Category: romance novels

lucyreadsromance:

Anyone know any regency romance novels written by LGBT+ men or non-binary people?

I’m analysing queer regency romances as part of my PhD thesis and already have a bunch written by queer and non-queer women

Fiona the cat sitting behind the book Vendetta Road

Look what came in the mail today! Hint: not the cat. 📚🐈❤️

Lots of delicious tension– at least for the first half. 

Unmasked by the Marquess by Cat Sebastian

Robert Selby knows the only way to save his sister Louisa from destitution is to arrange for a great marriage to someone important (and wealthy). But Selby is actually Charity Church, the onetime housemaid for the Selbys and now conman extraordinaire, so she’s walking a pretty tricky tightrope by bringing Louisa to London. She goes to Alistair, Marquess of Pembroke, for help introducing Louisa to society, knowing that she just needs one chance to make it big. But Alistair is the most rigid, uptight, snobby man in the world– even if he finds his “Robin” devilishly attractive and amazingly lovely. What’s a woman living as a man and a marquess to do? Fall in love, of course!

I found this book mostly delightful, very charming, and even moving, on occasion. The first half, when Robin Selby is laying out her con and maneuvering through society while Alistair fights his attraction to the supposed man is marvelously well done. There’s a lot of sexual and emotional tension between the two, some of it before they discover who the other really is, that is fun to read. Alistair doesn’t object to Robin because she is a man– no, he’s upset because she is so uncouth (yet oddly charming) and low class (yet so beguiling)!

So we have a bisexual marquess and a nonbinary heroine just dying to fall in love with each other, but being held apart by a myraid of circumstances, not the least of which is that the real Robert Selby is dead and his estate is supposed to pass to his cousin. Once the circumstances start to come together to keep the lovers apart, I started to worry. Even knowing this is a romance novel and happy endings are guaranteed, I really spent the middle part of this book thinking there was no possible way for them to get to that happily ever after. Robin could not live as a woman (or explain away the dead Robert Selby without going to jail) and Alistair could not lose his position and power in society by marrying a cross-dressing nobody impersonator. 

The circumstances are impossible! And Robin refuses to hurt Alistair! And Alistair is trapped by his rigidity! And I got a little tired of it and all the self-sacrificing both had to do to keep the other from hurting even a little (even though they totally hurt a lot because they were in love and being kept apart). And then we get to the end, and it’s a magical happy ending! 

SPOILER STOP READING NOW—

Alistair just uses the power of his name to declare Selby dead, Robin his wife, and everyone happy. No one challenges him, not the law, not Robert Selby’s cousin, not society at large for having a wife in men’s clothes who impersonated  a dead man for years! It’s a very magical kind of happy ending that ties up all the lose ends without any consequences for anyone. It’s satisfying on some levels, but also unrealistic. 

OK YOU CAN COME BACK. 

Anyway, its a mostly enjoyable book featuring queer representation often missing from mainstream romance and its got some great swoony moments. And a kitten!

4 stars. 

Ugh, you guys… @christinefeehan​‘s Vendetta Road doesn’t come out until the end of January. I pre-ordered the book months ago. The closer it gets to the release date, the more impatient I feel! I hate waiting!

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I’ve been on quite the historical romance kick for the first few weeks of 2020! Normally, I veer towards dark contemporaries or romantic suspense, but lately all I want is ballgowns and rakes.

Luck is No Lady by Amy Sandas

Really great hero. Emotionally present, willing to compromise, lots of care and consideration for the people around him. 4 stars.

Wilde in Love by Eloise James

Takes place during a weeks-long house party out in the country, which I found a very refreshing change from the typical London scenery. I saw a few things coming, plot-wise, but I was still enchanted. 4 stars.

The Runaway Gunslinger’s Bride by Amy Sandas

A competent, in fact, highly skilled, heroine! A hero that appreciates her skills! At one point, there’s only one bed! 4 stars.

Love and Other Scandals by Caroline Linden

The heroine has a makeover and becomes prettier to the hero, which is not my favorite trope. But it also has: enemies to lovers, oh no my childhood friend is hot now, and my siblings best friend is off limits. 4 stars

His Bride for the Taking by Tessa Dare.

I loved everything about it. Laugh out loud funny, swoony romance. 4 stars.

a wrapped box
inside of a gift box with two books, a candle, soap and a button
a button reading "love's sweet Arrow"
wild on my mind by Laurel kerr
some like it scandalous by Maya rodale

I got my holiday box from Love’s Sweet Arrow– a gift I gave to myself! I picked the enemies to lovers box with two books, a candle, soap, and a button. It’s so awesome! Even my cat Fiona was into it.

Not revolutionary, but definitely good enough. 

Hot Winter Nights by Jill Shalvis

Molly needs to prove herself to the rest of the team at Hunt Investigations. She wants to be an investigator, assigned real cases to solve and not tied to a desk like she is now. A bad Santa appears to be cheating his elves out of money at the local Christmas Village, and when Molly not-so-secretly takes the case, Lucas is even more secretly assigned to stop her. When it becomes clear that Molly isn’t going to be stopped, Lucas decides to partner her– which means spending even more time with the hot, smart, sexy, alluring, etc. etc. woman that he just can’t seem to stop thinking about.

The book is marketed as a Christmas holiday romance, but the Christmasness of it is pretty light. There’s no religious overtones at all (thankfully), and minus a few scenes at the Christmas Village (and some fun with skimpy elf costumes) and a holiday party or two, this could have been just a regular romance. 

Molly and Lucas are a good match from the start. And Lucas comes to appreciate Molly’s competence and skills very quickly, recognizing that the rest of the team is blind and dumb for holding her back. It’s nice to see a hero admire the heroine’s bravery and intelligence! Molly tricks Lucas into thinking they slept together and she holds that over him for a good long while. Even after Lucas figures out the truth, he admires her for her tenacity and commitment. 

Both characters have a lot of emotional baggage from their pasts. But the angst is not overwhelming or maudlin at all. Instead, both Lucas and Molly fight to overcome their fears and deal with their emotional scars. Lucas is all in before Molly gets there and I enjoyed having the heroine play the emotionally unavailable lover for once. 

Overall, this was an enjoyable read with some fun comedic moments and the right amount of heart string tugging. It was nice to read a romance novel where the protagonists were equals.

4 stars. 

“and then she becomes pregnant”

Way to give your man a heart attack, Mary.

“You’re going to marry me.”

Needed more groveling from the hero.

Love and Other Scandals by Caroline Linden

I got this book in a “My childhood friend is hot now!” trope box from the Ripped Bodice. It came with tea! And a candle! It was a wonderful gift.

Joan needs her brother to promise to go to the ball and meet the woman their mother thinks he should marry. Knocking on the door to his townhouse, who should open it but Tristan, Lord Burke, her brother’s childhood friend–all grown up and (conveniently) shirtless! Joan and Tristan immediately butt heads, Tristan convinced Joan is a meddling harridan with a sharp tongue, and Joan thinking Tristan would be better known as “Lord Boor”– a real jerk. But of course, they keep getting thrown together and all that animosity starts to turn into a passion of another kind. 

Here’s what’s great about this book: it’s really just about the two of them. There’s no mystery to solve, no secret babies, no horrific childhood traumas, none of that. It’s the story of two people misunderstanding each other, then getting to know each other better, and falling in love. It’s much more of an enemies-to-lovers plot than anything else. It’s also warm, and funny, and pretty low angst. What a delight! Joan is a great character. She’s smart, witty, and sharp-tongued. Always able to stand up for herself and put Tristan back in his place when needed.

And boy does Tristan need some cutting down. Joan’s nickname for him, Lord Boor, is so apt. Not only does he say rude things to Joan, he thinks even less of her in the beginning of the book. She’s attractive, but she wears unflattering and frumpy clothing. She’s smart, but she turns that intelligence against him with her bold attitude. These are all attributes that Tristan comes to appreciate, but its kind of a long journey to get there. And in the meantime, Joan changes things about herself– a trope I don’t much like when the hero doesn’t also go through an equal transformation. Unfortunately, Tristan never really apologizes for his behavior. Love conquers all, including boorish rakes. I needed much more groveling from him than Linden wrote into the book. 

All in all, I liked that Joan kept Tristan on his toes and although she did change herself in some aspects, she remained smart, sassy and independent. She demanded better and Tristan gave that to her.

4 stars.