Mini-Reviews, 12/4/20 Edition

[fa icon="calendar'] Dec 4, 2020 10:31:19 AM / by Suzanne posted in review

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More mini-reviews! Reviews of Teddy Spenser Isn't Looking for Love, Instant Karma, In a Holidaze and Kingdom of the Wicked.  That's an m/m contemporary, an f/m YA contemporary, an f/m contemporary and a YA fantasy.

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Guest Post and Giveaway: Best Women's Erotica of the Year, Vol. 6

[fa icon="calendar'] Dec 2, 2020 1:03:14 PM / by Suzanne posted in giveaway, guest post

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Today's post comes to us from Rachel Kramer Bussel, editor of Best Women's Erotica of the Year, Vol. 6 among many others. We've talked about the last couple of volumes here and how diverse, affirming and sexy these collections are and this one is no different. Each volume is organized around a loose theme, interpreted by the authors in a variety of ways.

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Top Off Your TBR: December 2020 Edition

[fa icon="calendar'] Nov 30, 2020 9:45:00 AM / by Suzanne posted in coming up,

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Hello, lovely readers!

As I transition Love in Panels back over to a solo blog, the monthly TBR posts will be changing a bit. Not too much, as I've always been the generating most of this list, but now it's just me! LiP will be updated less frequently from now on, but I hope to keep these going for a while. On to the books!

December is usually a pretty light month for new releases and this month has them stacked up on December 1st. Hold onto your seats for January!

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Unusual Historicals for November 2020

[fa icon="calendar'] Nov 25, 2020 9:45:00 AM / by Wendy the SuperLibrarian posted in best bets

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Thankful for Unusual Historicals: November 2020 Highlights

I’m not sure how November can feel like the fastest and slowest months at the same time, but it’s 2020 and I’ve given up trying to explain anything anymore. At this point it’s a minor miracle I’m not in a bunker surrounded by books and booze. The holidays are here, COVID cases are rising, and I don’t know a single person who isn’t tired down to their bones. My advice? Snatch your moments of joy where you can, make new traditions, be kind to yourself and others.  What better way to take my own advice than to gaze upon some shiny new unusual historicals that debuted this month....

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Review: The Adventurers, by Bryce Oakley

[fa icon="calendar'] Nov 24, 2020 9:45:00 AM / by Andrea posted in review

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The Adventurers is a cute, quirky, friends-to-lovers Romance that's filled with queer staples like Hayley Kiyoko songs, Sarah Waters’ “canonical lesbian fiction” and looking for possibly-queer clues when spotting a woman out in the wild.  

Kendall is a vet, which is nice, but she’s quite moody and judgey about her clients, especially when she’s on-call. She’s vegan, divorced, and has a close circle of queer friends. She also has two cats named Bacon and Eggs. She’s a bit too comfortable, though, and realizes she should really get out more and enjoy life. Enter Joey and the meet-disaster: After an intriguing introduction to each other while waiting at a laundromat, Kendall (who has a meowing cat in her handbag) makes a rushed exit. The chaos results in them switching laundry loads and leaves her in a “lost scrubs, found thongs” situation.

Joey is new in town, ready for a fresh start, and totally belongs in one of our Romantic Occupations lists. –She’s a French-language translator, mostly of manuals, most recently of hair-dye instructions and shampoo bottles. She makes a memorable entrance at the vet where Kendall works (her dog just ate her leather harness) when she’s asked: “Full name?” and proudly says “Ozzy Pawsbourne, Prince of Barkness!” only for the receptionist to reply that “…Oh, I mean your full name...”

Kendall and Joey's adventure list is inspired by a line in a Frank O’Hara poem: 'Each time my heart is broken it makes me feel more adventurous.’ Their adventures include buying a sex-toy in a female-owned sex shop, an appointment with a gender-freeing hairstylist, and having a suit made by a queer-friendly tailor. There’s also an attempt at having a one-night-stand and a camping adventure that ends up being a series of absolute fails.

Both women feel an attraction from the beginning, but tell themselves to just stick to friendship. So The Adventurers overall feels like a low-angst, slow-paced adventure in queer friendship. The actual Romance bit happens quite quickly at the end of the book, so it feels slightly rushed but we're happy for them! I'd recommend if you're looking for something light, sweet and hopeful.

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If you'd like to purchase a copy of this book, please consider using one of the following links to support the site: Amazon (Kindle Unlimited) ◊  Bookshop

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Mini-Reviews, 11/19/20 Edition

[fa icon="calendar'] Nov 19, 2020 9:30:00 AM / by Suzanne posted in review

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More mini-reviews! Four audiobooks: Fence: Striking Distance, Once More Upon a Time, The Midnight Bargain and The Vicar and the Rake. That's an m/m contemporary YA, an f/m fantasy novella, an f/m historical fantasy and an m/m historical romance.

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Review: Try As I Smite, by Abigail Owen

[fa icon="calendar'] Nov 16, 2020 10:31:35 AM / by Suzanne

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 The fourth (or fifth, if you count a short story) novella-length book in Owen's Brimstone, Inc. series follows, at long last, the woman matchmaking everyone in the prior books, Delilah. There are some things I can't tell you about her because they're spoilers, but let's just say that her arc is The Most.

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Read, Romance, Repeat: A Romantic Subscription Box!

[fa icon="calendar'] Nov 9, 2020 12:00:00 PM / by Suzanne posted in announcement

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It's with great excitement that today we get to help The Ripped Bodice launch a new venture: a subscription box!

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Review: The Hate You Drink, by N.R. Walker

[fa icon="calendar'] Nov 2, 2020 9:45:00 AM / by Andrea posted in review

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This friends-to-lovers romance is really a beautiful story about coming to terms with an alcohol addiction, and what the journey to recovery looks like when you have the support of people who love you dearly. It's told from the two points of view: Monroe, who has used alcohol as an escape since his parents died three years ago and Erik, his best friend since they were eighteen (they're about 27 in the book) who bails him out, cleans up his messes, and also has been in love with him since they met.

One of the best things about this book is that everyone sees and treats and talks about Erik’s addiction as a physical illness, something that can be managed and requires support to heal from. It's so comforting and almost a relief to have the shame and judgment that often is thrown at a person who needs help completely absent from this book. When Monroe’s (amazing) sober coach / therapist / recovery guide Saul informs Erik that this is a life-long illness Monroe will deal with forever, Erik is offended at the thought of abandoning him: “If he suddenly lost the use of his legs or contracted a disease like diabetes or fucking cancer, I wouldn’t turn my back on him because it all became too hard.”

Erik's family plays a wonderful, encouraging, lovingly supportive role in the story. The helplessness, hurt, concern, and impact of Monroe’s alcoholism on Erik’s life is also brilliantly portrayed here. The book is filled with men sharing their honest feelings and fears, conversations that communicate their vulnerabilities, and so much openly unashamed sobbing, which is a thing I wish we saw more of in books (and in life).

Monroe and Erik's best-friendship and its unfolding into ‘We are in love’ is so, so sweet. As Monroe begins the process of confronting his addiction, their relationship is expressed through intermittent phone calls and scheduled meetings as his recovery plan allows. Everyone around them can see their love for what it is, while they seem to just be awakening to it. The essence of the story is about Monroe allowing himself to grieve, give love to the people in his life, and believe that he is worthy of receiving the love that surrounds him. I loved when Saul told him: “You are good enough. You are exactly who you were born to be.” It’s warm and wholesome and it’s got truths that aren’t easy to hear, but The Hate You Drink is a recovery story that is hopeful and comforting to read.

Sidenotes: I found the audiobook narrator’s voice robotic and emphasizing all the wrong words, but the story kept my interest and the writing totally shines through. There are often bits that are repetitive, though. Usually when switching between perspectives describing the same moment, and when a character goes from thinking something to saying it.  

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Top Off Your TBR: November 2020 Edition

[fa icon="calendar'] Oct 30, 2020 9:45:00 AM / by Suzanne posted in coming up,

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TBH, I'm probably not going to get any reading done in November. But let's get excited about some books anyway!

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