Recommended Read, Review

Review: Hairpin Curves by Elia Winters (2020)

Heat Factor: It’s a slow and scorching burn

Character Chemistry: It comes on slow and then BAM

Plot: Megan and Scarlett were BEST friends but had a falling out. When their old friend begs them to attend her wedding in Quebec, they agree to pool resources in order to roadtrip there. And boom goes the dynamite.

Overall: This book had me up until 2 am and I wasn’t even mad about it.

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Recommended Read, Review

Review: The Care and Feeding of Waspish Widows by Olivia Waite (2020)

Feminine Pursuits, Book 2

Review of Feminine Pursuits, Book 1

Heat Factor: Slow, steady, burn.

Character Chemistry: So much pining! But also, believable BFFs. And they do that thing where they call each other by last name and I swoon every time. 

Plot: A year in the life of Flood and Griffin. 

Overall: The plot meanders but sometimes a book (even a romance) is more than a tight plot. I recommend reading this one.

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Review

Review: Ascension by Jacqueline Koyanagi (2013)

Heat Factor: Mostly pining

Character Chemistry: Alana has a major boner for the ship, and a minor boner for the captain

Plot: Alana stows away on a ship whose crew is searching for her sister; many adventures ensue

Overall: This book was really slow and also really trippy

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Smut Reporting

Some Reasons I Love F/F Romance

A million years ago, I read Dangerous Men and Adventurous Women: Romance Writers on the Appeal of the Romance, and something Jayne Ann Krentz wrote really stuck with me: that readers of romance identify with the hero and project their emotions onto him as he goes through his journey to love (I paraphrase). And I was like: “Huh. That is not my experience at all. I am not that interested in the interior life of the hero, except perhaps as a projection of exploring the desires of the women who read and write about them.” I have always been more interested in the journey of the heroine. 

Imagine my joy, then, when I started reading F/F romance. Here were stories that focused exclusively on female desire, without the distraction of alpha males, opaque males, emotionally constipated males, constipated opaque alpha males, etc etc etc. 

Erin wrote a great post last week that talked about her love for M/M romances, and some of that’s true for F/F romances as well: characters tend to not fall into (or focus exclusively breaking out of) traditional gender roles, and some of the tropey behavior that you see in M/F romance falls by the wayside. 

Here are some other reasons I love F/F romance:

  1. I will never come across the phrase “steel wrapped in velvet.”
    See: every M/F historical romance ever written. 
  2. The power dynamics between the protagonists is more fluid – especially in historical romances, where, to maintain any semblance of historical accuracy, the characters have to grapple with the fact that a married woman, by law, is under the control of her husband.
    See: The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics, Mrs. Martin’s Incomparable Adventure, She Whom I Love
  3. There are twice as many opportunities for fabulous outfits. I hate shopping, but love reading about clothes. Romance authors rarely give their heroes interesting outfits. Which is sad, because we can learn a lot about a character by how they present themselves to the world.
    See: Once Ghosted, Twice Shy
  4. I might be falling into stereotypes here (I totally am), but when characters talk about their conflict and emotions in open and honest ways, I don’t have to be all shocked about a dude processing his feelings like an adult.
    See: Being Hospitable
  5. Sexuality is a spectrum. I am mostly heterosexual, but I would not put myself at 100% all penis all the time. So reading F/F romance gives me a safe space to explore other fantasies. (Sorry, Mom, if that was Too Much Information. That’s what you get for reading my smut blog so faithfully!)
Review

Review: The Girl Next Door by Chelsea M. Cameron (2020)

Heat Factor: It’s not a crackling fire, it’s a warm glow

Character Chemistry: They start off as mismatched, secretly-attracted friends that grow into something more very slowly.

Plot: The plot here really is the romance and only the romance. Jude and Iris fall in love very beautifully, but if you’re looking for outside forces or exciting context, that isn’t part of this love story.

Overall: This is a very lovely book and I enjoyed it a great deal (even if I longed for more).

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