LiP Romancelandia

Tropes We Love: Fake Relationships

[fa icon="calendar'] Aug 19, 2019 9:45:00 AM / by Margrethe Martin posted in tropes, list

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Editor's Note - This post is from Margrethe, but we're planning to make some more of these posts in the future. For now, you can check out the posts Suzanne wrote for RomBkLove on Road Trip Romances and Neighbors!

This post contains affiliate links.

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Reality TV Inspired Romances

[fa icon="calendar'] Jul 19, 2019 9:45:00 AM / by Suzanne Krohn posted in list, book pairing

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You know how sometimes you read a romance plot and you think, "hmm, this sounds familiar" only to realize it's a story that could be on Bravo or HGTV? Yeah, me too. And I fall for it every time.

Reality TV, whether it's a new person/couple each episode or an entire season with the same people, plays off of dramatic scenarios, big personalities, and high stakes - perfect for a romance novel. Below are a few that I've read. Please tell me your faves in the comments so I can stock up!

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Guest Post: Depression, Romance, and Mirrors, by Melinda Utendorf

[fa icon="calendar'] Jul 9, 2019 9:45:00 AM / by Guest Post posted in guest post, list

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I, like millions of people, struggle with depression and anxiety. I know that I’m not alone in this…but that is extremely difficult to remember when the clouds come rolling in. I deal with depression, anxiety, and multiple chronic health issues and I find myself struggling on a regular basis. Admitting you’re depressed out loud feels like being a huge failure at whatever you’re working on, at everything, at life. And there’s such a huge stigma about mental health in the media, and our society in general, that it can feel suffocating and almost dangerous to say it out loud. And for anyone who isn't white, cis, het, able, etc… it’s so much right now.

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Guest Post: Mid-century Rom Recs from Cat Sebastian

[fa icon="calendar'] Jul 2, 2019 9:45:00 AM / by Guest Post posted in guest post, list

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Thanks to author Cat Sebastian for this guest post about her love of mid-century romances!

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Guest Post: A Love Affair with Comics and Romance Novels, by Nadia Diament

[fa icon="calendar'] Jun 18, 2019 11:55:59 AM / by Guest Post posted in guest post, list

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This guest post comes from paranormal romance author Nadia Diament, a fellow lover of romance and comics. Her debut novel, Bloodsucking Lawyer, is out today! He's a vampire and a lawyer. More about that below!

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I’ve read both comics and romance novels since I was a teenager, but I now read the former to balance writing the latter. I adore my genre, but comics have also influenced me, inspired me, and kept me grounded.

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The Books We Loved in Spite of the Tropes We Don't

[fa icon="calendar'] May 27, 2019 9:45:00 AM / by Suzanne Krohn posted in list

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Almost nothing seems to bring people together like how troubling a specific trope can be (let’s be honest, it’s the secret baby trope that gets mentioned most often). Seconds later, the conversation will turn to “Oh, but I loved this secret baby book by…” because there is also always an author who manages to defy expectations of a trope.

Here, the Love in Panels team talks about the books and authors who have managed to defy difficult tropes.

This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

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The Book That Started It All

[fa icon="calendar'] May 9, 2019 9:45:00 AM / by Suzanne Krohn posted in list

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Whether you started reading romance by sneaking books from your grandmother’s house or by opening a box of books and the most unlikely book was sitting there, we all have stories about how and when we first started reading romance. And usually, there’s a book or series that solidified the love affair. Below are some of the books that got the Love in Panels teams hooked on romance.

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#RomBkLove 2019: Day 7... Neighbors!

[fa icon="calendar'] May 7, 2019 6:00:00 AM / by Suzanne Krohn posted in tropes, RomBkLove, list

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Neighbors are one of my favorite things to read about in romance, which is why I asked to talk about them for this year's #RomBkLove! For the purposes of this post, I'm going to include roommates because they're basically just really close neighbors. 

(This post includes affiliate links.)

 

THE INFINITE LOOP is a stand-alone graphic novel featuring time traveling lesbians. Also included? A T-Rex, rule breaking, and a lot of romance. I've given this as a gift twice, to positive feedback. The art is beautiful, with varied composition that fits the wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey story The message is heavy-handed at times, telling readers to go their own way, let people be who they ...

At its simplest, this is the story of a relationship in 12 vignettes. They are presented out of order, which can be confusing during the first read. I haven't designated this "definitely a romance" because the story doesn't follow a traditional romantic arc. I was left feeling a bit heartbroken. The romance and love are certainly there, rendered beautifully, but ...

VERONA is a modern-day, diverse retelling of Romeo & Juliet. Juliet Onishi Capulet is from a powerful family that produces munitions and assassinates people. Roman Montoya is from a more obviously criminal family of drug dealers and assassins. (One thread running throughout the book is the idea that sometimes the legal business owners are actually far shadier.) Anyway, both of them are ...

Suzanne's post from July 2016, originally posted at Heroes & Heartbreakers is below. Rosy Press's content was acquired by Emet Comics, who published the second volume of Fresh Romance.

*****

Sometimes I get tired of reading novels (OMG did she just say that?!) and I flip on the latest episode of Jane the Virgin. And sometimes… I read comics. ...

http://www.loveinpanels.com/comics/rewind-smut-peddler-presents-my-monster-boyfriend

This isn't a porn or erotica review site, but these comics are SO GOOD I had to include them. Iron Circus says they're "by women, for everyone" and I agree. They feature a full array of relationships, bodies, situations, and art styles. Consent is present and enthusiastic. Much (not necessarily all) of the sex occurs inside a trusting relationship, with the romance that ...

A guest review from Matt (that's Love In Panels's tech-wizard):

ALEX + ADA is a single single science-fiction romance that spans three volumes. It takes place in a world that you can see in the not-too-distant future, which makes the conflicts seem more real and plausible. Instead of iPhones, we have a network that can be implanted directly into your brain; some people ...

I wrote a review of this comic for one of my favorite romance blogs, Smart Bitches, Trashy Books. You can read it here!

Saga is overwhelmingly popular for a reason. It's really damn good. It is romantic, depressing, gross, terrifying, hopeful, impressive... The characters are as diverse in personality as in our world, but the settings are nothing short of fantastic. It's Romeo & Juliet on an interplanetary scale. It's great, and I think everyone (above the age of say 16) should read ...

Girls with Slingshots was one of my first "must-read" webcomics. The bond between BFFs Hazel and Jamie keeps the strip meaningful, even when Hazel is an apathetic sad-sack and Jamie is rushing into something again. Readers will fondly tell you of vibrator jokes, cactus shenanigans, a cat that says "doooooooom," and a bartender who makes drinks with the best names ever. ...

I had such high hopes for this one. I didn't discover it until near the end of the print run, which means I was one of the many readers who didn't support the comic early on and therefore contributed to its early demise. Lots of factors combine to end the life of a comic early, and I don't want to go into them here. I'm assuming the story would have been better had it made ...

SMALL FAVORS appears on almost every list I've seen of sex-positive comics. It was just re-released by Oni Press/Limerence as a deluxe hardcover edition, so I read this book "for research." Before I go any further, you should know that this is essentially a really cute porn comic with a romantic subplot. If that sounds like your cup of comic tea, you'll probably love ...

LETTERS FOR LUCARDO is that rare piece of graphic erotica that surprises me. I've grown accustomed to everything from tentacles to ghosts to aliens, but an actual human over the age of 40? Whoa.

Lucardo is a vampire, forever 33. His love interest, Edmund, is a 61 year old human, serving as scrivener (scribe, notary, etc) for the vampire Night Court. Their age difference is ...

Alright, they don't have a "summary" posted on the site so here's my best stab at it so far.

Love Circuits started releasing weekly pages in February 2017 and is one of the cutest things I have ever seen. Our main character, Noelle, has just broken up with Javier (her fiance) and a friend sends her a robot boyfriend (Lucos) for her birthday. She's bilingual, has ...

This will be a short review because I feel pretty confident this comic isn't what you came here for. This reads like a teenage boy's fantasy of revenge and violence with a side of naked people.

One of the taglines is "an extreme tale of revenge and love." I gotta say, I didn't see any love. There's some sex, some shooting of someone the ...

FEARFUL HUNTER is a fascinating mix of druid lore, punk/youth culture, and werewolves. The plot is summarized elsewhere, so I won't go into it too much. I will say that the author's intro definitely informed my reading of the story, giving it an allegorical bent that I might have missed otherwise.

If you read reviews of the store elsewhere, you'll probably see that it ...

Dani (@danidoit) read Check, Please! and says...

I LOVED the main character, he's so sweet and easy to root for... it's easy to see where the romance is going pretty quickly.  The way the love story is handled is almost a little too good to be true. It's definitely a feel-good romance, not erotica.

I plan on recommending this to a friend of mine who is ...

NOVAE is a beautiful comic. As of this writing, KaiJu has released two full chapters/issues and is part-way through a third. I would have kept reading this all day had I not run out of content. It's that kind of lovely.

I have a limited knowledge (and interest, tbh) in astronomy, but the building relationship between Sulvain and Raziol has got me hooked. Sulvain is mute, leaving the ...

LOVE NOT FOUND, by Gina Biggs, is a sci-fi romance set in a time when touching has become taboo. Main character Abeille (yes, that's French for "bee") is looking for something more than a pre-programmed session with a computer, so she sets out to find someone to "experiment" with.

LOVE NOT FOUND is beautiful. The setting is Monotropa, a planet advertised ...

As a reader of comics and paranormal romance novels, I was reeeeally excited about this anthology. While I ended up really liking it, it wasn't what I was expecting, so here are the talking points summarized for you:

  • These are not explicit romance. Maybe PG-13, for some kissing, but if Love in Panels had a PG rating, I'd probably give it that.
  • Lots of ghosts! I was ...

    SHATTERED WARRIOR is a solidly YA graphic novel, but with lots of violence and, in Matt's words "an attempted rape scene and a boob." So, trigger warning for sexual assault and violence. (The breast in question is visible after a very subtle and consensual interlude.) All this has led to my R-rating, but I think it's totally appropriate for teens.

    On to an ...

    Review based on Dates 1:

    Cravats. Latin. Rope-walking. Androgyny. Pirates. Girls in gowns running away together. Boys and boys and girls and girls and people who don't identify any particular way... This book is hard to review because not only is it an anthology, the stories within span thousands of years of history, continents, empires, cultures... it's impossible to pin down. ...

    THE DREAMER turned 10 years old this Independence Day. That's 10 years of Revolutionary War nerdery and romance! Like pretty much anything having to do with American history, I have complicated feelings, but I think this comic has figured out what it is and does that pretty darn well. It's worth noting that this comic came before Hamilton, but has all the names you'd expect to ...

    Quick note to say that we've rated this as PG13 because that's as low as we go BUT it's really an "all-ages" comic, recommended for 3rd grade and up.

    THE LEGEND OF BOLD RILEY is an adventure comic featuring a (bold) princess who fights monsters, seduces ladies, and uses her wits to help people as she travels around Southeast Asia. The compiled book I read (not the standalone issues) includes several short stories, each with a different artist and plot. Riley is smart, beautiful, daring, and kind. I would have gladly spent more time with ...

    The second volume of Power & Magic is funding on Kickstarter right now (7/14/17) and the first volume just won a PRISM Award. Since I've had the PDF on my iPad for a few weeks, I figured it was time to give it a read. It's... wow.

    What you get for your $10 (digital) is 15 stories about queer witches of color, some more magical than others, all of them accessible and ...

    Issue 1 was a delightful exercise in world-building, with character introductions and little bits of plot underscored by various creatures and magical happenings in the background.

    Our main characters appear to be a writer/barista werewolf and her centaur BFF and fellow barista. Julie, the wolfy one, is at the beginning of a relationship and, though we haven't yet met the lady of ...

    SOMETHING NEW, Lucy Knisley's autobiographical graphic novel about her wedding, hits that indefinable spot somewhere between memoir and how-to. If you've read RELISH or any of her travelogues, you'll know what to expect from this one: humor, lots of internal dialogue, and a level of detail that makes you feel like you just might be Lucy's friend.

    The narrative ...

    Windrose seems to be going for a slow burn romance between two of the main characters, and I dig it. Leon loves Angeline but she's falling for Danielle. Danielle feels... ? We don't know! There was an almost kiss, but with all the kidnapping and escaping and thievery and lying... who knows what's next?!

    You may like this comic if you like:

    - Pirates

    - ...

    This is a hard one to review, as I both loved and hated pieces of it. Each of the four volumes is 50-60 pages, combining for something close to graphic novel length. Each of the volumes is a distinct arc, but the overall story isn't complete until the last two pages of volume 4.

    Here's the part I hated: there is no Happily Ever After. That's the covenant that the ...

    Bonnie N. Collide is a strip-based romantic comedy, full of roller derby and office hijinks. Bonnie is wonderfully wacky, and Stuart plays a charmingly awkward straight man to balance her off-the-wall antics. Their romance is awkward and slow to develop, but charming, and the cast of secondary characters (including a werewolf?) adds depth and humor to what would otherwise be a very sitcom-y ...

    At 31 pages, this comic is simply too short. I wanted more. The two characters are attending karate classes for stress-relief and fight their "distracting" attraction to each other. One even goes so far as to switch classes to avoid the other. Naturally, that doesn't work. We're left with a sweet, sexy "happy-for-now" (as opposed to the ...

    With a whopping 400 pages, this book is something of a coming-of-age tome. With a spare, sketchlike style, Tillie Walden tells the story of her life as an ice skating child and teen.

    Chapters are named after skating moves, a short description of the action mirroring the events of the story. Through skating, we see Tillie's yearning for acceptance and love: from other girls, ...

    This continuation of the much-loved 90's movie, Clueless, isn't as heavy on the romance as the original, but it's getting a review here because I loved it and this is my blog.

    The premise is simple: Dionne, Cher, and Tai are trying to figure out who they want/should be as they navigate senior year and an assignment from Ms. Geist. I'll warn you now - if you ...

    First things first: the description of this comic is a bit misleading. I don't find it about Tinka learning to take responsibility for her actions so much as all of the boys in her life learning to take responsibility for theirs. Tinka is every girl who wants to be liked and is trying (unsuccessfully) to fit our society's completely unattainable criteria for acceptance and love. ...

    No full review (YET! it's in the queue) but we wanted to note that the comic starts out in B&W and is now in full color. Both are lovely.

    Read our full review here.

    BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR was recommended to me by an instructor as a masterwork of sequential art, so when I picked it up, I had high expectations. It's also won several awards and been made into a movie, which is rare for non-cape graphic novels.

    It's a lesbian coming-of-age story that starts and ends with pain, but the romance is beautiful and immensely moving. I was ...

    This review is a bit late, since the 6 year old living in this household stole my copy of TAPROOT and ran off with it for a week. When I finally snagged it back and immersed myself in the beautiful, eerie world that Keezy Young created, I completely understood the 6 year old's urge to read it over and over.

    Pitched as "a story about a gardener and a ghost," TAPROOT ...

    When an older, problematic book is modernized, I have a habit of hoping for the best. I should have learned better by now, though. Despite being adapted by a writer I adore, I still couldn't like the story.

    A large part of the problem is that I don't much care for JANE EYRE. I hate Mr. Rochester, and have never been able to understand why Jane Eyre would return to him ...

    This is going to be a bit of a Squee - you have been warned.

    I first heard of DESTINY, NY when I was scrolling through Kickstarter and decided to back Vol. 2. Magical girls in love? Sign. Me. Up.

    Fast forward a bit, and I've got a digital copy of DESTINY, NY (Vol. 1) waiting for me on the iPad. I had a terrible day yesterday. Not going to get into specifics, but trust ...

    I'll admit, when I first heard about MY BOYFRIEND IS A BEAR, my romance-reviewer brain went straight to "werebear." I was 100% expecting a man who turns into a bear on occasion. Maybe a rather hirsute man who was large and soft like a bear. Well, dear reader, I was selling this book short. The heroine, Nora, does indeed have a boyfriend and he is indeed a bear.

    The ...

    How do I love Raven? Let me count the ways...

    1) Raven herself is a badass. She's been raised to take over for her father, the Pirate King, which has given her both her title (Pirate Princess) and a whole set of physical and strategic skills that she's determined to use to regain control of her family's pirate empire. (Long story short - her brothers are ...

    Werewolf stories tend to be about men turning into wolves and smashing things, which is all well and good, but it's nice to explore the soft underbelly of the myth every now and again. In CAN I PET YOUR WEREWOLF, Kel McDonald has collected a group of stories that range from teenage were-girls bonding with their mothers to a werewolf who transforms into a human when he comes out as ...

    BINGO LOVE is the heartwarming, second-chance, family-centered romance I hoped it would be. It's just under 100 pages, but the story spans over 70 years, from the time the two protagonists (Hazel and Mari) are young teens to their last breaths. It's effortlessly inclusive and tells us just enough about the secondary characters to have me impatiently waiting for the promised digital ...

    Yellow Hearts is a comic about three people who met first, briefly, as children, and accidentally made a deal with a demon. Now, as adults, the demon has drawn all three of them back together, so that it may repay it’s debt to them. As children, they seem to have given it permission to have friends, to mimic humanity, and now the demon wishes to repay them with a single wish.


    The ...

    Maiden of the Machine is a story about a pair of down-on-their-luck sisters seeking adventure. The elder sister (Abhaya, known as Abigail to her cousins) seeks it to make ends meet. The younger sister, Elizabeth (known alternately as Eliza, Lizzy or Bette), finds her curiosity and sense of wonder stoked by a chance meeting with Mr. Lovelace during one of their jobs. (I am also now suspecting ...

    Review from Issue #1:

    SLEEPLESS is a love story with a black princess (kind of) and her bodyguard who has sworn to not sleep (I think) in order to be her guard 24/7. It's written and illustrated by some really talented women. If you aren't sold yet, get thee to your local comic shop and flip through it.

    The costuming looks renaissance-ish, with voluminous sleeves, high ...

    Allison Shaw's PERSEPHONE is beautiful, but lacks the depth that would have pushed it to the next level. The story progresses at a rapid pace, with some characters seeming to act without clear motivation. Readers who aren't familiar with the Greek pantheon might find themselves a bit adrift.

    As a series of illustrations, it's quite lovely. The line work is spare but ...

    Gothic Tales of Haunted Love was one of my most anticipated titles of 2018. I backed it on Kickstarter and was enchanted by the images I saw in preview. You can read the launch post here. All of this is to say that I suspect my expectations were set too high and somewhat unrealistically. The resulting ...

    I've been waiting for this since Limerence announced it, and I'm super pleased with the result!

    The first 25 pages is set-up: what are pronouns and why is it important to use the correct pronouns when referring to or talking to a person.

    The middle section is the how-to portion of the book. How to use gender neutral pronouns in a professional setting, when you don't ...

    www.loveinpanels.com/comics/circadia-issue-1

    www.loveinpanels.com/comics/bear-company

    www.loveinpanels.com/comics/open-earth

    I really wanted to love SWING. I adored SUNSTONE and was ready for more of the humor, emotional depth, and romance. Unfortunately, Linda Sejic's lovely art couldn't save the awkward writing and construction of this first volume of SWING.

    (If you want to read more about the series and the writing team, we Sugartown is, I believe intentionally, hard to categorize. The main character, Hazel, is in an open relationship with Gregor. She's in Portland, OR for the summer, while Gregor is back home in NYC. She meets a super-cute domme, Argent, at a club one night, and the two strike up a friendship/relationship.

    The book explores themes of jealousy, long-distance ...

    www.loveinpanels.com/comics/heathen

    www.loveinpanels.com/comics/sugar-vol-1

    www.loveinpanels.com/comics/heavy-vinyl

    www.loveinpanels.com/comics/dream-daddy

    www.loveinpanels.com/comics/loreolympus

    www.loveinpanels.com/comics/body-music

    www.loveinpanels.com/comics/twisted-romance-vol-1

    www.loveinpanels.com/comics/norroway

    www.loveinpanels.com/comics/merry-men

    www.loveinpanels.com/comics/lets-play

    www.loveinpanels.com/comics/unnatural

    www.loveinpanels.com/comics/sincerely-harriet

    www.loveinpanels.com/comics/the-prince-and-the-swan

    www.loveinpanels.com/prose/little-moments-of-love

    www.loveinpanels.com/comics/fortunate-beasts

    www.loveinpanels.com/comics/strange-someone

    www.loveinpanels.com/comics/queer-and-trans-identities

    www.loveinpanels.com/comics/blossoms-in-autumn

    www.loveinpanels.com/comics/bloom

    www.loveinpanels.com/comics/croquette-and-empanada

    Tillie Walden has written a GIANT queer space opera that manages to be quiet and tense at the same time.

    The story is told in two timelines, past and present, with a corresponding color change. The worldbuilding is fascinating, with the characters traveling through space to rebuilt various historic sites. The character development is also detailed, and though it's a little hard to ...

    www.loveinpanels.com/comics/laura-dean-keeps-breaking-up-with-me

    www.loveinpanels.com/comics/super-fun-sexy-times

    www.loveinpanels.com/comics/shout-out-anthology

    www.loveinpanels.com/comics/stage-dreams

    www.loveinpanels.com/comics/mooncakes

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Affordable Audio - A Guide

[fa icon="calendar'] Mar 20, 2019 10:00:00 AM / by Suzanne Krohn posted in list

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More than half of us here at Love in Panels read audiobooks, and it occurred to me the other day that perhaps we're doing our readers a disservice by recommending a book on audio without sharing the resources that we use to access them. So here's a list of sources through which audiobooks can be accessed in the US, as well as their relative costs and ways to save $.

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Book Recommendations for All Your She-Ra Feels

[fa icon="calendar'] Jan 11, 2019 12:48:38 PM / by Suzanne Krohn posted in list

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When my daughter and I sat down to watch the Netflix reboot of the 80's cartoon, She-Ra, I knew it was created by the wonderful Noelle Stevenson (Nimona, Lumberjanes), and I knew she'd drawn her fiancee, Molly Ostertag (The Witch Boy) into "Princess Prom." Oh, and I knew that a bunch of grown men on the internet were annoyed that this version of She-Ra wasn't going to be half naked and drawn for the male gaze. Sold and sold.

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