During February I ran Read My Valentine. Ordinarily, it’s my excuse to read and review as many romance novels as I can manage, but I was still reading for the Aurealis Awards until almost midway through the month. So, this year I took a slightly different approach and concentrated on reviewing work that represented a spectrum of sexualities and gender identities:
Hold Me by Courtney Milan. Trans F/Bi M. Contemporary romance.
Wanted, A Gentleman by K.J. Charles. M/M. Historical romance.
Among Galactic Ruins by Anna Hackett. F/M. Sci-fi action romance.
With Roses in Their Hair by Kayla Bashe. F/F. Sci-fi YA romance.
Viral Airwaves by Claudie Arsenault. Asexual M/F, plus M/M & F/M side relationships. Post-apocalyptic SFF.
I’m pretty happy with the representation here. I hope to continue this balance in future years and perhaps even expand it a little. I know I have a lot to learn about the aromantic spectrum, for example, and have been pondering how I might include representation in my reviews for Read My Valentine… or whether I make a point of reviewing some immediately after the challenge.
Outside of these reviews and the Aurealis submissions, I read very little romance: just two books. I have a forthcoming review of The Impossible Story of Olive in Love by Tonya Alexandra, which is, in any case, more of a coming-of-age YA than a romance.
The other was Beyond Pain by Kit Rocha. This is the third in a series of sci-fi dystopian erotica that I’ve found impressively feminist and sex-positive. So far, it has included favourable representations of bisexuality, polyamory, exhibitionism and BDSM. The explicit content means it’s not going to be for everyone, but if you don’t mind that sort of thing, I highly recommend it. I’m glad there’s still another five books in the series and a new, related series beginning soon.
Considering the lack of participation Read My Valentine has had, I’m not convinced the current format is working. However, since I’ve been enjoying it, I’m considering turning it into a yearly blog feature instead of abandoning it entirely. I’m also happy to take suggestions.
How about you? Have you read any romance this month? What romance would you recommend?