Love in Panels - Romancelandia

Andrea Marks-Joseph

Andrea Marks-Joseph
Andrea's first friends, role-models, vices and safe places were the fictional characters that filled her world as she was growing up. Her life is a study in devouring stories, and unraveling the tapestry of possibility meeting reality. All grown up now, Andrea spends her time consuming as many expressions of media as possible, and writes to discuss their role in our (sexual, financial, fandom, political, sartorial!) liberation. Being a South African woman plays a large role in Andrea's passion for diversity. She's online everywhere as @stargirlriots

Recent Posts

Review: The Rest is Silence, by Chii Rempel

[fa icon="calendar'] Feb 15, 2019 9:45:00 AM / by Andrea Marks-Joseph posted in review, cover reveal

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Review: Sing for the Coming of the Longest Night, by Katherine Fabian & Iona Datt Sharma

[fa icon="calendar'] Jan 25, 2019 9:45:00 AM / by Andrea Marks-Joseph posted in review

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"Losing your glasses is one thing; losing your lover, who tumbles into your bed in the small hours and does magic on your floor, is another." Sing for the Coming of the Longest Night is a beautifully-written cozy mystery with a diverse cast and an undercurrent of magic that runs deep --through religion and tradition, found family and a quirky Christmas song. And at the center of the story is two wonderful long-term polyamorous relationships.

Told from two perspectives: Layla, a bi pathologist PoC who loves her wife and kids but is uncomfortable inside suburban life, and Nat, a blue-haired, genderqueer composer who runs charity that supports young queers. Nat and Layla are metamours who are uninterested in being friends. And the dislike between them is amplified when their strange and mysterious magician lover, Meraud, goes missing mid-spell, leaving only clues for them to find him. When they eventually they decide to work together, (For example, when they pose as an engaged couple to get into a church meeting and "Nat attempts a cisheteropatriarchal smile" Lol) they find a joy in each other that turns the ending into something that --while not romantic-- is totally totally sweet.

It's worth it alone for the excellent descriptions of what a real life house and headspace is like while raising young kids, but there are also AWESOME queer side characters that I hope we get to see in future books! If you're looking for a Romance arc, this isn't gonna hit the spot.. but it's delightful and charming and feels like a drop in the ocean of good queer content. It's the perfect read for an evening spent by the fireplace.

Content warnings: there's a couple mentions of Meraud liking to be tied up, marks on his wrists. It's never explicit, just flashes of memory relating to it. Nat was a foster kid, and we hear from some of the people at his charity, mention of what life as a foster child and queer youth in the foster system. There is also at some point a corpse discovered, that is believed to be Meraud but it is not.
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Andrea's Best of 2018

[fa icon="calendar'] Dec 21, 2018 9:45:00 AM / by Andrea Marks-Joseph posted in list, top reads

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I don't mention it in every description, but all of these are queer. There is literally one hetero romance in here and I am not sorry. So if you're like me and you're like "Oh that book sounds great, you know what would make it greater? If it was queer!" --now you already know that it is. :) 

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Review: A Taste of Agapi, by Chris Ethan

[fa icon="calendar'] Oct 15, 2018 9:30:00 AM / by Andrea Marks-Joseph posted in review

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A Taste of Agapi is a gay romance between two college students in Greece. Reading it felt like going on a summer abroad. It's a story filled with sweetness: Really wonderful, supportive friends! Comic book stores and superhero debates! So! Much! Coffee! (The Greeks all drink frappes all day every day, and hardly ever go to class. They spend alottt of time lounging around in cafes drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes.) Really adorable welcoming-at-the-airport- Arrivals-gate scenes. Wonderful, loving, accepting responses to someone coming out (and no negative responses). Tent sex! (First time naked with another man, first time having sex at all tent sex!) Tired boys who haven't been sleeping finally getting rest together, and the sexual tension that ensues. There's also drinking games, drunken nights at a club, spin-the-bottle on a camping trip, and sooo much delicious Greek food!
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Review: Of Echoes Born, by Nathan Burgoine

[fa icon="calendar'] Aug 3, 2018 10:00:00 AM / by Andrea Marks-Joseph posted in review

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I am not particularly fond of anthologies; in fact about a year ago I decided not to read them anymore. I don't enjoy the inevitability of being pulled into and away from characters, emotionally investing in them and then being told to move on. But I've been wanting to read a Nathan Burgoine book for a while, and was promised a collection of unabashedly queer stories with (videogame reference alert) easter-eggs scattered like jewels between them, and so I simply had to read Of Echoes Born.

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Romantic Occupations

[fa icon="calendar'] Jul 25, 2018 10:00:00 AM / by Andrea Marks-Joseph posted in list

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Editor's Note:
Some of us are having a hard time reviewing lately, so when Andrea offered a post full of "cool jobs in romance novels," I was more than happy to post it. I think we're all looking for the book that lights that little spark in our reading brains and it's sometimes hard to find that book by genre or trope. Perhaps a cool job will help you find the book your heart needs right now!
~ Suzanne
 
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Review: Unfit to Print, by KJ Charles

[fa icon="calendar'] Jul 2, 2018 10:00:00 AM / by Andrea Marks-Joseph posted in review

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I read Unfit to Print in one sitting, on a day as grey as the days in the book. It's a romance between two men of colour (!!!) set in November 1875, around Holywell Street in London, where Gil and Vikram spend most of their time by the fireplace. There's a blowjob scene where some serious blanket maneuvering is required so as not to freeze in the cold room. There's a cat called Satan, who spends a lot of time on Vikram's lap, and plays a sort of   Breakfast at Tiffany's   "then I'll give the cat a name!" role in Gil's life. And in an extremely British iconic move: there's a scene where hot tea used as a weapon! 
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Review: The Kiss Quotient, by Helen Hoang

[fa icon="calendar'] May 23, 2018 10:00:00 AM / by Andrea Marks-Joseph

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Content Warnings - Questionable consent during sex, parental abandonment, depicts sex work and autism as shameful
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Review: You, Me & Her, by Tanya Chris

[fa icon="calendar'] May 16, 2018 10:00:00 AM / by Andrea Marks-Joseph posted in review

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YOU, ME & HER takes place over the course of a somewhat-unconventional, potentially-controversial theatre production of Othello. As he walks in to the table-read, Nate (a white man) discovers that his being cast as Othello was in fact   not  for lack of black actors available to the director. He finds himself in a room full of black men cast in other roles in the play, with a director who's committed to the 'I cast you for your talent not your skin colour' narrative. This 100% triggered my diversity-hire-drama alarms. But nevertheless, I persisted. And I am SO glad I did! Yes, there are a couple "Sorry,   what  did this white guy just say?!" moments in the beginning, but it quickly becomes clear that there's no racial prejudice behind it; Tanya Chris is just brilliant at capturing both the uncomfortable 'Am I part of the problem? Am I about to say the exact wrong thing right now?' reality of being the only white person in a space created for people of colour, and the good-natured teasing people of colour give right back.
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Review: Wanna Bet?, by Talia Hibbert

[fa icon="calendar'] Apr 21, 2018 10:30:00 AM / by Andrea Marks-Joseph posted in review

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WANNA BET? is a story filled with British talk and best-friend banter, supportive friends, some light-hearted gambling (no destructive, life-crushing, dark aspects of gambling; just an occasional rolling of dice for little moments fun) and lots of incredible, playful, engaging sex. 
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