Random (but not really)

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Comfort Reading, Part the Fourth

Lastly, some contemporary romances I’ve been re-reading for comfort. These are in increasing order of heat (ie amount of boinking) More than half are ace romances, though some of those do have some boinking.

Upside DownHis Quiet Agent (2017) by Ada Maria Soto is an ace romance that has few of the elements people think of when they hear romance. There is no boinking or even kissing. Just two people slowly (slowly) becoming friends and being there for each other.

I have read a lot of books by N.R. Walker recently, and I went back to reread Upside Down (2019) because it was the sweetest and cuddliest and most adorable thing. This is another ace romance, and there is some kissing—but that’s it. The two ride the same bus home every day, a romance develops, and the entire bus becomes invested in their romance. IT IS SO SWEET! I may need to go re-read it again. Just because it makes me so happy.

Another ace story, Play It Again (2019) by Aidan Wayne is a long distance romance where the two fall in love over text messages and phone calls. One character and his sister are YouTube stars—the other works in IT in Ireland and I almost want to see if the audio version gets their voices right.

Blank SpacesHow to Be a Normal Person (2014) by TJ Klune is yet another ace romance, and is also completely crazy. Gus is neuroatypical and runs the video store his father started and ran until his death. Gus has three friends, who are elderly biker ladies, and maybe the woman who runs the local coffee shop. When her nephew comes to town, Gus doesn’t know how to deal with this ace stoner hipster, except to try and maybe become a normal person so this ace stoner hipster who he is unsure about maybe will like him.

Although Blank Spaces (2016) by Cass Lennox is an ace story, the second character is very much NOT ace and although nothing is graphic, he has sexual encounters throughout the story (although not with the romantic interest). I spent most of the book worrying how things were going to work out between the two, because they were so incompatible on one level, even if they worked so well on all other levels. There is also a mystery element that was interesting.

For Better or Worse (2017) by R. Cooper has a demisexual main character who has fallen for his neighbor and co-worker, but because he is completely unable to read emotional cues, and because he doesn’t even know if his co-worker is gay or bi, he has no idea what he should do about how he feels. There is boinking here.

And the rest of the books all have explicit sex.

Play It AgainWork for It (2019) by Talia Hibbert is a novella that is part of her Just for Him series. I read it without having read the preceding books and it was good, but it was far better after having read his sister’s book. Olu was outed after his ex sold sex pictures to the tabloids. He was disinherited, but since he’d invested much of the money he’d received from his father, he’s fine financially, but completely lost and unsure what to do with himself (aside from worrying about his pregnant sister). This is rather angsty, but Olu is such a fascinating character, and you really want things to work out for him. And of course his love interest is a complete cinnamon roll who you want all the good things for.

And finishing up the comfort reads is C.S. Poe. I’ve liked everything of hers I’ve read, but I found her Lancaster series: Color of You (2017), Joy (2017), Kneading You (2019) to be especially comforting. They are novellas, and the issues and problems are all external. All the books are sweet and lovely. And then there is her short story Love, Marriage, and a Baby Carriage (2016) which is where she essentially took every single trope she could think of, and put them into a single story. So it’s a virgin, fated-mates, surprise baby, shifter story. With chase scenes. It. Is. Fantastic.

And that’s what I’ve been reading for comfort this year. Dog only knows I’ll need more in the coming days.

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