bigotry with care, and it makes each realization by Oliver and Cooper more meaningful and hopeful despite the darkness of Adhara’s world of secretive werewolf packs.

Fans of Oliver and Cooper will love this mystery and be further drawn into this world, while cursing having to wait another year before Cry Wolf comes out. Readers who have not yet jumped on the Big Bad Wolf bandwagon should not hesitate to run off and catch up as Adhara’s rich storytelling and engaging mysteries are worth the investment of reading the prior three.

[Editor's Note: This is Book 4 in an ongoing series following the same couple. If you want to read about the first three, Ana put together a series primer/review.]

Content Warnings: murder, non-consensual medical procedures, mental illness, past trauma: child abuse, torture, guns

Ana received a copy of this book from the publisher for review.


Review: The Widow of Rose House by Diana Biller

Alva Webster is staking what is left of her fortune and tattered reputation on restoring an abandoned and some think haunted house in Upstate New York. Naturally she thinks Professor Samuel Moore’s enthusiastic approach is yet another improper but too common proposition.  As fascinated as Sam is about the prickly and sharp widow, it is her ghost that most interests Sam, a wildly successful inventor from a renowned family of scientists. When contractors flee her house in terror, she reluctantly agrees to partner with Professor Moore in hopes of debunking the ghosts stories and getting her restoration project back on track, but instead find herself drawn into a complex mystery and sure to be hopeless romance.  I was utterly charmed by this debut, so much so that I ordered a print copy of the book for my keeper after reading a library copy. Biller does a fantastic job creating a sympathetic yet prickly heroine, whose traumatic history rightfully makes her wary of marriage and romance. Biller does a fantastic job of unraveling both Alva and the ghost’s past traumas, and carefully building up the romance and tension between Alva and Sam. I loved the way Biller had Sam confront his enormous privilege without zapping away his hopefulness and enthusiasm. I loved how Biller allowed Alva to regain agency in her life, while at the same time learning to trust and rely on others.  

 

I highly recommend The Widow of Rose House to lovers of mystery with supernatural elements and all those who enjoy seeing an MC break free and find love, family and purpose after a life of trauma. 

 

Content Warnings:Ableism, domestic abuse, mental illness, Murder


Love in Panels Post: Looking Back -- 15 Favorites from 2005 to 2019

I put together this list for Love in Panels:

 

Sometimes the urge to do something is so strong you just have to go with it. I’ve been reading romance for close to a decade and as we close this decade I felt a great necessity to look back at the Romance novels that marked me as a reader. Although I only started reading romance seriously during 2010, I started with what my library collection had, so my first romance novels were really books that had been out for years (Balogh, Kleypas, Quinn, Garwood, Dodd, Krentz and Chase). They were an excellent crash course on romance, if Romance is only for white, cis, straight historical ladies. I don’t regret reading them, I just regret thinking they were the only things out there.

This list is not some prescriptive list of the best books in the last decade but a survey of the books I’ve read over the past decade that I can still look back at fondly and that I think still have something to say to romance readers.

This post contains affiliate links (in the book titles).

twilight2005 -- Twilight by Stephanie Meyer

Much maligned and mocked I still have a special place in my heart for Twilight which I read in that transitional time where I learned that I loved reading about relationships and I wanted happy endings. Full of classic PNR and gothic elements, and found family feels, I can happily admit that Twilight sucked me in and I enjoyed the journey, especially the more bananas it got.

(CW: Violence, murder)

slave-to-sensation2006 -- Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh (Psy-Changelings #1)

This was one of the first romances I ever read. Singh’s intricate world building appealed to my SF/F reader heart. I still love the core story, that of a MC who thinks they can’t feel or that they are broken beyond helping, finding their power and community. I still love romances where the MC not only find each other but find their people and a new way to live.

(CW: Violence, murder)

the-mane-event2007 -- The Mane Event by Shelly Laurenston ( Pride #1)

I love Laurenston’s madcap adventures and feral heroines. I love her sense of the ridiculous whether she is writing as G.A. Aiken or Shelly Laurenston. Although I discovered this series as the 11th book was coming out, I immediately went back and read the rest. No one piles up more supporting characters, over top aggression and ridiculous fights into her novels than Laurenston and that is 100% an endorsement. (CW: Violence)

cry-wolf2008 -- Cry Wolf by Patricia Briggs (Alpha and Omega #1)

I still remember what I was doing when I listened to Anna and Charles’s first encounter. They are still one of my favorite romantic pairings, as they are so very different but they bring out the best in each other. Romances frequently put MCs through the wringer, but I love that Briggs has built Anna back up slowly and carefully, honoring the work that trauma survivors have to put in to heal while always being true to the hopefulness of their love together.

(CW: Abuse, violence, murder, Past trauma: Sexual assault, abduction, forced turning)

not-quite-a-husband2009 -- Not Quite a Husband by Sherry Thomas

This polarizing second chance romance blew my mind with its conflict and angst when I first read it and I still think about it. Thomas always challenges me with her romances, with the obstacles she places between her MCs and with the pain she deals them.

(CW: non-consensual sex)

the-forbidden-rose2010 -- The Forbidden Rose by Joanna Bourne

Marguerite, wily, flinty and fierce is one of my favorite heroines. Doyle’s respect and devotion are swoon worthy and Hawker’s acidic commentary is the best. I think of these novels as Historical Romantic Suspense, they raised my expectations of all Historical romance through their fabulous plotting, sublime characterizations and settings.

(CW: torture, incarceration, murder attempts, political oppression)

dragon-bound2011 -- Dragon Bound by Thea Harrison

The most unequal of power dynamics, the alpha-iest alpha to ever alpha and a little thief who outsmarts him, when she should be the one outmatched. Harrison’s Dragos is deliciously overbearing, a dragon who only looks like a man and Pia a delight, as she waltzes into his life and truly overturns it. I loved the world, and all the different supporting characters.

(CW: dubious consent, violence).

beyond-shame2012 -- Beyond Shame by Kit Rocha

I picked up this novel expecting darkly erotic biker club energy and instead I found a series that had darkness and eroticism but so much more. The O’Kanes grow from a scrappy band of bootleggers into world-changing revolutionaries working to make the world safer for love and family. The books are supremely queer and kinky, full of loving constructive community and belonging. They hold up to multiple re-readings, as I find deeper connections each time I do a re-read.

(CW: guns, violence, attempted sexual assault, BDSM, Past trauma: repression, banishment)

[Editor's Note - Remember that Ana has a podcast dedicated to this series!]

the-lotus-palace2013 -- The Lotus Palace by Jeannie Lin

By 2013 I was burning out on Historical Romance. I had read pretty much all I could bear about overheated ballrooms, weak ratafia and reformed rakes. I thought I was done with Historical Romance. But when I picked up The Lotus Palace, I realized there were a whole lot of historical romances to discover. My World History loving heart loved immersing itself in a new environment, with different strictures and conventions and MCs who don’t give up when things seem hopeless.

(CW: murder)

sweet-disorder2014 -- Sweet Disorder by Rose Lerner

If The Lotus Palace showed me how rich historical romance could be when it stopped centering White Brits, Lerner’s Sweet Disorder showed me that I could love UK historicals again, if I looked for books where the rich and perfect are not in the center. Lerner’s flawed, grumpy, fat heroine, and war-ravaged disabled hero find love and the wrong time and in the wrong person, and their love is irresistible.

(CW: Grief, Poverty, Past Trauma: War)

seditious2015 -- A Seditious Affair by KJ Charles

KJ Charles is one of my favorite writers and A Seditious Affair is one of her best. This enemies to lovers story is full of layers of complication, as class, politics, loyalty, and kink mix into an explosive brew. The resolution is a jaw dropping, roller coaster and it made me so happy to read.

forbidden2016 -- Forbidden by Beverly Jenkins

Forbidden was the first Jenkins novel I read and it is still one of my favorites with its indomitable heroine (she is determined to carry that cookstove with her through the desert), conflicted hero (who has a huge choice to make) and its deeply researched history. I loved the tension between Rhine and Eddy and how Jenkins captures the rich and complicated stew of relationships people of color, Latino, Asian and Native American had in the West, reclaiming book by book that history from all that want to whitewash it.

wrongtoneedyou2017 -- Wrong to Need You by Alisha Rai

Everything about Wrong to Need You worked for me. I loved Sadia, her love for her sisters, her feelings about her family expectations for her, her regrets about Paul, her love for her son and both her anger and her love for Jackson. I loved how Jackson and Sadia work out those feelings and face up to the pain of disappointing family and the power of standing with the people you love.

thirsty2018 -- Thirsty by Mia Hopkins

Starkly realistic, Hero only-POV, and super steamy, Thirsty is a lot of things I don’t usually read anymore, but Sal’s story of building a life, when everything seems orchestrated to drive him to despair and not only finding an unexpected passion and someone who convinces him that he is worthy of love was frankly astounding. Sal journey is one that inspires empathy and gives hope while not ignoring stark realities, and that is something romance does when it is at its best.

get-a-life-chloe-brown2019 -- Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert

I was so surprised by this book. It did everything I wanted a book to do this year. It was hopeful, true and is showcased a world full of intersecting identities. It is wit and fantasy just added to the trueness of core story. Of people screwing up royally while learning to reach for love and letting others truly know them and love them back.

Ten years of Romance reading and fifteen years of books that have helped me through many hard days, weeks and years. Books that celebrate love in all its many incarnations, books that let me see in to more intimate moments of other people’s lives and help me process my own. These books are worth celebrating, reading and loving. I hope you love them as much as I do.

Topics: list


Love in Panels Review: Archangel's War

The twelfth book in the Nalini Singh’s Guild Hunter series has been eagerly awaited by long-time fans after the excruciatingly tense way the previous book, Archangel’s Prophecy ended. In this book Singh brings to a close the long-running Cascade storyline, but not before nearly shattering the world, Raphael and Elena, and their people in an intense showdown between the most powerful members of the Archangelic ruling Cadre.

The stakes were high, and so are the casualties however Singh manages to craft a satisfying and affirming resolution while seeding new storylines and fresh conflicts that ensure readers will be eager to return for more. If you are interested in trying the series, it is best to start at the beginning, as Singh has built up an intricate world, with cut-throat and deadly powers, competing agendas and shifting allegiances. Singh manages not to lose sight of its large ensemble cast, crafting complex character journeys that have readers anticipating and speculating future protagonists and romantic pairings. I came late to the punishing and brutal world of the Guild Hunters but I am now deeply invested in it and I worried, cried and rushed through the book to learn the fate of my favorite characters.

While the Guild Hunter series is certainly not for everyone due to its cruel ethos and often violently gory storytelling, there are also deeply beautiful moments that celebrate friendship, loyalty and humanity. Having seen what Singh has crafted in her second Psy-Changeling series, I am deeply curious about what new challenges await Raphael, Elena, the Seven, and everyone else in future Guild Hunter books.

Suspenseful and emotionally intense, Archangel’s War propels readers through a searing journey that pays off long-running storylines and sets the stage for new beginnings, making it a must read for Guild Hunter fans.

Content Warnings: Ableism, deceased parent, gruesome, guns,Medical Procedures, past trauma: torture, abuse, murder, suicide of family member, war


Love in Panels Review: Sapphire Flames by Ilona Andrews

Catalina has always had to hold back her power, ever conscious that one slip could steal the will of those around her and make her vulnerable to their obsessive love. Now, with the future of House Baylor and Baylor Investigations squarely on her shoulders, she has to shake out her wings and do what needs to be done to find answers for herself and her clients. The last person she expects to derail her investigation however is Alessandro Sagredo, international playboy and the only man who has ever been able to even attempt to resist her. His skill at killing and disappearing are yet another mystery for Catalina to detangle.

In Sapphire Flames, this writing team reintroduces us to the fabulously bickering Baylor clan and launches the reader right into the deep end of magical house intrigues. Secrets, dangerous allies, reluctant partnerships and an engrossing mystery will please long-time fans of the series while making them desperate for future volumes. If you have not read any of the Hidden Legacy books before, you can start here as the Andrews are careful to seed enough exposition about the complex magical world they have built to invite new readers in but the new readers will surely miss the significance of many of the secrets Catalina is trying to untangle.

Like the previous Hidden Legacy books, Sapphire Flames is full of longing and tense attraction paired well with intense action scenes and emotional complications. Although many elements will feel familiar, the story takes surprising turns that are sure to delight new and long-time fans alike while hinting to the bigger themes they plan to tackle in this second series.

I can’t wait obsessively re-read them!

Content Warnings: Suicide Attempt, Murder, Violence, guns

Please note that this is rated R for violence, but is PG-13 for sexual content.


Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse

I finished up Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse in the early hours of the morning.

 

I had delayed starting this because I was under the mistaken impression it was YA. It is not. It is full on adult fantasy/Urban Fiction that would greatly appeal to fans of Ilona Andrews’s  Kate Daniels series and Patricia Briggs’s Mercy Thompson books.

 

Maggie is a Navajo/Diné monsterslayer alone since her immortal hero mentor abandoned her.  Lured out of her isolation by disturbing reports of vicious monster attacks, she gets caught up in the mystery and unwillingly acquires a charming but secretive partner, Kai, a medicine-man-in-training whose clan powers might be as dangerous in their own ways as her own. 

 

Creatures and gods of Navajo mythology populate the story, set in post-Apocalyptic future, The Sixth World,  where the Big Water has drowned most of the US. 

 

The Intense story will keep you guessing. Loved the tension/heartbreak between Maggie/Kai and their secrets and the past they both must reckon with. 

I loved the Audio and was happy to see that book two, Storm of Locusts  is out and available on KU and audio, so I can immediately start it. (cw: past trauma (violent death of loved ones), violence, sexism, guns)

 

 

 


Spellbound by Allie Therin

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Debut Latinx (Cuban-American) author, Allie Therin’s Spellbound is the first in a projected three book series set in Prohibition era NYC, where smuggled magic-infused objects threaten the lives of all magically-gifted paranormals and non-magical alike. Therin draws on the era’s post- war clandestine counter-culture scene and anti-immigrant to develop a cohesively tense backdrop for her action-adventure, where her wildly diverse characters can find acceptance a community in a black run speakeasy in Harlem, but also fear exposure and persecution elsewhere.  Therin also explores class and generational tension throughout the novel, as Arthur, the son of a wealthy political family, exploits his privilege to try to protect the younger and poorer Rory.

 

While the world-building was engaging, the secondary characters richly developed and the heist plot intriguing, the romantic beats were somewhat repetitive. I loved how soft and smitten Rory and Arthur become with each other but the dual insecurity about the realness of each other’s interest or the depth of feelings became tiresome. However when the romance was clicking it was delightfully sweet. I loved the little details about younger and smaller Rory tucking himself next to the taller and athletically built Arthur and Arthur who is the bossy caretaker of his friend group, soaking up the open-hearted affection.

 

Tropes:

First Love

Virgin Hero

Opposites Attract

Age Gap

 

Content Warnings: Homophobia, Torture, War, Past Trauma: Child Abuse, religious shaming, 

 

 

 


Love in Panels Review: Wolf Rain by Nalini Singh

I reviewed Wolf Rain by Nalini Singh at Love in Panels:

 

It is hard to jump into a long-running series, especially one with a dozen interconnected books, but Nalini Singh’s Wolf Rain makes it easy. Although there are a lot of familiar characters for long-time readers to enjoy, the story focuses tightly on Memory and her journey to learn how to live outside of captivity. While Singh continues to develop the current Psy-changeling Trinity arc, primarily through alternate POV chapters peppered throughout the novel, it doesn’t distract from the central romance. Long-time readers however will be pleased by a return to the SnowDancer Wolf Den, and its playful and vibrant pack. Alexei’s grumpy and protective personality is the perfect foil for Memory’s fierce but fragile fury.

 I adore stories where MC’s find unexpected belonging, and I loved how Memory struggles with impostor syndrome worried that her new friends might reject her because of the dark side of her powers but instead finds a purpose and a new people who see her more clearly than she does herself and love her. As cozy and comforting that aspect of the narrative was, Wolf Rain like most Psy-Changeling novels, is full of tense action and violence and reads much like a romantic suspense novel.

I loved how powerfully Singh portrays grief and its different manifestations, from the feeling of loss and absence, anger and sadness to irrational preoccupations. I was frankly astounded by the way Singh made me feel about a secondary character’s traumatic injury as I moved from shock to anger and betrayal to appreciation. I was less satisfied how clinically and abruptly Alexei’s fears about mating and his family’s predisposition to feral-ness was handled.

Wolf Rain pairs Singh’s trademark intense action with emotional character-driven storytelling and is a fabulous jumping on point for anyone interested in trying the Psy-Changeling series.

Content Warnings: Animal Death, Past Trauma (murder of parent, mental violation), Near death of prominent character, Kidnapping/Abduction

Ana received a copy of this book from the publisher for review.