10 Great Age-Gap Romance Novels

August 23, 2021 Reviews, Uncategorized Comments (0) 117

Age-gap romances are a whole category of their own inside the romance genre. I can either eat them up like candy or sneak a peek and run the other way. It depends on the specific constellation in the book in question, but maybe some of it depends on my own biases, too. It’s a complicated relationship.

Next month, my 20th anniversary with my husband is coming up. As my kids like to remind us (frequently, with the judgement only teenagers muster over their parent’s life choices), we have a little age gap. All things considered, a seven-year difference isn’t the world and hardly even counts as a contender in the age-gap romance category. But given my barely legal age of 18 when we married, I get why my kids find it gross. I would blow a gasket if one of them started seeing an older person at their current age. Continue Reading

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A Taste of Her Own Medicine by Tasha L. Harrison

August 23, 2021 Uncategorised Comments (0) 12

Cover of A Taste of Her Own Medicine by Tasha L. Harrison
"He looks like he could plow my north field without a horse." Sonja Watts needs to re-enter the workforce after divorcing her husband of thirteen years. Taking the advice of her sister Birdie and her best friend Estelle, she signs up for a six-week course for entrepreneurs; hoping that she will learn everything she needs to know to build a business to support herself and her kids. On the first night of class, Sonja is…

Why I loved this book: From the first page, it put a big, goofy smile on my face. Sonja is 40, and it’s a whole thing for her that Atlas is nine years younger. A Taste of her own Medicine also has what makes a feel-good romance really good: friendships and family.

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After Ben by Con Riley

August 18, 2021 Uncategorised Comments (0) 13

After Ben by Con Riley
Author:
Published: 2012-07-16
A Seattle Stories novel. A year after the sudden death of his longtime partner, Ben, Theo Anderson is still grieving. The last thing he's looking for is a new lover. But as Theo soon discovers, sometimes life has other plans. While Theo experiences a powerful physical attraction to fellow gym member Peter, it's his new online friend, Morgan, who provides the intellectual challenge to make him come alive. Morgan is witty, brave, and irreverent, and…

Why I loved this book: The loss of a spouse is written with so much empathy here, and the influence the experience has on Theo’s decision not to start anything with a younger man is poignant and real. I’ve cried a lot during this book, ergo, I love it.

Content Warnings: Loss of a spouse, domestic abuse.

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Control Freak by Brianna Hale

August 17, 2021 Uncategorised Comments (0) 13

Cover of Control Freak by Brianna Hale
Total control. I need it in every aspect of my life. Some would say that makes me an asshole. A freak. But as long as everything's exactly how I want it, I'm completely flexible. I'm kidding.Okay, I'm not kidding. Lacey needs someone in her life who's bigger and scarier than her demons, and she wants that man to be me. Her boss. The Viking in a suit. I hope she understands what she's getting into.…

Why I loved this book: A grumpy Scandinavian hero? YES, please. The kink is rather mild in this one, but the content warnings are heavy: The heroine deals with an eating disorder and self-destructive thoughts.

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Fairy Tale Retellings: King Thrushbeard

December 16, 2020 About Romance, Reviews Comments (0) 763

King Who?

Whenever someone asked me what my favorite fairy tale was, I would answer “King Thrushbeard.” It’s a lesser known little tale that has nothing to do with STDs and no, it isn’t another name for Bluebeard either, although there might be similarities in its theme.

Today, my answer to the question above would be different, but during my formative years, this little tale left a considerable impression. The baby kinkster in me was probably drawn to the powerful theme of punishment underlying it. Continue Reading

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Review: A Prince on Paper by Alyssa Cole

May 16, 2019 Reviews Comments (0) 1890

Alyssa Cole’s A Prince on Paper is the third full length novel in her Reluctant Royals series. I loved A Princess in Theory. I loved, loved, loved A Duke by Default. And I couldn’t wait for A Prince on Paper to come out. I preordered it the minute I finished A Duke by Default. Continue Reading

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Review: Can’t Escape Love by Alyssa Cole

May 10, 2019 Reviews Comments (0) 1479

Can’t Escape Love is a novella in Alyssa Cole’s Reluctant Royals series. It follows Reggie, twin sister of A Duke by Default heroine Portia. Reggie is a  geek with mobility devices, and falls for Gus, puzzle aficionado and escape room designer on the autism spectrum.

Without knowing, they had a vital influence on each other’s life, pushing them to pursue their passions, without ever even seeing each other. That’s the beauty of the internet right there! Without fandom and the friends I made through it, I wouldn’t be here writing either. Continue Reading

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Romance and Shame

March 13, 2016 About Me, About Romance, Writing Comments (0) 1000

When I told my grandfather that I am writing romance, he made a face and said I should rather write something real, and serious. As if stories concentrating on love and relationships aren’t real and something you shouldn’t waste your time with. It’s an opinion about genre fiction you get to hear all the time, mostly without having asked for it. It’s so entrenched that I still felt I had to apologize for writing it when I had long realized that those are the stories I’m drawn to. I end up writing them over and over again. It’s also the stories I have been reading all my life, so no big surprise there.

I was ashamed of reading romance all my life, too. The cheesy covers sure were no help in lessening the stigma. Each time I got a new one at the railway station kiosk or the supermarket, marked down in price for being remaindered, I fixed my eyes on the floor and avoided to meet anyone’s eyes – especially those of the cashier – at all costs. But the thirst was real, and I needed a new romance novel every few days. I still have them all, cluttering the lower shelves of my bookcases. They’re hidden behind more *respectable* reading material. For some reason, I don’t manage to get rid of them. I haven’t bought a new romance book in a while, but that doesn’t mean I don’t pull out some Christina Dodd, Amanda Quick or Eloisa James once in a while and reread my favorites.

Those books made me feel when nothing else could. I found comfort in stories of feisty heroines fighting for their right to love and to live like they wanted. I found strength in their defiance, and, let’s be real, I discovered more than one kink between the pages of paperback love. So why should I be ashamed of my love of romance? Why are the words about love and two people finding each other and overcoming their differences and conflicts lesser in worth than other words? Lesser even than other genre fiction like Sci-Fi or Crime? Sure, not every genre novel is a literary gem, but that doesn’t mean that the genre as a whole is trash. I still think that Anne Golon’s Angélique series is among some of the best books I ever read, and it was marketed as romance for lack of a better label.

Romance novels aren’t just about love and, well, romance. They’re about women, and for women, and that’s probably the thing that makes them *less* than your average fiction written by the average white male dude. Sexism is as strong in publishing as it is as anywhere else – just take a look at Young Adult fiction.

It’s no surprise, I think, that it’s my grandfather criticizing my choices in the stories I write. He’s someone who certainly never even touched a romance novel and judges the genre as a whole by its cover. I found the opinion so deeply ingrained in myself that I defended my writing of romance to a former – male – lecturer from my university with the apologetic words of “Someone has to write it.”

“I know,” he said. He, for his part, is an unapologetic, avid reader of romance.

I’m still working on emancipating myself from prejudice. Now that I accepted my fate, so to speak, accepted that stories about love and overcoming conflict are not only my jam in reading but also the thing I write most passionately about, I had to do some soul-searching. I had to face the root of my hesitance and my prejudices and question their origins. Once I became aware of the systemic sexism in the publishing industry and the underlying devaluation of women’s words and stories, I refused to let myself feel ashamed for it any longer.

I’m no longer apologetic of my writing, and I no longer hide the covers of the books I read.

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