November Open Thread

November 2, 2014 Open Thread 6

*tap* *tap* *tap* Is this thing on?

Happy first of the month!

Here’s what we read in October:

Read a book with a marginalized character you want to recommend? Run across a terrible portrayal you want to warn others to avoid? Just want to rant about the general state of the genre?

Let ‘er rip in the comments. Nothing is off topic, but no promo, please.

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An ice hockey fan from north of Boston and the genre's most beloved troll, Ridley enjoys reading contemporary and historical romance, as well as the odd erotica novel. As someone who uses a wheelchair, she takes a particular interest in disability themes.

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6 Responses to “November Open Thread”

  1. Merrian

    I just read an m/m with a hero diagnosed with Huntingdon’s Disease ‘Foundation of Trust’ by A.M. Arthur. It’s a second chance story and interesting because there is angst caused by the diagnosis and the family history that is part of the diagnosis but the conflict/tension isn’t due to the disease. This is also an interesting story because of how people turn to their friends for support and advice – Yay for no isolated protagonists. Nor is there a rush to forgiveness for the separation. I do think the author weaselled out of dealing with one character’s bisexuality by making him more GFY though. This is probably only a 3 star book for me cause of a certain banality in secondary characters but may be I am being hard for a category length book.

  2. cleo

    I’ve had a kind of meh reading month, but that may be more about me and my current crankiness than the books.

    I read Charm City by Mason Dixon (mentioned by Jill Sorenson last month) and enjoyed it. It’s ff, with two MCs of color, about an undercover cop and underground fighter / enforcer for a drug lord. I was completely riveted the first third to half and then the plot and the romance became less believable to me, but overall I still enjoyed it.

    I also read His Road Home by Anna Richland. MF with two MCs of color – the hero is a vet and double amputee. I liked this one a lot, although not as much as some of the glowing reviews (see above crankiness). I felt like the romance was a little one sided – I wanted to see more of what the heroine got from being with the hero, besides orgasms.

    And I read a particularly meh anthology of mm military romances (don’t remember the title of course but I think it came out last month) that demonstrated the full range of what I don’t like about how PTSD is portrayed in romance – from PTSD treated with bdsm to characters who had no life outside of their suffering.

  3. joopdeloop

    I liked Private Politics by Emma Barry quite as much as I remember liking Special Interests. I love that the hero has it so bad for the heroine, that he has a round race, and is not chiseled and yet develops such great chemistry with the heroine. (I’m kind of seeing Josh Malina here) I like how Barry conjures up DC – its as satisfying worldbuilding to me as any historical or urban fantasy. (There is still some big editing misses – a few malapropisms that distract from the fine writing elsewhere)

    Hit the spot, so much that I went to see when the third in the series would be done, I wound up picking up her crit partner Genevieve Turner’s book, Summer Chapparral. Historical set on a mountain ranch in turn of the century Southern California. Hero and heroine both have major family drama: He ran away from his racist, land-grabbing white family and is determined to return to the land and make it as a cowboy rancher. She dreams of achieving the same kind of power her mother has built up, but needs to escape to her own household to do so but is trapped by her family expectations that she find a pureblooded Spanish family to marry into. To make their dilemma juicier, he’s basically a Montague or a Jet (but she doesn’t know until after their shotgun wedding) and he realizes that she’s a Capulet-Shark. In fact she’s from the very family of the ‘black widow’ Alvarado shot her Bannister husband (hero’s awful uncle), goading his family’s prejudice against so-called “greasers” Sure the book has many familiar types and elements, but I enjoyed reading him make up to her after he used the g-word on her family.

  4. Ridley

    @Merrian: Huntington’s Disease? Wow. That’s a bold move. I should grab that to read, stale side-characters or not.

    @cleo: Charm City is totally on my radar, so I’m glad to see you enjoyed it.

    @joopdeloop: Oh man that historical so sounds like my thing. Like a soap opera, but with pretty gowns.

  5. Merrian

    Yes – Huntingdon’s Disease is a go big or go home sort of thing to use in a story. I think it was well handled because it was presented as part of protag’s life not the whole of it. He had got a business off the ground, kept up with and made new friends and been diagnosed with a serious, nasty, unpleasant future. He didn’t hide himself so he wasn’t a burden his angst was a realistic response to the loss of his relationship. If you read it I will be very interested in your understanding of the story.

  6. Tina

    My favorite book I read in October was a book called ‘Natural Beauty’ by Leslie Dubois. It is a chick-lit/interracial romance. Very funny and charming. It is the story of an African American woman who has been in a seven year relationship with her Indian boyfriend. She comes to the awful realization that he doesn’t want to get married.

    The heroine impulsively cuts off all of her (weaved & relaxed) hair after a night of hilariously drunken bitterness. She uses her hair as a metaphor for her relationship. The rest of the book uses her ‘going natural’ as a framing device and an ongoing metaphor for her burgeoning new romance.

    The book does touch on issues of race, and racial politics as well as the oddly inherent politicizing of black women’s hair. But it does it lightly. Not once do you feel preached at, but rather the heroine’s voice (this is told in first person POV) is incredibly fun.